BAE Blog


Speakers for 2015 Emerging Leaders Conference

Asari Beale is Director of Communications at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA), a multiservice agency in East Harlem that helps families move from crisis to stability through its food pantry, health and education programs. She is an enthusiastic storyteller and fundraising professional, deeply committed to work that creates educational opportunities for children. Prior to her current role at LSA, Asari served as Communications Manager at Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an organization that promotes early childhood literacy. She has been an Adjunct Lecturer of literature and writing courses at Hunter College, Brooklyn College, and Fordham University. In addition, she served in a volunteer capacity as the co-founder of Mosaic, a parent committee dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion at Hunter College Campus Schools. Asari holds a BA from New York University and an MFA from Brooklyn College.

Lisa A. Bing, Bing Consulting Group stands out for her ability to simplify the complex and rapidly drive dramatic results. Companies like the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, Pfizer, Year up New York and Terra CRG hire Lisa to help improve productivity and profitability by up to 50%. She works with senior leaders as a thinking partner and trusted advisor applying her hyper-rational leadership approach. This puts emotion in proper perspective allowing for faster, better decisions and accelerating buy-in. Lisa has helped hundreds of leaders and executives across industries from over 25 countries. Famed consultant Alan Weiss says Lisa is as an “avatar” for improving adult performance rapidly and dramatically. Lisa is an adjunct professor at New York University. Committed to service, she is Vice Chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce; chairs the Concord Christ Fund and is Past President of Association for Talent Development, NY (formerly American Society for Training & Development. She is also a regular panelist on the popular talk show, Brooklyn Savvy.

Irisha Brown, Senior Training Consultant has extensive experience in designing and facilitating workshops focused on optimizing Organizational Development initiatives via leadership and management development. She has successfully implemented adult learning theory and techniques to provide sessions that engage, inform and enhance learners’ efforts to expand their thinking and add while expanding their professional skill sets via small groups and individual sessions. Irisha has coached executive staff, managers, directors and frontline staff members to enhance their ability to use communication as a tool for building meaningful connections to their clients, colleagues and staff. She was selected to be the Co-Master of Ceremonies for General Motors’ national launch meeting introducing their new, corporate culture change, and sales initiatives. Additionally, she was selected to launch the AT & T CSO Real Estate Quality Improvement Meetings which encompassed all levels of the organization’s staff and, Volvo selected her to facilitate their Professional Presentation Skills and group coaching workshops for their team of General Managers.

Dr. Ruth Browne is Chief Executive Officer of the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, founded by legendary tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe in 1992. Under Dr. Brown’s leadership the Institute has gained recognition as a pioneer in developing culturally competent health programs that address racial, ethnic and gender disparities in health. She is an Associate Professor at SUNY Downstate where she developed collaborative community engaged research protocols and training programs. Dr. Browne recently completed a Policymaker-In-Residence at the University of Michigan, School of Public Policy where she taught a seven-week seminar on Case Studies in Community Health Empowerment Policies that influence Health Disparities/Equity solutions for students, faculty and local practitioners. She received the Lewis and Jack Rudin New York Prize for Health award from the Greater New York Hospital Association & New York Academy of Medicine. She is a Fulbright Research Specialist, Braun School of Public Health, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel and a Fulbright Regional Nexus Scholar, University of the West Indies. Former President of the Manhattan Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, she also serves on the National Board of Directors. Dr. Browne completed her Doctor of Science at Harvard University School of Public Health and her Master Degree in Public Policy and Master Degree in Public Health from the University of Michigan.

Celeste M. Bryant is the Marketing Campaigns Manager at Food Bank for New York City, the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs by taking a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities. In her role, she aims to produce engaging creative to raise awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. As a self- described “brand storyteller”, Celeste brings over 10 years of marketing and public relations experience to Food Bank with a background that spans from fashion, entertainment and beauty industries. Prior to transitioning into the nonprofit sector, Celeste developed media and public relations strategies for high profile brands like MAC Cosmetics, Bath & Body Works and The Philadelphia Eagles.  No matter where her career path or travel takes her, Celeste will always find the time to lend her talents to nonprofit organizations to help spread the word of their amazing work.

William H. (Bill) Burgess, III, President, The Burgess Group, Corporate Recruiters International. Prior to launching his company in New York, Connecticut and Alabama, Burgess was Senior Vice President at Skott/Edwards Consultants and Executive Vice President/Partner with Wesley, Brown & Bartle, and both retainer executive search firms in New York City. Bill performed middle to senior level executive search assignments ranging from Fortune 500 corporations, venture-backed emerging companies and major institutions to international organizations, associations and foundations. Burgess was responsible for securing and conducting traditional executive search engagements, while overseeing the firm’s diversity consulting practice, utilizing the Diversity Resources Planning (DRP) program which he developed. As Managing Director of Diversity Resources at Skott/Edwards, Bill directed this specialty practice assisting companies in fulfilling their corporate management goals in diversity hiring, training and retention. Burgess assisted corporate clients with managing the diversity of today’s multi-cultural workplace of highly specialized middle to senior level professionals. At Wesley, Brown & Bartle and later Wesley, Burgess and Bartle, Bill was responsible for executing middle to senior level traditional executive search assignments. He began his career in the non-profit sector and thereafter held senior manufacturing management sales and marketing positions with Xerox, Steelcase, American Seating Gunlocke and Domore Companies. Bill received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lake Forest College and studied in Italy and Egypt. He continued his graduate education at Dartmouth’s Amos Tuck Business School, Xerox University and the American Management Association. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of 100 Black Men of New York City, Inc. and Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Audience Development Initiative Committee.

Dr. Melba Butler is the founder and Principal of Butler Consulting, Inc. which provides capacity building and leadership development for non-profit organizations, government and small businesses. Since 2006 the Butler Consulting team has enhanced the capacity of numerous organizations through management and board coaching; strategic planning; leadership development and capacity building; facilitation of strategic alliances; community engagement executive search; and conference planning and facilitation. Dr. Butler has broad experience in executive level non-profit management, policy, program development and coalition building. For over sixteen years, she led Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children and Family Services, the oldest child welfare institution serving African-American children. She shaped the organization’s response to growing and changing community needs, spearheaded the diversification of its family and child- focused services and brought Harlem Dowling to the forefront of child welfare organizations. Dr. Butler has served in leadership capacities on numerous boards of directors including Sisulu Academy– A Public Charter School, Hale House, the Council on Family and Child Caring Agencies and Black Agency Executives. She received her PhD in Social Welfare from the Graduate Center of City University of New York, Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York State. Dr. Butler is an Adjunct Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She is also a Board Source Certified Governance Trainer.

Darwin M. Davis is a servant/leader in the NYC nonprofit sector with more than 37 years’ experience; serving the past 25 years as the Executive Director or the President and CEO of Black Agency Executives, The Human Services Council, The New York Urban League and Black Equity Alliance. In each of these positions he has collaborated with Boards of Directors, hired and led executive management teams, raised funds, advocated with constituents and represented each institution in public forums. Mr. Davis has also shared these experiences as an Adjunct Professor at The New School University, Bernard Baruch’s Executive Management and National Urban Fellows Programs, Columbia University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and The City College of New York’s inaugural Certificate Program in Non Profit Management; thus helping next generation leaders acquire the necessary skills to be successful. Currently he is serving as a director in the Office of Continuing and Professional Studies at The City College of New York assisting adult learners enter, re-enter or pursue promotional opportunities in the workforce.

Mary Jane Dessables has over 20 years of experience working in the field of child welfare, from group home case planner to MIS Director and to her current position at The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA).  COFCCA is the principal representative for nearly all the not-for-profit organizations providing foster care, adoption, family preservation, and juvenile justice and special education services in New York State. Her role at COFCCA is to collect and disseminate information, conduct information, review research, identify trends, and otherwise keep the membership informed on child welfare issues and practice. She staffs the Foster Care Accountability Committee, which focuses on how agencies’ performance is measured by NYC Administration for Children’s Services and other overseeing bodies. She also serves as an instructor for CUNY Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work’s Department of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. She received her BSW from State University College at Buffalo and her MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work (CUNY).

