Keynote Speakers

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John Quiñones

A lifetime of “never taking no for an answer” took John Quiñones from migrant farm work and poverty to more than 30 years at ABC News and the anchor desk at 20/20 and Primetime. Along the way, he broke through barriers, won the highest accolades and became a role model for many. As host and creator of What Would You Do?, the highly-rated, hidden camera ethical dilemma newsmagazine, Quiñones has literally become “the face of doing the right thing” to millions of fans.

Quiñones' keynote presentation will be A 20/20 Vision for America: Building Bridges, Not Walls. According to John, “I love it when people ask me, ‘John Quiñones, you’re Mexican-American, when did your family come over from Mexico?’" With his signature warmth, John responds that his family has been in Texas for seven generations. “The Quiñones family never crossed the border. The border crossed us!” In this uplifting presentation, John views a greater, stronger America built upon our dynamic cultural diversity. With a call to “build bridges, not walls,” he celebrates our differences as a powerful force and a proud part of our shared American character.

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Bill Benson


Bob Blancato


Bill Benson and Bob Blancato

The debate surrounding federal fiscal year 2018 funding will be at high tide during the conference in September. In their keynote address, Benson and Blancato will provide an overview of the political and policy currents in Washington including programs such as Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the Social Services Block Grant, CDBG, CSBG and other housing and service programs.

Bill Benson is President of Health Benefits ABCs and has worked in the aging field for more than four decades, including senior leadership positions in the U.S. Congress and at the U.S. Administration on Aging, and 10 years with the California Department of Aging. Benson has partnered with AASC since October 2016 as a consultant on public policy.

Bob Blancato is the President of Matz, Blancato and Associates and has more than 20 years of service in the Congressional and Executive branches. He is also the National Coordinator of the bipartisan Elder Justice Coalition and the Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. He is also a contributor to the Huffington Post and Next Avenue.

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Nontombi Naomi Tutu

The challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of Nontombi Naomi Tutu’s life as an activist for human rights. Tutu is the third child of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. Growing up the “daughter of…” has offered Naomi Tutu many opportunities and challenges in her life. Most important of these has been the challenge to follow her own path and role in building a better world. She has taken up the challenge and channeled the opportunities she has been given to raise her voice as a champion for the dignity of all.

Tutu will present Our Shared Humanity: Creating Understanding Through the Principles of MLK. In this empowering keynote speech, Naomi Tutu combines Dr. King's dream of the "Beloved Community" with the teachings of a South African proverb, speaking to the need to understand how our actions — or inactions — affect all with whom we come in contact and ourselves. Rather than focus on what separates us, Tutu encourages us to focus on our shared humanity in order to build a just world. Both the "Beloved Community" and the proverb share an underlying theme: the importance of not dehumanizing those with who we are in conflict, but rather concentrate on what we have the power to change.

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