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"Boys State was one of the greatest times of my life. I met guys from all walks of life and I made many friends that I will stay in touch with for a very long time."

-- Zach Craft '04
Ludlow, MO

2018 Keynote Speakers

Below are our speakers for the 2018 Session.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Kansas City Mayor Sly James will deliver a keynote address at a special assembly on Sunday evening in Hendricks Hall. This is his fourth visit to the Boys State program and he will provide a candid and entertaining discussion of the issues facing elected officials at the city level.

We are very pleased to have him as part of the program again this year. The Mayor will hold a question and answer session following his prepared remarks.

Sly attended Bishop Hogan High School in Kansas City, graduating in 1969. While there, Sly was the president of his junior class. During his 26-year legal career, Sly developed a proven record of success as a leader, an effective coalition builder, and a fierce advocate. He joined Blackwell, Sanders, Matheny, Weary & Lombardi in 1983, and became the first African-American partner in the firm’s history in 1990.




Monday, June 18, 2018

Eric Schmitt was elected the 46th Treasurer of the State of Missouri on November 8, 2016 with more votes than any other State Treasurer in Missouri history.

As State Treasurer, Eric is focused on protecting Missouri taxpayers, supporting small businesses, and empowering individuals and their families while overseeing the state’s $4 billion investment portfolio as its Chief Financial Officer.

Treasurer Schmitt’s roots in Missouri run deep, stretching through six generations of farmers, teachers and small businesspeople who have lived and worked in Missouri.

Eric attended DeSmet Jesuit High School and went on to graduate cum laude from Truman State University, where he founded a Habitat for Humanity chapter. After graduation, he attended law school at Saint Louis University where he received his J.D. and served as an editor of the Law Review.

He was inspired to enter public service to be a voice for his son, Stephen, who was born with a rare genetic condition (tuberous sclerosis) causing tumors on his organs. Stephen also has epilepsy, is on the autism spectrum, and is non-verbal.

Treasurer Schmitt’s record of accomplishments serves as a reflection of his values and leadership. During his time as an Alderman for the city of Glendale, his two terms in the Missouri State Senate and now as State Treasurer, he has worked to provide tax relief for working families, improve educational opportunities for Missouri children, and advocate for those with special needs.

Eric and his wife, Jaime, have three children, Stephen, Sophia, and Olivia.




Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Williams will accept the Lehr Chair on June 19, 2018 during the 79th session of Missouri Boys State.

As a political analyst for Fox News, Juan Williams is at the cutting edge of America’s politics and culture. He is also a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday and the weekday political newscast Special Report with Bret Baier, as well as a regular substitute host for The O'Reilly Factor.

In 2000, NPR selected Williams to host their afternoon talk show, “Talk of The Nation,” and in two years he brought the show’s ratings to record heights. His daring perspectives on American politics, race, and culture are based on his historical understanding, political expertise, and knowledge of diversity.

In addition to his more than ten-year career with NPR, Williams spent 23 years at The Washington Post as a political columnist and national correspondent. During his tenure there, he covered every major political campaign from 1980 to 2000 as a national correspondent and a political columnist.

A recipient of multiple awards for his writing and investigative journalism, Williams also won an Emmy Award for television documentary writing and has received widespread critical acclaim his documentaries Politics: The New Black Power and A. Phillip Randolph: For Jobs and Freedom.

In addition to prize-winning columns and editorial writing, he has also authored seven books. His newest is Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, in which he “uses his very public firing [from NPR] as a launching pad to discuss the countless ways in which honest debate in America…is stifled.”

With the release of his sixth book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America and What We Can Do About It, Williams created a national furor and ignited debate everywhere with his point blank analysis of black leadership in the country. He combines a bold, perceptive, solution-based look at African American life, culture, and politics with an impassioned clarion call to do the right thing now and not lose sight of the true values of the Civil Rights Movement.

His previous book, My Soul Looks Back in Wonder, presents stirring, eyewitness accounts of history-making movements for black, Hispanic, and women’s rights, as well as other successes at creating a better America.




