top of page

Conference Speakers

We’re proud to feature a list of prominent speakers who are at the forefront of their fields. These professionals are always eager to share their knowledge and inspire like-minded enthusiasts.


Read more about this year’s speakers below, and don't forget to get your tickets today.

Dr. Crystal Kuykendall

Dr. Crystal Kuykendall

Educator, Attorney, & Human Relations Expert

Dr. Crystal A. Kuykendall is considered one of the most dynamic individuals of our time. A critical thinker, analyst, motivator and mentor, Dr. Kuykendall has astounded audiences and individuals through the power of her observations and the warmth of her words. A highly sought after and savvy speaking sensation, she is an engaging educator, human relations expert, legal analyst/litigator, endearing author and loving mother.

Born in Chicago, Illinois with very humble beginnings, Dr. Kuykendall graduated from Hyde Park High School with 4 scholarships at the age of 16. She received her B.A. from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale Campus) as a Government Major. Through an Assistantship, she graduated from Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) with a Master's Degree in Sociology. Through a Ford Fellowship, she received her Doctorate in Educational Administration from Atlanta University. Always seeking additional avenues for advocacy and service, Dr. Kuykendall received her Juris Doctorate (law degree) from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981. She was admitted to the Bar Association of the District of Columbia in 1988 after passing the Bar Exam on her first attempt.

On June 2, 2002, the President of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon conferred upon Dr. Kuykendall the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa (the Honorary Doctorate), after she delivered the Commencement speech to the Master Degree candidates from the School of Education. The Honorary Doctorate was presented to recognize Dr. Kuykendall for "her leadership and public service and her unflagging belief in children and the parents and teachers who train them."

A former elementary and secondary school teacher, Dr. Kuykendall has also taught at Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. She is the former Executive Director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators . She has also served as the Director of Urban & Minority Relations for the National School Boards Association and the Director of the Citizens Training Institute of the National Committee for Citizens in Education . Appointed by U.S. President, Jimmy Carter to the National Advisory Council on Continuing Education , she served as Council Chairperson from 1979-1981. She was also chosen by the educators of Ebony Magazine as one of the "50 Leaders of the future" in 1979.

Dr. Kuykendall is truly a gifted and gracious public speaker. She has spoken on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Africa and Australia) and is considered by many to be one of the most powerful, dynamic and inspiring speakers in the world, giving over 100 speeches annually. Her audiences laugh, cry and experience an incredible array of emotions as she weaves her magic behind a microphone. Audiences connect instantly with her high energy, charm, charismatic delivery and moving messages. She not only develops effective leaders but she facilitates self-analysis and inspires personal and organizational change, growth and powerful results. It doesn't matter who she addresses -- cafeteria workers or CEOs, educators or entrepreneurs, private or public employees, youth or senior citizens -- the results are the same and she receives thundering standing ovations wherever she goes. Her speeches reflect her own unique background replete with personal victories and many professional responsibilities.

Dr. Kuykendall has been exemplary in leadership, public service and corporate success. She has served on the Board of Directors of Health Power, Inc. She also served on the Advisory Board of the Congressional National Youth Leadership Conference , the Education Task Force of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change, the National Youth Leadership Conference and the National Education Task Force. Most recently she served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Mentoring Partnerships and the Board of Directors of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Chesapeake Maryland . Currently, she serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Henry C. Gregory III Family Life Center Foundation of Washington, DC.

In over 25 years of experience and service delivery, she has received over 300 plaques, awards, citations, certificates and "Keys to the City". She has also received numerous tributes and commendations for her efficacy in facilitating personal and professional empowerment, problem resolution and organizational growth.

Author of Developing Leadership for Parent/Citizen Groups in 1976, Dr. Kuykendall also authored Improving Black Student Achievement through Improving Self Image in 1987 and a motivational calendar for parents, You and Yours: Making the Most of this School Year (1987 and 1989). Her well lauded book, From Rage to Hope: Strategies for Reclaiming Black and Hispanic Students was first published in 1992. In May 2004, the second edition of this "timeless treasure" and national bestseller was published. Her unique character development guide and planner , Dreaming of a P.H.A.T. Century, continues to be extolled by winners of all ages.

