Go M.A.D.

Go Make A Difference- A spring leadership conference hosted by UCSD's Center for Student Involvement – Communication & Leadership

Our Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Helice “Sparky” Bridges

Opening Keynote: Helice "Sparky" Bridges

Helice “Sparky” Bridges

CEO/Founder of Difference Makers International

Topic: “Changing Lives in a Minute or Less Through the Power of Acknowledgment”

In 1979, after years of being put down, intimidated and controlled by her husband, Helice became severely depressed and suicidal. On the day she chose to end her life, Helice heard a loving voice inside whisper “you cannot die, you’re here to make a difference.” This voice gave her the courage to divorce her husband, quit her very successful career and become volunteer co-chair for the San Diego Hunger Project. In 1980, after speaking to over 50,000 people about ending world hunger, she discovered another type of hunger; people literally starving to be appreciated, respected and loved. To solve this problem, Sparky created the “Who I Am Makes A Difference”(R) Blue Ribbon Acknowledgment Ceremony.  This message has now impacted over 35 million people worldwide, eradicating bullying, preventing teen suicide and helping to make dreams come true in a minute or less.

Her stories have been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work,Chicken Soup for the Soul of America, Heart at Work and The Aladdin Factor. “Sparky’s” signature Blue Ribbon story was made into a 6-minute photo movie which received over 3 million hits on YouTube.  She is the recipient of the 2005 TKF Gandhi Nonviolence Award and the 2009 Speak for Success Women Changing the World Award. “Sparky” travels the world teaching leadership training programs to business people, educators, parents, students, senior citizens and monks.  She helps to transform environments that eradicate bullying, ignite passion, purpose and productivity and makes dreams come true.

Our Speakers

Emily Scivoletto

Emily Scivoletto

Emily Scivoletto

Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs at University of San Diego Law School

Topic: Leadership Through Advocacy and the Law

Emily served as the Assistant Dean for Law Student Affairs at USD law school for the past four years and was the Director of Academic Success prior to that at UC Davis School of Law and at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge Law School. While at McGeorge, she directed an outreach program for under represented minority high school and junior high students. This program was designed to assist students in choosing a path to college and law school. Having taught many law classes and workshops throughout the years, Emily also practiced civil rights and business law for six years in Sacramento, California and holds a JD degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge Law School and Masters in Higher Education from the CSU Sacramento.

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon

Lisa Gordon

Motivational Speaker & Career Strategist

Topic: The Power of Giving Back!

Lisa Gordon is an intriguing and dynamic Motivational Speaker, Career Strategist, and Founder of Pearls of Wisdom Seminars. She is also a Bestselling Co-Author of “The Diamond from Within: Overcoming Obstacles in Life and Business.” Lisa provides unique, high-impact, and inspiring keynote speeches and seminars that empower people to transform, reignite, or realize new direction in their lives and careers. She is uniquely qualified to speak on career development, personal and professional growth, workplace performance excellence, overcoming adversity, and making a difference. By sharing “pearls” from her broad, diverse, and adventurous life and career, she effectively connects people to hands-on tools and strategies that can be immediately applied to each person’s current life situation whether they are starting a career, changing their career, starting a business, seeking meaningful change, or trying to identify their life purpose.

Drawing from more than 18 years of experience in the business, community, government, education, and international arenas, Lisa offers the “pearls” that will propel people to pursue your personal and professional goals and dreams. Lisa received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of California, San Diego, and a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, San Marcos.

Parker Harris

Parker Harris

Parker Harris

President of Junto Global

Topic: Creating Social Innovation through a Human Platform

Parker Harris is the cofounder and President of Junto Global, a social venture that provides a human platform for people, many entrepreneurs and professionals, to connect, grow and contribute together. Junto Global was inspired by Benjamin Franklin and his original Junto, and is further expanded on using new personal development and technology tools. As an extension of the Junto Global organization,Parker founded the Social Entrepreneurs Roundtable, a mastermind group for Social Entrepreneurs.

Before leaving to devote himself to Junto full-time, Parker spent over three years at Qualcomm Inc. in a rotational program with roles in finance, operations and strategy. At Qualcomm, he also redesigned and led the Qualcomm new graduate program, which provided development opportunities, life resources and social connections for new employees, who just graduated from College. Through that program, Parker founded a group called U2Q Innovators a collaborative group that produced disruptive innovations from the bottom-up.

Parker also consults with entrepreneurs and speaks to audiences providing insight into personal development, business and collaboration strategies. In this ever-growing flat world, strategies and structures that inspire true collaboration create value to a variety of stakeholders. Parker creates these collaborative environments and, through the Junto Global platform, leads people to grow and contribute as a community.

Sara Schairer 

Sara Schairer – CEO of Compassion-It


Topic: Making Compassion a Verb and a Movement

Sara Schairer is a certified teacher of Compassion Cultivation Training and also currently teaches at the UCSD Center for Mindfulness. She led a 75-minute workshop for 300 teens at The Anthony Robbins Global Youth Leadership Summit in July 2013 and frequently speaks to audiences of all sizes and ages. She will also share her inspiring story of starting the COMPASSION IT movement, which has reached six continents, 42 countries and 46 states.

Amy Chang

Amy Chang

Amy Chang

Vice President of Strategy & Investor Relations at AMN Healthcare Services, Inc.

Topic: Advancing Your Career-Lessons Learned from the Trenches

Amy C. Chang is the Vice President of Strategy & Investor Relations for AMN Healthcare Services, Inc. (NYSE: AHS). In her role, Ms. Chang is responsible for leading the company’s long-term strategic planning and investor relations functions. In prior roles at AMN, she also oversaw the operations analysis group, which provided market research and operational and financial analysis to the sales and operations teams.

Prior to joining AMN in 2002, Ms. Chang was a Strategy Manager at Mitchell Madison Group, a strategy consulting firm, where she worked with several large clients, including the credit services division of a global automobile manufacturer, a credit card issuer, a large health insurance provider, a large wireless telecommunications company, and a human resources technology outsourcer. Ms. Chang began her career with KPMG Peat Marwick after earning a B.S. degree in Business Administration from UC Berkeley. She also earned an MBA from UC Berkeley and has a CPA (inactive) from the State of California.

Ms. Chang is currently a board member of the Camps Branch of the San Diego YMCA, as well as The LEDGE ministry, which provides leadership development to urban youth. She has also been a long-time member of Athena San Diego. Ms. Chang is actively involved in several homeless ministries and is a member of The Rock Church in Point Loma, California.

Jenny Amaraneni

Jenny Amaraneni

Jenny Amaraneni

Founder, CEO of SOLO Eyewear

Topic: One Person. One Idea. One action can change the world.

Jenny Amaraneni has worked with a variety of non-profit organizations in different capacities (full-time employee, intern and volunteer). She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Management from LSU, and her MBA from SDSU. She has been running her very own start up company for about 2.5 years now. In this workshop, Jenny Amaraneni will share the story of SOLO Eyewear and how this company started with one person who had an idea and took action. In less than 3 years, the class project turned social business has impacted thousands of lives around the world.


Brett Robertson

Assistant Director, Center for Student Involvement - Communication & Leadership

Brett Robertson   

Assistant Director, Center for Student Involvement – Communication & Leadership

Topic: Inspiring Change – Discover your Values

Brett Robertson is the Assistant Director in the Center for Student Involvement – Communication Leadership and has been working in UCSD for 7 years. He is passionate about issues of social justice and has implemented numerous new programs for the department including the successful pilot: Triton Community Leadership Institute last summer. He earned a B.S. in Psychology from UC Davis, and an M.S. in Counseling from CSU Long Beach.


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