FEATURED SPEAKER

Amara Walker
Anchor and Correspondent, CNN

Amara Walker is an anchor and correspondent based at the network's global headquarters in Atlanta, where she co-anchors CNN This Morning Weekend with Victor Blackwell and Amara Walker.

Walker began her career at CNN as an anchor for CNN International in 2012. During her time with CNN, she distinguished herself as one of the lead breaking news anchors having covered a number of live major international news events, without a script for hours on end.

As a CNN correspondent, Walker reported on the 2021 Atlanta spa massacre and the subsequent outcry from the Asian-American community against the increasing hate and racist incidents. She also co-hosted a primetime special with Anderson Cooper, Victor Blackwell, and Ana Cabrera, called "Afraid: Fear in America's Communities of Color."

Walker previously served as a news anchor and general assignment reporter at WFLD in Chicago. While there, she reported from President Barack Obama's re-election campaign headquarters during the 2012 U.S. presidential election. She also covered the 2012 Chicago teachers' strike that shut down the public school system for eight days.

Prior to Chicago, Walker spent seven years at WTVJ in Miami as a weekend evening news anchor and general assignment reporter.

Born and raised outside of Los Angeles, Walker graduated Magna Cum Laude with a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California. She speaks conversational Korean and Spanish.



SPECIAL GUEST

Joanne Pike, DrPH
President and CEO, Alzheimer's Association

Joanne Pike, DrPH, is president and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association , the global leader in Alzheimer's and dementia care, support and research. With her progressive experience in social support and public health, she is leading the organization during a transformational period as novel treatments are emerging. 


Since joining the Alzheimer's Association in 2016, Dr. Pike has held several roles, highlighting her increasing leadership within the organization and the cause. During her 25 years in public health, she successfully leveraged public and system policy to advance public health outcomes with a particular emphasis on outreach to underrepresented and underserved communities.


Dr. Pike is also CEO of the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate working to advance and develop policies to overcome the disease.

EMCEES

 Ray Cortopassi
Anchor, WGN-TV Evening News

Ray Cortopassi joined the WGN News team in Chicago in 2020 as a co-anchor of WGN Evening News at 5 and 6 pm, WGN News at Nine and Ten.

Ray has been a television broadcaster for 30 years, having spent time as an anchor and reporter at ABC, NBC and Fox affiliates in Indianapolis, Las Vegas and Traverse City, MI. He's been honored with multiple Emmy and Associated Press awards.

Ray started his career as a reporter for the famous City News Bureau of Chicago and is overjoyed to have come back to his hometown to be a part of the legacy of WGN-TV.  As one of Chicago's Very Own, Ray hails from south suburban Dolton and graduated with a journalism degree from Columbia College Chicago.

Ray lost his father in 2015, after a battle with Alzheimer's, and he's frequently supported the Alzheimer's Association as an emcee for the Annual Walk to End ALZ.

He and his wife Leslie just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in September and have three sons and a daughter: Ryan, Drew, Tess and Christopher. Ray is a regular tennis player, a former community theatre founder and, as a teenage drummer,  loves seeing live music whenever he can.

 

Jeanne Sparrow
On Air Personality, WVAZ (V103)

Jeanne Sparrow loves good music, good people and good stories… and she combines all that to start the weekend right on her top-rated legendary old school music show, The Saturday Morning Wake Up Club on V103 (WVAZ) from 6am-12pm. Jeanne is an award-winning radio personality, and a 7-time Emmy-winning television anchor/reporter who has spent over three decades working in Chicago radio and television.

In her career, she has hosted morning talk shows on television and radio, covering news, lifestyle, pop culture, arts, entertainment and public affairs on several Chicago area stations including WGCI, NBC5, WGN and WCIU. Jeanne has interviewed hundreds of the biggest names in entertainment and worked closely with some of them, including comedians Steve Harvey and George Wallace. Currently, she also hosts her podcast, Fearless Authenticity with Jeanne Sparrow, featuring long-form interviews with business leaders, celebrities and authors, and enjoys her work as an entrepreneur, consultant and graduate instructor at Northwestern University's School of Communication.