2017 Presenters and Panelists
Learn more about several of our Pathfinder Presenters on our Staff Page
Austin Community College- College Admissions Panel
The Austin Community College District is a multi-campus community college system serving the Austin, Texas metropolitan area and surrounding Central Texas communities. For more information visit: www.austinacc.edu.
Ami Kane- Girls Empowerment Network, Development Director
Pathfinder Presenter & Power Chat Facilitator
Bio- Ami is from the Indianapolis area which is where her passion for girl services began. This interest was sparked through volunteerism and her undergraduate political science and gender studies programs where she was honored as the Servant Leadership award winner in 2007. Her commitment to girls was further inspired by over four years of work with Girls Incorporated of Greater Indianapolis, during which time she also received her masters. After arriving in Austin in late 2009, Ami worked briefly with Foundation Communities before going back to her girl service roots with GEN. Ami managed the annual We Are Girls Conference for three years, serving thousands of girls, before moving into her present role as Development Director in January of 2013. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Impact Austin, and the Leadership Austin Emerge class of 2014. Her largest volunteer commitment is leading the girls’ giving circle, Girls Giving Grants, through Impact Austin. In her free time Ami loves to watch movies, read, volunteer, try new nail polish, blog, and swim at Barton Springs.
Blair Stirek- Girls Empowerment Network, Project Manager
Pathfinder Manager & Presenter
Bio- Blair moved to Austin, Texas at the end of 2012, after being in Las Vegas for 17 years. She started her work with non profits in 2005 when she organized all the events for an organization called Women’s Empowerment Network. After working with a few different marketing companies and doing brand management Blair found herself working for Aid for AIDS of Nevada, the largest non profit in Southern Nevada to support people with HIV and AIDS. She held a role with AFAN for almost 2 years as Development Coordinator, which entailed planning the Las Vegas AIDS Walk, which would have more than 8,000 attendees. Blair always had a dream of going to Africa, so she put her mind to it and personally fundraised over $5,000 to spend July 2012 in Uganda building sustainable businesses for schools. Shortly after returning from Uganda Blair was contacted by Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada, an organization she had been volunteering with for years. They invited her to come on temporarily to manage their 5K and “Knockout Cancer for Candlelighters Kids” an amateur MMA fighting event. Immediately after the execution of these events Blair moved to Austin, Texas.
Brittany Yelverton- Girls Empowerment Network, Community Relations & Volunteer Manager
Pathfinder Presenter & Facilitator
Bio- Though originally from Texas, Brittany pursued her undergraduate degree at Elon University in North Carolina where she earned a BA in Communications and English and minored in Women’s/Gender Studies. After graduating from Elon, Brittany was selected as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and earned her graduate degree in Media Studies at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. Brittany first began working in the Austin nonprofit community when she served as the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Specialist at GEN in 2011-2012. Most recently, Brittany served as Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas’ Community Outreach Specialist and was awarded the 2013 Reproductive Equity Award from the Lilith Fund. Currently, Brittany acts as an advisor for Impact Austin’s Girls Giving Grants program and serves as the Board Vice President for DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Austin).
Caroline Crawford- Girls Empowerment Network, Program Director
Pathfinder Panel Facilitator, Presenter & Group Leader
Bio- Caroline started her work with youth over a decade ago. She has been a mentor and volunteer through several organizations including HeadStart and Boy Scouts of America. Her passion for girls empowerment stems from her time at Camp Greystone, an all girls residential camp in North Carolina. From 2007 to 2010, Caroline was a counselor working with girls on self-confidence and self-worth. She went on to pursue her passion for empowering others through obtaining her masters degree. In 2011-2012, Caroline worked at Winn Elementary performing individual counseling and volunteered with GEN co-leading a clubGEN girls group at Maplewood Elementary. In 2013, Caroline worked with Pheonix House, a residential rehabilitation organization designed for at-risk youth 13 to 18, leading group therapy. From 2013 to 2015, Caroline was promoted from Assistant Director to Director at Camp Champions. Using the camping venue, she created intentional frameworks and programs to support and to reach out to every girl at camp. Caroline could not be more excited about joining the GEN team as their Program Director and working with a mission driven organization empowering young females.
Claudia Arellano- Girls Empowerment Network, Program Coordinator
Bio- Claudia is a Program Coordinator. She has had a variety of roles at GEN, first as a volunteer with the 180 Program in 2013, then as an intern the following spring, and on staff the summer of 2014 through the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate program. Throughout these many months she was able to co-facilitate and observe groups, workshops, and camps. For the 2014-2015 school year, Claudia served as the Hays County Program Coordinator in the area where she went to school in for 4 years. In her current role, she works full-time with girls in all of the agency’s programs. Claudia was born and raised in Austin, specifically a proud member of the Dove Springs area. She is excited to be a first generation college graduate from a large family. Claudia likes to find time to hng out with her friends and family, listen to music, go to concerts, and find different workout classes to be active in.
