GoldStar Speakers

  • Wendy Ambrose

    Wendy Ambrose has served as a State Director for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) for 30 years. In addition to working with students in groups and one-on-one, she has taught classes in family and consumer sciences education and leadership development. She was the lead coordinator for national competitive events and works with boards of directors, student leaders and teachers to accomplish the mission for FCCLA at a state and national level. This mission includes  career exploration, leadership and experiential learning.

    Columbia Heights
    Ambrose, Wendy
  • John Berry

    For over 10 years John Berry has been a tireless advocate for people in poverty and has championed national, state, and local efforts to fight poverty, dependence, and need. As the Chief Executive Officer of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia John has led an organization that delivers programs and services to people in need across the State of Georgia and has impacted poverty by over $14.0 million every year for the last 10 years. John has been a vocal advocate for the poor at the National and State level working with Congress and the Georgia State Legislature on issues related to the poor.

    Berry, John
  • Misty Brown

    Misty Brown, owner of and consultant with Dunamis Consulting USA, LLC, has had intimate experience with the snare of poverty. She is acutely aware of the effects of social class stigmatization and knows that transcendence is not only possible, it is imperative! Misty has dedicated herself to mobilization, from the “frontline.” She has several years of national service experience as an AmeriCorps VISTA and has been involved with Legal Aid for many years. Misty is currently a doctoral candidate at Seattle University.

    Brown, Misty
  • Anette Carlisle

    Anette Carlisle has a long history of involvement in education, in governance, and in working to make a better Texas. A visionary community leader with a scientific approach to solutions, Anette is a social entrepreneur. She addresses root causes of systemic problems by using data analysis, integrating existing resources, and building diverse teams to drive community change. Anette is well-known for her persistence in recruiting participation for community change.

    Carlisle, Anette
  • Lynda Coates

    Lynda Coates is a Gold Star Speaker with Communication Across Barriers (CAB), a national consulting firm that provides training and keynotes that empower professionals who assist people with moving out of poverty. Lynda has a Master’s Degree in Com­munication from Portland State University and has been speaking and training for over a decade across the country. She is an authentic voice, born into generational poverty, who grew up homeless with her parents and five siblings.

    Coates, Lynda
  • Joyce Coleman

    Joyce says that it wasn’t until she heard Dr. Beegle speak in 2005 that she added poverty to her diversity backpack. She further declares that this meeting has influenced her career path and led to her being better equipped to work with all students especially those experiencing poverty.

    St. Paul
    Coleman, Joyce
  • Miriam Dodge

    Miriam Dodge is a GoldStar Speaker for Communication Across Barriers. She has been studying under Dr. Donna Beegle for 2 years now and is excited to be sharing Donna’s vision about helping all people understand what life is like for people living in the crisis of poverty. Miriam has been working for Kennebec Valley Community Action Agency for over 20 years. She has held many roles including Head Start Teacher, Early Head Start Teacher, Family Support Worker, HomeStart Coordinator, Early Head Start Home Visitor, and HomeBased Supervisor.

    Dodge, Miriam
  • Ronna Flynn

    Ronna Flynn is presently the District Instructional Coach for Title I in Franklin Township located in Indianapolis, IN. Ronna has worked as a classroom teacher for over twenty years and as a building level Instructional Coach for six years prior to beginning her work at the district level. One of Ronna's passions is working with teachers and school leaders to support student engagement especially those students who come from poverty.

    Flynn, Ronna
  • Melissa Gordon

    For over ten years Melissa has been supporting and coaching youth serving non-profits Youth Serving Non-Profits to perform to their fullest capacity, offering quality and safe services to their communities. She helps leaders strengthen programs, one step at a time. Whether a leader is new to their agency, or has been there 20 years, her wealth of knowledge from over ten years experience leading programs in non-profits at both a local and national level gives her a vital vantage point. She first served in program leadership at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Gordon, Melissa
  • Jeanne Harper


    Jeanne M. Harper compassionately and effectively addresses issues of life in a participative, creative, and practical style for the public and professionals as a life coach, spiritual director, speaker, and consultant. Before retirement as a psychotherapist in 2008, she specialized in trauma counseling for twenty-eight years.

    Green Bay
    Harper, Jeanne
  • Michele Jersak

    Michele Jersak is a counselor at Century College and has worked in the Minnesota State Colleges and University system for close to 20 years. In addition to meeting with students one-on-one, she has taught classes in career development, leadership development and first year experience. She is the lead project developer of the GPS LifePlan project, a holistic, open-access on-line planning tool for students seeking to navigate the college experience and find the career that will help them affirm their values and utilize their talents.

