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6.25 Social Work Clock Hours Available 

Application approved by NASW-Missouri Chapter

 

Pending certificates for Continuing Legal Education.  

$25 General Admission (Includes lunch and credit hours)

Group Discount

10% discount off 5 or more, 20% off 10 or more tickets

The Conference

A Day of Powerful Talks

08 August 2019

8:00 am

How do we hold each other accountable as we continue to press forward toward
inclusive excellence? We will address our collective responsibility toward a community
built on trust, transparency, equity, diversity and inclusivity. It is important that we
continue to monitor the state of our intentional work toward a community focused on
inclusive excellence. Even when times are quiet, the work must continue.

6.25 Social Work Clock Hours

Application approved by NASW-Missouri Chapter.

Pending certificates for Continuing Legal Education.

Schedule

7:15 am 

Disability is Diversity: Panel Discussion

Session #1 - 9:15 a.m.

A panel of people with different abilities will discuss inclusivity and challenges faced in our community.

Really Addressing the Current Environment

Session #1 - 9:15 a.m.

How can we address healing and reconciliation without addressing the issues that we would much rather avoid? First, we have to talk about it, but we have to do the work necessary to move beyond dialogue. We will look at productive ways to address the topics that make us the most uncomfortable by directing our lens to the true realities of the world around us.

Humanizing Our Coworkers

Session #1 - 9:15 a.m.

The workplace can feel particularly easy to create transactional relationships with your co-workers that impedes empathy, connection, and understanding. Many diversity practitioners often wonder, how can we increase organizational support for sustaining an inclusive workforce? This session will discuss leveraging existing programs, encouraging a culture that recognizes and celebrates individuality, and facilitate employee engagement.

Using Data to Promote Equity: Balancing Individual Outcomes with Systems

Session #2 - 10:45 a.m.

Equity reflects a balanced relationship not only among individuals, but between individuals and systems. By combining trend data on student outcomes, we will explore connections with local systemic patterns related to poverty, neighborhood segregation, and it's impact on our families.

Many Faces of Privilege

Session #2 - 10:45 a.m.

The exercise seeks to highlight the fact that everyone has SOME privilege, even as some people have more privilege than others. By illuminating our various privileges as individuals, we can recognize ways that we can use our privileges individually and collectively to work towards inclusion for everyone. This will be an opportunity to understand the intricacies of privilege and to explore the ways that we have privilege based on being members of social identity groups.

Ally-Opps!
Navigating LGBTQ Allyship

Session #2 - 10:45 a.m.

How do we become more active allies to the LGBTQ community? Learn how to step up in the moment, protect the LGBTQ folx in your life, and how to recover gracefully when (not if) you make a mistake.

Diversity in Beliefs:
Panel Discussion

Session #3 - 1:15 p.m.

When we think about diversity, often times varied belief systems aren't the first thing that comes to our mind. This panel will try to answer some questions about the importance of seeing someone's beliefs as a part of their identity and the importance that can play at work, home, place of worship, etc. 

Paradigm Shift in How We Serve

Session #3 - 1:15 p.m.

How do we address our reactions to challenging situations so our children, employees, and peers will have positive outcomes? This session will share tools needed so that all have the support to thrive. 

Women in Tech

Session #3 - 1:15 p.m.

Come listen to a panel of women share their narratives about being a woman in tech and share advice to those considering career options. They will discuss the adversities they’ve encountered and obstacles encountered over the years. They will also share their positive experiences of female advocacy and the meaningful support from male colleagues.

Mediated ‘Isms and Their Use in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations 

Session #4 - 2:45 p.m.

Join Dr. Cynthia Frisby, Professor at the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, for this presentation on how different media messages form our assumptions and fuel stereotypes related to gender and race. Frisby will share her research on representation in media and its effects on minorities, women and adolescents and provide attendees with tools for recognizing and combating these effects.

LGBTQIAA+:
Identity Inclusion

Session #4 - 2:45 p.m.

This creative experience and discussion will help us think about privilege and hetero-sexism. We will reflect on our own behaviors and beliefs around sexual orientation.

Addressing Difficult History Without
Sugar-Coating the Truth

Session #4 - 2:45 p.m.

Both children and adults alike can benefit from being told their true history, even when topics cause us discomfort and shame. Learning about our true history enables us to confront the past and become empowered by it. We cannot fix what we will not face.

