Plywood Presents 2016

Expect A Standing Ovation.

There is an amazing sound that happens when 1000 social entrepreneurs, cultural creatives and non-profit activists convene in a location with as much history as The Tabernacle. Side conversations fill the staircases. Introductions happen everywhere you turn. Standing ovations start every presentation. New ideas are birthed, launched, shared, funded and pivoted into something better. Plywood Presents is a gathering rooted in a generosity of connectedness from personal connection emails the week prior to the after parties late into the evening. A unique environment where inspiration can be found speaking into a microphone or seated in the chair next to you. A space where authentic doers share newfound wisdom and the tensions that keep them up late at night. Plywood Presents is the gathering for problem solvers, a community of start-ups doing good. Reserve your seat now.

Sound Advice - Plywood Presents theme 2016

I need some advice.

Every day our culture is launching something new. With every created artifact comes the potential of a greater community imprinted with our purpose. Our instinct knows if we want to do something significant we will need to enlist the uncommon sense of others.

Who we listen to determines who we become. We must surround ourselves with people that have plotted territory before us. Wise council will result in fewer failures. But, where do we find these mentors? What does that relationship even look like in our emerging society? How do I even approach another person to speak into my work? Then, what is my responsibility to speak into others work and personal lives?

We believe this topic is the most timely need of our community and in our own personal lives. Purposeful work is happening, but we need intentional help.

We need some advice. SOUND ADVICE.

Travis Mason

Travis Mason

Graduating from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse, Mason was recognized as a Harry S. Truman Scholar, one of the country’s most prestigious undergraduate awards. He earned his Masters from the University of Michigan and has also studied at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Galbraith Scholar.Using his experience as a classically trained musician interdisciplinary futurist, Mason brings a unique approach to solving the company’s complex public policy challenges primarily at Google.

Andrea Sreshta

Andrea Sreshta

Andrea Sreshta is a co-founder of LuminAID Lab, a company dedicated to innovative renewable energy solutions for humanitarian aid. The company's first product, the LuminAID light is a low-cost, portable solar light designed for use in disaster relief situations as well as for the commercial camping marketplace. The LuminAID light has been sold to individuals in more than 70 different countries around the world, and outreach projects with NGO partners have put more than 20,000 donated lights on-the-groundin more than 50 countries including Haiti, India, Laos and the Philippines. The company was awarded the 100k Early Stage Prize in 2013 through the Clean Energy Trust in Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy and was named the winner of Booth's John Edwardson Social New Venture Challenge in 2012. Andrea and her business partner, Anna Stork, were named Toyota Mothers of Invention at the 2014 Women in the World Summit. LuminAID was featured on ABC's Shark Tank in 2015 and received offers from all 5 ofthe Sharks and made a deal with the billionaire investor Mark Cuban. Sreshta previously worked in and studied design and architecture. She earned a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a Master's in Architecture from Columbia University prior to attending the University ofChicago where she is pursuing her MBA.

Brett Trapp

Brett Trapp

Brett Trapp is a thinker and creative from Atlanta, Georgia. Heis also Vice President of Client Experience for Booster Enterprises, an organization that's raised $150 million for elementary schools in the last 14 years. Within Booster, Brett leads a team of creatives that develops high-end character and leadership content for more than 1.3 million students annually. Brett believes in storytelling, leadership, good design, Seth Godin, SEC football, Taylor Swift, Tarantino movies, and CS Lewis.

Ron Clark

Ron Clark

Known to many as "America's Educator," Ron Clark is the 2000 Disney American Teacher of the Year, a two-time New York Times Bestselling author, the subject of a television movie and the founder of The Ron Clark Academy. Ron is regularly featured on network and cable television (The Today Show, CNN and Oprah,) and was dubbed by Ms. Winfrey as her first "Phenomenal Man."

Ron Clark brings charisma, energy and devotion to the education profession. Ron pioneered innovative projects in rural North Carolina working with minority students in a low wealth area. His highly effective programs garnered national attention and led to a White House invitation to be honored by the President of the United States.

Ron Clark's personality is marked by a sense of challenge and adventure. Upon watching a television piece chronicling low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, Ron packed his car and moved to Harlem. After being warned by the principal that his class was the least disciplined group she had seen in years, Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. Ron Clark involved his students in projects in the city and state, and his "low achievers" soon began to excel; and by the end of the year, their scores were higher than the “gifted” classes in his district.

