OPENING PLENARY SPEAKER
Jane K. Fernandes is the ninth president of Guilford College and the first deaf woman to lead an American college or university. She began her work at Guilford July 1, 2014, having served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Asheville since 2008. At Guilford, she holds the faculty rank of Professor of English.
Recognized as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents by The Best Schools, Jane is leading Guilford College through curricular and administrative innovation to become further distinguished as a “college of excellence known for doing a few things splendidly.” Guilford’s rigorous liberal arts curriculum emphasizes integrative, active learning leading to 84 percent of its students earning career employment or entrance into prestigious graduate schools within a year of graduation. Founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1837, the College has about 2,000 traditional-aged and adult students, including students in The Early College at Guilford. Guilford is recognized in Loren Pope’s “Colleges that Change Lives” and in Princeton Review’s “Guide to Green Colleges.”
A native of Worcester, Mass., Jane is a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut, where she earned her B.A. in French and comparative literature, and the University of Iowa, where she earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in comparative literature. Born deaf to a deaf mother and hearing father, she learned American Sign Language (ASL) as a graduate student.
Jane’s career took her first to Boston as acting director of American Sign Language Programs at Northeastern University and then to Washington, D.C., as chair of the Sign Communication Department at Gallaudet (Gal-luh-det) University. Moving to Hawaii, she became the founding coordinator of the University of Hawaii’s Sign Language/English Interpreter Training Program and later, director of the Hawaii Center for the Deaf and Blind.
She returned to Gallaudet as vice president of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center in 1995 and served as provost of the university 2000-06. After her leadership roles at Gallaudet, she became a senior fellow at the Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity & Inclusion Institute at Bennett College in Greensboro, a post she held 2007-11.
Jane’s husband, Jim, is an emeritus professor at Gallaudet. They have two children: Sean, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and now a law student at the University of Chicago, and Erin, a graduate of Smith College, who is now working at an internship and taking post-baccalaureate classes in German at Guilford College to prepare for graduate school in fall 2016.
Angie Burleyson is a Performance Consultant and Corporate Trainer in the Triad Region for Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Eastern North Carolina. She is an award winning sales champion as well as a facilitator and coach. Her vision is to help people achieve unlimited success in their personal and professional lives through enhanced skill development. As a high achiever, Angie works diligently to help her clients reach their maximum potential.
Burleyson is an avid learner and at any point you might find her reading topics ranging from Leadership to Science Fiction. She is also a fitness fanatic enjoying boxing, running, cross fit, and weight lifting.
Burleyson lives in Kernersville, NC with her husband, Terry, their children Landon (8), Leah (4), and their loving doggy, Luda. In her down time, Angie enjoys taking camping trips with her family in their RV and going to the lake for relaxing rides on their boat. Angie has degrees in Art and Design from RCC/UNCG as well as Organizational Leadership from SNHU.
Naeemah Clark is an associate professor in the School of Communications at Elon University. She has edited the book, African Americans in the History of U.S. Media, co-authored a textbook Diversity in US Media, published work in Journalism History, American Behavioral Scientist, and has presented numerous papers at various conferences. Dr. Clark is interested in studying and teaching about economic, programming, and diversity issues related to the media and entertainment industries. Before coming to Elon in 2009, Dr. Clark worked at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Kent State University. She has a Ph.D. and M.A. in mass communication from the University of Florida and a B.S. in English Education from Florida State University. Since coming to Elon in 2009, Dr. Clark has led student groups to Vietnam, Berlin, and Central Florida.
Teresa Class – After a successful 16-year career in financial services, Teresa Class left her own comfort zone to purse her passion in helping others to better communicate and relate for improved business results.
Today Teresa works as a Performance Consultant with Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Teresa partners with businesses to help teams, departments, and employees turn potential into results by encouraging and stretching others to step outside their comfort zone and take risks towards next level success in a safe environment.
Teresa is a graduate of Elon University with a B.S. in Business Administration and is a North Carolina native. Outside of her career, Teresa enjoys going to the beach, spending time with friends, reading, and walking. She can also be seen stalking friends on Facebook, where she rarely posts and enthusiastically hits the like button on what everyone else is doing.
Michelle Gethers-Clark is CEO and President of United Way of Greater Greensboro. She is responsible for driving community collaborations to break the cycle of poverty. Michelle is an accomplished corporate executive and community leader whose professional career spans 30 years. She has celebrated success as a senior vice president for American Express Company, as an entrepreneur with a consulting firm, and as a local author. Michelle has held roles with global leadership responsibility in the US, Canada, Philippines, and India. Michelle earned a Bachelor’s Degree from The School of Professional Accountancy at Long Island University. She is a Certified Public Accountant. Michelle’s accomplishments and career success has been featured in Ebony, Black Enterprise, Working Mothers, and Biz Life Magazines.
As a community leader, her current affiliations include: Board of Trustees for Bennett College, Board of Directors for The Community Foundation of Greensboro, and BB&T Local Advisory Board.
Michelle is an energetic public speaker on the topics of service, leadership, and professional development. Her recently published book, The Next Level presents a perspective on leadership. Michelle is a native of New York City and currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband Rudy and two children Gregory and Sophia.
Her mantra is “People follow character and not titles.”
Elizabeth Hudson is a native of North Carolina who grew up in the small community of Farmer, near Asheboro. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and began her publishing career in 1997 at Our State magazine, where she started in the circulation department answering telephones before moving to the editorial department. She held various editorial titles for 10 years before becoming Editor in Chief of the 82-year-old publication in 2009.
Through her work with the magazine for 18 years, she has learned where to find the best barbecue — eastern and Lexington-style — and she also knows where to find our state’s most photographed waterfalls. On the Outer Banks, she has walked in the same sand where pirates once tread, and she knows how much milk makes a perfect bowl of Southern snow cream.
Under Elizabeth’s editorial leadership, the magazine’s paid circulation grew more than 30 percent, from 130,000 in 2009 to more than 178,000 this year. Each month, she works with the top writers and photographers in the country to produce a magazine that has garnered national attention, and in 2011 and 2012, Our State won consecutive Gold Eddies for “Best Issue” of a regional magazine in the country, the top honor from FOLIO: Magazine, the magazine industry’s leading publication recognizing editorial excellence. For her work with the magazine, Elizabeth is also the 2014 recipient of the Ethel N. Fortner Writer and Community Award, an award that celebrates contributions to the literary arts of North Carolina.
Ashlee Jenkins & Emily Smith – Our vision and goals program is designed to create an intention to live a life you love. Its focus is about you, who you are and what you want to create for yourself. The goal is to define what’s authentically important to you and making it happen.
As a company we bring this to our collective which allows them to imagine their life without any restrictions – time, money, knowledge – and to envision a life for themselves in 10 years. From there, goals are set to help live into that 10 year vision. The greatest aspect of vision and goals is there are no rules except for ones you create; it’s a vision that is created by only you and changed as often as you feel is necessary.
From the workshop, you’ll walk away with a 10 year vision that you’ve created. You’ll learn the steps to pull your 10, 5 and 1 year goals from your vision and the process of transforming them into your reality. We’ll go through mind mapping exercises that allow you to find your core values and incorporate those into your vision and you will be set up with tools to continue this practice and live into a life you love. Vision and goals is just that, a practice, and continues to grow as you grow and live into them.
Martha Kaley – The diagnosis came as a complete shock to Martha, who has no history of breast cancer in her family. Fortunately, Martha’s family does have a history of persistence and ingenuity instilled by her inventor father and industrious mother. These qualities led Martha to found Friends You Can Count On, the nation’s first research funding organization devoted solely to earlier detection, based in Greensboro, North Carolina.
“I had a cancerous tumor,” explains Martha, “that went undiscovered in a mammogram.” Three months later, thanks to a scratch from Sherlock, the family’s frisky Chocolate Lab, Martha noticed a lump in her breast. During surgery to remove this benign lump, Martha’s cautious doctor “did a little exploring” and discovered the cancerous tumor on the chest wall.
When Martha and her friends wished to contribute to breast cancer research, they discovered funds had to exceed $2500 in order to be dedicated to breast cancer, let alone earlier detection. She and her friends’ attempt to pool contributions led Martha to the idea of forming Friends You Can Count On.
“I know that innovative research combined with new technology is the key to detecting breast cancer,” explains Martha. “Our seed grants afford these researchers the opportunity to explore innovative ideas that would remain undeveloped. Seed grants are the springboard for larger and continuing studies in earlier detection. In 2003, the organization was renamed to more accurately reflect its mission. To date, Friends For An Earlier Breast Cancer Test® (also known as Friends…You Can Count On®) has funded research grants in excess of $3.0 million – largely through local fundraising events – and continues to extend its campaign nationwide.
Martha has been recognized locally and nationally for her tremendous efforts on behalf of Friends. In 2001, she was named the Oxygen Channel’s Woman of Strength for her strength and work with breast cancer and earlier detection awareness. She has won the prestigious Jonquil’s Award from Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center and been named one of fourteen North Carolina State “Heroes” by Our State Magazine. The Winston-Salem Journal named Martha Kaley an “Important Woman in Business” in 2002 and she was named one of 25 Yoplait Champions, a national award celebrating Martha as an “ordinary woman doing extraordinary things in her local community to help in the fight against breast cancer.” Mayo Clinic has named Earlier.org – Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test one of their “Major Benefactors”. Massachusetts General Hospital honored Martha as part of the one hundred in June 2011 – an honor bestowed to 100 individuals and groups whose diligence and discoveries, philanthropy and passion have helped advance the fight against cancer. In May 2012, Martha was conferred the Charles Duncan McIver Award, which recognizes individuals who have rendered distinguished public service to the state or nation. The bronze medal bears the likeness of Charles Duncan McIver, the founding president of the institution that is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She has had the repeated, prestigious honor of serving on the United States Department of Defense Scientific Peer Review Committee beginning in the Spring of 2007. In addition, Martha has served on the Board of Directors for the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center and is a member of the Greensboro Sports Council.
Martha and Jim have one son, Mark and a daughter-in-law, Lorin. They are most proud of their two beautiful granddaughters, McLane Martha, born September 2006, and Harper Matilda Pauline, born March 2010. Both are health enthusiasts and love the outdoors, enjoying biking, running, and fly-fishing.
Martha is also a trained pharmacist and has a master’s degree in family counseling and early childhood development.
Terri Maultsby – “I grew up in Brooklyn, where all manner of good, interesting food was around each corner. I always wanted to know the story of people’s food, and that curiosity has been a lifelong interest. My family heritage took me to Spain in the summers as a child, where exotic breads at the Saturday farmers market caught my eye. A college semester in India exposed me to a world of food I had never experienced, and the way community was built around food has always stayed with me. When life brought me to North Carolina as a young teacher, my food horizons expanded yet again. Now well into my second decade here, I still love grits.
I’m a self-taught cook and, like most folks, started off cooking from cookbooks. I still rely on them, from well-worn favorites to new trends. While I love preparing a special dinner with friends, there are plenty more days when I need a simple meal to fit into the mid-week madness. Sometimes a quick smoothie to refuel after a long run or a challenging yoga practice is all the food I have time to make.
For fun, I find myself experimenting and developing my own recipes more and more. I have always loved the adventure of creating a dish and discovering it all over again through the reactions of friends and family. Over time, I came to realize sharing recipes and ideas about food had become what I enjoy most.
How did I arrive at THINK.EAT.GROW? I spent most of my life in the classroom, teaching every age from kindergarten to high school. Watching how young people think and grow gave me a lot of perspective on how what we eat impacts more than just our waistlines. Mood swings, short-tempers, afternoon lethargy, and hyperactivity are just a few of the signs teachers observe when children don’t have the right foods to fuel their bodies.
I also began to notice that my friends and the parents of my students were becoming more and more interested in food and its effects-what food is healthy, how can cooking get done with such busy schedules, how do I teach my family to like good food? As I talked with them about these challenges, I realized my teaching background, my work with families, and my lifelong learning about food could actually come together in one place.
So, I became a certified health coach, and now I have developed a business focused on what I love–cooking, wellness, and teaching. Good food. Easy to make. Healthy to eat. Empowering. All fit for today’s demanding schedules and busy family life. What a great thing!”
Afi Johnson-Parris, an N.C. Board Certified Family Law Specialist, is an attorney practicing divorce and family law, as well as veterans disability. Previously, she had her own practice focusing solely on family law, but joined forces with Ward Black Law to pursue her passion for helping veterans through a veterans disability practice.
Most recently, Johnson-Parris was named a 2015 Legal Elite by Business North Carolina magazine in the area of family law. Previously she was nominated by her peers and honored as a 2012 Rising Star – lawyers under 40- in the publication, Super Lawyers of North Carolina.
Johnson-Parris is a 2002 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and a published member of its Law Review. Ms. Johnson-Parris attended the University of Miami on a ROTC scholarship and graduated in 1994 with a BBA in Computer Information Systems.
Before law school, Johnson-Parris served her country as an officer in the Air Force and earned an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix- Southern Colorado Campus. After law school, Ms. Johnson-Parris began practicing complex civil litigation in Atlanta with Kilpatrick Stockton LLP and relocated to Greensboro in 2006 to practice employment and civil litigation with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP. She founded her own divorce and family law firm in 2008.
Johnson-Parris is an active member of the greater Greensboro community, currently serving as President of the Greensboro Bar Association and on the advisory board of First Citizens Bank. She has also served on the boards of the Carolina Field of Honor at Triad Park, YWCA of Greensboro, the Guilford Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, and the Junior League of Greensboro. She is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Greensboro and served as a Program Chair for the 2011 class.
Lanie Pope, a native of Greenville, S.C., joined the WXII 12 team as chief meteorologist on Sept. 20, 2001.
Lanie is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where she says it’s so hot and humid that you need a shower after walking across campus even for a 9am class! She has her broadcast meteorology degree from Mississippi State University.
She started her career at WPDE in Florence, S.C., and then went to work at WCNC in Charlotte, WLKY in Louisville KY, and most recently, WSOC in Charlotte. Lanie has been honored with several awards throughout her career, including a regional Emmy for the coverage of Hurricane Bonnie in 1999, three North Carolina Associated Press awards for tornado coverage for 1998, 1999, and 2000, and a RTNDA for her coverage of Hurricane Floyd. Lanie has her CBM Seal (Certified Broadcast Meteorologist) from the American Meteorological Society and separate broadcast certification from the National Weather Association.
She is passionate about her mission to put an end to Alzheimer’s disease. She lost her mom to the illness when she was 66 years old. Lanie is on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Western North Carolina and often speaks publically about her experience with Alzheimer’s to families who are also affected by the disease. She is also active in our community’s schools. She loves teaching kids about weather. “I love seeing their faces light up when the world they live in starts to make sense. It warms my heart!”
Lanie and her husband Brian have two sons, Kenan and Heath. They enjoy spending time outdoors as a family- hiking, camping, and riding bikes. Legos are a big hit in their home as well, often times creating indoor traffic hazards. She is amazed at what her kids can create with those tiny bricks! She loves all types of music, and has recently taken up guitar, a lifelong dream. “Dance time” is a big hit with the family- cranking up the music and moving around. There’s lots of singing too, although that’s probably better left to the professionals!
When she has free time she enjoys baking. Her favorite food is anything chocolate, “especially my mother’s entrusted fudge recipe, which I love to make any time of the year” She also enjoys running, swimming, golf, and pretty much anything sporty and outdoors. Breathing the fresh air and taking in the sights and sounds of nature keep me going every day.
Leigh-Anne Royster is currently the Director of Inclusive Community Well-Being at Elon Univeristy in Elon, NC. She holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Colorado, a Leadership Certificate in Public Health from UNC and is finishing her dissertation in Public Health Education at UNC Greensboro focusing on gender-based violence prevention policy interpretation and implementation at colleges and universities.
Much of her current work is focused on addressing intersections of oppressions as one critical aspect of public health promotion and violence prevention on college campuses. She oversees the bias and harassment protocol and processes at Elon and helps to coordinate diversity education. She also advises the Gender and Sexuality Living and Learning Community and the Public Health Society on campus. She received the Faculty Member of the Year Award for support of the LGBTQIA campus community in 2014 and the university wide Phoenix Community Engagement Award last academic year. Leigh-Anne has served in the capacity of Coordinator for Personal Health Programs and Community Well-Being and Director of Health Services and Health Promotion at Elon and has over 19 years experience working with violence response and prevention.
Before leading these efforts at Elon University, Leigh-Anne worked at the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center and the NC Institute for Public Health on the PREVENT program (a national training and technical assistance initiative focused on public health approaches to gender-based violence prevention) and in several other project management capacities at UNC. She also serves on state-wide and local boards focused on violence prevention and response. Leigh-Anne balances these responsibilities with quality time with her family in Burlington, NC.
Maghon Taylor has been the owner of All She Wrote Notes since 2012, but she’s been lettering for as long as she can remember. All She Wrote Notes is a sweet Carolina calligraphy studio that specializes in spreading happiness through her handwriting. Maghon teaches calligraphy and hand lettering classes all over North Carolina and beyond in addition to running her online shop that makes and ships colorful calligraphy products to customers and retailers in all fifty states.
Her work has been featured on Southern Weddings, Wedding Chicks, Southern Bride and Groom, FOX 8 and the Raleigh News & Observer. She has also partnered to letter items with stores like West Elm, Neiman Marcus, Swoozies and Furbish Studio. Maghon has lent her lettering to countless weddings and special events, but she most enjoys lettering around her home she shares with her husband and middle school sweetheart, Chris.
Parker Wood White, native to Greensboro, attended Page High School and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a degree in both Psychology and Sociology. After college, Parker moved to Washington DC and started her career in politics with North Carolina’s Senator Jesse Helms, working as a Legislative Correspondent. After Helms’ retirement in 2003, Parker worked in the legal division of the National Republican Senatorial Committee before being recruited to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s Senate Leadership Staff. After two years in the Senate Majority Leader’s office, Senator Richard Burr hired Parker, upon his swearing in to the Senate in 2005, to be his Scheduler in the DC Office. She worked in the Senate until the day before her daughter was born in July 2007.
Parker and her family moved to Greensboro in 2008. In 2010, Parker established BackPack Beginnings. She dedicates her time first as a stay-at-home mom to her daughter and son; and second to overseeing and running the day-to-day operations of BackPack Beginnings.