Opening Speaker: Carl Stafford
Carl Stafford is an educator, author, public speaker, poet, life coach, entrepreneur, mentor, and community activist. Stafford was born and raised in the inner city of St. Louis Missouri. In the year 2003 Stafford became part of the desegregation program where he attended Affton High School for 4 years. While attending Affton High School, Stafford received many honors in football and choir. Stafford graduated from High School in the year 2007.
After High School, he went on to attend college at Northwest Missouri State University. In his time at the university, he joined and served on the executive boards of many different organizations. Some of those organizations include; Alliance of Black Collegians, Minority Men’s Organization, and the American Sign Language Club, just to name a few. In 2012, he and his wife Co-Founded the organization “Minority Educators of Northwest Missouri”. The organization/team that impacted Mr. Stafford the most was the Debate and Forensics team at the university. Stafford was a very successful competitor at Northwest. Some of his honors are as follows: 10x State Finalist, 3x State Champion, 5x National Finalist, and 1x National Champion. In the years 2011 and 2012, Stafford was ranked amongst the top 10 collegiate speakers in the country.
In 2015, Stafford founded “Speaking It Real Communications”, a business solely dedicated to improving the everyday speech of individuals. He seeks to help people of all ages who may want some training in the art of formal public speaking, interviewing, and everyday communications. Public speaking is one of the most common fears among Americans today, and with the rise of technology and social media, many people of the younger and older generations do not develop their voices to communicate in the most effective manner. He believes that being confident in one’s voice is a more than necessary skill needed for success. Though this business, Stafford plans to help and impact a great deal of people. He offers both private and virtual lessons in speech communications. Currently, Stafford serves as the Program Director for the largest African American male based mentoring program in the Kansas City metro area. Lastly, Stafford enjoys gaining opportunities to speak at events, and would be honored to speak at your next event! If you would like to receive services from Carl Stafford, please contact him directly.
CHANGED: Closing Speaker: Dr. Matthew Baker
Dr. Matt Baker joined the Northwest staff in 1993 as a residence hall director before leaving in 1996 to work on his master’s degree in higher education administration at the University of Arkansas.
He returned to Northwest in 1998 as residential life coordinator for student services and subsequently served as assistant director of residential life, associate director of residential life and director of residential life.
Baker earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kansas State University. He also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia, which he completed in 2009.
Baker was named the Vice President of Student Affairs for Northwest in 2011. As vice president of student affairs, Baker’s duties include promotion of student learning and development, aligning student programs and services with academic success and advocating for students while administering University policies and procedures. Baker, who had served as dean of students since 2008, will continue the responsibilities he held with that position as well as those associated with the vice president role.