10:23 AM

American Family Insurance hosts "Young, Gifted and Dreaming Fearlessly" Summit


The two-day event, held Feb. 1 and 2 in celebration of Black History Month, featured accomplished youth and special guests including Olympic gymnast and Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas and CNN contributor and author Van Jones.

American Family Insurance recently hosted a two-day "Young, Gifted and Dreaming Fearlessly" Summit in celebration of Black History Month.

Both days included panel discussions and keynote speakers advising young people and those organizations and individuals who support them, on topics such as breaking through challenges, networking, social justice topics, building their “dream village” and paying it forward.

Day one, which took place at the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin, included a special Q&A presentation with Olympic gymnast and Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas. Also featured prominently were accomplished youth from around the country, who epitomize what it means to be Young, Gifted and Dreaming Fearlessly, including:

AJ Carr – actor, public speaker and founder of Building Bosses, age 14
DJ Fulano – international DJ, age 14
JD McCrary – actor, singer and dancer, age 9 (and performed at the Grammy Awards on Jan. 29)
Taylor Richardson – aspiring astronaut, age 13
Beau Shell – young entrepreneur, co-owner and operator of his own ice cream truck business, Lil’ Ice Cream Dude, age 13

American Family Chief Operating Officer Telisa Yancy and Diversity and Inclusion Director Tyler Whipple began the evening by welcoming young people and leaders from organizations who help and encourage the pursuit of their dreams to the Goodman Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Creative visionary and social activist Eunique Jones Gibson served as panel discussion moderator, interviewed Gabby Douglas and also was master of ceremonies during the event. 

Day two began with a welcome from Telisa Yancy reminding attendees "champion is a verb, meaning to support, inspire, to pursue our dreams and protect dreams of tomorrow." She introduced Luvvie Ajayi, writer, speaker, advocate and founder of The Red Pump Project, who delivered a lively keynote address on enthusiastically facing down fears. Next, a panel discussion moderated by American Family Insurance Sales and Service Operations Vice President Candy Embray and included CNN contributor, attorney and author Van Jones, Sharlee Jeter, sister of Derek and president of his Turn 2 Foundation, and Rob English, cultural change specialist, who all delved into issues affecting youth of color, societal disruption and diversity/inclusion.

Following the panel discussion, Dane County (Wisconsin) Judge Everett Mitchell gave an impassioned address of his perspective on the youth criminal justice system and communicated his "passion and desire for justice and equality." The event concluded with a keynote address by Van Jones, who spoke to themes such as climate change, diversity and opportunities, social justice and coming social change.

See more about this event.

See video of day one highlights.