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2023 Conference keynote bios

david campt in a black pinstripe suit, arms crossed

Opening Keynote: “Using Dialogue to Fight the Forces of Repression” 

David Campt 

Founder, The Dialogue Company

Dr. Campt, often called “The Dialogue Guy,” is a renowned expert in inclusion and equity, cultural competence, civic engagement, and intergroup dialogue. For more than 25 years, he has been sought by groups as a thought leader and keynote speaker.

Dr. Campt has worked with the U.S. military, The White House, global corporations, international organizations, higher education, professional associations, faith-based groups, and non-profits. He has authored many books, including The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects (2007), Compassion Transforms Contempt (2020), and workbooks related to his signature White Ally Toolkit initiative, educating allies on engaging in transformative discourse about race and other polarizing conversations. Specifically, Dr. Campt’s work on dismantling racism was featured by several prominent media outlets, including Think Progress, NPR, Bold TV, The New York Times, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Dr. Campt has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Princeton University and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley. His doctoral studies were also completed at UC Berkeley’s urban planning department, where his dissertation focused on ways that social service administrators can modify their organizations to make them more responsive to African-American populations’ cultural realities.

Ogilvie Lecture

Michelle Underhill

State Librarian for North Carolina 

Michelle Underhill serves as the State Librarian for North Carolina. She started out working in independent bookstores and volunteering with crisis lines, which had lasting impacts on her approach to public and customer service. She received her MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2000. She has over two decades of experience working in public and special libraries and in non-profit organizations, and about fifteen of those years have been at the State Library of North Carolina.

michell underhill with a black shirt with white and beige flowers

Annette Taylor

Director of the NC Office of Digital Equity and Literacy

Annette Taylor joined the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity in May 2022 as the director of the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy. She is helping expand NCDIT initiatives to ensure all North Carolinians have equitable access to high-speed internet and digital literacy resources. Annette has more than 25 years of community service and civic engagement in both public and private sector roles and in the philanthropic arena directing resources to organizations across North Carolina. 

annette taylor with a flowered shirt and a black blazer

kwame mbalia in a howard university hoodie and khaki pants

Closing Keynote: “Everybody Needs a Story”

Kwame Mbalia


Kwame is a husband, father, writer, a New York Times bestselling author, and a former pharmaceutical metrologist in that order. His debut middle-grade novel, TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY was awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and it—along with the sequels TRISTAN STRONG DESTROYS THE WORLD and TRISTAN STRONG KEEPS PUNCHING, out October 5th—is published by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion. He is the co-author of LAST GATE OF THE EMPEROR with Prince Joel Makonnen, from Scholastic Books, and the editor of the #1 New York Times bestselling anthology BLACK BOY JOY, published by Delacorte Press. A Howard University graduate and a Midwesterner now in North Carolina, he survives on Dad jokes and Cheezits.


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