Josie Duckett, Principal, Duckett & Associates Fundraising Group, has over twenty-five years of direct and diversified experience in fundraising, consulting, project management, and data analytics in the non-profit and government sectors. As a fundraising consultant, she helps non-profits achieve philanthropic success by building their fundraising capacity to meet immediate and long-term objectives. Specialty areas include: strategic planning, board development, individual giving, major gifts development, donor engagement, and prospect research. Prior to becoming an independent fundraising consultant, Josie worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) where she provided fundraising council to over 200 Girl Scout corporations throughout the country. She also spearheaded the creation of the National Girl Scouts Alumnae Association and the National Data Analytics Program. Josie also worked with the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). As the Senior Development Associate, she worked with over 70 banks and foundations to secure loans, program-related investments and grants to capitalize a 30-million dollar loan fund from which non-profits around the country could borrow. Josie holds a M.S.W. from Columbia University School of Social Work and a B.A. from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Paula T. Edgar Esq. is Principal of PGE, LLC – a boutique coaching, speaking and consulting firm. The firm provides innovative and strategic solutions on career management, executive/leadership development, organizational diversity efforts, intercultural competence initiatives, networking and social media strategy. Her professional experiences include serving as the inaugural Chief Diversity Officer at New York Law School, the Associate Director of Career Services and member of the Diversity Council at Seton Hall University School of Law, and as the Executive Director of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. (PALS), a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing diversity in the legal profession and providing mentoring, academic support, and networking opportunities to law students and junior attorneys of color. Prior to leading PALS, Paula practiced in the Law Enforcement Division of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. For more than a decade, Paula has demonstrated leadership in the areas of diversity and inclusion, issues related to students of color and the legal diversity pipeline. Currently active with a number of organizations and social justice initiatives, she serves as the President-Elect of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, the immediate past Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Diversity Pipeline Initiatives Committee and as a 2015 Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) Fellow. Recently, Paula was appointed as a Trustee of the Ellis L. Phillips Foundation and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Deerfield Academy Alumni Association. Paula received her B.A. in Anthropology from the California State University (Fullerton) and her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law. She has also been recognized by The Network Journal Magazine as a “40 Under Forty” Achievement Awardee, and as a Ms. JD “Woman of Inspiration”.

Ivanhoe V. Ffriend is the founder/ President & CEO of Ffriend Enterprises, Ltd., a financial services company located in New Rochelle, NY. He has been in the financial services industry for over thirty-six years. He is a Registered Investment Advisor licensed by the New York State Department of Law and is registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). His business focuses on assisting clients to realize their business and personal financial goals with an emphasis on Retirement Income (salary replacement), Tax Deferral and reduction where possible to improve their cash flow. Currently, he serves on the board of the New Rochelle Police Foundation. He earned an M.B.A. in Finance from CUNY, Baruch College, after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at CUNY, Brooklyn College.

Dianne Dyson Heggie is currently the Downstate Associate Executive Director for the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA)’s downstate work. Dianne engages in communications with the Commissioners of the New York State Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the other key leadership staff of those agencies. She is the staff liaison to COFCCA’s Foster Boarding Home and Residential Care Committees and workgroups devoted to juvenile justice issues. She also represents COFCCA on the Advisory Committee to the Administrative Judge of the New York City Family Court and participates on select sub-committees of that body. She supervises the Director for Preventive Services Policy and Practice, and works closely with the COFCCA Training Director in the operation of the COFCCA Training Consortium. Prior to this position, she held several positions leading to the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. In that capacity, she oversaw the agency’s fiscal operations and its residential foster care, clinical, medical, independent living, and substance abuse prevention services. Dianne holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master of Social Work degree from the New York University School of Social Work. She is licensed by the New York State Education Department as a Licensed Master Social Worker.

Lesleigh W. Irish-Underwood joined United Way of New York City in February 2014 as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. She is charged with crafting cutting-edge marketing strategies and differentiated communications efforts to enhance the recognition of the United Way NYC brand, and herald the organization’s signature community impact work among key stakeholders and the diverse communities being served. She has more than 24 years of publishing experience in brand marketing, content management/creation, advertising, public relations, and digital and social media. Prior to her transition to the non-profit sector, she led domestic and international marketing teams at Knopf/Random House and Pearson. Most recently, she served as a member of the Senior Leadership Team of Kensington Publishing, where she led their first multi-platform 360° marketing campaigns utilizing 2D barcode technology, and initiated their direct-to-consumer e-Commerce efforts.

