Legacy/Diversity Forum - Past Speakers
Eric Thomas, PhD is a critically acclaimed author, World renowned speaker, educator, pastor and audible.com Audie Awards Finalist. ET, as he is better known, has taken the world by storm, with his creative style and high-energy messages. His words continue to impact tens of millions of people in several hundred countries across the planet! Through a significant social media presence and his recent domestic and international tours, “ET, The Hip Hop Preacher” has become a global phenomenon!
Eric’s commitment to community activism has been long standing. It began with his award-nominated GED Program that lead to his non-profit, Break The Cycle, I Dare you, and a plethora of ministerial and educational endeavors. The culmination of those efforts resulted in the development of the Advantage program at Michigan State University. This program targets high risk college students by improving their study habits and increasing their retention rates. Michigan State University is where he continued to pursue his passion to remedy the effects of adverse societal influences plaguing both the young and old. It is from this platform that he created International Urban Education Consultants; a non-profit organization committed to finding solutions to close the achievement gap in urban schools through goal framing and helping students to reform their perception of learning.
ET is the epitome of hustle, drive, determination, and success. Eric’s spiritual walk, tenacity and drive are the perfect example of his quote, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you‘ll be successful.”
Glenda A. Hatchett
A graduate of Mt. Holyoke College and Emory University School of Law, where she was an Earl Warren Scholar, Hatchett completed a prestigious federal clerkship in the United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia. She then spent nearly 10 years at Delta Air Lines, where she was the airline’s highest-ranking woman of color worldwide. As Senior Attorney, she represented Delta Air Lines in labor/personnel and antitrust litigation and commercial acquisitions. As Public Relations Manager, she supervised global crisis management and handled media relations for 50 U.S. cities as well as all of Europe and Asia.
Hatchett has presented leadership sessions for various companies including PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Georgia-Pacific, Wal-Mart and Hospital Corporation of America Inc. (HCA). Additionally, she is frequently a lecturer throughout the country keynoting several national conferences including Office Depot’s Success Strategies for Businesswomen Conference, Colgate Palmolive’s Multicultural Summit, the Diversity Conference in the U.S. Senate, the Minority Employers’ Conference at Newell Rubbermaid, Microsoft’s Education Summit, AT & T’s Diversity Summit, Home Depot’s Women’s History Speaker’s Series and Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference. Additionally, she has moderated several forums including the CEO Forum on Diversity Leadership and Wells Fargo’s Forum on the Economic Impact on Colleges and Universities. Hatchett served as a guest faculty member lecturing on the topic of corporate ethics at the University of Vanderbilt Directors College, presented by the Law School and the Owen Graduate School of Management.
Hatchett has served on the Boards of three Fortune 500 companies – HCA, The Gap Inc. and ServiceMaster Company.
While on the Board of Directors of HCA, she was Chair of the Ethics, Compliance and Quality of Care Committee. She was also a member of the HCA board’s Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Hatchett was a member of the five-person special board committee that negotiated HCA’s $32.7 billion leveraged buyout paving the way for the nation's largest for- profit hospital chain to go private. At the time, the buyout was the largest leveraged buyout in US corporate history.
While a Board Director for The Gap Inc., Hatchett served on the Governance, Nominating and Social Responsibility Committee and the Compensation and Management Development Committee.
Hatchett left Delta Air Lines to accept an appointment as Chief Presiding Judge of the Fulton County (Atlanta, Georgia) Juvenile Court—becoming the first African-American Chief Presiding Judge of a state court in Georgia and head of one of the largest juvenile court systems in the country. She is a member of the Georgia Bar and the Bar of the District of Columbia.
Hatchett presided over the two-time Emmy nominated nationally syndicated show, Judge Hatchett, for 13 seasons (Sony Pictures Television). Judge Hatchett won a Prism Award for Best Unscripted Non-Fiction Series or Special for Television.
Currently, Hatchett sits on the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons’ Board of Advisors, a position she has held since 2004, and serves as a consultant to the National Basketball Association on pressing legal and social issues.
