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NENA 2015 Keynotes
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Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken | Mon, 6.29 | 8:15AM – 10:00AM

"Harness the Champion Spirit”

A six-time Olympic champion, Amy van Dyken captured four gold medals in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and two more in Sydney, Australia in 2000. With a reputation for being a fierce competitor in the pool, she has the distinction of being one of the few Olympians whose medals are all gold. In June of 2014, however, Amy would face an entirely new challenge that would likewise require a champion’s resolve. A freak ATV accident severed her spinal cord, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. Countless hours of recovery and grueling rehabilitation followed, demanding that same determination and spirit she exhibited throughout her remarkable athletic career. Many thought she would never take another step. But Amy proved once again that she wouldn’t be counted out. Only two months later, with the assistance of braces and a walker, she walked.

Through her keynote speech, Amy will inspire you to embrace challenges big and small and summon the champion within to stay strong in the face of adversity. For although she remains a T12 paraplegic, Amy is optimistic that a breakthrough in paralysis recovery is coming. And until then, she plans to unleash all the spirit, perseverance, and positivity she can muster while celebrating every accomplishment along the way.


Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino | Tue, 6.30 | 9:15AM – 10:30AM

"A View from Space to Help Us Succeed on Earth”

You may have seen Mike Massimino on TV’s #1 show, "The Big Bang Theory,” but he didn’t just play a NASA astronaut on TV. Hear him share personal stories that entertain and inspire as he recounts pursuing his childhood dream to become an astronaut, training to fly as part of a crew on one of NASA’s most challenging space missions, facing adversity with his colleagues in space, and finding new challenges in his post-astronaut career.

Mike speaks about the value of having a passion and following a dream, persevering to achieve a goal, building a team to meet great challenges, pulling together to solve problems and move on in the aftermath of tragedies like the Columbia Space Shuttle accident, and using innovation to find new ways to achieve objectives and to solve problems when things go wrong. He will inspire you with the awe and beauty of space, and motivate you to tackle new challenges in life and always look towards the future.


Award-winning motivator Mike McKinley | Wed, 7.01 | 12:30PM – 2:30PM

"You Make the Difference”

Each day, we are all called upon to rise to the moment at hand, be flexible, and adapt to the stresses all around us. Being able to balance our work and non-work responsibilities is a constant challenge. How do we stay upbeat and motivated as we face changes, problems, and stressful situations that can seem insurmountable?

Join Mike McKinley for a discussion of how to overcome negativity, distractions, and lack of energy to get the most out of each day. He’ll teach us how we can overcome "bumps in the road” and re-focus, re-group, and bounce back from adversity. Mike will help us better understand change, how we are affected by generational differences, and how our different wants, needs, and backgrounds have gotten us where we are today.
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