Our Speakers

Gia Lowe

Named one of Essence Magazine’s 50 Founders to Watch, Gia Lowe discovered a passion for elevating the crowns & voices of Black women while working at a local salon in the Bronx at just twelve years old.

Upon completing a degree with a dual major in Risk Management and Marketing at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, Gia relocated to California’s Bay Area for a career development program before launching her own business ventures.

Believing that confidence in action results in impact, Gia co-founded CURLFEST, a beauty festival with close to 45,000 guests annually, alongside Curly Girl Collective, an award-winning Activation Agency & community of over a quarter of a million women, whose mission is to celebrate women of color & transform beauty culture. Simultaneously, she co-founded STRAND BY STRAND, an eco-all-natural  head lice treatment product & service company.

Gia’s entrepreneurial achievements, specifically her expertise in creating lucrative partnerships, has earned her opportunities to work with noteworthy organizations across the financial, tech, marketing, educational, and nonprofit sectors.

Cultivating a multi-million dollar book of business, brands including Target, HBO, AT&T, L’oreal, Dove, Netflix, and Revlon have all relied on Gia’s vision to foster authentic relationships between the brand’s and their communities.

As a thought leader and speaker, Gia lends her voice to broadening representation & equality for black women and empowering entrepreneurs with tools to design the life, business, and relationships that support their success.

Gia’s work has been featured & celebrated in publications such as ABC News, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Essence, and The New York Times.

David Neuman

David T. Neuman, MD is owner and clinical director of NY Sportscare, located in New York City, NY. He attended Cornell University and completed medical school at the State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn. David successfully completed a four-year orthopedic surgery residency and one-year Fellowship at Temple University, where he received specialty training in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery.

David specialized in general arthroscopic surgery with a sports medicine philosophy. His practice philosophy includes utilizing physical therapy and home exercises to help an injured joint recover to a functional state. His primary goal as an orthopedic surgeon is to help people diminish pain and increase the function of a damaged joint. David believes that health and fitness are an important part of everyday life.

David is Board Certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He is an instructor and member of the Arthroscopy Association of North America. He is also a member of the American Medical Association, the Medical Society of the State of New York, and several other medical societies. He is an internationally published author and international speaker.

Recently, Dr. Neuman has founded and created a joint-health healthcare start-up called Pop-doc.com. It is an online musculoskeletal health community, serving to educate people about joints, and offer web-based appropriate exercises and joint-health activities for those with joint pain, joint injury, or after joint surgery. In addition, the site is for those motivated people who want to practice preventive orthopedics or stay active in their preferred sport. Finally, he is the Executive Director of the non-profit, Joint Education Outreach. This utilizes local professionals to give age-appropriate joint-health presentations and symposia to school-age children. To this end, it serves to raise joint health awareness: educate and empower children to have a better understanding of their bodies so they can be an asset to society and suffer with less joint pain.

Bernadette McBurnie

Bernadette’s first career was over 16 years as Corporate IT Executive with large multinational corporations, including L’Oréal – one of the largest Cosmetic companies in the world, and 3 years with BNP and Paris Indosuez Banks. Bernadette’s IT career took her from France, to Hong Kong, and then on to Japan. Bernadette decided to put her career on hold to raise her family and took an 8-year career break to be a Stay-at-home Mom. As she puts it, she was the “Chief Home Officer”! She then moved to Canada and, eventually, to her current home in California

Bernadette runs two successful businesses. One is an International Health Network she runs from her home. As a Success Coach, Bernadette has been providing coaching and mentoring for 15 years to professionals and business owners who are committed to taking their overall success to the next level. Through her professional and personal life path, Bernadette has acquired a deep understanding of how to focus on the essential, how to identify, manage and overcome challenges, and how to create victories, big and small, while enjoying the journey of personal and professional growth.

Bernadette unconditionally embraces Personal or Self-leadership. She believes that when we learn to lead ourselves in every area of our lives, we become stronger and more compassionate individuals, we build strong families and communities, and we are able to impact the world in a more positive way. She also believes that choosing to face your personal fears, whether they are inherited from your upbringing or from first-hand trauma, is the best way to improve your life and impact the lives of generations to come.

Born and raised in France of Vietnamese descent, Bernadette sees herself as a citizen of the world. She is passionate about empowering women around the world, keeping our families healthy and protecting the beauty of our planet. One of the ways Bernadette pays forward her good fortune, is by donating her time and using her expertise to support Phase2Career, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting women returning to work or transitioning into entrepreneurship. In her spare time, Bernadette is an avid reader, music and movie lover, as well as a scuba diver. Bernadette is blessed with her husband and three beautiful children.