In 2003, Ron Clark released the New York Times Bestselling book "The Essential 55" which includes his 55 expectations of students - as well as all individuals - young and old. Ron's second book, "The Excellent 11," was released in August 2004 and further captured the attention of parents, educators and students alike.

Obviously Ron Clark did not stop there. In 2006, Ron Clark founded The Ron Clark Academy, an inner-city school serving students from across metro Atlanta. The privately-funded institution is unique for its innovative teaching methods and curriculum based on worldwide travel. Each year the students, grades 5 through 8, apply their in-class lessons to international adventures. And, by the time of graduation, each child will have visited six of the seven continents. Teachers from around the world visit the Academy to observe the innovative and "out-of-the-box" methods for achieving student success.

Ron's most anticipated book came in 2011, "The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck—101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers." This New York Times Best Seller brought to light 101 innovative and classroom-tested ways for improving America’s schools and leading our children to greatness. A must read for every teacher and parent.

In addition to his many duties as an educator, Ron Clark is a much sought after keynote speaker. He shares the uncanny adventures he has had in the classroom and speaks of his experiences teaching in Harlem. Within his humorous and heartwarming stories, he delivers a message relevant to each of us. It is a message of hope, dedication and the never-say-never attitude required to achieve goals and dreams.

bryan pape

Bryan Pape

In 2009, entrepreneur and outdoor adventurer, Bryan Papé wanted to create a more functional, lifestyle water bottle. A bottle that would be simple to use and could also be uniquely customized. In the process of creating MiiR, Bryan learned that nearly a billion people don't have access to clean drinking water. Wanting to help, he incorporated an initiative called one4one, directly into the brand. One dollar of each MiiR bottle purchased provides one person with clean water for an entire year. The full $1 donation will go directly to those in need. Join MiiR in giving clean water to those in need. Just $1 can provide clean water for one person for 1 year.

Hank Fortener

Hank Fortener

Hank Fortener is the entrepreneur behind the creation of World Adoption Day and AdoptTogether, the world’s first crowdfunding site for adoptions.

Two years after founding WAD, Hank’s pioneering efforts have already gained support from Ellen DeGeneres, Shaquille O’Neal, Shonda Rhimes and thousands of influencers from around the world. As the Founder and CEO of AdoptTogether, Hank has helped raise nearly $8M to cover adoption costs for more than 1,600 families in its first 4 years of operation.

Hank continues to inspire audiences through several platforms, including his AdoptTogether & Typically Hazardous podcasts as well as his role as Teaching Pastor at Mosaic, touted as one of the most influential churches in America offering spiritual direction to hundreds of thousands of people each week from around the world.

He currently resides in Los Angeles with his lovely wife and two wonderful daughters.

Ruthie Lindsey

Ruthie Lindsey

Through both her words and her work, Ruthie shares a message of hope and of lessons learned from enduring many heavy seasons. She seeks to inspire those around her to reach for this beauty in the midst of suffering, to hold on to hope despite present pain.

Curious Kathryn

Curious Kathryn

"I had an idea. A big one. To start a business." That's how 10 year old Kathryn Miles Bauer introduces herself on her website. And those three sentences tell you a lot about Kathryn- she's bold, motivated, fearless and with each passing day, more and more business savvy.

Kathryn lives in Atlanta, Georgia where she recently launched a candle line under her shop name, Curious Kathryn. She currently offers six scents; Magic Spell, Very Vanilla, Lavender, HOTlanta, Cupcake, Chocolate Fudge and Mistletoe for the festive season . She hopes to add a few new scents soon, including Coconut, which has been a hot request!

She is careful, organized and meticulous with every step- from measuring out the wax to melting to the exact right temperature, then adding the neccessary oils... Here is Kathryn's list of top 5 skills needed for business success: 1. Always be confident and persuasive 2 Organize your time and budget to get your company straight 3. Have business meetings 4. Be very persistant 5. Think big and outside the box 6. Always smile, be adorable and act very mature.

Kathryn currently sells her candles at the following local stores, Made Again, Lemonade Makers, Ace Hardware in Virginia Highlands, fab’rik Buckhead, as well as on her website. Follow Kathryn on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see what smart and savvy idea she comes up with next. Miss Curious Kathryn is going places...can't you tell?