In 1989, Dr. Kuykendall incorporated her company, Kreative and Innovative Resources for Kids (K.I.R.K.). Through the company she has provided long term technical assistance and consulting services to numerous national and international clients. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Strayer University in Washington, DC Campus.

Mother of 3 daughters and a son, Dr. Kuykendall has also been a H.O.S.T.S. Mentor (Help One Student to Succeed) since 1996 and continues to be a school and church volunteer. One of her daughters, Rasheki M. Kuykendall Walker, received the 2005-2006 Milken Family Foundation National Educator of the year Award.


Danielle Brown

National President,
Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Danielle Brown is the newly minted national president of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She was elected the 26th national president at the organization’s 43rd National Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri in July.

Danielle is a member of the Loudoun County Chapter in the Eastern Region. Prior to her election as president, she served for the past two decades as National Vice President, Regional Member-At-Large, and two-term Regional Conference Chair of the Eastern Region. She has also served as the National Public Relation Chair. She is a graduate of George Mason University and professionally brings over 25 years of experience, skills, knowledge, and expertise in Public Relations, Nonprofit Development, Funding, Communications, Event Planning/Management, and Executive Sales.

Danielle grew up as a child in the organization, and — following in the footsteps of her great aunt, a founding member of the organization’s first chapter in Philadelphia Chapter, her mother, a founding member of the Loudoun County, Virginia Chapter, and her aunt, a past National Vice President — she joined the organization as a mother in 1998, in the Loudoun County Virginia Chapter.

Jack and Jill of America is celebrating its 80th anniversary. It is the nation’s oldest African American family organization, founded in 1938 with the specific mission of nurturing future African American leaders by stimulating the growth and development of children through educational, cultural, civic, recreational, health and social programs inspired by mothers. Through its nearly 250 chapters organized in seven regions across the United States, the organization consists of more than 40,000 family members, which includes mother members, fathers and children ages two through 19.

Jack and Jill of America chapters also support non-profit organizations through its philanthropic arm, the Jack and Jill of America Foundation which is among the first foundations established by African-American families in the United States. Since its founding in 1968, the foundation has granted millions of dollars to worthy causes supporting children and families. Mrs. Brown is active in several organizations devoted to serving the community, including the Links Inc.


Renata Spinks

Cyber Technology Officer, U.S. Marine Corps Cyberspace Command

Ms. Renata Spinks currently serves as the Cyber Technology Officer (CTO), U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command; a direct report to the Commander of MARFORCYBER, Major General Matthew Glavy, secondary reporting structured to General Paul Nakasone, Commander, United States Cyber Command and the 38th Commandant of the USMC (CMC). In this role, Ms. Spinks leads an extensive portfolio focused MFCC mission to Secure, Operate and Defend the Marine Corps Cyber Environment within the Department of Defense Information Network. This portfolio includes but is not limited to instantiating the Joint Information Environment (JIE)--from the Joint Regional Security Stacks deployments, to end point security; mobility; security architectures; compliance/protection of systems and devices; to creating industry partnerships to deploy multiple As-A-service constructs with native security solutions and designing plans of actions for executing data center consolidations and secure DevOps using agile concepts within an ITIL governing framework.

Ms. Spinks is the go-to person for carrying out the Commanding General’s intent for setting the technical conditions for USMC cloud migrations.  She creates unprecedented use of processes, tools, techniques and protocols to compute, store, process, analyze and secure USMC data while balancing continual monitoring and remediation through incident response, proactive network resiliency; defensive cyber operations and joint cyber warfare architecture initiatives.  Ms. Spinks is driven by proficiency, expertise and development; demonstrating her passion for talent management by creating partnerships with colleges, institutions, federal agencies and the National Security Agency (NSA) Human Resource Directorate.  She leads the Cyber Talent and Student Opportunities initiative at MFCC managed by the Training Officer and Command Action Group, respectively.

Prior to joining MARFORCYBER, Ms. Spinks served in the U.S. Treasury; Millennium Challenge Corporation U.S. State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE-DHS) Homeland Security Investigations in roles --Technical Advisor; Acting CTO, and Criminal Research Specialist (Human Trafficking/Child Exploitation Investigations); and is a decorated 44th MEDCOM Combat Veteran (OIF 2003 –Healthcare Administration/Medical Evacuation).

Ms. Spinks holds a BS in Information Systems, a MS in Technology Management and several certifications, recommendations and awards. She is an avid community service STEMIST and mentor; still very involved in programs that combat Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation and Career Development. 

Ms. Spinks is a sought-after speaker and Director of “The Bosslady Network”; looking forward to the 2020 publication of her book “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Bosslady.”  She loves New Orleans Saints Football, cooking and as a recognized CIAA Elite Student Athlete, still loves to play basketball.

Mary Grate-Pyos

MBA,  Business owner, Author, Mathematician, & Inspirational speaker


Mary Grate-Pyos, MBA,  business owner, author, mathematician, inspirational speaker, former columnist (newspaper & radio) and proud “Geek in Pearls”, is the author of Wealthy Woman – Wise Choices and President of Financially Focused, Inc. 

Mary is dedicated to assisting individuals, families and entrepreneurs in their efforts to gain financial knowledge, protect their assets and move from frustration to financial freedom. She also serves as Chief PearlPreneur™ of My Pearl Power™ focusing on encouraging possibility, positivity and prosperity in the lives of women. 

As a trained mathematician, she considers herself a “Geek in Pearls”. She is an accomplished Personal Finance Writer and former Columnist for the Capital Spotlight Newspaper in Washington, DC, and Financial Expert on the syndicated radio show, “Serving Up Soul”. She has been featured in Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Woman International, Boomer Market Advisor, Visions Magazine, Pink Magazine, and Advisor Today Magazine.


Tovia Knight

Assistant Administrator, Correctional Programs Division

Tovia Knight earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Clark Atlanta University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a Justice Administration concentration from Troy University.  She also earned a certificate in Paralegal Studies from Clayton State University.

Mrs. Knight was introduced to the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1998 as an student intern in Human Resources at the United States Penitentiary (USP), Atlanta, Georgia.   She officially began her career as a correctional officer at the same facility on March 14, 1999.  Early in her career, she held support positions as a secretary in different departments at USP Atlanta and was subsequently promoted to Correctional Treatment Specialist at the Federal Correctional Institution, Bennettsville, South Carolina, in 2007. 


Tovia accepted her first supervisorial position as a Unit Manager at the Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, in 2012.  She became an executive with the agency when she was promoted to Executive Assistant/Camp Administrator at the Federal Correctional Complex in Hopewell, Virginia.  In this capacity, Mrs. Knight maintained oversight of the Federal Prison Camp within the correctional complex, which housed approximately 300 male inmates.  She also served as the Public Information Officer for the correctional complex. 


Tovia was promoted in 2016 to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters in Washington, DC, as a Public Affairs Specialist, where she served as one of the spokespersons for the agency, and the only African American spokesperson in headquarters.  In April 2019, she assumed her current position as Assistant Administrator in the Correctional Programs Division with the Bureau. 


Tovia provides oversight of the development of the agency’s national correctional programs policies and training programs for staff working at more than 120 federal correctional facilities.

Tovia is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Order of Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation. 


Her passion and zeal is to inspire, uplift, empower, and encourage women to support each other personally and professionally.  Mrs. Knight lives by her Clark Atlanta University alma mater, “I’ll find a way or make one!”

Tovia is a native of Dublin, Georgia and is married to Stevie Knight, a Florida native and Associate Warden with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 


Casey Sharperson

Speaker, Blogger, Coach and Mentor

Casey Sharperson, known as The Confidence Cultivator, is a speaker, blogger, coach and mentor to millennials looking to go to the next level in life, business, and faith. She is passionate about cultivating the confidence within others to take them from stagnant to stellar, in order to live the lives they were created to live. Named DMV’s Top 30 under 30, she is passionate about merging faith and business to unlock her client’s God-given potential. 