Schedule

7:15 am 

Registration Opens

8:00 am 

Opening General Session

9:15 am 

Session 1

  • Disability is Diversity

  • Really Addressing the Current Environment RACE

  • Humanizing Our Coworkers

10:45 am 

Session 2

  • Using Data to Promote Equity: Balancing Individual Outcomes with Systems

  • Many Faces of Privilege 

  • Ally-Oops! Navigating LGBTQ Allyship

12:00 pm 

Lunch

1:15 pm 

Session 3

  • Diversity in Beliefs: Panel Discussion

  • Paradigm Shift in How We Serve

  • Women in Tech: Panel Discussion

2:45 pm 

  • Mediated ‘Isms and Their Use in Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations

  • LGBTQIAA+: Identity Inclusion

  • Addressing Difficult History Without Sugar-Coating the Truth

Session 4

4:15 pm 

Closing General Session

01

DAY

25

SPEAKERS

300+

PARTICIPANTS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Speakers

Dr. Cynthia Frisby

Dr. Cynthia Frisby is a nationally-recognized authority on media portrayals of minorities, athletes, women and teens. Frisby studies how media messages contribute toward creating or maintaining stereotypes and biases against minorities, athletes, women and teens. Among other topics, she has investigated the sources of American viewers’ fascination with reality television and the effects of idealized images on perceptions of body esteem among African American women. Frisby also studies race and gender representation in sports; she analyzed coverage of black male athletes by magazines and news websites from 2002-2012 and demonstrated that news stories involving instances of crime or violence were more heavily covered when they involved black athletes. Additionally, Frisby provides research-based decision-making assistance to health organizations developing communication campaigns for underserved populations.

 

Frisby earned her doctorate degree and her master’s degree from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She joined the Missouri School of Journalism faculty in January 1998 and is a full professor of strategic communication with a joint appointment in the communication department in the College of Arts and Science.

Nikki McGruder

Previously served as Regional Manager of the Columbia Branch of the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Under Nikki's leadership, more than 12,000 community members as well as several businesses and organizations have been touched in and around the Columbia community through inclusive events, training, and community dialogues.

Prior to joining DAP, Nikki worked with leading recruitment process outsourcing firm, Cielo, in the recruiting and hiring of top candidates for technology, pharmaceutical and finance positions. The bulk of her professional experience was with Edward Jones Investments where Nikki served in various capacities over a ten-year time frame.

In her time with Edward Jones, Nikki was afforded the opportunity to work closely with the Inclusion initiative serving as a trainer and coach for minority advisors in the firm’s Cross Cultural Development training program as well as with a team of professionals working diligently to improve the inclusion initiative for the recruitment and hiring of minority advisors.

Nikki received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Columbia College in Columbia, MO, and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Secily Devese, SHRM-CP

Secily Devese is a University of Missouri graduate with a degree in Personal Financial Planning. Currently, she works on the culture team at Veterans United Home Loans in the Diversity and Inclusion department. There she manages projects, programs, and facilitates discussions that help educate her co-workers and community members on topics surrounding diversity. She is the founder of Executive of My Future, a mentorship program devoted to the success of young women by helping them to exercise problem-solving skills, decision making skills and promoting responsibility.

Amber Cheek, JD

Amber manages all aspects of ADA compliance across the university, including accessibility, program access, and reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff. Amber came to Mizzou from the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C., where she was a Presidential Management Fellow and Co-Director of the Workforce Recruitment Program, a nationwide employment program for persons with disabilities. Amber also has experience working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Amber is a person with a disability and a first-generation college graduate.

Kari Utterback

Kari Utterback graduated from Missouri State University in 2007 and promptly moved to Columbia, MO where she got involved with her municipal government. She is now working at the City of Columbia as an Administrative Supervisor and lead facilitator for their equity and inclusion training program. She has been integral in implementing a community-wide framework to look at how individuals can work to interrupt their biases and understand their privilege. She is the 2019 Columbia Values Diversity Award recipient. Outside of her work at the City, she has one husband, two dogs, a small business, severe anxiety, and a very large family and support system that helps her to keep everything mostly manageable!

