Linda Aristondo is a Hispanic bilingual woman of color and attorney championing the needs of vulnerable populations, who are unfortunately so often also people of color, by representing them as well as empowering them to know and exercise their rights. She is part of the ever-growing cohort of later-life advocates who believe they can serve as a renewable and willing resource ready to tackle the challenges the country- and the world - is facing today. Her field of interest is collaborating with nonprofit legal service organizations dedicated to serving the legally disfranchised, including vulnerable undocumented immigrants and tenants fighting for humane and affordable living conditions. Linda was among the first-generation of students of color from extremely poor communities admitted to the most selective colleges, and subsequently to law school, as institutions of higher education began to recognize the importance of including multiple underrepresented voices in their student populations. Linda was in the forefront of the generation of women of color educated to lead their communities into the national consciousness; not as an afterthought, but as equal members of the professional class that previously attempted to disenfranchise entire swaths of people of color. She continues her legal advocacy into post-midlife stage in her professional field. Linda, a Harvard educated attorney, landed an ABA full tuition law school fellowship, numbered among the original cohort of the CORO Foundation’s Hispanic Women Leadership class, served as an administrative law judge, served as board member in several nonprofit organizations (including Visiting Homemaker Services, ASPIRA, and Encore Transition Program at UTS), and is currently the board president of the Harlem Hebrew Charter School.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Brenda continues to live in her Roxbury community. As a volunteer, she contributes her skills and expertise to numerous non-profit and community-based organizations. Before advancing into freelance projects, she worked at Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a program administrator. Now, as an advocate and social entrepreneur, Brenda applies her insight, resources and expertise from a varied career in government, industry and education to bring about new possibilities. Concerned about health outcomes and quality of life disparities in communities of color, Brenda focuses on living our best lives as we age. She works with groups to sponsor healthy aging events, strengthen social connections and maintain a sense of purpose. Recent projects include events and advocacy through AARP Massachusetts, art for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and Dementia with Memory Cafes Massachusetts, healthy African heritage cooking with Oldways.org and intergenerational “homesharing” through Age-Friendly Boston and Nesterly. Brenda participates in several advisory committees including the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Aging, Massachusetts Healthy Aging 2018 Data Report, National Center for Creative Aging, the Bates Art Center and the Governor’s Council on Aging Technology Workgroup. She believes that older adults are a vital part of community and is committed to doing her part to change the narrative to bring about the best possible outcome for the future of aging and longevity. A lifelong learner, Brenda holds a M.Ed. in adult education from Antioch University and a B.A. from UMass Boston. She returned to UMass to study Gerontology at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies and recently completed the Senior Civic Academy as part of Age-friendly Boston. She is also an avid online student, participating in many MOOC courses. She recently participated in a group exhibition at MOMA as a member of their online learning community.
Following her BS and MA degrees at the University of Pennsylvania, Sylvia pursued a career in international development, from Wall Street to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, before launching Uplifting Journeys, boot camps for smarter donors that teach the principles of "giving with impact" through workshops and curated volunteer experiences in locations around the world. She recently published "Grappling With Legacy - Rhode Island's Brown Family and the American Philanthropic Impulse" about the history of American charitable giving, told through the 300-year story of one family. Today, Sylvia is focusing on developing an online version of her course and making “smart giving” accessible to all donors.
Judy Cockerton is not your average social entrepreneur. She has inspired the launch of the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Movement and has personally established three non-profit organizations to enhance the lives of our nation's children and youth experiencing foster care: Treehouse Foundation, Sibling Connections and Birdsong Farm. A nationally recognized foster care innovator, Cockerton is known for her ability to bring together a vast array of partners, leveraging people, dollar and idea resources in compelling new ways to benefit America’s most vulnerable youth. Cockerton’s award winning intergenerational Treehouse Community model - where families adopting children from foster care live next door to elders 55+ who volunteer their time and talents with the next generation - is currently being replicated in California and Massachusetts. Cockerton has won numerous awards honoring her collaborative social change approach, including Congressional Angel in Adoption, the Purpose Prize, and an Adoption Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for Systems Change. Cockerton lives in Massachusetts and is a parent by birth and by adoption.
Dr. Onita Estes-Hicks served on the faculty at the State University of New York for 35 years, retiring as Distinguished Teaching Professor and chair of the English Department. A strong student advocate, she received the Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award and continues to mentor former students. Dr. Estes-Hicks was a member of the first Encore Transition Program directed by Ruth Wooden at Union Theological Seminary. A cradle Catholic, at Union she pursued issues of Racial and Religious Reconciliation, addressing the themes of justice and reconciliation posed by the Jesuit/Georgetown Slave Sale of 1838 which involved her paternal ancestors Nace and Biby Butler and their twelve children. Through her family association, Descendants Ascending: the Descendants of Nace and Biby Butler, she is committed to probing questions of religious and racial reconciliation in the context of the promises of universality of the Catholic faith her family inherited from Jesuit-enslaved ancestors. Dr. Estes-Hicks has published articles and book chapters on Autobiography, African-American writers and sainthood. Presently, Dr. Estes-Hicks serves on the Advisory Board of the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center in Harlem and is a member of the Social Justice Ministry at St. Charles Borromeo Church.
Mr. Frederick is a thought leader, real estate entrepreneur & consultant for improving health through better living environments for people of all ages. Mr. Frederick is a noted national keynote speaker, writer, blogger and instructor on matters related to health & well-being, health care and housing. He is a particularly strong advocate for creating living environments that foster intergenerational relationships. His work has been cited in Forbes, The Washington Post and Environments for Aging, among other outlets. He serves as a member of the National Advisory Board for the School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University, has been appointed to the Bipartisan Policy Center Health and Housing Task Force and is a member of the AgingWell Hub, an international collaborative led by Georgetown University. Mr. Frederick is the Founder of Smart Living 360, a platform that develops age-friendly housing and advises existing institutions, such as health systems and senior living providers, on ways to create better solutions for the health of people. Mr. Frederick holds a BSE degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Fredericks resides in Baltimore, MD with his wife, three kids, dog, fish, chickens and Big Green Egg.
Ann Grimes currently co-directs the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford University’s School of Engineering, where she also teaches classes in media innovation and product design. Earlier, she served as Director of Stanford’s Graduate Program in Journalism and held senior editorial positions at The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She has been a faculty fellow at Stanford’s Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and is the recipient of a John S. Knight Fellowship. She has written widely about technology, Silicon Valley, politics and gender.
Sarita Gupta is the co-director of Jobs With Justice and the co-director of Caring Across Generations. She is a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor and political issues affecting working people, particularly women and those employed in low-wage sectors. She is widely recognized as a key leader and strategist in the progressive movement. Under her direction, Jobs With Justice is expanding people’s ability to come together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their lives by creating solutions to the problems working people face at both the national and local levels. Jobs With Justice leads campaigns, changes the conversation and moves labor, community, student and faith voices to action. Jobs With Justice has been on the front lines of successful organizing and policy campaigns to boost wages and working conditions for all working people, and improve labor and civil rights protections for immigrant men and women. In her role with Caring Across Generations, Sarita spearheads a national movement of families, caregivers, people with disabilities, and aging Americans working to transform the way we care in this country. The campaign is calling for policy solutions that create a much-needed care infrastructure that provides high-quality, affordable options for people who need care, support for family caregivers, and strengthens the care workforce. As a member of the “sandwich generation,” Sarita grapples with and can speak to the care issues facing more and more Americans: Balancing caring for young children with caring for aging parents. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Rochester, NY, Sarita currently lives in Silver Spring, MD, with her husband, daughter, and parents.
Cal J. Halvorsen is an assistant professor at the Boston College School of Social Work and the former director of research Encore.org, a national nonprofit dedicated to engaging people in midlife and beyond in work that improves the world. Cal returned to school for his PhD in social work in 2014, graduating from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis in May 2018. His work examines aging societies and the need and desire for people past midlife to work past traditional retirement age, with particular emphasis on self-employment, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and encore careers. Cal's dissertation research, which looked at the characteristics of self-employed Americans in later life and the personal consequences of this work, was funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration. He also earned Washington University’s Entrepreneurship Citation and taught courses related to aging societies and social work practice at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. While at the Brown School, Cal served as an ambassador for the Gerontological Society of America to the Symposium for Healthy Aging in Suzhou, China, and during his time at Encore.org, Cal was invited to present at the University of Oxford in the U.K., as well as the Körber Foundation and EBS Universität in Germany. Cal received his Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with honors, from the University of Iowa.
