Elkhart Culture Series

The Elkhart Culture Series is an ongoing series that engages students and community in cultural experiences and opportunities that add value to our schools and the Elkhart community. The Elkhart Culture Series was founded in 2015 and is supported through community partnerships.

This year marks the fourth full year of the Elkhart Culture Series. Throughout the series, we’ve welcomed guests like Kerry Kennedy, Speak Truth to Power. We’ve welcomed Charles Person, an original Freedom Rider. We’ve welcomed Eva Kor, Holocaust survivor. We’ve welcomed Henriette Nyirarukundo Ngenga, survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. These incredible individuals have committed their lives to advocating for human rights. We are honored to have hosted them as they shared their stories with the Michiana community.

This year, we’re inviting you to attend as our special guest.

In collaboration with leading advocates across the country, Elkhart Community Schools has partnered with the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Indiana University Elkhart, and the Lerner Theatre, to build the Thought Leadership Conference on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.

Thought Leadership Conference Save the Date

This full one-day conference will focus on diversity and creating an inclusive, connected culture of collaboration between businesses, non-profits, and educational organizations. This conferenced was built for experienced leaders, as well as those just beginning their career. Throughout the conference, attendees will hear from experts and learn strategies for having courageous dialogue, improving leadership in diversity and inclusion, and strategies to motivate others.

We hope you will join us and invite others at your organization to do the same!

Visit this page for the full conference program: Thought Leadership Conference
Visit this page to register to attend: Elkhart Culture Series


Highlights of the Thought Leadership Conference

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Randal Pinkett
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Lerner Theatre

Randal PinkettThe arguments for diversity and inclusion have been made very clear from an organizational perspective but what is the argument from a personal vantage point?Why should you care as an individual?What is the value to you?During Dr. Pinkett’s presentation you will learn about the Global Citizen’s Mindset, which inherently sees the value of establishing relationships with people from different cultures both to make you a better person and the world a better place.

Randal D. Pinkett is an American business consultant who in 2005 was the winner of season four of the reality television show, The Apprentice. Pinkett was the first African American to win the US version of The Apprentice.

Dr. Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and scholar, and as a leading voice for his generation in business and technology. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar research, consulting, training, technology, and analytics firm headquartered in Newark, NJ.

Dr. Pinkett has received numerous awards for business and technology excellence including the Information Technology Senior Management Forum’s Beacon Award, the National Society of Black Engineers’ Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the National Urban League’s Business Excellence Award. He has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today Show, Fox Business News, MSNBC, and CNN, and he has been recognized by USA TODAY newspaper as one of the top 20 scholars in the country.

Dr. Pinkett is also a proud graduate of Leadership New Jersey and the Rockefeller Foundation’s Next Generation Leadership program.Dr. Pinkett holds five academic degrees including: a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University, where he competed as a high jumper, long jumper, and captain of the men’s track and field team; a Master of Science in Computer Science from the University of Oxford in England; and a BCT Partners Your Partner in Solutions That Matter Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, MBA, and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

After The Apprentice, Pinkett has continued as chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, while also acting as a public speaker and appearing on later editions of the show, and on CEO Exchange, and also entering politics.

To order tickets for Dr. Randal Pinkett only (does not include conference tickets/registration): Lerner Theatre

Dr. Randal Pinkett, Lerner Theatre

Thought Leadership Conference


Featured Speakers
  • Dr. Melinda Higginson: Mindset and Vibrant Relationships
    • 8:05am, Lerner Theatre, Crystal Ballroom B
    • “You never realize the impact you will have on another person.” Dr. Higginson kicks off the Thought Leadership Conference with reflections on relationships and a challenge. Her presentation will urge attendees to reflect on their own lives and the power each person holds to impact others around them. 
  • Hayley Boling: Create AMAZING! Be a Superhero for the Cultures in your Life!
    • 11:15am, Lerner Theatre, Crystal Ballroom B
    • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner.” – Peter Drucker. It’s no secret that culture permeates every single aspect of an organization! Since an AMAZING culture doesn’t happen by accident, you must be intentional in the development and ongoing protection of the cultures in your life. Hayley Boling, MBA, an enthusiast about organizational culture who speaks all over the country on the topic, will deliver an upbeat presentation on what it takes to build and nurture an AMAZING culture in today’s dynamic environment.
  • Marina Hadjioannou Waters, JD, MPH: Why Diversity & Inclusion Should Matter
    • 3:15pm, Lerner Theatre, Crystal Ballroom B
    • With the eighth fastest growing immigrant population in the US and over 100 languages represented, Indiana is rapidly evolving. Diversity is no longer something that is happening to Indiana, it is Indiana. Marina will be speaking to the critical shifts public and private organizations are making to fully engage all Hoosiers, irrespective of the differences between us.

Over 30 Special Sessions with over 35 Experts
Locations: Lerner Theatre, Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Indiana University South Bend-Elkhart Campus
Over 30 sessions designed to help leaders grow through having courageous dialogue, improving leadership in diversity and inclusion, and strategies to motivate others.


Roundtable and Panel Discussions
Location: Lerner Theatre, Crystal Ballroom B
Times: Roundtable Discussion at 4:00pm, Expert Panel Discussion at 5:45pm
Attract & Retain Talent, Create Inclusive and Foster Inclusive Economic Development through Vibrant Relationships
Roundtable Discussion Moderated by Eric Ivory, Panel Discussion Moderated by Levon Johnson


Join us at the Thought Leadership Conference! Register Today!

Visit this page for the full conference program: Thought Leadership Conference
Visit this page to register to attend: Elkhart Culture Series

Contact Information

​Help create the Culture Series Calendar with us by submitting your ideas here! Contact cultureseries@elkhart.k12.in.us with thoughts, ideas, or suggestions!