Patrick Woodyard

Patrick Woodyard

Patrick is the Co-Founder & CEO of Nisolo. Patrick graduated from the Croft Institute for International Studies and Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi, where he studied Global Economics & Business, Latin American Studies, and Spanish. His experience using business as a force for good has led him across the globe ranging from Kenya and Uganda to Argentina and Peru. While working for a microfinance firm in Trujillo, Peru, Patrick was introduced to the broken Peruvian footwear industry made up of over 100,000 shoemakers who possess remarkable talent yet lack access to consistent work, fair-wages, and brand access to established international markets. Having had extensive exposure to such potential juxtaposed with a lack of access in other developing countries, Patrick created Nisolo with the vision to push the fashion industry in a new direction by serving as one of the first fashion brands to deliver a superior yet ethically-produced product to consumers.

Chris Marlow

Chris Marlow

Chris Marlow founded Help One Now after meeting a starving young orphan at an abandoned gas station in Zimbabwe. That encounter compelled him to dedicate his life to seeking justice by empowering high-capacity local leaders to care for orphans, vulnerable children, and see their communities transform. His passion is organizing tribes of everyday people to partner with global movements that do good.

Chris’ first book, Doing Good Is Simple: Making a Difference Right Where You Are, will be released by Zondervan later this year. He is a sought-after speaker on topics of justice, mission, leadership, and organizational development, and he is also available to coach leaders who are looking to launch, grow, and sustain their organization well.

Chris lives in downtown Raleigh, NC, with his wife, two daughters, and a German Shepherd pup named Skye.

Jeff Shinabargar

Jeff Shinabarger

Author of Yes or No and More or Less. Founder of @plywoodpeople

John Lewis

John Lewis

Born near Troy, Alabama, on February 21, 1940, John Lewis grew up in an era of segregation. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., he joined the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. Lewis was a Freedom Rider, spoke at 1963's March on Washington and led the demonstration that became known as "Bloody Sunday." He was elected to Congress in 1986 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011.

Safia Minney

Safia Minney

Safia Minney MBE, FRSA is Founder and Director of People Tree, the pioneering Fair Trade and sustainable fashion and lifestyle brand. Safia developed the first organic and Fair Trade clothing supply chain and is recognised by the World Economic Forum as an Outstanding Social Entrepreneur.

gregory ellis

Gregory Ellison

  • Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Emory University
  • instagram
  • twitter

The Rev. Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, II joined the Candler faculty in 2009. His teaching draws primarily from his work with the organization he founded called Fearless Dialogues, a non-profit organization that creates unique spaces for unlikely partners to have hard, heartfelt conversations on taboo subjects like racism, classism, and community violence. Ellison’s research focuses on caring with marginalized populations, pastoral care as social activism, and 20th and 21st century mysticism.

kim biddle

Kim Biddle

Kim Biddle is the Founder and Executive Director of Saving Innocence, a 501c(3) non-profit that provides rescue and restoration to child victims of sex trafficking in the United States. While her work to eradicate human trafficking began overseas in 2004 throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, Kim’s conviction to help the forgotten victims in our own backyard led her to refocus efforts domestically. Founded in 2010, Saving Innocence became the first organization to be contracted by Los Angeles County to partner with law enforcement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on rescue operations, and provide recovered victims with long-term therapeutic care and case management. To date, Saving Innocence has provided a continuum of care to hundreds of child victims, trained thousands of law enforcement officers and other frontline responders in response strategies, and has provided specialized victim advocacy on over 50 state and federal human trafficking cases resulting in a 100% conviction rate. Kim received her Bachelor in Education and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Southern California, and a specialized trauma certification from Harvard University. She is a subject matter expert who has been featured on NPR, ABC, CBS, and KTLA News, and nationally advises government officials in the creation of new laws and policies. Kim has received multiple awards for her abolitionist work nationwide, including those from the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, Probation Department, and the District Attorney’s Office. This past year, Biddle was honored as one of L.A. Weekly’s 2015 People of the Year, naming her “The Human Shield”.

