NRPA Opening General Session Featuring Matt Iseman

Tuesday, September 26  |  9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 

To say Dr. Matt Iseman is a jack of many trades is a slight understatement. He's the host of American Ninja Warrior, the new Celebrity Apprentice, a physician, comedian, actor and former Princeton baseball pitcher. To add to that list, he is also this year's NRPA Annual Conference keynote speaker. Join us for Dr. Matt's inspiring keynote presentation that is guaranteed to remind you of the important role parks and recreation plays in shaping the lives of all people, of all ethnicities, ages and abilities.

Matt IsemanAbout Matt Iseman

American Ninja Warrior Host, New Celebrity Apprentice, Physician, Comedian, Actor

“Life is short, do what makes you happy.” That’s the advice that Matt got from his Dad - a world renowned physician - when Matt quit medicine to pursue stand-up comedy. And those words still guide Matt today. He talks ninjas, tells jokes around the world and, in general, proves laughter is the best medicine. 

Matt is best known as the host of the Emmy nominated “American Ninja Warrior” and being named the newest Celebrity Apprentice. His ongoing battle with Rheumatoid Arthritis transformed him into a strong supporter of the Arthritis Foundation, the charity he’s represented while winning Celebrity Apprentice. Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger considers him a celebrity.

Matt pitched for the baseball team all 4 years at Princeton University and then got his MD from the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Yes, he really is a doctor.

Before Matt started dispensing humorous one-liners as a professional comedian, he dispensed medicine as a licensed physician. But five years ago, soon after leaving his job as a doctor, he received a diagnosis that was anything but funny: He had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Since that diagnosis, he has been coping with RA while struggling to become one of the country's top comedians.


Wednesday Keynote - Conversations That Matter: Because Everyone Deserves a Park

Wednesday, September 27  |  8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

Humor is a great equalizer and is often the quickest way to diffuse conflict and move toward real connection. With a background in stand up comedy, Jessica Pettitt, frames even difficult subjects in an engaging and welcoming way. You will be inspired to stand up and take action as Jessica Pettitt leads you down the path to understanding you are good enough to make the changes you seek. Challenging long held assumptions about the type of people who drive change and are successful, Jessica eradicates excuses and provides strategies to communicate openly and actively seek success.

Jessica PettittAbout Jessica Pettitt

As a professional speaker, her expertise earned her the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. A designation held by fewer than 800 people world-wide. As a facilitator, she provides the framework for open, welcoming, and productive conversation. Whether she provides a motivational keynote, an in-depth workshop, facilitates group interaction, or frames an entire conference as emcee, Jessica brings humor, a high level understanding of adult learning, and an ability to engage participants and encourage them to engage with each other. Participants walk away focused and confident in their role to make change now.