Antonio Tijerino

Jose Antonio Tijerino is president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation which focuses on education, workforce development, connectivity, innovative leadership and public awareness in addition to promoting cultural pride and accomplishment. Under Tijerino’s leadership, HHF has built a network of 100,000 vetted Latino talent (15-35-year-olds) and focused on the STEM fields, entrepreneurship, finance, media, and other priority areas for America. HHF works closely with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and other nonprofits.

Prior to HHF, Tijerino worked at Fannie Mae Foundation, Nike, Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe under the Young & Rubicam umbrella.

Tijerino has been honored with the prestigious Ohtli Award, which is the highest recognition by the Government of Mexico outside of Mexico; Lifetime Achievement Award by National PTA; Vision Award by Silicon Valley Latino Leadership; Brillante Award by National Society of Hispanic MBAs; Leadership Award from Telemundo; Army Strong civilian award by US Army; Community Service Award by Governor of Maryland; Cesar Chavez Award by National Hispanic Leadership Institute; and the Champion of Digital Equity Award by the Multi-Cultural Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC); among others.Tijerino serves on various boards including Harvard’s Latino Leadership Initiative at the Kennedy School; The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP); University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business; PBS Sci-Girls; Nielsen’s Latino Advisory Counsel; America’s Promise Alliance; Latino Jewish Leadership Council; Ayuda; and Center for the History of the New America. Tijerino also founded The American Project with Notre Dame University to treat immigrants with dignity.

Tijerino’s blogs and media presence have made him a national voice on Latino issues and speaks on diversity and Latino issues from top companies, events, universities, US Congress and The White House. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland’s school of journalism and later was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters from The Chicago School.

Janell Thomas

As Senior Program Manager, Janell Thomas oversees the development and management of programs and provides technical assistance to community-based leaders and organizations on behalf of CommonHealth ACTION.

Prior to CommonHealth ACTION, Janell worked at the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center. Janell provided oversight and management of technical assistance and training delivery to state and local victim assistance programs and allied professional groups on how to maximize their use of Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) resources to build capacity. Janell is experienced in program management and implementation, community engagement, partnership building, strategic planning, and program evaluation. She has over 10 years of experience providing training and technical assistance in various arenas, including TTA to local, state and nationally known organizations pertaining to the reduction of gun violence. She has worked extensively with shooting victims and homicide victims’ families, and her expertise in community mobilization, strategic planning, and leadership has contributed to a significant reduction in the homicide rate in targeted areas of Baltimore City.

Janell has also spent more than 10 years working towards mitigating disparities and working with disadvantaged populations. She spent the early years of her career working toward reducing the rate of homeless women and children in Anne Arundel County as the Director of a housing program and served as a member of the Anne Arundel County Coalition to End Homelessness. Janell also developed a comprehensive, market-based community assessment profile and ensured implementation during her tenure at the American Cancer Society as a Regional Mission Delivery Director.

Kerrien Suarez

Kerrien Suarez advises ProInspire on strategic planning and is leading the organization’s bold goal process. Kerrien was previously a Senior Consultant at Community Wealth Partners, where she led client relationships and engagements, facilitated diverse leadership teams in bold decision making, and contributed to overall strategic firm initiatives. Kerrien has worked extensively in education, and has experience taking innovative program models, in both the charter and public school context, to scale regionally and nationally. Kerrien also has expertise in leading senior executives and managers through strategic planning, business case analysis and change management initiatives. In addition to the United Nations and World Bank, she has consulted at The Advisory Board, Bain & Company and AT Kearney, where she supported clients in achieving strategic and operational improvements. While at Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom, Kerrien managed the launch of products on iTunes and other digital platforms. Most recently, she supported implementation of a $15M national charter management pilot for EdisonLearning, and secured national accreditation for taking the Communities In Schools drop-out prevention model to scale in District of Columbia public schools. Kerrien has an AB in Psychology from Harvard College, and a MSc in Management, Organisations and Governance from the London School of Economics.

Dr. DeRionne Pollard

n 2010, Dr. DeRionne Pollard assumed leadership of Montgomery College, a three-campus community college with 60,000 credit and noncredit students. She spearheaded the development of a new Montgomery College mission and strategic plan. She has partnered actively with Montgomery County Public Schools and the Universities at Shady Grove in the creation of Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a support program designed to help students transition from high school to college completion.

