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Featured Speakers

James Harrington

James Harrington
James Harrington, Civil Rights Attorney and Founder of the Texas Civil Rights Project

Jim Harrington grew up in Lansing, Michigan, and received his law degree in 1973 from the University of Detroit. After law school, Jim Harrington worked ten years as Director of the South Texas Project in the Rio Grande Valley, along the Mexican border. His legal work included the rights of farm laborers and poor people in Valley, police brutality, and discrimination.

In 1983, Mr. Harrington became Legal Director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union in Austin. There, he helped organize the evening East Austin pro bono clinic for low-income people.

Mr. Harrington founded the Texas Civil Rights Project, a non-profit foundation that promotes social, racial, and economic justice and civil liberty for low income and poor persons. By the time he retired in March 2016, the Project had grown to a staff of 40 with offices in six Texas locations.

He has handled a wide array of civil rights cases, some precedent-setting, involving grand jury discrimination, voting rights, free speech and assembly, immigration, capital punishment, police misconduct, student rights, privacy, racial and ethnic discrimination, and the rights of persons with disabilities.

Mr. Harrington was an adjunct professor at University of Texas Law School for 27 years and continues to teach an honors course in civil liberties at Texas State University and a similar undergraduate writing course at the University of Texas. For three summers, he taught a civil society course to Iraqi college students.

Jim has served on human rights delegations to Central and South America and Israel and Palestinian territories. He visited Turkey twice as part of interfaith and judicial delegations and revisited Turkey a number of times while writing his two books on events in Turkey.

Jim Harrington is author of Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gülen and also The Texas Bill of Rights: A Commentary and Litigation Manual, He has traveled nationally and internationally, lecturing on his books or discussing civil society. His most recent book, which he co-authored, is Three Mystics Walk into a Tavern: A Once and Future Meeting of Rumi, Meister Eckhart, and Moses de León in Medieval Venice.


Helen Lowman

Helen Lowman
Helen Lowman, President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful

Lowman brings a deep understanding of humanitarian challenges to the U.S. and around the world.  She joins Keep America Beautiful with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the areas of international diplomacy and development, youth engagement, environmental education, disaster resilience, global leadership, volunteerism, social justice, and human rights. 

Lowman served as an appointee of the President of the United States in the senior foreign service and the senior executive service.  Most recently, she was Director-Individual and Community Preparedness at FEMA in Washington, D.C., overseeing programs to increase citizen and community preparedness while encouraging disaster and crisis resilience.  Previously, she served in a variety of roles with the Peace Corps, directing Peace Corps' largest U.S. headquarters' office and working with leadership on strategic reforms related to volunteer recruitment and admittance.  She earlier served as Regional Director -Europe, Middle East, and Asia, Peace Corps' largest geographic region. 

Marty Cormier

Founder of BIO Consulting Service and Professional Leadership Educator, Trainer and Coach

With nearly twenty-five years of corporate learning and people development experience, Marty Cormier is a veteran facilitator, performance strategist, development partner and learning leader. He is founder of BIO Consulting Service, LLC, a firm committed to redefining engagement, aligning individual and organizational purpose and cultivating team culture. Mary is also Sr. Learning and Talent Development Consultant at CLEAResult, an Austin-based energy consulting firm, where he is responsible for people development.

A resident of central Texas since 1995, Marty holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, and a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership and Ethics from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. At his core, he believes that (organizational) Performance is the result or sum of Purpose + People + Process + that order! His passion is influencing others in the direction of exploring and understanding the implications of this equation in their own lives. Marty and his husband, Barry, are residents of Georgetown, Texas.


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