Traci Lester is chief executive officer of Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA). LSA provides a continuum of services to poor and immigrant families living in East Harlem. Established in 1958, LSA today serves more than 2,800 families annually with emergency food assistance and advocacy services, home-visiting services for maternal/infant health, early childhood and parenting education, early intervention support, preventive services, academic and cultural enrichment, and an environmental health program to eliminate asthma triggers. Previously, Ms. Lester was the executive director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, an early literacy program. During her ten-year tenure, she doubled the number of ROR programs serving 250,000 children annually and raised close to $9 million from public and private sector sources. Ms. Lester has served as Administrative Officer of the F.B. Heron Foundation and Director of Development for the YWCA of the City of New York. She has also spent time working with children as an Elementary School Teacher in Brooklyn, New York. She is the recipient of the American Association of University Women’s Selected Professions Fellowship, the National Association of Health Service Executive’s Community Service Award, and was named to the Grio’s 100 List for 2012 as an African-American history maker and industry leader in the field of education. She has served as a Fellow in The San Francisco Foundation’s Urban Affairs Program and is a member of the Greater New York Association of Fundraising Professionals, and American Society for Public Administrators. She earned a BS degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an MBA from Rutgers University, and an MPA from California State University. She also holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management.

Tanya Lewis-Kelly, has a unique understanding of how to rebuild institutions from the ground up. Tanya began her career working for U.S. Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey during her first term and later as Managing Editor for the Westchester County Press, the only Black-owned newspaper in Westchester County. Subsequently, Tanya served as a member of the inaugural staff of the Black Community Crusade for Children in Washington, D.C. – under the direction of Marian Wright Edelman (Children’s Defense Fund), Geoffrey Canada (Harlem Children’s Zone) and Angela Blackwell Glover (Policy Link.). Tanya returned to New York where she actualized the Center for Court Innovation’s Harlem Community Justice Center from a concept paper to a community supported multi-faceted program that serves hundreds of residents in East and Central Harlem. For the past decade, Tanya has offered her consulting expertise in management, administration and governance; program development; and individual and organizational capacity building to start up small businesses, nonprofits and the public sector. Clients include Black Agency Executives, Chinese-American Planning Council, Harlem Commonwealth Council, NYC Housing Authority Tenant Associations, Newark Public Schools and over 30 New York City Charter Schools. Tanya is a certified trainer in Restorative Practices and conducts professional development trainings to educators around the country. She served on the New York Junior League’s Community Advisory Council and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Tanya earned her B.S. from Cornell University; and a MPA from NYU. Tanya is an active member of the Church of St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem and sits on the Finance Council.

Emily Nichols-Mitchell is a career management executive coach, business consultant, speaker and trainer, She helps professionals think differently to rediscover, reinvent and transform to reach their full potential. Coined, as the “Real Deal” for career and business empowerment, Emily’s authentic and super-charged speaking, coaching and consulting style is magnetic and based on her ‘insider’ knowledge from real world experiences. She brings a new approach and style to career and business coaching that gets measurable results. As the CEO and Founder of Accelerations Group, a career advancement, personal branding and entrepreneurial growth strategy firm. She works with professionals looking for career advancement, navigating a new organizational culture and seeking a new job. She helps entrepreneur’s develop digital strategies and an innovative mindset, shape and nurture their personal brand, and develop marketing tools for financial growth. She helps organizations and Fortune 500 companies with human resources and talent acquisition consulting, personal branding and leadership development training with a focus on recent college graduates and emerging women leaders. She has spent more than 15 years designing and executing best-in- class human resources, digital and employee branding strategies, policies and processes for companies wanting to achieve superior results. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Spelman College and MBA from University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ken O’Bryant, Manager of Program Evaluation, has been with Care for the Homeless since April 2014. He oversees the Program Evaluation Department and evaluates all medical clinics, program operations, and measurable data by conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis to report findings and provide recommendations to the Executive Director. Ken’s professional career included Principal Consultant, with The Longworth Project, LLC a performance based management company that focuses on strategic planning for nonprofit and for-profit organizations, program development and evaluation, performance measurement, grants management, and quality and continuous improvement. He has held leadership positions with the City of Newark Health Department and Horizon Blue Cross as Senior Director of Operations and Clinical Services, Chief Program Administrator and Director of Ancillary Contracting. Ken earned a doctorate degree from the University of Virginia in Education Policy and Assessment. Dr. O’Bryant is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., NAACP and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

Cara Page is a Black queer feminist cultural worker and organizer. She is the descendent of a long ancestral legacy of organizers and cultural workers from the Southeast to the Northeast.  For the past 20 plus years, she has organized within the queer and trans-liberation, racial and economic justice movements, healing justice and reproductive justice movements. Cara is currently the Executive Director of the Audre Lorde Project an organizing center in NYC for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Two Spirit and Trans- Gender Non-Conforming People of Color. She is a proud member of ALP, Southerners on New Ground, Project South, and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. She is also founder and former Co-Coordinator of the Kindred Southern Healing Justice Collective; a southeastern network of healers, health practitioners and organizers seeking ways to respond to and intervene on state violence & generational trauma in the southeast and beyond.   She is also the former National Director of the Committee on Women, Population & the Environment where she led campaign work against population control and eugenic practices on women of color. Cara continues to write on issues concerning state sanctioned violence on Queer, Trans & People of Color communities including forced sterilization and the ethics of medical and genetic experimentation on poor and immigrant communities.

Angelo Pinto is Campaign Manager for the Juvenile Justice Project, joined the CA in July 2012. Angelo will oversee the CA’s Raise the Age Campaign, which seeks to increase New York State’s age of criminal responsibility, end the practice of housing children in adult jails and prisons, and ensure that children in the justice system receive appropriate rehabilitative services. Prior to joining the CA, Angelo served as Program Manager at the Arthur Ashe Institute where he designed and implemented community interventions in barbershops and beauty salons for formerly incarcerated men and community members to access re-entry information and services. He also served as a Legal Coordinator on Riker’s Island where he taught a legal research course to incarcerated adolescents and adults. I in addition, he facilitated a leadership training program for youth on Rikers as part of the CA’s Juvenile Justice Project. He received a J.D. from the City University of New York Law School and a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Clark Atlanta University.

Charles “Chuck” Presbury, Principal, Presbury & Associates, LLC leads an executive assessment, coaching and organizational development consultancy. He has developed a reputation as a trusted advisor and catalyst that helps clients to explore tough leadership challenges and take practical steps to achieve their goals. His firm provides 3600 assessment of executives and teams, focused development actions and coaching to enhance their performance and their succession planning. Chuck has over 25 years of experience in training, executive development, succession planning and human resource executive management. He most recently held the role of senior director, Leadership Development at The McGraw-Hill Companies where he headed the global leadership development programs, executive 3600 assessment process and the executive coaching process. He has held senior HR generalist and human resource development positions at the National Broadcasting Company, Preferred Health Care and SCM Corporation. Chuck received his BA degree from Holy Cross College and his MS degree from Columbia University. He is a member of numerous professional groups and is a co-executive director of the Talent and Leadership Development Network run by Executive Networks. He is a board member of the Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce and a leader in the Chamber’s Leadership Institute. He is also a member or Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Merble Reagon is Executive Director of the Women’s Center for Education and Career Advancement in New York City that serves low-income women and their families through a variety of programs and services designed to help them achieve economic security. Throughout her career, she has worked to create greater opportunities for low-wage workers in the business and public sectors. Her current work includes introduction and promotion of the most recent (2014) Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York: Overlooked and Undercounted: The Struggle to Make Ends Meet in New York City and the widely used web-based New York City Self-Sufficiency Calculator. The report calculates how much income it takes for 152 family types to live and work in the five boroughs of New York City. The Calculator enables nonprofit social service agency caseworkers to screen low-wage working families for 19 income supports in less than 10 minutes. The Financial Literacy Independence Program (FLIP) is the Center’s latest innovative effort to educate girls and young women about the fundamentals of economic security and the incremental steps they must take to achieve financial stability as adult women. The Women’s Center is credited with framing and broadening the New York City policy dialogue to shift the income equality discussion from poverty to one of what income working families actually need to meet their families’ basic needs.  She has received numerous awards including the Ellen Lurie Award, the Susan B. Anthony Award (NOW-NYC) and the New York Women’s Foundation’s Celebrating Women Award. Recent community involvement includes NYC Mayor’s Commission on Women’s Issues and the boards of the NYS Defenders Association, the Justice Fund, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, the New York Women’s Foundation, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund. She is a graduate of Smith College and the New York University School of Law.

