Keynote Speaker Courtney O’Connell…

Coconnell Headshot …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 are provoking a national conversation about innovation in education. She has extensive experience building the digital capabilities of organizations, and serves as a leader on the American College Personnel Association’s Presidential Task Force on Digital Technology in Higher Education. In 2014, Courtney published her first book Slide Design for Non-Designers which is currently for sale on the iBookstore.

O’Connell worked alongside best-selling author Erik Qualman as the Director of Business Design where she developed digital leadership content to educate and evoke the startup spirit within individuals—from CEOs to school teachers to college students. During her tenure with Qualman she helped develop & publish the student focused book What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube. Currently, she is leading up all major training and development initiatives for APCO Worldwide, a global PR and strategy firm.

She has been featured in MeetingsNet MagazineThe Huffington Post, and RuleBreaker Magazine for her role as a change agent in the U.S. education system. Courtney served as a professor of leadership at Rutgers University and has guest lectured in a variety of graduate courses. She approaches each speaking engagement as an opportunity to give the audience a new perspective or new way of thinking about their work, as well as an opportunity to give them tangible ideas they can begin implementing immediately.



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.