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Featured Guest Speaker — Shawn Welcome | Poet Laureate — Poet, Professional Speaker and Writer
Shawn Welcome is a proud Afro-Guyanese American whose goal is to use his gift with words to
inspire, entertain, encourage, and educate the world around him. He has traveled the world
speaking, performing, and facilitating writing and performance workshops. Shawn has
dedicated his life to serving others and amplifying the voice of his community. He founded and
presently hosts the longest running weekly open mic in Central Florida, “Diverse Word”, which
has been in operation since 2006.
Shawn has written NBA commercials for the Orlando Magic, written and performed content for
the Orlando Business Journal, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Edyth Bush Institute, OnePulse
Foundation, University of Central Florida, Valencia College, and Full Sail University to name a
few. He has curated multiple educational poetry experiences for the Dr. Phillips Center for
Performing Arts, Bethune-Cookman University, 33rd St. Jail, and many Orange County Public
Schools. Shawn holds a BA in English Literature and is an MA candidate for Sociology at the
University of Central Florida.
Shawn has been interviewed on National Public Radio and other notable media outlets
regarding his role in Central Florida as Poet Laureate. He is founding member of Next Level
Speakers Academy 2.0 receiving ongoing speaker coaching from the top speakers in the world
to continually refine his speaking skills and maximize his impact. Shawn lives in Orlando, FL with
his wife, Jannah, and is a father to their five children.