Rachel Johnson

Rachel L. Johnson teaches Kindergarten through 5th grade in a multiage classroom at The Children’s School at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. As a seventh-year teacher, she also mentors preservice teachers. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Stephens College and is passionate about the teaching and learning of black history, anti-racist education, and tolerance. Additionally, she has developed Whiteness 101, a class she teaches on white identify, privilege, and supremacy to community groups and churches in Columbia.

Crystal Kroner, Ph.D.

Crystal Kroner serves as the Executive Director for the Cradle to Career Alliance, an education nonprofit believing all children and families deserve equal opportunities for well-being and success, as a basis of a thriving community. Before her position with C2CA, Dr. Kroner headed a research division at the University of Missouri, after serving as Project Director for a large educator evaluation system and several complex state-level projects at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. She earned her doctorate in Educational Policy Analysis (K-12) with a focus on educational equality, group dynamics and mediation and has an extensive background in evaluation and technical platform design.

Philip G. Peters, Jr.

Philip G. Peters, Jr. serves on the board of directors of the Cradle to Career Alliance of Boone County, a nonprofit created to help reduce educational disparities. He chairs its Data Committee and analyzes local school district data to ascertain disparities and to identify opportunities to reduce them. He has taught at the MU School of Law for 30 years and is currently the Ruth L. Hulston Emeritus Professor of Law.  He served on the board of First  Chance for Children for many years and took a two-year leave of absence from the law school to serve as its Executive Director of First Chance for Children. First Chance is a local nonprofit whose goal is to help more children arrive at school ready to flourish. He began his legal career in 1976 as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mason Aid

Mason Aid graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology plus over 5 years experience in LGBTQ education and advocacy.

Mary Hartigan

Mary Hartigan is a member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Columbia, MO. She identifies as a Conservative Jew. She is also trained and certified by the Union of Reform Judaism as a rabbinical associate.

Rev. Sarah Klaassen

Rev. Sarah Klaassen is the pastor at Rock Bridge Christian Church and shares the church's commitments to peace, social justice and joyful welcome. She is active in sanctuary work, faith-based LGBTQ inclusion and housing justice efforts in mid-Missouri and beyond.

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^ has been been a priestess for over 22 years. Tori serves the Conclave of the Craft as President of the Board of Directors and High Priestess of both the Conclave proper and of Naofa Tintean, a Conclave working group.   .  

Jay-Dee Bush

Jay-Dee Bush graduated from St. Louis Community College in 2010 with an associate’s degree in journalism and again in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri.  He is now working for the City of Columbia as a Video Producer and a Certified Diversity Facilitrainer for the Building Inclusive Communities program. He also volunteers his time outside of his working hours to engage in activities and conversations that foster a more equitable community in Columbia. He is married and has a 14-year-old son that keeps him on his toes. Also he enjoy writing poetry and attending spoken word venues around town whenever the opportunity presents itself.

John J. Bowders, PhD.

John J. Bowders is the William A. Davidson Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri. He completed his BS and MS Civil Engineering degrees at Drexel University, and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985. During the past 34 years, Dr. Bowders has served on the civil engineering faculties of West Virginia University, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Missouri. He is a registered professional engineer in West Virginia and Missouri. His research interests include: the effects of chemicals and wastes on the properties and behavior of soil, subsurface containment systems, in situ remediation systems, and design of experiments for laboratory and field tests involving water and chemical movement in soil. He has served as a member or chair of the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Committee for Persons with Disability since 2015 and serves on the City of Columbia Missouri Disability Commission.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Sponsors

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Interested in sponsoring?

 

Speakers

Dr. Cynthia Frisby

Dr. Cynthia Frisby is a nationally-recognized authority on media portrayals of minorities, athletes, women and teens. Frisby studies how media messages contribute toward creating or maintaining stereotypes and biases against minorities, athletes, women and teens. Among other topics, she has investigated the sources of American viewers’ fascination with reality television and the effects of idealized images on perceptions of body esteem among African American women. Frisby also studies race and gender representation in sports; she analyzed coverage of black male athletes by magazines and news websites from 2002-2012 and demonstrated that news stories involving instances of crime or violence were more heavily covered when they involved black athletes. Additionally, Frisby provides research-based decision-making assistance to health organizations developing communication campaigns for underserved populations.

 

Frisby earned her doctorate degree and her master’s degree from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She joined the Missouri School of Journalism faculty in January 1998 and is a full professor of strategic communication with a joint appointment in the communication department in the College of Arts and Science.

