Nonprofit Summit Frederick

Past Speakers

Melanie Spring Promo Picture #2

Melanie Spring, Author, Branded Confidence

Melanie Spring is one of those people who can walk into a room and light it up. She’ll make you want to be her best friend, yet when she gets to know enough of your story, she’ll find the perfect way to push you outside of your box. Her brand is Approachable Badass and it fits her perfectly. She even got out of her own box when she went on a 7,000-mile road trip collecting stories
on how companies lived their brand. The Live Your Brand Tour was published in Entrepreneur Magazine, where she earned her title as a veteran brand strategist. With entrepreneurship in her blood, she ran Sisarina for 8 years building websites and brands only to rebrand as herself through Branded Confidence by Melanie Spring. Speaking and facilitating workshops all over the world, she becomes a part of your team as she builds your brand from the inside out – with humans first. But you have to be a kickass human in order to work with her. (She even has a club for that –


Branding is what Melanie does best. Confidence is what every brand needs to stand in its purpose. Branded Confidence is the platform that gives you the tools to define your brand, find your voice, and create your message. When your brand is confident, you walk into every room with poise, tenacity and a fearless grit. You know who you are, what you stand for, and how to talk about
it – personally and professionally. Branded Confidence was built to give brands – the personal ones AND the business ones – the courage to be what they were made to be. To find their purpose, understand the core of who they are, and make sure they attract the right humans and clients they deserve.


Featured Speakers:

 Henry Berman Headshot per Google
Henry Berman, CEO, Exponent Philanthropy

Henry L. Berman leads Exponent Philanthropy, a vibrant membership organization that amplifies and celebrates the vital work of philanthropists who give big while keeping their operations lean. As CEO since 2011, he brings a firsthand understanding of the needs of philanthropists with few or no staff and a wealth of experience managing people, projects, and budgets in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Recognizing that funders are increasingly using a variety of giving vehicles, in 2014 Berman led the organization through a strategic rebrand from the Association of Small Foundations. His current focus is on ensuring all members—public, private, and community foundations, philanthropic families, and individual donors—connect with others in the organization’s nationwide network, engage with a wide range of resources, and participate in high-quality and cost-effective programming.

Before joining Exponent Philanthropy, Berman had a long career in educational media and technology. He is a founding board member of the Museum of Broadcast Technology and also currently serves on the boards of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the National Council of Nonprofits.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Ithaca College, a master’s and doctorate in education from Boston University, and a certificate in business and management from the Harvard University Extension School, where he also taught classes in fundraising, development communications, and philanthropy. Berman teaches the Role and Unique Nature of the Nonprofit Sector at Columbia University.


Gabe Cohen

Gabe Cohen, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, GuideStar

Gabe Cohen is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for GuideStar, the world’s largest hub of information about nonprofit organizations. In this capacity, Gabe leads a team responsible for telling GuideStar’s story; advancing its vision; sustaining awareness of its mission; increasing adoption of its programs; and widening its visibility with key stakeholder audiences. He oversees strategy and implementation of all GuideStar brand activities including marketing collateral, webinars, email, social media, blog, content creation, earned media, and digital resources. Gabe is the project lead for major GuideStar initiatives including the Overhead Myth, GuideStar for Grant Applications, and encouraging nonprofits to update their GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles. He brings a diverse and creative background to GuideStar’s Marketing and Communications team, graduating with a degree in architecture from Virginia Tech.

jerry-mabe-color-photo Jerry W. Mabe                                                                                     CEO, RightPath Resources

Jerry Mabe is the co-founding president/CEO of RightPath Resources, Inc., a leadership and talent development company. Right Path has a vision and a calling for leading individuals and organization to align people, passions and positions to achieve maximum performance. RightPath Resources provides leadership and talent solutions, utilizing a proprietary Cloud based suite of assessments measuring hardwired, natural behavior (Path4/6), career development, EQ (emotional intelligence), and key leadership attributes (RightPath LQ360⁰). RightPath also provides consulting services in leadership development and assessment, hiring, teambuilding, career development, Leadership Continuity (RightPath’s approach to succession planning), family businesses and executive coaching.

Clients include executive level individuals and teams at many Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, multiple NFL teams’ leadership, medical/health care related business and high net worth entrepreneurial families and their businesses. RightPath solutions are taught in universities, MBA/business schools and seminaries in the United States. Major clients include Aflac, Southern Company, Clorox, Weather Channel, Scripps Institute (Fortune’s Top Health Care Leadership), Regions Bank, Atlanta Falcons, 49’ers, Ravens, Vikings, The Packers, ADP, Publix, McKesson, State Farm Insurance, The John Maxwell Co. and many others.

Jerry brings a unique blend of his own diverse personal experience as a Fortune 500/1000 executive and corporate officer and a successful entrepreneur along with a passion for Calling to his work with clients. He recently released his new book “Develop You, Develop Your Team….on the RightPath”.


Susan Heath Hays

 Susan Heath Hays                                                                                     Nonprofit Professional Trainer and Consultant

Susan Heath Hays has more than 20 years experience working with non-profit organizations focused on improving outcomes for children. Currently, she consults with Head Start and Early Head Start programs across the country with a focus on improving leadership and engaging families. Based on the bestselling book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, written by Chip and Dan Heath, Susan will introduce tools designed to help make positive changes in your organization. Susan is the #1 Switch Certified Trainer specializing in change efforts within school systems, health care systems and other nonprofits.




