18th Annual Women's Forum - Celebrating Women: Past, Present and Future
The Human Relations Division of the City's Neighborhood Improvement Services Department is proud to present the 18th annual Women's Forum to celebrate National Women's History Month. Due to COVID-19, this year's event will be virtual on Zoom every Tuesday in March from 6-7pm. Each Tuesday, panelists will present and discuss a variety of themes including physical health, mental health, education, and personal finances.
March 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM: Kickoff Session
with Motivational Speaker
Kick off event featuring original song by Nnenna Freelon and inspiring words from Angel Islet Dozier.
Mar 9, 2021 at 6:00 PM: Education
This session covers a wide range of topics in education including virtual learning, Senate Bill 37, and continuing education.
Mar 16, 2021 at 06:00 PM - Mental Health
This session highlights the importance of resiliency during this pandemic, especially since so many of us feel isolated after a year of physical distancing and masking from loved ones, friends, and co-workers.
Mar 23, 2021 at 6:00 PM - Physical Health
This session covers COVID-19 information and current updates, CDC guidelines for staying safe and vaccine information.
Mar 30, 2021 at 6:00 PM - Finances
This session covers various financial tips including: creating a budget, establishing a financial plan and information on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.
Special Guest and Moderators
American jazz singer, composer, producer, and arranger.
Durham, NC based Nnenna Freelon is a six time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, music educator, arts advocate, producer, and arranger who has achieved international acclaim in both recording and live performance.
Nnenna the human being is also a mother, sister and friend who has experienced life's amazing gifts, and its heartbreak. The loss of her soul mate and husband Phil Freelon in 2019 to ALS, followed by the loss of her sister Debbie in 2020 to cancer, have reshaped her way of being in the world and literally changed her name.
Nnenna now feels the need to find her "voice" once more. Her new recording Time Traveler is scheduled for release in the spring of 2021 It’s an intimate expression of her love for Phil and their 40-year journey and a sonic love letter to all who’ve lost someone dear.
Her new Podcast, Greatgrief, is her effort to create a safe space to share others' stories of loss and grief. Her unique concept of musically supported storytelling is a way to invite curiosity and compassion around change.
In both new projects Nnenna is sharing her voice in ways that are authentic, personal and universal.
Beverly ThompsonPublic Affairs Director, City of Durham
Beverly joined the public sector after 15 years in health care public relations, working for leading providers including Kaiser Permanente, Healthsource North Carolina, (later acquired by Cigna Healthcare), and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Hospitals in Chapel Hill.
Beverly is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in journalism and Spanish. She currently sits on the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation Board of Directors and the Historic Hillsborough Commission. She is also on the convening committee planning the celebration of Durham’s 150th anniversary. Beverly and her husband, Aaron, are the proud parents of Kellye, an attorney working in Washington D.C.
Amy BlalockPublic Information and Communications Manager
Office of Public Affairs, a division of the City Manager’s Office
City of Durham
Donna Alston, CPA, MBA
Associate Director at Biogen
Donna’s passion for financial literacy began when she worked as a credit analyst at American Express over 25 years ago. She is currently employed as an Associate Director of Global Procurement at Biogen, a biotechnology company, where she has worked the last 16 years in various finance and data management roles. She has degrees in electronic engineering technology, accounting and business administration and is also a Certified Public Accountant.
Deputy Finance Director
City of Durham
Emily Desiderio is the deputy finance director of the City of Durham's Finance Department. Emily served as acting deputy finance director and also served as treasury manager, handling all of the City's debt, investments, banking, billing, and collections before obtaining the permanent position of Deputy Finance Director.
Every day of Women's Month we will spotlight ordinary people who do extraordinary things.