ULC Keynote Speakers 2013 - Present

Check back soon for 2016 keynote speakers


Howard Behar – Former President and CEO of Starbucks:

howardbehar.gifFor 21 years Behar led Starbuck’s domestic business as President of North America, and he became the founding President of Starbucks International opening the very first store outside of North America in Japan. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from only 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents.  He served on the Starbucks Board of Directors for twelve years before retiring.

Howard now serves on the boards of several for-profit and non-profit organizations, including Anna's Linens, Sterling Savings Bank, Wild Ginger Restaurants, EZ Grill, Inc., the advisory board of Anthos Capital, the University of Washington Foundation, The Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, and the Washington Business Alliance.  

Howard is committed to the development and education of our future leaders and has been a longtime advocate of the Servant Leadership Model and travels the world speaking to leaders, corporations, and students. He is the author of It’s Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Leadership from a Life at Starbucks (Portfolio, 2008).

Behar lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife Lynn, and enjoys spending time with his children and five grandchildren. Boating is his favorite hobby, exploring the waterways from Seattle to Alaska.

Debbie Carlsen – Founder & Executive Director of LGBTQ Allyship:

http://i0.wp.com/allyship.org/wp-content/uploads/Debbieprofessional.jpgDebbie Carlsen is the founder and executive director of LGBTQ Allyship, a community-driven social and economic justice organization that intentionally works with other marginalized communities to create systemic change that benefits LGBTQ, low-income, immigrants, women, people of color, youth, seniors, people with disabilities and working class individuals. Debbie has been a long-time activist and organizer in the LGBTQ, peace, environmental, economic, racial and gender justice movements. She is an artist and believes passionately in the inspiration of art and in politics in all movements. Debbie has been working in the Seattle social justice community for over 15 years. Some of her professional experiences has been as an organizer at Washington State Jobs with Justice, Field Director at King County Labor Council, Union organizer at Unite HERE local 8, development staff at Washington Toxic Coalition and Seattle Counseling Service and Community Relations Lead at Opal Eating Disorder Clinic.

Martin Coles – President & CEO of HaloSource and Former President of Starbucks:

martin-coles.pngMartin Coles joined HaloSource as a member of the board in July 2011 and was appointed president and chief executive officer in October 2011. Prior to joining HaloSource, he held the positions of chief operating officer and later president of Starbucks Coffee International. His career also includes 35 years of serving in a variety of senior executive and board positions at Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Nike and Reebok. He also served as a non-executive director at Levi Strauss. Mr. Coles began his career at Procter & Gamble UK in 1977 as a graduate-entry production manager. He currently serves on the not-for-profit International Education Advisory Boards of the University of Washington Business School at Bothell and Seattle University, where he is a fellow of the Albers Business School. He previously served as chairman of the UW Foster Business School Advisory Board.

He is a graduate of the University of Wales at Swansea, where he received a BSc Hons in Biochemistry, is married with 4 children and is an avid SeaHawks supporter and Lacrosse parent.

Larry Gossett – King County Council Member:

Gossett-web-ashx.jpgKing County Councilmember Larry Gossett serves on the Metropolitan King County Council representing many Seattle neighborhoods, including the Central Area, Capitol Hill, Beacon Hill, the Rainier Valley, Seward Park, UW, Fremont, Ravenna, Laurelhurst and the Skyway neighborhood in unincorporated King County.

Councilmember Gossett is chair of the Law and Justice Committee and serves on the Budget and Fiscal Management, Employment and Administration, Health, Housing and Human Services, and Regional Policy committees. He also serves on the Flood Control District Board of Supervisors.

Born and raised in Seattle, Larry Gossett has been a dedicated servant of the people for over 40 years. Gossett’s Council district represents an area where he has lived and worked on issues his entire life.

After graduating from Franklin High School, after two years he became a VISTA volunteer in Harlem (1966-1967) and worked with poor youth. After completing his service obligation to VISTA, he returned to the University of Washington where he was one of the original founders of the Black Student Union (BSU). As a respected student activist, he fought to eliminate racial discrimination and increase the enrollment of African Americans and other students of color at the University. After graduation, he became the first supervisor of the Black Student Division, in the Office of Minority Affairs.

Prior to his election to the King County Council, Councilmember Gossett was the Executive Director of the Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP), one of the oldest and largest community action agencies in the City of Seattle. He was at CAMP from 1979 until 1993 when he was elected to the King County Council, representing District Two (formerly District Ten).

Councilmember Gossett is a highly respected community leader who has long advocated for the underrepresented and underprivileged in King County for his entire career. He has long been an advocate for programs that help inner-city youth and reduce racial and class disparities in our local criminal justice system. He has also spearheaded efforts to eliminate black-on-black violence and other manifestations of self-hatred by poor and disenfranchised populations.

