The SOAR Summit features nationally recognized speakers to educate and inspire you. Read about our 2023 keynotes speakers here!
Daron K. Roberts
Daron K. Roberts is a former NFL coach, leadership coach and author of award-winning books A Kids Book About Empathy and Call an Audible. The Presidential Leadership Foundation – a joint venture between Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush – tabbed Daron as a Presidential Leadership Scholar for 2015. He was one of 60 members in the inaugural class. Daron has been featured in ESPN the Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek and Sports Illustrated. His articles have appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Fortune, Houston Chronicle, and Time.
Currently, Daron serves as a partner with Notley Ventures, is a co-founder of Amass - an end-to-end wealth launchpad and investment platform for Black Americans - and is the founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation (CSLi) at the University of Texas. The Center is the first university-based institute dedicated to developing leadership and character curricula for high school, collegiate and professional athletes. Founded in 2014, the Center received the commitment and financial support of NBA All-Star Kevin Durant in January 2018.
Daron also holds a faculty appointment in the UT Austin Liberal Arts Honors Program. He has received the Silver Spurs Centennial Teaching Award and Creative Engagement Award, and was named a distinguished faculty member by the School of Undergraduate Studies in 2015. His research revolves around issues of rejection, failure management and leadership.
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 2007, Daron served coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, West Virginia Mountaineers and Cleveland Browns. In 2010, Daron launched a nonprofit football camp – 4th and 1, Inc. 4th and 1 provides free SAT prep, life skills development and football training to at-risk youth in Michigan, Texas and Florida. The camp has served nearly 500 student-athletes since 2010.
Daron holds a B.A. in Plan II Honors and Government from the University of Texas (2001) and an M.P.P. from Harvard’s Kennedy School (2004). He and his wife spend their weekends tending to their urban garden and corralling five kids.
Chad Littlefield is the co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of We and Me, Inc. (www.weand.me)—an organization whose mission is to create conversations that matter. Leaders call Chad when they want to amplify connection, belonging, and trust in their organization. Forbes calls Chad a “global expert on asking questions that build trust and connection in teams.” He is a TEDx speaker, author of the Pocket Guide to Facilitating Human Connections, and creator of We! Connect Cards™, which are now being used to create conversations that matter on campuses and companies in more than 80 countries around the world. Chad and his partner Will Wise also authored #1 Amazon bestselling book, Ask Powerful Questions: Create Conversations that Matter.
Chad has led workshops, trainings, retreats, and interactive keynotes at JetBlue, Starbucks, Conscious Capitalism International, Johnson & Johnson, Penn State, Notre Dame, George Mason University, Typeform, Goodwill, and dozens of conferences.
As a nationally renowned etiquette expert, author, media personality, and popular industry resource, Diane Gottsman understands that building relationships is more than knowing which fork to use at the dinner table. Modern day etiquette is not about outdated, stuffy gestures — it’s the main component to creating and strengthening relationships in business and life. Diane is the founder of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and business etiquette training, and the author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life. Her expertise comes from nearly two decades of corporate etiquette training, coupled with a master’s degree in sociology with an emphasis on adult behavior.
An informative, engaging, and entertaining speaker, Diane has shared her message in appearances on The TODAY Show, CNN, Fox & Friends, CBS Sunday Morning and the Hallmark Channel. She’s the resident etiquette expert for two morning talk shows, Good Day Austin (a Fox News affiliate) and SA Living (an NBC affiliate). Diane’s tips have also been shared in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Kiplinger’s, U.S. News & World Report, and other publications. Diane has been helping Southwestern students with etiquette training for 20 years and is part of our Pirate family as a former SU parent.