This week, the Artists Trending Report is featuring speakers who make a difference. Each speaker listed below has received awards for their inspiring efforts in their work that ranges from Innovation to Human Rights Awareness. Book a Speaker today to hear these influential speakers tell their empowering and motivational stories.
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1. Yara Shahidi
Seventeen-year-old scholar, philanthropist and actress Yara Shahidi stars as popular teen ‘Zoey Johnson,’ in the multi award winning ABC comedy series Black-ish. Shahidi is definitely one of Hollywood’s most heralded young talents as she continues to use her platform to empower and inspire others.
Yara recently launched “Yara’s Club”, a partnership with The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS) in New York. Yara’s Club is a bi-monthly digital meet up for Yara and students to discuss societal issues, self-improvement and higher education. Furthermore, Yara served as the spokesperson for DoSomething.Org and 3M’s “Science Sleuth” campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and technology resources in Minnesota and St. Louis.
2. Jake Knapp
Jake Knapp is the New York Times best-selling author of Sprint. He spent 10 years at Google, where he created the Design Sprint process, and he has worked with over 100 startups including Nest, Slack, 23andMe, and Uber. Jake is currently among the world’s tallest designers.
Jake has spoken about innovation at companies from LEGO to IDEO and at universities like Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia, and Harvard. His writing on startups and productivity has appeared in Fast Company, TechCrunch, Slate, and LifeHacker.
3. Commander Rorke Denver
Commander Rorke T. Denver has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other international hot spots. He starred in the hit film Act of Valor, and his New York Times bestseller, Damn Few: Making the Modern SEAL Warrior, takes you inside his personal story and the fascinating, demanding SEAL training program he now oversees.
In his second book Worth Dying For: A Navy SEALs Call to a Nation, which was released in April 2016, Rorke tackles the questions that have emerged about America’s past decade at war–from what makes a hero to why we fight and what it does to us. Rorke was most recently seen on FOX’s American Grit. The series followed 16 of the country’s toughest men and women as they face a variety of military-grade and survival-themed challenges set in the wilderness.
4. Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah, born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the New York Times best-selling author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and Radiance of Tomorrow, A Novel both published by Farrar Straus & Giroux.
His Memoir has been published in over 40 languages and was nominated for a Quill Award in the Best Debut Author category for 2007. TIME Magazine named the book as one of the “Top 10 Nonfiction books of 2007,” ranking at number 3. His novel written with the gentle lyricism of a dream and the moral clarity of a fable is a powerful book about preserving what means the most to us, even in uncertain times. Already available in several foreign languages, the New York Times finds in his writing an “allegorical richness” and a “remarkable humanity to his [Beah’s] characters”.
His work has appeared in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, TIME magazine, International Herald Tribune, Globe & Mail, Rutgers University Press, Vespertine Press, LIT, The Guardian, Parabola magazines and numerous academic journals.
5. Leland Melvin
Before becoming an astronaut Leland Melvin was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 1986 College Draft to play professional football but a hamstring injury thwarted his NFL career with Detroit and then later with the Dallas Cowboys. Hear his fascinating story of perseverance and how he ultimately traveled off-planet twice on Space Shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. Leland is the only person drafted into the National Football League to have flown in space.
Leland has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in materials science engineering. He uses his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) careers. Leland was also recently seen as the host of the Lifetime competition series Child Genius and is currently seen as a judge for ABC’s competition series BattleBots.
In May, Leland released his memoir, Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances. In Chasing Space, Leland shares his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars, and examine the intersecting roles of community, perseverance and grace that align to create the opportunities for success.