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Summary – Program Details – Agenda – Bios – Why Attend – Fees – Sponsors – Exhibitors – Who Registered? – Gallery

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 | 8:00am – 5:00pm | The Palace at Somerset Park, Somerset, NJ

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Two Nationally Acclaimed Keynote Speakers

Vu Le

Vu Le, a “writer with attitude” according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is the author behind the humor blog Nonprofits With Balls and Blue Avocado magazine – practical, provocative and fun food-for-thought for nonprofits.   

Vu is the executive director of Rainier Valley Corps, an organization that aims to bring more leaders of color into the non-profit sector. His philosophy for non-profits: We should take the work seriously, but not ourselves

Joan Garry

Joan Garry is the principal of Joan Garry Consulting – Because Nonprofits are Messy.  In 1981, Joan was part of the management team that launched MTV. For nearly a decade, Joan served as executive director of GLAAD, one of the largest gay rights organizations, launching successful media campaigns, including lobbying the New York Times to include same-sex wedding announcements in its Style section.  

As a consultant, Joan now works with nonprofit leaders in crisis management, executive coaching and the building of strong management teams.

Additional Breakout Session Presenters

Karen Andrade-Mims 
Karen Andrade-Mims, MBA, Executive DirectorUIH Family Partners

At the helm of New Jersey’s oldest nonprofit dedicated to child welfare, UIH Family Partners, since 1859, Karen’s vision of strengthening families by strengthening fathers is realized through workforce development programs that support and empower men. Under her leadership, UIH Family Partners has been the recipient of numerous community awards, proclamations, and commendations.

Karen has a comprehensive background that includes administration, supervision, training, technical assistance, program implementation, and compliance monitoring. Ms. Andrade-Mims, a member of Pi Alpha Alpha National Honor Society, is a 2007 Leadership New Jersey Fellow who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Rutgers University. She was nominated in 2009 by the Child Welfare League of America to participate in the Civic Sector Leadership Fellows Program sponsored by Notre Dame University and the National Assembly of the Human Services. Karen was awarded 2012 Woman of the Year by Zeta Phi Beta, Sorority, Inc., the Lifetime Community Spirit Award by Princeton Human Services Commission, and Volunteer of the Month by MidJersey Chamber of Commerce.


Bob Atkins 
Bob Atkins, DirectorNew Jersey Health Initiatives

Bob Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN is director of NJHI and an Associate Professor at Rutgers University with a joint appointment in Nursing and Childhood Studies. Dr. Atkins has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and American Civilizations from Brown University and Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

Fresh out of nursing school, Bob moved to the city of Camden where he worked as a school nurse at East Camden Middle School and co-founded the Camden STARR Program, a non-profit youth development program dedicated to improving the life chances of youth living in Camden. Bob’s work in Camden motivated him to complete a PhD in the Department of Public Health at Temple University to better understand the factors that influence the health and well-being of children living in vulnerable communities.

Bob is a life long New Jersey resident and is committed to building healthier communities across the state through effective collaborations and partnerships, meaningful conversations across sectors, and evidence-based innovations. For examples, Bob took the lead on several NJHI initiatives which engage more nurses (and school nurses) in building a Culture of Health in NJ. 

Vicky Bergman 
Vicky Bergman, Co-FounderCommunity Without Walls

Vicky’s career has primarily been in government service.  She’s worked at the White House Regulatory Council in Washington, DC; the N.J. Legislature; Atlantic County, N.J.; the Ohio Department of Labor; and the City of Cincinnati, OH. She also taught at Trenton State College (now the College of NJ).  

She is semi-retired from her career work.  After her government service, Vicky and her husband operated a consulting company for many years, and they continue to run a small stock photo business.  Both are active volunteers.  One of her current favorite volunteer activities is as a GrandPal, reading to kindergartners one day a week.  

Vicky has also been involved with local government, serving as Chair of the Princeton Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, Chair of the Regional Planning Board of Princeton, and as an elected member of Princeton Township Committee.  

She also served on the Boards of the Princeton Adult School, Princeton Senior Resource Center, and The Jewish Center of Princeton where she was V.P. for Administration and Co-chaired its 50th Anniversary Committee, as Co-chair of the Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts, and was a Co-founder of the Princeton Coalition for Senior Housing.  

