Keynote Speaker


Jamilah Lemieux

An outspoken champion of Black women and girls, Jamilah is a fierce advocate for racial equality, social justice and LGBT rights/acceptance. Race, gender and sexuality are her passion. You can check out a whole lot of her clips here.

In August of 2016, Jamilah was named the VP of News and Men’s Programming for Interactive One, the definitive digital desitination for millenial and African-American Audiences. Prior to her current position, she  sevred as the Senior Editor at EBONY, the magazine of record for African-Americans since 1945. Jamilah was one of the small-but-mighty team that led the reimagining of the magazine’s website in 2012 and was later promoted to Senior Digital Editor before taking on her role with the print publication.  Her work has appeared via a host of print and digital properties, including Mic, Essence, The Nation, the Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Gawker, and her now-defunct, award-winning blog, The Beautiful Struggler.

 As a talking head (or ‘public intellectual,’ if you will), she has been interviewed many times  on MSNBC, Huffington Post Live and Al Jazeera America, and has also done more radio interviews than she can keep up with, including ones with NPR, the BBC and the CBC. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African Americans, as well as Fortune’s list of the most influential women on Twitter.

 Jamilah has made numerous appearances on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore , including a spirited conversation about Bill Cosby that got her gif-ted on Tumblr (a sign of millennial achievement!) and also appeared on  MTV2’s Uncommon Sense.

 In 2015, she penned the forward for the Verso re-release of Michele Wallace’s groundbreaking Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman and also received the Maggie Award for Excellence in Commentary from Planned Parenthood and the Ivy Award for Social Engagement from the Delta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Additional Speakers


Alicia Adamson

Alicia is committed to inspiring individuals to walk in their truth and live the life they were created to live!  She is passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls and seeks to empower them through her work. Because of this passion, Alicia founded The National Black Women’s Society Inc. (formerly YBWS) in 2005. A nonprofit organization created to providing empowerment, equity and access for women of color in Boston and beyond.

Over the past decade Alicia’s has held marketing and philanthropy roles in both for profit and nonprofit organizations. Alicia shares her unique leadership experiences and frequently speaks for corporate, nonprofit, youth and faith based audiences on topics such as: Personal Branding, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, Women/Millennials and more!

Alicia has been recognized for her efforts locally with the Distinguished Recent Alumna Award from Simmons College (2013), The Rising Star Award from Youth Villages/The Germaine Lawrence Center (2012); an NAACP Image Award from the Boston Chapter of the NAACP (2011) and 40 under 40 award from The Boston Business Journal (2010).

She is an active leader in her community, she mentors young women, volunteers her time and talents to lift others up. She currently serves as a member of Mayor Walsh’s Boston Women’s Commission  to support the leadership and advancement of women.  Alicia is a proud graduate of Simmons College School of Management, with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Divinity at Gordon Conwell Seminary to better support her work.  Recently she founded, D.O.P.E (Daughters of Purpose and Excellence) a young women’s ministry housed at Greater Love Tabernacle dedicated to helping young Christian women live Christ Centered Lives.  Alicia is currently writing a book due in Fall of 2016. She resides in Boston with her loving husband and two sons.

Twitter: aliciacanady

Dr. Gary Bailey

Gary Bailey, MSW, ACSW is currently a Professor of Practice at Simmons College School of Social Work and at the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences. At the School of Social Work he coordinates the Dynamics of Racism and Oppression sequence. He chairs the School of Social Work Awards Committee; is Chair of the Simmons College Black Administrators, Faculty and Staff Council (BAFAS); is a member of the Simmons Faculty Senate; is vice chair of the Simmons President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (PDIAC) and co-Chaired the Simmons College Initiative on Human Rights and Social Justice.

Professor Bailey is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He was named Social Worker of the Year by both the National and Massachusetts NASW in 1998. He was made a Social Work Pioneer by NASW in 2005, making him the youngest individual to receive this honor and joining individuals such as Jane Addams and Whitney M. Young.

In May 2013 Professor Bailey received the degree Doctor of Humane letters , honoris causa, from the University of Connecticut.

 tamesha-dericoTamesha Derico

Tamesha Derico is a Vanderbilt University graduate and MBA candidate with a background in nonprofit administration. At the age of 19, she was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety. She also lives with PTSD following a sexual assault, and is a suicide attempt survivor. After years of silence, she has become an outspoken advocate of ending stigma and promoting mental health awareness, especially in the black community. Tamesha is a 2016 Blavity Fellow and writes for Blavity Life, a multicultural multimedia site with more than 3 million readers a month. On Blavity, she has written about her personal experiences, as well as topics such as therapy, relaxation, suicide, and depression. Her hope is that speaking on these topics will normalize discussions of mental health and encourage those who need it to seek help, rather than suffer in silence.

Facebook, IG, and Twitter: hungrybrowngirl


Donna Gittens

Donna Latson Gittens is visionary leader with intuitive business insight and foresight. She has succeeded in building cause media, recently rebranded as MORE Advertising, into a boutique advertising agency with a unique mission. Since 1997, her company has designed more than 300 campaigns to influence attitudes and change behaviors on topics such as smoking, substance abuse, HIV prevention and diversity in the workplace.  Gittens launched the company following a ground-breaking, 20 year career as a corporate executive at WCVB-TV (Boston’s ABC affiliate).  She has received numerous awards and honors including the Pinnacle Award for Achievement in Entrepreneurship presented by the Women’s Network of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and the 1st Annual Jackie Robinson award for Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner from the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball and was named the winner of the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council’s 1st Annual Shark Tank competition in 2014 . Gittens serves on the board of overseers for the Mother Caroline Academy, is a member of Lenny Zakim Fund board and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. She is a frequent panelist and guest speaker at symposia, meetings and conferences on topics that range from women business entrepreneurship, marketing and leadership.  Gittens earned a B.A. from Park University, an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Elms College in Springfield, M.A.

For Twitter:     @DonnaGittens & @moreadvertising


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Andrea C. Imafidon

Andrea C. Imafidon is the brain-child of Brown Girl From Boston, a blog for Beautiful, Brainy Brown Girls to unite and celebrate their FLYness in a sacred, nurturing and loving environment. Brown Girl From Boston blog gives Brown Girls everywhere permission to live life in a fearless and unapologetic way. Brown Girl From Boston helps women cultivate, grow, and heal the whole woman through living a true and authentic life.

Andrea is a social media maven, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Holistic Life Coach, Blogger, Speaker, and Author. She is the author of “Manifesting Your Greatness” a goal setting book to help others to become Goal Getters and she is the co-author of “Self-Care for Brown Girls” a self-care and self-love book to help Brown Girls to live a happy, holistic, and FLY life. Andrea is the 2014 Practico Innovation Business Pitch Idea Winner for her Smart Savvy app which is coming soon to a smartphone and tablet soon.

Andrea is a professional coach with a certification in personal development coaching from The CaPP Institute. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Tuskegee University.

Andrea is a goal getter, lover of life, in which she loves and appreciate laughter, telling jokes with friends and family. Andrea is a music maven, Hip Hop Brainiac, Boston sports fanatic, coffee, brunch, yoga, enjoys sleeping in late, running 5K marathons, fashion, food, fitness, and travel.

Facebook: Brown Girl From Boston

IG: Brown Girl From Boston

Twitter: BrownGirlBoston


Simone John

Simone John is a poet and educator from Boston, MA. Her home base is The Hive, a radical co-working space in B(l)ack Bay. Since completing her MFA in Poetry at Goddard College, Simone has devised youth poetry workshops that explore hip hop culture and poetry as a form of protest. When she isn’t working with talented young people, Simone writes documentary poetry that blends current events with her lived experiences as a black woman in the United States. Her poetry and essays have been published or are forthcoming in The Pitkin Review, The Writer in the World, Elohi Gadugi Journal, and Wildness. Her first full-length poetry collection, Testify, is forthcoming from Octopus Books in 2017.


Vanessa Lewis

Vanessa Lewis is a Boston-based lifestyle writer, novelist, and writing coach.As an in-demand freelance writer, Lewis’ work has been featured in Rhema Magazine, Influence Boston Magazine, and the Boston Neighborhood News Inc. periodicals The Dorchester Reporter, The Mattapan Reporter, and the Haitian Reporter.

Vanessa’s first novel, If It Isn’t Love, was released in June 2013.  She is currently working on the follow-up story, Tears on My Pillow.  Lewis is also Founder and Chief Executive for Dorchester’s Daughter Publishing, an independent publishing house through which she publishes her work and seeks to coach and assist other writers.

As someone who is passionate about the power of your personal narrative, Lewis is committed to helping others tell their story.  She has led writing workshops and consults one on one with clients seeking help with writing projects.

Twitter: dotsdaughterproject


Nicole Peterkin

Nicole Peterkin made the transition from pre-med to finance at the age of 21 when her dad died suddenly. By 22 she’d decided entrepreneurship rather than corporate was her desire, so by 23 she’d built a 6 figure financial planning practice, and went on to practice what she preached investing in real estate and the stock market. Now, at 27 she’s published her first book, “If You Love Your Family, Save Like It”, been picked up by Next Century Publishing to do a second, and has helped over 500 clients improve their financial situations during her 5 years in practice. She’s used her book and her experience to help build a platform for sharing financial education and has keynoted and done workshops for business conferences, organizations, and women’s groups. Most recently she presented at the 2016 Cape Cod Women’s Conference.

Facebook Fan Page-

Facebook Personal Page-

Twitter Handle- @nicolepeterkin

Instagram- nicky_peterkin


Katia Powell

Katia is the CEO & Founder of Black Girls Nutrition (BGN)- a social enterprise to disrupt the cycle of generational obesity and poor eating habits for women of color & their daughters. BGN CONNECTS WOMEN TO INSPIRE HEALTHY EATING, AND SHARE EXPERIENCES WITH OTHER SHADES OF BEAUTIFUL BROWN SKIN WOMEN.

