Speaker Bios & Information

(speakers listed alphabetically)

Neil Bardhan
(First Person Arts)

Neil Bardhan is the Manager of Applied Storytelling at First Person Arts, based in Philadelphia. He holds a Ph.D. in Brain & Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester, where his research focused on adult language processing. He was later on the research staff at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. During that time, he also taught at the University of Tuebingen. Neil now combines his interests in communication and performing arts through workshops and coaching.  He has performed in storytelling and comedy events around the country.

Susan Berg
(The Highline Practice)

Susan Berg is a transition expert whose career-long focus on reshaping and re-energizing how we work helps guide people through the opportunities and pressures of 21st Century life.  She guides teams on managing change, strengthening leadership, and building inclusive workplaces.

Susan also serves as Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California and Saint Joseph University, with specialties in organization and leadership development.  She is the recipient of both Excellence in Teaching and Student Mentorship awards for her commitment to student success.

Claire Lachance
(ReSurge International)

Claire Lachance serves as the President and CEO of ReSurge International, a leading provider of reconstructive surgery in 19 lower income countries around the world. A champion for the new localization movement, ReSurge has recently reinvented its service delivery model to advance its commitment to building and scaling surgical capacity at the local, in-country level. Prior to ReSurge, Claire served as CEO of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), where she championed a period of organizational transformation and shepherded the launch of the Noetic Leadership Initiative--cultivating one's inner wisdom and our inherent interconnectedness to strengthen our impact as leaders. Before joining IONS, Claire consulted to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, foundations, public agencies, and social entrepreneurs. Earlier in her career, Claire held executive positions at Pacific Bell and MetLife. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA magna cum laude in Economics from Tufts University. Claire serves as the Advisory Council Chair of the Global Consciousness Institute, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum, the International Leadership Association, and InterAction—the largest association of U.S.-based international NGOs.

Sean O'Grady

Sean O’Grady is an adjunct assistant professor of public speaking and leadership development at The College of New Jersey, and Director of Consulting and Creative Activation at Universum, the Sweden-based global leader in employer branding. At Universum, Sean oversees the strategic and creative development of consultative services and multi-level marketing programs for an international portfolio of Fortune 500 companies. Among his various duties, he trains executives, professional athletes and celebrities for television, radio and public appearances.

Sean has worked in journalism, management consulting and advertising, and has held numerous on-air and news management positions including Executive Producer of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and Co-Host and Executive Producer of the national television program CareerTV which aired on the Fox Business Network in 2009. Sean now lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.

Karen Smith
(Drums and More)

New York Native, Philadelphia Transplant, Karen Smith is a percussionist, playwright, director, producer, and poet based in Philadelphia. She is also the leader of two musical groups: Weez the Peeple and Sistahs Laying Down Hands with Love. Karen makes it a part of her daily mantra to stay creative by utilizing all the components of her artistry.