Nov. 4, 2011 conf. speakers

This is the list of Speakers for the November 4, 2011 Conference:


All of the speakers are volunteers who shared their time and knowledge to help volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring programs grow. While most of these speakers and the conferences focus on Chicago, we encourage people from other cities to attend and share their ideas while borrowing ideas to apply in their own communities.

If you would like to present a workshop, submit handouts, or have a display table at future conferences, submit an idea using this form, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Workshop and Panel Participants:


Brian Banks, Consultant BAC Partners works with nonprofits interested in partnering with business on community economic development and other projects.


Raja Baptiste, RNB Consulting Services.
Ms. Baptiste is a leadership professional and result driven individual with insight, vision and enthusiasm necessary to inspire organizations and obtain impressive results. With over 10 years of professional experience, Ms. Baptiste has significant expertise in nonprofit Development/Management, developing and implementing nonprofit programs, management, and creating policies and procedures.


Ms. Baptiste is a highly energetic individual who is committed to providing creative and enthusiastic coaching, outstanding performance, and the ability to strengthen nonprofit leaders and their organizations so that they can better serve their clients and communities.  Since beginning her career in non profit consulting, Ms. Baptiste has helped develop various nonprofit organizations such as Angeles By MYside NFP and Aries and Shine Outreach.  Her background includes marketing, organizational development, start-up, project management, training and board development.


Daniel F. Bassill, President, Tutor/Mentor Connection and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC
Dan Bassill has spent more than 30 years, mostly as a volunteer, leading organizations that connect workplace volunteers with youth living in  inner-city neighborhoods like Chicago's Cabrini-Green. He and six other volunteers formed Cabrini Connections in 1992 and the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC) in 1993. Through the TMC, and the Internet, Bassill leads a global learning strategy  intended to draw needed resources to all volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, including Cabrini Connections, in Chicago and other major cities. Bassill was a Commissioner on the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteering and Community Service from 2001 - 2009. In July 2011 Bassill created Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC as a new strategy to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection in Chicago and similar strategies in other cities.  Visit ; and

Steve Braxton, Lead coordinator/Jobs Program manager for The Lawndale Christian Legal Center-wMentoring
Steve Braxton is a seasoned corporate executive, consummate business consultant, Author of several non-fiction books and is Lead coordinator/Jobs Program manager for The Lawndale Christian Legal Center-wMentoring, working in a collaborative partnership with The Illinois Violence Prevention authority, Neighborhood Recovery Institute And the Sinai Community Institute.


Christy Beighe-Byrne, Director of Mentor and Volunteer Services, Chicago Youth Centers

Christy Beighe-Byrne has been in the volunteer services and mentoring field for the last ten years, working with youth at the Safer Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago, and presently at Chicago Youth Centers.  Christy has a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from Post University and a Masters Degree from University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration.  


Sarah Bird, Program Director, East Village Youth Program
Sarah Bird joined EVYP as the Elementary and Volunteer Program Coordinator in June 2008. In the fall of 2009, Sarah became the Program Director. Before joining the EVYP staff, Sarah taught high school English and Literature in Cape Coast, Ghana. She has interned with the Midwest Regional Office of Amnesty International and the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana. Sarah received her BA in Black Studies from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. She has served as a guest speaker for Chicago-area educational honor societies and founded a school library in Ghana.

Whitney Capps
, Teen Program Manager at Step Up Women's Network in Chicago.
With almost ten years experience working with you, Whitney is responsible for implementing Step Up's four year trajectory of confidence building and college and career preparation programming. She oversees a team of four in recruiting and building relationships with over 200 Chicago Public School students and three school partners. Since joining the team at Step Up, Chicago's teen programs have seen rapid growth and Whitney continues to be a leader in the development and evaluation of teen programs for Step Up nation-wide.

Prior to joining the team at Step Up, Whitney worked at the Center for Community Arts Partnerships (CCAP) at Columbia College Chicago where she spent two years as a Resource Coordinator managing a community school partnership at a middle school and high school in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. She lead a team of part-time staff members and diverse stakeholders to create programs, events and classes for students and families in support of the social and emotional development of the students in the community. Programs included arts-integration, health and wellness, confidence-building, mentorship and college and career readiness.

Throughout her youth development career in Chicago, Whitney has had much success engaging and building relationships with many different groups of people, including administrative school staff, Chicago Public Schools Office of Extended Learning, The Illinois State Board of Education, various local funders, parents, community leaders and especially young people.

Dr. Clara Carter, former Director of Training for the Maryland Mentoring Partnership
Dr. Clara Carter is a training consultant for MENTOR/ the National Mentoring Partnerships. Her work experience in the field of mentoring expands over thirty years to include employment in the federal government. While working at the DHHS, Dr. Carter received guidance and support from Maryland Mentoring Partnership (MMP) an organization linked to MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. Thus, she was credited with launching youth mentoring programs in four federal agencies in support of the "No Child Left Behind Act".  Upon her retirement, she accepted the position of Director of Training with MMP and her training support to numerous programs contributed to MMP's successful efforts in making mentoring an integral part of Maryland's social fabric.

