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.
2016 Annual Conference Speakers - COMING SOON!
2015 Keynote Speakers
Tonya Allen, President & CEO, Skillman Foundation
Tonya Allen, a serial “idea-preneur,” serves as the Foundation's president & chief executive officer. Her two-decade long career has centered on pursuing, executing and investing in ideas that improve her hometown of Detroit and reduce the plight of underserved people, especially children. Allen has been instrumental in many successful philanthropic, government and community initiatives and has a comprehensive understanding of philanthropic governance and strategy.
In her current role, Allen aligns the complexities of education reform, urban revitalization and public policy, so that these sometimes divergent areas of work come together to improve the well-being of Detroit’s children. She serves as the architect of the 10-year, $100 million Good Neighborhoods program. She orchestrated the development of a $200-million, citywide education reform organization called Excellent Schools Detroit, and a high-school improvement strategy has resulted in 15 new college-preparatory high schools.
Allen was named to Crain’s Detroit Business 40 under 40 list, received the national Brick Award given to activists under age 30 by Rolling Stone Magazine, was one of the first Detroiters to receive the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship, and was named one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s "5 nonprofit innovators to watch” in 2013. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and masters' degrees in social work and public health, all from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She serves on numerous boards and committees, both local and national, including The Funders Network for Smart Growth, Grantmakers of Children, Youth and Families, Council of Michigan Foundations and Association of Black Foundation Executives.
Before joining the Skillman Foundation in 2004, Allen worked as a program officer for both the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Thompson-McCully Foundation. She founded and was the executive director of Detroit Parent Network, a parent membership organization dedicated to improving educational options for children, and led the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Rebuilding Communities Initiative in Detroit.
Allen describes herself as “a quasi-introvert masquerading as an extrovert." Her ambition is to marry those vastly different parts of her personality to live a balanced, joyful and authentic life. Her sense of humor and faith keep her inspired and grounded as she works to make Detroit, the city she loves, a better, stronger, more thriving place for children. She’s married to husband, Louis, and has three daughters, Phylicia, Brianna and Alanna. Together, the couple owns and operates a Christian entertainment company, Highly Favored Productions.
Bridget G. Hurd, Director, Community Responsibility, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
As a community relations and corporate social responsibility executive, Bridget Hurd has worked in the health care industry for 20 years helping to facilitate stronger linkages among the community and health care institutions.
Hurd is a member of the leadership team at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan where she is director of Community Responsibility. In this role, she develops and leads strategic community partnerships to encourage healthy, active lifestyles at every age and to advance the Blues brand in local communities. She oversees corporate giving, stakeholder relationships, the employee and executive volunteer programs, and corporate internal and special events.
Prior to joining BCBSM, Hurd worked for eight years at the Greater Detroit Area Health Council (a non-profit, regional coalition). As part of the organization’s executive team, she played a significant role in branding and building its regional and national image, organizational capacity building and directing strategic planning. She managed strategic partnerships and led internal and external communications, including media relations achieving recurring visibility in print and other media. Hurd was also responsible for member recruitment and retention, governance and board relations, stakeholder communications, sponsorships, and planning educational and fundraising events. Through these efforts she strengthened the organization’s focus, visibility, and influence, both nationally and regionally.
Hurd is a board member of the Communicating Arts Credit Union, Special Olympics, and the Lebanese American Heritage Club.
She is a graduate of Wayne State University where she obtained a Master of Business Administration degree and the University of Michigan where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications. She also has a certificate for Corporate Citizenship Leadership from the Boston College Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship and is a graduate of Leadership Detroit XXXI.
Didi Capers, Senior Marketing Manager, The Detroit Lions & Ford Field
Didi Capers is an accomplished marketing leader with a track record of building outstanding programs that exceed expectations. She’s lead marketing programs for some of the most recognized brands in the world including Microsoft Windows, Excedrin, Tide, Colgate toothpaste, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal and Cîroc Vodka. She has rare mix of 360-degree marketing experience that includes brand, agency, media and promotions.
Capers is currently the Senior Marketing Manager for the Detroit Lions where she is responsible for the team’s brand and fan marketing plan which includes brand strategy, brand advertising and activation.
Capers' personal motto is, “It’s not over until it’s over the top.” She’s been featured in Crain’s Detroit Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine and Black Enterprise. She is a Michigan State University graduate, wife and mother.
Tammy Evans-Colquitt, Ph.D., MPA, Image and Attitude (Pennsauken, NJ)
Dr. Tammy Evans-Colquitt has extensive management and leadership experiences in both the corporate and non-profit sectors. She obtained a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration with a specialization in nonprofit management and leadership. In addition, Dr. Colquitt has earned two Master of Science degrees in Nonprofit Management, and the other in Public Administration.
In 1999, Dr. Colquitt established a 501(c)3 community nonprofit organization, PREP Institute, DBA: Image and Attitude, to address the marketability of low-income individuals striving to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Image and Attitude is unique and the first in Camden County, New Jersey to create a “career closet.” The mission is to assist individuals transitioning from welfare to work by providing ‘gently-used’ professional attire, and occupational and job-readiness training to help ensure their success to employment. Dr. Colquitt knows from experience that confidence is what really gives you the upper hand in any situation, and it is confidence that she want the women and men to wear well, most of all. In addition to their employment support services, the organization provides occupational training through PREP Institute, Inc. in Certified Nurses Aid and Customer Service & Retail training. To date, the organization has served and trained over 17,000 individuals from the tri-county areas.
In addition to her community service, Dr. Colquitt is a Senior Academic Officer/University Campus Dean and Lecturer in Public Policy, Leadership, and Management. Dr. Colquitt continues to contribute to academia by serving as a member on the Board of Trustee for Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
Dr. Colquitt was recently selected by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists to receive its 2015 Community Service award for her work with Image and Attitude. This year, Dr. Colquitt was also recognized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: New Jersey State Conference’s Women in the NAACP (WIN), by receiving their highest honor, the 2015 Frances Hooks Award.
In addition, Dr. Colquitt was selected and recognized by the New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie as the ‘2010 New Jersey’s Hero’ for her service in the community, and have received numerous awards and accolades from the Association of Black Women Lawyers, National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NC100BW), and The New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Club & Douglass College, to name a few.
Dr. Colquitt resides in Burlington, New Jersey with her husband and their twin sons.
Trina Fleming, WHW (Santa Ana, CA)
As Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the non-profit organization, WHW, Trina directs the development and implementation of WHW’s strategic marketing and public relations activities. She oversees the shaping of WHW’s brand message, communication objectives of the organization, the critical marketing and outreach to all of WHW’s constituents and effective communication between the organization and the public. Trina is also responsible for all collateral materials, web presence, social media, email marketing, online fundraising and advertising campaigns. She also oversees WHW technology infrastructure and manages WHW’s social enterprise, Déjà New, a retail store that supports the mission of WHW through fashion.
Trina sits on the board of the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO-OC) as Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, is a regular contributing blogger and was voted member of the year in 2009. Trina is also Communications Chair of Marketplace Women of Orange County, an organization that inspires women to integrate their professional, personal and spiritual lives and a Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce Ambassador.
In 2011, Trina was selected by Farmers and Merchants Bank as one of their Women of Courage. And in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Trina was nominated for the prestigious Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award. Also in 2015, Trina was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Regional Conference of Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO) where she presented on “The Business of Nonprofits.” Trina received her Master of Business Administration from Webster University and earned her Bachelors of Science, Management Information Systems at Vanguard University.
Caitlin Garozzo, Program Manager, Career Wardrobe (Philadelphia, PA)
Caitlin oversees all of Career Wardrobe's programs for women and men transitioning to work. Two of her accomplishments have been to develop a new job readiness curriculum for Career Wardrobe and strengthen Career Wardrobe’s relationships with the Philadelphia communities to provide information to individuals who need their services.
