RootsTech 2020 Keynotes and Entertainment
Leigh Anne Tuohy
Inspiration behind the movie, The Blind Side
Leigh Anne Tuohy's inspirational story was popularized by the book and film The Blind Side, wherein she and her family helped a homeless, traumatized boy rise to become an All-American NFL player (Michael Oher) for the Baltimore Ravens. Tuohy graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design and was later given an honorary doctorate from Christian Brothers University. She is a New York Times best-selling author. Her most recent book, Turn Around: Reach Out, Give Back, and Get Moving, provides practical ideas to become a daily difference maker in meeting the needs of those around you with love and purpose. Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy adopted Michael Oher in his youth and supported and nurtured him as he overcame personal challenges from his childhood and achieved incredible success as a first round NFL draft pick and a Superbowl champion. Tuohy's message is one of inspiration, inclusion, and helping one another achieve that potential.
David Hume Kennerly has been a photographer on the front lines of history for more than fifty years. At 25 he was one of the youngest winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism. Kennerly’s 1972 award for Feature Photography included images of the Vietnam and Cambodia wars, refugees escaping from East Pakistan into India, and the Ali v. Frazier “Fight of the Century” World Heavyweight Championship at Madison Square Garden. Two years later Kennerly was appointed President Gerald R. Ford's Personal White House Photographer. Kennerly’s photos have appeared on more than 50 major magazine covers, and he has documented history in over a hundred countries. He has photographed ten United States Presidents, covered twelve presidential campaigns, served as a contributing editor for Newsweek magazine for ten years, and a contributing photographer for Time & Life Magazines for more than fifteen. American Photo Magazine named Kennerly “One of the 100 Most Important People in Photography”, and Washingtonian Magazine called Kennerly one of the 50 most important journalists in Washington, DC. His work has been exhibited widely and he maintains a busy publishing, appearance and lecture schedule.
Evening Entertainment Stand-up Comedian
Ryan recently released his first stand-up special. The one-hour Netflix original Happy Face, follows a wealth of television appearances and a non-stop headlining tour. Armed with the unique perspective of growing up in rural Idaho to become a favorite in the New York stand-up comedy scene, he’s one-of-a-kind. He’s been named one of Rolling Stone’s Five Comics to Watch, and recent appearances include The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan, and opening spots for Jerry Seinfeld. Ryan is endearing stand-up lovers, and his future is bright.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back | Pro Football Hall of Fame Running Back
Emmitt Smith is a professional football icon and one of the greatest to ever play the game. In his 15 seasons in the National Football League, Smith amassed many records that still stand today, including the most career rushing yards and the most career rushing touchdowns. Smith’s impressive resume includes three Super Bowl championship rings and his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. As a first-round pick in the 1990 NFL Draft, Smith was the cornerstone of the Dallas Cowboys offense for 13 seasons. The eight-time Pro Bowler was the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in 11 consecutive seasons and on October 27, 2002 he surpassed Walter Payton as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Currently, Smith has transitioned to the role of businessman and entrepreneur and runs several companies spanning real estate, construction and technology. Active in charitable outreach both in the Dallas area and on a national level, Smith founded Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities with his wife to provide unique experiences and educational opportunities to underserved youth. Smith currently resides with his wife, Pat, and their five children in Dallas.