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NWC 2018 Keynote Presenters
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We're excited to announce the following keynote speaker lineup for NWC 2018! Gather with fellow attendees for informative, engaging, and inspiring keynote presentations. 


“Wellness: Defining the Future of Health”

Presented by Dr. Gail Christopher
Founder and President, Ntianu Center for Healing and Nature
Chair, Board of the Trust for America’s Health

View keynote description

Drawing on four decades of experience and leadership as an award-winning social change agent meeting the needs of diverse populations, Dr. Christopher will make a compelling case for putting wellness and well-being at the center of public narratives about health and healing. She will illustrate how wellness intersects with all major social and public policy priorities, including education, economy, environment, justice, and health care. She will share stories and case studies of successful interventions that have changed the lives of thousands and offer a blueprint for overcoming our divisions and charting a holistic course toward healing our communities. She will illustrate ways to engage all sectors (public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit) in the vital work of promoting resilience, as well as achieving and sustaining wellness.


View Dr. Gail Christopher's bio

Chair of the Board of the Trust for America's Health, Dr. Gail C. Christopher is an award-winning social change agent widely recognized for designing holistic approaches to well-being. She is the former senior advisor and vice president of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations. She is the past executive director of the Institute for Government Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


“The Craving Mind: How We Can Hack Our Brains to Live Healthier Lives ”

Presented by Judson Brewer, MD, PhD
Chief, Division of Mindfulness
Director of Research, Center for Mindfulness
Associate Professor, Medicine and Psychiatry
University of Massachusetts Medical School

View keynote description

We are all vulnerable to craving. Whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, binge eat, smoke, excessively drink, or any other behavior, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating. Why are bad habits so hard to overcome? Can we learn how our minds work, and even tap into this very process to find a key to conquer the cravings we know are unhealthy for us and open our natural capacities for awareness and kindness? In this talk, using examples from his lab’s clinical studies of in-person and app-based mindfulness training as well as data from neuroimaging paradigms, Dr. Brewer will describe why habits are formed, and how awareness helps us tap into these very behavioral and brain mechanisms that encourage habitual behaviors in order to overcome them. He will also show how we can use these to build our natural capacities of awareness, kindness, and curiosity.


View Dr. Judson Brewer's bio

Judson Brewer, MD, PhD, is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery,” having combined over 20 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He is the Director of Research at the Center for Mindfulness and associate professor in medicine and psychiatry at UMass Medical School. He has developed novel mindfulness programs for habit change, including smoking, stress eating, and anxiety.

Dr. Brewer's book, The Craving Mind: From Cigarettes to Smartphones to Love, Why We Get Hooked and How We Can Break Bad Habits (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017), will be available during a book-signing following his keynote presentation at NWC 2018.


Thinking Outside the Shoe®

Presented by Jessica Cox
Motivational Speaker, Goodwill Ambassador, Author, Advocate, Mentor

View keynote description

As a person who has never viewed herself as a victim of her condition, Jessica shares in her speech humorous stories of struggle and success living in a “two-handed” world. She provides critical insight on how best to approach a challenge, redefining the concept of innovative thinking. She helps people reconnect with their inner strengths and aptitudes. Jessica believes in combining creativity, desire, persistence, and fearlessness; with them, nothing is impossible. In her presentation, she will dig deep into her experiences living armless in a two-handed world and share how these four elements helped her achieve the seemingly impossible.


View Jessica Cox's bio

Born without arms, Jessica Cox could have succumbed to the low expectations that ushered her into this world. In spite of them all, she graduated from college, learned to swim, drive a car, surf, scuba dive, fly an airplane, become a Taekwondo State Champion, and live independently using her feet in ways others who take their hands for granted can only imagine. She holds the title of the first person without arms to get a black belt in ATA Martial Arts and the Guinness World Record for the first pilot to fly with her feet. Yet, her greatest triumph in life stands far above any physical feat. It is her unrepentant regard for herself as a whole person, her high degree of self acceptance that gives her the freedom and power to insist that society accepts her, too, just as she is.

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