    St. Paul
    Jersak, Michele
  • Mary Lang

    Mary Lang lives in Beloit, Wisconsin and is the Assistant to the Director of Student Services at the School District of Milton, WI. Mary has held many positions in the educational field for the last 17 years from School Bus Driver to District Special Education System Administrator to the position she currently holds. Since attending CAB's Poverty and Poverty Coaching Institutes, Mary has used her position to teach ALL District employees how to communicate better with not only the students living in the crisis of poverty, but also their families.

    Lang, Mary
  • Russell Lowery-Hart

    Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart currently serves as President for Amarillo College, recently named a Leader College for Achieving the Dream. His leadership is focused on improving student success through systemic and cultural change.

    Lowery-Hart, Russell
  • Kim McMann

    Kim McMann has over two decades of experience connecting people to the resources they need through her work in non-profit organizations. For more than ten years Kim worked with families, teachers, young people and other community organizations in her role as Head of Youth Services at an upstate New York public library. She has also worked with a number of special populations including adults with disabilities, non-traditional college students, at risk youth and people experiencing food insecurity.

    McMann, Kim
  • Elia Moreno

    Elia Moreno is the author of “Living Intentionally,” a book that depicts her own personal journey and hard earned insights on the importance of adding value to the lives of others in just 90 seconds. She acts as the Community Engagement Manager for Cal Farley's Community Engagement Center. Cal Farley's is one of America's largest privately funded child and family support providers specializing in both residential and community-based services.

    Moreno, Elia
  • Loredia Nunn-Dixon

    Located in Rock Island, Illinois, Mrs. Loredia Nunn-Dixon has served individuals in the crisis of poverty for over 26 years. To help fulfill this mission, she is the Director of the Open Door program which is operated by the Illinois Department of Human Services and housed within Skip-a-Long Family and Community Services.

    Quad Cities
    Nunn-Dixon, Loredia
  • Cerigwyn Parsons

    Throughout her life, Cerigwyn’s heart has always been connected to the “underdog” - whether a person, a group of people, a place in a city or a misunderstood population - she was motivated to serve, to help, to support and to love. Looking back, she can see how jobs, people, and places have shaped that career that she has today. Her career has taken her from rural to urban settings almost always focused on serving and supporting children and families living in extreme poverty.

    Parsons, Cerigwyn
  • Gloria J Sherman, LPC, M.Ed

    Gloria is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Independent Trainer and Educational Consultant, CAB-Certified Poverty Coach, Certified Parent Coach and Parent Educator.  She has over thirty years experience working with parents and children in a variety of settings.  She recently retired as a middle school counselor with over 15 years of experience.  Her previous experience was with the State Department of Human Services in the area of children and family services.

    Sherman, Gloria
  • Liz Snyder

    Liz Snyder is the Program Coordinator for the Independent Living Skills and SETuP programs at Community Youth Services in Olympia Washington. The Independent Living Skills and SETuP programs both work to support youth and young adults make the transition from state foster care into adulthood. Liz has worked in Social Services supporting youth for 15 years, previous positions include Program Manager at Brentwood Group Home as well as Team Coordinator for the Washington State Reading Corps.

    Snyder, Liz
  • Tracie Travers

    Tracie Travers has worked with middle school and high school students since 1993. She has been an educational technician in an alternative education classroom and a program manager in a residential facility. She is currently a career preparation and financial literacy coordinator for Jobs for Maine’s Graduates (JMG). In each of these roles, Tracie has brought energy, creativity, and a desire to show students how much they matter and support them in their growth.

    Travers, Tracie
  • Christine Westerlund

    Christine Westerlund is the Director of Professional Development for the Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies.  Additionally, she manages the Association’s Professional Development Institute (PDI), a multi-disciplined catalog of training and learning opportunities for the Illinois Community Action Network.   Christine has over thirty years of experience working with governmental entities and non-profit organizations as a researcher, grant writer, facilitator and trainer.

    Westerlund, Christine
  • Calvin Winters

    Calvin Winters is a passionate voice for those who have been marginalized by poverty, injustice, prejudice, and indignity. Equally adept at inspiring the secular community or the faith community, Calvin is dedicated to building bridges to success for people living in the warzone of poverty through education, mentoring, and cross-cultural understanding.

    Winters, Calvin

GoldStar Speakers