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Conference Speakers T-Z



Conference Speakers


Conference Speakers


Conference Speakers


Conference Speakers









Tricia Tate, The Ford Family Foundation

Tricia Tate joined the Foundation in 2001. As a Scholarship Program Manager, she manages daily operations and works with the Director to plan and refine program policies and procedures. She coordinates workflow to ensure seasonal deadlines are met and oversees annual payout of $11 million in scholarship disbursements. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has a post-baccalaureate certificate from the University of San Diego. Outside of work, Tricia enjoys living in Eugene, hiking with her husband and border collie, reading, and travel.


Terri Taylor, EducationCounsel
Terri Taylor's portfolio focuses on projects related to access and diversity in higher education on behalf of the College Board’s Access & Diversity Collaborative, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and leading institutions of higher education, among others. She also works on issues related to quality and accountability in higher education, new models for delivering quality instruction to K-12 students, data and privacy, state assessment transitions, competency-based learning, and educator effectiveness. Ms. Taylor earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia, with distinction, and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Before law school, she taught English to migrant students in Virginia and to 7-12 grade students in the Kyrgyz Republic as a Peace Corps Volunteer.


Victoria Thomas, Houston Community College
Victoria Thomas is a Financial Coach with HCC working to ensure that students increase the likelihood of academic success and graduation by advocating responsible financial behaviors and connecting them with resources and opportunities to enrich their quality of life. Before joining HCC, she worked for JP Morgan Chase and entities spanning nonprofit, government, and healthcare sectors. Passionate about empowering others to find their own way to their goals, she volunteers as a financial literacy educator for the Women’s Resource Group of Greater Houston and actively supports the We are Girls initiatives. Victoria holds an MBA and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Education Entrepreneurship from the University of Pennsylvania.


Jane ThompsonTD Scholarships for Community Leadership

Jane has been the Executive Director of the TD Scholarship program since 2000. Prior to joining the program, Jane worked in both the private sector and in academia.  She holds a doctorate in Canadian history, and currently serves on the boards of the NSPA and Community Forests International (www.forestsinternational.org.) In 2013 she published her first book Resilient Woman; Weaving Together Work, Family, and Self.


Amanda Trosten-Bloom, Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change and Corporation for Positive Change
Amanda Trosten-Bloom is a Principal with both the Rocky Mountain Center for Positive Change and Corporation for Positive Change, and a widely acclaimed consultant, master trainer, energizing speaker, and pioneer in the use of Appreciative Inquiry for high engagement, whole system change. Working across sectors in business, nonprofit and government organizations, she builds results oriented partnerships with organizational and community leaders and teams in support of strategic planning, culture change, and organizational excellence. Her clients have included: Hewlett-Packard; the Unitarian Universalist Association; IHS; ACT; Hunter Douglas Window Fashions Division; National Security Administration; Goddard Space Flight Center; The Denver Foundation; and the Cities of Boulder, Denver and Longmont, CO; and Boulder County, CO.

Amanda is also co-author of the best-selling book, The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change (Berrett-Koehler: 2003 and 2010), considered to be the strongest practical guide to Appreciative Inquiry on the market. Additional publications include Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization (McGraw-Hill, 2010); Appreciative Team Development: Positive Questions to Bring Out the Best in Your Team (iUniverse, 2005); the Encyclopedia of Positive Questions – Volume One: Questions to Bring Out the Best at Work (Crown Custom Publishing, 2003 and 2014); and more than a dozen articles and book chapters.


Megan Van EmonGreater Kansas City Community Foundation
Megan is assistant corporate counsel for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Megan earned her undergraduate degree in human and organizational development from Vanderbilt University and her law degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. As assistant corporate counsel, Megan helps with legal responsibilities and complex business transactions on behalf of the Community Foundation and supports strategic efforts to build and strengthen relationships with the professional advisor community of attorneys, accountants and financial advisors. Additionally, Megan works with donors to focus and guide their philanthropic investments. Megan has been on staff at the Community Foundation since 2012.


Chaffee Viets, Stamps President's Scholars Program, Georgia Institute of Technology
Chaffee Viets has spent 18 years working with scholarship students nationwide, joining Georgia Tech in August 2011. He has experienced scholarship programs as both a student scholar and an administrator, recognizing the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities faced by highly talented students. Chaffee spent most of his career at NC State University with the Park Scholarships and Caldwell Fellows programs, followed by a cycle with Duke's and UNC-Chapel Hill's Robertson Scholars Leadership Program. Under Chaffee’s tenure at Georgia Tech, the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation made a landmark gift resulting in the renaming of the program he leads as the Stamps President’s Scholars Program.


Rachael Cassiday WatkinsTruman Heartland Community Foundation
Rachael Cassiday Watkins joined the staff of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation as the Assistant Director of Programs and Donor Services in March of 2015. At Truman Heartland Community Foundation, Rachael is responsible for administering nearly 100 active scholarships, managing day-to-day grant-making for donors, and providing administrative support to the Community For All Ages Coalition, a community initiative focused on addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by our aging population.

Rachael holds a B.A. in Arts Administration and Vocal Music from Hastings College; studied marketing, communications studies, and advertising at the graduate level at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and holds an M.F.A. in non-profit Arts Administration from Southern Utah University. Rachael’s experience includes positions with the Kansas City Symphony; the Right Brain Initiative in Portland, OR; the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University College of Performing and Visual Arts in Cedar City, UT; and the Lied Center for the Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE. Additionally, she served as a musician in the Nebraska National Guard’s 43rd Army Band for six years.


