Patti O’Brien-Richardson is an author, professor, health researcher, and mom. Her career in health began in sub-Saharan Africa where she lived for over a decade studying health inequalities among women and children, working with families affected by HIV/AIDS, and managing inter-continental humanitarian projects for cities, communities and villages from Zambia to Madagascar.
As a social entrepreneur, Patti is the founder of Move it Nation, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower families to move their minds, bodies and souls. Patti is also the creator of “Move it-n-Groove it”, a childhood obesity prevention fitness curriculum and video series that has been used in over twenty-five schools, serving over 1,000 children in New York and Boston. She also teaches a course she helped develop entitled “Hair: Culture, Politics and Technology” at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Patti is in the process of completing the final year of her doctoral program at Rutgers University where she studies cultural hair practices and physical inactivity among urban African-American girls. She recently started an afterschool program based on this research called GLAMM (Girls Leading and Moving More) that combines hair and health education with movement and leadership skills. In her spare time, Patti enjoys yoga, baking, biking and gardening with her four daughters, triplets plus one.
Patti, joined by her triplet daughters, will be our keynote speaker for the 10th Annual Blueprint Conference for Middle and High School Girls. We are excited to have Patti share her motivations and also how she's empowering her own girls to be future leaders. For the first time, we have expanded to an additional evening that will involve both parent/guardian and our conference attendees. Friday night will invite both parents and daughters to share questions, concerns and solutions through a night of open dialogue.
To learn more about Patti's work, check out her blog or connect with her on social media at @moveitwithpatti.
As a Wholistic Health Practitioner & Motivational Speaker, Katia Powell has over a decade of experience in healthcare and research, and five years of Doctoral Studies. These years of experience, her own personal journey of losing 200lbs (and keeping it off!) have ignited her passion for being a Health and Wellness Entrepreneur. Katia has also found that being a licensed Zumba Instructor and AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor, “allow me to be a part of something innovative, creative and bigger than myself to solve a problem that society can benefit from.” Katia shared, “I want to create a living legacy that has an impact beyond my lifetime.”
Ms. Powell always knew she wanted to be her own boss and make her own rules. She is the CEO and Founder of Black Girls Nutrition (BGN), the social network that understands your nutritional needs and provides 24/7 support through technology. BGN’s motto is to "Lose the Weight, NOT your culture!" The company is grounded in a mission to inspire and motivate women and girls of color to release unhealthy nutritional habits, design a healthy lifestyle, and intentionally empower each other to walk in their own truth. Some of the best advice she received was: You can’t be poor while being poor – learn to marry your passion with profit.
Katia is an active member in her own community. She currently serves on the Board of the Fenway CDC, the Planning Committee for the New England Science Symposium at Harvard Medical School, is a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar, and a member of the Health Committee for the NAACP Boston Branch.
Katia is no stranger to the Blueprint Conference. A few years ago, Katia led a Zumba physical activity and is ready to participate again this year. Her hope is to inspire within each Conference attendee that “anything they want to achieve is POSSIBLE with the right resources and mentors. It will take hard work but the payoff is so worth it in the end.” This year Katia will be sharing her story to becoming an entrepreneur and using technology as a facilitator for our Ideation workshop.
For as long as she can remember, Anna Foster has always thought like an entrepreneur; a skill that has helped her carve out her niche as a visionary leader and “maven” in the worlds of business consulting, fashion, lifestyle and beauty. Owner of A Maven’s World Lifestyle Brand and president of Eat, Drink, Dress Live Magazine, Anna is a respected businesswoman, highly sought after for her consulting services in marketing and branding, and lauded for her ability to inspire and motivate entrepreneurs, organizations, and corporations in Boston and beyond. “I love being involved in a vision that surpasses your expectation of success,” she says. “The best advice I’ve received, and I give, is to focus on being the best you. Controlling your brand ultimately lets you control your destiny.”
One glance at her resume, and it’s clear that this advice has come in handy for Anna both in- and outside the boardroom. The recipient of business and law degrees from Suffolk University, Anna serves as the Vice Chair of the Network for Women in Business-Massachusetts and host of the radio talk show “Life is Fabulous with Anna Foster” on WZBR 1410 AM. These diverse experiences set her apart as a tenacious business leader, who sees tough skin, innovation, and diligence as key characteristics of any entrepreneur. “Being a boss means not just standing up and accepting ownership and responsibility when the business is successful, but also through its failures,” she says. “Life is made up of choices. Choose wisely, make smart decisions, and you will have a much better chance of being successful.”
Anna will facilitate both Branding and Finding your Passion/Public Speaking workshops at this year’s Blueprint Conference for Middle & High School Girls. To learn more about her, visit her website or connect with her on social media at @amavensworld.
Daunasia Yancey is black, lesbian and powerful. Credited with leading a protest intended to disrupt a tree lighting ceremony that took place the day after the disappointing Eric Garner decision, Yancey has been dubbed the new face of Boston’s civil rights movement by Boston Magazine.
They just might be right.
Yancey is young, but she’s held a number of influential positions. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Boston Alliance for Gay Lesbian and Transgender Youth (BAGLY) and the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC). According to her LinkedIn page, her work has been featured in the documentary, Secret Survivors and she has been honored with the Colin Higgins Foundation’s National Youth Courage Award and the Fenway Health Trailblazers Award.
It becomes clear a few minutes into a conversation with her on a bright Sunday afternoon via phone, that if Yancey believes in something, she’s going to face it or change it, head on.
“If I believe it, it must be true,” she said. It’s easy to believe her.
Sisterhood is at the center of the 9th Annual Blueprint Conference for Girls organized by the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College, June 13-14 at Simmons College. Eighteen-year-old Jibria Green attended the conference the last three years and is looking forward to participating in this year’s conference. In the fall she is headed to Northeastern University to study political science on a full financial ride, and though the Blueprint Conference isn’t the only reason she’s so grounded, Green does credit the conference with providing her lasting memories of a safe space where one can be themselves. “They [the women at the conference] created an atmosphere where it was really about sisterhood. I really wanted to be around them and be a better me,” she said.
The young activist in the making is currently a student at the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, MA. She’s a soccer player and a lover of the arts, but lately, Green has found herself getting more involved with issues of racial injustice. “You know what’s interesting, I have been getting more involved. I worked with the NAACP doing volunteer work. Everyone can’t be in the background,” she said.
Green comes from a large family and has five siblings whom she looks up to. “They are the most influential people outside of my mom and dad. I think they made it OK for me to strive to do the things that other people deem out of reach. They held me to a very high standard. Without that, I wouldn’t have pushed myself. I wouldn’t be able to fail at things and be comfortable in my discomfort. It’s about the people before me and the people after me,” she shared.
This multi-talented teenager has big plans to change the world. She’s considering becoming a lawyer so she can familiarize herself with the judicial system within which we are all forced to function. She’s concerned with racial injustice as well as the portrayal of people of color in the media, and is looking to gain the knowledge and the power to change things. Green shared how powerful it was to be at past Blueprint Conferences, surrounded by women of color whose mission it was to help each other succeed. It looks like the conferences are working. Green’s life philosophy:
“I hope for the best and I plan for the best.”