The 2016 Main Event Speakers
Talk: RAISING A MUSLIM DAUGHTER IN AMERICA
Ranna Abduljawadis a vice president within the technology sector for a major financial corporation and has served as a member of Bank of America LEAD for Women (Leadership, Education, Advocacy & Development for Women). A native of West Bank, Ranna’s time in the Middle East encouraged her to understand conflicts as human problems with human solutions. Having spent her free time volunteering in refugee camps in Palestine, Ranna’s experiences have encouraged her to act as an advocate for the refugees. She plays an active role in the FRRC (Floridians Responding to Refugees) and additionally serves as an executive board member at Atlantic Institute of Jacksonville, a nonprofit organization that aims to facilitate interfaith dialog in the community and bridge culture around the globe.
TALK: Saying Positivity Forward #withlovejax
Allishia Bauman is a proud graduate of Florida State College at Jacksonville and has recently finished her Bachelor’s Degree at The American Women's College at Bay Path University for Organizational and Leadership Studies. Currently in her third year at City Year Jacksonville, Allishia has held roles such as Teacher Pipeline Coordinator, Corps Support & Career Services Manager, Learning and Development Manager and now Chief of Staff. She is a board member for the Leading Ladies 904 group and a member of the Community Advisory Team for the Jacksonville Public Education Fund where she has been a part of their Power up Jax team, an emcee for the ONE by ONE Convention and dedicated volunteer.
Talk: Mutual Rehabilitation: Inmates and shelter dogs socializing each other
Jen Deane is the President of Pit Sisters and the Director of the TAILS (Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills) program. She is a CPDT-KA (Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed) and is an evaluator for the Association of Professional Dog Trainers CLASS program. Jen is also a Regional Director for the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation and is a board member of Clearly Jacksonville.
TALK: DESTIGMATIZING THE MENTALLY ILL
Jessica Gregory is a registered nurse and a proud FSCJ alum. Jessica specializes in psychiatric nursing and substance abuse. During her tenure as an FSCJ nursing student, Jessica had the opportunity to present an original research paper on the use of restraints and seclusion in psychiatric nursing practice at an FSCJ student conference. Jessica won an award of recognition for best panel speaker for her contribution. Originally from Long Island, New York, Jessica moved to the Jacksonville area in 1999. She currently resides in Mandarin with her husband, Tom, and 14 year old son, Matthew.
TALK: Engaging a movement
Rebecca R. Levy is a choreographer, performer and educator. Rebecca is currently Professor of Dance & Director of the Dance Repertory Company at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She is a founding member and artistic director of Jacksonville Dance Theatre, a critically acclaimed modern dance repertory and performance art company based in Jacksonville, FL and recent recipient of the PNC Arts Alive Grant. Rebecca's choreographic work has been featured in festivals and concerts internationally and throughout the country. She is the regional coordinator for The National Waterways Dance Project, a site-specific dance and movement project funded by the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. She holds her MFA in Choreography from California Institute of the Arts and is a registered Certified Yoga instructor and a certified Pilates instructor.
Talk: Represent! Diversity and equity in arts education
Marq Mervin is a Graphic Designer and CG Artist focusing on visual identity/branding, animation and digital illustration. He has over seven years of experience as a professional artist, developing animations and graphics for clients such as WJXT Channel 4 and various start-up businesses. Marq holds a Master's of Fine Arts in Computer Graphics from New York Institute of Technology, as well as a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Animation from Jacksonville University. A native of Jacksonville, Marq is a passionate advocate for developing young artists in his hometown.
Talk: The confluence of disability and imagination
Emily K. Michael is a blind poet, musician, and writing instructor, living in Jacksonville, FL. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wordgathering; The Hopper; Artemis Journal; Compose Journal; Disability Rhetoric; Breath & Shadow; Bridge Eight; Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics; I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening; BREVITY’S Nonfiction Blog; and Mosaics: A Collection of Independent Women (Vol. 2). She develops grammar workshops for multilingual learners and participates in local writing festivals. Find her on Twitter (@ModwynEarendel) and at her blog On the Blink.
Talk: Moving from at-risk to action
Travis Pinckney is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and founder of the College R-E-D culture. Ten years ago Travis was filling buckets of water from his church so that he and his mother could take a bath, earning poor grades in high school, and trusting drug dealers as his mentors. He made a sharp turn when he saw his close mentor at the time go to prison for selling drugs. The turning point really occurred while he was in high school, and he had to take the ACT and SAT a combined seven times before passing and receiving a $80,000 scholarship to the University of North Florida. He used the investment of David and Ann Hicks to graduate with a Bachelor's and a Master's in Education.
Talk: Think like a storyteller
Jared Rypkema is a writer and community builder. He is the founder and executive director of Bridge Eight, Inc. a non-profit publishing company based in Jacksonville, FL. A New Jersey native and graduate of the University of South Carolina, he has developed a love for the Southern landscape and the people who live in it. Today, he lives in Downtown Jacksonville where the city lights -and all they represent- shine through his windows.