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Keynote Speaker: Reverend Dr. Gloria White Hammond

Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Reverend Dr. Gloria White HammondGloria White-Hammond is the Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts, Founding Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur and Chairwoman of Save Darfur Coalition’s “Million Voices for Darfur” campaign. A pediatrician at Boston’s South End Community Health Center since 1981, Rev. Dr. White-Hammond has a long history of involvement in community service. She created the faith-based creative writing/mentoring ministry called “Do the Write Thing” for high risk African-American adolescent females. The project, which began in 1994 with four girls, now serves more than 250 young women at Bethel Church, in Boston public schools and juvenile detention facilities. Reverend Gloria, as she is affectionately called is also the creator and Co-Convener of “The Red Tent Group”, an interfaith Torah/Bible study which brings together Boston-area Christian women and Jewish women.

Reverend White-Hammond has been involved in humanitarian work in several African countries including Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire and South Africa. Since 2001 she has made nine trips into war torn Sudan where she has been involved in obtaining the freedom of 10,000 women and children who were enslaved during the two decades long civil war. Doctor White-Hammond co-founded “My Sisters Keeper” humanitarian group in 2002. MSK, in partnering with women of Sudan, has developed two grinding mill projects and supports “My Sister’s Keeper” School for Girls in Gogrial County. Doctor White-Hammond traveled into Darfur, western Sudan in February 2005 to talk with female victims of genocide in Internally Displaced Persons camps. She has taken a leading international role in demanding an end to the genocide.

Doctor White-Hammond serves on the Board of Trustees of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Board of Overseers for the Tufts University College for Community and Public Service, as well as the boards of the American Anti-Slavery Group in Boston and Christian Solidarity International in Zürich, Switzerland.

Doctor White-Hammond received a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Boston University, a Doctorate of Medicine from Tufts Medical School and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. She has received the Humanitarian Award of the Boston Theological Institute (2004), the Liberating Vision Award of the Greater Boston Section of the National Council of Negro Women (2004) and the Impact Award from AARP (2004).


Moderator:  Jackie Jenkins-Scott

Jackie Jenkins-Scott became the 13th President of Wheelock College in 2004. Jenkins-Scott received her B.S. Degree from Eastern Michigan University, a Masters of Social Work from Boston University School of Social Work, and completed a Post Graduate Research Fellowship at Radcliffe College. As a community leader, public health advocate and innovative administrator, she has been a nationally known figure for nearly thirty years. From 1983 until 2004, she served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts. In 2007, Boston’s Mayor Thomas M. Menino selected her to Co-Chair his School Readiness Action Planning Team, charged with developing specific strategies to prevent the achievement gap among the next generation of students. Jenkins-Scott was asked by Governor Deval L. Patrick to Co-Chair the ‘Readiness Project’, the group responsible for developing a 10-year strategic plan to implement the vision for education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Phyllis Killam-Abell

Photo by Sophie Browne

With a BS in chemistry from UNH, Phyllis Killam-Abell went on later to complete a MS from URI in Child Development and Family Relations in 1968. Returning to school she received an Ed.D in Human Development from Boston University in 1980 with her dissertation using Carol Gilligan’s work on moral reasoning to inform a reproductive decision of sterilization. She then taught at the University of Maine at Farmington, and came to the University of New Hampshire in 1987 to teach Human Development and Women’s Studies. She was a founding faculty member of the Race, Culture and Power minor and was coordinator for several years. She was a member of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women at UNH for 8 years, followed by the appointment by Gov. Jeanne Shaheen to the NH Commission on the Status of Women for 8 years just after returning from the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing China. The 14 women who went to Beijing from NH created a conference, Bring Back Beijing, that attracted 500 women and then helped to organize the Beijing plus Five, in 2000. During all this time she taught Women’s Studies at UNH until her retirement in 2004. For the 50th anniversary gift of her class to the university, she directed The Photographic Exhibit of the Women’s History at the University of New Hampshire, which now hangs in the Rockingham Room of the MUB.

Junko Kim

Junko Kim Photo by Sophie BrowneJunko Kim is the co-chair and co-director of US Women Connect Massachusetts. She recently co-chaired the New England Women’s Forum with the Hon. Jackie Weatherspoon, and helped produce the Assessment Report which was presented to the White House, New England legislators, and the State Department.  She represented US Women Connect Massachusetts and WIN at the 54th UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2010, and looks forward to engaging more young women at next year’s UN CSW.

