Opening Keynote: From Social Services to Authentic Systems ChangeHeadshot of Carmen Rojas

Over the course of the last 20 years, there has been an active debate in the social sector about the role of social service organizations in catalyzing social change. As organizations are on the frontlines of engaging those without power, they often have the greatest proximity to people who are making impossible choices with minimal resources daily. Social service providers can play a critical role in bridging the day-to-day needs of these communities with the social movements and social change agents who are seeking to build power for low wage workers, immigrant families, and communities of color. Join Dr. Carmen Rojas as she explore the ways The Workers Lab has supported social service organizations to see themselves as leaders in broader social movements that will fundamentally shift power in the U.S. 

Carmen Rojas
Co-Founder and CEO
The Workers Lab

Carmen Rojas is the co-founder and CEO of The Workers Lab, an organization that invests in experiments and innovation to build power for working people in the 21st century. For more than 20 years, she has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the U.S.  

Prior to building The Workers Lab, Rojas was the acting director of collective impact at Living Cities. She supported 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world to invest in improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic and workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building. From 2008 to 2011, Rojas was the director of strategic programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Alongside her work at the foundation, Rojas also taught in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to this, she was the coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out-Migration to address African American displacement from the city.  

Rojas currently sits on the boards of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Neighborhood Funders Group, General Service Foundation, JOLT, Certification Associates, and on the advisory boards of Fund Good Jobs and Floodgate Academy. 

She holds a doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.

Headshot of Deanna SinghClosing Keynote: Purposeful Hustle 

Become a change agent by positioning yourself around a PURPOSEFUL existence. Use your talents, skills, and resources to HUSTLE for something greater than yourself. Deanna Singh, author of Purposeful Hustle, will guide you through how to use your passions to find your purpose and create greater impact. A gifted storyteller, Singh will use examples from her own professional and personal journey to illustrate what it means to be a “purposeful hustler.” This keynote will help you find the courage to step out of your comfort zone and the curiosity to determine how, the resilience to eliminate the fear of failure, and the initiative to change the world.

Deanna Singh
Chief Change Agent

Deanna Singh is recognized as a leading authority in building innovative opportunities within underserved communities. As chief change agent and founder of Flying Elephant, she is a highly respected thought leader, who has spent almost 20 years researching, designing, and building asset-based solutions to complex social challenges. Today she travels the world inspiring and educating audiences.

A gifted communicator, entrepreneurial businesswoman, and trailblazer, Singh's interactive style combines personal stories with authenticity, vulnerability, and humor that takes the audience on a journey of self-discovery.

Her social entrepreneurship and advocacy experience also included leadership positions with Dohmen Constellations, The Burke Foundation, The Robert W. Baird Foundation, Milwaukee Renaissance Academy, Legal Action of Wisconsin, and The Milwaukee Street Law Project. Singh also has served as adjunct professor at Marquette University Graduate and Law School. She recently completed her first two children’s books, I Am a Boy of Color and I Am a Girl of Color, and she was featured as a TEDx speaker. She is also set to release her first business book, Purposeful Hustle, in Fall of 2018.

Singh was recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of the community’s most influential 40 under 40 leaders and the 8 Under 40 to Watch for the University of Wisconsin School of Business. She is also the recipient of the United Way’s Philanthropic Five Award, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Leadership Development Hero Award, and was a White House Fellowship Regional Finalist.

She currently serves on the national boards of LIFT and College Possible. She is also a member of the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation. Past board roles include but are not limited to First Stage Milwaukee, Marquette University’s College of Professional Studies Advisory Board, and the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Diversity Committee.

A native of Milwaukee, Singh earned her bachelor's in urban studies from Fordham University, a juris doctorate from Georgetown University, and a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also a trained labor and birth doula and serves as the co-founder of Birth Coach Milwaukee.  

Singh lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Justin, and two sons, Zion and Zephaniah.

Watch Singh's presentation at TEDxUWMilwaukee.