First Ever Y Factor Summit: Men Leading by Example

Joe and Willie

Our first-ever national summit, called the Y Factor: Men Leading By Example, launched on Thursday, April 12, 2012, and was a day filled with all-American heroes, unconventional advocates, committed public figures and journalists who helped us probe topics ranging from social media to the rise of sexual assault on college campuses. It was a day to salute the attendees – men throughout the world who are leading programs that teach youth about respecting women and girls, and ending gender-based violence. And it was the perfect occasion to thank Cindy Waitt (Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention) for the tremendous leadership support she has given to a movement that is teaching men and boys that violence does not equal strength.

Held in the new Futures Without Violence international conference and education center in the Presidio of San Francisco, the event was built around panel discussions, one-on-one interviews, and an all-star luncheon that paid tribute to baseball legends Willie Mays and Joe Torre.


  • The morning kicked off with welcome remarks from Futures’ Founder and President Esta Soler, soon followed by a conversation with world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, an Argentina-born boxer who was bullied as a child and is now actively engaged in promoting efforts to end violence against women.


  • Executive Editor of Wired magazine Thomas Goetz led a panel discussion exploring Social Media for Social Good, with a conversation about high-tech and low-tech tools that can help non-profit leaders built constituencies and meet young people in the popular culture/web-based world where they are most engaged.


  • Washington DC-based Tony West, who is Acting Associate Attorney General, made the day’s keynote speech and discussed the significance of the Justice Department’s commitment to “Defending Childhood” a program that provides both prevention and intervention for young kids who are impacted by violence in their home, as well as Engaging Men and Youth, the subject of our summit.


  • The All-Star Luncheon, which was held in The Open Square, was highlighted by a conversation with baseball greats Willie Mays and Joe Torre, led by KNBR broadcaster Marty Lurie. They focused on the importance of mentors – and the capacity for coaches to teach athletes about healthy behavior both on and off the field. Ron Barney, a high school athletic director and Luis Abarra, a student athlete from Sacramento, described the life-altering benefits of Futures-led program called Coaching Boys Into Men, and Malcolm Astley, whose college-bound daughter Lauren was murdered by her high-school boyfriend, told the audience what’s at stake if violence against women and girls does not come to an end. Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi honored the history of individuals and groups who have crusaded to end violence against children and Vice President Joe Biden sent a heartfelt video featuring personal remarks that lauded the leaders in the room as well as the ongoing work. And finally, Futures’ Founder and President Esta Soler closed the luncheon program by recognizing the crucial role that advocate Cindy Waitt has made in building and sustaining violence prevention programs in the US.


  • The afternoon programs included a panel discussion about sexual assault on campus, led by Tamara Strauss, senior editor at The Stanford Social Innovation Review, followed by a conversation between Pulitzer Prize -winning journalist Joel Brinkley, now teaching at Stanford, and filmmaker Mikaela Beardsley, who teamed up with New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof to bring his best-selling book, HALF THE SKY, to PBS in late 2012. Brinkley segued to a discussion of gender-based violence problems and solutions internationally, engaging several conference attendees on the panel who are working on programs to engage men on the topic in foreign countries.


  • Our day ended with a brainstorm that invited attendees to help shape the practices and programs that will expand the impact of the violence prevention movement.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this inspiring event. For a full summit agenda, click here.