Bridgett Hitchings

Bridgett-blackwhiteMahatma Gandhi’s quote has served as a guiding principle in Bridgett’s 15+ year career as an educator, advocate, and nonprofit professional. Bridgett is a people-first, results-oriented leader with diverse experiences supporting children and families at the individual, family, and community levels. Bridgett focuses on forming strategic partnerships, leveraging assets, and addressing needs.

Bridgett is a systems thinker. Whereas many people identify as either big-picture or details oriented, Bridgett thrives on the bridge that connects the vision to the execution. Her strength lies in taking big goals and operationalizing them. Her passion lies in empowering others and strengthening the village. Her heart-work is where her skills and passion intersect.

Aaron Goodson

Aaron Goodson holds a BFA in Theatre and Africana Studies from New York University. As a performer he has toured all over the country and the world performing in productions around issues of social justice, race, and spirituality. He is also a voice over talent and can be heard voicing promotions for the Atlanta Braves. As an educator, Aaron was the Performing Arts teacher at the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School in Atlanta, Ga from 2009-2019. He is a current School Reform Initiative board member and has been leading and facilitating workshops around educational equity for the past 7 years. Fun Facts 1. What is your favorite destination? Wherever my family is 2. What was your first car, any cool story behind getting it? My first car was an older model Buick Lesabre that still had the bench seat in the front. It was given to me by a family member and I called her “Greta the Blue Lagoon”. She only lasted about a month until she gave up the ghost but we had some good rides. 3. What gets you excited about the day? New opportunities 4. Who was your celebrity crush? Lark Voorhies (Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell) 5. What’s your biggest passion? Exploring the human condition 6. Best advice you’ve ever gotten from your mom or maternal figure? Always keep God first 7. Kroger or Publix? Kroger 8. If you were a professor, what course what would you teach? Role playing and Performance in Everyday Expression or Slavery and its Impact on Modern Society 9. How do you relax after a long day? Binge watch Netflix with a bag of chips 10.   Do you have any hidden talent? Nunchaku (nunchucks) What’s your favorite quote? “The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice.…

Gayle Burnett

Gayle Burnett is the co-author of Peace in Everyday Relationships (Hunter House Publishers, 2003) which provides information, practical tools and real-life examples to support readers in the development of conflict resolution skills within diverse environments. From 1990 to the 2004, she worked with a wide array of diversity and leadership clients, including Ernst & Young, Lucent Technologies, AT&T and the NCAA, supporting increased understanding and effectiveness amongst their employees. She has been leading and facilitating courageous conversations regarding diversity, race, and equity for much of her lifetime. Gayle’s career choices have also been diverse, as an assistant vice president and analyst for a Wall Street clearinghouse bank, she worked in the international markets of Singapore, Australia and London. There, she gained a first hand understanding of the subtle differences between people that can create misunderstanding, conflict and poor performance. She was a past partner and principal of Inter-Change Consultants and was the Atlanta Coordinator for the National Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, where she expressed her commitment to ending violence and racism in the world. She joined the Atlanta Public Schools, in 2003, where she served in several capacities, including the Executive Director of Innovation. Finally, she most recently worked with The Rensselaerville Institute as the Interim President, supporting the organization’s transition of leadership while maintaining excellence in performance. Gayle holds an MA in Economics from the City University of New York and is a Fellow Alum of Harvard University’s Strategic Data Project.   Fun Facts 1. What is your favorite destination? Barcelona, Spain 2. What was your first car, any cool story behind getting it? Volvo 240 GL – no cool story, just loved that car. 3. What gets you excited about the day? Knowing that I will do my best to spark insight, authenticity and rigorous honesty in others and…

Malesha Taylor

Malesha Jessie Taylor is an operatic soprano, music professor, writer, and speaker with over a decade of experience in non-profit administration and arts education. She has served as an educator at all levels from pre-k to college, written and devised literacy curriculum, directed instructors and leadership teams in after-school programs and has also designed enrichment programs for foster youth in residential facilities and group homes. Malesha has also worked in operations and program management with public, private and charter schools throughout metro Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles. She has been a featured artist, speaker and panelist with Arts for Changing America, a 5-year national initiative whose mission is to reframe the national arts conversation by embracing the cultural assets of demographic change.  Ms. Taylor has published articles on cultural equity and the arts through Emerson College’s HowlRound, a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide that amplifies progressive, disruptive ideas about the art form and facilitates connection between diverse practitioners. Malesha was apart of the 2019 Cohort of the Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute along with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond: Undoing Racism Training. Malesha is the Founder of museSalon Collaborative, an international network of organizations and arts practitioners working at the nexus of arts, culture, and social change. Malesha currently resides in Decatur, GA with her children, twins aged 7 and a four-year-old. On her downtime, Malesha can be found salsa dancing, hiking and doing yin yoga.     FUN FACTS 1. What is your favorite destination? A metropolitan city, especially overseas! I’m an Expat at heart. 2. What was your first car, any cool story behind getting it? My first car was a black Honda Civic! Best first car ever!   3. What gets you excited about the day? I love waking up and knowing I’m…

