Keynote & Featured Speakers

If you would like to see a list of all of our speakers, find them here!

Justin Draeger
President and CEO, NASFAA






Justin is president and CEO of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He serves as the primary voice of NASFAA and as the liaison between the association members, the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the media. Most of Justin's career has been devoted to assisting disadvantaged populations achieve their educational goals and better their communities. Since 2002, Justin has been engaged in either administering, interpreting, communicating, or developing student financial aid policy. His prior experiences include working as a financial aid director, regulatory and policy analyst, and spokesperson. He has held senior positions overseeing government relations, communications, and policy work. Justin has testified in multiple Congressional hearings on student financial aid, college access, student loan policy, and the interplay between federal agencies and colleges and universities. He is frequently quoted in the press and has appeared on The Today Show on NBC, National Public Radio, APM's Marketplace, Fox Business News, CNBC, and C-SPAN, and is often quoted in national news outlets. Justin serves on several boards of directors that promote health and education. He earned his undergraduate from Brigham Young University and his MBA from Baker College. Justin lives in Fairfax, VA with his wife and three children.

Brad Barnett, FAAC®
NASFAA National Chair, James Madison University


Brad Barnett, MS, AFC®, CPFM, FAAC®, is an accredited financial counselor and certified personal financial manager who works as the associate vice president for access and enrollment management/director of financial aid and scholarships at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. With over two decades of experience in the financial aid profession, Brad has been active in state, regional, and national financial aid associations as a presenter, committee member/chair, and elected officer. A past president of VASFAA and SASFAA, he has also served NASFAA in various roles, including treasurer, conference chair, Standards of Excellence (SOE) reviewer, SOE assessment leader, and a member of the Financial Affairs Committee. Brad has been honored for his work by receiving the VASFAA Lifetime Membership Award, VAFSAA Excellence Award, SASFAA Distinguished Service Award, and NASFAA Regional Leadership Award. In addition to his financial aid activities, Brad teaches personal finance courses (online and in person) at JMU and provides financial counseling services on a professional basis outside of his role with JMU.

Dr. Randy Pierce

Randy Pierce Keynote Speaker






Randy is the President and CEO of Future In Sight formerly known as the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. Previously, Randy was the founder and ten-year President of 2020 Vision Quest, and a past president of the Hudson NH Lions Club. A few of Randy’s accomplishments include:

  • Spirit of New Hampshire Volunteer Service Award in 2017.
  • Jo Adcock Service Award from Future in Sight.
  • The University of New Hampshire’s Alumni Association's Award of Excellence for Outstanding Service.
  • Toastmasters International 2015 Communication and Leadership Award.
  • New Hampshire Magazine 2014 “It List” of significant leaders in the state.
  • Featured in the February 2014 airing of an NHPTV episode with host Willem Lange titled “Hiking in the Dark,” which won a Boston/New England Emmy for Outstanding Magazine Program/Special.
  • Randy’s short story about the life of his dog guide Quinn was published in 2014. In 2018 he released his first book—co-authored with wife Tracy— See You at the Summit: My Blind Journey from the Depths of Loss to the Heights of Achievement.

Randy delivers riveting, positive, and powerful messages that help organizations lead members to their very own versions of “reaching their peak potential.” 

Colin Ryan





Featured everywhere from NPR and PBS to the Moth Radio Hour and Reader’s Digest, Colin Ryan is a comedic financial speaker, author, and an award-winning storyteller.

Colin was named one of the top 10 finance presenters in America, and to date has spoken to over 1 million students and adults.

Colin is the author of “A Comedic Guide to Money” and the creator of “Public Speaking for Leaders.” As a speaker’s mentor, Colin is dedicated to helping talented educators, experts, leaders and public figures become unforgettable communicators.

Herb Alexander

Herb Alexander







Herb Alexander is the Inaugural Chief Diversity Officer for Cayuga Health System and began his tenure in September 2021. As the Chief Diversity Officer, Herb is focused on both workplace diversity, equity and inclusion and advancing health equity for our community. Prior to joining the Cayuga Health System, Herb worked at Roberts Wesleyan University (RWU) for three years in multiple roles. In his most recent role at RWU, Herb served as the Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean of Students. As the Chief Diversity Officer, Herb was charged with shaping the organizational DEI strategy, creating student programming and developing educational offerings for faculty and staff. While serving as the Associate Dean of Students, he oversaw the Health & Counseling Center functions, led aspects of the organization's COVID testing strategy and many other student related initiatives. Lastly, Herb also served as an Assistant Basketball Coach for the Roberts Wesleyan Men's Basketball team for 6 years.

Outside of work, Herb is passionate about connecting and educating others. He currently is the co-host for the "Young, Black and Figuring it Out Podcast", which aims to empower and educate the community on a number of relatable topics. Herb currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Roberts Wesleyan University. He also serves as a Board of Director for the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce and for Hope Initiatives, which is a Rochester based not for profit organization helping people deal with social risk factors. 

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