An amazing array of speakers will inspire and enrich your leadership. Together we make an impact on women and men seeking jobs and economic independence.
2017 Annual Conference Speakers - COMING SOON!
2016 Annual Conference Speakers:
2016 Featured Speakers
Mary Kay Blakely, Associate Professor Emerita, University of Missouri, School of Journalism
Mary Kay Blakely is an associate professor of magazine journalism. She joined thefaculty in 1997 and taught intermediate and advanced magazine writing as well as a graduate seminar, Literature of Journalism, before her retirement in 2014.
A contributing editor to Ms. magazine since 1981 and former Hers columnist for The New York Times, she is the author of the critically acclaimed books, “Wake Me When It’s Over,” “American Mom” and “Red, White and Oh So Blue.” Her essays on social and political issues have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mother Jones, LIFE, Vogue, Family Circle, Self, Parents, Newsday, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Lear’s, Glamour, Working Woman as well as other national publications. Blakely’s work has been collected in 14 writing anthologies and published in Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Japan.
In 2012 Blakely won the O.O. McIntyre Professorship for excellence in teaching, an annual award presented by the Missouri School of Journalism. In 2004 she received one of 10 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence that are awarded each year to outstanding University of Missouri professors.
Blakely has served on numerous national boards, including those for Women’s Enews, the National Writer’s Union and MOMbo, a syndicated radio program, and the Journalism & Women Symposium. She has received the EMMA (Exceptional Merit Media Award) and Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Her television appearances include news commentaries on the Today Show, Oprah, Larry King Live, CBS This Morning, Charlie Rose, C-SPAN, Good Morning America, CNN and other news programs.
In 2000, Blakely established the School’s partnership with the New School University to launch the school’s summer program in New York, providing students with internships, professional experience and a multimedia course of study in Manhattan. Her students’ radio commentaries have aired on KBIA, NPR and Pacifica Network News. Her writing students regularly contribute feature stories, essays and literary journalism to the Columbia Missourian and Vox, as well as national monthly magazines. Blakely is currently assembling an anthology of literary journalism by former students who have graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism.
Diane B. Ludwig, CFRE, DBL Development Services
Diane Burre Ludwig, a thirty-three year fundraising professional, believes strongly in the power of the volunteer model in fundraising and of philanthropy’s ability to help build strong, supportive communities. She is committed to helping train the next generation of nonprofit professionals – both volunteers and paid staff.
Diane enjoys the many facets of non-profits and has served in various development/fundraising capacities for public television, higher education, United Way, and mental health and children’s agencies in both Missouri and Oklahoma. She enjoys working with volunteers in day-to-day activities and with boards in agency governance structures.
Her specialties include: annual fund, strategic planning, governance and bylaws, board development, fundraising training, development plans, marketing, finances, reporting, and ethics. Diane especially likes working with small-shops and those new to fundraising.
Diane earned her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) certification in 1992. She has been a leader in the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at local levels in Tulsa, OK, St. Louis and now in central Missouri. Diane has also served on several national AFP committees. She currently is a past-president of the Central Missouri AFP Chapter and previously served on the 450+ member St. Louis Regional APF Chapter. In 2007, Diane was named that chapter’s “Fundraising Professional of the Year.” Diane also taught fundraising and nonprofit governance in Washington University’s Nonprofit Management Program.
She created DBL Development Services in 2012 after semi-retiring and relocating to Fulton, her hometown, in order to continue to serve the nonprofit community. In November of 2014, she was hired to be the part-time director of the Fulton Public Schools Foundation.
An active volunteer herself, Diane is a 43-year member of the American Association of University Women, a national organization promoting education and equity for women and girls. Diane has served in AAUW leadership positions at local, state and national levels.
Diane loves teaching and giving presentations and has done sessions at state, regional and national meetings to help people learn about philanthropy and the wonders it can work!
Jenny Bondurant, Founder, CatchPhrase Communications
Jenny Bondurant has more than 20 years of writing, editing, marketing and public relations experience. She currently operates CatchPhrase Communications, a marketing and PR firm, in mid-Missouri. She loves helping people, businesses, and communities tell their stories and make connections.