Vicky is one of four Co-founders of Community Without Walls, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization with 460 members in four central N.J. counties, and currently serves as President of CWW, Inc.


Francis Blanco 
Francis BlancoChief of Staff, Office of the Mayor, City of Trenton

Throughout her career, Francis Blanco has developed a wealth of experience in the design and implementation of systems and services that ensure achievement of tangible goals and objectives, analysis that leads to public policy recommendations, long-range and strategic planning, including the identification and development of alliances that foster growth and sustainability, the implementation of special initiatives, and executive level management and supervision. 

Ms. Blanco currently serves as Chief of Staff for Eric E. Jackson, Mayor, City of Trenton.  As such she provides executive level support to the Mayor’s Office for the purpose of allowing concentration of the Mayor’s time, effort and prioritization of strategic initiatives.

Ms. Blanco’s extensive non-profit and government experience include Chief Executive Officer of Living Hope Empowerment Center (LHEC); Director of the Trenton Department of Recreation, Natural Resources, and Culture for the City of Trenton; Executive Director of Mercer County Hispanic Association (MECHA); Deputy Executive Director of PROCEED, Inc.; and Director of Finance & Operations at the Center for Non-Profits. 

She also served as the Director of the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s Division of Minority and Women Business Development, charged with the implementation of the State’s efforts to leverage its purchasing and contracting power to fuel the growth of minority and women owned businesses (MWBE’s) at the prime and sub-contractor levels.

Ms. Blanco completed her Master’s Degree coursework in community economic development from Southern New Hampshire University (previously New Hampshire College) and has completed various fellows programs, including the National Hispana Leadership Institute, Leadership New Jersey, and Leadership America. 

She currently serves on several boards and commissions and has received numerous awards and recognitions, most recently  “Black History Month-Celebrating Legends” from the Trenton NAACP & Women of Worth and Empowerment for work as a “social change agent,” and the “Annual Citizen Leadership Award” from The Citizens Campaign for work within and across diverse communities.


Linda Czipo 
Linda M. Czipo
Executive DirectorCenter for Non-Profits

Linda Czipo is Executive Director of the Center for Non-Profits, New Jersey’s state association of charitable non-profits. The Center strengthens New Jersey’s charities, individually and as a community, through advocacy, public education, legal and management assistance, and membership services. Linda’s non-profit sector experience spans over 25 years, and includes expertise in public policy, compliance and management issues. She speaks frequently to the media, non-profit, philanthropic and business leaders, and government officials regarding the size, strength, economic and social contributions of New Jersey’s non-profit sector and current and emerging trends facing the non-profit community; and has successfully mobilized broad-based coalitions of non-profits around numerous advocacy issues.

Linda was named one of the 2014 Top 50 Women in Business by NJBIZ, and was a nominee for the national Professional Women in Advocacy 2014 Excellence in Advocacy Award. She is a current public policy committee member and former board treasurer of the National Council of Nonprofits and also serves on: the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service; the advisory board of the Center for Excellence in Leadership, Governance and Philanthropy at Fairleigh Dickinson University; and, the Leadership and Policy Committee of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers. She holds a degree in Political Science from Rutgers University.  


Chris Daggett 
Chris Daggett
President & Chief Executive OfficerGeraldine R. Dodge Foundation

Chris Daggett has been a respected leader in New Jersey’s nonprofit world for nearly 20 years, serving on a number of boards, including the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, Regional Plan Association, and The Trust for Public Land.

As the independent candidate for governor in 2009, he was the first independent candidate to raise the threshold amount of money to qualify for public matching funds and to participate in public debates with the major party candidates. He was also endorsed by The Star-Ledger, the state’s leading newspaper.

Previously, Chris served as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of New Jersey (1982-1983), Regional Administrator of the USEPA (1984-1988), and Commissioner of the NJDEP (1988-1989). In addition, for six years he was a managing director of William E. Simon & Sons, a private investment firm and, since 1996, has operated a brownfields development company, acquiring, remediating and redeveloping environmentally impaired real estate. Just prior to coming to the Dodge Foundation, he was a Principal with JM Sorge, Inc. (JMS), an environmental consulting and management firm providing assessment, investigation and remediation services to the public and private sectors.

Chris holds an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in Basking Ridge with his wife Bea. They have two grown children, Alexandra and Justine.


Grace Egan 
Grace Egan
Executive DirectorNew Jersey Foundation for Aging

Grace Egan is the founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) which was established in 1998. The Foundation’s programs and research focus on enabling seniors to live with independence and dignity within their communities. Grace has more than 20 years of experience in policy and planning for social and community health services as well as mental health services at the municipal, county and state levels throughout New Jersey. Prior to the formation of the Foundation Grace was the Executive Director of the NJ Association of Area Agencies on Aging and their Elder Abuse and Prevention Project. The project provided training for professionals on recognizing abuse, neglect and exploitation. This included work with County Prosecutor Offices, Adult Protective Service Programs, the NJ Department of Banking and other community services providers.  In 2008 the NJ Foundation for Aging (NJFA) began working on the Elder Index with a national partner Wider Opportunities for Women. NJFA has expanded the profile’s data sets and consequently related recommendations over the last six years.  The NJ Elder Economic Index Data has provided the basis for many of NJFA’s activities including policy advocacy as well as public education features for Aging Insights TV programs and articles Renaissance Magazine. Grace has a bachelor’s degree from St. Peters College in Urban Studies and a Masters Degree from Rutgers. 


D.A. Graham D.A. GrahamPH.D., M.Div., MHR, CO-OP, DNA Consulting 

Dr. D. A. Graham is the Founding/Principal Managing Consultant of DNA Consulting, LLC. He is the former University Ombuds Officer for Princeton University and California State University at San Diego. Dr. Graham has been in the Ombuds field for 10 years. Dr. Graham is the Founding President of the Intergroup Dialogue Coalition a group the helps foster deep conversations around diversity and inclusion. A master creative problem solver, facilitator and trainer Dr. Graham has worked with numerous universities, profit and not-for-profit organizations to improve human performance through consultation, process design and training. Dr. Graham is a member of the Trenton School District Board of Education, a member of the Board of Directors for the Trenton Children’s Chorus and Passage Theatre.  Dr. Graham has presented at numerous conferences and conducted many workshops/trainings nationally and internationally on a mired of topics. 

Richard GreenbergFounding Partner & PresidentAmplify

Rick draws upon his broad experience in policy reform – from his early years as a policy analyst to his work as a director of strategic communications to his success directing social policy reform campaigns. However, it was his time as a foundation president, running The Fund for New Jersey, that helped him to fully realize his vision for data-driven digital storytelling. Rick’s work at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice has won national recognition. As the Institute’s Director of Equal Justice Policy & Programs and Director of Strategic Communications, Rick successfully led the Second Chance Campaign to change New Jersey’s prisoner reentry laws. Through that work, he came to be known as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on and advocates for systemic criminal justice reform. The New York Times called the Second Chance Campaign’s legislative package, “a model for the rest of the nation.” While at the Institute, Rick produced an award-winning documentary video on gangs and prisoner reentry, “Moral Panic,” featuring then-Mayor Cory Booker and the national violence prevention leader, David M. Kennedy.


Jim Hickey Jim Hickey, Chair, Monmouth County Arts Corridor

A veteran of 48 years as a radio and TV journalist, including 32 years with ABC News, Jim Hickey retired from broadcasting in 2012. As the National Correspondent for ABC News Radio, Mr. Hickey was in the anchor chair for ABC News Radio’s special coverage of terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 and has reported extensively on the war on terrorism.  

Mr. Hickey’s three decades of assignments with ABC News took him literally round the world covering news events that are now chapters in history books such as:  Nelson Mandela’s release from prison to the fall of the Soviet Union to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Hickey’s contributions have resulted in several prestigious Edward R. Murrow and National Headliner Awards, and a nomination for Outstanding Coverage by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

In retirement, Mr. Hickey turned his attention to service with non-profits, particularly as they relate to the Arts. He is a founding member and Chair of the MoCo Arts Corridor Partnership, a cultural-economic initiative dedicated to establishing coastal Monmouth County, NJ as a cultural destination of choice.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Monmouth Arts, the designated arts agency in Monmouth County. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ and has joined the Board of Zynergy Cares, whose mission is to “enrich our communities through philanthropy.”

Upon retirement Mr. Hickey created a voice-over business, A Clever Turn of Phrase, LLC and narrates audiobooks. He is married to Marcia Sue Clever. They live in Holmdel, New Jersey.


