Described as the national voice for bridging divides, Pearce Godwin is founder of Listen First Project and the #ListenFirst Coalition of 500 organizations bringing Americans together across differences to listen, understand each other, and discover common interests. He catalyzes the movement to save America from toxic polarization by shifting social norms from division, distrust, contempt and violence toward connection, understanding, and belonging. Pearce manages large-scale, co-created endeavors such as Meeting of America and the annual National Week of Conversation to engage as many Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs as possible to turn down the heat and find a way forward together. His work has been recognized across national media, including interviews on Fox News, MSNBC and in the Wall Street Journal as he regularly writes for USA Today. Pearce has visited all 50 states, loves America and his fellow Americans, and maintains faith that out of many people one more perfect union can be built together.To engage more Americans in this hopeful mission, Pearce has forged partnerships with some of the country’s most influential entities such as Walmart, Target, McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Petco, iHeart Media, Duke University, Liberty University, and Stanford University.Pearce graduated from Duke University and received an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill. He spent five years working in Washington, DC—in the U.S. Senate and as a national political consultant for presidential and statewide campaigns. Before moving home to North Carolina in 2013, he spent six months in Uganda, Africa where he wrote It’s Time to Listen. That message—printed in dozens of papers across the United States—launched Listen First Project and led thousands to sign the Listen First Pledge—“I will listen first to understand.” In 2017, as division turned to violence, Pearce left his marketing job, fully committing to heal America, and launched the #ListenFirst Coalition of aligned organizations. In 2018, he co-created the first annual National Week of Conversation and hosted the kickoff event, Listen First in Charlottesville. In 2020, he led the crisis response campaign #WeavingCommunity. In 2021, he served as Associate Producer of The Reunited States—a film about bridging divides—and created its #HealAmericaPledge then led America Talks as the kickoff event for the annual National Week of Conversation. In 2022, Pearce piloted Meeting of America, shared the hope of the bridging movement in the Wall Street Journal and in a PBS special, and testified before Congress. The #ListenFirst message has reached more than 50 million people.