Nikki McGruder

Previously served as Regional Manager of the Columbia Branch of the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Under Nikki's leadership, more than 12,000 community members as well as several businesses and organizations have been touched in and around the Columbia community through inclusive events, training, and community dialogues.

Prior to joining DAP, Nikki worked with leading recruitment process outsourcing firm, Cielo, in the recruiting and hiring of top candidates for technology, pharmaceutical and finance positions. The bulk of her professional experience was with Edward Jones Investments where Nikki served in various capacities over a ten-year time frame.

In her time with Edward Jones, Nikki was afforded the opportunity to work closely with the Inclusion initiative serving as a trainer and coach for minority advisors in the firm’s Cross Cultural Development training program as well as with a team of professionals working diligently to improve the inclusion initiative for the recruitment and hiring of minority advisors.

Nikki received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Columbia College in Columbia, MO, and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Secily Devese, SHRM-CP

Secily Devese is a University of Missouri graduate with a degree in Personal Financial Planning. Currently, she works on the culture team at Veterans United Home Loans in the Diversity and Inclusion department. There she manages projects, programs, and facilitates discussions that help educate her co-workers and community members on topics surrounding diversity. She is the founder of Executive of My Future, a mentorship program devoted to the success of young women by helping them to exercise problem-solving skills, decision making skills and promoting responsibility.

Amber Cheek, JD

Amber manages all aspects of ADA compliance across the university, including accessibility, program access, and reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff. Amber came to Mizzou from the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C., where she was a Presidential Management Fellow and Co-Director of the Workforce Recruitment Program, a nationwide employment program for persons with disabilities. Amber also has experience working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Amber is a person with a disability and a first-generation college graduate.

Kari Utterback

Kari Utterback graduated from Missouri State University in 2007 and promptly moved to Columbia, MO where she got involved with her municipal government. She is now working at the City of Columbia as an Administrative Supervisor and lead facilitator for their equity and inclusion training program. She has been integral in implementing a community-wide framework to look at how individuals can work to interrupt their biases and understand their privilege. She is the 2019 Columbia Values Diversity Award recipient. Outside of her work at the City, she has one husband, two dogs, a small business, severe anxiety, and a very large family and support system that helps her to keep everything mostly manageable!

Rachel Johnson

Rachel L. Johnson teaches Kindergarten through 5th grade in a multiage classroom at The Children’s School at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. As a seventh-year teacher, she also mentors preservice teachers. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Stephens College and is passionate about the teaching and learning of black history, anti-racist education, and tolerance. Additionally, she has developed Whiteness 101, a class she teaches on white identify, privilege, and supremacy to community groups and churches in Columbia.

Crystal Kroner, Ph.D.

Crystal Kroner serves as the Executive Director for the Cradle to Career Alliance, an education nonprofit believing all children and families deserve equal opportunities for well-being and success, as a basis of a thriving community. Before her position with C2CA, Dr. Kroner headed a research division at the University of Missouri, after serving as Project Director for a large educator evaluation system and several complex state-level projects at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. She earned her doctorate in Educational Policy Analysis (K-12) with a focus on educational equality, group dynamics and mediation and has an extensive background in evaluation and technical platform design.

Philip G. Peters, Jr.

Philip G. Peters, Jr. serves on the board of directors of the Cradle to Career Alliance of Boone County, a nonprofit created to help reduce educational disparities. He chairs its Data Committee and analyzes local school district data to ascertain disparities and to identify opportunities to reduce them. He has taught at the MU School of Law for 30 years and is currently the Ruth L. Hulston Emeritus Professor of Law.  He served on the board of First  Chance for Children for many years and took a two-year leave of absence from the law school to serve as its Executive Director of First Chance for Children. First Chance is a local nonprofit whose goal is to help more children arrive at school ready to flourish. He began his legal career in 1976 as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mason Aid

Mason Aid graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology plus over 5 years experience in LGBTQ education and advocacy.

Mary Hartigan

Mary Hartigan is a member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Columbia, MO. She identifies as a Conservative Jew. She is also trained and certified by the Union of Reform Judaism as a rabbinical associate.

