We are pleased to announce an exciting group of speakers who will join us at Service Unites 2018 in Atlanta, including former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Navy veteran and retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly; Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard; and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has dedicated more than 15 years to public service. As the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, she represented her community in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005, and then in Congress from 2006-2012. In Congress, Giffords was a leading champion of border security, energy independence, and the needs of military veterans and their families. On January 8, 2011, at a public event in Tucson with her constituents, Giffords was shot in the head at near point-blank range. With her husband, Navy veteran and retired astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, Giffords founded Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence in 2013 to encourage elected officials to stand up for laws that make communities safer from gun violence. Capt. Kelly made two deployments to the Persian Gulf as a naval aviator and flew 39 combat missions during Operation Desert Storm. The decorated combat veteran was selected as an astronaut in 1996, and has spent more than 50 days in space – one of only four individuals who have visited International Space Station on four different occasions. He will join the former congresswoman to speak at the Civic 50 Gala, an event honoring the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Dwight Howard, starting center for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, has called Atlanta home since elementary school. Crediting his family and his faith for his philanthropic activities, Howard founded the D12 Foundation in 2011 and works in partnership with leading U.S. organizations in the areas of early childhood education and literacy. He adds his voice to the challenges facing youth through engagement in mentorship, including at the Boys and Girl Club bearing his name in Charlotte. Internationally, Howard champions girls’ education in Tanzania, East Africa, providing safe housing and school essentials for young women pursuing their education. Most recently, he led the establishment of a new social venture there, creating a small production facility that employs local women in the making of biodegradable feminine hygiene products. The products are donated to local girls to help improve school attendance, foster better understanding of health and hygiene issues, and bolster self-confidence.
Dwight will join Points of Light Chairman Neil Bush at the Closing Plenary for a conversation about the importance of service. He will also play a one-on-one game of P.O.L. (our version of H.O.R.S.E.) with a conference attendee – all attendees who register by May 31 will be automatically entered into the drawing for a chance to play!
Service Unites 2018 will feature a full line-up of inspiring leaders from the rapidly changing field of social change, including activists, entertainers, civil rights leaders, academics, entrepreneurs, athletes, elected officials and CEOs from nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies.