Dr. Nicole Sirju-Johnson is the Associate Chief Diversity Officer at Binghamton University. She is originally from Brooklyn NY. She graduated the Valedictorian from George Westinghouse High School (Brooklyn, NY) in 1993 and went on to attend SUNY College at Brockport where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. Upon graduation, she came to Binghamton University to pursue a Masters of Public Administration degree which she completed in 1999. While in the doctoral program, Nicole began to teach several of her own courses in feminism, American government and public administration. In 2005, Nicole accepted an administrative position with the Undergraduate Admissions office at Binghamton University. As an Assistant Director, she soon became the territory manager for the five boroughs of New York City. While Nicole retains a passion for the admissions process, she welcomed the opportunity to serve as Director of the Multicultural Resource Center in 2008, where her charge was to build an inclusive programming agenda for students and a diversity training program for university professionals and staff. While continuing her administrative career, Nicole earned a PhD in Political Science in May of 2011. 2014 was a great year, in that Nicole accepted the position of Associate Chief Diversity Officer with the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a promotion at the university. In 2014, Nicole and her husband Jamar Johnson, also an alum of Binghamton, opened a food stand during the summer of 2015. The goal was to see if their product, American southern and soulfood would work in Binghamton, without having the overhead costs of occupying a building. The food stand was a trial run at operating a restaurant. The effort was met with great local response. In June 2015, the couple opened Jrama’s Soulfood Grille & Barbecue Pit on Upper Front in Binghamton. Since then, the couple opened Jrama’s Catering Hall & Event Center in September 2016. Currently, Nicole looks to expand the responsibilities of her division at Binghamton University while supporting the expansion of the Jrama’s brand locally.
Jamar Johnson has always had a passion for serving others. While in high school, Jamar’s first job was serving as an usher for the historic Apollo Theatre in Harlem NY. Jamar believes that experience of working with famous people at a young age afforded him great insight into how to not only serve people, but also taught him what great entertainment was all about. He graduated from Rice Academy, an all-male catholic school in NYC. He came to Binghamton to major in Sociology. Jamar began working for the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference, in 2001. Upon graduation, he would later complete training to become a peace officer in Broome County, NY. Throughout college and after graduation, Jamar was a busy promoter and event planner, working with many local night clubs to plan events. He knew, while a student that he always wanted to go into business for himself. He did this while still working full time at the Children’s Home.
After 14 years of service to the Children’s Home, Jamar stepped out on faith and opened a food stand in 2014 in the parking lot of the American Legion, Post #80 in Binghamton. During the summer months, Jamar and his wife would run a street-side restaurant to assess whether southern soulfood would work in a northern NY community. The response was so well received that by the close of the summer season, Jamar and his wife began looking for a permanent home for a full service restaurant.
In June 2015, Jamar and his wife opened Jrama’s Soulfood Grille & Barbecue Pit on Upper Front St in Binghamton. Since then, the business has won Best Barbecue by the Press & Sun’s Reader’s Choice Awards for 2016 and 2017. Jrama’s has also been named one of the top 13 barbecue restaurants in upstate NY State open all year by UpstateNY.com
In September 2016, Jamar and his wife opened Jrama’s Catering Hall & Event Center on State Street in Binghamton. The venue caters weddings, funerals and everything in between from comedy shows to engagement parties and corporate events. This allows Jamar to not just provide a great food product but also to host great events.
Jamar’s immediate goals for the businesses are to continue to build and expand the brand in providing excellence in food and great events locally. He believes Jrama’s is unique and stands out among other local restaurants and wants the product to become a household name.
Noted educator, speaker, consultant, and author, Dr. Francis L. Battisti, offers individuals and organizations a pathway to explore their potential and move toward desired transformation. His national reputation in the fields of motivation, health enhancement, long-term care, and conflict disposition is manifest in his work with numerous corporations, major health-care organizations, and congressional, as well as governmental committees, with his workshops having been offered throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.
