Temple Grandin to Headline the Summit

Renowned autism activist and animal behavior expert revolutionized livestock handling with her visual thinking

Among the many firsts to be observed at the 21st running of the Presentation Summit this fall, the most prominent will be the welcoming of Dr. Temple Grandin, a pioneering figure in both the fields of animal behavior and autism advocacy. She will kick off the conference at a special Sunday evening dinner reception (first No. 2).

To say that Dr. Grandin practices what she preaches would be quite the understatement. She is a world-renowned expert on animal behavior and animal welfare, having gleaned much of her insight by literally mimicking animal behavior and practically living with livestock. Additionally, she is a prominent advocate for individuals with autism, having been diagnosed with the condition herself as a child. Growing up in the 1950s, autism was not sufficiently understood and the psychiatrists of that era recommended to her parents that she be institutionalized indefinitely.

Instead, she was mainstreamed, allowed to cultivate her unique abilities to see the world visually, and has delivered unprecedented insight at the intersection of animal behavior, autism, and society.

She is the first Summit speaker to cut her teeth on the TED stage (first No. 3) as well as the first to have a major motion picture made about her life (first No. 4), starring Emmy-award and Golden Globe-winning actress Claire Danes.

“We are beyond honored to have Dr. Grandin join us,” says conference host and organizer Rick Altman. “We are all about good storytelling at the Summit, and not only is her story incredibly inspirational, it delivers a wonderful message to us about how storytelling can take many forms. Brilliance can come in the form of articulate wordsmithing, and it can come in the form of visualization.”

Whether because of or in spite of her autism (most believe the former), few individuals on this planet have Temple’s ability to see a problem, envision a system to address it, and then build it. “She makes the world better with her mind’s eye,” says Altman. “I can’t wait for her to share this extraordinary perspective with our audience this year.”

“I enjoy speaking to a lot of different industries,” says Grandin, who earned a PhD and then a professorship at Colorado State University. “Going across disciplines is how you really get an idea of how people see things differently. You get outside the box by actually going outside the box. So speaking to a group of presentation professionals will be very educational for me. And I understand that you might be able to make my PowerPoint slides better!”

Dr. Grandin will speak at both the in-person and virtual experiences that make up this year’s conference: Oct 15-18 in Monterey and then Nov 5-8 virtually. For complete information and registration instructions, visit www.PresentationSummit.com.

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