Leaning into 25+ years of teaching experience, Jen Lara is a well-received public speaker, coach, blogger, and educator.  With degrees from Michigan State University, the University of Colorado and the top-ranked education university in the nation, The Johns Hopkins University, Jen brings her down-to-earth nature and expertise to preK-12 schools, colleges, and allies.  Her expertise lies in championing the growth of others including herself.

Jen’s vast experience began in outdoor and adventure education with twin powerhouses Outward Bound and the Nantahala Outdoor Center – considered to be the Harvard of adventure education.  Traditional teaching stints have landed Jen in inner city Baltimore, in Quito, Ecuador, on the Navajo Nation, and in both undergraduate and graduate classrooms.  For the last 16 years, Jen has taught teachers – both current and future teachers - at a community college in Annapolis, Maryland.

Jen maintains a teaching, learning and lifestyle blog at  When not tethered to her laptop or reading research related to creative thinking, Jen enjoys her family (husband - Paul, daughter - Olive and sweet pup - Jedi), being outside in nature, and dividing her time between Maryland and Colorado.  To contact Jen about speaking, training, or dreaming-doing, email: or visit

Jen Lara, M.S., M.A.

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Jaclyn Dawn Gambone, Ph.D. 

Jackie has been inspired to educate since birth. It was something that always spoke to her and she made an incredible career out of it so far! Her passion and joy for engagement strategies comes from her role as a college professor at Anne Arundel Community College (outside Annapolis, Maryland). As a former public school teacher, teaching pre-service and in-service teachers is part of her life purpose. When preparing future teachers or enhancing current teacher's roles, she believes the power of engagement is limitless. Engagement has the ability to transform you as a teacher and your students as learners in the classroom. Powerful stuff!

Jackie earned her bachelors degree from West Chester University in 2001. There she studied education, grades kindergarten through eighth, with an emphasis in history. Next, she earned a masters degree from Wilmington University in school leadership. Knowing that she wanted to challenge herself even more, she earned her doctoral degree from Capella University in post-secondary and adult education. Her doctoral dissertation focused on critical thinking and engagement strategies for educators. 

Currently, Jackie is training as a co-active life coach with The Coaches Training Institute, is a guest speaker for local colleges, presents at local and national conferences on a variety of topics, including engagement strategies, and continues to grow and learn by taking professional development and courses that inspire her! She is currently in her ninth year as a college professor and loves every moment she has in the classroom engaging educators. Her students further ignite her passion daily. This is Jackie's first co-authored book and she is ecstatic!

In her personal life, Jackie takes the most pride in being a wife to Michael and a mom to Giuliana and new arrival, Baby Savannah! They also have two furry babies, their cats, named Moseley and Lola. She loves spending time with friends, relaxing at home with her family, and taking fun trips. She especially loves Ocean City, Maryland, as the ocean is one of her joys in life. Jackie also has a passion for music, art, and she is always up for travel and eating new foods. Adventure is the spice of life!   To contact Jackie about speaking, training, or coaching, email: