Shawn Harper

Imagine, graduating last in your class with a 1.62 accumulative GPA and voted most likely to fail, yet making your way to the NFL and becoming a leading business owner. Growing up, Aaron Shawn Harper faced multiple learning disabilities. Many didn’t believe in him, but Shawn never settled for failure achieving beyond what everyone thought was possible. While attending Indian University, Shawn was drafted to play in the NFL which became a 7-year career as an offensive lineman with the LA Rams, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts and NFL Europe. 

Shortly after the NFL, Shawn founded his thriving multi-million dollar security firm, American Services and Protection, by translating the skills and disciplines he learned from the NFL to corporate America. Author of Best Seller, The Winning Edge, Shawn is known as the “Winologist” and one of the nation’s leading motivational speakers. On the corporate stage with well-known companies including Dow, Proctor & Gamble, Chase Bank and more, Shawn is breaking down elite level strategies and methodologies used by major professional athletes into simple concepts to win in business, and in life. His paradigm-shifting approach has helped transform thousands of individuals and corporations by reframing their mindset from success to winning, and activating their greatest potential to compete and dominate at the highest levels.

Shawn’s heart to see lives transformed overflows to his innermost passion – to impact the youth. That led him to finding his non-profit initiative, For The Next Gen, that offers motivational speaking, life coaching and personal development programs in schools across the nation. Shawn’s story empowers students to write their own destiny by overcoming obstacles and developing what he calls the winner’s mindset. When Shawn speaks, students lean into his personable, powerful and humorous presentations. Shawn infuses his mantra, “We’re not born winners or losers, we’re born choosers!” It is Shawn’s ‘no excuses’ philosophy that has motived thousands of students to dream big, create opportunities out of their obstacles and believe in their true potential.

Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen holds a Master of Education degree and is a Special Needs Educator with a private clinical practice. She specializes in working with children with autism and various developmental disabilities and their families, acting as an advocate and life coach for members of the autistic community. Kathleen has developed effective cognitive and neurodevelopmental strategies to assist those with autism to better understand the world and their own experiences by achieving greater control of their thoughts, perceptions, and actions. She believes that treating oneself and others with kindness and being mindful of developmental, physiological, emotional, social, and spiritual needs helps individuals develop better insights into their actions and reactions. As a trainer, Kathleen excels at helping participants make connections to course content by sharing a variety of real-life experiences. 


Doug Crandell has managed, staffed and directed community mental health and disability programs at the provider level for 25 years. He has been the Project Director for a number of demonstration grants funded through the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Social Security Administration. He directed Georgia's Medicaid Infrastructure funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

He is a Senior Consultant with Griffin-Hammis Associates and on the faculty of the Institute on Human Development and Disability at the University of Georgia. For the last four years, Doug has provided training and technical assistance to Georgia's supported providers through a joint effort with the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. He is a Subject Matter Expert (SME) with the Office of Disability Employment Policy in D.C. and is currently working with several states to restructure their employment supports to include evidence-based supported employment, customized employment, and self-employment.

Doug works in collaboration with New Mexico's UCEDD to deliver training and technical assistance under the state's Partners for Employment Initiative. Georgia was recently awarded a Disability Employment Initiative grant, which Doug will collaborate on with the Georgia Dept. of Economic Development as well as the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Georgia Tech, and others. As an author, Doug has published 7 books and is a regular contributor to the venerable SUN Magazine, where he publishes essays on labor, health, and disability.