the "Boss up" alumni powerhouse networking conference SPEAKERS!

Robin Devonish, aka “The Spirited Speaker” is a highly sought after speaker and event emcee. She’s been the choice of event planners for entertainment and speaking for more than 10 years. Known for her breath-taking storytelling skills, inspirational principles and the command of a room, Robin has been called to speak and share the stage with headliners such as Lucinda Cross, Les Brown, Sherri Shepherd, KeKe Palmer, Carla Stephens and Darin Henson, just to name a few. As a writer, author, publishing maven, and cancer survivor, Ms. Devonish has the ability to turn your event into a highly entertaining experience.

Robin’s journey has been both inspiring and impactful. She has emceed and entertained thousands along the way to come to this realization: It is less about how many people you have in the room and more about the lifelong influence and experience each event brings. She has masterfully crafted her messages and stories while sharing strategies for real life improvements while keeping everyone engaged and entertained. Book Robin today by emailing robin@robinedevonish.com

Dianne Callister is President of the Singer Foundation and the National President of American Mothers, Inc. Dianne believes strongly in giving back to her community and improving lives through improving opportunity. This belief stretches back to her early childhood, having been abandoned as a baby at a Salvation Army hospital. In adulthood, she has acted on her beliefs and has served on numerous boards and consulted with schools, organizations and government leaders across the nation.

Dianne has a passion for establishing new programs to meet present-day needs. She is the founder of White Wings and Silver Strings, a non-profit organization that brings music to the inner-city children of Los Angeles and which now operates in conjunction with the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra. She also founded Project Give, a student-driven service project for middle schools across the country empowering students to become actively involved in identifying and solving problems in their local communities.

Dianne currently works at the United Nations in New York City building programs and partnerships with the private sector. In addition, she was honored as the 75th National Mother of the Year ® in 2010 by American Mothers, Inc. and is the UN Representative and National President for the organization. Her proudest accomplishment is her 4 beautiful children and 2 grandchildren.

After the devastating loss of a lifelong friend, Daveda James began to realize that there was more to her life than she knew. Her spiritual journey had begun. Since college, she had always found herself working with youth in some capacity, even though her degree was in Computer Engineering. Through music, academics, and mentoring, working with youth, teenagers, and even adults had always been a central focal point in her life. Daveda soon realized that in order to better aid and be an example to others, she would have to grow stronger spiritually.

In her seeking, she found Bikram yoga, which challenges the mind, body, and spirit to align into total concentration and focus. She was then introduced to Inferno Hot Pilates, which strengthens the mind and the body and was instantly hooked. Daveda attended Inferno Hot Pilates training and obtained her certification shortly after. Through Yoga, Pilates, and meditation, Daveda strengthened her confidence, talents, and Divine knowing, in an effort to help guide all who where just beginning their spiritual journeys. Daveda has experience with the foster care system as she has several aunts and uncles who were adopted by her grandparents. She has seen first-hand that foster care alumni can be very successful individuals living happy lives with the right support.

Serita Cox, along with husband Reid, launched iFoster in October of 2010. As the visionary and driving force behind iFoster, Serita brings to bear her personal experience with foster care, devoted commitment to a number of youth development initiatives, and over a decade of experience in executive-level management, corporate strategy consulting and non-profit strategy consulting.

Prior to founding iFoster, Serita was a strategy consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a consulting firm that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders accelerate social change. Her primary focus area was youth development, with clients including some of the largest philanthropic foundations and non-profits serving at-risk youth. Her previous work experience has been in the for-profit sector where she both worked as the senior executive leading global strategy, business operations, and e-business for 3Com Corporation and as a consultant and senior leadership advisor on strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and e-business.

For her work at iFoster, Serita has been recognized by the White House Office of Social Innovation as a Citizen Innovator, is an Echoing Green Fellow, and an American Leader of Change. Serita has a BSc (Highest Honors) in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from Carleton University in Canada, and an MBA in Strategy and Marketing from the Bronfman School of Business at McGill University in Canada. Serita currently serves on the Board of Directors of GirlTrek, a national non-profit that mobilizes women in Black communities to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a habit of daily walking.
Serita can be contacted at serita@ifoster.org.

