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GS03 Finding the Roots of Leadership

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET
Wednesday, December 6

In an era of constant change and disruption, learning and development professionals are seeking ways to enhance their own leadership capabilities. Join us for a keynote session featuring the esteemed Henry Louis Gates Jr., an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, cultural critic, and literary scholar.

Professor Gates will draw from his groundbreaking series, “Finding Your Roots,” to explore the profound connections between genealogy, genetics, and the impact of history on our lives today. Gates will share his favorite moments from the series, including the appearances of remarkable figures such as late Congressman John Lewis. By examining their ancestral narratives, we will gain profound insights into the qualities, experiences, and historical forces that shaped their leadership journeys.

This transformative keynote will empower you to embark on your own journey of self-discovery and personal growth as a leader, giving you a deeper understanding of your unique strengths, perspectives, and potential. You will leave with a renewed sense of purpose, equipped to navigate the complexities of leadership in an ever-changing world.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Professor, Filmmaker, Author

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an award-winning author and filmmaker, as well as a distinguished professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. He has authored or co-authored 25 books and created 23 documentary films, including Wonders of the African World, African American Lives, Faces of America, Black in Latin America, Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise, and Africa’s Great Civilizations. Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series, is now in its seventh season on PBS.

Professor Gates’ PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), won numerous prestigious awards. His series Reconstruction: America after the Civil War (PBS, 2019) was also highly praised, as was its related book, Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (Penguin Random House, 2019).  

A prolific writer who has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time, Gates serves as chairman of TheRoot.com, a daily online magazine, and chair of the Creative Board of FUSION TV. He oversees the Oxford African American Studies Center, and has received grant funding to develop a Finding Your Roots curriculum to teach students science through genetics and genealogy.

The recipient of 58 honorary degrees and numerous prizes, Professor Gates was the first African American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time’s 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997, to Ebony’s Power 150 list in 2009, and to Ebony’s Power 100 list in 2010 and 2012. He holds a BA in history from Yale University and an MA and PhD in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and serves on a wide array of boards. In 2011, his portrait was hung in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.