She received her undergraduate degree from Westminster College in Fulton, MO and her Master’s degree in creative writing (fiction) from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Jenny founded the Auxvasse Creative Arts Program in 2007, in memory of her sister, Ashley O’Donley Garrett. ACAP is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to bring visiting artists, workshops and special creative events to rural mid-Missouri. She is a former board member for Dreams to Reality in Jefferson City.
Her favorite quote? “We all do better when we all do better.” – Paul Wellstone
Willie Jude II, Ed.M., Executive Director of Philanthropy, Lincoln University Foundation Executive Director
Willie Jude arrived at Lincoln University and Jefferson City in August 2013. Jude, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin native and 2002 alumnus of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, received a bachelor’s of science degree in exercise and fitness management with a minor in business. He went on to earn his masters’ degree in Higher Education from Washington State University in 2004.
With over 12 years of experience in higher education, his career as a fundraising professional includes service at Washington State University and North Carolina Central University. As the Executive Director of Philanthropy and LU Foundation Executive Director, Jude has accountability for leading the university’s fund development efforts including: major gifts, corporate and foundation giving, annual giving, and planned giving. Mr. Jude also has oversight responsibilities for the departments of University Marketing, Communications and Public Relations, Alumni Affairs, Community and Government Relations and Athletics.
Willie is committed to community service and making a positive impact lives. Some of the local community involvement includes: United Way of Central Missouri, Jefferson City Downtown Rotary International, Lincoln University Lions Club International, Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, Downtown Business Association, Inc., Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Club, and the Council for Drug Free Youth.
Amy Simons, Associate Professor, Convergence Journalism, University of Missouri School of Journalism
Amy Simons teaches multi-platform reporting and editing to students in the convergence journalism interest area.
Since joining the faculty in August 2010, Simons has developed an interest in international journalism, training professionals on campus and abroad. She has traveled across China and the European Union, teaching Web-first workflows, mobile journalism techniques and how to use social media as a reporting tool and a means to disseminate journalistic content.
Simons hosts and produces Views of the News, a weekly media criticism program that airs on KBIA-FM and KBIA.org. She also serves as the adviser to ONA Mizzou, the local club of the Online News Association and as a mentor in the school’s student competitions. In July 2015, Simons helped a group of students launch the Women in Media student organization. As that club’s adviser, Simons supports members as they launch their careers in journalism, advertising and public relations.
Previously Simons worked as digital news editor for the Chicago Tribune, where she helped develop and execute the editorial programming strategy for chicagotribune.com. While at the Tribune, Simons worked closely with the newsrooms of WGN-TV, CLTV News and WGN-AM to coordinate the coverage of daily and planned news events. Before joining the Chicago Tribune, she spent seven years at CLTV News, Tribune’s 24-hour news channel covering Chicago and the suburbs. Simons worked her way up through the ranks, joining the newsroom as the assignment desk assistant and leaving as an executive producer. At CLTV, she produced the award-winning business magazine show, Your Money, and was responsible for all of the station’s election coverage.
Simons is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.
Rae Pagliarulo, Development Manager, Career Wardrobe
Rae Pagliarulo has been with Career Wardrobe since late 2013 and focuses on engaging corporations, foundations, and individuals to secure the financial support, clothing, and volunteers the organization needs to thrive. Before her development career, Rae served as a barista, retail clerk, and dinner theater actress, which prepared her for nothing besides breaking into song during staff meetings and making a mean cup of coffee. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College and spends her spare time volunteering as a section editor for Literary Mama, a popular online magazine.
