Salt Lake City | September 25 – 27, 2024

Across the country, the Cradle to Career Network brings together thousands of partners and countless community leaders, all pursuing one North Star: a future where every child has every opportunity to succeed. Together, we transform systems to get better, more equitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous, Latine and Asian children and children experiencing poverty. We are guided by community expertise, data and shared learning. We celebrate our progress and chart the course to stronger futures.

Every year, StriveTogether brings the power of our national movement to one city for three days of connecting, learning and creating change. The Cradle to Career Network Convening is the only event of its kind for local and national leaders breaking down barriers and changing systems for 14 million youth — including nearly 8 million children of color.


Registration is not yet open for this event.



our keynote speakers

Cheryl L. Dorsey, president of Echoing Green

Cheryl L. Dorsey | President of Echoing Green

Cheryl L. Dorsey is a trailblazer in the social entrepreneurship movement and the president of Echoing Green, a global nonprofit that supports emerging social entrepreneurs and invests deeply in their ideas and leadership. As an accomplished leader and entrepreneur, she has served in two presidential administrations as a White House fellow and special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Labor (1997-98); special assistant to the Director of the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Labor Department (1998-99); and vice chair for the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships (2009-2017). She is a frequent speaker on racial justice and equity in philanthropy.


Kriste Dragon, CEO of Pahara Institute

Kriste Dragon | CEO of Pahara Institute

As CEO of Pahara Institute, Kriste Dragon is reimagining public education by strengthening and sustaining high-integrity leaders. Previously, she was the CEO and co-founder of Citizens of the World Charter Schools, a national network of public charter schools that challenge students to realize their full potential and thrive in a diverse society. She is a member of the advisory board for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, on the board of directors for EdNavigator and is a founding co-chair of the national advisory board of The Collective, Teach for America’s national alumni of color association. She began her work in education as a middle school teacher in South Los Angeles.


Dr. Manual Pastor, distinguished professor of sociology and American studies & ethnicity, University of Southern California

Dr. Manual Pastor | Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of Southern California

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a distinguished professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC), where he directs the USC Equity Research Institute. He is the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC and holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities — and the social movements seeking to change those realities. He previously served on California’s COVID-19 Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery and as a public member of the state’s Strategic Growth Council. In 2022, he was elected to the American Academy for the Arts and Sciences for his work in public affairs and public policy.


Morgan Radford, co-anchor of NBC News Daily

Morgan Radford | Co-anchor of NBC News Daily

As co-anchor of NBC News Daily, Morgan Radford connects with more than 1.1 million viewers daily — from breaking news in the nation’s top stories, to peeling back the layers of meaning for voters in this divisive political climate. Since joining NBC News in 2015, she has covered the country’s biggest stories, including the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on low-income communities and America’s racial reckoning following the 2020 shooting death of George Floyd. Her coverage of the immigration debate over the U.S. southern border was part of the MSNBC “Border Special” nominated for a 2020 “News Discussion and Analysis” Emmy Award. She also won the 2020 Gracie Award for National TV News On-Air Talent.


Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO of Teach For America

Elisa Villanueva Beard | CEO of Teach For America

Under Elise Villanueva Beard’s leadership, Teach For America corps members reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in more than 1,500 schools across 37 states and the District of Columbia. The Teach For America network of 70,000 leaders is working from every sector to ensure that all children have the access and opportunity to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams. Her passion for educational equity comes from personal experience. She grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and developed a deep commitment to Teach For America’s mission as a student at DePauw University, where she was one of just a few Mexican American students. She started her journey with Teach For America as a 1998 Phoenix corps member.


Jennifer Blatz, president and CEO of StriveTogetherJennifer Blatz | President and CEO of StriveTogether

Jennifer Blatz is the president and CEO of StriveTogether and a nationally recognized leader and expert in building place-based partnerships. For two decades, she has designed, developed and implemented strategies that drive large-scale community improvement through partnership with local leaders and organizations. Jennifer began her career in the education sector. She serves as a PolicyLink Ambassador for Health Equity, a LEAP Ambassador, a board member at Raising A Reader and a member of the Cincinnati Business Courier Leadership Trust.


Award nominations now open!

Each year at the convening, StriveTogether presents awards to honor the contributions of Cradle to Career Network members and community changemakers, school district staff members and network member organizations.


Bill Henningsgaard Cradle to Career Champion Award:

This award honors a network member or community changemaker who embodies passion, commitment and persistence.

Nominate now >


Cheryl Broadnax Award for Innovation and Results:

This award honors a school district leader or staff member who is pursuing better and more equitable outcomes for kids in the K-12 system.

Nominate now >


Nancy Zimpher Courage in Leadership Award:

This award honors a network member organization that demonstrates exemplifies courageous, audacious leadership in its community.

Nominate now >



Follow along with convening insights on social media

Join the conversation on any social media channel with #ConveneC2C. Follow along for live insights from our speakers and sessions.


Join the conversation by posting on any social media channel using #ConveneC2C!


Questions? Contact the convening team at


Interested in joining the Network?

The Cradle to Career Network unites people who want to ensure that every child has access to opportunities for success in school and in life. Learn more about joining the network.