2024 Keynote Speaker

Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is the author of several books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, Better Than BeforeThe Happiness Project and Happier at Home. In Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, she provides surprising insights and practical advice drawn from cutting-edge research, ancient wisdom, and her own observations, about how we can make our lives better than before. She investigates the multiple strategies she’s identified that help us make and break our habits. After all, habits are the invisible architecture of a happy life, and when we change our habits, we change our lives. The secret to changing a habit? First, we must know ourselves, so we can suit our habits to our own nature. It was Rubin’s longstanding interest in happiness that led her to the study of habits, because when she talked to people about their happiness challenges, they often pointed to a habit that they couldn’t make or break. This pattern made her ask, “When and why can people successfully change a habit—or not?”

Her previous books include the #1 New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. The Happiness Project has sold more than one million copies, has been published in more than thirty languages, and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list.

In her New York Times bestseller Happier at Home, Rubin explores how to make home a happier place, by concentrating on the factors that matter most for home, such as possessions, marriage, time, parenthood, body, neighborhood.



Hayat Abdullahi

Health Forward Foundation

C. Mauli Agrawal, Ph.D

Chancellor - UMKC

Chad Anderson

Chief Clinical Officer - KVC

Dr. Brandy Archie, OTR/L, CLIPP

Founder and CEO - AskSAMIE

Renny Arensberg

Executive VP Employee Engagement - KVC

Bennett G. Boggs

Commissioner - Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development

Dan Cranshaw

Kansas City Health Collaborative

Donna Field Martin


John Fierro

Mattie Rhodes Center

Weston Gallo

Community Advocate

Dr. Tiffany Gladdis

Phyllis Hardwick

Executive Director - Community Capital Fund

Jessica Kejr

Director of Programs and Food+ - Harvesters, The Community Food Network

Dr. Naiomi Jamal

Swope Health

Dr. Marvia Jones

Director of Health - Kansas City, MO Department of Health

Vanessa Jupe

Founder and CEO - Leva

Jennifer Lundgren

Provost - UMKC

Torree Pederson

President and CEO - Aligned

Jeanette Prenger

Founder and CEO - ECCO Select

Theresa Reyes-Cummings

Deputy Director - Community Mental Heath Fund

Janet Rhone

Manager - Community Health & Career Outreach, University Health

Meredith Rose

Cornerstones of Care

Dr. Dred Scott

The Civic Council of Greater KC

Toni Sturdivant, Ph.D

Director of Early Learning - Mid-America Regional Council

Dr. Shayla Sullivant

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist Specialist - Children's Mercy Hospital

Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight

Executive Director and COO - The DeBruce Foundation

List is subject to change. 

Session Moderators

Carmen Bradshaw

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City

Dr. Kirsten Brown Persley

Founder and CEO - Persley Advisors

Denise Cross

Missouri Coalition for Children

Nicole Jacobs-Silvey

President and Founder - Connection Coach KC

Max Kaniger

Kanbe's Markets

Maria Meyers

Executive Director - UMKC Innovation Center

Jocelyn Mourning

VP Advancement - The Family Conservancy

Tyler Nottberg

Chairman and CEO - US. Engineering Company Holdings

David Oliver

Founder and Co-Owner - PLX

Edgar J. Palacios

Founder - Latinx Education Collaborative / Revolución Educativa