In January, over 2,500 student veterans, advocates, educators, supporters, and other stakeholders convened in Los Angeles for the 12th Annual Student Veterans of America National Conference, NatCon 2020. With a network of more than 1,500 on-campus chapters, SVA is committed to the empowerment of yesterday’s warriors to ensure they achieve their greatest potential.
More than 200 speakers and exhibitors participated. Simon Sinek spoke to attendees about The Infinite Game and answered questions from the audience, Deshauna Barber reminded us that it takes courage to believe in yourself, Ron Meyer shared the most important lessons he’s learned as a Hollywood executive, and Marine Veteran and Pat Tillman Award recipient Kirstie Ennis shared her personal journey and what inspires her.
The conference hosted 96 breakout sessions across 8 content tracks, such as Rock your Resume: Best Practices with Google, Veterans Advocacy from Campus to Capitol Hill, and Diversity: The Value Veterans Bring to the Workplace.
The conference concluded with the SVA Honors Banquet hosted by Jamie Gray Hyder of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. GRAMMY-Nominated singer-songwriter MAJOR. serenaded banquet attendees, and Derek Theler and Jeremy Tardy from Paramount Network’s 68 Whiskey awarded the SVA Chapter of the Year to Colorado State University (Theler’s alma mater).
Bonita Rodriguez of Pace University was named Student Veteran of the Year and Dr. Emily Ives of the University of California, Los Angeles was named Advisor of the Year. Raytheon, Comcast NBCUniversal, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, Prudential, Accenture, Fiserv, and PwC Charitable Foundation received awards for their support of SVA.
SVA presented Representative Susie Lee of Nevada with the Sonny Montgomery Student Veteran Champion Award and former Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy with the Eisenhower Distinguished Public Service Award. SVA supporters also ran 233 miles together to accelerate veterans’ futures beyond the finish line as part of the launch of a national campaign called A Running Start.
NatCon 2021 will be held from January 7-9 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida.