Upcoming Forum Speakers

Nadia Bilchik
Nadia BilchikPresident of Greater Impact Communication

Nadia Bilchik, President of Greater Impact Communication, is an internationally renowned television personality, communication and professional development training expert, author and keynote speaker.

Nadia has anchored and hosted feature programs for CNN International, CNN Airport Network and MNet Television (South Africa) and reported for CNN Weekend. Nadia is currently Editorial Producer for CNN’s Weekend Morning program.

Her uniquely dynamic, entertaining and substantive approach to communication skills training, comes from her extensive experience in conducting training workshops, coaching business professionals and delivering keynote addresses to a broad range of audiences both in the USA and globally, as well as interviewing high-profile figures, celebrities and corporate leaders. They include President Nelson Mandela, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and George Clooney amongst others.

A sought after moderator, Nadia has hosted events for Coca Cola, Ted Turner’s -The Captain Planet Foundation, as well as the International Women in Film Crystal Awards with Alfre Woodard. She has opened the SOS Children’s Villages in South Africa with President Nelson Mandela.

Nadia is author of 3 books including The Little Book of Big Networking Ideas, small changes BIG IMPACT-Maximize the Power of Your Presence and Leverage the Power of Your Personal Brand and OWN YOUR SPACE – The Toolkit for the Working Women.

Nadia received a Licentiate in Speech and Drama from Trinity College, London, and Bachelor of Arts degree majors in Drama and English from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Learn More About Nadia
Brigid Schulte
Brigid SchulteDirector of the Better Life Lab and The Good Life Initiative at New America, and author of the NY Times bestseller, Overwhelmed

Brigid Schulte is the Director of the Better Life Lab and The Good Life Initiative at New America, a nonpartisan think tank, and author of the New York Times bestselling Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One has the Time, which was named a notable book of the year by the Washington Post and NPR. She has spoken all over the world about how to make time for a Better Life by redesigning work cultures to focus on effective work, by re-imagining gender roles for a fairer division of labor and opportunity at work and at home, by rewiring social policy to meet the needs of diverse 21st century families, and, instead of seeking status in busyness, by recapturing the value of leisure.

She was an award-winning journalist at the Washington Post and Washington Post magazine, where she was part of the team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including Time, the Boston Globe, the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Guardian, and the Sydney Morning Herald. She has been quoted as an expert or featured in numerous publications, including Forbes, Fortune, the Atlantic, The Times of London, Macleans, the Irish Times, The Financial Times and Fast Company, and has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, the Katie Couric Show, MSNBC, CNN, Morning Joe, the BBC, CBC, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, NPR’s Morning Edition, Tell Me More, On Point, the Diane Rehm Show, the Leonard Lopate Show, the Bob Edwards Show, Efecto Naim with Moises Naim, the Australian Broadcast Company, and other television and radio programs.

She lives in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband, Tom Bowman, who covers the military for NPR, and their two children. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, and spent her summers in Wyoming on her family’s sheep ranch, where she did not feel so overwhelmed.

Learn More About Brigid

Authentic Leadership – Putting it into Practice Panel

Holly Bohn

Creative Director and Founder, See Jane Work

Holly Bohn, founder of lifestyle brand See Jane Work, is an experienced consumer products entrepreneur. In 2004 Holly noticed a need for office supplies designed by women, for women, so she launched See Jane Work and it was an immediate success. To date See Jane Work and Holly have been featured in over 300 publications and media outlets including: Oprah’s O List, Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, New York Times and many more.

Her success was not without sacrifice and in 2010, after a major set-back, she decided to partner with Office Depot to expand her reach without sacrificing her personal goals. See Jane Work now has over 144 products in a dedicated 16 foot section at every Office Depot store and online. Although the brand started out with stylish organizational products for the office, See Jane Work has evolved into a lifestyle brand that enhances the lives of busy women with “stylish shortcuts” for every aspect of their lives. Holly has helped millions of women create more productive, fulfilling lives and spaces, with products that combine personal style with intuitive function.

Holly is an open book and happy to share her wins AND failures with intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs. Her story will encourage you to take chances, bounce back from failure and have fun along the way. 

Dr. John Avendano

President and CEO, FSCJ

Dr. John Avendano is the sixth president and CEO of Florida State College at Jacksonville, one of the state’s largest institutions of higher education with nearly 50,000 students annually. With more than 30 years of community college experience, Dr. Avendano was previously the president and CEO of Kankakee Community College in Illinois. He also served as the president of the Illinois Council of Public Community College Presidents and the past chair of the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium President’s Council in Illinois.