Jeremy Johnson 
Jeremy V. Johnson
Newark Philanthropic LiaisonCouncil of New Jersey Grantmakers 

Jeremy Johnson is a connector and collaborator, driving numerous New Jersey efforts related to philanthropic partnerships and public-private initiatives.

Jeremy was appointed the first Newark Philanthropic Liaison in 2007 under Mayor Cory A. Booker, and now under Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Jeremy brings together local and national funders to benefit Newark. Funded by the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers (CNJG), his non-partisan office has leveraged over $50 million from public and private sources for multiple causes, from prisoner reentry to early childhood development to college access.

As philanthropic liaison, Jeremy manages CNJG’s Newark Funders Group and its subgroups.  Over two dozen grantmaker institutions participate. 

Jeremy helped found and now co-chairs the Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC), which has adopted the Newark Master Plan goal to raise the percentage of residents with college degrees to 25% by 2025.  NCLC’s Advisory Board includes the Mayor and the heads of Rutgers University-Newark, NJIT, Essex County College, Newark Housing Authority, Newark Workforce Investment Board, Newark Public Schools, as well as leadership from Victoria Foundation, Prudential, Audible, and Panasonic.  Jeremy worked with Living Cities and Kresge Foundation to bolster food security, provide health services, and increase healthier home environments for children and families.

The Early Learners Funders Group Jeremy oversees, amassed $1M in a shared investment strategy to provide support for high quality Early Head Start for Newark. 

Jeremy served on the leadership team of New Jersey Performing Arts Center during its construction and afterwards, for twelve years.  He raised and stewarded funds for the $187 million complex which opened in 1997 as a catalyst for Newark’s revitalization.

He serves on the Newark Youth Policy Board, Newark Arts Council, Newark Museum Business and Community Council, and Newark Arts Education Roundtable.  Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jeremy is a longtime resident of Newark and lives in the Central Ward.  He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Kenyon College and a MFA in Arts Administration from the University of Iowa.


Lieb Lorne Lorne LiebFounder, Plowshares Media

Lorne founded Plowshares Media with one goal, to bring affordable video solutions to mission driven organizations. He brings to this endeavor expertise built over years producing and associate producing critically acclaimed television programs such as the groundbreaking PBS Frontline special Muslims (for which he won a Cine), the series Television in America, ABC Nightline: One Muslim Voice, and The People Speak (History Channel). His background in community and labor organizing also aids him in developing the innovative educational and community engagement campaigns that accompany his projects. He has created video solutions for non-profit clients New Leaders, Harlem Educational Activities Fund, Carnegie Corporation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Dartmouth Medical School, Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, NYS Dept. of Education, NYS Nurses Association, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, City of New Jersey, Newark Legacy Charter School, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), NYC-Housing Preservation and Development, Communication Workers of America, and The NYC Coalition for Behavioral Health, among many others.

Peter Manzetti 
Peter Manzetti
Director, Governance, Risk and Compliance ServicesFriedman LLP

Peter Manzetti, director of the Governance, Risk and Compliance Services Practice (“GRC”) is an experienced and accomplished GRC and management consultant with expertise in regulatory compliance and organizational risk management program design and implementation, program and project management, organization analysis and performance measurement, productivity and process improvement, and business systems development and implementation. Peter is a member of the board of trustees of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern New Jersey and a volunteer “Big.”

Elizabeth Murphy 
Elizabeth A. Murphy
DirectorCreative New Jersey 

Elizabeth A. Murphy is a recognized strategic thinker and facilitator with over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector (primarily in the arts, healthcare and philanthropy). Her consulting practice focuses on community engagement, facilitation, program development, organizational capacity-building, and strategic planning.  She currently leads the development and execution of two major projects:  one is the statewide initiative, launched by the Dodge Foundation, called Creative New Jersey which focuses on “building better communities through creativity, innovation and collaboration”, and the second is The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a joint project of the Council of NJ Grantmakers and the Washington DC-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy.  Recently, Elizabeth also developed and produced statewide community engagement programs for NJ’s Pre-K Our Way.  An active nonprofit Board member for almost 20 years, Elizabeth currently serves as the Board Vice President of Trenton’s Passage Theatre Company, as a member of the Regional Plan Association’s tri-state committee for the Fourth Regional Plan, and as a member of the national Creative Economy Coalition, a group of thought-leaders dedicated to advocating for the creative industries as an economic stimulus that grows jobs and strengthens the fabric of our society.

Regina Podhorin 
Regina Podhorin
Founder & PresidentThe Leadership Group

Regina Podhorin is a 30-year veteran of nonprofit management whose expert leadership has provided thousands of professionals and volunteers all over the country with creative, customized consultations that effectively prepare them for the future and help them meet and exceed their goals. As the founder and president of The Leadership Group, she has a reputation for providing sensible, proven solutions that result in secure resources, meaningful outcomes, and effective strategic governance.  Regina is a master facilitator with the professional knowledge and expertise required to give any organization the skills, insight, and strength needed to excel.  She has high-level executive and consulting experience in several nonprofit fields, a Master of Public Administration from Rider University, and is a trained interim executive director of nonprofit organizations. She co-designed the Community Engagement Governance Framework™ and co-founded the Governance Affinity Group for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.  With her first-hand knowledge of building and leading nonprofit organizations, she has the expertise needed to energize any planning process or training.

Mike Rispoli 
Mike Rispoli
Press Freedom Campaign DirectorFree Press

Mike directs Free Press’ campaigns to protect press freedom and oversees the organization’s News Voices: New Jersey project. Before joining Free Press, Mike worked for the human rights organizations Privacy International and Access. Mike also served as the technical editor on the 2015 book You: For Sale, a look at protecting user data and privacy online. In a past life, Mike was a journalist for the Newark Star-Ledger and Gannett Newspapers. Mike received his master’s degree in media studies and media management at the New School in New York City and his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Marist College. Follow him on Twitter @rispolimike.

Elizabeth Ruebman 
Elizabeth Ruebman, Executive Vice President, Amplify

Elizabeth has over 20 years of experience in communications, public relations and project management. Before joining Amplify, Elizabeth was a Policy and Communications Manager with NY/NJ Baykeeper, where she managed Baykeeper’s work around combined sewer overflows. Elizabeth began her career as a federal lobbyist and she is currently the facilitator for the Safer Newark Council, a large cross-sector public safety council that is defining strategy to achieve a 20% reduction in violent crime in Newark. Elizabeth also has extensive experience managing creative and digital media projects. 

Kyle Ruffin 
Kyle Ruffin
President, K Ruffin & Associates

Ms. Ruffin is the president of K Ruffin & Associates, a marketing and communications company that works with small businesses and non-profits to increase visibility through public relations, marketing, website development and social media.  Ruffin has been a communications professional since 1984 – working in media or for non-profits throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.  Before starting K Ruffin & Associates in 2010, she held numerous positions that developed her well-rounded approach to generating marketing on a tight budget.  Positions have included:
  • Director of Circulation and Marketing for the Philadelphia Business Journal
  • Director of Marketing & Communications for KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia
  • Vice President of Marketing & Communications for United Way of Camden County
  • Vice President of Inside Radio
  • Communications Coordinator for the Southern NJ Perinatal Cooperative & Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies in Camden
Ruffin devotes a great deal of volunteer time to several non-profit organizations in our region.  She is currently president of the Board of Trustees for both Hispanic Family Center of Southern NJ and Settlement Music School’s Camden’s branch.  She is secretary of the Board for Community Foundation of South Jersey.  In addition, Ruffin is a member of Virtua Health System’s Board Nominating and Safety/Quality Committees


Marge Smith 
Marge Smith
Non-profit Management Consultant

Marge Smith brings many years of expertise to Nonprofit Management and has experienced Boards from many perspectives, as an Executive Director, Board President of several Boards and a volunteer. Currently, she teaches Nonprofit Management at Mercer County Community College. She also organizes Community Works, a conference held at Princeton University that brings together over 250 nonprofits to network, gain skills, and learn about community resources and serves as a nonprofit consultant to Boards, helping with strategic planning. Contact Marge at 609-8652 or email 

Anthony Smith 
Anthony Smith
Executive DirectorLincoln Park Coast Cultural District

Anthony Smith is presently the Executive Director for Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Inc. (LPCCD) in Newark, NJ where he is responsible for planning, reviewing, monitoring and directing the overall programmatic and operational needs of the organization. He also works with the LPCCD management team to develop its strategic and tactical plans.