Michele Waxman Johnson, Central Scholarship
Michele joined the staff of Central Scholarship in February 2011, where her focus is on advocacy, strategic plan implementation, and College Cash® planning and curriculum development. Michele writes op-eds on higher education affordability issues, and is presenter for College Cash®: Managing Student Loans, and co-presenter for College Cash®: Parent’s Guide to Finding and Funding College. Michele earned a Master’s degree in Planning from the University of Virginia, a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a certificate in nonprofit governance from the University at Albany. Michele previously served as Executive Director of a local community leadership program for 11 years, and was a local political candidate in 2010. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Congressman Elijah Cummings’ Youth Program (ECYP).


Barbara Weber, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
As the grants administration manager, Barbara oversees the administration of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s grant and scholarship payments related to higher education. Prior to her work at the Foundation, Barbara served as vice president of operations for Scholarship America’s Scholarship Management Services division. In this role, she provided oversight for the distribution of $165M to 66,000 students annually through the administration of more than 1,200 scholarship, tuition reimbursement, education assistance and loan programs. Barbara holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.B.A. from the University of Saint Thomas Opus School of Business.


Eric Wilkinson, Kauffman Scholars, Inc.
Eric Wilkinson manages the day-to-day operations of the postsecondary team and provides direct supervision to the Postsecondary Coaches and Advisors. Prior to joining Kauffman Scholars in 2009, Eric spent over five years in higher education working in the areas of admission and student affairs. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Pittsburg State University.


Bonnie Williams, The Ford Family Foundation
Bonnie Williams is responsible for programs that engage our network of nearly 3,500 alumni and 1,000 current Ford Family Scholarship recipients. She helps scholarship recipients transition into the working world while cultivating a resource base to support the Foundation's mission.

Prior to coming to The Ford Family Foundation in 2015, Bonnie worked at the University of Oregon School of Law as the associate director for the Center for Career Planning and Professional Development. Her responsibilities there included developing programs and initiatives that prepared students to apply for, secure, and be successful in professional positions. She also counseled law students and graduates on career goals and transitions. 


Jamie Williams, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
Jamie's role as Director of the Undergraduate Scholars Program for the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is to develop meaningful engagement and enrichment opportunities that hone Scholars' leadership skills and help them develop their professional purposes in college. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jamie was director of the National Scholars Program at Clemson (S.C.) University from 2002-2015, in addition to serving as associate director of the Clemson Honors College from 2009-2015. In 2006, Jamie led the effort to create USPAA, the Undergraduate Scholars Program Administrators Association, a professional body supporting the work of campus-based scholars programs, and served as president and a board member from 2009-2013.


Diana Wolf, Meritus College Fund
Diana M. Wolf joined Meritus College Fund as Executive Director in 2004 with responsibilities for the overall management of the organization, development and donor relations, and Scholar programming. Ms. Wolf has been involved in youth development and education for the last 20 years. Prior to joining Meritus, she was the Program Officer for Education with the Bank of America Foundation focusing on pre-K through 12th grade education and youth programs. Ms. Wolf began her career in teaching and multi-cultural education. She has served on a number of school, community, professional, and advisory boards locally and nationally. Ms. Wolf holds a B.A. (cum laude) from the University of San Francisco in Government and an M.A. from the Universitaet Salzburg, Austria, in Political Science, European History and Modern German Literature. 


Sarah Wurtz, Indiana State University
Sarah has been the Scholarship Director at Indiana State University since the office launch in 2008. She advises, inspires, and propels our prospective and current students in to the world of scholarship on a daily basis. She recently took the lead on making the scholarship process easier to navigate by working collaboratively on the online scholarship management system uniquely called “The Branch.” She plays a key role in our recruitment and retention of high achieving students.  She holds a bachelor's degree in German from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in English literature from Indiana State University.


Beth Zielinski, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Beth A. Zielinski is the Senior Higher Education Programs Adviser at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Since 2010, Beth has worked with the Cooke Foundation's Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to provide advising and programming for the scholars, who are exceptionally promising students with have financial need. She has over a decade of experience aiding high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds including non-traditional, first generation, and undocumented students in creating successful transfer pathways.

Beth graduated with a M.A.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Tech and with honors from Randolph-Macon Woman's College with a B.A. in Biology and Sociology/Anthropology and a Certificate in Human Services.

Diane Zile, JERA Partnerships, LLC
Diane B. Zile Strategic Partner Business Consultant & Coach Diane Zile is a passionate, experienced strategic partner working with leaders and businesses to achieve “the promise of success earned”. Prior to founding JERA Partnerships, Diane was Chief People Officer at OtterBox, a fast-paced, exponentially growing and successful global company, achieving Top Ten national recognition by the Great Places to Work Institute. Diane has successfully led teams at Fortune 500 companies such as YUM! Brands and Macy’s in developing innovative people strategies that: - Build engaging cultures - Improve alignment and commitment - Realize enduring success Diane received her Master of Science Degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF) and the National Speakers Association (NSA). She speaks nationally on business strategy, organizational culture and employee engagement. Diane is passionate about people and the arts and serves on the boards of the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, Hunger Free Colorado and the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau Foundation.

Thank you to the following organizations for their generous support!

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