THE NATIONAL BOARD

 

Mercia E. Arnold

Mercia E. Arnold (Mur-SAY) provides client-directed, focused and strategic advice as an Attorney and Economist through her company Abnuit/R.E.L. Serving both pro bono and contractual clients, she is a critical-thinker, “strategyzer” and chaordic professional. Ms. Arnold provides cost-accounting based analyses and consultations to help individuals, teams and organizations create realistic business plans, personal plans and financial strategies to manage their weekly 168 hours. Ms. Arnold employs Value Proposition Canvases and Business Model Canvases to assist organizations evaluate and address opportunities and challenges so that they are empowered to respond with sound risk-management principles to crises and the unexpected. She endeavors to live by both the golden rule “treat others how you want to be treated” and the platinum rule “while it is nice to be important it is important to be nice.” A 40 year practitioner of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and a licensed member of the Bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia, for the past 8 years, Ms. Arnold has volunteered her services and gained experiential knowledge of the critical performance indicators, skills, infrastructure and ecosystems for pro-bono and for profit efforts to achieve success across many diverse analytical metrics and evaluation tools.

Ms. Arnold’s knowledge base is informed by the benefits from working for several diverse recipients of federally funded grants, including a work-study job researching the Black Press in the United States before the Civil War, a National Science Foundation Grant for Research on Entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University, a Small Business Innovation Research Project to connect patents to profitability in four industries, and an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant. She has focused her personal career training in government procurement and Grant Writing. She is a graduate of Harvard & Radcliffe Colleges, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and Georgetown University Law Center. Her values require that some of her endowment be used to serve, pro bono, to improve outcomes for projects in her community and causes that maximize the potential of human capital across all of the human life-cycle. The lessons learned have expanded her reach and focused her attention on achieving her life’s mission: She delights in strategic planning with a multidisciplinary focus on risk-management and assisting individuals, teams and organizations to accomplish their mission and achieve their visions while adapting to changing paradigms, opportunity sets and new frontiers.

 

David Dirks

David L. Dirks Jr is the Director of Meetings and Events for the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, DC. David is a Certified Meetings Professional (CMP), responsible for the planning and execution of the Alliance’s special events, including the Alliance’s annual conferences and awards ceremony. Mr. Dirks has more than a decade of experience in event production, logistics management, stage management, budget development and management and contracting. Prior to the Alliance, he worked alongside event producers across the U.S., including; Bounce Event Marketing, an AEG Company in Los Angeles,

A Dominick Events in Washington, D.C., YES Productions in Los Angeles, and also at the Office of Student Activities at both Howard University and Grambling State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Grambling State University and is a graduate of the Howard University School of Law. He also completed a professional certificate in Event Management and Design from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

 

Jocelyn Garay

Jocelyn Garay is from Alexandria, Virginia. She graduated from Marymount University in 2012, where she majored in Communications, emphasizing in Public Relations and Public Speaking. After graduating, she worked for the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital as a Linguistic Outreach Specialist, where she focused on bringing Girl Scout programming to Spanish-Speaking communities. She then transitioned to work on Capitol Hill as the Scheduler for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez. Jocelyn is now the Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Don Beyer. In her free time, she loves to volunteer and travel. She was a founding member of Edu-Futuro’s Associate Council. Jocelyn is a member of the Democratic Latino Organizations of Virginia, and served on the Latinos For Hillary steering committee in Virginia. She travels to her parent’s hometown of Intipuca in El Salvador every year. Jocelyn is passionate about serving others and is excited to dedicate her life to public service.

 

 

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Len Kiese is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has spent the last decade working to tell people’s stories.  

He currently resides in Orlando, Florida where he serves as an anchor and reporter for WFTV Eyewitness News. 

Prior to WFTV, he was one of the morning faces for WIS News Ten Sunrise in Columbia, SC.  While at WIS, he was honored to receive the 2015 Anchor of the Year Award from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association.  He, along with the Sunrise team, also received an Emmy Award for Best Morning Newscast.

Some of the toughest stories to cover in Len’s career took place in South Carolina.  He was on the desk to anchor through two tragic moments that made national news-- the deadly attack on 9 church members in Charleston and the historic floods that devastated the state in October 2015.

