past speakers - 2014  -  2013  -  2012   -  2011   -   2010    

Jul 31, 2014
Naomi Brockwell

topic: TBA

Naomi Brockwell is an opera singer, film maker, and actress, originally from Western Australia. She studied Commerce at the University of Western Australia, and received a Bachelor's Degree in Acting with a Minor in Business from Curtin University. She trained at the WA Academy of Dance and Drama for an Advanced Diploma in Musical Theatre, completed the Musical Theatre program at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, and studied Classical Music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, majoring in Opera Studies. She is currently continuing her Opera training in New York City where she is working under the direction of world-acclaimed sopranos and voice specialists, Ruth Falcon and Beth Roberts.

CEO and founder of Rainsworth Productions, Naomi works with her company on an extensive portfolio of feature films, short films, documentaries, webseries, as well as casting for other production companies and facilitating external projects.

In 2012 Naomi was Co-Executive Producer and Casting Producer on the feature film Audition. She directed, produced, and starred in the short film Let Live, Let Love, Let Go, and produced and co-starred in the short film Yes, Happy with award winning director/writer Jeffrey Jay Fowler and award winning film-maker Francisco Aliwalas.

She is part of the fellowship program at the Moving Picture Institute, where she has received a preliminary grant for her next feature film, Skirting Authority.

Naomi had her off-Broadway debut last year in the musical Man With A Load Of Mischief, playing the role of "Louise" under the direction of Jen Thompson and musical direction of Bryan L. Wade, working alongside Broadway stars PJ Benjamin, Stephen Buntrock, Rachel DeBenedet, Nancy Johnston, and Robert Petkoff. This year she debuted with the New York Lyric Opera in Suor Angelica.

Naomi is fluent in English, French, German, and Italian, and speaks conversational Russian. She plays piano, guitar, drums, percussion, recorder, and ukulele, and has performed in orchestras, jazz bands, concert bands, and acoustically throughout Australia. She is a state gold medal-winning Irish Dancer, and is highly trained in many other forms of dance.

Naomi is a proud member of the Golden Key International Honour Society for Academic Excellence.

Aug 7, 2014
Ruth Brayer

topic: The Handwriting's on the Wall

This highly interactive, informational and fun program is for people who want to improve communication, and for organizations who wish to enhance performance in the workplace.

Identify and overcome "blind spots" through guided self-analysis and discover secrets revealed in the handwriting of the famous and infamous and what they can teach us. Gain a deeper understanding of yourself and improve your life.

Graphology, the scientific study of handwriting as a projection of personality traits, is a behavioral profiling tool used by the FBI, over 3,000 U.S. companies and 85% of European businesses.

Ruth Brayer is a court qualified expert witness who has helped corporate clients and major law firms to solve multimillion dollar fraud cases. She is a professional speaker working with associations and organizations for over two decades, using her expertise to authenticate and decode handwriting. Ms. Brayer has spoken at many Fortune 500 companies and major associations in the U.S. and abroad. Ruth is the author of Decoding Your Dad and Detecting Forgery in Fraud Investigations.

Ruth's client list includes Morgan Stanley, Hilton Hotels, Time Warner, Verizon, Merrill Lynch, MetLife, IBM and more. She's made TV appearances on CBS Evening News, CNN, Fox, ABC, MSNBC, WPIX and and been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Sep 18, 2014
Chad Bissonette

topic: Commumity-Driven Development and the Crucial Role it Plays in Ensuring Global Development

Chad W. Bissonnette, Co-founder and Executive Director of Roots of Development holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC, and in 2014 was selected as the School of International Service’s Alumnus of the Year. Before graduating from American however, Mr. Bissonnette spent a year at Emerson College in Boston, MA studying PR/Marketing, and two years in Spain teaching for the Spanish Government and achieving a diploma in Hispanic Language and Culture Studies from the University of Salamanca. Mr. Bissonnette began traveling to Haiti in 2005 and co-founded Roots of Development in 2007. He currently serves as its Executive Director, and is responsible for the creation and implementation of the organization’s unique approach to development. When in Haiti, Mr. Bissonnette spends most of his time on the island of La Gonave, where his organization works with a set of communities determined to manage their own development. With the motto “Development without Dependency”, Mr. Bissonnette speaks regularly about empowerment and community-driven development and his work in Haiti, at high schools and universities along the East Coast. He has also written several articles on those subjects in the Huffington Post. Mr. Bissonnette grew up in Connecticut, and has traveled and lived a substantial amount of time overseas (Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Haiti, etc.). He speaks English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Mr. Bissonnette currently resides in Washington, DC.

Oct 9, 2014
Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D.

topic: TBA

Richard J. Deckelbaum, MD, CM, FRCPC is Professor of Pediatrics, a Professor of Epidemiology, the Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition, and Director of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University Medical Center.

The major focus of Dr. Deckelbaum's laboratory is to determine regulatory mechanisms for cell-lipid particle interaction, cell cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism, and lipid-related gene expression. Dr. Deckelbaum also coordinates programs related to the effects of varying nutrient intakes on expression of cardiovascular risk factors in children of different genetic backgrounds in both national and international studies. Overall, an important objective of Dr. Deckelbaum's program is to develop investigators who can translate basic nutritional questions into basic lipid and cellular biology.

Jan 29, 2015
Theresa M. Grant

topic: Common Mistakes Donors Make & How to Avoid Them

Theresa Grant, Chairwoman and Founder of Make A Difference has dedicated her life to helping disadvantaged children get access to quality education. In 2005 she quit her job as a marketing executive in the Silicon Valley and sold all of her possessions to fulfill a calling she had to make a difference in Africa. She moved to an orphanage on a farm outside of Lusaka, Zambia. Finding so much joy and satisfaction from making a difference in the lives of others, Grant helped start the international side of C2BU, an organization focused on helping people find their purpose in life. After working for two years with C2BU, Grant decided to start her own organization solely dedicated to empowering children in need called, Make A Difference (MAD).

Grant has a BS in International Relations and a BA in Spanish. She has supervised hundreds of volunteers from countries around the world including Australia, Belgium, China, India, Israel, Sweden, Tanzania, UK, USA and Zambia helping empower disadvantaged children.

MAD's mission is to support quality educational opportunities for vulnerable children and youth in developing countries. and it's dream is to help children rise out of poverty and become leaders within their countries.

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