Christian Benjamin is the founder of 12.26 Studios, a multicultural creative agency that focuses on positive social change, and partner in the BenjaminMorrow Agency, an agency that

He was born in Prince Georges County, Maryland, and launched his high school sports career at Duval High School into an athletic scholarship at Bowie State University, majoring in Fine Arts. After an injury-shortened playing professional football in the Arena League, Christian returned back to the DC to start 12.26 Studios, which was named in honor of his late mother, who was born on December 26th.

Most importantly, is that Christian serves on a special board with GirlUp, a United Nation nonprofit focused on global initiatives for young girls; is an ambassador of Covenant House, a homeless teen shelter; and a mentor at YearUp Inc, a foundation dedicated to closing the opportunity divide with minorities in the workforce. Christian also speaks at Cheltenham Youth Facility, a jail for minors, and Mr. Benjamin is also one of the youngest inducted members of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC, a service and social organization with more than 34,000 chapters around the world.

As an Adopted son of a preacher and foster parent, changing the world through service is the most important facet of Christian's life. True leadership means giving through time, and leading through action.

Charlene Bolden is an advocate for self-discovery and personal transformation. She has risen to become an author of Moments of Surrender Revealing The Missing Pieces. A Certified Life Empowerment Coach, speaker, and founder of Launching Out Empowerment Coaching L.L.C--a company designed exclusively for foster youth and young adults. Charlene’s personal story is the perfect voice for empowerment. Charlene Bolden studied Public Relations at Prince Georges Community College. She received her BA in Communications with a minor in Accounting, and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University. Recognizing her gift for helping others succeed, she sought instruction from The Coach Training Academy, where she completed an International Coach Federation (ICF) and Certified Coaches Alliance (CCA) accredited, professional certified coaching program. Charlene brings a vast background in communications, public relations, marketing and business development to the table. She is also highly experienced in branding and life coaching. Her work with international clientele allows individuals and organizations to experience her

Michael Sanders has been referred to as an Edutainer…successfully blending education and entertainment for maximum learning and fun. He has spent over 20 years working with teens and their families, and brings his enthusiasm for these groups in a humorous and exciting presentation.

As a national speaker, consultant and trainer, Michael travels extensively motivating teens, inspiring families and educating professionals to be and do their best. Michael’s mission is simple, “to help every adult to become a FAN of teens!”

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Born in Brooklyn, Juice Cannon is building an impressive empire at a very young age. The rapper/producer/engineer currently has two albums selling on iTunes, owns his own recording studio, and has expanded his brand to include merchandising as a viable revenue stream.

Life has not always been easy for Juice Cannon. At a very early age, the Flatbush, Brooklyn native had to deal with life in the streets and the everyday struggle one faces in New York’s’ concrete jungle. This led to prison time, a 5-year probation, and life in and out of multiple group homes starting at age 17.

Juice used these experiences to create the body of work entitled Crooklyn: Borough of Broken Dreams, the first of many accomplishments for the young rapper/entrepreneur. He refers to himself as the underdog and the forgotten; this is the perspective he raps in this debut mixtape.

The follow-up, Now Leaving Crooklyn, speaks from a more mature standpoint, referencing the changes he’s experienced while growing up and moving away from Flatbush.

As an entrepreneur, he has secured a clothing line deal and is sole owner of Studio 231, providing recording and engineering opportunities for other artists.

Check out this NatCave Studio interview with Juice about his latest release, JuicePac: https://www.natcave.com/studio-session-interviews-with-juice-cannon/

Jamell N.A. Henderson, MPA is an alumni of the NYC Foster Care System of 8 years through Concord Family Services. Jamell had a wonderful foster mother, who raised him to become the man he is today, the late Betty R. Robinson. Through her upbringing, he became a proud member of Bridge St. AWME Church for the past 19 years.

Jamell is a proud 3-time CUNY Graduate, from Borough of Manhattan Community College, from which he received an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration in June of 2011. Jamell is a proud graduate of Brooklyn College where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science in May of 2015. Jamell is now a proud alumnus of the National Urban Fellows Graduate Program at Baruch College, where he received his Masters of Public Administration in July of 2016.

