Adrian Wood was raised, and currently lives in eastern NC, has her PhD in Educational Research, and stays busy being a wife and full time mom. Adrian is a rural, eastern NC mother of four - one with extra special needs.
Her past experiences include preschool teacher, nanny, children’s ski
instructor, early interventionist, college professor, early childhood researcher, and writer. Now writing again, after a twenty year hiatus, she offers personal glimpses where satire meets truth, faith meets irony, despair meets joy and how this educated debutante escapes the laundry and finds true meaning in graceful transparency. Her youngest son Amos, who is autistic, is a focus in much of her writing as she strives to share the blessing that having a child with special needs has brought to her family.
Her brutally honest approach to the journey they are sharing, that it has been littered with blood, sweat, and tears, is just one reason why she is adored by so many.
Dr. Allison Mathews is an innovative researcher focused on how community action can mobilize medical advancements.
Dr. Allison Mathews is a researcher and entrepreneur living in Durham,
North Carolina. She currently works as the Associate Director of Integrating Special Populations in the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Her upbringing and educational experiences developed her strong interest in integrating social justice with arts, research, and technology. In 2017, she co-founded HIV Cure Research Day, a day recognized by the state of North Carolina to galvanize community-based efforts to promote HIV cure clinical research. She is the co-found of Digital LinCS, a software produce that automates the process of pre-screening and connecting the uninsured people living with HIV to free and low cost medications.
Dr. Mathews co-organized the inaugural World AIDS Day celebration hosted by the Office of Public Engagement in the NC Office of the Governor in 2019 and has been invited to speak around the world about her work.
Writer, teacher and cancer advocate
Jamie uses her voice as a cancer advocate, teacher, and writer always pushing others to create and embrace their personal vision.
As a Raleigh native and Clinical Psychologist & Associate Professor at UNC Chapel Hill, Justin Yopp, PhD focuses his research on how to best support grieving families.
As a member of UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, Dr. Yopp offers psychotherapy, assessment, and consult-liaison services for both pediatric oncology and adult oncology populations at the N.C. Cancer Hospital.
Dr. Yopp also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program, which offers support groups for parents who have lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own and conducts research to support grieving families. Last year, he co-authored The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life (Oxford Press), which weaves together contemporary thinking on grief, adaptation and resiliency with the true story of the men from their rst support group. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as a psychologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Dr. Yopp lives with his amazing wife, Colleen, and his awesome son, Gavin. His daughter, Chloe, is a sophomore at UNC and despite raising her as a Wolfpacker, her father is very proud of her as well.
Karen Velasquez is an RN and Licensed Acupuncturist in Cary, NC. She has been practicing for 24 years and is the owner of Long Life Wellness Center. In addition to practicing acupuncture, she is an herbalist, nutrition and supplement counselor, a reiki master and teaches her patients qigong, meditation and therapeutic exercises. Karen teaches meditation daily to her patients and periodically does workshops with Tibetan singing bowls that may include regular and chakra meditation. As a practitioner for over 25 years, she has studied with teachers such as Reggie Ray Mahamudra practice, Susan Taylor, PhD Meditation Specialist, David Peters, L.Ac, and with Monks at the Kadampa Buddhist center of Raleigh.
Liz Bartlett is a second-generation Librarian, so libraries are in her blood! Growing up in an Air Force family, her family moved continuously, changing households 12 times in 17 years. Liz found it hard to make friends in each new home, so she often took refuge in reading and hence has always been an avid reader.
After college, she tried teaching, but realized it wasn’t her calling. She moved to North Carolina to pursue a degree in Library Science and earned her MLS at UNC Chapel Hill. She began her career as a Children’s Librarian in Louisburg then became a manager in Wake County library locations Garner, Wendell, and Cary. She has served as the committee chair of WCPL’s annual Storytelling Festival and Staff Development Day events. Liz also participated in the State Library’s Quiz Bowl Committee for several years.
She is currently the Library Manager for the brand new Cary Regional Library in Downtown Cary.
Maggie is the Executive Director. She graduated from North Carolina State University in 2013 and began working for a nonprofit with people experiencing homelessness. By befriending many people living on the margins, she knew something needed to be done. Maggie has a heart to serve, a desire to always be inclusive, and a passion for loving people. She is ready to see relationships forged between different classes of people and community being created around the table. She lives in Raleigh, loves to run, and eats a large amount of peanut butter.
Matthew Schwab is an advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. His passions include raising awareness about Down syndrome and demonstrating why it’s good for all to employ the differently-abled.
Matthew is a 22-year-old North Carolina native from Holly Springs. He
graduated from Holly Springs High School in June 2017 with an occupational course of study diploma. After high school, he completed Project Search, an internship based educational program through Wake Tech. Matthew works at AMC Theaters, Fuquay Revolution Volleyball, 321 Coffee, Chick-Fil-A and has launched his own public speaking business. He volunteers with WCPSS and serves on the Advisory Council at 321 Coffee and with GiGi’s Playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center, as an ambassador and on their Youth Advisory Board. He has attended workshops on advocacy, spoken to Governors McCrory and Cooper and was a paid intern in the NC State legislature.
Matthew has a long-term girlfriend, loves to travel and spend time with his family and friends. Matthew aspires to live on his own, be self-supporting, get married and have a career as a public speaker.
Michelle L. Grainger is the managing director of the Executive Farm Management program at NC State which contributes to the advancement of business practices of the modern farmer.
Michelle is a native of Cary, NC and a proud alumni of NC State University’s Poole College of Management and the College Humanities and of Social Sciences. For the last nineteen years, Michelle has led The Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS), a global innovation management research center. In this position she has had the good fortune of working alongside industry leaders, university researchers, and scholars around the world. Michelle recognizes that unique collaborations and partnerships often produce powerful outcomes!