Dr. Carter has maintained her commitment to increase mentoring opportunities for all youth and she is often called upon by MENTOR to provide technical assistance, and training to programs across the country. Her most recent assignments include (1) Training delivery to the Home Builders Institute's C-Core Mentoring Program, where she provided training to regional coordinators on the elements of effective practice for mentoring; (2) Program curriculum development for Memphis Mentoring Partnership that was used to implement a school-based group mentoring model for Memphis Charter Schools.

Dr. Carter holds a BA Degree in Sociology, a MBA and the Doctorate in Higher Education Administration. Learn more about Dr. Carter.


Garrick Charles, Program Specialist, Afterschool Matters
Garrick Charles, a Program Specialist at After School Matters in Chicago, Illinois, is responsible for managing, facilitating, and developing out-of- school time programming for teens in the city of Chicago, specifically in communities such as: Kenwood, Hyde Park, and New City. His experience lies with directing youth voting initiatives and community engagement programs throughout multiple states across the United States. Currently, Mr. Charles serves on the Back of the Yards Task Force, and other community development committees. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in African Studies from Western Michigan University


Daniel Cotter, Chair of the Executive Committee of Layers Lend  A Hand to Youth
Daniel Cotter is a founding Member of Korey Cotter Heather & Richardson, LLC, a full-service law firm serving business needs.  Dan is Chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth and is Treasurer of the Chicago Bar Association.  He provides services to many startups, small businesses and non-profits and counsels them on various aspects of their businesses.  He is a frequent lecturer and writer on various topics.


Eboni-Prince Currie, Program Specialist, After School Matters
Eboni Prince-Currie serves as a Program Specialist for After School Matters, an organization nationally recognized for its innovative approach in delivering unique out-of-school opportunities to Chicago teens in underserved communities. She is responsible for ensuring program quality delivery, managing instructors and productive relationships with various CPS high schools and community-based organizations. She has over 6 years experience in youth development and volunteer services having previously worked as an elementary school teacher in the south suburbs of Chicago and as Youth Services Associate at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago where she expanded the youth volunteer and internship program. Eboni is a graduate of the University of Illinois @Urbana-Champaign holding a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and Masters of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Educational Policy Studies.



Eric Davis, Founder/Director, Global Citizenship Experience High School
Eric Davis has founded, served as Executive Director, and consulted for several organizations ranging from start-up non-profits to multi-million dollar institutions. In 2001, Eric founded Educational Endeavors and in 2003, Camp of Dreams. Also, Eric held the positions of Interim Executive Director with Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and Executive Director of the Illinois Education Foundation. Eric is an active board member for Camp of Dreams. He studied abroad in Cuenca, Ecuador and in Paris, France; he has traveled to numerous countries and traversed the U.S. six times by car or train. Eric is very excited about Global Citizenship Experience, which pulls together 15 years of educational practice and theory.


Racquel Fields, Program Specialist, After School Matters
Racquel Fields is a Program Specialist with After School Matters. She has worked in youth programming for eight years through counseling, recreation, and after school programming. Her passion for youth advocacy and programming led her to pursue her Masters of Business Administration from Roosevelt University


Tramaine Montell Ford
Tramaine Montell Ford is an American actor, comedian, dancer, singer, songwriter, choreographer, producer, model, and voice-over artist from Chicago, IL. He holds a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University with a minor in Psychology. Credits; Hairspray (Feature Film) starring John Travolta & Queen Latifah, The Oprah Winfrey Show, ABC’s One Life To Live, Saturday Night Live, The Today Show, Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida (International Tour), Shakespeare‘s Hamlet at Syracuse Stage, backup dancer for American singer Lady Gaga, and Executive Producer of his Off-Broadway solo show The Tramaine Experience: An Urban Dramedy with Broadway’s The Araca Group (Wicked). Ford is winner of Outstanding Performance in a Solo Show Award for The Tramaine Experience and will begin a regional tour early 2012. Featured on BroadwayWorld, NY1 News, & NBC News as a rising star, music from his pop album available now exclusively on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Napster, Rhapsody, & Zune. Born and raised in The Cabrini Green Projects, he was featured on WGN News as the first individual from a Chicago Housing Projects to win at the Chicago Children's Alt Film Festival, taking home first place for best narrative, "The Potion" which he wrote and starred in through The Cabrini Connections Tutor/Mentor Video Group in 1998.