A former pageant queen and cheerleading coach, Casey has partnered those experiences with her recruiting and corporate training background to launch her coaching and mentorship business, Created to Conquer. She trains her clients through speaking, blogging, teaching, and mentoring to uncover, extract, and execute upon their unique gifts, talents, and skills. Through her work, her clients transform by gaining the confidence, clarity, and skills to grow their vision, launch their dreams, and live a life that is in line with their divine right. Her proprietary system through Created to Conquer has become the premiere blueprint for millennials to show up and stand out in a cluttered marketplace.

A few of Casey’s clients include: Claflin University, The Advisory Board Company, Education Advisory Board, Power Up Women's Conference, Married & Young, Upliftology, More Than Cheer, South Carolina State University, Loudoun Bible Church, Camp Read-A-Rama (Clemson University), Clemson Elementary School, and Freeway Church.  

Casey graduated with honors from Claflin University, as a member of The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, where she was named Who’s Who in American Colleges & Universities and earned national recognition by being awarded the Cultured Pearls Leadership Award, which was presented at Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated’s Boule in 2012. As a senior, she authored L.E.A.P: A Comprehensive Tool to Market Study Abroad to Minorities, serving as a catalyst for her entrepreneurial work.

To give back to the community, Casey serves as the director of a young adult life group, a liturgical dancer, and youth group volunteer.


Cassandra Conover

Retired, Commonwealth's Attorney, Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Petersburg, VA

Cassandra Stroud Conover served the city of Petersburg from 1991 to April 2017 as the Commonwealth’s Attorney.  She began her career in Petersburg in August 1989 as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, then briefly went into private practice with the Late Paul Bland, Esq.; and subsequently, became the first Black assistant Public Defender in Petersburg before her appointment as Commonwealth’s Attorney. She was the longest elected official for the city at the time of her retirement.  Additionally, not only is she the longest serving Commonwealth’s Attorney the City of Petersburg has ever had, she was also the senior ranking Black Female District Attorney in the United States at the time of her retirement.

Cassandra received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Virginia, her Master of Business Administration from Regis University, and her Juris Doctor from North Carolina Central School of Law. She is currently a Fall 2019 candidate for Doctor of Education, Transformational Leadership from Concordia University. She served as an Adjunct Professor at VSU for 14 years teaching Constitutional Law, and presently is an Adjunct Professor of Business at Bryant and Stratton College.

Anytime you see Cassandra she is adorned with her AKA apparel as she is a Silver Star member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated (38 years), and, is the President of the Ivy Community Foundation of Delta Omega Chapter.  Although she may be retired from criminal prosecution, Mrs. Conover remains very active, serving as the President of The Tri-Cities Chapter, Continental Societies, Inc.; National Corporate and Legal Affairs Chair for The Continental Societies, Inc.; a member of The National Association of Parliamentarians; and she serves on numerous boards to include The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Crater Community Hospice, HEBRON, Inc., and Kiwanis Foundation of Petersburg. 


A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Mrs. Conover is married to John Conover, Jr, ten years this November, and together they have a large blended family of six grown children, 15 grandchildren (with two more on the way November 2019 and January 2020), and two great grandchildren. 


Cassandra has numerous professional affiliations, community memberships, accomplishments, honors and awards.  A member of Tabernacle Baptist Church in Petersburg, Mrs. Conover has also served as a church musician not only in churches here in Petersburg, but also in churches from Lynchburg to Chesapeake, since the age of 11.  With all of that, she has been known to say, "I'm just a woman of God, who does what's right, who is not afraid to stand on her own.”  She stands for what is right as she serves God and mankind.  If she can help one person as she goes along, as the song goes, then her living shall not be in vain.


Allia Lewis

Associate Warden at Federal Bureau of Prisons

Allia Jilliann Lewis was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and immigrated to the United States at the age of six.  She lived most of her life in Queens, New York and is a graduate of St. John’s University.  She earned a dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice and continued her education receiving her Juris Doctorate in Government and Politics at St. John’s University School of Law.