Elena Carey- Girls Empowerment Network, Development Coordinator
Pathfinder Facilitator- Focus Group
Bio- Elena began at GEN in August 2015 and is thrilled to combine her passions for nonprofit management and girls’ empowerment. She is originally from eastern Pennsylvania and moved to Austin in spring 2012. Before beginning at GEN, Elena worked as Administrative Director at Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, a green building and sustainable design nonprofit in east Austin. She has also served as Volunteer Coordinator for Movability Austin, Austin’s transportation management association. Elena studied at the College of William and Mary, where she was awarded a Dintersmith Honors Fellowship and Altshuler Scholarship. Beyond work, Elena volunteers for HeartGift and Austin Bat Cave. She runs, reads, and creates mixed media cards often.
Foundation Communities’ financial programs facilitate a pathway to economic stability for individuals and families of limited resources through education, optimization of resources, and support as they work towards financial goals. For more information visit:
Jeremy Solomans- President at JS&A
Pathfinder Presenter- ‘Conflict Resolution Across Cultures’
Description of Workshop- Conflict Resolution across Cultures. This highly interactive workshop will help emerging women leaders to understand why and how different people (mis)communicate across cultures and to develop some key skills to anticipate and, if necessary, resolve conflict across difference.
Bio- Jeremy Solomons is a UK-born and Austin-based coach, consultant and trainer in Inclusive Leadership, Gender Balance and Conflict Resolution. Having been a single father to a daughter now studying at Texas State and having volunteered for the Sante Fe Rape Crisis Center and Austin Communities in Schools, Jeremy is passionate about helping young women to lead with competence and confidence. For more information visit: www.jeremysolomons.com.
Maura Thomas- Owner of Regain Your Time
Pathfinder Presenter- ‘Regain Your Time’
Description of Workshop- If you were born after 1990, you’ve likely been using technology for as long as you can remember. You may thing that this make you well—equipped to enter college and the workforce but the truth is, the most important skill for your future career may just be the one that’s hardest for you: focus! The “Age of Information” is giving way to the Age of Attention. Your productivity, and your ability to get things done and live the life you want may be at stake. The world is changing: multi-tasking is becoming less desirable and the ability to focus is more rare. Mastering this skill now will give you a comptetive advantage in college and work. In this presentation, Maura will explain myths about “time management” and “information overload,” and empower you with secrets and strategies to:
Bio- Maura Thomas serves on the board of GEN and is an international speaker and trainer on productivity, attention, and effectiveness. She founded her own business, RegainYourTime.com, in 2003 and works with companies such as the American Heart Association, Old Navy, and L’Oreal. Maura is the author of two books on productivity and has been featured in hundreds of national media outlets including Women’s Health, Fast Company, and the Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter at @mnthomas and at Facebook.com/RegainYourTime.
Bio- Natalia has worked with Texas youth and families for over eight years. She is passionate about creating opportunity for marginalized communities. Natalia’s professional experience in serving regional non-profits has focused on youth and family development and success through case management, inclusive individual/community support services, policy advocacy, strategic program development, community organizing, and leadership.
Sidney Kenley- Girls Empowerment Network, Program Coordinator
Bio- Sidney previously worked with Afterschool Centers on Education (ACE), and did her BSW field internship with Communities in School (CIS) in Waco. Throughout these experiences Sidney saw a trend of bullying and low self-esteem issues in the girls that she worked with and developed a passion to work with girls to help resolve issues that come with being a girl. Upon moving to Austin in May 2014, she began searching for opportunities to work with girls and young women and discovered GEN. She began as an intern in September 2014 and spent a semester helping to plan and coordinate the We Are Girls Conference. She was also a clubGEN program coordinator at Dawson Elementary. Sidney is thrilled to have the opportunity to assist with direct service and programs, as well as the operations that keep GEN running.
St. Edward’s University-College Admissions Panel
Whether it’s more inspiration, more community, more challenge or more personal growth, you’ll find it at St. Edward’s. From small classes with engaged faculty to the ethics and global insights that are emphasized in every course, St. Edward’s will challenge you to get more out of your graduate school experience. For more information visit: www.stedwards.edu.
University of Texas at Austin-College Admissions Panel
The University of Texas at Austin, informally UT Austin, UT, University of Texas, or Texas in sports contexts, is a public research university and the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. For more information visit: www.utexas.edu.