Opening Keynote Speaker
President of the Community College of Baltimore County since 2005, Dr. Sandra L. Kurtinitis is an experienced and respected educator, administrator and author. As she embarks on her 50th year as a community college professional, Dr. Kurtinitis remains a tireless and dynamic supporter of CCBC’s mission: to provide an accessible, affordable, and high-quality education that prepares students for transfer and career success, strengthens the regional workforce, and enriches our community.
Dr. Kurtinitis is committed to furthering the impact of community colleges nationally as well. She has been a member of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges since 2015, and is currently the organization’s chair-elect. She assumes the chair position of the organization in July 2018.
A self-described “servant-leader,” Dr. Kurtinitis is resolutely committed to inclusive leadership and open communication, affirming her belief that the classroom is a far more important place on campus than the executive office.
Under Dr. Kurtinitis’ leadership, CCBC has made significant strides in improving service to students while strengthening its operational areas to best support instruction. She supports a lean executive structure, bringing strong central leadership across the college while fostering a collaborative, learning-centered environment throughout the institution.
Educating nearly 65,000 students annually, CCBC has received many accolades during Dr. Kurtinitis’ tenure. Most recently, CCBC was awarded the prestigious Kohlberg Prize for the college’s work in championing issues related to student-veterans. Community College Week named CCBC among the “Top 100 Associate Degree Producers” in the United States.
With a reputation as a thought-provoking leader, Dr. Kurtinitis is regularly called upon as a trusted resource for local, county and state legislators, and has received several invitations to the White House to participate in discussions regarding higher education and college attainment.
Plenary Keynote Speaker
Tahsin I. Alam
Tahsin I. Alam is Associate Vice President, Talent Management and Organizational Development at the Rutgers University Foundation. He serves as a member of the Foundation President’s Executive Leadership Group.
A higher education advancement industry veteran with over 15 years of experience in Presidential and Advancement professional searches, Mr. Alam began his career as an Associate with Isaacson Miller, a Boston-based national search firm. After eight years of working with the development and alumni relations search practice, Mr. Alam went on to become a Managing Associate with the Nonprofit Professional Advisory Group (NPAG), a boutique consulting firm with clients across the nonprofit sector. Here he served as a partner for the development and communications search practice, where in four years, the practice grew from inception to the most profitable practice at the firm. Tahsin has also conducted Presidential, Dean of Faculty, and Dean of Student level searches.
At the Rutgers University Foundation, Tahsin leads a 10-person team responsible for the recruitment, on-boarding, performance appraisal, professional development and retention of professional fundraisers, alumni relations professionals and advancement staff. His team includes the Human Resources function for all employees as well as Foundation Operations. He is in charge of organizational change and management, having reconstructed several of the departments at the Foundation. He has led senior team retreats focused on increasing workflow, efficiency and collaboration across a multitude of functions within an advancement operation. Mr. Alam holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Politics, Economics and Theater from Bates College. He is a native of Bangladesh.
Closing Keynote Speaker
In 1987, John O’Leary was a curious nine-year-old boy. Playing with fire and gasoline, John created a massive explosion in his home and was burned on 100% of his body. He was given 1% chance to live.
This epic story of survival was first showcased in his parents’ book, Overwhelming Odds, in 2006. Originally printing 200 copies for friends and family, his parents have sold 70,000 copies, most in back-of-room sales at John’s speaking events. It was this book that first invited John to embrace his miraculous recovery and share it with the world.
John inspires nearly 75,000 people at 100+ events each year. He speaks to companies and organizations across industries, such as: sales, healthcare, business, safety, marketing, financial services, faith, education and insurance.
Consistently described as “the best speaker we’ve ever had,” John receives nearly 100% of his engagements from referrals. His schedule is a testament to the power of his message and who he is as an individual. His emotional story-telling, unexpected humor and authenticity make each of his presentations truly transformational.
John’s first book ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was an instant #1 National Bestseller; 120,000 copies have sold and it has been translated into 12 languages. John’s Live Inspired Podcast is a top 20 for business on iTunes & Inc. Magazine. His online community is 200,000 strong.
John considers his greatest success to be his marriage to his wife Beth, their four children and his relationships with friends and family.