Allia started her career in law enforcement as a Probation Officer for the New York City Department of Probation and Parole.  She credits her career in the Bureau of Prisons to God’s plan since she initially declined the offer of employment due to the birth of her son.  However, almost a year to the day later the Bureau of Prisons again offered her a position as a Correctional Officer in April of 1994.  She officially began her career in May of 1994, and has held several positions within the agency, each with greater responsibility.  Allia is currently an Associate Warden at the Federal Detention Center in Houston, Texas. 


Allia has held the position of Associate Warden since May of 2014, when she was promoted to the Federal Correctional Complex in Petersburg, Virginia.  As the Associate Warden, Allia is responsible for the control and the supervision of various aspects of the institution’s functions such as inmate programming, the operation of the institution, medical, mental health, clinical programs, education, and the custody and transportation of inmates.  With all this being said, Allia’s passion is the professional growth and development of her staff.  Specifically, women in leadership roles in the field of corrections.   She currently co-chairs a leadership forum for women at three (3) institutions in her region and has mentored several staff who have promoted to positions of management within the agency.

Allia is a 29 year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and is committed to the excellence of women.  She works daily to impact the lives of women she meets and strives to be an example to remind women that we deserve and have earned a seat at the table. 

We are our sisters’ keepers.


Laticia Hicks

Curriculum Development at Federal Bureau of Prisons

Laticia Hicks is a Curriculum Specialist for the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and is involved with the design and development of national training and employee development programs for over 35,000 employees.


Laticia began her career with the BOP over twenty-four years ago as a Correctional Officer before assuming positions of increasing responsibility, predominantly within the education and training divisions of the agency. As an educator, she taught General Education Development (GED), English as a Second Language (ESL), and also served as a supervisor over adult education, recreation, and career development programs. Laticia received the BOP Golden Apple award for having the most inmates attain their G.E.D or E.S.L in a single year.


Laticia has a passion for education, social justice, and supporting women in leadership. She is the Education Chairperson for the Anne Arundel County (AAC) NAACP and the District 7 representative for the AAC Democratic Women. She is a public-school advocate who has demonstrated her passion for community engagement by volunteering her time to support personal and professional development programs. Laticia believes that strong collaborations between the community, parents, and educators are a recipe for creating more opportunities for a successful future for our youth. As such, Laticia is a certified USATF Level 1 volunteer youth track and field coach.


Laticia holds a Master of Arts in Urban Education from New Jersey City University, a Master of Public Administration with a certificate in Human Resource Policy and Management from Florida International University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with a minor in Political Science from the University of Miami.


Laticia is a certified Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) instructor, a certified True Colors Facilitator and has additional certifications in True Communications, Conflict Navigation, Teaching and Learning, and Team building.


Laticia is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and is active in various women-centered organizations. 


In her spare time, she enjoys reading, running with her 5k groups, and spending time with her husband and three sons.


Elisa-Ruth Nelson

Empowerment Expert

Elisa-Ruth Nelson is passionate about empowering people to be their best selves. Leveraging well-honed leadership, communication, and planning skills gained through successful career in human resources and management with the federal government, she knows how to affect positive change at both individual and organizational levels.


Growing up in Alaska, often referred to as the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” afforded Ms. Nelson with unique experiences, which included viewing the spectacular aurora borealis, fishing and hunting with her father, enjoying summer midnight bike rides, and taking private music and dance lessons. Alaska’s lack of daylight during the winter months propelled her to seek consistent self-development and learning opportunities throughout her youth and into adulthood.


Her passion for learning and people led Ms. Nelson to a career in public service, starting out with the Department of Justice – Bureau of Prisons and currently serving as an HR Professional for the Department of Army where she facilitates large-scale leadership development programs and leads employee engagement initiatives. In this role, she oversaw the Emerging Enterprise Leader Program in 2017/2018, which provided leadership development opportunities for 64,000 civilians and culminated in 24 commands earning a leadership certification. Recently (October 2018), Ms. Nelson accepted an exceptional opportunity with the Department of Treasury, leading their Human Resources Accountability Program.