Rev. Sarah Klaassen

Rev. Sarah Klaassen is the pastor at Rock Bridge Christian Church and shares the church's commitments to peace, social justice and joyful welcome. She is active in sanctuary work, faith-based LGBTQ inclusion and housing justice efforts in mid-Missouri and beyond.

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^ has been been a priestess for over 22 years. Tori serves the Conclave of the Craft as President of the Board of Directors and High Priestess of both the Conclave proper and of Naofa Tintean, a Conclave working group.   .  

Jay-Dee Bush

Jay-Dee Bush graduated from St. Louis Community College in 2010 with an associate’s degree in journalism and again in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri.  He is now working for the City of Columbia as a Video Producer and a Certified Diversity Facilitrainer for the Building Inclusive Communities program. He also volunteers his time outside of his working hours to engage in activities and conversations that foster a more equitable community in Columbia. He is married and has a 14-year-old son that keeps him on his toes. Also he enjoy writing poetry and attending spoken word venues around town whenever the opportunity presents itself.

John J. Bowders, PhD.

John J. Bowders is the William A. Davidson Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri. He completed his BS and MS Civil Engineering degrees at Drexel University, and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985. During the past 34 years, Dr. Bowders has served on the civil engineering faculties of West Virginia University, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Missouri. He is a registered professional engineer in West Virginia and Missouri. His research interests include: the effects of chemicals and wastes on the properties and behavior of soil, subsurface containment systems, in situ remediation systems, and design of experiments for laboratory and field tests involving water and chemical movement in soil. He has served as a member or chair of the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Committee for Persons with Disability since 2015 and serves on the City of Columbia Missouri Disability Commission.

Gwen Hinz
Session #3: Women in Tech

Gwen Hinz is an Agile Scrum Master in IT. She graduated in 2014 with a Masters in Information Science and Learning Technologies and worked as a librarian for several years before migrating into IT. She
lives in Columbia, Mo with her 3 cats and her partner.

Mary Beth Anthony
Session #3: Women in Tech

As an Associate Director of Software Services at Veterans United, Mary Beth does more than wrangle
software development teams. With more than 20 years’ experience as a servant leader, she is obsessed
with empowering people, elevating individual and team performance, and partnering with diverse
groups to achieve organizational goals. Mary Beth also works as a strategist, interviewer, coach, and
sometimes therapist. No matter what hat she is wearing, her goal is simple – to deliver results.

Shyane Shade
Session #3: Women in Tech

Shyane Shade is a fourth year Information Technology student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University from Atlanta, Georgia. She has always had an interest in new and innovative technology and the need to protect it. This led her to choose concentrations in cyber-security and
mobile applications. Her dream career is to be a White Hat Hacker and being able to use her skills to exploit the weaknesses within a company's network and assist in creating solutions to remedy them before problems arise. Her extracurricular activities in college include mentoring incoming students in Technology and being a part of an organization called Secured Rattlers. Secured Rattlers is a cyber-security group on campus that discusses current events and the possible
vulnerabilities in new technology.

Vovanti Jones, MD

Vovanti Jones, MD is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). She joined the University of Missouri in August 2018. She received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine in 2014. Dr. Jones completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital/University of Chicago in 2018. Dr. Jones
specializes in the rehabilitation of patients with neuromuscular diseases, amputations and neurological injuries and disorders including strokes at the Rusk Rehabilitation Center Hospital an affiliate of Encompass Health and MU Health Care. She is currently the Medical Director of the Stroke and Amputee inpatient rehab unit at Rusk and is Director of the PM&R Adult Neuromuscular Medicine Program. Dr. Jones is also interested in electrodiagnostic medicine. She sees patients in the multidisciplinary Muscular Dystrophy and ALS clinics. Dr. Jones has a strong interest in advocacy for persons with disabilities. She is currently a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) and the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP).

Kawajalyn Collins
Session #3: Women in Tech

Kawajalyn Collins has over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology and Healthcare fields and has degrees and certifications in both areas. Due to having a compassionate spirit and loving to help others, she volunteers at Hospice Compassus, Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Big Brothers Big Sisters and is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Sorority. She currently works at Shelter Insurance Home Office as an Information Security Auditor where she identifies control weaknesses and tests system security by performing complex data analysis and recommends improvements. Kawajalyn enjoys working in the technology field because of its diverse domains (development, networking, security, data analytics, project management, etc.) and because it is constantly changing/evolving there are always opportunities to learn new things if you want to challenge yourself and solve problems and deep think!

