KEYNOTE SPEAKER BIO
We are excited that LaKeisha Cook, Dr. joined us for the 2022 Frederick Nonprofit Summit. Cook is a facilitator for the COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS which is an award winning protocol for interracial dialogue diagramed in a book by Glenn E. Singleton. With 20 years of experience in nonprofits, education, and the African American church, her robust background helps to inform her work on social justice and racial inequities.
Today she is a member on the executive board of VIRGINIA INTERFAITH POWER & LIGHT, a non-profit organization using political advocacy and grassroots efforts to overcome social injustices. She continues to engage in the community around her to improve racial equity and help everyone achieve their fullest potential.
LaKeisha Cook spoke to the theme of Courageous Conversations. This expanded on Vu Le’s presentation from 2021 on inclusiveness in the sector. Courageous Conversations is about learning how to effectively and meaningful talk about race, equity, and inclusion. It is about having those challenging conversations and transforming environments to allow all races to achieve at their highest potential.
Dr. Denise Rollins
Dr. Denise Rollins wears multiple hats: business partner in the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home; executive director of the nonprofit Whole Heart Grief & Life Resource Center; diversity, equity and inclusion consultant for several local organizations; adjunct professor at Frederick Community College; and a speaker and trainer specializing in life, loss, leadership, and legacy. Each role maximizes her education (bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland, College Park, master’s in Thanatology from Hood College, and a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University) and experience (25 years at a Fortune 100 company with leadership roles in Accounting, HR, Diversity, Training, Sales, and Consulting, along with 10 years as an Executive Director). Dr. Rollins champions awareness, access and accountability. She serves on the national advisory boards for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and the Autism Bereavement Project, as well as on the Ausherman Family Foundation and Maryland Ensemble Theatre. Denise and her husband, Gary, are natives of Frederick, MD, who spend most of their timing spoiling Tyson and Apollo, their two lovable mutts.
Dr. Kantahyanee Murray
Dr. Kantahyanee Murray is a Senior Associate Director in the Center for Culturally Responsive Engagement at MPHI. In this role she engages in culturally responsive approaches for dismantle inequities through research, evaluation, learning, training, and strategic planning. Kantahyanee is passionate about shifting power to those most impacted and marginalized with the aims of promoting equity, healing, and transformation. Previously at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kantahyanee led the race, equity, and inclusion in research and evaluation portfolio, including Expanding the Bench (ETB) initiative. Under her leadership, more than 500 historically underrepresented researchers engaged in capacity building and networking opportunities through programs such as the ACE Evaluation Network of underrepresented evaluators. Kantahaynee has over 20 years of experience in research focused on the health and well-being of marginalized youth and families living in urban communities. In prior work, she conducted community-based, state and federally supported research and evaluation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Tara B. Taylor, MPA is the Managing Director of ADR Vantage, Inc., where she specializes in conflict management; organizational effectiveness and leadership development; training and facilitation; and leads the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practice. Prior to joining ADR Vantage, Tara worked for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights for almost 20 years, first as the Mediation Program Director and then as the Education & Outreach Director. Tara is also the Co-Founder and former Program Director for the Maryland Equity & Inclusion Leadership Program, a collaborative year-long leadership and professional development program sponsored by the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and the University of Baltimore Schaefer Center for Public Policy. She is also former Chair of both the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence (MPME) Committee and the Maryland ADR Program Managers Roundtable. Most recently Tara co-authored a book chapter in the textbook Affirming LGBTQ Students in Higher Education, published by the American Psychological Association (2022), and was named a “Top 10 Speaker” at the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) Annual Conference.
Jose is a PCC certified executive coach, trainer, and facilitator. Jose brings over 16 years of professional experience to his engagements, having worked extensively as a leader in the not-for-profit sector as a CEO, COO, Major Gifts Officer and Board Chair. He is proud of all that he has been able to contribute to the organizations he has worked for in the areas of operations, finance, fundraising, IT and HR. Jose coaches leaders, at all levels, to find a gentle and sustainable approach in building a more just and equitable world. He coaches people to see their vulnerability not as weakness, but as their superpower. He coaches for excellence, results, self-acceptance, and noble purpose. His approach to coaching is based on appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, personal choice, and commitment to action. He works with clients to focus on what it is they want to achieve, developing a fuller, richer understanding of each situation in order to help them decide on the right course of action. In terms of training and facilitation, Jose has created, co-created, and led many trainings and efforts on topics that range from fundraising to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Noah Smock is Executive Director of the Baltimore Community ToolBank. He joined the ToolBank in January 2014, bringing a proven track record of fundraising and relationship building, as well as a passion for empowering community initiatives shaped by his experience in the AmeriCorps. Previously, Noah served as Assistant Director of the Student Outreach Resource Center (SOURCE) at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and as Director of Community Outreach for Living Classrooms Foundation in Baltimore. Noah currently serves on the board of directors for the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, an organization focused on environmental sustainability, health and wellness, and community development and revitalization. From 2016 – 2019, Smock served as President of the Carroll-Camden Business Association (CCBA), an organization focused on enriching the life of all who live, work and play in the Carroll-Camden neighborhood of Baltimore City. From 2008 – 2016, he served as a board member with Black is the New Green (BNG), a Baltimore-based environmental organization that used humor and irreverence to promote eco-friendly lifestyles. From 2012 – 2014, he served on the board of The 6th Branch, a veteran service initiative focused in East Baltimore. From 2014 – 2016, he served on Baltimore City’s Storm Water Advisory Committee (SWAC).
Janice is an adept, high-energy facilitator with 20+ years of experience helping foundation and social change leaders to be better partners, listeners, and givers. She is a passionate and vocal advocate for the power of communal learning and action, helping staff teams, boards, coalitions, and others groups gain greater alignment, clarity, and meaning in their work together. She is a frequent trainer and speaker on facilitation, helping professionals with varied experience gain competence and confidence in making meetings, workshops, and all sorts of convenings engaging, effective, and enjoyable. She is proud to work with a range of inspiring non-profit organizations, foundations, donor collectives, and social-change focused companies.
In the philanthropic sphere, Janice has designed and facilitated leadership development programs for Next Gen donors and executive directors. Her writing has been published on a range of topics including capacity building, investing in non-profit leaders, program-related investments, facilitation, and multi-generational philanthropy.
Earlier in her career, Janice served the environmental field and the Jewish community, working directly for a number of non-profit organizations, and was both a journalist and fact-checker. Janice studied at Skidmore College and Oxford University, and has benefited greatly from training with the Social Transformation Project, Rockwood Leadership, National Outdoor Leadership School, Interaction Institute for Social Change, Race Forward, Scaling Intimacy and the Center for Civic Reflection.