Howard Ross
Founder and Chief Learning Officer, Cook Ross Inc.

As founder & Chief Learning Officer of Cook Ross Inc. Howard Ross has served more than 25 years as an influential business consultant to hundreds of organizations across the United States and in 21 other countries, specializing in leadership, diversity, and organizational transformation. He is a recognized thought leader on exploring and addressing Unconscious Bias. Howard is also the architect of award-winning training and awareness programs, and also of CultureVision and The Diversity Toolkit. Howard was the 2007-2008 Johnnetta B. Cole Professor of Diversity-in-Residence at Bennett College for Women, the first time a white man has ever served in such a position at an HBCU. Howard is a recipient of the 2012 Leadership Stars Who Mean Business Peer Award from Diversity Woman, a recent guest lecturer at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies, and can be heard monthly on NPR as a regular guest on The Kojo Nnamdi Show. He is the recent author of ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose & Performance, published by Rowman Littlefield in association with the Society for Human Resource Management. His upcoming book, Everyday Bias: How the Unconscious Mind Impacts the Way We Respond to Difference, will be published by Rowman Littlefield in June 2014.



Heidi Holtz
Director of Research and Projects, The Gifford Foundation

The Adaptive Leader Different Skills for Different Stages by Heidi Holtz

Heidi Holtz was appointed Director of Grantmaking at the Rosamond Gifford Foundation in February 2005 and became Director of Research and Projects in September 2011. In 2007 Heidi initiated and implemented ADVANS, an ongoing intensive capacity building program for nonprofits, and oversaw the transition of the Foundation’s grantmaking policies and systems to incorporate capacity models. Heidi also designed and is currently implementing IDEAS (Initiative to Develop and Engage Audiences in Syracuse), a multi-funder collaboration on arts and culture audience development and community engagement. She currently convenes and strategizes for the Refugee Alliance, a diverse group of stakeholders in refugee resettlement. In addition Heidi also handles all communications and social media outreach for the Foundation.

Prior to Gifford she worked at Syracuse Stage for nine years, ending her tenure as Director of Communications and Educational Outreach.  Heidi has over 30 years experience working in the not-for-profit world, specializing in arts management, marketing, board development, fundraising and public relations.  Heidi serves on several nonprofit boards with leadership positions ranging from chair of board development to president of the Onondaga Citizens League and recently chaired the 2013 New York State Funders Conference. Her volunteer work includes planning, strategic and advisory committees for local and statewide organizations.

A former adjunct professor at both Syracuse University and Ithaca College, Heidi also guest-lectures and presents workshops throughout the state. She holds a BFA degree from Denison University, an MA in Theatre History and Certificate in Women’s Studies from Syracuse University, and is a trained dialogue leader and facilitator. Heidi grew up in Washington DC, but spent weekends and summers on a family farm outside Frederick, MD.



Elizabeth Scott
CEO/President, Brighter Strategies

Good Governance by Elizabeth Scott

Elizabeth Scott is an organizational development consultant and founder of Brighter Strategies, LLC; building empowered organizations through the pursuit of best practices and continuous improvement initiatives. Ms. Scott’s firm utilizes a three-dimensional approach that focuses on your people, processes and overall performance.

Ms. Scott provides training and consulting services in strategic planning, process improvement, and human capital, workforce, and board development. She has served on executive leadership teams in the non-profit industry and has overseen the areas of strategic planning, quality assurance, compliance, organizational development, technology, information technology, data management, and organizational performance. She has extensive experience in developing and managing all aspects of an organization’s quality and business improvement efforts; such as developing and administering programs, training and coaching employees, and facilitating organization-wide change. She has been a Baldrige examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia and is a certified Standard of Excellence consultant.

In addition to managing the practice, Ms. Scott teaches organizational behavior and organizational consulting at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Ms. Scott holds an undergraduate degree in sociology and a master’s degree in organizational management from The George Washington University as well as a second master’s in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University. She is currently enrolled in her third year of a Ph.D. program in Human and Organizational Systems.



Ralph M. Serpe, CFRE
Vice President Development,
Baltimore Community Foundation

9 Ways to be a Great Ambassador by Ralph Serpe

Development ROI Are You Getting Enough Bank for your Buck by Gigi Wirtz & Ralph Serpe

Ralph oversees BCF’s development, donor services and communications efforts. Prior to joining BCF, Ralph was Executive Vice President of the Princetion Area Community Foundation, and directed professional advisor outreach for Community Foundation Silicon Valley. Before entering the community foundation field, Ralph held management positions at several national banks. Ralph holds a BA in Economics from SUNY Fredonia.

Ralph founded the Unrestricted Asset Development Peer Group, leading 15 community foundation executives through an extensive peer learning and asset building discussion to uncover and put in place successful strategies to raise unrestricted assets.  Now in its 7th year, the group has grown to include 75 community foundations from across the country.



Gigi Casey Wirtz
Director of Communications,
Baltimore Community Foundation

Communications on a Shoestring by Gigi Wirtz

Development ROI Are You Getting Enough Bank for your Buck by Gigi Wirtz & Ralph Serpe

Gigi has led the communications efforts at BCF for more than 20 years, following an earlier career in private sector marketing communications and customer service.

Gigi is one of the founding members and former member of the steering committee of CommA, a national professional association of community foundation communicators. She has presented on a variety of communications related topics at national conferences for community foundations. Gigi earned her BA in English from Goucher College, and has studied in the University of Baltimore’s graduate program in publications design.


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