Melina Roberts

Dr. Melina Roberts is a Naturopathic Doctor, Author of Building a Healthy Child and Founder/Clinic Director of Advanced Naturopathic Medical Centre in Calgary, Canada. She is recognized as one of the top Biological Medicine practitioners in North America. Dr. Roberts is a graduate of the University of Waterloo and a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She did a 2 year post-graduate study in Biological Medicine with Parcelsus Clinic in Switzerland.

Brittany Johnson

“Brittany aims to amplify the beauty in everything, which is evident in her professional life as a Creative Strategist on the beauty vertical, as a budding digital creator doing beauty tutorials on Instagram, and as a D&I advocate for small businesses, students and young professionals.

During her 9-5 as a creative at a large tech company, she works with beauty clients like Estée Lauder and L’Oreal, using her art direction and design skills to develop people-first ideas and strategic solutions.

Prior to tech, Brittany worked at various advertising agencies such as Wieden+Kennedy, and was named one of the Most Promising Multicultural Students by the American Advertising Federation. Brittany’s passion for building a more inclusive community spreads beyond the platforms, through her work leading workshops, speaking at events, and doing proactive projects to empower others to grow and flourish through creativity. She was recently honored as Ms. ADCOLOR 2019 because of her contributions to the the organization.

Brittany is a first-generation Jamaican-American who lives in NYC; you can peek into her beautiful world via Instagram @brittjohnz.”

Michele Thornton Ghee

Having managed over a billion dollars in revenue for some of the biggest media companies in the world, Michele Thornton Ghee currently serves as the EVP of Business Development for 160over90, part of the Endeavor network which includes talent agency WME, fashion and sports pioneer IMG, UFC, among others. Michele and her team leverage long standing knowledge, relationships and experience in coporate America to help clients have an authentic conversation with their consumers by immersing their brand in the midst of cultrural conversations.

Previously she was SVP of Media Sales for BET Her (formerly Centric TV), a 24-hour African American lifestyle network designed for Black Women. There she oversaw the vision and execution of all sales functions for the network and led her team to success by continually figuring ways to grow the revenue base for the network in various economic environments. One of Ghee’s greatest accomplishments was the rebrand of Centric as ‘The First Network Designed for Black Women’ and then again into BET Her.

Ghee has worked for CNN, A&E, The History Channel and The Weather Channel. She began her career at SBC Communications in Oakland, California. Over a 20-year career she has honed her skills in the following areas: leadership, culture, strategy, revenue generation, and relationship building.

Ghee has received honors from numerous organizations including; Multichannel News 2019 Wonder Woman, Working Mother of the Year Award Class of 2018, The ADCOLOR Change Agent Award, The American Advertising Federation Mosaic Role Model of the Year Award, the Jesse Banks Humanitarian Award and numerous others. Ghee served as the chair of the Mosaic Executive Council from 2011-2013 and continues to play an active role in the media and advertising community while advocating for diversity in the communications industry.

Ghee has authored three books: Stratechic: Life and Career Winning Strategies for Women, Stratechic 2.0: Her Plan, Her Power, Her Purpose and Success On Your Terms.

After losing her dad to cancer in 1997, Ghee decided to go back to school and received her Bachelor of Arts from Golden Gate University at the age of 30. In May 2017, she was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from her alma mater. She resides in New Jersey and is a proud wife of Antony Ghee and mother of Taylor and Jordan Ghee.

Garrett Gunderson

Garrett B. Gunderson tackles a topic (business growth, success, and prosperity) that is critically important, yet normally neglected by most business owners (mostly due to the painfully boring presenters in this field).

As the Founder of an Inc. 500 firm and author of multiple WSJ bestselling books and hit the NY Times with Killing Sacred Cows. A regular on ABC’s Good Money, he has also been interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox, was kicked off CNBC, has been featured in over a thousand radio interviews, been a guest on hundreds of podcasts and is also a paid contributor for Forbes.

He has spoken at MIT, multiple times.

If you want to transform your thoughts into profits, keep way more of what you make, keep and grow your money without sacrifice or delay…Garrett is your guy.

David Xing

David Xing is the founder and CEO of PLOTT, an award winning Extended Reality company that has won 9 innovation awards at CES, including 2 Best of category (Smart Home and AR / VR.) David and Plott’s platform aim to close the loop between the virtual and the real world by weaving together a user’s ability to imagine and to create. Closing the loop between digital visualization and real world actualization.

David started out in analytics of a buy side fund that focused on “why and what’s next.” After he studied for his MBA at Cambridge, he was involved in a project with entities of the European Space Agency and fell in love with using data and innovation to solve age old problems.

Imani Ellis

Imani Ellis is the founder of CultureCon and The Creative Collective NYC, a community and creative agency dedicated to facilitating brave spaces for multicultural creatives. Born in Imani’s one-bedroom apartment as a means to foster meaningful connection, TheCCnyc has since parlayed into the fastest growing community devoted to creatives of color in NYC who are looking to cultivate relationships that go beyond the business card.                                      

TheCCnyc’s marquee event is CultureCon, the fastest growing conference dedicated to creatives of color. Past speakers include Tracee Ellis Ross, Will Smith, Regina King, Lena Waithe, Spike Lee, John Legend, Nick Cannon and more. CultureCon is the first of it’s kind ideas conference that caters to all aspects of creative and young professional life.

