General Sessions

Opening General Session


Founder, Khan Academy Sunday, October 4 • 10:15 am

Our Opening General Session speaker Sal Khan is the founder of the Khan Academy, a nonprofit with the mission of providing free, high-quality education to “anyone, anywhere” in the world. A former hedge fund analyst with degrees from MIT and Harvard, Khan is also the influential author of The One World School House, which explores the potential impact of the web as a teaching tool.

Khan’s journey began when he was helping a young cousin with math in 2004, communicating by phone and using an interactive notepad. When others expressed interest, he began posting videos of his hand-scribbled tutorials on YouTube. Demand took off, and in 2009 he quit his day job. The Khan Academy website now provides self-pacing software and unlimited access to over 5,100 instructional videos on its YouTube channel covering everything from basic arithmetic to college level science and economics. It’s the most-used library of educational videos on the web, with 10 million unique users per month, more than 300 million lessons delivered, and over 1.4 billion exercises completed.

Khan’s first book, The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined, was published to great acclaim in 2012, and a growing number of classrooms around the world are using Khan Academy to help build student mastery of topics and to free up class time for dynamic project-based learning.

Closing General Session


Endurance Swimmer, Broadcaster, Author  |  Tuesday, October 6 • 1:15 pm

Because she never gives up, Diana Nyad keeps chasing her dreams. At the age of 64, in her fifth and final attempt, Nyad successfully fulfilled her lifelong dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida. Upon completing the grueling 110-mile, 53-hour journey on Sept. 2, 2013, a breathless Nyad told the world: “I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you are never too old to chase your dreams. And three is, it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team.”

Nyad will share those messages at our Closing General Session. Over the past 20 years, she has earned a reputation as a riveting speaker, combining dramatic storytelling with a natural sense of humor and a charismatic stage presence.

In the 1970s, Nyad was the greatest long-distance swimmer in the world, setting records for circling Manhattan Island and crossing the 102.5 miles between the Bahamas and Florida. As a result, she has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Nyad also became a prominent sports broadcaster, filing reports for NPR, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports, and the New York Times. In 2014, she appeared as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. In addition, she co-owns a fitness business (, has written three books, and speaks French and Spanish fluently.

Photo: Christi Barli