Conference Keynotes

Josh Shipp

Josh Shipp Photo

Statistically, Josh Shipp should be dead, in jail, or homeless. But his success as a preeminent author, speaker, and global youth empowerment expert is living proof of the power of one caring adult. A former at-risk foster kid turned youth advocate, Josh is renowned for the documentary TV series on A&E that followed his groundbreaking work with youth and families.

He has written two national bestsellers to date, “The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans” – winner of the Nautilus Gold Award for Parenting & Family – and “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination.”

Thanks to the support of teachers, counselors, and a wonderful set of foster parents, Josh went on to be listed on Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list, and is now a postgraduate student at Harvard himself, further honing his skills in persuasive communication.

Josh is regularly called on by OPRAH, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, 20/20, Good Morning America, and others to provide commentary on common challenges faced by parents and teachers. Over the years, Josh has keynoted events for countless groups of parents, educators, and social workers – with audiences as large as 55,000 – and to date has spoken live in front of more than two million people. Viral clips of his acclaimed presentations have been viewed an estimated 50 million times online through platforms such as UpWorthy, Goalcast, and BuzzFeed.

To serve his ultimate goal of reaching as many youth as possible, Josh trains other speakers through Youth Speaker University, helping them use their own stories to make an impact. His social and emotional learning curriculum, Year of Awesomeness, is in use in hundreds of classrooms all around the world, while his free newsletter offers practical strategies to 200K+ parents, educators, and social workers.

Tami Pyfer

Picture of Tami Pyfer

Tami Pyfer is the Chief of Staff and VP External for UNITE - a national organization seeking to ease division across political and cultural differences. Tami is also the co-creator of the Dignity Index, an eight-point scale for measuring the dignity or contempt in the language we use with each other when we disagree.

 Before her work with UNITE Tami  served for 7 years as the Education Policy Advisor to former Utah Governor Gary Herbert, where she was involved in state level policy development, coalition building, and stakeholder engagement. She held local and state elected offices for 12 years: 8 years on the Logan City Council and 4 years on the State Board of Education. Tami’s professional training is in Special Education and before her appointment to serve on the Governor's executive team she taught for 10 years at Utah State University, preparing teachers to work with students with disabilities.

Tami and her husband Aaron are the parents of 5 children, grandparents of 15. They raised their family in Logan but now live in South Jordan

Chad Warnick

Chad Warnick Photo

Chad Warnick is 2023 Utah Teacher of the Year. He is the Agricultural Education Teacher and FFA Advisor at Delta Technical Center. He teaches 9th-12th grade agriculture science and leadership courses. 

He received a Bachelor of Science in agriculture education and his Masters of Science degree in Agricultural Systems Technology from Utah State University. Mr. Warnick has started his 18th year of teaching. He believes in the statement of “Doing to Learn.” He has used this to build a school livestock facility that gives students hands-on experience in raising cattle, pigs, and goats.

Warnick also utilizes a greenhouse for students engaged in learning science and plant production in a practical setting. He has pioneered proficiency based learning at the secondary level in his district. Warnick has served as a leader on the state and national level providing training and inservice to other teachers. Warnick loves what he does and his students.

He believes that every student has worth and can learn. He believes in teaching skills beyond the classroom that will prepare them for life. These skills include: public speaking, leadership, work ethic, confidence, grit, and to be service oriented. He plans to be a teacher for his whole career.

He is married to his wife Traci (who is also a teacher) and the proud parent to Campbell, Kinley, and twins Paxton and Pyper.