In addition to community events, The Creative Collective also works as an impactful creative agency, ideating creative strategies that resonate with multicultural creatives and young professionals and bridging the gap between brands and multicultural creatives. 

Imani is inherently an athlete. Prior to moving to New York City, she danced ballet for 14 years and was the first African-American to star as Clara in the Nutcracker in the Atlanta Ballet’s 75-year history. She also maintains the 300 hurdles record at the largest high-school in the state of Georgia.

Imani graduated from Vanderbilt University with a major in communications and a double minor in German and Film. She currently resides in Harlem.

Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Change Catalyst and its Tech Inclusion programs. Change Catalyst builds inclusive tech ecosystems through strategic advising, startup programs and resources, and a series of events around the globe. Sutton’s experience includes years of establishing partnerships with large brands to early-stage startups.

As a leading voice in diversity and inclusion in tech, Sutton shares his thoughts on solutions and culture in various media outlets where he has been featured in TechCrunch, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to mentoring and advising early-stage startups, Sutton’s life goal is to educate entrepreneurs who are passionate about using technology to change the world.

Olivia Owens

Olivia Owens is the Head of Partnerships at iFundWomen, the platform for female entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, coaching, and the connections needed to launch and grow successful businesses. Olivia was a founding team member of iFundWomen, which launched in 2016 and continues to help women raise millions of dollars in capital. Her leadership brokered critical partnerships to help scale the business, including GirlBoss, The Riveter, and Systane.

In addition, she supported the creation of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching program and helped build-out one of the nation’s largest connected communities of women business owners through the platform. Olivia previously held positions at Under Armour in People & Culture and received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Laurel Steinberg

Dr. Laurel Steinberg is a relationship therapist and clinical sexologist. She earned degrees at Johns Hopkins, NYU and the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists and completed her clinical training at Columbia University. Laurel specializes in treating anxiety, sex, dating & relationship issues and psychosomatic pain. Her professional experiences also include working as an adjunct professor at Columbia University, being a faculty member and professor at the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists, and regularly contributing to popular media articles. Laurel has dedicated her life to helping people enjoy harmonious relationships both with themselves and those they love.

David Gerber

David Gerber is a partner, speaker, and coach with Novus Global, an executive coaching firm that works with Fortune 500 companies, professional athletes, and high-profile business leaders to develop lives, transform teams, and elevate companies to go beyond high performance. With over a decade of leadership development experience, David is passionate about helping people come alive and creating extraordinary results.

Committed to building and strengthening communities, David is a long-term volunteer with Defy Ventures, an organization that works with people in prisons and transforms the lives of business leaders and people with criminal histories through their collaboration along the entrepreneurial journey. With Defy, David emcees and facilitates sessions and coaches inmates on business plans. Locally he serves in leadership with the Rotary Club of Oakland. Additionally he has done volunteer work internationally with the world’s most impoverished children and families.

Dr. Cynthia Barnett

Dr. Cynthia Barnett is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and coach. Her “refirement message” has been featured in US News and World Report, local newspapers, and TV shows. She was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal and in TIME magazine in its lead article about women in mid-life who have reinvented themselves. She is the recipient of the inaugural AARP Purpose Prize, which recognizes people over the age of fifty who have “used their wisdom and experience to revitalize their lives and make the world a better place.” She is a leading authority on how to “refire and reinvent, making dreams come true.”

Cynthia is currently living a refired life, paying it forward through her nonprofit program for girls, Amazing Girls Science, to help them ignite a spark for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). She resides in Connecticut.

Shanita Liu

Shanita Liu, MPA, CPC is a first-generation Indo-Caribbean American born and raised in Queens, New York. As a certified professional coach, workshop facilitator, reiki practitioner, and CEO of Coach Shanita Inc., Shanita teaches people how to say bye to burnout. Her approach includes showing people how to tune into their hearts and reconnect to their courage, power, and strength so that they can stop sacrificing themselves and start leading healthier and happier lives.

Shanita received her bachelor’s degree in English from Wheaton College (MA) and her master’s degree in Public Administration from the NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Her career path includes organizing local and international multicultural events, building national college-to-career success programs for first-generation and low-income youth, and professional salsa dancing. Shanita is also a Fulbright Scholar (Hong Kong), veteran spouse, mother of two, and contributing writer for various platforms that include Thrive Global and Brown Girl Magazine. When Shanita is not empowering people to integrate sustainable self-care strategies into their busy lives, she’s indulging in 90’s music and milk chocolate.