Dr. Battisti is Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at the State University of New York at Broome Community College, where he was the 2011 Recipient of the State University of New York Distinguished Professorship for Service and a 1989 Recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has been recognized by “The Morning Knights Toastmasters Award” for Excellence in Communication and Leadership. The Alzheimer’s Association Central New York Chapter as the honoree of the “Memory Makers Award” for his efforts to make the Southern Tier a better place to live and work. He is also the recipient of “The David Malcom Award”, in recognition of his Exemplary Service to the Homeless. Francis is the creator of a number of DVD’s and CD’s and the book, Checchino: A Father & Son Journey Toward Dusk. In addition, Francis is co-author of the book, Tomorrow’s Weigh…The No-Diet Way to Lose Weight. His most recent articles, “Leveraging Workforce Research to Attract, Manage, and Retain High-Performance Employees”, were published in the July/August 2011 issue of Infusion & “Harnessing the Diversity and Power of Your Team! Developing and Sustaining Highly Effective Teams Ensures Your Competitive Edge”, was published in the July/August 2010 issue of Infusion & “Advancing the Bottom Line and Service Quality via a Culture of Employee Retention”, was published in the September/October 2009 issue of Infusion, the magazine of the National Home Infusion Association.
Dr. Battisti received his Ph.D. in Human Development from Marywood University with research titled “A Father’s Response To Having A Child Who Is Overweight
Dan Mori’s bio is in the shared google doc and below:
Dan Mori is the president of Employment Solutions, a national recruiting agency, with headquarters in Elmira, NY. Dan has been an entrepreneur and recruiting expert since 2006. He has 10 years of experience in organizational leadership, recruiting, and business development. Under Dan’s leadership, Employment Solutions has expanded operations to 28 states. Dan is also a partner in two other companies in the HR and Professional Development industries. Additionally, Dan is the Director of the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator. Recognized as a leader in recruiting and business development, Dan delivers keynotes and workshops nationally, as well as consults with senior leadership teams. In addition to his US Army service, Dan has received professional training in recruiting, sales, management, leadership, OSHA, LEAN, and earned Six Sigma Green Belt.
Arel Moodie is a national best selling author and has been a featured speaker at the White House and has been personally acknowledged for his insights on youth engagement by President Obama. He has partnered with NCCEP at national conferences and been a presenter at various GEAR UP conferences.
Inc. Magazine called Arel a “High-Energy, Motivator” and named him to their “30 Under 30 list” of top American entrepreneurs under 30 years old joining people like Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.
Essence Magazine said “Arel should be the poster boy for rags-to-riches stories… He is America’s Top Young Speaker.”
Arel has been quoted in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Forbes,
Huffington Post, & USA Today.
Black Enterprise Magazine named Arel as one of their “Tycoons Under 35”.
Arel grew up on welfare in the projects of Brooklyn, NY where he witnessed those around him being murdered and imprisoned. College became his only way out. Using determination and applying what he teaches in his presentations he was able to build a million dollar event production and education company by his 30th birthday.
As a professional speaker he has spoken to over 200,000 students in 48 states and 5 countries.
For fun, Arel likes to dance; he has performed at Madison Square Garden and his wedding dance video on YouTube has over three million views.
Brianna Barnett is a native of Binghamton, NY and the president/co-founder of Broome County Cleanup Crew (BCCC). BCCC is a local, all volunteer organization that aims to provide an outlet for community members to give back in a positive way, while enhancing the appearance of our town. The crew hosts weekly community cleanups during the summer, and monthly cleanups during the colder seasons. Brianna is also a local dance teacher in the Southern Tier, and holds herself to very high standards when it comes to being a role model to our community’s youth. Working as a professional cheerleader/model in NYC from 2012-2017, she experienced a fast-paced, “only look out for yourself” type of lifestyle. Though traveling the world and performing on numerous television shows was what she had always thought was her dream, actually living it out is what drew her back to Binghamton. She felt as though there was a pressure put on performers that allows them to believe that they can only be great if they leave Binghamton. Through her experiences, she made the decision that that is simply untrue. She decided that she was going to begin taking steps to help the community she grew up in thrive, and become a place where people don’t feel they need to leave to be great. She wants to bring the greatness here. Though to some picking up trash around town may seem like it won’t make a big impact, Brianna believes that it’s a way to teach our youth the importance of caring for humanity through kindness, community empowerment, and environmental awareness.
Amelia joined VINES as the organization’s first Executive Director in February 2016. As a volunteer, Amelia began working with VINES in 2007 as a founding board member and the coordinator of the Liberty Street Community Garden. Prior to joining VINES, Amelia worked for United Way of Broome County spearheading the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition’s Eat Well. Play Hard. Binghamton! project (a pilot initiative working to improve the health of families on the North Side of Binghamton) and the City of Binghamton as the City’s Sustainable Development Planner. Amelia holds a Master’s degree in Agriculture, Food, and the Environment from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She completed dual Bachelor degrees at Binghamton University in Environmental Studies and Philosophy. Having grown up on a farm in Otisco, NY, she enjoys working with other community members to make space in the urban neighborhoods for people to grow their own food and connect with the local environment.