Jamell has recently been accepted into the CUNY Graduate Center to pursue a 2nd Master’s Degree in Political Science in the Fall of 2017. Jamell still aims to pursue a PhD in Political Science and continues his journey to his calling that he has received by God Almighty since the age of 7 and was confirmed to him in August of 2010: To become the President of the United States. Each living moment he becomes one step closer as his destiny comes into fruition. In February of 2017, Jamell has answered the challenge by President Barack Obama and decided to step into political leadership by announcing his candidacy for New York City Council in the 41st District of Brooklyn.


Shavonne Jackson, 29, has been working with at-risk youth at different levels of care for the past 12 years. As a former foster youth, Shavonne has dedicated herself to provide advocacy support, and assistance to youth currently in the position she was once in and is a proud recipient of the ACS Commissioners Child Advocacy Award. Shavonne has begun a brand/blog, TheQueensKorner, aimed to empower, uplift, and motivate young men and women of color.

C.B. Fletcher is a versatile creative professional as an author, blogger, ghostwriter, journalist, publicist, and social media manager in the Washington DC area. Her keen storytelling and quest to reveal untouched subjects have connected her to thousands through eight publications and two books in varying genres. Through her writing and eccentric nature, she was suited for a career in public relations and social media, which in turn she uses to brand new or transforming businesses through her brand C.B. Fletcher. Her skills were created and transformed as a graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Mass Media Arts in 2009. Despite the difficult road ahead as a millennial in an unstable market, C.B. has immersed herself in new possibilities to continue to grow as an artist and professional. Paired with an open mind and evolving skills, she has written over 120 articles about the unusual achiever to how to find love amongst a summer festival and helped to build the brands of business in varying industries. Through her journey, she continues to make connections to people and fulfill the purpose of living to inspire. www.cbfletcherwriter.strikingly.com

Jasmina Nikolov founded Miss Fix It NYC is 2016 to empower women to do their own home improvement. She channeled ten years of experience as a landlord, realtor, property manager, renovator, contractor, and consultant into developing fun, life-changing classes to teach women practical skills and gain confidence and independence in an environment that fosters community and sisterhood. Jasmina spent seven years in foster care in Cambridge, MA. When she aged out at 17, she attended college with a full-tuition scholarship in New York City. However, like most aged-out foster youth, she was unable to finish. She was homeless and moved about twenty times until she was 23 years old. Her path has not been direct, but her resilience and entrepreneurial drive have enabled her to build the wonderful life she has today. Her other endeavors include raising her eight-year-old son, community service, collecting vinyl records, and dancing salsa.

Venice Garner is a clinical therapist and the owner of Embracing Your Difference, LLC, a motivational firm and private practice providing counseling/coaching, postpartum groups, mentoring programs, workshops, and trainings to assist couples and individuals reach their full potential. In addition to providing these services, Venice holds an annual Embracing Your Difference Conference.

She presents on her program Embracing Your Difference, mental health issues, and a range of other motivational topics that are dear to her heart in several city venues.

Venice lives in Connecticut with her fiancé and children.


Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed David A. Hansell Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services in February 2017.

From 2009 to 2011, he was Acting Assistant Secretary and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Administration for Children and Families in the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he helped implement the Fostering Connections to Success Act to improve services and enhance educational continuity for older foster youth.

For the State of New York, he was Commissioner of the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. He also served as Chief of Staff for the New York City (NYC) Human Resources Administration, and in various leadership roles at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

During the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, he was Director of Legal Services and Deputy Executive Director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. He also served as a former aide to two US Senators.

Commissioner Hansell has served as a consultant to nonprofit, government, and philanthropic organizations on a wide array of health and social services policy and advocacy issues. Commissioner Hansell is a graduate of Yale Law School and Haverford College.


Julie Farber is Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Family Permanency Services at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. This Division has 600 staff and supports and oversees the work of 27 contracted provider agencies delivering services to approximately 9,000 children in the foster care system and their families. Julie has more than 20 years of experience in child welfare and human services. She worked at the Center for the Study of Social Policy where she conducted large-scale assessments of child welfare systems across the country and provided technical assistance. She was also Director of Policy and Planning at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, where she oversaw the development and implementation of new programs and evaluation tools. Julie also served as the Director of Policy of the national child welfare advocacy organization, Children’s Rights, where she worked with child welfare systems in Connecticut, Wisconsin and New York, among others. Julie earned a Master of Social Work from Howard University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Duke University.