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    Thrivals seems to be a festival within a festival and fills an entire day of the Idea Festival with an impressive list of speakers, finishing with a performance by rising alternative pop musician Janelle Monae who tells an epic story through her performance art and has  been called “a different kind of diva” by Vogue Magazine and “a true visionary… one of the most important signings of my career” by Sean “Diddy” Combs.  

    The Thrivals festival starts at 7 am on Wednesday, September 29 with a seminar by Nat Irvin, II who is the W.M. Strickler Executive in Residence and a professor of management at the University of Louisville College of Business. It will focus on his research which has set many new ways of looking at African Americans in business and emerging archetypes he has profiled.

    Next on the line up is singer/dancer/actress Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) who was awarded her Star in Hollywood  in addition to being honored in an exhibit at the Smithsonian air and space museum. She has also done contract work for NASA, recruiting the first female and minority astronauts for their space shuttle progra  and is still a member of the Board of Governors of the National Space Society, as well  as a member of the Advisory Board of the International Space Camp.

    Other speakers include John Kobara,  Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer for the California Community Foundation (CCF); David Robinson, founder of a family owned  280 acre coffee farm and a 600 family coffee cooperative in Tanzania;  Marquis Brown, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Global Engagement (NCGE) and former Chief of Staff to the mayor of Baltimore; Anthony Jewett Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Center for Global Engagement (NCGE); Lakshmi Singh, midday newscaster for NPR; and Howard Bloom who is a Public Relations executive that  helped build the careers of popular music’s biggest stars, including Michael Jackson, Prince, John Cougar Mellencamp, Queen, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Simon & Garfunkel, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run D.M.C., and many media CEOs.

    Just reading the accomplishment of this impressive line up inspires me to look in the mirror and say, “I need to step up my game.” Ending the day with Monae’s powerhouse performance is certain to “blow the roof off” and leave people feeling energized and inspired for weeks to come. I can’t wait.

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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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