Russel Shuler, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Youth Education Through Sports, Inc. (YES Inc.) a non-profit social enterprise based in Harlem, New York. Shuler is the visionary leader and manages the day- to-day operations of the organization. YES Inc. is committed to delivering supplemental academic and athletic programs to fulfill its mission “To Help Student-Athletes ‘In Need’ Get College Ready.” Shuler, an education administrator and community leader, has over 35 years experience with developing, organizing and implementing innovative youth sports programs locally, nationally and internationally. A former student- athlete, Mr. Shuler played basketball at California State University, Hayward, CA and Essex County College, Newark, N.J. His most recognized accomplishment comes with the formulation of institutional partnerships including: Teachers College, Columbia University, the College Board, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Math and English Consulting. A native of Harlem, New York, Russel has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, as well as received numerous awards and honors, the most noted being named “New Yorker of the Week” by Time Warner Cable’s NY1 television. He is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Business, Institute of Not-For-Profit Management and City College of New York. He serves on the boards of Black Agency Executives (BAE), Community Counseling and Mediation (CCM), Calvin Ramsey Scholarship Fund, International Communications Association (ICA), Community Board #11 Manhattan (Parks Committee) and is Captain of the of the New York City Marathon’s 21st Mile.

Dr. Gwyned Simpson, (LMHC) is a Mental Health Counselor specializing in Executive Coaching. Dr. Simpson helps her clients develop action oriented plans to achieve their goals. She uses a change agent systems approach to help people identify how the changes they wish to implement will affect themselves as well as the organizational and social systems in which they operate. Dr. Simpson is a practitioner, professor and scholar. She has served on the faculties of Monmouth University Graduate School of Education, Teachers’ College, Columbia University, and the City University of New York, where she taught graduate courses in Counseling Skills, Career Development and Cross-Cultural Counseling. As a practitioner, Dr. Simpson has worked in university school counseling, corporate career and outplacement counseling and executive coaching. Dr. Simpson received her Doctor of Education (Ed. D.), Master of Education (M.Ed.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees from Teachers’ College, Columbia University. She is licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in the state of New York. She holds training certifications from American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), the National Training Laboratories (NTL), completed a clinical fellowship at the Institute for Rational Emotive Therapy in NYC, and received a certificate in Executive and Organizational Coaching from NYU and completed her CASAC certification. Dr. Simpson custom designs counseling skills programs for organizations that employ counselors, advisors, case workers, human resources staff and other helping professionals. Her training programs enable participants to fine tune their skills so that their interactions with their clients are more focused and effective.

Kali Turner-Armstead is founder/producer of Colors of Community Theatre Company focused on social justice and political theatre. Plays are customized around specific topics and demographics and reflect contemporary issues in society.
Reading Series #3 is coming in January 2016
Instagram: @colorsofcommunity
Twitter: @colorsofunity

Bobby Watts, Executive Director of Care for the Homeless, a FQHC that exclusively targets homeless people, annually serving 10,000 homeless men, women and children in shelters, soup kitchens, and alongside street outreach teams in NYC. He began his career as a live-in counselor at a men’s rescue mission, and has been working at Care for the Homeless for more than twenty years – the last ten years as the Executive Director. During his tenure, CFH tripled its staff and budget, adding major new programs, including a shelter for homeless women with mental illness and medical frailty. He is recognized as a national expert in providing care to homeless people, and as an effective advocate for making systems responsive to the needs of homeless people. He is the former Board President of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council, and is on the NYSDOH’s Medicaid Redesign Team Affordable Housing Workgroup and NYSDOH’s Value- Based Payment Social Determinants and CBO Workgroup. He has a BA degree in Biology and Society from Cornell University and has an MPH in Health Administration and MS in Epidemiology, both from Columbia University’s School of Public Health.

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