Upcoming Convocation Speakers:

Jeffrey Tambor, Star of ‘Arrested Development

Jeffrey Tambor
  • Tuesday, October 28, 2014
  • Time/Place:
    • Noon
    • Union Ballrooms
  • Free


A veteran of film, television, and the Broadway stage, Jeffrey Tambor is one of the most iconic and respected character actors of his generation. As a man of many talents, Tambor is highly creative, using his overwhelming love for life and the lessons learned along the way as sparks of inspiration for his keynotes. He speaks from the heart, sharing his personal truths as a way to inspire audiences young and old to embrace human connectivity.

Most people know of Tambor’s versatile and accomplished acting accolades in film and television. These include his unforgettable roles in the popular programs The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development, as well as in the films And Justice for All and Meet Joe Black. These roles and many others display his innate, unique acting gifts. Tambor has also received numerous honors for his professional work, including six Emmy nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well a Television Critics Association Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Comedy Series. However, his greatest honors have since come in his own personal life, which he willingly shares with his audiences.

Tambor attended San Francisco State University, where he received a BA degree in drama in 1965. He then went to Wayne State University earning an MA in 1969. Although he moved on to acting before receiving his PhD, he developed a deep connection with academia and vowed to never forget his roots. What many people do not know is that in addition to co-owning Skylight Books, Tambor taught at his Alma Mater and has been a teacher for over forty years, educating all groups of people from actors to corporations to animators from Dreamworks and others. He passionately empowers his students through lessons they cannot gather from their textbooks. As a down to earth and personable educator, he uses his life experiences, both dark and entertaining, to advise others to face their fears.

Tambor’s presentations are models after himself: larger than life. He brings audiences across the country a new kind of lecture, one they have never seen before. They are interactive, humorous, real, and most importantly, relatable. He has the ability unlike any other speaker to share anecdotes from his decades in front of the camera, inspire businesses to find creative solutions and strategies, delve into his family’s struggle with mental health issues, reflect on his role as a father of four young children, and offer wisdom learned from his Jewish upbringing.

Incorporating themes of creativity, authenticity, and self-awareness into his speeches, Tambor boldly crafts customized and empowering messages for each audience he addresses. As a gifted storyteller, his honesty captivates the audience, giving them a sense of meaning in their own lives by reconnecting them with their hopes and dreams. Tambor’s presentations will no doubt inspire and forever resonate with all who have the opportunity and honor to listen to his words, making them cry with laughter and sometimes, reflection.



Alyssa Mastromonaco
White House Former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Obama Administration

Alyssa Mastromonaco
  • Thursday, November 6, 2014
  • Time/Place: TBD
  • Free


As the youngest woman ever to be Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations at the White House, Alyssa Mastromonaco certainly has some amazing stories to tell. After all, you’re talking about “the” person who had the power to decide who gets to see The President of the United States, and when. But Alyssa was more than a Presidential gatekeeper. She was the person responsible for running and managing the whole 18-acre White House compound – including the 1,700+ employees in the Executive branch - ensuring that the entire department ran smoothly, even when the rest of the government did not. Through her tenacity, ingenuity and sheer determination, Alyssa instituted an array of new strategies and processes that kept the White House up and running efficiently throughout a ceaseless series of budget cuts, international crises and even a government shutdown.

This stalwart attitude and ability to measure and take risks served Alyssa well throughout her White House career. It enabled her to manage the hiring process for all Executive political appointments, screen nominees for Cabinet positions and help coordinate the nation’s response to some of the worst natural disasters in our country’s history. Throughout it all, Alyssa continued (and continues) to break down barriers, develop new paths for progress and achieve “what couldn’t be done,” transforming the allegorical “glass ceiling” for women into a stairway of opportunity.

Now, Alyssa is entering the next phase of her remarkable career…speaking to audiences about the amazing journeys she has taken and sharing the many things she has learned along the way. Such as how to successfully assemble and lead large teams of people, and draw the best out of each and every one. Or, discuss proven ways to handle crises of all sizes, turning negative events into positive outcomes. And, as an empowered woman, she proudly speaks about the choices that have led to her success, showing others how they can create their own paths to greatness, and paying tribute to all of the wonderful teachers and mentors who helped her to gain the confidence, bravery and intelligence that led her to where she stands today. Book an event with Alyssa, and hear an inspiring journey that stretches from the hills of small-town America to the Oval Office…and beyond.