Elizabeth "Liz" Lea
Session #3: Women in Tech

Liz is originally from the Chicagoland area and has been a resident of Columbia, MO for almost 20 years. She is passionate about agile development, problem solving and building highly successful teams.
She started her career in Software Business Analysis, Testing and Project Management, then grew into IT management roles, and is currently the Associate Director of Software Quality Services at Veterans United Home Loans. Liz attended Columbia College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with emphasises in Marketing and Management and a minor in Computer Information Systems. She has served on the Mid-Missouri PMI Chapter Board and holds certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum Master (CSM).

Leland Rehard

Lelande Rehard is the District Manager for the Mid Missouri Solid Waste Management District which serves the Columbia, Jefferson City, and surrounding area with waste diversion grant funding and services. Before coming to the District, Lelande worked in the City of Columbia, City Manager's Office. Lelande has a Bachelors in Greek and Latin and a Master's in Public
Administration, both from the University of Missouri. Professionally, Lelande is focused on source reduction projects, product stewardship, and being a facilitrainer of the City's Building Inclusive Communities program. Personally, Leland Rehard Leland enjoys mountain biking, commuting by bike, hiking, running, and sharing these activities with his two children and wife.

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

The Rev. Molly Housh Gordon is a Unitarian Universalist minister serving the UU Church of Columbia, Missouri. A lifelong UU from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Molly holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Molly was ordained in 2011 and in addition to her ministerial work has served with the Growth Services department of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the UUA’s 50th Anniversary Committee.

In her free time, Molly particularly enjoys creative endeavors such as reading and writing fiction and poetry, ballet dance, and singing. She also loves to bake, cook, and spend time outdoors. Molly and her husband James currently reside in Columbia, Missouri.

Speakers

Dr. Cynthia Frisby

Dr. Cynthia Frisby is a nationally-recognized authority on media portrayals of minorities, athletes, women and teens. Frisby studies how media messages contribute toward creating or maintaining stereotypes and biases against minorities, athletes, women and teens. Among other topics, she has investigated the sources of American viewers’ fascination with reality television and the effects of idealized images on perceptions of body esteem among African American women. Frisby also studies race and gender representation in sports; she analyzed coverage of black male athletes by magazines and news websites from 2002-2012 and demonstrated that news stories involving instances of crime or violence were more heavily covered when they involved black athletes. Additionally, Frisby provides research-based decision-making assistance to health organizations developing communication campaigns for underserved populations.

 

Frisby earned her doctorate degree and her master’s degree from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She joined the Missouri School of Journalism faculty in January 1998 and is a full professor of strategic communication with a joint appointment in the communication department in the College of Arts and Science.

Nikki McGruder

Previously served as Regional Manager of the Columbia Branch of the Diversity Awareness Partnership. Under Nikki's leadership, more than 12,000 community members as well as several businesses and organizations have been touched in and around the Columbia community through inclusive events, training, and community dialogues.

Prior to joining DAP, Nikki worked with leading recruitment process outsourcing firm, Cielo, in the recruiting and hiring of top candidates for technology, pharmaceutical and finance positions. The bulk of her professional experience was with Edward Jones Investments where Nikki served in various capacities over a ten-year time frame.

In her time with Edward Jones, Nikki was afforded the opportunity to work closely with the Inclusion initiative serving as a trainer and coach for minority advisors in the firm’s Cross Cultural Development training program as well as with a team of professionals working diligently to improve the inclusion initiative for the recruitment and hiring of minority advisors.

Nikki received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Columbia College in Columbia, MO, and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University in St. Louis, MO.

Secily Devese, SHRM-CP

Secily Devese is a University of Missouri graduate with a degree in Personal Financial Planning. Currently, she works on the culture team at Veterans United Home Loans in the Diversity and Inclusion department. There she manages projects, programs, and facilitates discussions that help educate her co-workers and community members on topics surrounding diversity. She is the founder of Executive of My Future, a mentorship program devoted to the success of young women by helping them to exercise problem-solving skills, decision making skills and promoting responsibility.

