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    We are incredibly privileged to have assembled award-winning professionals to help guide us on our journey to making this world a more respectful place.

     

    Chairwoman and Founder/CEO - Pamela McNall

     

    Business Board

    Educational Board

    • Kristen Alden

    • Joy Dibenedetto

    • Camille Feanny

    • Julie Denise

    • Victoria Walseth

    • Dr. Amy Swann

    • Katya Loseva

    • Karen DeFranco

    • Melissa West

    • Allison Leedy Shepard

    • Frank Jones

    After 19 years at CNN, Ms. McNall started Let’s Chat LLC for e-commerce business development, including RespectfulWays.com and RespectfulSignage.com where she designed “The Respectful Ways” character education development program and online educator support tool. Utilizing evidence-based activities, lesson plans, games, signage, and rewards, this program offer 54 separate Guides to help educators teach Respect, Perseverance, Responsibility and Compassion. She hosts online webinars and in-person workshops called “The Respectful Sessions” helping students, parents and teachers reestablish the ground rules of respectful behavior.

    The consummate volunteer, her nonprofit community development work includes sitting on four Boards implementing parks and green space initiatives in DeKalb County and the city of Tucker, Georgia. She works with local, county and state organizations to develop short and long-term greenspace goals including park development, outdoor classrooms and historic preservation.

    As a veteran journalist, she has covered some of the world’s most compelling news stories including both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Asian Tsunami disaster, Hurricane Katrina, U.S. election coverage, the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton and the September 11th terrorist attacks.

    She is the recipient of seven journalism awards including two Emmys, a President’s Award for the CNN Documentary Unit, and an Emmy nomination for a natural sound piece on the Iraq War. The other four awards include a DuPont, two Peabody Awards, and a third-place National Headliner Award for Environmental Reporting.

    She has received both Georgia state and DeKalb County recognition for her Rivers Alive and green space efforts, winning the 2015 Park Pride Inspiration Award and the 2011 Non-Profit Association of the Year Award by the Georgia Department of Environmental Protection.

    Ms. McNall is an active member of Toastmasters International and continues to use her e-commerce, marketing and media skills to develop and promote school and community based initiatives both locally and nationally.

    Kristen Alden is an independent creative consultant and founding partner of NorthCoast Post LLC, a visual communications firm that builds meaningful brands through the power of purpose-driven strategy and creative storytelling.

     

    Kristen has over 15 years experience in broadcasting, marketing & communications, designing, copywriting and video production, and 3+ years experience in creative consulting and brand development for nonprofits, small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is a founding member of the Buy Local Committee of Marquette County and a two-year Champion Sponsor of the newly-formed Marquette Chamber of Commerce. In February 2016, her business received a Distinguished Service Award from the Lake Superior Community Partnership for economic development in Marquette County.

     

    Prior to founding NorthCoast Post, Kristen worked as a Design Manager for CNN domestic on-air programming, and as the graphic designer for the Office of Communications and Marketing at Harvey Mudd College, an undergraduate university in the fields of engineering, science and mathematics. It was during this time at Harvey Mudd College where she met and worked under Atlanta-based brand strategy agency Mindpower during the College’s rebranding process. It was the perfect combination of Mindpower’s authentic approach to marketing, as well as the College’s Mission “to assume leadership in your field with a clear understanding of the impact of your work on society” that inspired Kristen to apply this type of thinking to her own business, as well as to others.

     

    She has worked as a graphic & web designer, mobile application designer, broadcast designer, print & publication designer, art director, creative director, project manager, writer, copy editor, contributor and branding & marketing consultant for various clients and projects, which include: Boston Lyric Opera, Caltech Fund, Evolver, Inc., Falling Rock Café and Bookstore, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Marquette Chamber of Commerce, NeuroTrainer, Oh Baby! Fitness, The Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, Respectful Ways, and The Taft School. She is a regular contributor to GlutenFreeSage.com.

     

    Kristen believes that great design has the power to educate, inspire and ignite change. When she’s not fastidiously creating on-screen, you can find Kristen with her collaborators—including her three children and husband—developing a vision for the everyday and an organized way of making things more beautiful.

    Joy DiBenedetto is the Founding Chair, CEO and Managing Director of the humanitarian media Company (HUM): Human Unlimited Media, LLC; and the portfolio of (HUM) companies which include HUMNEWS, HUMMEDIA, HUMMOVIES, HUMMUSIC, HUMMARKETPLACE, HUM Research & Reports, and HUM Labs & Technology as part of the world’s first and only `all-nation' content and information agency. An award-winning 22-year media veteran she's covered every major global event in successively senior positions, from the studio and in the field; domestically and internationally; as a producer, manager and entrepreneur.