  • 2014-2011: Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Obama administration.
  • 2011: Named to The New Republic's list of Washington's most powerful, least famous people.
  • 2008: Appointed Director of Scheduling and Advance Operations, Obama administration.
  • 2007: Director of Scheduling and Advance, Obama presidential campaign.
  • 2006: Political Director for Hopefund, Obama's Political Action Committee.
  • 2005: Joined Obama's United States Senate office as Director of Scheduling.
  • 2004: Director of Scheduling, Senator John Kerry presidential campaign.
  • 1998: University of Wisconsin-Madison, B.A., Political Science.

Ndaba Mandela
Grandson of Nelson Mandela, Co-Founder & Chairman of Africa Rising Foundation

Alyssa Mastromonaco
  • Tuesday, February 10, 2015
  • Union Room TBD
  • Noon
  • Free and open to the public


Nelson Mandela had a “long walk to freedom,” yet his footprints still remain. Following in the footsteps of his beloved and iconic grandfather, Ndaba Mandela has taken the torch – and ran with it. Today, Nelson Mandela’s legacy lives on as Ndaba continues to keep its beacon of hope bright, fueling its fiery message that one person can make a difference. Thankfully for all, the legacy lives, as Ndaba was recently named one of the “28 Men of Change” by BET. Today, Ndaba is showing the world, through his actions and orations, that Nelson Mandela’s voice and message of freedom still carries and rings true – sounded by a child that became a man under the warm embrace and expert tutelage of one of history’s greatest teachers. Currently, Ndaba is organizing the 95th celebration of Nelson Mandela day and was also instrumental in creating the International Day of Happiness at the United Nations. He continues to keep Mandela on the world’s mind.

Now, Ndaba Mandela entertains and inspires audiences with tales only he could tell in his presentations exclusively through American Program Bureau. With pride and presence, Ndaba speaks passionately about Africa, its people and its future – which is looking brighter than ever. This is good news, not only for the continent, but also for corporations looking to get in on the ground floor of a steadily rising nation, embracing its vast potential and natural resources. In fact, Ndaba is the co-founder and co-chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting a positive image of Africa around the world and to increasing its potential for growth in the areas of education, employment and international corporate alliances for profit and partnership.

With his one-of-a-kind perspective and dynamic speaking style, he remains true to his inspiring grandfather’s message as he quotes, “I carry with me the values of my grandfather. I am an African, and I know what it means to be African, and I’m proud of it.” He also regales audiences, as no other can, with quips and quotes from his famed, father-like teacher and inspiration. Ndaba entertains audiences by inviting them inside the mind of “Mandela-the-man” when he cites his grandfather’s suggestions and stance on life, sharing advice he received as a boy, recalling, “He told me to always be humble. He once said to me, ‘When you start working, don’t drive a Jaguar!”

Ndaba lets audiences peek through the keyholes of the Presidential Palace and proudly shares lessons of love, remembering, “I saw him interact with kings and presidents, and with our household cook. He treated everyone the same. This was his key value.” These lessons and values were learned well and are practiced today by Ndaba who has also founded Mandela.is – a social hub created to give back to the community with the support of the same experts responsible for Lady Gaga’s network, LittleMonsters.com.

Ndaba’s presentations come from the man who was closest to the man who change the world he loved, and the world loved back. It doesn’t matter whether you are a child looking for inspiration, or a person investing as a corporation – Nelson Mandela’s message was meant for the masses and it was simply this...one individual can make a difference, if they just arm themselves with the unbreakable belief that nothing is out of reach.


  • Currently, Founder and Chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation
  • Founder of Mandela.is
  • Served as a Senior Political Consultant to the Embassy of Japan in South Africa
  • Managing Director of Rebel Soul Entertainment
  • Founder of Out of Africa Entertainment
  • Client Liaison Officer of Investec
  • Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Pretoria


  • From Prisoner to President: The Mandela Legacy Lives On
  • Africa Rising: Uncovering Africa’s Hidden Economic Potential
  • HIV/AIDS: The Secret Shared by Millions
  • Philanthropy 101: Building & Managing a Successful Charity
  • The Village Idiom: Empowering Youth through Education, Interconnectivity & Employment


Tara Peris-Caputo