Michelle enjoys travel, food, friends, her family and can often be found with her champion dock dog, Bedford.
Using the power of words through song, Myles Travitz connects seemingly different people by unifying our human struggles, and highlighting resilience throughout life.
Myles Travitz is a musician and songwriter from Cary, North Carolina who grew up listening to his parents CD’s. This quickly led to music lessons, a degree in music composition and theory, and a career path uniquely his own. Myles has released original music and remixes through labels such as Atlantic Records and Ultra Music. He focuses on using the power of words and melodies to create stories re ecting his own life experiences and a view into the lives of
others. His most recent project, “My Round”, inspired members of the community to share their deeply personal stories of hardship along with their fervent desire to triumph over prejudice, illness, racism, sexism, abandonment, disability and so much more.
Executive Director, Advocate
Sangeetha Menon is Kiran’s Executive Director, immigrant woman of color who serves the South Asian community in North Carolina through education on the cycle of gender based domestic violence.
During her tenure at Kiran, Sangeetha has conceptualized and led the first ever Kiran Walkathon to raise awareness about Kiran’s mission. She is a strong proponent of the empowerment model, grounded in the belief that victims of domestic violence should have access to information, education, and social and economic support to make informed decisions that best reflect their needs. In her spare time, Sangeetha follows her passion for Indian folk and contemporary dance forms.
Sepi embraces feminism, promotes female equality and supports a gender- neutral workplace for everyone.
Born in Iran and raised in the United States, Sepi was surrounded by women who all obtained advanced degrees and had full time careers, but she found this was not representative of society at large. A graduate with dual degrees in Civil and Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University, Sepi found that there were only a handful of women in this male dominated world. Sepi is passionate about eliminating bias and generating a healthier society that supports everyone, regardless of gender, to reach their highest potential.
In 2001 Sepi Saidi founded SEPI Engineering & Construction, a full-service civil engineering consultancy rm. SEPI, Inc. is a four-time ENR Top 500 ranked rm and has earned eight consecutive Zweig Group Hot Firm List top rankings. Triangle Business Journal has recognized the firm as a Fast 50 growing , as well as Best Firm to Work for and Inc. 5000 has listed the firm a fastest-growing private company.
Sepi cites her greatest accomplishment as raising her two wonderful children.
Sharon Delaney McCloud
As a mother and advocate, Sharon Delaney McCloud shares her experience giving a voice to vilomahs everywhere.
Sharon Delaney McCloud is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, cancer survivor, Olympic Torch Bearer, agency owner and author who built her career telling other people’s stories. But that path took a sharp turn when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer and Sharon’s family embarked on the fight of their lives to save their little girl. Since then, Sharon started sharing her own story about grit, gratitude and grace, even under the most crushing circumstances like the death of a child. And what she has discovered is that human connection can not only breathe life into the deepest grief, but can also uncover joy.
Sue Harnett is the founder and president of Rewriting the Code (RTC), a nonpro t focused on retaining, supporting and advancing college women-in-tech.
The RTC community numbers over 4,000 women from 400+ universities across the US + Canada and 16 additional countries.RTC currently partners with 27 US tech companies including Apple, Bank of America, Capital One, Cree, Facebook, Lyft, SpaceX and Spotify. Sue is committed to helping college and early career women achieve their potential through the development of authentic, peer-driven communities that foster collaboration and camaraderie. Such trusted networks allow for the sharing of honest conversations that encourage young women to learn from each other’s experiences and gain insight into the academic, recruiting and personal challenges they face as women-in-tech.
Harnett holds two degrees from Duke University where she started for the Duke basketball team and graduated as an All-America selection.
She lives in Durham, NC with her two sons and partner.
Tara Youngblood is Co-Founder of Kryo, Inc and Co-Inventor of the ChiliPad Sleep System, a sleep product cooling your personalized temperature for peak sleep performance.
Since launching the ChiliPad in 2007, Tara has devoted over 10,000 hours studying the science of sleep. Applying her analytical skills from her physics and engineering background, her passions now focus on shaping the future of sleep-driven health by making sleep easy, approachable, and drug-free.
Tara is a visionary leader in the future of sleep driven health, combining multiple disciplines, including Alternative Medicine, Physics, and Sleep Diagnostics. Her research has led to over a dozen patents. She works with leading international researchers to further studies on cold therapy and its impact on sleep. Tara authored a leading white paper, connecting over 70 research papers to the effects of temperature and sleep quality. Tara is constantly seeking new opportunities to improve the quality of life for those most affected by sleep disorders.
Tara stays busy with her animals and her boys, so there is a lot of laundry and cooking. She also likes to travel, paint, and garden in her spare time.
Tina and her husband Kevin founded their brokerage, Caul Group Residential brokered by eXp Realty in 2009. This one-time self described shack turned waterfront property, invites others to give themselves permission to step into their true value.
Raised in Detroit, MI for the first 30 years of life and then moving South in search of a warmer climate, she has a combination of Southern charm and Midwestern tenacity. Tina & her team work with individuals, investors, and developers interested in the city’s most valued properties. A high-touch broker known for her extensive market knowledge and her unmatched devotion to clients, Tina’s success is based almost exclusively on past client referrals. She earns the respect of her clients by working tirelessly on their behalf and by always offering them candid advice. As a licensed Broker, she continually invests time, money, marketing and negotiations techniques to grow her business.
When Tina isn’t working, she enjoys golfing with her husband Kevin, traveling, renovating homes and spending time watching her son play sports.