Dr. Avendano was a first-generation college student for whom English is his second language. He received his associate degree from Waubonsee Community College, bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Northern Illinois University, master’s degree in adult continuing education from Northern Illinois University, and his doctorate in educational administration and foundations from Illinois State University. Dr. Avendano recently finished serving in his sixth year as the presidents’ liaison for the Illinois region of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK).

He was recognized by PTK with the following awards: Distinguished Administrator, Shirley B. Gordon Award and the 2019 Michael Bennett Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, Dr. Avendano was inducted into Illinois State University’s Educational Administration and Foundations Hall of Fame. He also received the 2017-18 Illinois Community College Trustees’ Association Advocacy Award. Additionally, The Daily Journal recognized Dr. Avendano as its 2019 Citizen of the Year. He and his wife Janet have three children – Michael, Nicole and Marissa.

Bryan Howard

Senior Vice President HR Operations and Talent Acquisition, Acosta

Bryan is a strategic human resources leader whose contributions have helped companies strengthen and revitalize their cultures, heighten employee engagement, and implement major change quickly, yet successfully. His people-first approach is rooted in his passion for helping others realize their true potential through leadership, coaching, learning, training and development.

In his role as SVP HR Operations and Talent Acquisition for Acosta, Bryan designs, leads and executes strategies and processes to build a high performing organization while maintaining a relentless focus on the employee experience. Prior to Acosta, Bryan led talent programs for EverBank (now TIAA), Wells
Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and GE Aviation, while managing change to help these companies successfully transform.

Outside of Acosta, Bryan is on the board of directors for Children’s Home Society and is a coach and advisor to several start-ups and non-profits. Bryan earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Florida and a Master of Science in Instructional Systems, Open and Distance Learning, Human Resource Development, and Performance Improvement from Florida State University.

Acosta is headquartered in Jacksonville and employs nearly 30,000 people across the U.S., Canada and Europe. The company provides a range of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services for most of the trusted consumer packaged goods brands seen in stores every day. For 90 years, Acosta has led the industry in helping companies move products off shelves and into shoppers’ baskets.

Betzy Santiago

Business Solutions Strategist, FSCJ

Betzy Santiago considers herself a bridge builder, a liaison, and a conduit for growth and connectivity. She is a strategist, a volunteer and a promoter of others. She has positioned herself to help drive change and loves being a part of significant projects. Betzy has many mentors and seeks their wisdom. She is a speaker, a facilitator and a moderator. She loves people and is committed to make her life add value.

Betzy served as the City of Jacksonville’s International Officer, the Director of International Programs at Lutheran Social Services and now as a Business Strategist at Florida State College at Jacksonville. She has managed budgets of up to 2.1M, deployed and grown a new division to sales totaling over $1M in the first year and led the development and execution of resources for corporate growth. 

Betzy has served as a liaison and board member on multiple local professional groups and nonprofits. She has spoken at various events, been featured in magazines, radio and television and is currently serving on the COJ’s City Charter Review Commission. 

This year she is on a quest to visit as many Florida trails and to complete the Run the Year 2020 Challenge.

Melanie Lawson-Minor

Anchor/Reporter, WJXT-TV Channel 4 News

Melanie Lawson-Minor is an Emmy nominated journalist at WJXT in Jacksonville, FL. She is one of the
earliest risers on the number one rated morning show in Jacksonville, kicking of a 4 hour long newscast
with the 5am show. This award-winning journalist anchors each morning and also reports daily on health
issues and medical breakthroughs. Melanie was recently nominated for an Emmy for her “Take it to
Heart” initiative which educates the community about the number one killer of all Americans, heart
disease.

Melanie grew up in Longwood, FL just two hours south of Jacksonville. She found love during a news
story and married fellow WJXT evening anchor Tarik Minor 10 years ago. The couple has a 7-year-old
son, Noah Graceson and a 5 year-old daughter Layah Grace.

Melanie attended Hampton University in Virginia, where she graduated with honors, with a degree in
broadcast journalism. She spends much of her time serving her community and feels a great
responsibility to give back through public speaking, mentoring and being a vocal leader in the
Jacksonville area.

Melanie is currently a board member for Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition, Inc. The organization
is a cooperative community effort to reduce infant deaths and improve the health of children,
childbearing women and their families in Northeast Florida. She’s also a board member for Children’s
Home Society of Florida, which helps loving families become parents through adoption and foster care
programs. Melanie is also a proud member of First Baptist Church of Oakland in Jacksonville.

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