Gina Glymph

Gina Glymph is the Vice President of Glymph and Associates, LLC. She has served in the world of early childhood education in varying capacities for 25 years and is a strong advocate of education. She has developed a professional brand rooted in her passion for positive early learning outcomes for all Georgians. She has served in various administrative capacities at early childhood programs such as Atlanta Public Schools, Sheltering Arms and the YMCA of Greater Atlanta. She believes that through quality teachers, research, best practices, and family involvement, early childhood programs will ensure that all young children develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. She has dedicated her career to supporting high-quality early education and healthy development for children, families, and communities. Gina believes that fostering the love for learning, involving parents and creating opportunities for positive social interaction are germane to developing children who are ready to enter Kindergarten and to becoming life-long learners. Throughout the years, a significant amount of her work has been developing and facilitating professional development. Her experience in training and adult learning theory has played a vital role in her professional development and improving practices. Most recently she has achieved certification in Results-Based Accountability, a framework designed to utilize data to assist organizations to improve their performance. She has guided organizations to use Results-Based Accountability™ (RBA) to Turn the Curve and improve the outcomes for the populations that they serve. Gina holds a Masters of Education from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelors of Arts in Religion from Colgate University in Hamilton.   FUN FACTS 1. What is your favorite destination? The beach. At the beach, I feel a sense of peace and healing that I do not get anywhere else. I love the smell of the ocean, the…

Ben Scholes

Ben is an educator and community activist currently living in Atlanta. He grew up in the Washington, DC area and attended the University of Maryland, earning a criminal justice degree. Shortly afterward, he moved to Los Angeles, working in the entertainment industry and exploring a career in comedic writing. He earned a Master’s degree in Education from Loyola Marymount University and spent the next decade teaching elementary school and working for non-profits in the field of education.

 

Ben has a passion for social and restorative justice, which includes criminal justice and education reform. His hobbies include live music, the NFL, reading fiction, and planting gardens in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. Ben has been married since 2004 and volunteers every Sunday as a teacher to 3 to 6-year-olds at his church.

Natasha A. Harrison

Natasha A. Harrison is an authority on philanthropy, leadership development and corporate giving and volunteerism. In 2011, she founded CommunityBuild Ventures, a strategic solutions firm committed to providing coaching, training, and consultation to nonprofits, businesses, and government agencies to assist them with defining strategic solutions and addressing issues in Black communities.  Her firm has provided services, most notably, to Gas South, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Capital One Foundation, DC Trust for Youth, and DC Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

In addition to her role as CommunityBuild Ventures President and CEO, Natasha is also an adjunct professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies and a frequent facilitator and lecturer at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.  She advocates for others and her community serving as a mentor, trainer, speaker and coach.

As a result of her outstanding service to her community, Natasha was selected The EnVest Foundation 40 under 40 honoree.  Her leadership in the community continues with her dedicated service.  Natasha is a member of HouseProud Atlanta’s Board of Directors, a member of Circle of Joy Giving Circle, the co-chair of the 12th Annual Community Investment Network Conference, a member of Junior League of Atlanta, a member of Untied Way Women of Cole Cabinet and a member of the Ryan Cameron Foundation Anti-Violence Taskforce.

Natasha resides in Atlanta and is married to Ayodele.  They have two beautiful children, Ajani and Ifetayo.

Alexandria Barabin Harris

Alexandria Barabin Harris is a leadership development strategist, cultural worker, and facilitator for organizations dedicated to creating change. Alexandria also provides workshops and coaching for career professionals as well as  womenpreneurs to lead a life they actually love.

 

Since 2004, Alexandria has provided leadership and professional development for colleges and universities, youth groups, nonprofits, small businesses, faith-based organizations, women’s groups, and community organizations. Alexandria has also led personal leadership retreats, cultural diversity workshops, youth programs, and social media marketing classes for creative entrepreneurs. She is a contributing writer for several online blogs on popular culture and leadership.

