Keynote Speaker: Amanda Austin

Learning to Lead in a REALway®

Join Amanda Austin for an interactive keynote session that will have you moving around and interacting with fellow attendees as you explore together:

Stepping Outside Our Comfort Zone: Training yourself to get comfortable being uncomfortable

Active Listening: Elevating our listening skills so that we can become leaders who listen to understand, as opposed to listen to respond

Introduction and Practical Application of the philosophy of “Yes, And” as a way to work collaboratively, rather than competitively, in any sized organization or team.

Austin will show you and your team how to incorporate the tenets of REALway® in their everyday life.

About Amanda Austin

Amanda Austin, the co-founder of the professional training and coaching service ComedyHouse and co-author of the REALway® leadership training program, has worked in training and leadership development for the past 15 years. She believes the vulnerability required to improvise and create something together on stage as a team can be translated to a professional group of any size. She uses the philosophy of improvisation and the power of “Yes, And” as a catalyst for positive change within an organization. Her active listening approach to coaching focuses on teaching individuals and teams the difference between listening to respond and listening to understand.

Austin is a graduate of Leadership Dallas 2019 with the Dallas Regional Chamber and served as the leadership consultant for the 2019 and 2020 cohorts. She received her BS in Journalism with a minor in Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She’s currently pursuing a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Harvard University. She served as the Designer in Residence for the SMU Master’s of Design and Innovation Program for the fall 2021 semester.


Keynote Speaker: Jamie Vollmer

Rallying Support: How to Cultivate Allies and Strengthen Partnerships During Times that Try Our Souls

Public trust is public education’s most precious resource and a prerequisite for meaningful progress. During this presentation, which has been praised as both practical and energizing, Jamie Vollmer acknowledges that the public has become an increasingly misinformed and fractious group.

He will describe how teachers, administrators, and board members can change – for the better – the way the people of their communities think and act toward their schools. He will also present a series of no-cost steps that school leaders can take to increase public understanding and trust, including: The Five S’s, his field-tested program for helping certified and classified staff inspire their families, friends, and acquaintances to rally around their schools; and The Success Report, a crowdsourcing approach to gathering positive news within the district/school and distributing stories of success throughout the community.

Vollmer will also provide every attendee a copy of his poster, The Ever-Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools: 120 Years of Mandates, and share how to use this tool to “tell the story” of public education’s remarkable success.

About Jamie Vollmer

Jamie Vollmer is president of Vollmer, Inc., a public education advocacy firm working to increase student success by raising public support for America’s schools. He is also the founder of the Schools Cannot Do It Alone Network, a national coalition of educators and their allies working to defend public education and build support for local public schools. He received the Learning and Liberty award from the National School Public Relations Association in recognition of his success in strengthening school/community partnerships.

With a background in law and manufacturing, Vollmer entered the education arena in 1988 as a founding member of the Iowa Business Roundtable. At the time, he was president of the Great Midwestern Ice Cream Co. Once a harsh critic of America’s public schools, he has become an articulate champion, working with educators, parents, business and community leaders to remove the obstacles to student success over the last 30 years.