Len got his start in news at WALB in Albany, GA.  He also worked as an anchor and reporter at First Coast News in Jacksonville, FL. 

In his spare time, Len enjoys mentoring and reading to area elementary school children.  He’s also an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists. 

 

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Sarah Koper is a lawyer in New York. She has a broad legal practice, including extensive experience in intellectual property, technology and commercial legal matters. Sarah has worked closely with clients ranging from industry giants to startups at all stages of their development, as well as a variety of pro bono clients. Sarah has been involved with community organizations her entire life, including projects focused on advocating for unaccompanied immigrant children and environmental activism. In her free time, Sarah runs Florashare, a charity-driven project that designs event floral arrangements for good causes at cost. After events, Florashare donates the flowers to organizations such as hospitals, shelters and care homes.
 

 
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Connecticut Rep. Brandon L. McGee, Jr. is a self-described community activist and architect of social solutions on behalf of Connecticut’s residents. A Hartford native, he committed to public service early in his career after being inspired by Mrs. Rosa Parks, one of the most influential figures of the civil rights movement, whom he considered a friend and mentor. Brandon is an advocate for equity in education, criminal justice reform, voter registration, and empowering people of color and their communities. He is committed to creating progressive processes that skillfully marry standard grassroots techniques with the art of relating to people on basic levels. His passion to communicate to a variety of public takes his inspiration from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy of telling the truth and bearing witness to love and justice.


Brandon is currently serving his third term in the Connecticut Legislature, where he represents areas of Windsor and Hartford. He is the vice chair of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and a member of the Appropriations, Education, and Human Services Committees. Additionally, he serves as the assistant majority whip and vice chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.


He also has numerous community affiliations and serves in various capacities, including:
•    Ascend Mentoring, Board President - 2012 to Present
•    BSL Education Foundation, President - 2015 to Present
•    Hartford Behavioral Health, Board of Directors - 2015 to Present
•    Jewish Family Services, Board of Directors - 2016 to Present


Brandon is the chief creative officer of the McGee Firm in Hartford, where he provides strategic insight, planning, and messaging consulting to clients in private, public, and education sectors. He also serves as a marketing and communications coordinator for the Capitol Region Education Council in Hartford.


Brandon has received numerous awards for his civic work. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Award from the National Mentoring Partnership for his commitment to youth mentoring. He was also named 2017 Citizen of the Year by the Tau Iota Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. In 2009, Brandon was the youngest recipient ever to receive the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Offices Community Award.


Brandon earned a B.A. degree in Political Science from Alabama State University in 2006 and holds an M.S. degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, Conn. His long affiliation and strong ties to his undergraduate alma mater led to the establishment of the Brandon McGee Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math scholarship in 2014.


Brandon is a deacon and member of the board of directors of the Citadel of Love Church in Hartford. He lives in Hartford with his wife Geralynn and daughter Sylver Kennedy.
 

Dr. Traron Moore

Dr. Traron Moore is a Director of HR for Comcast Cable’s Big South Region where he is the leader for Talent and Performance Management, Change Management and Diversity and Inclusion.Prior to joining Comcast, Traron or Tra as he is known, enjoyed a nearly 20 year career in Human Resources. Most recently as an HR Business Partner for The Home Depot, where he created and implemented competency models, talent management and engagement strategies and corporate career pathing initiatives.

During Tra’s career his leadership has driven innovations in enterprise-wide organizational development interventions including programs to enhance leadership, trust and engagement. Tra is known for his practical and pragmatic sensibility – leading the examination of opportunities from alternate perspectives – quickly creating approaches to situations that are a great mix of situational analysis and common sense!

Prior to joining The Home Depot, Tra led the field human resources function for Concessions International, an airport concessions company, with operations in the U.S. and USVI. Tra’s employment history includes progressive HR roles with The Atlanta Community Food Bank, Starwood Hotels and Hyatt Hotels. Tra holds a number of certifications including the HRCI’s SPHR and SHRM-SCP – both senior level HR designations. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, with a concentration in Business from Tuskegee University; an MBA, with a concentration in Marketing from the University of New Orleans and a Doctorate in Business from Georgia State University. He has expertise in generational differences, employee engagement, psychological contracts, knowledge management and advanced statistical methods. Tra considers himself a business leader who happens to work in the HR department!