 

Alexandria met Dr. Folami Prescott-Adams in 2011 and connected around a mutual interest in facilitating community engagement, creative arts, and social justice. Since that time, Alexandria has worked with HTI Catalyst on a number of projects and initiatives including: leadership development for parents and community members; project-based education and expanding approaches to out-of-class time learning for after-school programming; college and career readiness; and media literacy.

 

In addition to her work as an HTI Catalyst, Alexandria teaches a class at Spelman College on Leadership Development. She is also the Diversity & Inclusion Trainer for the Atlanta Chapter of the New Leader’s Council, and coaches womenpreneurs with @YesSheLeads.

McKenzie Wren

McKenzie Wren is a skilled facilitator who honors the power of community to solve its own problems. In this work, McKenzie brings an asset-based approach to all that she does and uses collaborative and participatory tools to make sure all voices are heard. McKenzie’s particular areas of focus are helping businesses and non-profits create cultures of collaboration and inclusion. She helps groups and organizations increase their sense of community specifically by assisting with communication flow and increasing engagement. Underlying all of her work is a commitment to social justice and racial equity. McKenzie Wren is a board member of the Southeast Association of Facilitators (SEAF) and serves as the VP of Membership.   FUN FACTS 1. What is your favorite destination? I love traveling and particularly love mountains, snow, and wide open vistas. My favorite destinations in the South include any rocky creeks bordered by rhododendrons in the old mountains of NC. Other favorite US places include the Wind River Mountains in WY,  San Francisco and any part of the Pacific coastline!   2. What was your first car, any cool story behind getting it? A Chevy Nova. It was so powerful that I only had to take my foot off the brake and it would surge forward. This resulted in several small fender benders as a 16-year-old!   3. What gets you excited about the day? My favorite work days are the ones where I am working with clients to help them further their goals. I truly love being with groups of people and helping them uncover their own wisdom.   4. Who was your celebrity crush? Ummmm… I loved Hawkeye on M*A*S*H but I wasn’t and still am not a big celebrity crusher unless you include authors in which case I adore Barbara Kingsolver.   5. What’s your…

KaCey Venning

KaCey logoKaCey Venning is a product of a family rooted in living out their purpose.  From business and education to the advancement of youth, to intellectuals and ministry, she has always found herself thrust into the middle of helping others.  Kacey has used her gift of leadership and communication to empower and encourage people of all ages to be the change they want to see in the world. She has served in the capacity of teacher, workshop facilitator, author,  nonprofit founder, and as a national service member and ministry leader.

KaCey hasworked professionally with Fortune 500 companies such as Coca-Cola, L’Oreal Paris USA, Scholastic and Home Depot.  She has helped to foster custom cause marketing and corporate social responsibility plans for companies and small businesses.

KaCey holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Sociology, is the Co-Founder of Helping Empower Youth, Inc., and the author of Built For This: A Young Woman’s Journey to Self-Discovery and Empowerment.

 

Kimberly Reaves

Kimberly_logoKimberly is the CEO of Options for Kids. She is a highly enthusiastic and innovative professional with over 16 years of Youth Development experience.  She possesses a demonstrated ability in relating to youth and creating targeted opportunities for academic success, workforce readiness and leadership development. She is dedicated to increasing student achievement and fostering nurturing and positive relationships within the Youth Development field by building the professional capacity of staff.  It is her goal to help the youth, adults, and families that she works with by determining possible solutions to their social and emotional barriers to success.

Kimberly is a Professional Developer and Thought Leader in the following areas:

  • Positive Youth Development
  • Positive Discipline
  • Building a Culture of Emotional Safety
  • Teen Growth Strategies in an Afterschool Setting
  • Program Quality Assessment, Evaluation, and Growth in an
    After-School Setting
  • Developing a Culture of College & Career Readiness in your organization
  • College Access & Success
  • Social Emotional Intelligence
  • Risk & Resilience (Recognizing Self – Harm Risk Factors)
  • Analytical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, and Strategic Thinking: The Key Elements Needed to make Informed Decisions
  • Building Team Trust (Healthy Staff Relationships)

Lesa Hope

Lesa Hope, LMSW, Ph.D., QDDP is a strong advocate for families in poverty who experience intersecting oppressions such as disability, racism, homophobia and various hardships that create marginalization. She has worked on the school to prison pipeline, particularly with youth with disabilities who have been charged with behavioral issues.  She wrote the NAMI curriculum on disabilities; training police, teachers, providers, judges, and attorneys. She helps staff deal with vicarious trauma and helps individuals and organizations create wellness practices.  She is an effective listener and skillful communicator with strong creative, narrative and grant writing skills.

Dr. Hope’s additional skills include program development and evaluation, curriculum development and lesson planning, staff development and support, strategic planning and facilitation.