Among various smaller opportunities, Caitlin was a former Case Manager with EDSI and helped develop, write and deliver a Case Manager training program for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. She has also worked with the South EARN Center and the Community College of Philadelphia in their green jobs manufacturing program. Previously, she taught English and American culture in Japan to Japanese high school students through the JET Programme.
Caitlin is passionate about empowering women to self-advocate for their own needs and wants and believes education is the key to success for all people. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from The College of New Jersey in English and Women and Gender Studies.
Connie Golds, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Desert Best Friend's Closet (Palm Desert, CA)
Combining inspired vision with hard work and dedication, Connie Golds co-founded and manages Desert Best Friend’s Closet. The seven-year-old nonprofit’s mission is to empower low-income Coachella Valley residents to attain employment through their education and wardrobe services. By doing so, Desert Best Friend’s Closet envisions that one day all Coachella Valley residents will be economically self-sufficient through employment.
Connie’s efforts and the impact of Desert Best Friend’s Closet has not gone unnoticed in the community. Two years ago, the City of Palm Desert honored Connie with the prestigious ATHENA Leadership award, which is presented to a woman for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional success and leadership skills.
Connie has a demonstrated history of commitment and service in the Coachella Valley, particularly with organizations that benefit youth and education. She currently is a member of the Board of Women Leaders Forum of the Desert and serves on the Scholarship Committee of the Desert Community Foundation. Connie serves on the Coachella Valley Association of Government’s Homelessness Committee. Past service includes: Board Secretary (and a founding Board member) of Sheltering Sisters; the Auxiliary for Shelter From the Storm; co-Chair of the UCLA Alumni Scholarship Committee; member of the Board of Trustees for the Palm Valley School for 13 years, and was the Chairman of the Board for her final two years. Connie also volunteered for 13 years as a Girl Scout Leader and served the district as “cookie coordinator” for three years. The Girl Scouts recognized her service with awards as Outstanding Leader, Outstanding Volunteer and the GSUSA Appreciation Award.
Kathy Botsford, Outreach & Expansion Coordinator, Success in Style (Savage, MD)
Kathy Botsford has been serving with Success in Style (SIS) for the past five years. Initially a reluctant volunteer who stumbled into the retail store while strolling the local historic site that is the home of SIS and Charity's Closet, she was inspired by the dynamic women who make up the working board of SIS to take on the role of Outreach Coordinator and move the organization into a period of explosive growth. With the example of finding ways to say "Yes!" to opportunities provided by Executive Director, Jeannette Kendall, Kathy has led the organization in opening three new studios over the past year to better serve the Baltimore-Washington corridor as well as a new donation retail center. Her responsibilities within the organization range from public speaking engagements to volunteer recruiting to building partnerships with donors, sponsors and referring agencies to best serve our greater community, to shore up support for current projects and prepare for future growth which is inevitable due to the incredible need in Suburban Maryland.
Jessica Rennard, Boutique Manager, Wardrobe Boutique (Philadelphia, PA)
Jessica Rennard has over nine years of resale experience. She has managed a cash on the spot resale store for five years and has been working at Career Wardrobe for 3.5 years managing the resale store, The Wardrobe Boutique. Jessica has also worked in the corporate office for a large private consignment shop in Philadelphia.
Jessica has expertise and insight on social media efforts and how to drive traffic into your space via marketing inventory. She launched the Wardrobe Boutique ecommerce site via their pricing database and POS, Resale World. In November 2014, The Wardrobe Boutique linked it to eBay which was a very good strategy to get more visibility in the ecommerce world. In her presentation to ACDN members, Jessica will talk about the capabilities the various resale databases she has worked with. She will also offer sales data as to the Wardrobe Boutique’s online growth and talk a little on the learning curve.