Raymond A. Jetson is the catalytic force that has powered the evolution of the innovative social enterprise MetroMorphosis. After completing a two year fellowship on advanced leadership towards social impact at Harvard University, he’s set about the business of creating a different approach to community change. When asked to describe the work of MetroMorphosis, Jetson responds, “we create movements that matter enough to people that they become engaged in bringing change to their own communities.” He has a rich history of pubic service and impacting people. From April 2006 through December 2009, Raymond served as CEO for the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps a nonprofit focused on supporting the recovery of families impacted by disasters. Prior to joining the Recovery Corps, Jetson was the deputy secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH). In this capacity, he provided leadership for the state’s largest agency. Raymond served as the state Representative for District 61 in the Louisiana House of representatives for more than 15 years. And for 23 years he served as the pastor of the Star Hill Church. Jetson was also a Fellow in the AdvancedLeadership Initiative at Harvard University in 2010 and 2011. Raymond has continually emerged as a leading voice on community change strategies, social innovation, issues impacting boys and men of color, and authentic community engagement. Jetson has served as a source for USA TODAY, The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jetson earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the New Orleans Theological Seminary. He and his wife Tammy are the proud parents of J'Erica Nicole and Jeremy Louis.
Dr. Karen D. Lincoln is an Associate Professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Director of the USC Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work, Co-director of the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute – Community Engagement Core, Senior Scientist at the Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging, and Founder and Chair of Advocates for African American Elders at the University of Southern California. Dr. Lincoln has published over 60 articles and book chapters in the areas of stress, aging and mental health disparities. She has published op-eds in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets focused on long-term care and policies to support poor seniors. She has testified before the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long-term Care, and was appointed to the California Task Force on Family Caregiving by Senator Kevin De Leon (D-California). Dr. Lincoln has also been quoted in a variety of media outlets, including California Health Report, Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, The New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Washington Post, and US News & World Report. She has participated in broadcast interviews on radio and television as an expert on minority aging and mental health. Dr. Lincoln has received more than $2.8 million in grant funding to support her research which focuses on improving clinical and community-based treatment of African Americans with mental health disorders and chronic health conditions. She also contributes to a blog where she fuses social commentary with her vast knowledge of health and mental health of African American communities; posing questions such as “Is Being Black Bad for Your Health?,” disseminating information about how the Affordable Care Act will impact African Americans, and sharing her inspiration for a “Healthy Black America.” Dr. Lincoln is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and a Hartford Faculty Scholar. In 2014, Dr. Lincoln was ranked third among the most influential African American social work scholars in the United States. In 2015, she was ranked twelfth among all female social work scholars in the United States. Dr. Lincoln is an honors graduate from UC Berkeley where she received a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in African American studies and a graduate from the University of Michigan where she earned a MSW, a M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology.
Odile Robotti is an Italian entrepreneur, social entrepreneur and author. She is CEO of Learning Edge/ Talent Edge, a training and HR consulting company which she founded in 2000 after work experiences at McKinsey&Co. and IBM. Odile, who is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion, gender balance in leadership and volunteering, is also founder and president of the Milano affiliate of Points of Light called MilanoAltruista, of the network of Points of Light affiliates in Italy called ItaliaAltruista, of the Milano affiliate of Dress for Success and of Kaumatua. She is country leader for the 30% Club Italy and author of the book Il Talento delle Donne on women’s leadership. Odile holds a laurea in economics from Bocconi University (Italy), an MBA from SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy), a Ph.D in psychology from University College London (UK) and is a certified coach (CPCP) of the International Coach Academy.
Brandon Ross is a Documentary Filmmaker from Los Angeles, California. All of his films to date, have focused on social justice issues. He grew up in South Los Angeles in the late 80s during a time when gang violence and drugs were a part of the newscycle daily. His first film, ‘A Day in the Life’, which he made at the age of 17 centers on teenage kids in South Los Angeles navigating urban landscapes, using “street politics”. Brandon has always stated that “The marriage between Art and Movements can make a huge impact, so that’s why I make social impact films.” His current film, ‘title sEVEN’ shines a light on the rough road diverse job applicants face when trying to land employment. Prior to making films, Brandon has held many positions within the creative arts industry for almost 20 years, including Producer, Talent Manager and Marketing Executive. When he’s not working on documentaries, he is acting as the Director of Marketing & Communications for Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA), an online competition & streaming platform that celebrates documentary films. Brandon is also an avid campaigner for animal rights. He has worked on several campaigns for PETA, World Wildlife Fund and The Humane Society.