Jordan Hestermann, Founder/Executive Director, Becoming We The People

Jordan Hestermann is the Founder and Executive Director of Becoming We The People, a non-profit organization working toward ending poverty as a means of realizing equality through several initiatives. She received her bachelor's degree in management and marketing from DePaul University and will receive her MBA from California State University in December. She leads workshops and seminars regularly on leadership, networking, business-related topics, communication, poverty, racism, and more.


Phillip Jackson, Executive Director, The Black Star Project
Phillip Jackson has dedicated his life to providing opportunities for and improving the life quality of others.  Mr. Jackson is a living demonstration of what is possible with hard work, perseverance and dedication to a cause. 

During his career, Mr. Jackson has been Vice President and Director of Operations for one of Chicago’s oldest and largest chain of booksellers; President of EF/MS, a family run business; Assistant Budget Director for the City of Chicago; Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools; Chief Executive Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority; Chief for Education for the City of Chicago; CEO for Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago; and is currently Executive Director of The Black Star Project, which he founded, that is designed to help children and students realize their educational potential in life. 

Programs of The Black Star Project include the Fathers Club that connects men with their children; the Student Motivation Program that has provided more than 180,000 students in 220 Chicago-area schools with the inspiration and motivation to succeed in life; the Destination College Program that prepares 7th- through 12th-grade students for college success; the Million Father March that organized about 600,000 thousand fathers in 475 cities to take their children to school on the first day in 2008, and Parental Involvement Programs that help parents to become the first, best and most important teacher for their children. 

Mr. Jackson has received national attention for his work on eliminating the racial academic achievement gap.  Recently, he was honored as the Illinois Fatherhood Initiative’s Ricky Birdsong Father of the Year Award for the State of Illinois, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Monarch Man of the Year Award in Education, the Operation Push Reclaim Our Youth Award, and the Bud Biliken Parade Education Man of the Year, the 7th Congressional District of Illinois’ Educator of the Year.  He was also named as one of the Chicago Defender’s “50 Men of Excellence” and he received the 2008 Cook County State’s Attorney’s Community Hero Award.

Mr. Jackson earned a bachelors degree in philosophy from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He has dedicated his life to educating Black, Latino, and poor urban children in the United States and he continues to take on larger and more challenging projects with a commitment to making the world a better place.  Phillip Jackson has been an example of leadership for countless numbers of public and private employees and is a true “servant of the people.”


Bernard Key, Technologist, Key Link Technologies

Bernard Key, Technology Consultant for Key Link Technologies has been involved in the community and schools for the past 20 years. As a consultant, he was one of the lead project managers responsible for deploying wireless technologies in Chicago schools in the 90s. Mr. Key implemented, designed and deployed WIFI solutions for over 100 public and private schools and community centers. His wireless infrastructure design is now a standard for many of the inner city schools. As a result, students are not confined to the classroom, desk or building.

During project deployment, Mr. Key recognized the need to implement technology, engineering, science and math in the inner city schools. To address the gap, Key Link Technologies (KLT) was born. KLT’s mission is to bridge the digital divide while mentoring our youth with opportunities. The company consists of two divisions –the technology group focuses on WIFI development, research and network solutions. The Engineering Group focuses on student technology enrichment programs. Students from kindergarten to college are engaged in robotics, RC (Radio Control) Engineering and WIFI deployment as well as other technology projects.

In 2005, National Association of Black Engineers (NSBE) Alumni Chicago Chapter awarded Mr. Key for his robotic after school enrichment programs and community commitment.

In the 2006, NSBE, After School Matters and Motorola contracted Mr. Key to organize a US FIRST Robotic Program for Englewood Technology Preparatory High School. The first year rookie team finished 13th out of 60 teams and advanced to number two seed in the Midwest Finals.

NSBE awarded Bernard 2007 Technologist of the Year at their National Convention's 30th Annual Golden Torch Awards. He helped organize Windy City CARES, a mentoring circle city of the National CARES Mentoring movement started and spearheaded by Susan Taylor.


Winnie Davis Key.

Andrius Kulikauskas, Self Learners Network
Andrius Kulikauskas dedicated himself as a child to "know everything and apply that knowledge usefully". In 2009, he completed his quest with a 10-minute summary, "I wish to know". Subsequently, he is fostering a culture of learning forever, specifically, as a network of Learning Clubs. From 1998 to 2010, he led Minciu Sodas, an online laboratory for independent thinkers around the world. He lived in Lithuania, Englewood and now in Pilsen. He has a Ph.D. in Math from UCSD and is an artist-in-the-wild.


Scott McFarland, Resources and Information Manager, Serve Illinois Commission

Scott McFarland is the Deputy Director of the Serve Illinois Commission. This position has him overseeing Serve Illinois' statewide volunteer programs, Illinois' National Service Disability Inclusion Project, Serve Illinois' AmeriCorps*VISTA program, the AmeriCorps LeaderCorps program, and

Scott hails from the Quad Cities area of Illinois and now lives with his wife, Amber, and daughter, Anastasia, in Springfield. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History with a Teacher's Certification from Western Illinois University in 2006 and his Master of Public Administration from the University of Illinois - Springfield in 2008. He serves as an elected member of the Springfield School District 186 Board of Education. An Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster, Scott takes great joy from camping, community service, and teaching. In his personal and professional life, he continues to live by his motto, "better yourself by serving others."


Debra Natenshon, CEO, The Center for What Works
Debra B. Natenshon is the CEO for The Center for What Works. She is an influential leader in the field of outcome-based thinking and practical management. Ms. Natenshon successfully re-launched The Center for What Works’ strategy and infrastructure and led all efforts until March 2011, when she and WhatWorks joined forces with the outcome practice of The Rensselaerville Institute.

Together with the Urban Institute, she completed ground-breaking research to develop outcome frameworks that are currently used by a wide spectrum of foundations and nonprofit organizations. She bridges research with practice in highly effective engagements across the social sector. She is a member of the Alliance for Effective Social Investing and has advised many leading organizations, including GuideStar, FSG Social Impact Advisors and McKinsey.

Ms. Natenshon founded the Chicago chapter of Net Impact, a global network of leaders changing the world through business. She holds a masters degree in organizational management from the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont.



Joel Newman, Director of Community Partnerships, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mississippi Valley

Joel Newman is currently serving as Director of Community Partnerships for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley. In this position, he is in charge of all volunteer recruitment, corporate and community relations and fund development within a three-county territory surrounding the Quad Cities.


Mitchel Scholar, Faith-based leader, Minister and lead Coordinator for Lamp-a Youth mentoring programmatic initiative. Mitchel Scholar is involved in a collaborative partnership with The Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, Neighborhood Recovery Institute, Sinai Community Institute, and The Lawndale Christian Legal Center

Natasha Smith, Interim Executive Director, Working in the Schools
Natasha Smith, Deputy Director, joined the WITS team in December 2010. Natasha has extensive experience in strategizing and facilitating the growth of organizational infrastructure that will support program expansion and enhancements. Having 16 years experience in the youth development and education field, she recently worked on a public sector leadership project. She served 6 years at After School Matters and has a strong background in ensuring quality programs and operations in youth development organizations. Natasha has a bachelors in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago and well as certifications in youth development and project management. She enjoys reading and plans to take her passion of cooking a step further and take culinary arts classes. In her role at WITS, Natasha will be point person for Human Resources, Operations, Quality Assurance, and will support our program and development areas as well.

Jennifer Sontag, Executive Director, East Village Youth Program
Jennifer Sontag became EVYP’s Executive Director in September 2009. She began her career at EVYP as the Director of High School and College Programs in the fall of 2006. Before joining EVYP, Jennifer spent three years coordinating diversity and anti-bias workshops for the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute. Jennifer also instructed courses at DePaul University’s Technology & Development Department and was a Chicago Public School Summer Fellow at Prosser Career Academy. Jennifer holds a BA in Political Science from Simmons College in Boston, MA and a Master’s degree in Education from DePaul University in Chicago.

Sue Sowle, Project SOAR, McGaw YMCA, Evanston, IL
Sue Sowle is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with Project SOAR for the past 12 years. She has helped the program grow from a 25 match program to an 80 match program. Sue h as 2 children and lives with her spouse in Evanston.

Linda Stewart, MENTOR, National Mentoring Partnership, Senior Director of Outreach,
Linda Stewart is MENTOR's senior director of outreach where she is working to expand and strengthen the national network of State Mentoring Partnerships which serve as front-line support to mentoring programs. Before joining MENTOR, Stewart was the executive director of The Maryland Mentoring Partnership for 11 years where she established the organization as the leading advocate, resource and expert for youth mentoring in the state. Earlier in her career, Stewart worked for United Ways in Baltimore, Maryland and Bridgeport, Connecticut where she managed eight successful annual fundraising campaigns and oversaw the distribution of funding to more than 60 agencies. In addition to the nonprofit sector, Stewart diverse career path has taken her to Nigeria as a high school teacher, to Venezuela as an international fellow and across the country as a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines. Stewart graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University with a BA in Spanish and from the University of San Francisco with a Masters in Public Administration/Nonprofit Management. As an active volunteer in her community, Stewart serves on several nonprofit boards. Her special honors include being recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and receiving awards from the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation for excellence in management.

Natalie Wahlberg, Director of Public Relations, Becoming We The People
Becoming We The People is a Chicago nonprofit aimed at eradicating poverty and promoting equality. Natalie has several years of success promoting nonprofits and organizations. Her feature stories have been published dozens of times. She has a Masters degree in Communications from Purdue University Calumet



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