Councilmember Gossett is a dynamic speaker, prolific writer, administrator and political activist. He has the ability to motivate and inspire people of all races and walks of life. He is dedicated to the cause of equal rights and economic freedom for all people.

He is married with three adult children and three beloved grandchildren.

Courtney Gregoire – Microsoft Attorney and Co-President of the Port of Seattle Commission:

Courtney GregoireCourtney Gregoire works as a senior attorney in Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, where she fights technology-facilitated crime against vulnerable populations including children and the elderly. Elected to the Port of Seattle Commission in 2013, Courtney currently serves as commission co-president.

Commissioner Gregoire’s priorities include growing our regional economy, expanding international trade and tourism, and protecting our shared natural environment. These priorities reflect Courtney’s long-standing commitment to helping communities generate broadly shared prosperity through improved education, quality employment and increased trade opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses.

Before returning home to Washington State, Courtney spent nearly 10 years working in Washington D.C. in senior-level positions in both the legislative and executive branches.

From 2009 to 2012, Courtney served as Director of the National Export Initiative for President Obama and Deputy Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this capacity, she helped encourage small- and medium-sized U.S. companies to export around the globe. She participated both in the U.S.-China Legal Exchange and the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), the primary forum for addressing bilateral trade matters and promoting commercial opportunities between the United States and China.

Before joining the Obama administration, she served as Legislative Director and Chief Counsel for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. She previously worked as a policy assistant with the Domestic Policy Council in the Clinton White House. Courtney began her career at K&L Gates, an international law firm, counseling companies on legislative and regulatory matters.

Courtney graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Willamette University and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. Originally from Olympia, Washington, Courtney currently lives in Seattle with her husband Scott Lindsay and their two young daughters. As a family, they enjoy taking in our state’s natural beauty by hiking in the North Cascades and boating throughout Puget Sound.

Sheila Edwards Lange – Interim President of Seattle Central College:

sheilaedwardslange.jpgSheila Edwards Lange is the Interim President of Seattle Central College, one of the most diverse institutions of higher learning in the state of Washington. Previously, President Lange served as Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Washington (UW). Prior to heading the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity at the UW, Dr. Lange held positions in academic and student affairs at Seattle Community College, Western Washington University, and University of California at Irvine. She served as the lead evaluator on the UW National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant, and is currently the project manager for the Pacific Northwest Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. She is president of the board of directors of the Women in Engineering and ProActive Network (WEPAN) and serves on the board of directors for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

As the University of Washingtons’s chief diversity officer, Dr. Lange worked to improve recruitment and retention of diverse students, faculty and staff on campus. She is currently leading an effort to improve diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at UW. In addition to student programming, Dr. Lange oversaw the Office for Faculty Advancement whose role is to ensure that the UW recruits, promotes, and retains an excellent and diverse faculty.

Her research and teaching interests include higher education policy, diversity in higher education, assessment and program evaluation, under-represented student access to STEM careers, mentoring, work/life and family friendly policies in higher education, graduate education reform, and faculty recruitment/retention.
Dr. Lange holds a doctor of philosophy in educational leadership and policy studies and a master of public administration from the University of Washington. She received her bachelors of social ecology from the University of California at Irvine.

Deborah Wilds – Former President & CEO of the College Success Foundation:

wilds.jpgDeborah Wilds served as the President and Chief Operating Officer of College Success Foundation (CSF) prior to retiring in January 2014.

The Foundation has over 12 years of proven experience inspiring underserved, low-income students to finish high school and providing the unique integrated system of supports and scholarships they need to graduate college and succeed in life.

Prior to 2006, Dr. Wilds was a senior program officer for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led efforts for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, Gates Cambridge Scholars and Washington State Achievers Program. She also oversaw the early college initiative creating 250 new early college high schools.

Dr. Wilds served as the deputy director of the American Council on Education's (ACE) Office of Minorities in Higher Education, in Washington, D.C. She has co-authored several books, written more than 20 articles, and co-authored ACE’s Annual Status Report on Minorities in Higher Education. She was the co-founder and chair of the Board of Directors of New Era Education, an independent school and pre-school located in Baltimore, Maryland.

In 2013, she was appointed to the Washington State Board of Education, and also currently serves on the boards of College Success Foundation - DC, Washington State Mentors, Philanthropy Northwest, College Spark, The Corporation for Enterprise Development, UW Bothell Advisory and the Seattle University Board of Regents.

Dr. Wilds has a Ph.D. in Education Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Maryland at College Park; a master's degree from Howard University and a bachelor's degree from California State University, San Diego.