2021 plenary speakers: Dwayne Spencer and Ann Mei Chang

Dwayne Spencer has worked in nonprofit management for 27 years and led Memphis Habitat since 2001. He has guided the agency through a period of significant growth and change, while maintaining and improving organizational practices, policies and strategies, which have effectively contributed to ongoing organizational effectiveness and client impact. Dwayne has extensive experience working with a wide range of community constituencies to create strategic partnerships and impactful collaborations. He holds a master’s in public administration from The University of Memphis.

Since joining Memphis Habitat in 2001, Dwayne has grown the organization from a 9-member staff to more than 45 employees and from a $1 million budget to $15.5 million. In the last several years, Memphis Habitat’s programs have expanded from serving 15-20 families a year to approximately 250-plus annually through the launch of Aging in Place, a program that serves seniors via mobility modifications and critical repairs. Today, Memphis Habitat ranks in the “top 10” out of more than 1,200 Habitat affiliates in North America—based on families served. Memphis Habitat was ranked as the #1 Habitat affiliate in the nation (FY 2019) serving more families than any other market.

Dwayne will speak during the opening session on Wednesday, November 10th; his plenary will be titled "Mission Leap: Health + Housing" and he will also lead a break-out session. The plenary will be a segue from last year's conference theme, "Health Starts at Home," to this year's theme, "Innovate, Renovate, Celebrate!" People will continue to age and so will homes. Traditional philanthropy can’t sustain this work when the need so far outpaces available resources. We need the public and private sectors to come together in a big way to have a significant impact. Dwayne will share innovative ideas for bolder, more impactful solutions. 

Ann Mei Chang is the author of Lean Impact: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good. She was the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID and served as the first Executive Director of the US Global Development Lab, engaging the best practices for innovation from Silicon Valley to accelerate the impact and scale of solutions to the world’s most intractable challenges. Ann Mei earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University and has been recognized as one of the “Women in the World: 125 Women of Impact” by Newsweek/The Daily Beast. The first 50 organizations that register to attend the conference in-person will receive a free copy of her book at the event.

Ann Mei will join us virtually on Thursday, November 11th for a plenary, "Lean Impact: How Innovation and Greater Agility Can Accelerate Your Social Mission." She'll speak for 30 minutes and then answer questions from in-person and virtual attendees for 30 minutes. Plenary description: Do you want to tackle the need for home repair in your community, but are not sure how to make a meaningful dent? Transformative change will not be achieved through business as usual. By building on the best practices for innovation that have emerged from Silicon Valley, we can deliver far greater bang for the buck by running lightweight experiments, driving fast feedback loops, and accelerating learning. The result will better address real needs, improve cost-effectiveness, and unleash the possibility of true scale. Through inspiring stories drawn from her interviews with over 200 organizations across sectors and geographies, Ann Mei will share both the theory and the practice behind successful social innovation.