As a survivor of sexual exploitation herself, Kim believes that every child, when empowered and loved, can become the leaders of our communities. She states, "When we overcome the part of our story that was intended to destroy us, our wounds transform into our greatest strengths and become tools to set others free.”

tripp crosby

Tripp Crosby

Tripp Crosby is most widely known as the taller half of Tripp and Tyler, a world famous YouTube sketch comedy duo with over 40 million views. Their work has been featured on the Today Show, CNN Headline News, and multiple times on the homepage of YouTube. Tripp is also a film director and was recently selected as part of the Saatchi & Saatchi New Director Showcase at the Cannes International Film Festival. He is also the founder of Green Tricycle Studios, in Atlanta, GA, an award-winning commercial, music video, and branded entertainment production company. Their work has been seen on multiple television networks and by millions on the world wide web. When he's not producing new sketches with Tyler or leading his team at Green Tricycle, Tripp can be seen performing at comedy clubs and corporate events around the globe.


If you want to get a glimpse of what you will learn from Plywood Presents, watch the best and most inspiring videos from previous gatherings. Take time to learn from practical innovators that you can apply today and we encourage you to share them with your friends or team. They are all free and could give you the boost you need today to keep going today.


I believe many great ideas in the world never get off the ground because of one consistent reason: Money. Or that is what people tell me. And then there is the fear of failure when asking for donors or investors. I don’t want the reason for a problem solving idea to not break daylight to be because of money or fear any longer. So, we are giving money away, and adding a twist. Instead of asking for yourself, all ideas must be nominated by someone else. We know that no idea can be sustained by one person, so let's come together and be known by the problems we solve.

No Longer Accepting Nominations. Thank you to all who Nominated!

Official rules and regulations
on trees
The Tabernacle Atlanta

Every inch is historical inspiration.

We will gather at a historic location with a story of social concern and innovation, The Tabernacle. It opened in 1910 as The Broughton Tabernacle and quickly hosted the Georgia Baptist Medical Center and nursing school. The Third Baptist Church was an active congregation with over 4000 members. The congregation relocated during the mid eighties and the building lay vacant until the 1996 Centen- nial Olympic Games, when it was converted into a House of Blues.

Today, The Tabernacle is known as one of the best music venues in the nation and has hosted many of the greatest musicians of our time from Coldplay to Elton John to Justin Timberlake. Every inch of the walls are filled with hand painted folk art and every viewing location has a sense of intimacy. The Tabernacle is currently operated by Live Nation and will be the perfect location for our conversation this year.

The Tabernacle
152 Luckie Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30303

(Parking is not included in registration price)

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The Glenn Hotel

the glenn hotel

Imagine arriving at a boutique whose charm is palpable at first sight. Upon arrival, you are greeted with a welcome experience, a refreshing libation and a warm, scented towel to refresh you after your journey. They care about your experience just like Plywood Presents - a perfect partner. Your needs are known, they are proac- tively tended to, and you are treated as if you are staying in the home of your very best friend. Just two blocks from The Tabernacle, we have negotiated a special "Plywood" rate of $139 per night for our community.

View Special Plywood Rates

Delta Flight Special

Delta Airlines

Plywood Presents has a partnership with Delta Airlines to receive a discounted fare when traveling to the conference. Reservations and ticketing are available via Select Book Your Flight. Enter the meeting code below.

Account Code: NMN8R

Reservations may also be made by calling our Delta Meeting reservations at 800-328-1111 Mon-Fri 7am-7pm CDT.

*Please note that there is a direct ticketing fee for booking through the reservation number above.)

time for everything
  • August 3
  • 5:30 PM Registration & Opening Reception
  • 6:30 PM Session One
  • 7:45 PM Intermission
  • 8:00 PM Session Two
  • 9:30 PM Opening Night Party
  • August 4
  • 8:30 AM Session Three
  • 10:00 AM Intermission
  • 10:30 AM Session Four
  • 12:00 PM Lunch
  • 1:30 PM Session Five
  • 2:30 PM Intermission
  • 3:00 PM Session Six
  • 4:00 PM Closing Party

Ticket Terms & Conditions:
If you wish to cancel your registration 15 days or more before the event, you will receive a credit on your account, minus a $50 processing fee per cancelled ticket, to use towards another Plywood event. Credits must be used within 12 months from the date the credit is issued. Depending on the event you choose to place your credit towards, and the current rate for that event, a difference to pay in price may occur. Cancellations must be finalized on or before 15 days prior to your ticketed event. No cancellations will be issued to any registration 14 days or less before the event. You may transfer the registration to a substitute participant. Cash, check or credit card refunds are prohibited for cancellations.

Plywood Presents is made possible by:

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