Keynote Speaker

Coconnell Headshot

Courtney O’Connell is a rising thought leader on the topic of disruptive innovation. Her TEDx talk “Go All In on Education,” and blogs on The Huffington Post have provoked a national conversation about innovation in education. She has extensive experience building the digital capabilities of organizations in the education and non-profit space. Courtney envisioned and served as the project manager for the Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference, and is one of co-founders of the New Jersey state association for higher education administrators. She was acknowledged for her entrepreneurial approaches in education as an inductee into the American College Personnel Association’s prestigious Annuit Coeptis honor society in 2011. Currently, she is working alongside best-selling author Erik Qualman as Director of Business Design where she is developing and distributing digital leadership content that will educate the world. Ultimately, Courtney is determined to disrupt the current education system in hopes of making education a more engaging and meaningful experience for all students.

Going All In on Changing Education



Courtney is determined to inspire others to go ‘all in’ on changing education. She believes that in order for us to see fundamental wide sweeping changes for all students experiencing education, we must adopt innovation as a core value in education and infuse it into all that we do. Her ideas for ‘going all in’ include:



  1. Infusing innovation into preparation programs by having all educators take a course on the fundamentals of innovation.
  2. Transforming current professional development programming to blend the expertise of educators with experts outside of education to create a space for big ideas to be generated and executed.
  3. Broaden the box in which we recruit those entering education to include thought provoking individuals with unique experiences outside of the traditional education pedigree.
  4. Finally, to change the environment in education and create a space in which disruptive educators can thrive. A more fluid and flexible environment open to new ideas.