CFES Brilliant Pathways is proud to host its 30th annual conference, where we will convene a global network of education, business, government and philanthropic leaders committed to advancing our mission: to ensure that underserved youth are ready for college and the workplace. This year, 3,000 plus virtual participants will join another 200 on-site attendees at the Sagamore Resort on Lake George (NY). But the ultimate success of the conference relies on financial sponsors to partner with CFES to address a massive challenge for today’s youth.

That challenge is rooted in a workplace and education system that has changed abruptly and permanently over the last 18 months: virtual learning and working are here to stay, practices for accessing college and career have become unrecognizable to many, and the resource gap between our low-income students and their wealthy peers has widened at unprecedented rates. This means pathways to college and career have been forever altered, and children from underserved backgrounds need training and support to navigate new routes to social and economic mobility. At the conference, CFES and other leaders will provide strategies, networks and knowledge not only to our young people and their families, but also to the educators and partners who help guide our children down the pathway to college and career readiness.


Keynote Speakers

Amy ReinhardVice President, Studio Operations, Netflix
Reinhard was named Vice President of Studio Operations in 2020. Since joining Netflix in 2016 as Vice President, Content Acquisition, she has led global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, The Middle East, and India. In addition to global licensing, Amy oversees physical production, production facilities management, consumer products and creative services, including casting, literary scouting, IP management, and music business development. Prior to Netflix, she was the President of Worldwide TV Licensing and Distribution for Paramount Pictures, where she held various roles for over ten years. She started her career at Revolution Studios. Amy holds a BA and an MBA from Harvard.
Dean GarfieldVice President of Public Policy, Netflix
Garfield is Netflix’s first VP of Public Policy to be based outside the US. Acting as lead lobbyist around the world, Garfield works with local producers and governments to create ratings systems for content and negotiate government intervention on production. Garfield graduated from Middlebury College, has a law degree from New York University and a master’s in international affairs and public administration from Princeton University. Garfield also serves on the
CFES Brilliant Pathways board.
Paul LunaPresident & CEO, Helios Education Foundation
Since 2006, Luna has served as President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation, where he has led the foundation in its efforts to create opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education. In this role, he is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of the organization, cultivating strong community relationships, and initiating strategic partnerships in Arizona and Florida. He brings more than 25 years of public and private professional experience to leadership of Helios. A native of Miami, Arizona, Luna attended Stanford University as a first-generation college student, where he earned a degree in Civil Engineering.
Ray McNultyPresident, Successful Practices Network (SPN)
President of the National Dropout Prevention Center (NDPC), and the Successful Practices Network (SPN). Prior to that, Ray was Dean for the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University. An educator since 1973, Ray has been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent. From 2001-03, he served as Vermont’s education commissioner. During his tenure, Ray focused on aligning the Department of Education’s work on three key issues: early education, educator quality, and secondary school reform. He is committed to raising performance standards for both teachers and students and to building solid connections between schools and their communities. Ray believes strongly that education systems cannot wait for the children and challenges to arrive at school; rather, schools need to reach out and help forge solutions.



MC/Producer, Ron Rix

1:00-1:20pm: Welcome and Remarks, Rick Dalton, CEO & President of CFES Brilliant Pathways

1:25-2:15pm: Opening Keynote – Lessons We Can Learn About the New Paradigm from Netflix; Amy Reinhard, Vice President, Studio Operations at Netflix and Dean Garfield, CFES board member and Netflix Vice President.

Twenty years ago, Netflix envisioned the future of entertainment and disrupted both audience and industry expectations. Today, with nearly 200 million subscribers, Netflix is a global giant re-defining the future response to jobs, technology, and education. Two Netflix leaders will discuss not just today’s paradigm, but the paradigm to come and how to prepare for it.

2:30-3:45pm: Breakout Sessions

  1. Student Session: Cryptography Module With West Point Cadets & Faculty
    Faculty and cadets from the Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM at the United States Military Academy at West Point will lead students (grades 6-12) through a STEM module focused on the history and methods of cryptography, the study of methods of encoding and securing information and communication. Students will learn good practices in cyber-hygiene and how to encrypt and decrypt messages.
  2. Building and Strengthening Your Mentoring Program
    Whether you are just getting started or are looking to strengthen an existing high-flying program, learn how good mentoring can change life trajectories. Make connections, learn new strategies, and collect resources today that you can start implementing tomorrow.
  3. The Changing Landscape of Paying for College
    The cost of attending college has students and parents wondering if the investment is worth it. Colleges are responding by offering discounts and other deals to offset declining enrollments due to COVID. Learn how students can take advantage of these breaks, and how teaching personal finance in schools can help students ease the burden of paying for college and improve the long-term quality of lives.
  4. Developing & Strengthening the Essential Skills
    Cultivating core competencies such as leadership, agility, and perseverance is critical for success in college and career, and today’s students need to understand and practice these crucial skills now more than ever. Learn how the six CFES Essential Skills are becoming increasingly important for students as they learn to navigate the changing postsecondary environment and the evolving workplace.
  5. Get Ready Now for the New Workplace
    The workplace has forever changed, and so have ways for career-seekers to access it. CFES board member and Jopwell founder Porter Braswell will lead a discussion on the changing workplace with business colleagues from the CFES NYC Advisory Board. They will discuss what the shifting landscape means for the next generation of career seekers and how best to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