    She is the immediate past President and CEO of the venerable, Friendship Force International (FFI); an NGO founded by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, serving from July 2013-November 2015. (FFI) is a worldwide network of clubs (local chapters) and individuals who strive to advance a mission of promoting global understanding across the barriers that separate people by conducting almost 400 cultural travel exchange programs in more than 70 countries each year. The organization was honored with a Nobel-peace prize nomination in 1992; and under her leadership transitioned to a new 3-year strategic plan, launched the global `NextGen Youth Council’, and returned the organization to the Nobel arena with the largest children’s peace art exhibition displayed at the 2015 Barcelona, Spain `World Summit of Nobel Laureates’; and most recently at the Jordan National Museum in Amman (March 2016).

    Until March of 2008, she was the global vice president of network booking and research for the CNN News Group, where she oversaw daily and long-term guest coverage for CNN’s domestic and international news networks and platforms, managing a worldwide editorial staff.

    Prior to this, DiBenedetto served as director of network booking for CNN’s domestic networks. While at CNN she developed and managed the Newsource affiliate guest booking service called “GuestSource”; created the first internet interview programming for CNN.COM; and worked to build CNN's exclusive guest booking system. Before joining CNN, she worked in Turner Broadcasting's corporate finance division; and previously worked for CARE, the international humanitarian group as a Press Officer for Southeast Asia and Latin America; and as a caseworker handling senior citizens for New York City.

    Her collective work throughout a professional career spans both the media industry and a devotion to humanitarian interests, global development and international non-profit work at both a high and grassroots level; and is reflected in a multitude of projects produced and designed to bring both of these passions together. The most recent example of this is her founding of the `F.L.O.W.’ (First Ladies of the World) conference and development bank, which she is working on with partners from the United Nations. DiBenedetto believes that media can enlighten and make positive change in the world and that we need to `Close the Geographic Gap in Media, Worldwide’ in order to progress peacefully as humanity.

    She is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology/audiology. A recipient of a George Foster Peabody award, a DuPont, and a Jack Myers Media award for Innovation; she is also a Marshall Memorial fellow, a UN Foundation `Global Health Press Fellow', and a member of the current 2016 Leadership Atlanta class; who sits on numerous advisory and directorial boards. She often speaks publicly about the media industry, international business strategy and the need for a more globalized geographic landscape to highlight what unites us as a world community, not what divides us.

    DiBenedetto is a world trekker who often walks, roller skates and bicycles to work; and who has survived Dengue Fever. You can read more about her work here: http://linkedin/JOYDIBENEDETTO

    Dr. Camille Feanny is an experienced international journalist, social scientist and consultant. As an applied cultural anthropologist, she specializes in youth and community development to promote the advancement of vulnerable children and families. A veteran journalist, Dr. Feanny has proven experience in global network news production, media relations and the communication of complex information.

    In her community development work, Dr. Feanny recently served as the Executive Director of a “call to action” of the faith community in Metro Atlanta to address critical socioeconomic, youth education and public health challenges. She also served as a consulting Director with a basketball training and youth development organization that equips students with athletic ability for success in attaining college-level basketball opportunities. For years, she has partnered in the development of academic, life-skills training, and entrepreneurship opportunities for under-served populations in the United States and Latin America.

    Currently a Producer with CNN International, she has covered some of the world’s most compelling stories that exemplify the social and environmental impacts of today’s global crises. Her works have reached audiences worldwide through productions on CNN, HLN, TBS, PBS, NBC, Yahoo.com, CNN.com and other networks, as well as in academic journals, government reports and other publications.

    She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology and a Certificate in Latin American Studies. She holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Miami in Marine Affairs and Policy, and in International Studies (specializing in Intl. Economics). She also obtained a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies from Florida International University, and a post-graduate Diploma in International Development and Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University in Cairo, Egypt.

    Dr. Feanny is the recipient of a National Science Foundation grant, a DuPont and two Genesis awards, an EMMY nomination, and other professional awards and fellowships. Her background includes extensive international travel and cultural exposure throughout North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and North Africa.

     Email: DrCamille@FeannyConsulting.com  Website: FeannyConsulting.com

    Julie is a 30+-year veteran of the financial services industry, most notably with Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan. After leaving banking in 2012, Julie began searching for a franchise business with her FranNet coach, which led to her FranNet business.

    FranNet is national franchise brand that uses a thorough process to help potential business owners find a franchise that fits their skills and budget. Julie is passionate about knowing and understanding each unique situation in order to help her clients understand if franchise ownership is right for them.

