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First Round of 2020 Summit Speakers Announced!

A sneak peek at who’s headed to Charlottesville to talk about innovation and equity in America’s 21st-century cities (April 15-17, 2020). 

Paula Poudstone

Tom Tom is excited to share an early look at our 2020 speaker lineup, which ranges from some of the country’s most innovative mayors and urban development gurus to criminal justice reform heroes and creative changemakers. Keep an eye out for more speaker announcements and updates!

Iconic comic and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! star Paula Poundstone is our first confirmed headliner of the season. Poundstone will perform live at the Paramount Theater on Saturday, April 18, 2020, so get your tickets now while the getting’s good.

The Tom Tom Summit, which will continue its commitment to fostering civic innovation in America’s small cities (April 13-15, 2020), is honored to host groundbreaking leaders from near and far. Mayor Alonzo Jones of Danville, Virginia will join the conversation about how to make our cities more equitable while urban development guru and The New Localism author Bruce Katz will anchor our Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Conference. The Atlantic’s Jim and Deb Fallows, who launched their odyssey of America’s small cities Our Towns at Tom Tom 2018, will return to the Summit to report back on what they’ve learned since–a journey that has taken them to 56 cities across the country.

Author and education pioneer Hilary Beard is heading to our Education Equity conference, while data superstar Drew Conway, currently SVP at Two Sigma, and Natalie Evans Harris, cofounder of BrightHive and former Senior Policy Advisor to the Obama administration, will keynote our ever-popular Applied Machine Learning Conference. Also at the Entrepreneurial Conference, Tulsa Remote executive director Aaron Bolzle will speak about T-town’s outside-the-box workforce development program and the Ford Foundation’s Rachel Korberg will explore the future of work and workers. In the Criminal Justice realm, Austin Justice Coalition’s Chas Moore is returning to Tom Tom to build upon the conversation he engaged in last year regarding the creation of cities of second chances; Civil Rights Corps’ Alec Karakatsanis will also join the day-long Criminal Justice Conference.

Tom Tom Summit relies on programming partnerships from a long list of individuals from the Charlottesville community and beyond. In addition to our incredible partners who offer advice and insight year after year, we are honored to welcome a host of new Charlottesville-based and University of Virginia-affiliated speakers and collaborators to the Summit, including Dr. Rosa Atkins (Superintendent, Charlottesville City Schools); Frank Dukes (Distinguished Institute Fellow, Institute for Engagement and Negotiation at UVA); Tierney Fairchild (Cofounder and Executive Director, Resilience Education); Daniel Fairley (Youth Opportunity, City of Charlottesville); Harold Folley (Community Organizer, Legal Aid Justice Center); Miriam Friedel (Director of Data Science,; Eddie Harris (Ready Kids’ REAL Dads); Roxanne Jones (Home to Hope, City of Charlottesville); Tim Heaphy (University Counsel, UVA; Chair, Fountain Fund); Dr. Ebony Hilton (anesthesiologist at UVA Health System); Dayna Matthew (William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morganthau Distinguished Professor, UVA School of Law; Director of The Equity Center at UVA; author of Just Medicine); Dr. Rochanda Mitchell (Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow at UVA Health System); Siva Vaidhyanathan (Robertson Professor of Media Studies, UVA; Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship, UVA; author of Antisocial Media); Erika Veccillio (Executive Director, Fountain Fund); Denise Johnson (Supervisor of Equity and Inclusion, Charlottesville City Schools); Dr. Cameron Webb (Director of Health Policy and Equity, UVA); Dr. Leigh-Ann Webb (Emergency Medicine, UVA Health System). 

Tom Tom Festival’s 2020 community programming will hundreds of free events including community workshops, block parties, live concerts, public art displays, and more. It all adds up to an unrivaled celebration of big ideas at work in the hometowns driving our country’s future, starting right here in our hometown of Charlottesville.


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