Keynote Speaker Announced for Iowa Civic Action Academy

August 7, 2017

Iowa Campus Compact today announced the first keynote speaker for the upcoming inaugural Iowa Civic Action Academy. The Academy will take place November 3 and 4, 2017 at Grand View University in Des Moines. Students from across the state (undergraduate, graduate, and beyond) are invited to connect with peers and learn from professionals about social change and civic action. Registration is now open!

Introducing Vanessa McNeal

Vanessa McNeal

The opening keynote speaker will be Vanessa McNeal. Vanessa is a Davenport, Iowa native. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and also recently received her Master’s Degree is Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa. She is an accomplished public speaker, executive film producer, and business owner. She informs and transforms audiences with her passion and veracity. She is a survivor of child abuse and sexual violence, now telling her story as a vehicle to empower, educate, and inspire others.

Vanessa formed her company McNeal Media at 23, and is widely known for her innovation and creativity.  Her message has resonated with audiences across the country through the influential topics of sexual violence, childhood trauma, film production, overcoming adversity, leadership, business creativity, and career development/attainment.

Vanessa is also the executive film producer of the internationally acclaimed documentary, “The Voiceless”. The film features the stories of male survivors of sexual violence. Vanessa also produced a short about raising awareness to sexual violence and a documentary about her experiences overcoming trauma. She is an expert at leading creative works and giving color to personal stories. Learn more about Vanessa.

Make Plans to Attend and Share

The Academy is a new, professional development opportunity for students interested in learning new ways of making a difference and building skills through civic and community engagement. Sessions will offer skill-building in civic action including philanthrophy, nonprofit leadership, dialogue, advocacy and more. Students will also have a chance to learn what others are doing on campuses across the state and network with peers. The call for student-run session proposals will be released later this month.