4:00-5:15pm: Breakout Sessions

  1. Student Session: Essential Skills Panel With West Point Cadets & Faculty
    Faculty and cadets from the Center for Leadership and Diversity in STEM at the United States Military Academy at West Point will lead a panel on developing Essential Skills, such as leadership and perseverance, in CFES Scholars in grades 6-12.
  2. Inside Higher Ed Today: Implications for Readiness
    The college experience has changed radically from just a few years ago: The importance of a diverse campus has never been greater, virtual classes are now standard, the liberal arts degree is under siege, and the job market is almost unrecognizable. College experts offer strategies to enable students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to address these issues and succeed in the new college landscape.
  3. Tips and Strategies for CCR Advisors
    The college and career pathway is growing more complex than ever, and students, especially those from low-income families, need guidance and support to successfully navigate it. But too often, underserved students don’t know where to turn and risk making critical college and career decisions based on inaccurate and/or misleading information. To address this crisis, CFES has developed a program to train school staff, family members, and community/corporate volunteers to help families fill this information gap. Participants who complete the training are certified by CFES and the University of Vermont as College and Career Readiness Advisors. In this session, trained CCR advisors will share their favorite tips and strategies for putting their training into practice.
  4. The New Leadership Paradigm
    The pandemic has changed the workplace and education, which, in turn, has altered how people lead businesses and educational institutions as well as how we perceive leaders. Learn what these changes mean for rising leaders and how leaders can best support K-12 students.
  5. Finding and Retaining Corporate Mentors
    Hear how our corporate partners are helping students realize the objectives of the CFES 10-point plan. Learn how to not only find a corporate partner, but how to build a win-win alliance that readies students for college and careers while benefiting employee volunteers.

5:20-5:30pm: Day One Wrap up, Ron Rix, Program Director, CFES Brilliant Pathways

6:00pm: Dinner

7:00pm: After Dinner Keynote – Defining & Responding to the New CCR Paradigm; Paul Luna, President & CEO, Helios Education Foundation

7:45pm: Schools of Distinction Recognition; Clint Allen & Mario Pena Awards

8:00pm: Social


8:00-8:30am: Breakfast

8:30-9:30am: Panel Discussion: The Post Pandemic College & Career World
In this at-large session, frontline education and business leaders will discuss the new CCR paradigm and how best to prepare young people for success in a fast-changing world.

9:45-10:45am: Breakout Sessions

  1. Student Session: Tips on Virtual Interviewing, Learning & Campus Visiting
    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an abrupt switch from in-person and onsite to virtual work and education. Despite this cataclysmic shift, students have been given very little practical guidance about the ins and outs of effective virtual interviewing, virtual learning, and virtual campus visiting. Learn how Scholars can secure, conduct, and follow up on virtual interviews as they move on to careers; strategies to best prepare students for virtual learning, and tips for getting the most from virtual college visits.
  2. CCR Advisor Training 2.0, Closing Session
    This live closing session will bring together all the elements of the Advance Level CCR Advisor training and provide participants with the tools to integrate the new learning into their CCR Advising. This interactive workshop is designed for participants to reflect on the conference’s sessions focusing on understanding the changing landscape in education, college and career readiness.
  3. How the Essential Skills Support SEL
    The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a rash of social emotional learning (SEL) challenges among young people: Studies show that over 90 percent of high school and college students are experiencing high levels of anxiety, depression, and a lack of focus since the pandemic hit. This workshop shows how students can use Essential Skills such as perseverance, agility, and goal-setting to master SEL challenges, and shows why the Essential Skills have never been more important.
  4. Building a High-Impact School/College Partnership
    For 30 years, CFES schools have leveraged partnerships with more than 400 colleges to benefit their students, families, and educators. Partnerships can help teachers understand what’s happening today in college classrooms, educate students and their families about where to find resources to pay for college, and familiarize first-gen students about what to expect as they navigate the higher ed pathway. Learn valuable lessons from CFES school/college partnerships, including a partnership with the University of Vermont that opened the university’s doors to 400 students from the Bronx.
  5. Perfect Partners: STEM & the Essential Skills™
    Learn how you can establish effective STEM-focused college and career readiness opportunities for your Scholars in a virtual setting. This workshop will cover strategies for enlisting STEM-based partners, delivering STEM activities to Scholars, and incorporating CFES’ three core practices in STEM-programming in a time when hands-on activities may not always be an option.

11:00-11:55am: Summary Keynote – From Students to Learners to Workforce Ready; Ray McNulty, President, Successful Practices Network (SPN).
The future of education is being shaped by several trends, and educators need to understand and pay close attention to how these trends impact the work we do each day. A critical change is the trend away from learning directly guided by the instructor to education focused on cultivating independent learners. Traditionally, we’ve told students what to learn, how to complete their assignments, when to turn them in, and how they performed. They remain students in our system from kindergarten to graduation—but what happens after that? Will students be ready to keep learning as the world changes around them? When does a student become a learner? And how do we as educators move from Best to Next practices? In this session, Ray McNulty will share some trends shaping education today and help us understand the essential mission we must accomplish: to ensure all our children become independent successful lifelong learners.

12:00pm: Day Two Wrap up, Ron Rix, Program Director, CFES Brilliant Pathways

12:30pm: Lunch

1:00pm: Departure

Our Sponsors

CFES is currently recruiting sponsors for this event. Learn more:
Sponsor Information



Brian & Jennifer Flores


Mirror Lake Inn Charitable Fund

Ronald & Renee Rix

Ben & Tara Smith

Celebrate Success

Candice Sakuda, Director of Service-Learning at Chaminade University of Honolulu was last year’s Mario Peña Award winner. Candice and Chaminade University have been long-time college partners, offering hundreds of opportunities for CFES scholars to visit the campus, participate in college & career readiness activities, providing college students as mentors and foster the Essential Skills with a focus on service and student leadership.

At the conference, CFES will recognize the 2020-21 Schools of Distinction for their development and execution of exemplary plans based on the three core practices: Essential Skills, Mentoring, and Pathways to College and Career.