Prior to his position with LPCCD, Anthony worked for nearly a decade as a central team member for an elected Newark city official with involvement in issues of economic development, health disparities, arts and tourism, fundraising and event management projects. While working for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, he was part of a team that developed programs and marketing strategies that successfully attracted diverse and eclectic audiences. Anthony was a consultant in the Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Arts and Entertainment in New Orleans, LA, and helped raise public awareness of that City’s rich cultural heritage.

Anthony is the Founder and CEO of Jambalaya Productions, a full service events management company. He holds a BA in Marketing from Stockton State College and an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University. Anthony also studied at Wroxton College in the United Kingdom as an International Business Fellow. He is a licensed Property and Casualty Producer in New Jersey and New York and a National Accredited Risk Manager. He is a graduate of Leadership Newark’s Charter Class and is an Adjunct Business Professor at Essex County College.


Nina Stack 
Nina Stack
, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers

In her role as CEO, Nina has spearheaded several leadership initiatives at CNJG including the creation of the Community Foundation of South Jersey, Post Sandy Recovery, the Newark Philanthropic Liaison, and Facing Our Future, a landmark effort looking at the systemic, long-term fiscal challenges facing all levels of government in New Jersey.

Prior to joining CNJG Nina spent most of her career immersed in the arts, working with two regional theatres, an opera company, a museum and a New York advertising agency that specialized in arts marketing. For ten years she was Director of External Affairs for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a post she held during three different tenures beginning in 1988. In addition to her work with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, she has held marketing and communications leadership positions within several nonprofit organizations, including the Block Island Tourism Council.

Nina is past Chair of the Board of the Regional Association of Grantmakers, a national organization serving over 5,000 philanthropies through a network of 35 regional associations similar to CNJG. She is was also a trustee of the Council on Foundations, ArtPride NJ, Planned Parenthood of Bucks County, Hyacinth AIDS Foundation and has served on the advisory board of The Foundation Center. She currently serves on the board of the Robert Sydney Needham Foundation and is deeply involved with the reopened Bucks County Playhouse. She also chairs a local, municipal election campaign. Nina is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Leadership New Jersey, class of 2006 (go Red!). When not scheming a trip to Block Island, Nina and her partner Bobby enjoy biking the Delaware River Canal with grandson Jack.


Leo Vazquez 
Leonardo Vazquez
, AICP/PP, Executive DirectorThe National Consortium for Creative Placemaking

Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP is a national award-winning urban planner and a leader in the fields of creative placemaking and culturally competent placemaking.   He was the founding director of Arts Build Communities, a university-wide initiative at Rutgers, The State University, from 2008 to 2012. He also created several other initiatives at Rutgers, including the Bloustein Online Continuing Education Program, Leading from the Middle, and the Professional Development Institute. These three were combined to form Arts Build Communities. With co-workers, board members and volunteers, Leo developed several innovative programs, products and services. These include community coaching, the New Jersey Creative Vitality Index, and the Master Practitioner Certificate in Creative Placemaking. Leo also chairs the Sustainable Jersey Arts and Culture Task Force.   For more than 15 years, Leo has been helping make communities more livable and prosperous by providing community development, economic development, and leadership development services. He has worked for and with consulting firms, nonprofit organizations, and universities. He brings a holistic view to making communities better.   Leo is the 2012 recipient of the American Planning Association’s National Planning Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff. He is the author of Leading from the Middle: Strategic Thinking for Urban Planning and Community Development Professionals and is co-editor of Dialogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities.   Leo is also a Senior Associate with the Nishuane Group in Montclair, NJ


Katie York 
Katie York
Project Director, Lifelong Montclair

Katie York is the Project Director for Lifelong Montclair, an aging in place initiative of Partners for Health Foundation in collaboration with the Township of Montclair.  Through her efforts in Lifelong Montclair, Katie has helped Montclair to become the second town in New Jersey to be accepted in the AARP Network of Age-friendly Communities which also confers membership in the WHO global network of age-friendly cities.  Katie has been involved in the field of aging for 15 years.  She has a BS in biology (Haverford College), an MBA (University of Massachusetts – Amherst), and a PhD in gerontology with a graduate certificate in developmental disabilities (University of Kentucky).