Amber Cheek, JD

Amber manages all aspects of ADA compliance across the university, including accessibility, program access, and reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff. Amber came to Mizzou from the Office of Disability Employment Policy at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington D.C., where she was a Presidential Management Fellow and Co-Director of the Workforce Recruitment Program, a nationwide employment program for persons with disabilities. Amber also has experience working for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Amber is a person with a disability and a first-generation college graduate.

Kari Utterback

Kari Utterback graduated from Missouri State University in 2007 and promptly moved to Columbia, MO where she got involved with her municipal government. She is now working at the City of Columbia as an Administrative Supervisor and lead facilitator for their equity and inclusion training program. She has been integral in implementing a community-wide framework to look at how individuals can work to interrupt their biases and understand their privilege. She is the 2019 Columbia Values Diversity Award recipient. Outside of her work at the City, she has one husband, two dogs, a small business, severe anxiety, and a very large family and support system that helps her to keep everything mostly manageable!

Rachel Johnson

Rachel L. Johnson teaches Kindergarten through 5th grade in a multiage classroom at The Children’s School at Stephens College in Columbia, MO. As a seventh-year teacher, she also mentors preservice teachers. She earned her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Stephens College and is passionate about the teaching and learning of black history, anti-racist education, and tolerance. Additionally, she has developed Whiteness 101, a class she teaches on white identify, privilege, and supremacy to community groups and churches in Columbia.

Crystal Kroner, Ph.D.

Crystal Kroner serves as the Executive Director for the Cradle to Career Alliance, an education nonprofit believing all children and families deserve equal opportunities for well-being and success, as a basis of a thriving community. Before her position with C2CA, Dr. Kroner headed a research division at the University of Missouri, after serving as Project Director for a large educator evaluation system and several complex state-level projects at the Missouri Department of Higher Education. She earned her doctorate in Educational Policy Analysis (K-12) with a focus on educational equality, group dynamics and mediation and has an extensive background in evaluation and technical platform design.

Philip G. Peters, Jr.

Philip G. Peters, Jr. serves on the board of directors of the Cradle to Career Alliance of Boone County, a nonprofit created to help reduce educational disparities. He chairs its Data Committee and analyzes local school district data to ascertain disparities and to identify opportunities to reduce them. He has taught at the MU School of Law for 30 years and is currently the Ruth L. Hulston Emeritus Professor of Law.  He served on the board of First  Chance for Children for many years and took a two-year leave of absence from the law school to serve as its Executive Director of First Chance for Children. First Chance is a local nonprofit whose goal is to help more children arrive at school ready to flourish. He began his legal career in 1976 as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Mason Aid

Mason Aid graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology plus over 5 years experience in LGBTQ education and advocacy.

Mary Hartigan

Mary Hartigan is a member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Columbia, MO. She identifies as a Conservative Jew. She is also trained and certified by the Union of Reform Judaism as a rabbinical associate.

Rev. Sarah Klaassen

Rev. Sarah Klaassen is the pastor at Rock Bridge Christian Church and shares the church's commitments to peace, social justice and joyful welcome. She is active in sanctuary work, faith-based LGBTQ inclusion and housing justice efforts in mid-Missouri and beyond.

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^

Rev. Victoria Chance, H.Ps. 3*^ has been been a priestess for over 22 years. Tori serves the Conclave of the Craft as President of the Board of Directors and High Priestess of both the Conclave proper and of Naofa Tintean, a Conclave working group.   .  

Jay-Dee Bush

Jay-Dee Bush graduated from St. Louis Community College in 2010 with an associate’s degree in journalism and again in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri.  He is now working for the City of Columbia as a Video Producer and a Certified Diversity Facilitrainer for the Building Inclusive Communities program. He also volunteers his time outside of his working hours to engage in activities and conversations that foster a more equitable community in Columbia. He is married and has a 14-year-old son that keeps him on his toes. Also he enjoy writing poetry and attending spoken word venues around town whenever the opportunity presents itself.

John J. Bowders, PhD.

John J. Bowders is the William A. Davidson Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri. He completed his BS and MS Civil Engineering degrees at Drexel University, and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin in 1985. During the past 34 years, Dr. Bowders has served on the civil engineering faculties of West Virginia University, The University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Missouri. He is a registered professional engineer in West Virginia and Missouri. His research interests include: the effects of chemicals and wastes on the properties and behavior of soil, subsurface containment systems, in situ remediation systems, and design of experiments for laboratory and field tests involving water and chemical movement in soil. He has served as a member or chair of the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Committee for Persons with Disability since 2015 and serves on the City of Columbia Missouri Disability Commission.