As a proud graduate of Leadership Atlanta’s LEAD program (class of 2009) and Project Understanding (class of 2015) Tra believes in giving back to the community. He volunteers regularly with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He hold a Cobb County (GA) Board of Commissioners appointment on the Cobb Works Board and also sits on the board of the Charles H. Wesley Educational Foundation.

Tra’s philosophy is that, “Good decisions are made based on possible future outcomes, not the desire to correct or justify past decisions or mistakes.” He works tirelessly in his professional and volunteer spaces to assist organizations in making good decisions!

 

Benjamin Steinberg

Benjamin Steinberg is an attorney practicing in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Spanish summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania before attending law school at the NYU School of Law. Ben has a long history of involvement in community service and social action initiatives, and has experience working with non-profit organizations such as the International Sports and Music Project, a non-profit founded by Ben's younger brother Jason. Ben first became involved with We Inspire when he was selected as a 2017 We Inspire Day Ambassador for his work with Team BTC (Be The Change), an organization designed to mobilize people into becoming more involved in politics, community service and charitable initiatives. Ben is excited to help maximize We Inspire's potential through his role on the board, and is especially grateful for the opportunity to serve with, and learn from, the incredible individuals and young leaders that have been selected to participate in this worthy organization.

 

Jolleen Wagner

Jolleen Wagner, after serving for three years as a Lasallian Volunteer and teacher at the San Miguel School – Gary Comer Campus in Chicago, Jolleen Wagner became the Lasallian Volunteers’ associate director in 2007 and director in 2011. She was responsible for the vision and guidance of this faith-based, long-term volunteer program focused on service to at-risk populations through education and social services. In addition to her work for Lasallian Volunteers, Jolleen has been called upon by the De La Salle Christian Brothers to evaluate existing and develop new formation programs, lead and design immersion trips, and present and facilitate at various events focused on faith, service, and community around the world. As a member of the International Council of Young Lasallians and the chair of the Regional Young Lasallian Committee, she lead at the International and Regional levels to illuminate and invigorate the Young Lasallian voice for the future of the mission of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. Jolleen, a native of Green Island, New York, graduated with a bachelor of arts in English from Siena College in 2004, where she was honored in 2014 with the Franciscan Spirit Award, a Distinguished Alumni Award. After leaving Lasallian Volunteers, Jolleen joined Seton Education Partners and Brilla College Preparatory in the South Bronx as a 2nd Grade teacher. In 2017, Jolleen became the inaugural Director of Character Initiatives for the Brilla Schools Network where she continues to work toward expanding that space where faith, service, community and justice overlap.

 

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Jacqueline A. Wilson has served the Department of the Army as a civilian and a US Army Reserve Officer.  In her more than 30 years of service, she managed logistics programs and civilian leadership education programs.


In the educational field, Ms. Wilson was a faculty advisor at the Army Management Staff College. In that position, she developed lessons and courses, taught classes, and advised US Army Civilians academically and professionally.  She also served as the program manager for the Continuing Education for Senior Leaders Course.  In this Course, US Army Senior Leaders, at Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) level, presented information to high-level civilian managers regarding the most current Army policy and strategy.


In the logistics field, Ms., Wilson has served at various levels, from the unit to HQDA.  She has managed multi-million dollar programs for secondary items at the major subordinate command and the major command.  Also, she has served at the HQDA level, creating logistics policies for the US Army. 
 

Wayne Woodbury

Wayne Woodbury is the Founder & Chief Clothier at NaturalFit Style, LLC, a clothing brand created to help individuals discover their personal style. It was founded in 2009 on the premise that every individual is the sum of their unique composition and experiences and aimed at pinpointing and accentuating that individuality.

In addition to his responsibilities at NaturalFit, Mr. Woodbury is also a licensed pharmacist with CVS/Caremark. He has nearly 20 years of service in the fields of community and long-term care pharmacy. He is a certified immunizer with experience in pharmacy management, staff supervision, legal and regulatory requirements, drug compounding, medication therapy management, and patient care. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in Boston, Massachusetts. He resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and son.