Opening Keynote

Headshot of Beth BabcockHarnessing the Power of Brain Science to Transform Human Services and Increase Mobility from Poverty

In an America, where 40 percent of all families could not cover a $400 emergency expense and 70 percent of children born into poverty will never make it to the middle class, the work of human service organizations to improve economic mobility has never been more challenging or more important. Fortunately, new brain science offers insights that can be harnessed to transform the way we work and the impacts we achieve. In the opening keynote, Beth Babcock will share how her organization, EMPath, has used brain science to completely reframe its coaching tools and approaches to help low-income families get ahead. EMPath’s breakthrough outcomes have caused public and nonprofit agencies across the globe to adopt the organization’s Mobility Mentoring platform and share in the work of creating the next generation of human service interventions.

Learn more about using brain science to create new pathways out of poverty by watching Beth Babcock’s talk for TEDxBeaconStreet.

About the Keynote

Elisabeth Babcock (Beth) is the president and CEO of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), an international charitable organization dedicated to creating new pathways to economic independence for low-income individuals and their families. EMPath uses its unique “action-tank” business model to design, build, and test new approaches for creating economic mobility and then share them with other organizations and governments. Babcock leads EMPath in its strategy to be a research and innovation powerhouse consistently delivering new approaches that expedite pathways out of poverty.

EMPath’s applied research led to the development of its groundbreaking Mobility Mentoring® platform. Since its release in 2009, Mobility Mentoring has been internationally recognized for creating significantly improved outcomes in earnings, educational attainment, and family stability in extremely low-income families. Program impact has been so robust that government has advanced application of the model in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, housing, post-secondary education, and early intervention settings, and a community of practice of more than 80 organizations across the U.S. and abroad have implemented Mobility Mentoring practices. Babcock received her master’s from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and her doctorate in nonprofit strategy from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has taught nonprofit strategy and implementation at the graduate level for more than two decades at Harvard and Brandeis Universities.

She has received numerous awards including the 2017 Sesame Street Hero Award and the 2013 World of Difference Award by the International Alliance for Women. She currently serves as a member of the US Partnership for Mobility from Poverty, a national commission supported by the Gates Foundation and examining promising new approaches to close the opportunity divide. She also has served as an advisor to the World Bank where she helped create and taught in their new online course, Using Psycho-social Approaches to Improve Livelihoods Programs. Her article, “Re-thinking Poverty” was named one of the top articles of 2014 by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. 

Photo by Joseph Fuda

Closing Keynote  

All Together Now with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Despite living in a time of hyperconnectivity, meaningful, lasting connections are often hard to find. But Choir! Choir! Choir! has found the formula and will share it with conference participants as we gather for what will surely be the most unconventional and fun keynote we’ve experienced.

Creative directors Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman will share what they've learned about the essential elements that lead to increased creativity, productivity, and collaboration. We will learn and experience how creating joy, allowing vulnerability, and unlocking creativity can bring people together for collective action. Come prepared to do more than listen—we’ll put these concepts into practice as Adilman and Goldman lead us in learning a pop song. We’ll close out the Alliance National Conference in unified voice and energy.  

About Choir! Choir! Choir!

Watch Choir! Choir! Choir in action:

Choir! Choir! Choir!, a Toronto-based singing group, has become an international singing phenomenon that has performed with Patti Smith, David Byrne, Tegan and Sara, and Rufus Wainwright, as well as onstage at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall with the likes of Debbie Harry and The Flaming Lips. The choir has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Fast Company, and on NPR and CBC’s The National.

A collective led by creative directors Nobu Adilman and Daveed Goldman, Choir! Choir! Choir! was founded in 2011, when the group started by hosting twice-weekly drop-in singing events that take a nontraditional approach. There are no auditions, and the audience is the choir, learning and performing an original arrangement of a beloved song. The group has amassed a dedicated and passionate community of more than 12,000 nonprofessional singers, along with a thriving international fan base on YouTube and beyond. While continuing to host their Toronto choir events, the group now performs internationally.