UMBC Retriever Talks

“Words that are carefully framed and spoken are the most powerful form of communication there is.” ~ Nancy Duarte, Author and TED Speaker


In 2018, UMBC experienced its first Retriever Talks, a series of engaging TEDx-style presentations featuring seven of UMBC’s most talented faculty and staff. Talks highlighted several of UMBC’s core values: community, inclusive excellence, and innovation. Through an engaging mix of stories, research, and applied experience, speakers brought each value to life, widened our perspectives, and invited us into a shared conversation of purpose and meaningful action. In 2020, we recruited a second cohort of eight faculty and staff, this time focusing on the four values themes: Reach Together, Claim Your Future, Extend Beyond, Explore Every Angle.

We are excited to announce our next Retriever Talks on May 17, 2023. We expect that this event will serve several purposes:

  •         To both engage and develop UMBC’s best resource – our people
  •         To increase the visibility and spotlight the talents of our incredible faculty/staff population
  •         To tell the larger UMBC story to our external community and the wider world, serving to further enhance our reputation as an institution and employer of choice

We invite faculty, non-exempt and exempt staff at all levels, both beginner and experienced speakers, to apply to this speaker development program.

When an individual shares their story with the larger community, we can all experience what it means to make an impact. When we outwardly share our lived experiences of our values, we realize a sense of collective identity and belonging that is powerful, palpable, and vital in promoting a thriving workplace culture.

Speaker application deadline is December 1, 2022. Click here for additional information and speaker submission form.

Want more information? Contact Jill Wardell at

Cohort II 2021 (06/02/2021)

Jeff Cullen:
It’s Time We Got Off
The Sidelines

    Jill Randles:
Listening as a Pathway to Presence

Diane Alonso:
Finding Our Strengths:
Using 2020 as a Catalyst for Change

Ray Soellner:
Watch Your Habits, They
May Become 
Your Thoughts

Eric N. Ford:
Mentee to Mentor

M. Antonio Silas:
It’s All in Your Mind:
Leveraging Fear as Fuel


Tory H. Williams:
Want to enhance inclusive
Try authentic communication.

Jasmine A. Lee:
Be Like Water


Cohort I 2018 (04/12/2018)

Lamar Davis

LaMar Davis: Who Was That Person?

Maisha Cron

Maisha Cron: On the Fast Track to Success-The Tortoise Edition

Kerrie Kephart

Kerrie Kephart: The Power of Words to Unite and Divide Us

Jacquelyn Thomas

Jacquelyn Thomas: Professional Development and the Audacity to Apply

Diane Zeenny Gorayeb

Diane Zeenny Ghorayeb: Re-born in the U.S.A.

Gal8na Madjaroff

Galina Madjaroff Reitz: I’m Still ME

Joel Dewyer

Joel DeWyer: Imagination: A Path Toward Changing How We Look At Things