Ross Cheit, PhD
Dr. Ross Cheit graduated from Williams College in 1977 with honors in political economy and a coordinate major in environmental studies. He later obtained a law degree and PhD in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Cheit joined the faculty of Brown University in 1986. Dr. Cheit graduate work revolved around regulatory agencies and issues of insurance and risk, leading to his book, Setting Safety Standards: Regulation in the Public and Private Sectors. Dr. Cheit's new book is The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology and the Sexual Abuse of Children.
Derek Clark is an inspiring motivational speaker and the author of Never Limit Your Life and the critically acclaimed I Will Never Give Up book series.
Derek Clark spent 13 years of his life in the Alameda County foster care system and now shares his inspiring story of resilience and redemption throughout the world. Derek Clark knows first-hand the power of attitude in coping with adversity and overcoming hardship. At five years of age, Derek's mother and stepfather (his biological father was in prison) turned him over to the California foster care system, where he would spend the next thirteen years of his life, contending with rejection, humiliation, emotional distress and overwhelming anxiety. Yet through it all, Derek never gave up, and went from victim to victor by defying the artificial limitations imposed on him. He literally took a disadvantage in life and turned it into an advantage. His remarkable story is one of resilience and redemption, from his personal to professional life.
Having suffered brutal child abuse and abandonment, Derek was prone to severe distress and lashing out in anger. As a child he was "labeled and misdiagnosed" in almost every psychological evaluation in existence. As a helpless child, Derek was nearly institutionalized due to severe erratic behavioral problems and violent tendencies. At 6 years old, Derek was diagnosed as mentally handicapped with an IQ of a two and half year old and suffered erratic psychosis. As he developed, it became clear to his wonderful foster parents that this diagnosis was without merit.
Derek's life mission has become helping others find the mental strength to recognize and take advantage of opportunities. His keynotes are based on true-life trials and triumphs, and have inspired thousands of listeners to have the mental strength to overcome adversity and fear. His purpose is to cultivate drive, focus, and the courage to take action.
Michael Ungar, PhD
Dr. Michael Ungar wears many professional hats. He is equally well known as the author of books for parents and caregivers as he is for his world-renowned research on the topic of resilience. As a writer he has adapted ideas from his research and clinical practice into best-selling works like Too Safe For Their Own Good: How Risk and Responsibility Help Teens Thrive, and his most recent release, I Still Love You: Nine Things Troubled Kids Need from Their Parents. In total, he has published 14 books, 125 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and maintains a blog on Psychology Today's website. In another of his many roles, he is the founder and co-director of the Resilience Research Centre that coordinates millions of dollars in research in more than a dozen countries. That work has inspired many of Michael's books and articles for mental health professionals and researchers, including Working with Children and Youth with Complex Needs: 20 Skills to Build Resilience, and The Social Ecology of Resilience.
When not on the road and back at his home in Halifax, Canada, he is the Killam Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University, Scientific Director of the Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts Network, and a family therapist who works with local services for homeless and at-risk young people. In 2012 Michael was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Social Workers National Distinguished Service Award.
Michael's work has inspired a generation of professionals and researchers to broaden their understanding of how and why young people do well in different cultures and contexts. Furthermore, he has shown through his research, writing, and clinical practice, that resilience is something that can be nurtured and sustained among even the most disadvantaged young people, their families, and their communities.