Brian Thomas is a writer with extensive knowledge of renewable energy, the capital markets, and climate change. He has been working as a sustainability consultant since 2006. His clients include Merrill Lynch, the city of Chicago, the city of New York, Swiss Re, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Good Energies, Cofra Holding, the Climate Group, and others. He also publishes a blog about climate change adaptation called Carbon Based (http://carbon-based-ghg.blogspot.com/), with over a half a million unique visitors. His articles have appeared in a number of venues in the United States and Canada.
Cedric “VISE1” Douglas is an accomplished artist and community activist engaging communities through art and projects that draw upon creativity in all of us. As a young boy, Cedric first began transforming abandoned spaces using graffiti art in the surrounding cities and towns of Boston. By the 1990s, he was known as alias “VISE1” an acronym for Visually Intercepting Society’s Emotion one image at a time. He later went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2011. It was here, where the influence and inspiration of professor, Chaz Maviyane-Davies, a world renowned poster designer and social activist, helped him to see how to use this craft as a way to reach a wider audience through deeper social messages.
As an intern, Chinaly Chanvong quickly learned how to lead large bodies of students in a small amount of time. So when the national gun epidemic started infiltrating places of learning, worship, and everyday public places threatening the lives of thousands everywhere she knew something had to be done. Chinaly teamed up with three other local students to create their nonprofit which was previously known as Teens for Action Springfield but is now March for Our Lives Springfield. The groups continuous hard work has led to them meeting with their state Senators to discuss legislation, holding the March for Our Lives rally in Springfield where a thousand plus people attended, organizing a 50 mile march from Worcester to Springfield for gun violence prevention, and registering numerous young people to vote. Chinaly is a current high school senior and continues to push the boundaries to create a safer society, raising the notation that the youth will be heard.
Colleen Kelly Alexander is a best-selling author, survivor, lifelong athlete and motivational speaker who inspires positive change, contribution, determination and actionable gratitude. With her indomitable spirit and incredible story of survival, Colleen teaches others how to aim higher, be stronger and use adversity as a catalyst to make the world a better, brighter place.
Debbie Wright is a TV Personality, Lifestyle Reporter, Speaker, Co-Author and Fashion Stylist, owning her own styling agency for over 20 years. She can be seen regularly on QVC as the on air spokesperson for Lug, a lifestyle handbag and accessories company. She is also a style trend reporter for the Better Connecticut Show and on Western Mass News. She believes that true beauty shines brightest when connections are made through your soul and from your heart. She is married to Brian, the love of her life for 20 years and their twins, Alyssa and Brandon, are 16 years old.
Vice President at Project for Public Spaces
Elena Madison is an urban planner with rich experience in the planning and design of parks, plazas, campuses, and the outdoor spaces of civic and cultural institutions. A Vice President at Project for Public Spaces, Elena is a veteran of Place making and loves working with people in communities to create great public spaces. She is a dedicated practitioner of collaboration in all aspects of her work from visioning and concept development, to programming, implementation and management.
Visual Data Science Artist
Jane Adams is the resident Data Visualization Artist at the University of Vermont Complex Systems Center in Burlington, VT in partnership with MassMutual’s Data Science team. There, she collaborates with fellow researchers to make complex networks and big data comprehensible through engaging, interactive visualizations.. In her personal time, she builds responsive art robots, generates digital data paintings, and illustrates cartoon graphs inspired by the world around her. She is also a community organizer with Vermont Women in Machine Learning & Data Science (VT WiMLDS) and the Burlington Arts Alliance USDAC Outpost.
Dr. Joshua N. Weiss is the co-founder, with William Ury, of the Global Negotiation Initiative at Harvard University and a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Negotiation Project. He is also the Director and creator of the Masters of Science degree in Leadership and Negotiation at Bay Path University. He received his Ph.D. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in 2002.
Dr. Weiss has spoken and published on Negotiation, Mediation, and systemic approaches to dealing with conflict. In his current capacity he conducts research, consults with many different types of organizations, delivers negotiation and mediation trainings and courses, and engages in negotiation and mediation at the organizational, corporate, government, and international levels.
Cofounder of Connect2NICU
Julian works alongside his CEO-wife as the co-founder of Connect2NICU which creates hub apps for parents who have children in intensive care. The apps provide education, updates, community connections and more for families who find themselves in a world less familiar yet frequently visited by many. They believe that the future of successful and exceptional healthcare lies in the collective hands of the parents, healthcare providers and the community partners–in a very mobile kind of way.
Kristin Brennan is a homesteader, farmer, beekeeper, and midwife who lives in Springfield, MA. She and her husband Daniel run a small farm with a CSA in Mason Square. Together they have three children, and as a family, they have spent the last 15 years working to build community and connections through farming, food, and bartering with neighbors. They have always been excited by pushing the limits of providing for themselves off the grid in the city.
High School Music Teacher
Matthew Bertuzzi has been hailed as a “lively and animated teacher” by OperaPulse and is the Director of Bands at the High School of Commerce in Springfield, Massachusetts. Opera critic Mike Cascia has described his technique as “a striking Italianate style of conducting.”
As a Trustee of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra he developed and implemented the Symphony’s innovative Real-Time Concert Notes program which allow audience members, using a smart phone app, to learn more about the music they are hearing while its being played by a live orchestra.
Co-founder of LeadersoftheFreeWorld.org
Ruby Maddox is the Chief Purpose Director, at Direct Your Purpose, an educational consultancy aimed at developing self-directed leaders.
She currently works our Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley focusing on experiential learning and international education.Ruby Maddox has spent over 12yrs working inthe field of higher education and nonprofit management.Ruby received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in Public Policy and Urban Communities and she received her M.S. from Bay Path University, in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy.
Ruby is also the co-founder of both Gardening the Community, a youth urban agriculture and food justice organization in Springfield, MA, and Leaders of the Free World, an international experience and leadership development program for young black men.
Samantha Roy is a junior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and an alum of Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, Connecticut, where she was awarded the Founders Prize for academic scholarship/dedication to community, The Jennie Loomis Prize for her contributions to the school, and was the fifth female in the school’s history to be elected Student Council President. At Bowdoin, Samantha is pursuing a Neuroscience major and a Visual Art minor, as she enjoys engaging in both technical and creative work. Within the art department, Samantha has taken special interest in film photography. In the summer of 2018, she was awarded the McKee Photography Grant which allowed her to complete an independent photography project. Outside the academic realm, Samantha is a proud member of the Bowdoin women’s’ basketball team, which competed in the 2018 Division III National Championship this past March. Sam hopes to blend her academic interests into a career in marketing and advertising.v
Waleska Lugo De Jesus
CEO of Inclusive Strategies
Waleska Lugo-DeJesús is the CEO of Inclusive Strategies and the Director of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, widely recognized for her advocacy for racial and social justice work in identifying educational strategies to create equity. She serves as Commissioner to the Massachusetts Arts & Cultural Council and is a founding member of the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, an advocacy group centered on the experiences of women of color. She has received numerous awards including the 2017 Ruth M. Batson Advocate of the Year Award.