    Julie is a graduate of Northwestern University and has been an Atlanta resident since 1984. She is in her third year as a SCORE mentor and sees a wide variety of clients at the Norcross Cultural Arts Center as well as serving on the Leadership Team of the North Metro Atlanta SCORE Chapter as Secretary. Julie is also a career transition volunteer at Atlanta Jobseekers, the Atlanta Chapter of the Business Executives Networking Group and the Financial Executives Networking Group.

    Victoria is currently an Operations/Project Manager at WCG: The I.T. Exchange, Inc., a software consulting firm she and her husband have owned since 2001.

    Victoria consults with business owners to help them navigate the social media and online worlds to improve their marketing and business communications efforts. In addition, she works closely with clients to determine the best course of action for their digital, online and social media efforts.

    Through the years she has used her degree in Broadcasting and Film from Boston University to stay on top of new and emerging communication technologies. She helped produce a 3-D animation for a pharmaceutical company that depicted how a new medication reacted to cells in the bloodstream.

    At Coca-Cola USA she was part of a team that designed, wrote, produced and distributed the first multi-media training program to 4000 employees. From there she transferred to IBM in the Education, Healthcare and Public Sector areas. She was responsible for managing multi-million dollar software projects, working closely with the design and software development teams.

    Victoria currently volunteers her time as a board member of two associations, St. Matthew CES and the Unionville LSPL.

    Dr. Amy Swann is a Fellow at The Mind Trust in Indianapolis and the Chief Academic Officer for Matchbook Learning (MBL). She has spent the last few years improving failing schools in Newark NJ, Detroit MI, and D.C. Under her academic guidance MTA elementary made double digit proficiency gains for students at all grade levels in both reading and math as well as double digit gains in their state ranking. Prior to joining MBL, under Dr. Swann’s leadership, Bate Middle school, went from being a “state watch list school” to being named one of the first national P21 Exemplar schools by the Partnership for 21st Century Schools and featured widely for their work with performance assessments in publications including the Harvard Letter, District Administration, and Tom Vander Ark’s Getting Smart blog. In addition, Dr. Swann’s leadership has been documented and written about in books such as: Five Critical Leadership Practices: The Secret to High Performing Schools by R. Ash & P. Hodge (2016), Beyond Measure: Rescuing an overscheduled, over tested, underestimated generation by Abeles, V. & Rubenstein, G. (2015), and The Test by Kamenetz, A. (2015). In addition to the national work that Dr. Swann has done, she has also spoken and published papers internationally during International Symposiums on Education Leadership in Jyvaskyla Finland, at the University of Shanghai, and Uppsala, Sweden.  

    Katya began her career in education teaching 6th and 7th grade ELA and Social Studies in turnaround schools in Chicago and Detroit. Throughout her time as a classroom teacher, curriculum writer, and administrator Katya has been focused on implementing blended learning best practice strategies in conjunction with real world applications that enhance student learning, engagement, and instruction which have been highlighted in publications such as EdSurge. Katya’s passion for student centered learning is founded on the principals of teaching students to become problem solvers, innovators, and critical thinkers through project based learning that is focused on technological integration. Her commitment to blended learning led her to the position of Director of Personalized Learning for Matchbook Learning, which allowed her to share her blended learning experience on a national level.  

     

    Katya holds a B.A in History and B.S in Secondary Education from Loyola University Chicago. Her dedication for working with inner city students led her to pursue a M.Ed. in Urban Education from National Louis University. In conjunction with her masters, she completed a yearlong selective residency with Academy of Urban School Leadership in Chicago, IL. She is also an AmeriCorps Alum and a strong advocate of civil service and action in the realm of education.

    Karen DeFranco is currently a Special Education teacher in southern New Jersey with twenty-five years in the classroom. Her teaching experience focuses mostly on the middle school level in the in-class resource (ICR) and resource rooms teaching ELA, social studies, science, math and Spanish.

    She conducts workshops throughout the state of New Jersey on Character Education and the importance of instilling a positive school environment.

    She is a member of the New Jersey Social and Emotional Learning Committee where she works in conjunction with other teachers throughout the state to develop teacher strategies for social and emotional learning.

    In 2016, she received the Frederick L. HIPP grant to expand the Character Education program she developed into the community through a student-based character website that is linked to the school’s website. She received the Jefferson Award in 2014 for her volunteer service with her students in the clubs she supervises.

    After Mrs. DeFranco graduated from Southern Connecticut State University in 1978, she spent two years teaching Junior High students on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. This experience is where she saw that it was vital to infuse the culture of her students into the curriculum to allow their learning to be more authentic. Her students wrote and illustrated books that personalized their culture and the everyday responsibilities that they had.

