Madonna Badger is the founder and chief creative officer of Badger & Winters Group, an advertising and branding agency based in New York City that she started at the age of 29. For 20 years, the agency has worked with high beauty clientele, including Vera Wang, Avon, Living Proof, and Diane Von Furstenberg.
On Christmas Day 2011, Madonna lost
her three children and parents in a fire
that destroyed her Connecticut home. She survived, only to face an unimaginable new reality. Madonna spent the next two years working to overcome insurmountable grief and rebuild her life. She hopes that by sharing her story she can help others cope with loss, find meaning, and choose to live.
Marc Elliot knows adversity firsthand. He was born with a rare disease that left him with
virtually no intestines, and at age nine he developed a neurological disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, that manifested with physical and vocal outbursts called tics. In any
given day, Marc would experience upwards of 3,500 tics, totaling approximately 25 million over the course of his 20-year struggle with
the disorder. Remarkably, in 2013, after taking courses with Executive Success Programs, Marc completely overcame his Tourette’s by using mind over body. Now 28 years old, Marc lives tic-free. He was named
2011 College Speaker of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine, is the author of What Makes You Tic?: My Journey From Tourette’s To Tolerance, and has reached nearly one million people with his message of tolerance.
Tora Fisher is a New York based singer-songwriter and performance artist. When she was young, her mother
encouraged her to develop her artistic side while her father exposed her to a world outside
of the arts: he created the Fisher
House Foundation, a network
of comfort homes where military and their families can stay at no cost while their loved ones receive
care and treatment. Tora developed a keen interest in these two starkly different worlds: that of the arts, and the art of war.
When Tora was 13, she experienced the unfathomable when she was the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed her father, stepmother, and four others. Her resilience and determination to recover from this trauma was nurtured by her love of music and performance and her ability to pursue her dreams of being a singer-songwriter, pianist, dancer, and recording artist. She has also fulfilled her dream of supporting her father’s legacy
by donating proceeds from her CDs to the Fisher House Foundation.
As Tora so aptly put it, “it’s not about what happened to me; it's about what's happening.”
Her new CD entitled Tora Fisher will be released in the spring of 2014.
Elizabeth Albert is an artist and assistant professor at St. John’s University. Her paintings and works on paper have been exhibited nationally and are in the collections of the Butler Institute, the Naples Art Museum, and the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage, and Construction. She has received fellowships from the NEA/ Mid-Atlantic Arts Council,
the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc., and the MacDowell Colony.
For the past three years, she has been engaged in an exploration of New York City’s lesser-known waterfront areas and has recently completed a curatorial project on this subject entitled “Silent Beaches, Untold Stories: New York City’s Forgotten Waterfront.” Her presentation will discuss highlights from the exhibition and the resilience of the ever- changing New York City shoreline.
As principal of her own boutique consultiWarrior Poet Strategies, Allyson Robinson advises select clients in organizational
design, change strategy, diversity management, and movement entrepreneurship. Previously, she led internal and external diversity initiatives at the Human Rights
Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, where she conceived, created, and launched the organization’s social enterprise to train large organizations in diversity and inclusion. She later became the first transgender person to lead a national LGBT advocacy organization as executive director of OutServe- SLDN. In that role, she developed and coordinated the public vetting of Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel on LGBT issues, getting
him to make a decisive, written commitment to equality prior to his confirmation. She has also served as an Army officer and an ordained Baptist pastor, studied at West Point, Oxford University, and Arizona State, and earned degrees in physics and theology. Allyson, her wife of
19 years, and their four children live in the Washington, D.C. suburbs.
Bryce Rafferty is a recent graduate of Colorado College, where he majored in international political economy. Bryce grew up in New England and graduated from the Taft School, but it didn’t take long for him to decide that Colorado was his future home. He has an adventurous and creative spirit, is an active musician, and loves just about anything to do with the mountains. While studying abroad in Geneva,Switzerland in 2009, Bryce sustained a severe neck injury after diving into shallow water, which left him paralyzed as a C-6 quadriplegic. Bryce now lives in Denver and works at his alma mater as a research assistant and project coordinator for the Environment and Energy Security Project. Looking ahead, Bryce hopes to attend graduate school for international relations and keep composing music, as well as discover new ways to be active recreationally in the Rockies.