Thursday, June 21, 2018

In 2005, Shawn Askinosie left a successful career as a criminal defense lawyer to start a bean to bar chocolate factory and never looked back.

Askinosie Chocolate is a small batch, award winning chocolate factory located in Springfield, Missouri, sourcing 100% of their beans directly from farmers. The only chocolate maker working directly with cocoa farmers on four continents, Shawn travels to regions of Ecuador, the Philippines and Tanzania to source cocoa beans for his chocolate. This allows the chocolate to be traced to the source and labeled authentic single origin. It also enables Askinosie Chocolate to profit share with the farmers, giving them a “Stake In the Outcome,” a principle he learned from author/entrepreneur Jack Stack.

Recently named by Forbes "One of the 25 Best Small Companies in America", Askinosie Chocolate has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, on Bloomberg, MSNBCand numerous other national and international media outlets.

The Askinosie Chocolate mission is to serve their farmers, their neighborhood, their customers and each other, sharing the Askinosie Chocolate experience by leaving the world a better place than they found it. The company is currently sustainably feeding over 1,600 students per day in Tanzania and the Philippines, without any donations.

Shawn was named by O, The Oprah Magazine "One of 15 Guys Who Are Saving the World." They said, "Why we're fans: The philanthropically-minded chocolate entrepreneur aims to get students thinking about business ethics in a way that could have ripple effects for generations." For his efforts in "Advancing food standards... by creating social, economic, and environmental impact", Shawn was awarded Top Business Leader of the Year in 2013 by the Specialty Food Association. Shawn has been awarded honorary doctorates from University of Missouri-Columbia and Missouri State University. In 2015, Askinosie Chocolate was awarded a complimentary membership to the Clinton Global Initiative for the company’s social efforts around the world.

Askinosie Chocolate has received 3 Good Food Awards, considered to be the Oscars of food; 6 silver awards from the Specialty Food Association; and 7 International Chocolate Awards, including the Gold World Award for the Dark Chocolate + Licorice bar.

Shawn's book, recently released, co-written with his daughter Lawren, published by Penguin titled "Meaningful Work: The Quest To Do Great Business, Find Your Calling, and Feed Your Soul" is an Amazon #1 New Release. Read Seth Godin's review of the book here. He is a Family Brother at Assumption Abbey, a Trappist monastery near Ava, Missouri and the co-founder of Lost & Found, a grief center serving children and families in Southwest Missouri.




Friday, June 22, 2018

Eric L. Motley, Ph.D., is an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for Institutional Advancement and governance.  He previously served as Vice President and Executive Director of National Programs and prior to that he served as Vice President and Managing Director of the Henry Crown Fellowship Program. In addition to managing the Henry Crown Fellowship Program, he served as the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute-Rockefeller Foundation’s Commission to Reform the Federal Appointments Process, an independent, nonpartisan effort to evaluate the Federal government’s vetting and clearance procedures. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, he served as the Director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of International Visitors within the bureau of Public Diplomacy. In 2003, he became Special Assistant to President George W. Bush for Presidential Personnel, where he managed the appointment process in the White House for over 1,200 presidentially-appointed advisory board and commission positions. He joined the White House staff as Deputy Associate Director, Office of Presidential Personnel in 2001.

Eric serves on the Board of Directors of Barry-Wehmiller Companies, The James Madison Council of the Library of Congress, the Library Cabinet for the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mt. Vernon, jury member of the Ken Burns American Heritage Prize, The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s National Council, The John F. Kennedy Centennial Memorial Task Force, National Advisory Board of Honored, Young Concert Artists, Advisory Board of Planet Word Museum, Board of Overseers of Samford University and is a former member of the Chapter Board of the Washington National Cathedral. He is a member of the Cosmos Club of Washington, DC and the Grolier Club of New York City. Eric is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation and Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. He is an avid book collector of first editions and rare books with a concentration on the English writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson. In February 2017, he published a memoir Madison Park, A Place of Hope telling the story of the small community he grew up in Montgomery, AL, that was founded in 1880 by a group of freed slaves.

Eric earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Samford University. As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, he earned a Master of Letters in International Relations and a Ph.D. as the John Steven Watson Scholar.




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