2019 SPEAKERS

 


Beau Beard – Health Conservationist
Beau Beard is a sports chiropractor, conservationist, outdoorsman, writer, and speaker. He owns and operates The FARM: Functional Athletic Rehabilitation & Movement along with his wife Dr. Sloan Beard in Birmingham, AL. An avid runner, Dr. Beard couples his background in health and human performance with a passion for the environment and wildlife.


Michelle Bearman-Wolnek – Adoption Advocate
Michelle Bearman-Wolnek is the executive director and co-founder of Heart Gallery Alabama, a non-profit organization founded in 2005 that advocates for children in foster care and partners with photographers to match children with permanent families.

Heart Gallery Alabama has helped over 600 children find their forever family and was recently recognized as a 2017 Nonprofit of the Year award winner.


JohnMark Edwards – Urban Educator
Having spent part of his childhood in Costa Rica, JohnMark Edwards has a passion for travel, history, and culture. This passion has taken him around the world from teaching English in Tibet to helping with a medical ministry in rural India.

For the past decade, JohnMark has taught and coached middle schoolers at Phillips Academy in the Birmingham City School district where he won Teacher of the Year, got National Board certified, and was awarded a Golden Apple in Education from his alma mater, Samford University.


Gilberto Herrera – Community Entrepreneur
Gilberto Herrera is an entrepreneur and has started HL Holdings, LLC, a real estate investment firm, as well as Gilberto Herrera Enterprises, a consulting firm that works with entrepreneurs in sales and marketing.

Since 2011, Gilberto has been involved with the Birmingham Urban League, Inc and now runs its Financial Literacy and Workforce department.


Jacqui Jones – Marketing Strategy Architect
Jacqui Jones has a heart for small business and entrepreneurship leading her to found One Degree, a marketing firm, in 2013.

In 2018, Jacqui completed the Small Business Administration Emerging Leaders Program where she was awarded as an SBA Emerging Leader.


Mary Michael Kelley – Nonprofit Founder & Director
In 2013, Mary Michael Kelley founded the Mothers’ Milk Bank of Alabama, and in 2016, she became Interim Executive Director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA).

Mary Michael is now Executive Director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Alabama, where she helps families navigate the waters of chronic illness.


Stefan Kertesz – Addiction Scholar
Stefan Kertesz is a physician in internal and addiction medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Over the years, Dr. Kertesz has become a national voice on behalf of patients with long-term pain whose care has been impacted by institutional efforts to reduce opioid prescribing.


Brett Levine – Cultural Curator
Brett Levine is a writer and curator focusing on contemporary artistic and curatorial practice. He holds a PhD from James Cook University, where his research focused on how curators influence the ways audiences experience art. His forthcoming book, Curatorial Intervention: History and Current Practice, is being published by Rowman and Littlefield.


Brandi Lewis – Blood Disorder Awareness Educator
Brandi Lewis has a passion for helping others like herself diagnosed with blood disorders.

She founded Brandi’s Blessings, a non-profit organization, which aims to educate and spread awareness of all types of blood disorders as well as provide resources and support to patients and families.


Kristine Lokken – Neuropsychologist
Dr. Kristine Lokken is a neuropsychologist with a passion for helping people protect and restore brain health.

Her extensive background in clinical research, medical neuropsychology, and holistic wellness merged together to create the Brain Health Institute (BHI) with its mission to equip patients with the knowledge to achieve optimal brain health.


Drew Ann Long – Mompreneur
Drew Ann Long is an advocate for families with children with special needs. She has lobbied members of the United States Congress and presented to the National Council on Disability and to the United States Access Board.

Addressing the lack of accessibility and inclusion in the retail world, Drew Ann designed Caroline’s Cart, the first ever patented special needs grocery cart for older children and adults with disabilities.


Matt Might – [Precision] Medicine Man
Since 2017, Matt Might has been at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is the Director of the Hugh Kaul Precision Medicine Institute and a Professor of both Internal Medicine and Computer Science. Matt’s mission is to make precision medicine a reality for all patients.


Niya Pickett Miller – Communication Professor
Dr. Niya Pickett Miller is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the historic Tuskegee University.

Her scholarship focuses on the visual rhetorical criticism of marginal identities. Currently, she is exploring how individuals with albinism, a rare genetic condition, are communicatively framed in media.


Scott Pierce – Serial Improviser
Scott Pierce is a born technologist, writing his first production code for his parents’ software company at 10 years old. Pierce worked as a software developer for a variety of companies before taking a technology leadership position at of one of the South’s largest ad agencies.

In his spare time, Pierce can be found working a stage as a trained improvisational actor. He likes to read, cook, and play with his cats, but he never combines cooking with his cats. He has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and by his own assessment, he is a mediocre musician at saxophone, guitar, and piano.