Selena is a psychologist, social science educator, organizational consultant, expert witness, and dialogue facilitator. A native of El Salvador, she came to the United States at the onset of the country’s 12-year civil war. Selena’s doctoral research focused on the impact of political and social violence on Salvadoran adolescents, cataloguing the suffering and post-traumatic Sramifications of youths’ exposure to extreme adversity. This study has shaped Selena’s career, highlighting the importance of adopting a human dignity, human rights, and intergenerational frame in the practice of psychology. Selena’s areas of expertise include youth mental health, trauma-sensitive practices, cross-cultural dialogue, social and emotional learning approaches to education, juvenile justice, and intergenerational collaboration. She has worked with organizations worldwide, focusing on children, youth, and families in the most vulnerable of human conditions. Such traumatic circumstances include domestic and gang violence, incarceration, civil war, cultural displacement, global migration, and natural disasters. For the past 17 years, Selena has mentored adolescents from over 80 countries through her involvement with the United World College (UWC)-USA and UWC-Costa Rica. Her involvement with these institutions has focused on program development in the areas of dialogue, constructive engagement of conflict, emotional wellness and youth leadership. Additionally, Selena serves as a consulting psychologist for projects empowering youth and women to overcome the impact of historical trauma and cultural dislocation in places such as the Navajo Nation, El Salvador, and isolated mountain communities in the US. Selena considers herself a global citizen and believes wholeheartedly in the power of intergenerational and cross-cultural friendships to create sustainable social change. Her work has spanned the US, Central America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Selena’s work has been published by PBS’ Need to Know, Anchor Magazine, The Huffington Post and The International Encyclopedia for the Study of Conflict Studies and Peace Building. She resides in Durango, CO. Selena’s passions include traveling, reading, hiking, photography, watching documentary films, and hanging out with friends.
Atalaya is an accomplished, results-oriented professional with proven success in designing and implementing initiatives that benefit children, families, and communities. She has dedicated her career to systemic change and to empowering those who have been marginalized and under-resourced. Atalaya has successfully designed, launched, and implemented innovative programming and is adept at fostering effective and productive partnerships with communities, institutions of higher education, and corporations. Atalaya began her career as a social worker and school counselor in the Charlottesville Public School system. At Jumpstart, she served as a Senior Program Director, Deputy Director, and Regional Vice President prior to her current role as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Programming. Atalaya has been a member of numerous community-based committees and initiatives. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ayele Shakur is the CEO of BUILD.org and brings almost three decades of experience as an innovator in urban education. Before ascending to CEO in 2018, she served as the founding Regional Executive Director for BUILD Boston for seven years. Prior to BUILD, she was President and CEO of the Boston Learning Center. A veteran classroom teacher, Ayele taught for eleven years in the Los Angeles area and in the Boston Public Schools, and co-authored the book Boost School Performance – A Parent’s Guide to Better Grades Fast. Ayele is the recipient of the 2012 Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us Award, and the 2007 Boston Children’s Museum’s Great Friend to Kids Award. From 2014-16, she served as Chairwoman for the Boston NAACP Education Committee. Since 2015, she has co-chaired the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps Task Force for the Boston Public Schools. She was honored with the 2017 Barr Fellowship, which recognizes outstanding nonprofit leaders in Boston, and in 2018 became part of the GK100 Most Influential Black Bostonians. She is a motivational speaker and a blogger for the Huffington Post. A native of Boston, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Boston University and a Master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Marlon A. Smith is a scholar-activist who has over 20 years’ of experience working with community and faith based organizations in the area of community development and outreach. He is the founder of Black Greeks Speak Social Justice and Human Rights Council (BGS), an education and policy studies organization. BGS brings together academic and activist culture for the development of policy and social justice projects. He is also the Senior Manager of Policy and Engagement for Baker Ripley (formerly Neighborhood Centers Houston). Prior to working for Baker Ripley, Dr. Smith served as the Texas State Reentry Manager for the Innerchange Freedom Initiative (IFI). IFI is one of the oldest and largest faith based pre-release prison reentry programs in the country under Prison Fellowship Ministries. As the reentry manager, Dr. Smith developed partnerships with local, state, and