Past Speakers

Past session speakers for March 2021 Women's Forum.

  1. Photograph of Angel Islet Dozier

    Angel Iset Dozier

    Principal, Iset Excelsior LLC d/b/a Be Connected & Dope Together 

    Angel Iset Dozier is an activist, creative, educator and founder of Be Connected Durham, a community initiative connecting audiences, addressing disparities, fostering equity, and bridging access gaps through the arts, culture, music, and politics. She is a hip hop film and music lover and has used yoga, dance, literature, and golden era hip hop, specifically, to drive her work as a world languages instructor and curriculum specialist within public, private and Montessori school systems.

    Through Be Connected Durham, Angel has emerged as an urban visionary, championing community initiatives that connect organizations like Duke Performances, Carolina Performing Arts, Airolina Young Aviators, SheaMoisture, and more, to their authentically diverse target audiences. Each of Be Connected Durham’s projects serve as campaigns to affect positive change for marginalized, yet highly capable and valuable contributors to our society.
  2. Photo of De'Janel Henry

    De'Janel Henry
    Interim Associate Director for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions
    North Carolina Central University

    De’Janel Henry serves proudly as the Interim Associate Director for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at North Carolina Central University. Serving the institution for three years, Ms. Henry has the opportunity to recruit students from the Northeast/DMV area, manage campus visits and travel processes, teach first-time students in the University Seminar course, and now oversee NCCU’s Undergraduate Admissions Recruitment Team. 

    Ms. Henry is in fact a product of an HBCU as a Tennessee State University majoring in Mass Communications in 2012. In 2015, Ms. Henry earned a Master’s in Education concentrating in Higher Education in 2015. This New York native has a passion for furthering her own education with the purpose to emerge her compassion, drive and true commitment of serving black and brown students. 

  3. Photo of Jovonia Lewis

      Jovonia Lewis
    Counselor and Community Education Advocate

    Jovonia Lewis is a counselor and community education advocate. As a parent who experienced inequity in her child’s school and countering the opportunity gap, she was determined to advocate for her three sons who attend Durham Public Schools to make sure all marginalized children are seen, affirmed and heard. 

    In July 2020, she was sworn in as a School Board member with Durham Public School’s Board of Education. 

    Jovonia is a wife, mother and nationally certified and licensed clinical mental health counselor with her undergraduate degree in psychology from UNC-Greensboro and Master of Science degree in counseling education from Georgia State University. 

  4. Photo of Dr. Micara Lewis-Sessoms

     Dr. Micara Lewis-Sessoms
    Assistant Dean of Business and Entrepreneurship programs, and
    Coordinator of Work-Based Education
    Durham Technical Community College

    Dr. Micara Lewis-Sessoms serves as the Assistant Dean of Business and Entrepreneurship programs, and Coordinator of Work-Based Education at Durham Technical Community College.

    During her time at Durham Tech, Dr. Sessoms has worked with over a number of students and employers to bridge the community college and the world of work.  The heart of her work involves connecting students with employers to support workforce and talent development.

    Dr. Sessoms has a professional desire to serve the community by focusing on engagement and collaboration that creates spaces and opportunities for individuals to build their human capital and enhance their livelihood.

  5. Photo of Sharon J. Oliver

    Dr. Sharon J. Oliver
    Financial Aid Director
    North Carolina Central University

    Dr. Sharon Oliver has had a rewarding career in financial aid for nearly thirty years; she currently serves as the Financial Aid Director at North Carolina Central University.  Therefore, she fully understands the role financial aid plays in assisting with educational expenses as well as meeting the institution’s fiscal responsibilities.  She finds the work she does extremely gratifying because she is afforded an opportunity to support families from diverse economic backgrounds and to encourage them to make their dreams a reality.  She strongly believes that the work that she does impacts the lives of others and positively contributes to the community, which is why she is passionate about her profession.      
  1. Photo of Dr. Susan G. Paris

    Dr. Susan G. Paris
    Chief Academic Officer, Vice President
    of Academics and Guided Career Pathways
    Durham Technical Community

    Dr. Paris works closely and collaboratively with academic deans, administrators and faculty to ensure the quality of both non-credit and credit instruction, to support and advocate for faculty, and to champion the successes of students. As a first-generation college student, Susan began her educational journey at a community college and has a Doctorate in Education with a specialization in Higher Education Leadership from Northcentral University. Dr. Paris is committed to ensuring student persistence and completion, through a lens of equity-mindedness, and with the use of anti-racist strategies to address systemic racism wherever encountered. She has completed a challenging and memorable residential program at the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) at Harvard Graduate School of Education; and a program in Crisis Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Executive Education which informs her daily work. 
  2. Photo of Lillian Stubbs-McRae

    Lillian Stubbs-McRae
    6th Grade Teacher
    James E Shepard IB Middle School

    Lillian Stubbs-McRae has been a resident of Durham for 2 years; lifelong resident of North Carolina, in between her various military moves.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, a member of Kyles Temple AME Zion Church, a life member of the Hoke County Civic League, and a member of NAACP and the NCAE. 

    She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Community Care Counseling and Pastoral Counseling. 