Ms. Nelson earned her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media Communications from Wilberforce University, and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. She also completed certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the HR Certification Institute.


In addition to her work in training & development and her educational credentials, she also volunteers as mentor for Point of Return, a nonprofit that helps people safely withdraw from addictive medications. Here, she counsels people one-on-one and provides encouragement and motivation to continue on the path to health and wellness. Beginning March 2018, Ms. Nelson sits on the Board of Advisors for Voices of Encouragement, an organization that empowers women to build a brighter future.


Daily, Elisa-Ruth Nelson practices the mantra “Challenge the Status Quo” in both her personal and professional life. She is driven to help others overcome fears and roadblocks and inspire them meet their goals.


Bernadette J. Carroll

Author, Speaker and Power Up Conference CEO & Founder

Bernadette is a sought after speaker, writer, author, life coach and marketing guru with over 15 years of marketing experience.


Bernadette has held numerous marketing leadership roles in the consumer packaged goods, travel, technology, ecommerce and financial services industries. 

Born in Jamaica, Bernadette came to the United States at the age of 10.  She grew up in the suburbs outside of Chicago, and graduated from Blackburn University with a degree in Communications. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Marketing from Illinois Institute of Technology. Bernadette is also life and wellness coach certified through the Cooper Institute. 

Bernadette has aligned her passion with her purpose—empowering women to love themselves and live their best lives now, through her platform, Your Life Matters Too (YLMT). YLMT is where Bernadette shares her story about the power of God's amazing love, and her full-circle approach to achieving happiness and well-being through the connection of mind, body and soul.


Bernadette is a wife, and working mom with two wonderful children.


She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Psi Rho Omega Chapter in Loudoun County and a proud member of the Kings Daughters Ministry in Bellwood, IL.  She is the founder and organizer of the Power Up Women’s Conference and author of the recently published “Your Life Matters Too, Prayer-Fast Journal”.


Nicole Roberts Jones

Purpose to Paycheck Expert CEO, NRJ Enterprises

Nicole Roberts Jones is uniquely gifted at one thing – drawing out what’s best in YOU and helping you take your Brilliance to The Bank. A veteran of the entertainment industry, Nicole worked in Talent Management and Casting before shifting her talents to help others Bankroll Their Brilliance.  


She now works with entrepreneurs to create multiple streams of income from what they already know in order to build an empire from their expertise. Additionally, Nicole works with corporations to assure their executives and middle managers push their internal edge, and step into the true power of their gifts and talents at work. Her clients have included the Steve Harvey World Group, Dell EMC, McDonalds, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Lisa Nichols and Motivating the Masses, Coach Diversity Institute, the BOSS Network and Working Mother Magazine to name a few.


Nicole is also a nationally recognized transformational speaker, purpose to paycheck expert and best-selling author of four books, the most recent being Find Your Fierce. She lives with her husband in a suburb of Boston, MA, consulting, writing and creating breakthroughs for her clients.

Rahni "Nikki" Jenkins

Rahni “Nikki” Jenkins

Educator, Advocate, World Champion

Rahni Jenkins, known by many as Nikki, is a world champion martial artist, instructional supervisor for Fauquier County Public Schools, and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


Focused on empowering and serving others, her work spans both nationally and internationally. Nikki instructs people of all ages in self-defense and martial arts, boosting the self-esteem of those she’s training. She has been named Female International Instructor of the Year and inducted into the American Martial Arts Alliance’s Who’s Who in Martial Arts Hall Of Fame. 


She takes great pride in mentoring the youth in the community and helping them see that all things are possible. She also continues her work supporting children in impoverished communities of eSwatini and Trinidad. Nikki is passionate about assisting people with what they need, when they need it, in order to be successful. Currently in pursuit of her doctorate, Nikki hopes to continue her service towards increasing awareness for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts nationwide. 