Dr. Pollard formerly served as president of Las Positas College in Livermore, California. She served on the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges and the Commission on Academic, Student, and Community Development. Dr. Pollard is a member of the Community College Advisory Panel at the College Board and the Higher Education Research and Development Institute Advisory Board.

Closer to home, she serves on the board of Montgomery County Business Development Corporation, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Universities at Shady Grove, and Generation Hope. She was recently named one of Washington’s 100 Most Influential Women by Washingtonian Magazine, and was awarded a Visionary Award by the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.

Dr. Pollard received her PhD in educational leadership and policy studies in higher education from Loyola University Chicago and her MA and BA in English from Iowa State University. She has also been honored by Leadership Montgomery, The Daily Record, Bethesda Magazine and the Washington Business Journal.

Mauricio Miller

Mauricio Miller is a leader in the development of services and systems designed to break the cycle of economic dependency for low-income families across the United States. Frustrated by the frequent recidivism into poverty he witnessed during his two decades with Asian Neighborhood Design, an agency focused on tenant rights, job training, and youth development, Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in 2001 with the goal of helping low-income working families—who often struggle in isolated circumstances or without clear direction—build their own pathways to self-sufficiency. FII has evolved into a national model that taps into the initiative and capability of low-income households to maximize their own networks and resources and guide themselves out of poverty. Unlike conventional, top-down poverty alleviation programs that proscribe rigid plans of action formulated by caseworkers, FII fosters an atmosphere that is part idea incubator and part learning laboratory among small cohorts who have organized themselves to assist one another. FII staff serve as an information resource but do not direct cohorts or make decisions; instead, they shift the responsibility for setting goals, finding solutions, and initiating action to participating members. Families receive small cash stipends for achieving their self-initiated objectives—such as finding employment, reducing debt, or saving toward buying a home—and for documenting and sharing their progress toward these goals. FII’s success is notable; in a recent review, participating Oakland families reported income gains averaging more than 25 percent over the two-year enrollment period, as well as significant improvement in the level of savings (up 144 percent) and in the grades of school-aged children. From its initial site in Oakland, FII has expanded to San Francisco, Oahu, and Boston, all of which have produced similarly positive results. In addressing the deficits of inspiration, motivation, and information with an infrastructure of peer-to-peer encouragement and social networking, Miller is building more resilient communities from the ground up and offering an alternative to the current constellation of private and public anti-poverty initiatives.

Mauricio Miller received B.S. (1968) and M.A. (1977) degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He was affiliated with Asian Neighborhood Design (1978–2000) before founding the Family Independence Initiative in Oakland, California, in 2001.

Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat

Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat is the President and CEO of Washington Area Women’s Foundation, a public foundation dedicated to mobilizing the community to ensure that economically vulnerable women and girls in the Washington, DC metropolitan region have the resources they need to thrive. Jennifer has devoted her entire career to improving the lives of low-income and underserved women and girls. Jennifer joined the Foundation in 2008, providing strategic guidance while leading the program, development, and communications functions. In 2013, her efforts were recognized by Capital One and the Washington Mystics when she was named a “Community Champion.” In 2015, Jennifer was named as one of Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” and featured as a Washington Business Journal “Power 100 Honoree.” The Washington, DC chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals also named Jennifer an “Outstanding Diversity Leader.” Under Jennifer’s leadership, The Women’s Foundation was honored with Leadership Greater Washington’s “2016 Outstanding Community Partner” award. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

Nicole Cozier

Nicole Cozier has nearly 20 years of non-profit experience in the direct service, advocacy and philanthropic sectors.

In February 2016, Nicole Cozier joined the staff of the Human Rights Campaign as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion – a position that she describes as a perfect culmination of her experience and her passion for work with deep personal significance. In this role, Nicole is responsible for managing the D&I team and designing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives that translate D&I philosophy into core organizational practice.