    From there she taught students with social, emotional and behavior issues in a regional high school in northwestern Connecticut and then to a middle school in central New Jersey. In both experiences, the approved academic curriculum was lacking in what her students needed. She started to develop curriculum to meet their social and emotional needs and through daily group discussions examine every day life skills and situations so that her students could find success in and out of the classroom. Physical Education class was a requirement but her students had difficulties there; so she and her coworkers developed a PE program that they would use through their lives. They fulfilled their PE requirements through hiking, bowling, roller skating, ice skating and archery.

    After devoting twelve years to her four sons, Mrs. DeFranco returned to the classroom eighteen years ago to a middle school in Washington Township in southern New Jersey. Here she has seen that the classroom dynamics, challenges and environment have changed and it is the educator’s responsibility to address these trends.

    Seven years ago, she started a Character Education program at her school that is based on a monthly character word where students listen to inspiring stories and quotes, view character videos, participate in a monthly service project and receive monthly certificate awards for demonstrating the character trait. As the character program meshed with the high academic standards, these are some of the highlights and results of this character program:

    * 8th grade peer leader students are taught a character lesson each month and then teach and mentor 6th graders

    * Teaching and reinforcing the importance of study skills so that the students are better prepared for assessments

    * School-wide door decorating to reinforce a character trait and create a positive environment for learning

    * At the end of October, the month of Respect, students and staff write about what respect means to them and a Wall of Respect is created in recognition of the months’ activities

    * In February, Random Acts of Kindness are posted all through the school and classroom doors to emphasize the power of kindness

    In 2002, Mrs. DeFranco was voted the Teacher of the Year for her school. She has received several grants to support the character program in her school.

    Mrs. DeFranco believes that Character Education can work in conjunction with the rigors of the standards-based curriculum. It is the responsibility of the school to stress the importance of a positive school climate so that all students will be encouraged to be their best and do their best.

    Melissa West, M.Ed. Behavior Disorders, has fourteen years of classroom experience working with exceptional learners. She has taught in the elementary, middle, and high school settings with seven years spent working with middle school students on the spectrum.

    Ms. West took advantage of the opportunity to teach in the virtual setting three years ago, as a virtual educator for the state of Georgia. She is currently working in a facilitation and training position in virtual education, working closely with counselors, students, parents and educators on an individualized student basis.

    Ms. West is avid supporter of music education, working with the Live Oak Music and Arts Foundation in the state of Florida and the Fare Thee Well Foundation in Georgia. She coordinates fundraising efforts to provide music education opportunities to students in the southeastern U.S.

    Allison teaches Art Education at two Atlanta public schools; North Atlanta High School and Maynard Jackson High School.

    She was chosen as a “Teacher of Excellence” for visual arts for the state of Georgia, and was hand-selected to be on the state committee to re-write Georgia’s professional standards to align with new national visual arts standards.

    She is a (FAST) Fine Arts Support Teacher, mentoring educators at Maynard Jackson H.S., an International Baccalaureate® (IB) school.

    She leads professional development as a district educator mentor for Atlanta public schools and was selected to be on the panel to re-write student learning objectives (SLOs) for visual arts for the 2016/17 school year.

    Before working at the high school level, Allison taught middle and elementary art education and has experience teaching every grade, K–12.

    Allison earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Georgia, studying both studio art and theater. As the daughter of an Army officer, she traveled the world during her formative years, living in Europe as a child until 5th grade.

    As a mother of triplet girls, she utilizes her educator skill sets at home as well as school.

    Frank Jones is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Georgia who, for the past 12 years, has worked with children, adolescents and adults to assist with overcoming a variety of personal challenges. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Gwinnett Technical College where he teaches Psychology.

    Frank provides therapeutic mental health services often focusing on children and adolescents. He has utilized his clinical skills at the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic in California, CHRIS Kids where he provided in-home therapy, and Laurel Heights Hospital, an intensive residential treatment facility in Atlanta.

    From 2010 to 2013 Frank worked in Cobb County, Georgia for the federally-funded “Success for All Students” program. He conducted therapy sessions in schools to youth who were struggling with emotional, behavioral and academic issues.

    Prior to working as a therapist, Frank was an on-air radio personality in Chicago and Guam in addition to spending several years working behind-the-scenes on a variety of television programs while living in Southern California.

    Frank earned his Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology while attending Phillips Graduate Institute in California and his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois.

    He currently works in a private practice setting while continuing to make a positive difference in the lives of people and finding ways to serve others with greater impact.