2023 VIRTUAL
SIGNATURE CONFERENCE SERIES

Featured Speakers

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Jerome
Underwood

President & CEO of Action for a Better Community, Inc.

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Brad
Rye

Chair of the Action for a Better Community, Inc. Board

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Sherita
Bullock

Opening Keynote on January 12th

Sherita D. Bullock has been the Executive Director of the Healthy Baby Network (HBN) since February of 2019, and an agency employee since 1997. Sherita is a vibrant and dedicated community advocate who has always cherished babies, and never resists an opportunity to greet or acknowledge one.

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Dr. LeKeyah
Wilson

Moderator for the Reducing Health Disparities panel on January 12th

LeKeyah Wilson, MD, is a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist with Rochester Regional Health. As a native Rochesterian, she completed all her medical training at the University of Rochester which includes medical school, pediatric residency, and a fellowship in adolescent medicine. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology at Howard University. 

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Dr. Paula
Cupertino

Reducing Health Disparities panel on January 12th

Paula Cupertino, Ph.D., is a University of Rochester Medical Center Professor of Public Health Sciences and Oncology and Wilmot Cancer Institute’s first Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement. Cupertino leads efforts to strengthen and expand Wilmot’s research and connections across its 27-county catchment area in upstate New York.

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Dr. Gina
Cuyler

Reducing Health Disparities panel on January 12th

Dr. Gina Cuyler is a board-certified internal medicine physician, author, educator, sought-after speaker, and avid patient and community advocate.
As Vice President of Health Equity and Community Investments for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, she sets the organization’s direction to promote health equity, cultural sensitivity, and community health.

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Dr. Edith
Williams

Reducing Health Disparities panel on January 12th

Edith M. Williams brings a rich combination of research expertise and demonstrated ability to bring researchers and community members together to elevate the role of science in achieving health equity. She currently serves as the Founding Director of the Office of Health Equity Research and is appointed as the Dean’s Associate Professor of Health Equity Research, with a primary academic appointment in Public Health Sciences and secondary appointment within the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
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Dr. Carolyn
Jacobs

Reducing Health Disparities panel on January 12th

Dr. Jacobs received her undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Biology from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Jacobs earned her medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Albany Medical Center followed by a fellowship in adolescent medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center. While training during her fellowship she also earned her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Rochester.
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Talethea
Best

Moderator for The Community Impact of DEI Efforts panel on January 12th

Talethea M. Best is the founder & CEO of Best Innovations Consulting LLC, a boutique HR consultancy focused on unique practices in talent strategy, diversity, equity and inclusion, and strengths-based team building. Relentless about making business strategies inclusively possible, she helps organizations create employee-centric experiences in a way that prepares their workforce to successfully meet rapid growth, business challenges and complex change.
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Dr. Ebony
Caldwell

The Community Impact of DEI Efforts panel on January 12th

Dr. Ebony D. Caldwell is the Interim Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Rochester Regional Health. She is a transformative leader that has dedicated over a decade of her career to organizational change and strategic planning with an intentional focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her career includes work in law enforcement, politics, academia, community, and consulting.

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Tom
Mitchell

The Community Impact of DEI Efforts panel on January 12th

Tom is past President/CEO currently Senior Consultant to Bergmann, Architects, Engineers and Planners. Tom succeeded Don Bergmann as President & CEO of Bergmann in January 2004 and served through July 2017. Tom joined Bergmann Associates in 2001 initially serving as Director of Construction Services and Director of Quality. He has spent nearly 50 years in various functional positions with several engineering and architecture firms.

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Dr. Adrienne 
Morgan

The Community Impact of DEI Efforts panel on January 12th

Adrienne Morgan, Ph.D., is the interim Richard Feldman Vice President of Equity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Rochester. She is also vice president for Equity and Inclusion at the University of Rochester Medical Center and senior associate dean for Equity and Inclusion at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Morgan is an associate professor in the Department of Health Humanities and Bioethics in the Medical Center.

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Maggie 
Rivera

The Community Impact of DEI Efforts panel on January 12th

Maggie Rivera is the Director of DEI and Employee Experience at Paychex. In her role, she oversees the Communication, Creative Services, Culture, and DEI functions. In addition to developing strategies and programs for her various functions, Maggie also co-chairs the Paychex Corporate Diversity Council the President and CEO of Paychex. Her mission is to make Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion a business imperative, and ensure that Paychex is a place where every employee sees, feels, and believes they belong.
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Jessica 
Lewis

Moderator of the Educational Options for Community Empowerment panel on January 12th

Jessica Lewis is the interim Communications Manager for ROC the Future Alliance. She joined the backbone team in 2016 and has been leading communication efforts for the alliance for the last 6 years. Jessica is also an entrepreneur. She is the President & CEO of LáLew Public Relations, which is a full-service PR firm specializing in press and social media management.

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Shanterra
Mitchum

Educational Options for Community Empowerment panel on January 12th

Shanterra Mitchum is the Director of Programs at the Center for Teen Empowerment Rochester. This youth organizing agency works to employ, train, and empower youth to, in collaboration with adults, create peace, equity, and justice in their communities and institutions. Shanterra was a Special education teacher and Black Lit instructor in RCSD for five years and has over fifteen years of experience in youth and program development. 