Gwen Hinz
Session #3: Women in Tech

Gwen Hinz is an Agile Scrum Master in IT. She graduated in 2014 with a Masters in Information Science and Learning Technologies and worked as a librarian for several years before migrating into IT. She
lives in Columbia, Mo with her 3 cats and her partner.

Mary Beth Anthony
Session #3: Women in Tech

As an Associate Director of Software Services at Veterans United, Mary Beth does more than wrangle
software development teams. With more than 20 years’ experience as a servant leader, she is obsessed
with empowering people, elevating individual and team performance, and partnering with diverse
groups to achieve organizational goals. Mary Beth also works as a strategist, interviewer, coach, and
sometimes therapist. No matter what hat she is wearing, her goal is simple – to deliver results.

Shyane Shade
Session #3: Women in Tech

Shyane Shade is a fourth year Information Technology student at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University from Atlanta, Georgia. She has always had an interest in new and innovative technology and the need to protect it. This led her to choose concentrations in cyber-security and
mobile applications. Her dream career is to be a White Hat Hacker and being able to use her skills to exploit the weaknesses within a company's network and assist in creating solutions to remedy them before problems arise. Her extracurricular activities in college include mentoring incoming students in Technology and being a part of an organization called Secured Rattlers. Secured Rattlers is a cyber-security group on campus that discusses current events and the possible
vulnerabilities in new technology.

Vovanti Jones, MD

Vovanti Jones, MD is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). She joined the University of Missouri in August 2018. She received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine in 2014. Dr. Jones completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital/University of Chicago in 2018. Dr. Jones
specializes in the rehabilitation of patients with neuromuscular diseases, amputations and neurological injuries and disorders including strokes at the Rusk Rehabilitation Center Hospital an affiliate of Encompass Health and MU Health Care. She is currently the Medical Director of the Stroke and Amputee inpatient rehab unit at Rusk and is Director of the PM&R Adult Neuromuscular Medicine Program. Dr. Jones is also interested in electrodiagnostic medicine. She sees patients in the multidisciplinary Muscular Dystrophy and ALS clinics. Dr. Jones has a strong interest in advocacy for persons with disabilities. She is currently a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) and the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP).

Kawajalyn Collins
Session #3: Women in Tech

Kawajalyn Collins has over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology and Healthcare fields and has degrees and certifications in both areas. Due to having a compassionate spirit and loving to help others, she volunteers at Hospice Compassus, Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Big Brothers Big Sisters and is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. Sorority. She currently works at Shelter Insurance Home Office as an Information Security Auditor where she identifies control weaknesses and tests system security by performing complex data analysis and recommends improvements. Kawajalyn enjoys working in the technology field because of its diverse domains (development, networking, security, data analytics, project management, etc.) and because it is constantly changing/evolving there are always opportunities to learn new things if you want to challenge yourself and solve problems and deep think!

Elizabeth "Liz" Lea
Session #3: Women in Tech

Liz is originally from the Chicagoland area and has been a resident of Columbia, MO for almost 20 years. She is passionate about agile development, problem solving and building highly successful teams.
She started her career in Software Business Analysis, Testing and Project Management, then grew into IT management roles, and is currently the Associate Director of Software Quality Services at Veterans United Home Loans. Liz attended Columbia College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with emphasises in Marketing and Management and a minor in Computer Information Systems. She has served on the Mid-Missouri PMI Chapter Board and holds certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum Master (CSM).

Leland Rehard

Lelande Rehard is the District Manager for the Mid Missouri Solid Waste Management District which serves the Columbia, Jefferson City, and surrounding area with waste diversion grant funding and services. Before coming to the District, Lelande worked in the City of Columbia, City Manager's Office. Lelande has a Bachelors in Greek and Latin and a Master's in Public
Administration, both from the University of Missouri. Professionally, Lelande is focused on source reduction projects, product stewardship, and being a facilitrainer of the City's Building Inclusive Communities program. Personally, Leland Rehard Leland enjoys mountain biking, commuting by bike, hiking, running, and sharing these activities with his two children and wife.