Andrew Block

Director, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice

Rafe Furst

Impact investor, writer, producer and poker player

Amiel Harper

Entrepreneur, brand builder, storyteller, artisan

Ladama

Four women, virtuosic musicians, and educators

Ami Vitale

National Geographic photographer

More Speakers To Be Announced!

Andy Block has been working with vulnerable children since he graduated from college in 1987 and went off to a rural region in western Kenya to teach high school.

He was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to become the Director of the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) on April 7, 2014. Prior to this appointment he was an associate professor and director of the Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law from 2010-2014. From 1998 until the spring of 2010 he was the founder and legal director of the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center. Director Block received various awards for his innovative and successful work as an advocate, including the American Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division Child Advocacy Award, the Virginia State Bar’s Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year, and the Virginia Bar Association’s Robert F. Shepherd Jr. Award. Director Block graduated from Yale University in 1987 and from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1994.

Since his appointment, and with strong support from Governor Terry McAuliffe, Director Block and the rest of the DJJ team are in the process of transforming the work of the Department.  This transformation includes using evidence-based probation practices across the state, safely reducing the number of youth in Juvenile Correctional Centers (JCCs), reforming reentry procedures and rehabilitative practices in the JCCs, engaging families, and ultimately replacing the JCCs with smaller, more therapeutic, facilities, and a statewide continuum of evidence-based programs and community-based supports and services built with savings reinvested from JCC downsizing and closure.

 

Most importantly, Andy is married to Kelli Sutton Block, and the father of four amazing kids– Sage, Maya, Eden, and Ry.

 

 

Beginning in Silicon Valley in the mid 1990s, Rafe has founded, invested in and advised dozens of startups, including Pickem Sports, Full Tilt Poker, and Crowdfunder. To date, his companies have generated over $1 Billion in revenue and $450 Million in liquidity to stakeholders.

An avid poker player, he's won a World Series of Poker Championship, produced an award-winning instructional video, and has helped raise millions of dollars for cancer prevention and other charitable causes.

These days Rafe invests in cryptocurrencies, and coaches social entrepreneurs through COMMON.

​He holds a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and M.S. in Computer Science / Artificial Intelligence from Stanford University.

Amiel Harper is the Founder & Principal of The Morpheus Consultancy, where he focuses on brand strategy and business development. Harper founded The Morpheus Consultancy after growing brands for some of the largest consumer packaged goods companies in the world, including Procter & Gamble, Mars-Wrigley, and Tyson Foods.  With a desire to grow minority businesses in Chicago, Harper decided to refocus his talent and learnings on his own back yard. Harper works with clients across a variety of industries including law, finance, politics, technology and education.

A proud south-sider, Amiel Harper credits his Chicago upbringing for much of his success as a lawyer and business owner. He earned his B.S. in Finance from Bradley University, his J.D. from Washington University School of Law, and his M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Harper is also an active mentor and proud brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

LADAMA is a group of four women, virtuosic musicians, and educators — Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola and Sara Lucas—each from a different country and culture of the Americas, who are sisters in song, rhythm and spirit. Harnessing music from their respective countries of origin –Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and the United States, the group utilizes traditional and non-traditional instruments from across the Americas, but with a modern twist, to produce Latin Alternative music.

LADAMA’s debut, self-titled album, set for release in the Fall of 2017, could not be more timely; both Latin America and the United States, in fact the world, are in need of projects that transcend boundaries and defy norms. This is precisely what their debut album, crafted carefully on a journey through Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela and New York, represents. LADAMA’s new self-titled album transcends space, time and borders. Hatched across continents and language by the members of the group themselves, it delivers a fresh take on a myriad of traditional, Pan-American rhythms all coming together seamlessly into LADAMA’s unique blend of enthralling sounds.

The songs in this collection emit an electric pulse and energy that are truly global in concept and vision. A song like Porro Maracatu is a vibrant and provocative marriage of two traditional rhythms from Afro-Colombian and Afro-Brazilian culture. Confesión is a tender love letter to self-actualization and womanhood. Traditional instruments combine with electric arrangements to produce a vibrant, melodious experiment in allowing oneself to feel, speak and reimagine the currents that connect us all across the Americas. In its deepest essence, LADAMA’s inaugural album is a reflection of what it means to communicate across the Americas. Written, composed, arranged and produced by the dynamic foursome, the album is an organic yet modern expression of authenticity across cultures.

Ami Vitale's journey as a photographer, writer and filmmaker has taken her to over 90 countries where she has witnessed civil unrest and violence, but also surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. She has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.” She is an Ambassador for Nikon and a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and has garnered prestigious awards including multiple prizes from World Press Photos, the International Photographer of the Year prize, the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting and named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographer's Association, among others. Vitale now comes home to Montana in between making films and shooting stories about the planet’s most pressing issues, including wildlife on the edge of extinction, climate change-precipitated migration, and the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit.  She lectures and teaches workshops throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and her work is exhibited in museums, galleries, and private collections worldwide. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers with a mission of creating powerful stories illustrating the very specific issues women in developing countries face.

After more than a decade covering conflict, Vitale couldn’t help but notice that the less sensational—but equally true—stories were often not getting told: the wedding happening around the corner from the revolution, triumphs amidst seemingly endless devastation. As a result, she re-committed herself to seeking out the stories within and around “the story,” and remaining independent, so that she would have the freedom to shoot what she believed deserved to be shared. 

Past Speakers