Suzanne Alewine, Co-Founder, Principal Partner, and CEO, Community Asset Builders, LLC
Suzanne Alewine is co-founder and principal partner and CEO of Community Asset Builders, LLC. Community Asset Builders is a health improvement-focused consulting firm providing a variety of services to a diverse array of non-profit clients that includes Federally Qualified Health Centers, hospitals, local public health agencies and statewide associations. Team members provide technical assistance to identify tools and resources to design and sustain community and organizational processes and interventions, develop effective communication strategies, evaluate programs and services, and utilize technology for effective change and cost efficiency. Community Asset Builders’ extensive experience in federal, state and foundation-focused grant writing has resulted in over $150 million for their clients in the past 15 years.
Suzanne also serves as the Executive Director of the Missouri Rural Health Association. The Missouri Rural Health Association is the administrator of the Missouri Rides to Wellness Initiative and of HealthTran, a pilot program linking health care coordination and transportation mobility management services to create a simple, effective approach to improving access to care. HealthTran is currently funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Missouri Department of Transportation through FTA Section 5310 funding.
Prior to forming Community Asset Builders, Suzanne served the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, as a team member, and then as Director of the Community Health Assistance Resource Team (CHART) where she was responsible for providing leadership, consultation and technical assistance to Missouri communities in all aspects of health and quality of life improvement, and for developing strategic alliances to address key state level issues. Prior to joining CHART, Suzanne worked in the Department’s budget office.
Suzanne holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri. She is a founding member of the Association for Community Health Improvement, is a past co-chair of the national Healthy Communities Network, and a graduate of the Health Forum’s Creating Healthier Communities Fellowship.
Kevin Gamble, Public Affairs Specialist, State Farm Insurance
Kevin oversees State Farm grant and community programs and relationships for the states of Missouri and Kansas. He directly administers an annual grant budget for local and regional grants in these two states, for which he reviews all applications received and approves grant funding. He also acts as the primary local liaison for a variety of national grant and community programs for the company.
Kevin has spent the last five years in the area of grant & community programs, and has worked with dozens of nonprofits, government agencies, schools and universities, and community groups during this time.
Kevin is based in the State Farm office in Columbia, Mo.
In addition to his work in the grant world, Kevin has spent 20 years in the field of communications, with expertise in the areas of writing, editing, graphic design, web design, photography, and illustration. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree in Art with a minor in French from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Kevin currently resides in Columbia with his wife and two children.
Bondi Wood, Director of the Graduate Grantsmanship Certificate at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs
Bondi Wood is Director of the Graduate Grantsmanship Certificate at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs, where she is also an adjunct instructor for the on-line, four-course graduate certificate program. Bondi also previously served as an instructor for MU’s Faculty Grant Writing Institute. A free-lance writer and writing consultant for more than 20 years, Bondi began her grant writing career working primarily for nonprofits delivering humanitarian aid. She has a wealth of experience writing for non-profits as well as faculty researchers, having prepared proposals for 50 different government agencies and private foundations. Bondi has written more than 200 articles for business, consumer, and women’s publications, in addition to being among the MU grant writers who authored the textbook, “Grant Seeking in Higher Education: Strategies and Tools for College Faculty”. Bondi has a bachelor’s in English Education and a master’s in Composition and Rhetoric, both from MU.
Jessi LaRose, MPH, Healthy Policy Officer, Missouri Foundation for Health
Jessi LaRose joined the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) in January 2011. At MFH, she coordinates the MoCAP program, a unique effort to provide technical assistance and consulting services to nonprofits and governmental health organizations submitting applications for federal and nationally competed funding. She also works on MFH’s Expanding Coverage initiative, a statewide approach to conduct outreach and education activities, provide assistance with enrollment via the Missouri health insurance marketplace, increase health insurance literacy, and support Medicaid transformation. Before joining MFH, she was a project director at Saint Louis University, providing evaluation technical assistance to community organizations and conducting physical activity and healthy eating research. Prior to that, she was a project manager at Transtria, a St. Louis based public health research and consulting company. Ms. LaRose holds a master of public health degree from Saint Louis University.
