Derek Canty, Co-founder

As a co-founder of PeerForward, Derek co-developed the in-school youth development tools and created the “Rap” motivational component of the organization’s summer workshop. He also helped spearhead the launch to scale the student-driven model to serve 1.8 million students over the next decade.

After graduating from Columbia University, Derek cultivated skills in marketing and business strategy implementation with top Fortune 500 companies Xerox and Procter & Gamble.  In 1991, he followed his true passion and switched careers, working with nonprofit organizations serving youth. Bringing heart, passion, and a thirst to heal youth, families, and communities, Derek has worked with youth in 30 major cities across the United States and internationally in three countries. He has trained and empowered thousands of teachers, principals, mentors, and youth workers, giving them the tools and motivation to be more effective with today’s youth.  In 2003, Derek was honored by his selection as one of the lead program facilitators for President Clinton’s First Annual Young Adult Symposium at Georgetown University.

Today, Derek also is a motivational speaker, facilitator, and coach for select nonprofit organizations, corporations, and schools, assisting them in team building, leadership development, and strengthening their organizational culture.

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College Summit is now PeerForward!

We’ve changed our name, but our mission and values are the same. After two decades of leveraging peer influence to guide more students to higher education, we’ve adopted a name that reflects the power of youth activation. Read more