Speakers 2019

AACRAO Representative and FERPA 201 Pre-Conference Workshop Presenter

Rhonda Kitch
AACRAO Representative

North Dakota State University

Rhonda Kitch is Registrar North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. She has had the privilege to serve students in higher education for over two decades, ranging from experiences in a career center, advising resource center, residence life, financial aid, retention and student success efforts, admission, and for the last 15+ years, registration and records. Kitch has an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Minot State University, a Master of Science in Counseling and Student Affairs from Minnesota State University Moorhead, and a doctorate in higher education institutional analysis from North Dakota State University. She has been an active member of Upper Midwest ACRAO as well as AACRAO, presenting and serving in a variety of roles in both organizations. She is currently a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) Board of Directors, serving as the Vice President at Large. Kitch and her family live in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Sunday Opening Plenary Speaker

Jo Schaeffer
Senior Consultant

Arbinger Institute

Clients praise Jo for being humorous, authentic, energetic, and credible. She is deeply interested in understanding people as they really are and the organizational challenges they face. This curiosity undergirds all her presentations, leaving audiences with a sense of connection and conviction.

Even more importantly, Jo is committed to inviting clients to create their own way forward through their various challenges. She translates Arbinger’s powerful principles into real-world application through her vast organizational experience and authentic connection to humanity, enabling attendees to see with a clarity that brings new solutions and opportunities. Jo has wide-ranging speaking experience; engagements include large organizations such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD), TEDx, the U.S. Air Force, the University of Texas at Austin, Keller Williams International, and Tokyo Electron International, as well as nonprofit events with FrontSteps Homeless Shelter and New Sector Alliance.
Jo has a background in leadership and organizational development, with nearly 15 years of experience in consulting, training, and systems development for corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. She has taught business and management classes as well as highly technical topics to audiences as diverse as c-suite executive teams to inner-city disadvantaged youth. Her professional background also includes senior leadership roles within the manufacturing and technology services industries.

Jo earned a B.A. from Southern Virginia University and an M.A. from the University of Utah. She enjoys music and the outdoors. She has served on various nonprofit and education-oriented boards and advisory groups. She is an avid reader and has a surprisingly large number of children.


Monday Keynote Speaker

Dr. Neal Lester
Professor and Founding Director of Project Humanities
Arizona State University


Dr. Neal A. Lester is a Foundation Professor of English and Founding Director of the multiple-award-winning Project Humanities initiative at Arizona State University. He has been a professor of English at Arizona State University since 1997. A popular public speaker, frequent TV and radio guest, regular op ed contributor, newspaper columnist and blogger, and discussion facilitator, Dr. Lester has an extensive record of publications, lectures and keynote addresses, local and national media interviews, guest speaker events, scholarly consultations, conference presentations, and editorials in the area of African American studies. His work in Diversity and Inclusion has been sought out across the US, and his is a leading scholarly voice on the Nword.


Rethinking “Diversity”: Everyday Lessons in Privilege and Bias Overview

Real community and social change begins with each individual, ultimately creating new and different ways of thinking, acting and being, long after a workshop or keynote address ends. The goal of this session is to engage participants in critical conversations about "difference” that move beyond typical “diversity training” to explore systems in which we all exist. Ultimately, the talk underscores our individual and shared humanity by foregrounding seven values Arizona State University’s award-winning Project Humanities initiative identifies as Humanity 101: respect, integrity, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, empathy and self-reflection.

Monday Diversity Luncheon Presentation




Yellow Bird is a professional family dance company based in Phoenix, Arizona. The group boosts many national dance champions and have been feature performers for many prestigious audiences and institutions.


International renowned "Yellow Bird Productions" under the direction of Ken Duncan, member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe specializes in cultural presentations that celebrate the unique spirit of the American Indian. For the past 30 years, Yellow Bird has curated a unique repertoire of songs, dances, stories and dialogue that entertain and educate audiences of all ages.

Wednesday Closing Plenary Speaker

Keon M. McGuire, PhD
Assistant Professor
Arizona State University

Dr. Keon M. McGuire is an Assistant Professor of Higher and Postsecondary Education in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and a Faculty Affiliate with the School of Social Transformation. Dr. McGuire’s research agenda focuses on the status and experiences of minoritized students across postsecondary educational settings. Drawing from Africana and other interdisciplinary frameworks, Dr. McGuire examines how race, gender and religion shape minoritized college students’ identities and their everyday experiences. Additionally, Dr. McGuire investigates the ways racism and sexism undermine the experiences of minoritized college students as well as they ways students resist and respond to such marginalization. Dr. McGuire holds a joint Ph.D. in Higher Education and Africana Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in History from Wake Forest University. Dr. McGuire is 2019 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow and 2019 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar.