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Wes  Moore

Wes Moore

New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former CEO, Robin Hood Foundation

Wes Moore

New York Times Best-Selling Author & Former CEO, Robin Hood Foundation


“Our team was blown away by Wes’ presentation today. He was so engaging and his passion comes through the screen so well…definitely a timeless message. A true professional. I can’t even imagine how powerful he would be in person. Yet, again the APB has done a great job to make our event a success.” -AvaSure

Wes Moore is the former Chief Executive Officer of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. He is a bestselling author, a combat veteran, and a social entrepreneur.

Wes’ first book, The Other Wes Moore, a perennial New York Times bestseller, captured the nation’s attention on the fine line between success and failure in our communities and in ourselves. That story has been optioned by executive producer Oprah Winfrey and HBO to be made into a movie. He is also the author of the bestselling books The Work, Discovering Wes Moore, and This Way Home.

Wes’ latest book, Five Days, explores the uprisings in Baltimore in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody through a kaleidoscope of perspectives and examines critical questions about the deeper causes of violence and poverty. 

Wes grew up in Baltimore and the Bronx, where he was raised by a single mom. Despite childhood challenges, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College in 1998 and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001. He earned an MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 2004. Wes then served as a captain and paratrooper with the u.s. Army’s 82nd airborne, including a combat deployment to Afghanistan. He later served as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Wes was also the founder and CEO at BridgeEdu, an innovative tech platform based in Baltimore addressing the college completion and job placement crisis by reinventing freshman year for underserved students. BridgeEdu was acquired by Edquity, a Brooklyn-based student financial success and emergency aid firm, in June 2019. 

Wes has also worked in finance as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York.

Wes has served on numerous nonprofit and social-impact boards and is a lifetime member of the Council of Foreign Relations.

The joy of Wes’ life are his two children and his wife Dawn.

Speaker Videos

Overcoming Adversity

Second Chances

TED: How to Talk to Veterans About the War

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome | Oprah Winfrey Network

Society at a Tipping Point

Potential is Universal

Impact of Education

On a 'Post-Racist' America

Runways to Leadership

Fight for the Others

Speech Topics

Society at a Tipping Point: Race, Class & the Way Forward

In the spring of 2015, the City of Baltimore faced the fiery reckoning of its long history of economic inequality and racial injustice. Sparked by the death of Freddie Gray, the city dramatically imploded — erupting into five days of protests and riots that riveted the world. In this candid and compelling talk, best-selling author Wes Moore draws upon his acclaimed new book, Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City, to provide a kaleidoscopic account from the frontlines of the uprising. Unpacking its origins, Wes examines the warning signs, analyzes the consequences and calls out the root causes of violence and intergenerational poverty. Ever sowing the seeds of hope, he unites all of us — nonprofits, government, business, educational institutions and others — around solutions that can help to restore America’s promise of opportunity for all.

The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates

“The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.” –Wes Moore

Two Baltimore boys named Wes Moore were born in the same neighborhood less than a year apart. One grows up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran and White House Fellow. The other becomes a convicted murderer serving a life sentence. The Other Wes Moore is a story so compelling, it became an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book and is now an upcoming major motion picture from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey. In this unforgettable keynote, Wes Moore gives a firsthand account of a life’s journey empowered by the strength of his family, educational opportunities and community network. He also explores the power of personal responsibility and the role that it played in making positive choices.

The Transformative Power of Education

"My grandfather used to say that education is like a skeleton key. If you can get that skeleton key, it can open any door." –Wes Moore

Education has opened many doors for Wes Moore and inspired him to found an organization devoted to creating educational access and opportunities for disadvantaged youth. In this powerful keynote, he speaks to the role that education and educators have played in changing his life. As an underserved 12-year old getting into trouble, Wes was put on a path away from gangs, drugs and crime. He became the top student in his high school class, graduated with honors from Johns Hopkins, earned a Rhodes Scholarship and became a decorated veteran, White House fellow, founder of the innovative education social enterprise, BridgeEdu and CEO of The Robin Hood Foundation. Emphasizing the great impact that educators, mentors, family and a supportive community have on empowering the next generation’s success, Wes Moore celebrates those who are making a difference and the lives that they change every day.

The Business Case for Investing in Children

America is the wealthiest nation in the world, yet one in every seven American children will be born into poverty. Almost 40% of American kids spend at least one year in poverty before they turn 18. The effects of hunger, stress, toxic environments and other factors on brain development, learning and long term success are daunting — with a staggering annual cost of $1.1 trillion. Combining passion with analysis, moving stories with cold hard facts, Wes Moore brings a non-partisan, data driven, C-Suite perspective to the critical impact of the growing gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged. Arguing that talent is universal, but opportunity is not, he calls on all of us to ensure a more prosperous future by investing in our youngest citizens today.

The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters

How can we find meaning in a volatile age? How can we discover our own path to purpose? Drawn from his New York Times bestseller The Work, Wes Moore chronicles his own quest for a meaningful life, sharing valuable lessons learned from the remarkable people that he met along the way. From the translator who helped him "find his fight" in Afghanistan to young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the meaning of grit and resiliency, Wes Moore reveals that our truest work happens when we serve others. This moving presentation inspires audiences to find their own path, create a life that matters and play an active part in building a better world.

Evolve, Adapt, Inspire: The Tenets of Transformational Leadership

What does it take to become a transformational leader? To Wes Moore, it’s about creating a clear and compelling vision, then inspiring and empowering everyone in an organization to own it. It’s having the discipline to always stay focused on the bigger picture, while constantly adapting and evolving. Most of all, it’s the ability to inspire others to achieve — elevating the morale, culture and performance of the entire organization. In this highly motivational presentation, Wes Moore shares his personal story of overcoming adversity and how it shaped his approaches as a business, nonprofit and military leader. From leading combat paratroopers in Afghanistan to heading up the Robin Hood Foundation, Wes Moore’s insightful and universal lessons are invaluable to anyone who aspires to lead change through inspiration.

Poverty & the Social Determinants of Health: Wes Moore on Health Equity

As a young boy, Wes Moore saw firsthand what disparity in care meant to him and his family. He watched his father die before his eyes, just hours after being misdiagnosed and sent home from the hospital. The assumption was that the Moore family didn’t have health insurance, a tragedy that Wes attributes to racial bias. Later, he saw his widowed mother, working multiple jobs, struggling for years to find stable employment that offered healthcare benefits. Wes now brings this personal experience to his fight against the root causes of poverty as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation. Bringing his passionate voice and shocking data, Wes examines the many contributors—from the working poor who have no benefits and are living below the poverty line, to how environmental pollution and lack of access to nutritional food impact health. Wes also provides common sense solutions for how communities, health care providers and all Americans can change one of greatest threats to our country.

Transforming Corporate Social Responsibility

CSR used to mean writing a check or doing a volunteer project. Today, companies are looking more deeply at what it takes to increase shareholder value — and stakeholder engagement. They’re demanding more from government and philanthropy and advancing their vision through innovative and creative partnerships. In this inspiring talk, Wes brings his experience as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, and takeaways from the CSR conversations being held in America’s most influential boardrooms. He looks at the current state of corporate social responsibility, where it’s heading, and provides invaluable insights for corporations, government and nonprofits alike.

Belonging: The Importance of DEI

There is a difference between being welcomed and feeling welcomed. In this keynote, Wes Moore will lead your audience through his own journey of belonging and how every organization can and should set the stage in their own space. Understanding the value of your unique personal experience and effectively leveraging it can increase individual, professional and organizational success.

Wes Moore shares practical examples and provides actionable strategies for utilizing your own diversity to enhance the culture of your organization. You’ll learn:

  • The meaningful impacts that diversity and inclusion have on not only your organization, but employees as well.
  • How you can leverage diversity and inclusion to inspire and expand innovation.
  • As a leader, how you can find your own “why” about diversity and inclusion.