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Mubarak
Bashir

Educational Options for Community Empowerment panel on January 12th

Mubarak Bashir is the Vice President for the Division of Youth and Community Services at Action for a Better Community, Inc. He has extensive experience in nonprofit leadership and since moving to Rochester in 2009, his work has been focused on the community and in line with ABC's mission of moving individuals and families towards self-sufficiency.
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Amarah
Anderson

Educational Options for Community Empowerment panel on January 12th

Amarah A. Anderson is a passionate youth worker and peer advocate in the City of Rochester. Amarah started a big part of her journey in Teen Empowerment (TE) as a Youth Organizer. Utilizing this platform for relationship building, artistic expression, and social change, Amarah went on to join the Clarissa Street Project as a Youth History Ambassador. Amarah submitted her poem, Dear White Man, to the Clarissa Uprooted Documentary and continued on the project; later being featured in News interviews and traveling to both Albany and Yonkers to advocate state legislators for increased funding for the Rochester City School district.
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Simeon
Banister

Moderator of the Greenlining! panel on January 19th

Simeon Banister, a Rochester native, began his tenure as president and CEO of  Rochester Area Community Foundation on Oct. 1, 2022. Banister’s career before the Foundation spanned public and private sectors and included the New York State Senate, state Department of Taxation and Finance, the State University of New York, and several private commercial real estate firms.

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Beverly
Fair-Brooks

Greenlining! panel on January 19th

Beverly Fair-Brooks serves as Vice President and Regional Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Officer for M&T Bank. She oversees the bank’s community reinvestment efforts throughout the Rochester, FingerLakes/Southern Tier & Central New York regions.
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Brennon
Thompson

Greenlining! panel on January 19th

Brennon Thompson works as the Fair Housing Policy & Programs Analyst at the National Association of REALTORS®. Before joining NAR, Brennon worked for the Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS® as the Community Engagement & Fair Housing Manager, the first dedicated position to fair housing in a REALTOR® association in New York State. In that role, he leveraged community assets to transform fair housing education, institutionalized equitable policies, and challenged the association to engage in reparative action.

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Robin
Wilt

Greenlining! panel on January 19th

Robin Wilt is a public servant, progressive activist, and licensed real estate broker. In January 2018, Ms. Wilt began serving as the second African American ever elected to Brighton Town Council, where she chairs the Community Services Committee, is co-Chair to the Finance and Administrative Services Committee, and serves as Liaison to the Town Board for the Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advisory Board and the Sustainability Oversight Committee. Ms. Wilt also serves on the New York State Democratic Committee representing the 136th Assembly District.
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Ajamu
Kitwana

Greenlining! panel on January 19th

As VP/Director, Community Impact, Ajamu supports ESL’s mission to share our financial success and reinvest in our community. Ajamu leads ESL’s Community Impact team and its commitment to collaboration to build a healthy, resilient, and equitable Greater Rochester community. To achieve this vision, Ajamu and the Community Impact team manage key initiatives of expanding individual opportunity, building strong neighborhoods, and strengthening organizations and systems. Ajamu also oversees the ESL Charitable Foundation as its Executive Director. The Foundation provides grants to many community initiatives driving meaningful and measurable change in the Great Rochester area.
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Dr. Irshad
Altheimer

Keynote on January 19th

Irshad Altheimer is a professor of criminal justice and the Director of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives (CPSI). He received his B.A. from Alabama State University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University. As Director of CPSI, Dr. Altheimer has partnered with a diverse set of stakeholders supporting the implementation and evaluation of projects seeking to reduce violence and improve the administration of justice. His research has included partnerships with the Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Probation, the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, Rochester General Hospital, Anthony L. Jordan Health Center, and Rise Up Rochester. Over the course of his career, Dr. Altheimer has secured more than $10 million in external funding from federal, state, and private sources.

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Dep. Chief
Keith Stith

Violence Prevention panel on January 19th

Keith Stith has been a law enforcement professional for over thirty years. He currently works for the Rochester Police Department as their Deputy Chief of Police that oversees the Community Affairs Bureau. Previously, he worked for the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office for 26 years as Chief of Detectives, where he oversaw the Criminal Investigation Division. 

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Cathy
Thomas

Violence Prevention panel on January 19th

Catherine (Cathy) Thomas is a proud native of Rochester, NY. She is a proud product of the Rochester City School District, a Benjamin Franklin High School graduate. Cathy is an Alumnus of Monroe Community College where she was inducted into the Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honors Society, and SUNY Brockport, earning her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. She also holds two master’s degrees in Social Work (Syracuse University, 2004) and Teaching in Health Education Professions (University of Rochester, 2016).
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Victor
Saunders

Violence Prevention panel on January 19th

Victor Saunders is Special Advisor on Violence Prevention Programs to Mayor Malik D. Evans. The administration is the fourth that he has served at the City of Rochester. Saunders has nearly 30 years of experience in youth development and violence prevention, having previously served with organizations including Hillside Children’s Center, The Center for Youth, Rochester City School District, and VTS Specialists: Youth Intervention Strategies.

 

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