Denisha Johnson, LCSW

Teens and Young Adult Mental Health Expert

Denisha Johnson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is an excellent therapist that can work with many issues, and is particularly skilled in working with teens and young adults. In 2016, she won Loudoun’s Best Counselor for Kids. In addition to providing individual and family counseling, Denisha also provides group counseling services for high school teens in the Ashburn area.


​Denisha recently entered the world of entrepreneurship and opened a mental health private practice. Prior to that, she was the clinical director for Wellness Connection in Ashburn, VA. The 10 years before that, Denisha worked with Loudoun County Mental Health in a variety of positions. Starting as a residential counselor, she obtained her Masters in Social Work and her LCSW and transitioned to become an Outpatient Clinician specializing in adolescent treatment. In that role, she provided individual, group, and family therapy, as well as crisis intervention to children, adolescents, and adults.


Denisha is well versed in dealing with issues of trauma, attachment disorder, anxiety and depression, as well as a variety of other issues that impact children, teenagers, and adults. ​


Winter Harris

Christian Author, Speaker, Influencer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist & Media Personality

Winter delivers a fresh message of hope regarding relationships rooted in truth, realness, understanding, and comedy.  She champions healthy relationships by encouraging people to learn who they are and what they desire in a mate, so they can find the love they desire and deserve.  With her country twang, fiery personality, and refreshing sense of humor, she is an up and coming voice in the relationship community and an outstanding representative of a woman impacting her community and trying to make a difference. She advocates strengthening the family unit by encouraging individuals to develop healthy relationships with others and themselves.

Winter is the owner of two growing businesses, one of which is her brand ministry, Created 2 Be.  She is a Marketing & Communications Manager, full time Doctoral student, frequently requested workshop presenter/speaker, gifted singer, and author of three books and her newest release, “Bold, Brave, Beautiful Love ~ Escaping the Cycle of Loving in Fear” is due out this Fall. Winter’s proudest accomplishment is being mother to 4 beautiful children from her previous marriage.


Alana Andrews

Author, Speaker, Founder & CEO of So Positive, LLC and The SWEY Corporation

As Generation Z’s newest trailblazer in business, Alana Andrews is the 16-year-old Author, Speaker, Founder & CEO of So Positive, LLC and The SWEY Corporation. So Positive is a company that’s innovative in its approach to developing products for teens to promote a positive lifestyle while developing a positive self-image of themselves. As a graduate of the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy (YEA), Alana learned how to turn her passion for helping teens build confidence and a healthy lifestyle into products by creating the first-ever all-natural sports drink for teens named SWEY. Her new product is being developed to be sold in local and national stores this year.

From her newest book, “Creating Confidence, Dave Shaffer, Principal, River Bend Middle School, has said, “…This is a must-read for adolescent children, teenagers, parents, educators, and anyone in need of inspiration!” 

As a Silver Award Girls Scout, Alana understands the value of service and what it means to give back to her community. As a result, she founded the So Positive Initiative (SPI). SPI mentors 5th-grade students to help them understand and develop their self-confidence to help better equip them as they matriculate into middle school. 

Alana has received numerous leadership and community service awards within her schools and community. Most recently, she was appointed as the Harvard University Young Women’s Ambassador for their Youth Business Leadership Program, and she has made history within her community by becoming the youngest entrepreneur to become a member of the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce.

Alana is a sophomore at Potomac Falls High School, where she has enhanced her leadership acumen through active participation in diverse leadership programs such as the President of DECA, and she’s a youth business mentor in Loudoun County. Alana enjoys playing tennis on her high school team, traveling, and cooking.  


Dr. Candace Bryan, M.D.

Recognized Neurologist

Dr. Candace Bryan, M.D., is a highly recognized neurologist in practice in Fairfax, Virginia and is listed as a Top Doctor in the Washingtonian, Northern Virginia and Virginia Living magazines.

As a neurologist she sees patients with a wide range of conditions which include migraine and other headache disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and epilepsy.

Dr. Bryan, obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She subsequently went on to complete her fellowship training in neurology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

She is focused on providing high quality, compassionate patient care. 


Dr. Bryan is committed to providing education to her patients about their conditions so that they can proactively manage these conditions in a way that optimizes their outcomes. 