    She’s currently in her twelfth year of teaching and is currently a 6th grade teacher at James E Shepard IB Middle School.  She’s spent 10 years teaching in the Hoke County School System prior to moving to Durham.
  3. Photo of Mr. Teal

    Rodriguez Teal 
    Pearsontown Elementary 

    Rodriguez Teal is the principal at Pearsontown Elementary School and this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King sums up Mr. Teal “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

  4.  Photo of Dr. Wanda Boone

    Dr. Wanda Boone
    Founder of Durham Together for Resilient Youth (TRY)

    After eloping to Durham in 1971, Dr. Boone became the first African American to work outside of the kitchen at McPherson Hospital. She worked at Duke University Medical Center with Dr. Charles Roe, where she was instrumental in finding a noninvasive treatment for Reye’s Syndrome and for a test that identified 10 pediatric metabolic disorders at one time. Moving to the corporate sector she became the first and only Sr. Executive Director of Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs for all Divisions national and international for an RTP company. Wanda’s prevention career spans over 30 years. She founded Together for Resilient Youth (TRY) in 2000. TRY, based in Durham now has a presence across NC, the US and in the coming months internationally in Kenya. 

    Dr. Boone is a forerunner and recognized as an expert in the field of Resilience/ACEs. She believes that children thrive when the adults that surround them are well and do well. She is a guest speaker and technical advisor on Prevention structures, Trauma, Resilience, Racial Inequities, Social Determinants of Health, Behavioral Health Disparities and more. TRY connects the dots linking the public health model, trauma informed care and transformative prevention.
  5. Photo of Denene Hinton

    Denene Hinton
    Community Education Specialist
    Alliance Health 

    Denene has been a part of the Alliance Health team (formerly The Durham Center) since its inception in 2012. She brings more than 20 years of experience working with children and adults with mental health, substance use and intellectual developmental disability disorders. She currently serves as the Community Education Specialist at Alliance Health. Her responsibility includes educating, consulting and providing resources to public and private entities that routinely interact with individuals with special health care needs.  Denene has extensive experience in case management, crisis intervention, and training.  She is a Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor and a certified Adult Mental Health First Aider. Prior to working at Alliance, she served at Housing Specialist, in which she assisted individuals who were homeless find and secure stable housing. Denene has a passion for helping individuals with special needs reach their full potential by promoting recovery and self –determination. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Sociology from North Carolina Central University. 
  1. Photo of Valerie Hinton 

    Valerie Sauer
    Director of Education
    Compass Center 

    Valerie Sauer (she/her/hers) is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Through community outreach, youth violence education, and direct client service, the focus of her professional career centers around violence prevention and understanding the intersectional oppressions faced by clients enduring violence. She is the Director of Education Programs at Compass Center, an agency that empowers clients to gain or maintain safety, self-sufficiency, and health through youth violence prevention, community education, and self-sufficiency & domestic violence services.

  2. Photograph of Dr. Hall
    Dr. Gentzon Hall
    Assistant Professor of Medicine

    Dr. Gentzon Hall is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Nephrology at Duke University School of Medicine. He received his MD and PhD degrees at the University of Maryland, at Baltimore School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine Residency and Nephrology Fellowship training at Duke University. He is faculty at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute where his laboratory focuses on the genetics of inherited kidney diseases with a special focus on protein wasting kidney diseases that disproportionately impact African Americans.

    Dr. Hall’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Society of Nephrology and he is a past Fellow of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program. He is a Scientific Advisory Board Member to Travere Therapeutics (formerly Retrophin) and Reata Pharmaceuticals and he has served as a subject matter expert on inherited kidney diseases for GLG Consulting and Guidepoint Consulting.

    Dr. Hall is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and serves the Durham community with the Brothers of the Beta Theta Lambda Chapter. He is committed to the health and well-being of medically underserved populations and has served as an invited speaker on the topic of COVID-19 and vaccination hesitancy for several churches, community groups and local government entities in Durham.
  3. Photo of Mindy Beebe

    Mindy Beebe

    Occupational Safety & Health Analyst
    City of Durham

    Mindy Beebe is an Occupational Safety & Health Analyst at the City of Durham for five years. Her responsibilities include compliance inspections, safety training and management of training records, and incident investigation. In other words, it is her job to make sure all employees go home in one piece.
    Prior to coming to work for the City of Durham, she worked for the Pantry for eight years, splitting her time between Risk Management and Training. While in the Training Department, she developed training for food safety.
    Mindy holds a Bachelor’s in Science and a Master’s in Education.
  4. Photo of Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo

    Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo 
    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases
    Medical Director for Pediatric Infection Prevention
    Duke University Hospital

    Dr. Ibukun Akinboyo is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Duke University Hospital, and the Medical Director for Pediatric Infection Prevention. She earned her medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical Center of Thomas Jefferson University. She completed her Pediatrics residency and Pediatric Infectious Disease fellowship at The Johns Hopkins University. Her research efforts are centered on outbreak investigations and surveillance techniques in resource-limited settings. Her ongoing efforts in mitigating community spread of COVID-19 has culminated in a medical expert role on the inaugural Durham Recovery and Renewal Task Force focused on comprehensively working with state public health officials, government officials, local health systems, businesses and community leaders to ensure a well-coordinated reopening response.