Guest Speaker

Gilbert “Gil” Knowles, President and CEO, KnowlesWhatToDo Mentoring Solutions, personifies servant leadership. Gil’s ability to almost instantaneously connect with youth is legendary. He introduces the KNOWLES Method to mentoring: Respect to Connect! This method transcends race, ethnicity, gender, age and socio-economics. He has mentored and/or positively influenced thousands of America’s youth.

Gil is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel; former Dean of Students, Saint Augustine’s University, Raleigh, NC; and former Director, Division of Community and Education, United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation (UNCFSP). He is the author of “Help Them Pull Their Pants Up…How Mentors and Communities Can Empower Young African American Men.”  Gil has managed minority student educational programs for Departments of Defense, Energy, and Justice; NASA; and the Corporation for National Community Service. He has facilitated lively interactive sessions in support of Black male initiative programs at Concordia College, Selma, AL; Philander Smith College, Little Rock, AR; Benedict College, Columbia, SC; Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, MS; Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC; and the New Birth Baptist Church Cathedral of Faith International, Miami, FL. Gil has hosted “Keepin’ it Real” shows in front of live HBCU audience.

Gil has hosted “Keepin’ it Real” shows in front of live HBCU audiences focusing on Domestic Violence, HIV/AIDS, Alcohol/Substance Abuse, Infant Mortality, and Obesity in minority communities. He authored the LINKS to Substantive Mentoring Train the Trainer Facilitation Guide/Video for the LINKS, Inc. National HBCU Initiative. Gil also served as Mentoring Activities Designer/Mentor for the Department of Education/UNCFSP Global Entrepreneurship Initiative Fellows. Gil is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and serves as a deacon at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA. Gil and Carolyn (his college
sweetheart and wife of 40 years), have a daughter, Summer, a NBC TV News Anchor, Orlando, FL.