Donna Beegle grew up in generational migrant-labor poverty and left school at 15 to get married and start a family. At 25, she found herself with two children, no husband, little education, and few marketable job skills. Within 10 short years, she gained the confidence to get her GED and advance through to a doctoral degree in educational leadership. All these experiences provide Dr. Beegle with an authentic voice with which to speak, write, and train across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty.
As president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm dedicated to building poverty-informed communities that are armed with tools to break barriers, she works directly with children and adults currently in poverty, educators, justice professionals, health care providers, social service agencies, faith-based communities, business leaders, elected officials, and others who want to make a difference for those living in the crisis of poverty. For over 27 years, Dr. Beegle’s work has spread by word of mouth to all 50 states and six countries. She is also the founder of the Opportunity Community movement, which provides the foundation for a contemporary war on poverty.
Her inspiring story and work have been featured on CNN and PBS and in publications around the nation. Dr. Beegle has authored four books and training curriculum sets, including See Poverty…Be the Difference, An Action Approach for Educating Students in Poverty, Breaking Poverty Barriers to Equal Justice, and If Not Me, Then Who? Empowering Our Neighbors. Dr. Beegle has the distinction of being selected as speaker of the year for the New Mexico Bar Foundation and chosen as a Woodrow Wilson Princeton Fellow. In addition, she has had two classrooms in the Portland State University School of Social Work named in her honor.
Opening Keynote: Wednesday January 10, 2018, 1:30pm