14th Annual Diversity Conference

Building Community Through Diversity: Respecting Difference

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Keynote Speaker
Mr. Wade Davis

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Wade Davis is an advocate, writer, speaker and educator. Mr. Davis is a former NFL football player who played for the Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, as well as two different teams within the NFL Europe league. He’s currently the executive director of the You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ending discrimination, sexism and homophobia in sports through the creation of curriculum, programming, trainings and conversations focused on inclusion and diversity. In 2013, he co-founded the You Belong Initiative with Darnell L. Moore, an organization that offers LGBTQ and straight-allied youth a series of 3-day comprehensive sports instruction and leadership development clinics, as well the Speaker's Collective aimed at providing support, promotion, and community for LGBTQA professionals of color.

Since retiring from the NFL, he’s owned a media business through a partnership with The New York Times called InMotion Media. Mr. Davis worked as the former assistant director of academic enrichment and work readiness for the Hetrick Martin Institute, where he taught at-promise LGBT youth how to define success for themselves. While working as an advocate his writings and interviews have appeared in the The Los Angeles Times, The Advocate , The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, and other media outlets, like President Obama’s Whitehouse blog. He has appeared on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, CNN, ESPN, and BET.

During the 2012 Presidential election, Mr. Davis worked as an official LGBT Surrogate for President Obama. He has served as an adjunct professor at the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University (Newark) and is working with multiple national organizations like the Minority AIDS Institute to combat different intersectional issues such as sexism, racism, classism, HIVIAIDS, mass incarceration, poverty and youth homelessness. He has lectured on the intersections of race, sexuality, gender and sports at universities nationally and internationally. Recently, Mr. Davis spoke at the 2014 NFL owner's meeting and is helping to chart a course for the NFL and other sports leagues on how to effectively address issues of diversity and inclusivity. In May 2014, Mr. Davis was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Northeastern University for his leadership and ongoing efforts to eradicate homophobia in athletics.

Currently, Mr. Davis serves as an adjunct instructor at the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business.