One speaker co-directs an organization that innovatively uses local advocacy to lead a civil rights-inspired health movement; the other researches the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, love and beauty, as well as power and social class.
The speaker for March 30 will be T. Morgan Dixon, cofounder and CEO of GirlTrek, the largest public-health nonprofit for Black women and girls in the United States. And on April 29, rescheduled from 2020, Think Forum will present compassion researcher, author and psychology professor Dacher Keltner as the F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture, discussing the movement toward more collaborative and compassionate models of power and what can be done to promote positive social change.
“Through the Think Forum lecture series, Case Western Reserve invites the campus community, Greater Cleveland and now, presented virtually, audiences well beyond the region to engage with prominent academic leaders and international experts on pressing topics and issues of the day,” said Michael Goldberg, executive director of the university’s Veale Institute for Entrepreneurship and chair of the Think Forum advisory board.
Think Forum on March 30
Dixon’s talk, co-sponsored by the university’s Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, will focus on the intersection of race and gender, entrepreneurship, public health, and how GirlTrek has brought communities together before and during the pandemic.
GirlTrek encourages women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families and communities. The organization knits local advocacy together to lead a civil rights-inspired health movement to eliminate barriers to physical activity, improve access to safe places, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the United States.
Dixon, who has been featured in The New York Times and CNN, was named a “health hero” by Essence Magazine and appeared on the cover of Outside Magazine’s “Icons” edition. With more than one-million views and counting, Dixon’s 2017 TED Talk with GirlTrek co-leader Vanessa Garrison earned a standing ovation and The Audacious Prize.
Before GirlTrek, Dixon served as director of leadership development for one of the largest charter school networks in the country, Achievement First, and directed the startup of six public schools in New York City for St. Hope and the Urban Assembly, two organizations funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has served as a trustee for boards of The National Outdoor Leadership School, Teach for Haiti and The Underground Railroad Historic Byway, a $50 million tourism and preservation project in Maryland.
“T. Morgan Dixon is delivering an important message for our community to hear at this time,” said Angela Clark-Taylor, Mather Center director. “Dixon is an educator and organizer who used social entrepreneurship to empower Black women to be agents of change in their communities and their own health journey. She has so much wisdom to share with our community as we Think Big about what mark on the Greater Cleveland community and society Case Western Reserve wants to make as we work to innovate across the human-technology divide to bring about change for the public good.”
Think Forum’s F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture on April 29
Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California at Berkeley, director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab and serves as faculty director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center.
Keltner is the author of The Power Paradox, as well as the bestseller Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and The Compassionate Instinct. He has published more than 190 scientific articles, including seminal works on the psychology of awe (Keltner & Haidt, 2003) and is the co-author of two textbooks. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, London Times, and Utne Reader, and his research has been covered in Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, NPR and the BBC, as well as many other outlets.
In addition to his university work and research, Keltner has collaborated on projects at Facebook and Google. Most recently, Keltner was the scientific consultant for Pixar’s highly acclaimed film Inside Out, for which he helped revise the story emphasizing the neuropsychological findings that human emotions are mirrored in—and can be significantly moderated by—interpersonal relationships.
Introduced in 2005 as the Distinguished Lecture Series, the event in 2010 was named in honor of Francis Joseph Callahan Jr., local business leader, philanthropist and chairman emeritus of Swagelok, a leading fluid system manufacturer headquartered in Solon, Ohio.