MasterMinds Session: Wednesday Morning


Wednesday, June 19 at 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

MasterMind Session: Taking Off the Mask
Ashanti Branch
Ever Forward Club


Taking Off the Mask helps to unlock potential by cultivating emotional intelligence and psychological safety. Recent research from Google, Harvard, and other institutions suggest that the most critical factor for effectiveness is “psychological safety”--an environment with a high degree of interpersonal trust and respect where team members (including students) can take risks without concern of embarrassment, rejection, or punishment. Attendees will experience various exercises to explore topics such as self-awareness, authenticity, and compassion, both toward oneself and others. Taking Off the Mask is a highly experiential, kinestethic keynote that creates a safe space for individuals to engage in an uncommonly open, honest dialogue. Through hands-on activities, discussion, and video, participants learn about “the mask” that we each wear and discuss what it means for us, and our students, to take the mask off.

Get to Know Our MasterMind:

Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. Raised in Oakland by a single mother on welfare, Ashanti left the inner city to study civil engineering at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. A construction project manager in his first career, his life changed after he tutored struggling students and realized his passion for teaching. In 2004, during Ashanti’s first year teaching high school math, he started The Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.