national public officials, educators, and advocacy organizations to impact the rate of incarceration in communities of color, and developed programs and policy initiatives to address the challenges previously incarcerated men and women face when they leave prison and jails. While at IFI Dr. Smith helped to reduce the recidivism rate of program graduates to thirteen percent, and increased the number of men enrolled in a college degree program by over 65 percent. Dr. Smith attended Texas Tech University and the University of Houston, earning a Bachelors’ Degree in Journalism/Public Relations with a minor in African American Studies. He went on to earn his Masters’ Degree in Theological Studies from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University. He later earned his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, majoring in Humanities and Culture with a Specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. Studies, from Union Institute & University. He is also the author of two books: Black Lives Houston: Voices of our Generations and Reshaping Beloved Community: The Experiences of Black Male Felons and Their Impact on Black Radical Traditions. Dr. Smith continues to work with local, national, and international organizations to bridge academic, religious, and activist life for the develop of concrete institutions and partnerships.
Mick Smyer is the former Provost and a current Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University. He is also a Senior Fellow in Social Innovation at Babson College and an honorary Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, Australia. A national expert, Smyer has written and lectured extensively on aging. In addition to holding leadership roles in national organizations on aging, Mick has also consulted with Fortune 500 companies, state and national legislative leaders, and higher education organizations on the impacts of aging. Mick is the founder of Graying Green: Climate Action for an Aging World. Graying Green links two global patterns: population aging and climate change. Graying Green works with older adults, climate communicators, climate scientists, and community and business leaders to move older adults from anxiety to action on climate issues. In doing so, Graying Green views older people not solely as victims of climate change but also as potential leaders of climate action. With support from Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Graying Green taps expertise in gerontology, climate communication, and human-centered design. Mick holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University. A native of New Orleans, Mick also provides vocals and “nuanced” washboard with the Rustical Quality String Band, including on their most recent CD, Rescued from Oblivion.
For 27 years Julianne Taaffe taught English as a Second Language at Ohio State University, a job she loved although it didn’t pay a lot, and it didn’t get a whole lot of attention, except perhaps one-on-one. But it always challenged her and required her to think creatively, sometimes made her laugh, and required her to examine her own, possibly culturally constrained, assumptions, preconceptions and opinions. Working with, and learning from, bright, thoughtful and interesting international students and scholars widened her perspective, keeping her engaged with the social, environmental and educational issues that link us locally and across the globe. This is why, in 2015, she decided to fight back when Ohio State “reclassified” her and eleven other older, experienced ESL teachers out of their full-time positions. She and another colleague, with the help of two Ohio civil rights lawyers and the AARP, sued the University for age-discrimination and won. They were reinstated and accepted a remarkable settlement from Ohio State, an unusual outcome in an age discrimination complaint, particularly one involving a major Midwestern university. The four-year, grueling, fascinating, frustrating and exhilarating experience was her tipping point, and she’s grateful for it. She learned that she has a voice, and that, to her surprise, she is not afraid to use it. After having been prodded and provoked into speaking up for herself and her colleagues, seeking and receiving support from key sources, she has been able to move forward at age 62, with a new job in ESL, and in a new direction that will allow her to continue to speak up. She’d like to use her experience with institutional age discrimination and her teaching, writing, photography and digital story-telling experience to amplify the voices of others who find themselves subject to the “invisible discrimination.”
Joy is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Mon Ami, a company she started with her classmate when they were in business school at Stanford. Mon Ami aims to reduce social isolation and connect the generations by helping families find college student companions for their aging loved ones. Before business school, Joy worked for six years in aging and healthcare. She worked on the World Health Organization’s Innovation for Aging team, and is a founding member of two startups in the aging and caregiving space: AgeWell Global (South Africa, USA) and Weal Life (USA). She is passionate about the intersection of tech, aging, and entrepreneurship. She has been a volunteer in dementia care and hospice settings since high school.