As a Wholistic Health Practitioner & Motivational Speaker with over a decade of experience in healthcare, and five years of Doctoral Studies her expertise involves the areas of obesity prevention, nutrition, food deserts, food access, and racial and ethnic health disparities. While working in healthcare & research for over 20 years she focuses on working with the marginalized populations of the Black Diaspora, Latino of children, and women. Her passion is to touch the lives’ the individuals who are affected the most by obesity because she has lost 200lbs.  Katia works very close with the community instructing affordable community workouts to promote healthy active lifestyles. As a licensed Zumba Instructor and AFAA Certified Fitness  Instructor she encourages  healthy fun ways for individuals and communities to stay active. Katia currently serves on the Board of the Fenway CDC, Planning Committee for the New England Science Symposium at Harvard Medical School, a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar, a member of the Health Committee for the NAACP, and holds several community positions that focus on improving the health of the current and future generations.

Katia prides herself on her innovative thinking, dedication, passion and commitment to bring about positive health change in their lives of Americans. She has a true passion and eternal fire to assist, organize, educate, and advocate for those that cannot fight for themselves or have an equal voice in society for personal quality health.

“Our Health is our Biggest Wealth, and we must invest in our future, thereby passing on the assets of healthy living to future generations.”-Katia Powell

Facebook and IG: BlackGirlsNutrition

Twitter: BlackGirlsNutri


Kristen Ransom

Kristen Ransom is the CEO and Founder of IncluDe Software Development Company. She founded IncluDe with the goal of providing graphically stunning digital design services to minority and woman-owned businesses. Through IncluDe, Kristen and her team work closely with clients to create a digital experience that tells the client’s unique story.

Prior to starting IncluDe, Kristen used her love for user-centered design at a variety of companies to develop both hardware and software products fit for an increasingly diverse world. At Harley-Davidson for instance, she worked on foot peg, handlebar, and seat design for bikes geared towards smaller female riders. Similarly, at the Department of Transportation VOLPE, she worked on a team devoted to increasing airbag safety for shorter drivers sitting closer to the steering wheel.

Most recently, Kristen has worked on countless government contracts designing and developing intuitive and effective software for the Air Force and Army.

She aims to use IncluDe to combine her passion for tech and activism to provide a wealth of technical expertise to a diverse set of clients.

LinkedIn – IncluDe-Innovation

Twitter Handle – inclu_de

Instagram – inclu_de

Rice, Chiquita—1/6/15—530993Chiquita Rice

Chiquita Rice is an Edward Jones financial advisor in Brookline, MA. She has worked in the financial services industry for more than 10 years. Prior to joining Edward Jones, she worked as an auditor for both an insurance and asset management holding company.

She attended Auburn University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies with a concentration in Spanish. She is currently working toward earning a certificate in financial planning from Boston University where she was the recipient of the Robert J. Glovsky Scholarship, which is awarded to students who intend to assist or serve traditionally underserved populations.

Chiquita is also highly focused on serving the community in which she works and lives. She presently serves as a volunteer of Big Sister of Greater Boston and serves on their Diversity Council. In addition, she is also an active member of Women and Girls Thriving in Brookline, where she is assisting in the creation of a mentor program and continues to mentor girls in her hometown of Brockton through her church.

Facebook: financiallyempowered20xx

Linkedin: financiallyempowered20xx

We Are the Ones

We Are the Ones is a coalition of young leaders from Boston’s Urban center of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan who want to create change in their communities. Through this group, communities of color, specifically young people, of Boston will have positive role models that they can see in action, in their community.

Facebook: wearetheonesboston


Rachael Robinson

As a community activist, youth worker, and aspiring entrepreneur, Rachael Robinson, a Dorchester native and graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, continuously strives to improve her community.

In her professional role as a Coordinator of Site Based Mentoring for Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Rachael helps get girls to great by fostering powerful mentoring relationships between caring adult women and girls ages 7­-15. As a Youth Advisory Council member for the Lewis Family Foundation, Rachael also encourages youth to make positive college choices through the Bigger Than My Block Initiative and believes that all youth have the ability to break any barrier and go far.

With her work extending to the larger Boston community, Rachael also serves as a Co­founding member of We Are The Ones, a social activist coalition that strives to promote positive social change in communities of color. Collaborating with her team to develop initiatives focused on youth empowerment, community restoration and Black economics, Rachael consistently makes an effort to bring about sustainable change and seeks to have a positive impact on everyone that she meets and everything that she does.

As an active change agent, she remains dedicated to serving as an advocate for women and communities of color. In collaboration with her business partner, Rachael further empowers women through her business, Sankofa Sisters, a lifestyle brand that takes a holistic approach to creating healthy lifestyles for women.


Cherelle Tillery

Cherrelle Tillery is a recent alumna of The University of Massachusetts Boston. There she studied Sociology, and Africana Studies. While a student there she started ”HERSTORY” a safe space for women to come and speak freely about issues that affects women and young girls while in attending college.

Cherrelle is a blackivist creating social change in Roxbury the surrounding urban communities of Boston. Recently, she traveled to Nicaragua, where she taught English in a small village of eager children. With that experience she left filled with empowered to come back to Boston to do even more! You can find her volunteering in her community, or vintage shopping around Boston.
Instagram: @803Urbanclass

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