Location: Raleigh, NC
Experience: 15+ years as a speaker and consultant
Education: B.S., Political Science from Florida State University
Highlights: Speaker at TEDx and numerous conferences; leading activist in the early days of the anti-tobacco campaign truth; Volunteer Champion for Apple’s Global Volunteer Program; Chief Consultant + Trainer for Allen/Ortiz Consulting.
Joe is a first-generation American who’s family immigrated to the United States from Italy. His parents worked hard their entire lives, which instilled them with the values and ethics Joe carries to this day. His father earned his American citizenship after being drafted to fight in the Korean War, and his mother learned English by watching television. They sacrificed so he and his siblings could have the lives they didn’t. This pushed Joe to be the first in his family to earn a college degree, and inspires him to empower others to reach their aspirations. Even though his parents have passed, their legacy lives on through Joe’s drive to ensure anyone who wants a voice can be heard.
Joe has been a youth leader, community organizer, program manager, consultant, and speaker, and he has worked with non-profits, corporations, government agencies, elected officials, and more to help others create change. He has worked with over 100,000 youth and adults who are working in communities to make their world a better place. Joe specializes in youth empowerment and social impact movements that enable youth to become the solution to issues rather than be perceived as the problem. He continuously challenges the traditional youth and adult dynamic in schools and organizations by providing insight and training on how youth leaders and adult mentors must work side-by-side as equals to create positive change.
Values + Approach
Joe + Robin Koval, CEO of Truth Initiative – the organization behind the nationwide anti-tobacco campaign, truth.
Everybody Has A Voice
It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you’re from, or what color your skin is – the fact is everyone has a powerful voice. We live in an incredible time where anyone with a smart phone can create content that can connect with millions of people instantly. It is Joe’s belief that we must utilize all the tools at our disposal to provide platforms for those who wish to have a voice and create impact. The world is getting smaller, which allows us to become louder.
Millennials Are Powerful
Many believe Millennials are egotistical and apathetic – but with over 80% of them giving back in some way, that couldn’t be further from the truth. They are leading the way in social justice and political action, and are pushing brands and influencers to create impact with them. Companies are now at the mercy of young people’s expectations of positive corporate citizenship, and we are starting to see the influence of this fact more and more. Joe is driven to empower even more people, brands, and influencers to stand up, take action, and be heard.
Youth And Adults Are Equals
In too many situations, youth are looked to as either the source of problems or being less powerful than adults. This is absolutely a myth. The reality is, youth are not just the leaders of tomorrow, but the change agents of today. Adults should not speak down to youth, but should listen to them instead and empower them to be the positive influencers they desire to be. The most successful schools and organizations treat youth leaders as equals and understand that youth are the only ones who truly know how to reach other youth.