Welcome & Keynote Address: The Power of Giving Power Away – 2020 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Keynote address presented by Bryan Bessette, President, Executive Director, & Co-Founder of The Freedom Cafe

Other Speakers:

  • Governor Chris Sununu
  • Gretchen Stallings, Executive Director, Volunteer NH
  • Larisa Striga, Event Chair, 2020 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Keynote Description:

When you are in a position of power, you have the opportunity to hold onto power, controlling all or most decisions and outcomes, and you also have the opportunity to give power away. By investing power, permission, and control in others you enable them to run with the vision and bring their strengths and passion to bear to accomplish organizational goals. Giving power away is scary. It can lead to conflict and ineffectiveness, but it also holds the opportunity to exponentially increase the impact of your organization

Session Goals:

  • Consider the challenges and opportunities of giving power away.
  • Identify tools and approaches that build capacity by empowering members at all levels of the organization – to do what they love to do, and support the work necessary to accomplish your organization’s mission


Bryan is passionate about bringing diverse people together to learn from one another and translate ideas and beliefs into beneficial action. He is the co-founder and president of a local nonprofit, The Freedom Café, and has served as a Chaplain at the University of New Hampshire since 2002. As a leader in the abolition movement and a member of the NH Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force, Bryan seeks to bring critical understanding to the intersection of global supply chains, human trafficking, and conscious consumption. Bryan appreciates having a range of roles, empowering leaders, managing events, and building collaboration. A long-time tea lover, Bryan now equally enjoys the nuances of coffee and the culture and style of the specialty coffee world. Bryan, his spouse Hannah, and their musical family live in Durham, NH.