Moreover, she has consistently shown her commitment to community development through her service on various nonprofit boards including: the National Board of Governors of the Boys and Girl Club of America; the Board of Advisors for Play Pumps International; the Leadership Circle for the After School Alliance and the Advisory Board for the Women’s Resource Center at Spelman College. Hatchett serves as the national spokesperson for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a non-profit volunteer organization that trains volunteers to represent abused and neglected children and is the recipient of their President’s Award.
Currently, Hatchett has announced the formation of the Hatchett Firm – specializing in risk and crisis management, as well as innovative and effective closing and settlement strategies. The firm will also engage a national network of Attorneys to handle complex civil litigation specializing in catastrophic injuries and mass tort litigation. Hatchett is a seasoned litigator with over 30 years of experience as a judge, corporate lawyer, corporate and non-profit board member. She has honed a distinctive set of communication, profiling, and legal skills. Her acute ability to analyze individuals and situations provides unique insights and resulting strategy development for conflict-ridden negotiations. Hatchett also serves as a consultant advisor to corporations communicating with the media during crisis situations.
Hatchett is the recipient of numerous awards including the Roscoe Pound Award for outstanding work in Criminal Justice, NAACP’s Thurgood Marshall Award and she has been recognized as one of the “100 Best and Brightest Women in Corporate America” by Ebony magazine. She was named Distinguished Alumna at Mt. Holyoke College, which later granted her an honorary degree. Her other alma mater, Emory University Law School, named her Outstanding Alumni of the Year. Emory University also presented her with the highest award given to university alumni, the Emory Medal.
Bernice A. King (Be A King) is the Chief Executive Officer of The King Center, which was founded by her mother, in 1968. She was appointed to this position in January 2012 by the Board of Trustees. Nationally and internationally known as one of the most powerful, motivating and life-changing orators and speakers on the circuit today, Bernice leaves her audiences speechless and challenges people to RAISE THE STANDARD. Born the youngest daughter of the late Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bernice began her oratorical journey when she spoke in her mother’s stead at the United Nations at age 17. Over the years, she has had the occasion to speak in such places as The White House, DuPont Corp., Warner-Lambert Corporation, AT&T, NIKE, USANA Health Sciences, University of Toledo, Xavier University, University of North Carolina, Duke University, Pepperdine University, Department of Defense, Salvation Army, and in such places as Sydney, Australia, Lubeck, Germany, Auckland, New Zealand and South Africa to name a few. In the summer of 2000, she narrated the “Lincoln Portrait” along with a symphony orchestra in Keil, Germany at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival.
Bernice is a graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Law Degrees from Emory University. She has also received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Wesley College. She is currently a member of the State Bar of Georgia. On January 30, 2007, the 1st year anniversary of her mother’s death, Bernice returned to her alma-mater at Spelman College to announce the establishment of the “Be A King Scholarship in honor of Coretta Scott King.”
Marion Blumenthal Lazan began speaking publicly about her Holocaust experiences in 1979. Since publication in 1996 of her memoir Four Perfect Pebbles, co-authored by Lila Perl, upwards of one million students and adults, in schools, organizations and houses of worship, in 33 states, Germany and Israel, have heard her moving, first-hand account of the Blumenthal family's life, from events preceding Kristallnacht, to imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, and finally, to liberation. Marion describes her ordeal in such a manner that the audience is quickly drawn into the drama. The audience is eyewitness to history.
Her presentation goes beyond the facts. She asks her audiences to be tolerant of others, and not stereotype individuals based on religious belief, color, race or national origin. She stresses the importance of positive thinking, as well as creativity and inner strength. She warns her listeners to be true to themselves and not blindly follow a leader. Marion’s story is one of perseverance, determination, faith, and hope.
Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker whose work centers on the changing American identity. He’s written for the New Yorker, Rolling Stone and the Washington Post, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. He is the founder of Define American, a non-profit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America, and the founder and editor of #EmergingUS, a digital magazine focusing on race, immigration, and identity in a multicultural America that will launch sometime this year.
Marlee Matlin (born 1965) won an Academy Award for her role as Sarah Norman in Children of a Lesser God in 1987. Just 21 years old, Matlin was the youngest performer ever to receive the "best actress" award, as well as the first hearing-impaired person to be given the honor. Since then, Matlin has performed regularly in films and television, and founded her own production company. Marlee Matlin, who pursued a professional acting career despite being legally deaf, is an inspirational role model to many.