Dr. Venkata Garikapaty, Lead Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiologist, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
Dr. Garikapaty has been a Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services since April 2005. He is currently the Team Lead for the MCH Epidemiology Response Team and also the PI for Missouri PRAMS and the Missouri SSDI Projects. Under his supervision, Dr. Garikapaty and the MCH epidemiology team led the 2016-2021 Title V MCH five year MCH needs assessment and played a key role in the identification of Missouri’s MCH priorities. Some of the MCH projects that the MCH epidemiology team supports include: Title V Block Grant Application and Needs Assessment, Home visiting programs, ECCS, Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System, Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review, Missouri Toddler Survey, Racial Disparities in MCH, Adverse Perinatal health outcomes, life course performance metrics and social determinants of health. The MCH epidemiology team also actively disseminates data at state, local and national forums on a variety of issues impacting Missouri’s MCH populations. In addition, the MCH Epidemiology provides support to various units within the Department with grant development efforts, program planning, improvement and evaluation.
Caitlin Garozzo, Program Manager, Career Wardrobe
Caitlin is the program director for Career Wardrobe where she is responsible for overseeing the signature dressing program as well as the professional development education program. Caitlin has been in workforce development for the past 7 years and has a passion for connecting job seekers to resources that can help them help themselves. Her educational background is in English literature and gender studies which means she is a well read feminist grammar nerd. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, cat, and puppy.
Nelly Roach, President, Caledon Virtual
Nelly Roach is one of the co-founders of Caledon Virtual. With many years of marketing success and experience to draw on, she positions clients for unheard of success and wins their lifetime loyalty.
With more than 20 years of business and marketing experience, Nelly has shaped the future for client after client. A client who wanted a national presence now has an international presence because of work Nelly performed. In Caledon Virtual’s second year, she increased business 135% with no employees. The bottom line? When you need something done, you call Nelly.
When people recommend Nelly, it starts with the professional success she’s helped them achieve. It quickly moves to the qualities she embodies. Words such as service, trust, creativity, and vision are commonplace when clients recommend her. Which is always. Her hard work ethic shines through in all she does and was instilled in her from a young age. A degree in math and accounting from the University of Guam gives her the analytical mind required to see the big picture while focusing on the details that lead to success.
Nelly’s love of her community shines through in her volunteer work and her recognitions. She served as president of the Rotary Club of Columbia Northwest just 3 years after joining, and becoming the 5th woman to serve as president in the organization’s 40-year history. She is currently president of the Phoenix Health Programs board of directors where she led efforts to identify a new executive director and increased private pay services to record levels. She’s been a finalist multiple times for Businesswoman of the Year and has won Mom and Wife of the Year in the Roach household many years in a row.
Robyn Williams, Chief Program Officer, WHW
Robyn Williams has been a driving force behind the success of WHW since she joined the nonprofit more than three years ago. Williams has served as the catalyst to help expand the programs offered at WHW to equip the unemployed and underemployed with the skills and resources they need to get and keep a good job. Williams’s dynamic personality, compassionate spirit and strong leadership have increased the number of men and women served by 60%. Williams started her career in the talk-television industry, working in various production-level capacities at some of the most popular programs of the day before eventually becoming a broadcast news reporter. Throughout her colorful career she has been driven by a passion to empower others and is thriving in the most rewarding role of her career as WHW’s Chief Program Officer where she oversees program curriculum, social enterprises, and is the primary liaison to WHW’s many corporate partners, affiliates and nonprofit agency partners.
Matthew Campos, Director of Development and Programs, Desert Best Friend's Closet (Palm Desert, CA)
Matthew Campos came to Desert Best Friend’s Closet (DBFC) under contract in 2014 to develop the “Bridge to Employment” program, bringing job search readiness skills training and job placement services to the clients of DBFC. He joined the team full time in July 2015. Before coming to Desert Best Friend’s Closet Matthew was a placement services representative for Goodwill Southern California where he was for eight (8) years. He oversaw the One Stop center providing services to 3000 clients annually.
He is very active in his community, serving on several boards such as the Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce, Desert Business Association, Palm Springs Unified School District Foundation, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals Desert Communities Chapter.
Matthew has earned certificates in Global Career Development and Nonprofit Management from University California Riverside.