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Keynote Speakers

Opening General Session

Alex "China" Gracia

Founder, CEO and fashion designer of CVLZD Apparel, China faced challenging circumstances growing up on the streets of Miami. As a young man, he struggled with reading and was labeled a "problem child with learning disabilities." Dressing up was the way he expressed his voice. While in High School, he created his first piece, a jacket and fashion statement that gained him popularity and reflected his Haitian heritage. After serving in the Marines and a stint in the music industry, China started his own successful fashion brand, influenced by the cultures of Miami, Haiti, Cuba and Colombia. An identity brand, China designs for the people who want a voice and want their clothes to do the talking.


Closing Session and Awards Luncheon

Billy Collins

United States Poet Laureate (2001-2003)

No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The American Scholar, he is a Guggenheim fellow and a New York Public Library "Literary Lion." Mr. Collins has published twelve collections of poetry and his last three have broken sales records for poetry.








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