Keynote Speakers

We can't wait for you to learn about our presenters! Click on the SPEAKERS tab above to read about our breakout session presenters, panelists, and workshop hosts.



carrie Bernans (she/her)

 February 27 3:10 PM - 4:00 PM Central


Actress and Filmmaker, CARRIE BERNANS - Maximizing the ABCs of Life at Full Flame, Carrie Bernans is “D” EFG – Defining Emmy-Excellence as a Futuristic-Global force, a captivating role model, and philanthropist!
Carrie was in Marvel's phenomenal Black Panther and Avengers End Game as a Dora Milijae warrior fighting for #Wakanda along the side of Black Panther and she also has appeared in Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War, X-Men, The Dark Phoenix, SWAT on FOX, CBS Seal Team, and stars in Ultimate TAG on FOX. She also has her 1st documentary, and currently working on producing two other big films this year. Carrie, like the Black Panther, “...has a good heart, and [ ] gives us a real hero[ine] —strong and honorable and, when possible, even filled with grace.”

Carrie Bernans was born in Hopewell, VA with the magical enthusiasm and talents she is known for and where change became an early yet conquerable constant for her as a little girl. Carrie grew up poor-of-goods and wealthy-of-mind with a single-parent teenage-mother and an early nomadic lifestyle from her birthplace to Panama, Central America, back to Richmond and to the townships along the Eastern U.S. coast. These childhood experiences reflexively prepared Carrie for extensive independent traveling and coaching abroad in Shanghai, China, Paris, France, London, England, and Berlin, Germany. Carrie looks forward to her next travels abroad discovering more of her West African blood and culture which she holds and values high to her.


  • Title: Beyond Limits: Elevate 2024
  • Description:

    In 'Beyond Limits: Elevate 2024,' we delve into the extraordinary power of human potential. This presentation is a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and the relentless pursuit of success. It's a call to arms for individuals, teams, and organizations to break through their self-imposed boundaries and shatter limitations.

    Carrie Bernans will share stories of triumph over adversity, illustrating how seemingly insurmountable obstacles can be transformed into stepping stones to greatness. She will delve into the mindset and strategies required to elevate your performance, reach new heights, and exceed your own expectations.

    This speech isn't just about achieving the extraordinary; it's about changing your perception of what's possible. You'll discover the keys to unlocking your true potential, harnessing your inner strength, and leveraging innovation and determination to propel yourself and your goals to uncharted territories.

    Prepare to be motivated, challenged, and empowered as 'Beyond Limits: Elevate 2024' takes you on an inspirational journey towards a future without constraints, where the only limit is your imagination. Are you ready to elevate your life, your career, and your aspirations beyond limits? Join us for an unforgettable experience that will leave you with the tools to conquer your dreams and reach for the stars in changing the world for the better.



Darian Rodriguez heyman (he/him)

 February 29 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Central


Darian Rodriguez Heyman is an accomplished fundraiser, nonprofit consultant, philanthropic advisor, and best-selling author. He began his life’s work “helping people help” during his five-year tenure as Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation, where he founded their hugely popular Nonprofit Boot Camp and grew it to the largest nonprofit gathering in San Francisco Bay Area history after only one year. In an effort to build the capacity of even more leaders, Heyman then authored the Nonprofit Fundraising 101 and edited the best-selling Nonprofit Management 101 (now in second edition, with a new foreword from Van Jones), in addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief at the free online nonprofit magazine, Blue Avocado.

Heyman specializes in helping companies, philanthropists, and nonprofits maximize impact. Beyond his active consulting practice and frequent keynotes around the globe, he also selectively assumes leadership roles when launching new initiatives. He recently served as the part-time Executive Director of Numi Foundation, where he led their clean water and environmental education work, and Co-Founder of GenderSmart (now 2X Global), an effort to funnel billions to women-led and -serving businesses. A champion of both racial and gender equity, Heyman recently completed his board service at International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere (now Fòs Feminista), is actively working for reproductive justice, and has overseen more than $20M in grants to Black-led and -serving nonprofits through his philanthropic advising practice.


  • Title: A Fresh Look at Fundraising: Adjusting Strategies to Today's Reality
  • Description: These days, seismic shifts in society abound. And while the pandemic is certainly not over, nonprofits have adapted and pivoted as result of recent dramatic changes, including America’s racial reckoning, rapidly evolving technology, trust-based philanthropy, and significant impacts on the modern workplace. These challenges also offer us new opportunities, and present myriad implications on resource development. Funding is the lifeblood of any social enterprise, so given competing calls for time and attention, how can mission-based organizations quickly, efficiently take stock of these trends and determine how to leverage them most effectively in support of their work? Join us as we explore a range of transformational changes, with a focus on how each can be harnessed. If you are an executive director, board chair or development committee chair, or a fundraising or events staffer, this session is not to be missed!