Most of Nicole’s career has been focused on gender equity; however, in the words of Audre Lorde – “there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives,” so one cannot effectively gender issues without also examining how gender intersects with race, class, sexual orientation, age, and the myriad other identities that influence people’s experiences and opportunities. As a result, the consciousness and lens of diversity, inclusion and cultural competency has always been an important element of her work.

Nicole began her career in women’s health and reproductive health and rights for organizations including Planned Parenthood – in Toronto, Canada, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Cooper Health System in Camden, New Jersey, with an array of roles focusing on research, public and professional education, and counseling. Upon moving to Washington, D.C. in 1999, Nicole worked for the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance where she led a national public education campaign – which included cultural competency work with member organizations across the country – and organizational development. She also served on the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Mautner Project.

In 2003, Nicole joined Women & Philanthropy, a 30-year-old affinity group that worked to increase women’s leadership in the philanthropic sector and increase philanthropic dollars to programs addressing the critical needs for diverse communities of women and girls. There, Nicole managed the program portfolio and also served as the organization’s representative for the Joint Affinity Group (JAG) – a collaborative of identity based affinity groups working to pursue more equity for diverse communities. Then, with a desire to take her work back to a local level, in 2008, Nicole joined the staff of Washington Area Women’s Foundation – the region’s only foundation dedicated exclusively to increasing the economic security of economically vulnerable women and girls.

At The Women’s Foundation, Nicole managed the foundation’s donor education work, grantee partner technical assistance and capacity building, and the foundation’s collective giving programs – including the foundation signature community-based grantmaking program, the Leadership Awards. Nicole also oversaw the Foundation’s two giving circles: the Rainmakers Giving Circle and the African American Women’s Giving Circle, and was one of the founding members of KINDRED, an African American LGBTQ giving circle. Nicole also served on the board of directors for Funders for LGBTQ Issues, as well as on the Capacity Building Funders Group, and Partnership for Prince George’s County.

In 2010, Nicole was the staff lead in the development of the organization’s strategic plan which marked the transition of her role at the foundation from exclusively programmatic to one that included organizational development and operations, including human capital management. Cultivating excellence among staff and maintaining an organizational environment where staff could thrive was a core priority. This ultimately led Nicole to the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO). As second in command, Nicole managed internal operations for The Women’s Foundation and the development and cross-organizational implementation of the organization’s strategic goals.

Nicole holds an MBA and MS from Temple University, as well as an honors bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. A resident of the metro Washington area for more than 16 years, Nicole has also lived in Philadelphia, New Jersey, USVI, Canada and Barbados. She currently lives in Northern Virginia with her wife and daughter.

Carolyn Berkowitz

Carolyn is a Senior Advisor at Mission Partners, and a member of the agency’s Equity Advisory Board.  Prior to Mission Partners, Carolyn served as Managing Vice President of Community Affairs and President of the Capital One Foundation, responsible for building and leading an award-winning community investment strategy focused on fostering economic opportunity in the U.S. Under Carolyn’s leadership, Capital One launched Future Edge, a $150 million initiative which was leveraged by the White House and the Governor of VA to advance economic policy, and continues to add substantive research and best practices to the fields of workforce development and education.

Earlier in her career, Carolyn served as Senior Vice President of Community Mobilization at America’s Promise, leading a network of 300 local Communities of Promise seeking to align and deliver resources to help young people thrive. She was a founding member of the America’s Promise initiative, serving as senior staff to the President’s Summit for America’s Future – the event that launched America’s Promise in 1997 led by General Colin Powell. Carolyn also served as Vice President of the Points of Light Institute, and COO of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education.

Carolyn was appointed to the Virginia Community College Board by Governor Terry McAuliffe in 2014, and reappointed for a 4-year term in 2015. She is a member of the advisory board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center and is the Immediate Past Chair of Washington Area Women’s Foundation. In 2015 Carolyn was recipient of the Washington Area’s Women’s Foundation’s “Visionary Award” and a “Women of Achievement” Honoree of YWCA of the National Capitol Area. The Washington Business Journal named Carolyn to its “Power 100” list in 2013 and 2014, and a “Woman Who Means Business” in 2009. In 2016 and 2017, Virginia Business Magazine named Carolyn a “Mover and Shaker Making a Difference in Virginia.”