This year’s dynamic keynote speakers will address topics that include achieving success after systems involvement, lived experience with foster care and the justice system, racial equity, and much more.

View the program for the in-person conference from May 23 – 26.

Clint Smith | Keynote Speaker (Virtual Day on May 11)

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere.

Marlon Peterson | Keynote Speaker

Marlon is a writervist. Since his decade of incarceration, he has written, created programming, lectured, organized, and advocated alongside the formerly incarcerated, victims of gun violence, womxn, immigrants, and young people. Marlon is the author of Bird Uncaged: An Abolitionist’s Freedom Song, host of the DEcarcerated podcast, and owner of his own social impact endeavor, The Precedential Group Social Enterprises, and its nonprofit arm, Be Precedential, Inc. His TED talk, “Am I not human? A call for criminal justice reform”, has amassed over 1.2 million views. As a Soros Fellow, Senior Atlantic Fellow, and Aspen Civil Society Fellow, Marlon has used his activism and pen to advocate for safer communities, reduce the footprint of law enforcement, and amplify the work of individuals and grassroots organizations across the globe.

SaulPaul | Keynote Speaker & Performer

SaulPaul is a 2x Grammy-nominated musician with a message. He has had two #1 Songs on Sirius XM as well as a top five and top fifteen album on iTunes. He has also presented three TEDx Talks, performed at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and been featured on America’s Got Talent. In 2021, he was featured in the New York Times as well as on NPR Radio. His life story of transitioning from tragedy to triumph has been told on screen via the documentary Tower to Tower as well as via his memoir Be The Change. Most recently, SaulPaul founded Change Water, an eco-friendly bottled water company that donates 50% of its profits to the local community. Whether via art, entrepreneurship, or community service, SaulPaul is committed to #BeTheChange.

Malika Whitley | Keynote Speaker

Malika Whitley has worked in art curation and international relationship management since 2007. She has worked on five different continents and received praise from international governments and communities. In 2010 Malika founded ChopArt, which to date has served over 40,000 youth worldwide and continues to grow locally and abroad. Malika is frequently recognized for her leadership working with homeless youth and is the recipient of many honors: Atlanta Tribune’s “Young, Gifted, and Black” honoree, Creative Loafing Atlanta’s “20 People to Watch,” Atlanta Tribune’s “50 Under 50,” and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network’s “30 Under 30.” Malika’s passion is fighting for human rights and freedom in all its forms. She is committed to meeting this passion in all facets of her work.

Schedule Outline

TNOYS’ 39th Annual Conference takes place from Tuesday, May 24 to Thursday, May 26, with pre-conference institutes taking place Monday, May 23. Additionally, the virtual option will be hosted on Wednesday, May 11. The schedule is outlined below: 

Wednesday, May 11: Virtual Day

  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Schedule TBA
  • Tuesday, May 24: Full Conference Day 1

    • 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.: Welcome + Keynote
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Workshops (Separate Professional and Youth Programming)
    • 12:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own + Optional Youth-Only Lunch
    • 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Workshops (Separate Professional and Youth Programming)
    • 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Keynote Panel: TNOYS’ Young Adult Leadership Council (YALC)
    • 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Member Reception (Open to all TNOYS members)

    Wednesday, May 25: Full Conference Day 2

    • 9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.: Keynote + Performance
    • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Workshops (Open to Professionals and Youth)
    • 12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Luncheon: Member Awards + YALC Graduation (Open to All)
    • 1:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.: Workshops (Open to Professionals and Youth)
    • 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Workshops (Open to Professionals and Youth)

    Thursday, May 26: Full Conference Day 3

    • 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Workshops (Open to Professionals and Youth)
    • 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Closing Keynote