Rachel Jenks is the Founder and Art Director of Rtistry By Design branding and graphic design studio based in Binghamton, New York. She has been a professional graphic designer for more than 10 years. Prior to design, her unique journey spanned multiple roles in four countries, three cities, and two states – including professional ballet, management, copywriting, event production, business consulting, and national and international public relations
As a designer, she has had the opportunity to work with businesses of all sizes, start-ups, agencies, higher education institutions, and non-profits for projects in branding, brand strategy, print design, multi-media, advertising, digital design, presentation design, marketing, project management, live event production, e-learning, video, photography, art direction, and out-of-home. She also served as Marketing Director of Davis College in Johnson City, New York, before launching Rtistry By Design full-time in the summer of 2016.
Locally, Rachel serves on the board of AIGA Upstate NY as Binghamton Programming Director and organizes monthly “Coffee with Creatives” and “Cocktails with Creatives” networking events for designers, artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and creatives of all genres in the Greater Binghamton area. She is a proud member of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, the Entrepreneurs Alliance, the Emerging Leaders Society, the Broome County Arts Council, past Vice President and board member of BCCOAD (Broome County Community Organizations Active in Disaster), and an active participant in the renaissance of the Southern Tier.
When not partnering with clients to craft memorable brand experiences, Rachel can be found playing in her garden and kitchen, savoring the beauty of the outdoors, keeping up with her fur kids, and spending time with friends.
Lea is an award-winning activist who has successfully bridged the gap between the community and government agencies to bring about positive and lasting change in her community. Her greatest achievement includes being elected as the first–and youngest–African-American representative in the Binghamton City Council. She has 20 years of experience as a Community Organizer leading efforts on various social justice issues; quality education, health care, access to fresh foods. She has also served on community boards and created task forces whose goals are to address cultural competency and anti-racism. She has passed legislation supporting equal pay for women, the creation of a city based human rights commission, establishing a city wide climate action plan, and other equity based legislation.
She is the Coordinator of the UDiversity Educational Institute at Binghamton University. This Institute develops and provides diversity and inclusion trainings and programs for faculty, staff, and students at Binghamton University. Through her consulting firm, Webb Consulting, she is working with non-profits, education institutions, and businesses in creating culturally responsive organizations. She was recognized as one of tomorrow’s leaders by Oprah magazine and the White House Project, and was honored with the President’s Award by the Broome-Tioga Branch of the NAACP for her significant contributions to her community.
She’s also the President of the Broome County Urban League Young Professionals, alumni of Vote Run Lead and the Young Elected Officials Network.
Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, a national organization leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VRL as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office and civic life, training over 15,000 women. She has served as a Leadership Development Consultant for a range of clients, including the Yahoo! Business and Human Rights division and Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she developed the Athena CORE10© – an innovative set of leadership competencies for 21st century women leaders based on the latest research and gender analysis. She has worked with a diverse range of clients including Fortune 100 companies, global girls’ initiatives and the U.S. Department of State, reaching women leaders in a dozen international cities. Vilardi serves on the Advisory Boards of Girl Meets World, the New American Leaders Project, and Democracy.com and is on the Leadership Teams of Vision2020 and Political Parity. She is an Executive Producer of Ann Richards’ Texas, a documentary about the late pioneering governor. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, and Fox News and her work was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine as well as numerous international and domestic articles on women and leadership.
Andy is an Internationally Certified Executive and Leadership Coach receiving his formal training at the College of Executive Coaching in St. Pismo Beach, California. He is a Certified Trainer in Crucial Conversations, DiSC, Emotional Intelligence, Developing High Performance Teams, Improving Employee Engagement and Coaching for Behavioral Change.
He does dozens of workshops and trainings each year throughout the Southern Tier with many of them being sponsored by the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce. In addition, he has done trainings for organizations in Orlando, Florida and Shanghai, China.
Andy’s clients include
• Corning Inc.
• The Corning-Painted Post School District
• HUNT Architects and Engineers
• The Radisson
• Socha Financial Group
• Horizons Federal Credit Union
• And many, many others
He lives in Corning, NY with his family. His wife is a Biology teacher at the Corning-Painted Post High School. They have an 10 year-old son, Bobby, who just started middle school.
Andy is a proud member of Corning Rotary and the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce.