Speaker Series

Inspiring Conversations

During the fall of 2020, in collaboration with ThinkND, ILI launched the digital series, "Inspiring Conversations," with a theme of “Leading People in an Ever-Changing World.” Through stories, perspectives, and lessons learned from experience, speakers reflected not only on their expertise, but also their humanity—both within their organizations and in their communities.

Later that year, we presented the second part of the series, which focused on "Transforming Lives and Lives Transformed." It featured leaders from a wide range of disciplines, industries, and ministries. This was followed by our exploration of "Journey Towards Purpose" during the 2021-2022 academic year, featuring well-known leaders who specialize in guiding individuals toward living more fulfilling, happy lives. In the 2022-2023 academic year, the series focused on "Kinship," where leaders from various backgrounds dove into the value of true accompanied relationships and their value across multiple disciplines.

ILI is continuing the series during the 2023-2024 academic year with a focus on “Leadership in Public Conversation.” More details about this series and recordings of live events (once available) are shared below.

  View Past Inspiring Conversations Series 

Leadership In Public Conversation

During this academic year, we are exploring the topic of “Leadership in Public Conversation,” where we are hearing from leaders from across disciplines and industries who can speak to current and relevant topics in today’s world. You can find details about past and upcoming events below.  Recordings of events will be linked below, and will also be available on ThinkND. 


Reimagining Fulfillment During Midlife And Beyond

Featuring Bernie Borges, host of the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast

For this session, we were joined by guest speaker, Bernie Borges, who has made it his mission to help others find fulfillment in what he refers to as various "seasons of midlife." Bernie and the Inspired Leadership Initiative have collaborated on an immersive storytelling series on his Midlife Fulfilled Podcast featuring alumni of the ILI. In this session, we flipped the script on Bernie, who normally serves as the interviewer, and heard more about his path to creating the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast, how he defines "fulfillment", and what he's learned from talking to over a hundred podcast guests about their personal journeys to finding "fulfillment" at midlife.

Meet the Speaker

Bernie Borges Half Body W Jacket
Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges spent his core career in business-to-business marketing in software and technical services. His journey includes a fifteen-year entrepreneurial span running his own B2B marketing services agency, corporate leadership roles, authoring a book, speaking at industry conferences, and podcasting.

After ten years of podcasting with nearly 500 episodes published, his most recent podcast, The Midlife Fulfilled Podcast, channels his passion to enable men and women over 40 to thrive in their midlife seasons. Bernie aspires to produce events that offer in-depth information to enrich the lives of those who seek to thrive in midlife.


Bringing Purpose to Life

Featuring guest panelists:  Conal Fagan (ND’21), Waleed Johnson (ND ‘15), Renee Yaseen (ND ‘22)

During this Inspiring Conversations session, we heard from three recent Notre Dame graduates about how they have made the conscious decision to move toward purpose, not just from a place of a career mindset, but in their life overall. This session is an opportunity to learn from individuals of different generations about their search and pursuit of bringing purpose to life with intention, despite societal pressures and expectations, and how they have pursued their passions, even when those passions don’t align with their career.

Meet the Speakers


Conal Fagan
Conal Fagan

Conal Fagan ('21), hailing from Derry, Northern Ireland, is an emerging leader in the disability sector, holding the current position of Fundraising Executive at Arthritis Ireland. As a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar, he completed his B.A. in Political Science with a supplementary major in Peace Studies. Each summer, he was able to develop a wealth of global experience, spending time coaching soccer in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa, organizing the Wheelchair Rugby National Championships in Sydney, Australia, and with Special Olympics International on their Global Youth Engagement Team. Following graduation, Conal spent a year as a Volunteer Academic Specialist at St. Labre Indian School with Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, before returning to Ireland to complete an M.Sc. Disability degree at University College Dublin. Prior to his current role, Conal was a Fellow for Global Athlete Leadership Development at Special Olympics International, where he organized the 2023 Global Athlete Congress in Berlin, Germany.


Johnson Waleed Cropped
Waleed Johnson


Waleed is an artist and software developer from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2015 with a BA in Studio Art and a BS in Computer Engineering. Waleed works as an iOS programmer for Libro.fm while also pursuing his passion as a painter. People, in particular people of color, and their stories are what inspires his artwork. His work ranges from oil paintings on canvas to large scale murals. His murals can be found in many cities throughout the state of Michigan and beyond such as Chicago and Charleston, WV. His work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions in cities throughout the Midwest, published in the National Review of African American Art, and can be found in various private collections.


Reneeyaseen Headshot
Renee Yaseen


Renee Yaseen is a writer and entrepreneur from Indiana. She currently writes The Washington Post’s Post Grad column, a weekly series dedicated to the experience of recent graduates and early career professionals. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2022 with her B.A. in Economics.