Meet the Keynote Speakers

Dr. Daisy Gonzales

Dr. Daisy Gonzales
Deputy Chancellor
California Community Colleges

Dr. Daisy Gonzales serves as the deputy chancellor of the California Community Colleges, the largest system of public higher education in the United States. She leads the 116-community college system, which serves over 1.8 million students with a student-centered mindset and a goal of creating equitable and supportive ecosystems where students thrive. 

She is an experienced and unapologetic advocate for student success. Born into an immigrant family in Southern California and raised as a former foster youth, Dr. Gonzales was among the first in her family to attend college. She credits her time in the Los Angeles foster care system and schools as having shaped her views of the integral role public institutions play in the lives of students and the economic development in a community.

Dr. Gonzales was appointed interim chancellor in August 2022 by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. As the CEO of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, her primary duties involved implementing the Vision for Success, a bold systemwide plan that seeks to reduce time to completion, increase degree and credential attainment, boost transfer to the University of California and California State University campuses, and provide Californians with the necessary job skills to find good-paying careers.

Her leadership as interim chancellor continued to break barriers as she is the first Latina and only the second woman to serve in the role. Dr. Gonzales works to empower students through her focus on equity and commitment to ensure students are at the center of every discussion and decision.


Dr. Tina M. King

Dr. Tina M. King
San Diego College of Continuing Education

Dr. Tina M. King is a transformative educational leader whose vision is guided by the core values of inclusive excellence, equity-mindedness, and institutional responsibility for student success. Dr. King is a tireless advocate for students and educators, she is extremely passionate about issues that affect student equity, student success, and policy in public education.

Dr. King has served in every sector of public education in California, beginning her career in public K-12 education before transitioning to postsecondary education.

Currently, Dr. King serves as the President of San Diego College of Continuing Education where she oversees and advocates for 40,000 students. Prior to becoming president, she served as Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Student Affairs at Southwestern College where she led the effort to obtain a $3 million grant to advance equitable student programs, developed the first "LGBTQIA+ Learning Community," and established a "Personal Wellness Center" to meet students’ mental health and wellness needs.

Dr. King also spearheaded the college’s "Basic Needs Hub" and supported the development of a $90 million Student Union Complex. Dr. King’s accomplishments are the result of collaborative leadership with colleagues and mutually beneficial partnerships with the local community.

Dr. King also serves as a professor at San Diego State University, teaching equity-minded approaches to student success to graduate students in postsecondary educational leadership.

Dr. King’s research focuses on faculty and staff validation and academic achievement among Black males at community colleges.


Nikkolas Smith photoNikkolas Smith
Artivist / Author

Nikkolas Smith is an artivist, concept artist, children's book author, film illustrator ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever") and movie poster designer. He earned a Master of Architecture from Hampton University. After designing theme parks at Walt Disney Imagineering for 11 years, he wrote and illustrated picture books such as the upcoming "The Artivist," "The Golden Girls of Rio" (nominated for an NAACP Image Award), "My Hair Is Poofy And That's Okay" and "World Cup Women." He is also the illustrator of #1 NYT Bestseller The 1619 Project: Born on the Water in collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and award-winning author Renée Watson; "I am Ruby Bridges," written by civil rights icon Ruby Bridges; "Black Panther Wakanda Forever: The Courage To Dream," authored by NYT best-selling author Fred Joseph; and "That Flag," written by Tameka Fryer-Brown. He is a proud 2016 White House Innovators of Color fellow. As an illustrator of color, Nikkolas creates captivating art that can spark important conversations in today's world and inspire meaningful change. Many of his viral and globally published sketches are included in his latest book "Sunday Sketch: The Art of Nikkolas," a visual journey on life and a collection of more than 100 sketches he has done in the last five years. His works have been featured and shared worldwide. Nikkolas also talks at conferences and schools all over the country, and leads workshops in digital painting character and movie poster and design. Born in Houston, Texas, Nikkolas lives in Los Angeles, California.