Meet the Speakers
Keynote Speaker: Deidre DeJear
Deidre DeJear is an entrepreneur and social activist with over 10 years of experience assisting small businesses and community organizations. In 2008 she started her own small business, Caleo Enterprises, which has provided over 400 entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations with affordable marketing tools and business strategies. Deidre was the Iowa African-American Vote Director in the 2012 campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama. She developed and implemented a program to educate, motivate, and mobilize low-propensity voters. The election deepened Deidre's enthusiasm for civic and community engagement. Her engagement began managing the United Way of Central Iowa's Financial Capability project. Over the last 5 years, Deidre has developed and implemented a collaborative that targets low to moderate income individuals and families, giving them access to mainstream financial systems & products and, increasing their financial management knowledge and skills. In 2018 Deidre became the first African American to be nominated by a major party in a statewide election. As a candidate for Secretary of State, Deidre earned over a half a million votes. Deidre now serves as the Iowa Campaign Chair for Senator Kamala Harris.
Lunch Q+A Speaker: Margo Foreman
In November 2017, Margo Foreman was appointed as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity at Iowa State University (ISU). Margo has been instrumental in the growth and development of the administration’s efforts to build and sustain a more inclusive Iowa State since she started in April 2016. A major portion her Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI) work portfolio is dedicated to oversight of all aspects of equal opportunity, affirmative action, discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct programs and serves as the university's Title IX coordinator. The scope of her work includes supporting excellence in teaching and learning through the recruitment, development and retention of a diverse workforce. In addition, she has developed conflict resolution practices designed to enhance a work and learning environment which is welcoming of all students, staff, and faculty.
After 18 years of practice at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis’s (IUPUI) Office of Equal Opportunity, Margo came to ISU as their Associate Director and an adjunct faculty member. Holding a certification as a Sr. Certified Affirmative Action Professional (Sr. CAAP), intergroup dialogue facilitator and conflict resolution mediator, Margo employs a wide diversity of tools alongside her content expertise to she practice her craft of ensuring equity and inclusion.
Breakout Presenter: Rachel Junck
Rachel Junck was born and raised in Ames, Iowa, the home of Iowa State University, where she currently studies Chemical Engineering. Rachel is running for Ames City Council Ward 4, so that she can be both the voice of students, who make up more than half of the city's population, and life-long residents like herself . She is ready to fight climate change on a local level, protect tenants’ rights, and shape her hometown into a place where young people want to start their lives. If elected, at age twenty, Rachel would be the youngest woman elected to any office in the history of Iowa.
Breakout Presenter: Samone Whitfield
Samone Whitfield is a Chicago, IL native, but has lived in Iowa for 18 years (16 of those in Ames). An ISU grad (Go Cyclones #LAS). She has worked on campus for 6 years and is an Assistant Director of Development at the Iowa State University Foundation. Self-proclaimed servant leader. Has served in many capacities on campus and the community namely: Current Chair for the Black Faculty & Staff Association, served 2 terms as Professional and Scientific Council’s VP of Equity and Inclusion, Women Impacting ISU calendar selection committee (2018-2020), University’s Inclusive Excellence selection committee, led several teams for We “heart” Ames, Minister’s Wives ministry leader and serves as a board member of The Friendship Center of Des Moines. Samone and her wonderful husband Randy have 7 children, 3 chickens and 1 dog Stella.
Breakout Presenter: Teresa Zilk
Teresa Zilk is the creator, producer, and curator of Stories to Tell My Daughter, a unique storytelling event that highlights the personal narratives of African American women and women of color. Teresa has honed her skills as a group facilitator, media coach, interviewer, and writer. She started her storytelling career as a news assistant for the Des Moines Register. She went on to work for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the State of Iowa, the Young Women’s Resource Center, and has done numerous freelance writing and photography projects. She received training in media coaching at UCLA and at American University. She is a graduate of Grand View University and holds a BA in Mass Communication.
Breakout Presenter: Max Mowitz
Max has been out and active in the LGBTQIA community since 2010. They earned a degree in Ethnomusicology and African American Studies at The University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana. Max is a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate with Polk County Crisis and Advocacy and is passionate about individualized, LGBTQIA inclusive, Trauma Informed healthcare for all Iowans. They specialize in topics including Trauma Informed Care, Sexual Violence and Assault, mental health, the prison industrial complex, intersecting oppressions related to race, gender identity, and sexual orientation, LGBTQIA-inclusive birthwork, and the transgender and nonbinary communities. Max is a graduate of the One Iowa LGBTQ Leadership Institute and a volunteer at Transformative Healing. Max is currently pursuing their Masters in Social Work at the University of Iowa and Doula certification and hopes to be a LGBTQIA-specific birth worker and transition Doula.