Jessica holds a Master’s Degree Public Administration from West Chester University.
Alison Vaughn, Founder & CEO, Jackets for Jobs, Inc. (Detroit, MI)
Alison Vaughn is an award winning entrepreneur, and founder and CEO of Jackets for Jobs, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides employment etiquette, career skills training and professional clothing to low-income individuals. Since opening its doors in 2000, Jackets for Jobs has assisted more than 16,000 individuals in their pursuit of employment. This high profile organization has been recognized by ABC's "The View," NBC's "Today Show" and Oprah's O Magazine. In 2007, Jackets for Jobs caught the attention of retail giant T.J. Maxx with whom the organization has since partnered. In 2013, Jackets for Jobs opened an office in Botswana (Africa). Vaughn represented the organization on the floor of the NASDAQ where she rang the closing bell in 2006 and 2014.
A Detroit native, Vaughn is a sought-after public speaker nationally and internationally. In the fall of 2014, she was chosen to speak at the World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai, UAE on the rise of women entrepreneurs. Vaughn has inspired audiences with her insights on advocacy, entrepreneurism, empowerment and workforce development including area churches, civil rights organizations, corporations and non-profits, conference attendees, schools and universities and women’s groups.
Vaughn was the 2011 co-chair of the 56th Annual Detroit NAACP Fight for Freedom Dinner, the largest sit-down dinner in the country annually drawing 10,000 attendees. The dinner is known for its distinguished keynote speakers, including U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton; the Honorable Hillary Clinton; the Honorable Colin Powell; and actor Danny Glover.
A member of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), Vaughn is a co-author of the book Inspired Style. This guide to glamour at any age features Vaughn and other top image experts sharing tips to help women look and be their best. She has also contributed articles on image, style and business etiquette for local newspapers.
Vaughn earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and graduated from The Women's Campaign School at Yale University, sponsored by Yale Law School. She is a member of Distinguished Women in International Service, Gamma Phi Delta Sorority and Top Ladies of Distinction. Vaughn is a Eureka Communities Fellow, active with the NAACP and was a 2006 candidate for the Michigan State Senate. Vaughn is a Goldman Sachs Scholar, a graduate of the investment firm’s 10,000 Small Businesses Program that provides entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. She is one of Martha Stewart’s “Dreamers into Doers,” a group of entrepreneurs who have turned their dreams into reality.
Having received numerous accolades, in 2007, Vaughn was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Alabama A & M University, and “Businesswoman of the Year” by the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Business Women in 2009. That same year, the Michigan Chronicle honored Vaughn as a Woman of Excellence, and Lakeshore Engineering recognized her with its “Leaders, Legends & Luminaries” award.
Vaughn has been listed in the Who's Who of Black Detroit for three years and the Who’s Who Among Female Executives. She is a recipient of the Community Service Award from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and the Humanitarian Award from the Top Ladies of Distinction.
In her spare time, Vaughn enjoys traveling, reading and attending sporting events—never missing a Detroit Lions home game. She is a member of Word of Faith International Christian Center.
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.
Gineyda Diaz, Operations Director, Bottomless Closet (New York, NY)
Gineyda joined Bottomless Closet in 2007 and in 2011 became the Operations Director, leaving her in charge of both the inner and cyber space of Bottomless Closet. Gineyda understands the importance and the value of brand as well as technology and the role they play in a growing organization. Using her background in design and her passion for digital and print media, Gineyda has worked to ensure that Bottomless Closet’s brand is consistent in person, on print and online.
Gineyda credits the strong women role models in her life that encouraged her to shoot for the stars and at Bottomless Closet she can pay it forward. Sometimes it only takes one person to open up the possibilities and what-ifs that life has in store for you.
Gineyda holds a Fashion Design Diploma from the High School of Fashion Industries, a Bachelor in Science (Fashion Design) from Syracuse University and a certificate in Marketing for Nonprofits from the University of Richmond.