Ericka P. Rowe

Owner, Sierra Massage Therapy

Erica P. Rowe is passionate about connecting with people and making a difference.  


She has a big personality and an even bigger heart and drive.


Her 20 plus years experience in the hospitality industry as a Licensed Massage Therapist, Guest Relations and Meetings & Special Events Representative has led to the ownership of her successful practice Sierra Massage Therapy in Leesburg.  


The non profit dearest to her heart is One Sparrow DC. The goal of One Sparrow is to combat the issue of homelessness globally while building sustainable communities.  

Their current initiative is the Imprint Project in Haiti where she has travelled twice and has found true humility and purpose in the experience. 

Erica has hosted numerous events in and around Loudoun County including all 6 of the hugely popular One Sparrow Charity Lip Sync Battle!    She is an active member of Loudoun Chamber of Commerce and Co Vice Chair of Business Women of Loudoun Committee and a Loudoun Chamber Ambassador.

She has hosted Loudoun Chamber’s Business Women of Loudoun Fashion Show 2018, 2019 and again in May 2020 and YMCA 33rd Chocolates Galore in February 2020. 

Other events include Off The Bench Live, Created 2 Be Conference and Purpose Worx Grand Opening and Concert.  

She enjoys bringing an energetic and engaging experience to every event.  

Faith, Family, Friends, Food and Fun! 

Her family is always her top priority.  Her husband Charlie of 24 years is her biggest supporter and they share all the wins and losses of life with their 2 wonderful boys, Isaiah 19 & Joshua 13.


She is basking in the blessing of a life that’s come full circle! 


Tashna-Loy Donaldson

Owner, TLD Luxury Travel, Commercial Real Estate Professional & Global Travel Enthusiast

Tashna-Loy N. Donaldson is the Asset Services Regional Director of Operations for the Midwest and Canada with over 19 years of commercial real estate experience.


She is responsible for transitioning new management assignments onto the CBRE operational platform, administering the Environments for Excellence Audit program, implementing Global Standards, supporting new technologies, and conducting employee trainings.

She is an avids traveler and owner of a boutique travel agency specializing in luxury travel.


Tammarrah Addison

Poetry, Spoken Word, Theatre and Drama

Tammarrah Addison is a professional theatre director and certified educator who has taught theatre, speech and English for over 10 years on the East and West coasts as well as overseas.


She is an accomplished poetess who has recorded two spoken word albums which are available on all major online outlets: Unbossed Unapologetic Vol. 1: Superwoman and Unbossed Unapologetic Vol. 2: Temerity. Both albums provide listeners with varied perspectives on love, purpose, and choices. 


Ayesha Pough

Professional Certified Makeup Artist, Creative Director

Ayesha Pough is a licensed master cosmetologist and certified makeup artist whose currently on the rise. With a MSCE in Guidance and Counseling and formerly working within the school systems, Ayesha’s heart to serve and make women feel and look beautiful led her to become an entrepreneur. She is the owner of AMP’D Hair and Makeup LLC, mobile styling company. Ayesha cultivated her skills as a makeup artist with M.A.C cosmetics as well as learning new techniques from celebrity makeup artist. This has given her the opportunity to work with the everyday woman, brides, host classes, do photoshoots, video shoots, become published and recently become nominated and won Runner Up  for The Best Of Loudoun Awards. It is her desire to continue to build her brand, and help empower women in her community.  Ayesha’s work can be seen on Facebook at AMPD Hair and Makeup, LLC and Instagram @ampdflywife.

Danielle Brown
Renata Spinks
Mary Grate-Pyos
Tovia Knight
Casey Sharperson
Cassandra Conover
Allia Lewis
Elisa-Ruth Nelson
Bernadette J. Carroll
Laticia Hicks
Nicole Jones
Rahni Jenkins
Denisha Johnson
Winter Harris
Alana Andrews
Dr. Candace Bryan, M.D.
Ericka Rowe
Tashna-Loy Donaldson
Tammarrah Addison
Ayesha Pough
bottom of page