Prior to joining USWC, she managed development and communications campaigns and projects in various organizations, including the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Algebra Project, and Massachusetts Asian and Pacific Islanders for Health.  Recently, she founded Vision Sprout, helping nonprofits and startups improve the quality of life for our communities. Kim is a first generation immigrant, who enjoys working with people from all backgrounds and nations to find sustainable solutions. She received her M.Ed from Harvard University, and B.A. from Barnard College. She resides in Greater Boston with her husband, who teaches and coaches high school students.

Sayre Sheldon

Sayre Sheldon, a graduate of Radcliffe College, did her graduate work at Boston University where she was a professor of literature for many years and continues teaching today in their degree-giving prison program.She taught many courses in women’s studies and her course in women writers and war led her to edit the anthology, “Her War Story: Twentieth Century Women Write About War.” She has written articles, plays, and poetry on both literature and war and peace issues “Her War Story” has led to many speaking engagements and articles on the role of women in modern war and she is at present writing about changes resulting from the wars of the 21st century.

Sayre Sheldon was one of the founders of WAND (Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament) a national women’s peace organization in 1982. She was WAND’s first president until 1987 and continues to serve on the national board of WAND (now Women’s Action for New Directions).As president of WAND she attended conferences on women and peace throughout the world and also travelled around the United States speaking to WAND chapters. In 1995 she attended the Beijing Conference on Women and worked with women in the Boston area in the program to bring Beijing advances for women to the U.S. Since 1998 she has been WAND’s representative as an NGO at the U.N. In 2002 she joined the Working Group for Women, Peace and Security which works to further the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325. This resolution mandates that women be included at all levels of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and rebuilding after conflict.Today Sayre Sheldon is particularly interested in acquainting women in the U.S. with the international women’s peace movement.

The Honorable Jackie Weatherspoon

The Hon. Jackie WeatherspoonThe Honorable Jackie Weatherspoon served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1996-2002. As Minority House Whip, member of the Election Law Committee, and third from the chair of the opposition party, Jackie’s accomplishments include being chief sponsor of the bill finally enacting observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday in New Hampshire, the last of the fifty states to officially recognize the day.  Jackie accompanied former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to Iceland in connection with Vital Voices in 1999. Since 2004, Jackie has served in the electoral assistance division of the UN Secretariat’s roster of electoral experts. Selected by the US State Department, Jackie facilitated implementation of the last phases of the Dayton Peace Agreement and served the Northern Initiative by preparing Estonia and Lithuania for entry into the European Union. In Africa, Jackie has coordinated elections in Malawi and functioned as technical advisor of the 2007 presidential elections in Nigeria for the UN/UNDP.  Jackie recently founded Decisions in Democracy International, an NGO/nonprofit working to train women from emerging democracies for elected office. Jackie serves on nonprofit boards, including to the Harvard Kennedy School and the New Hampshire Public Radio. She is married to Russell D. Weatherspoon, class of ’81 Harvard School of Education, who currently holds the position of Dean of Residential Life at Phillips Exeter Academy.  They have four adult children and six grandchildren.


Moderator: Anne Watt

Anne S. Watt, Ed.D. (now retired), was Co-founder and a Senior Program Director of Primary Source and its New England China Network, a professional development center for K-12 teachers specializing in multicultural and global education. Over the past 20 years Primary Source, partnering with 45 public school districts and has helped over 11,000 teachers to teach more than a million students to value differences, counteract racism, and to help their students connect with people across the world. A global activist, she helps non-profit startups with missions of international service through education, and has partnered for 12 years with a Chinese friend to improve education and transform his village near Xi’an. She co-leads study tours to China and Southeast Asia with her husband.

Before co-founding Primary Source she taught in public schools, directed a rural Teacher Center serving 13 school districts in Vermont, served as a public school Director of Curriculum & Staff Development in New Jersey and New York, as an elementary Principal in New York, and served on the faculty of two colleges of education.

Currently she serves on 5 Boards including the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund which provides small grants for grassroots projects that empower women and girls in developing countries.

Elisabeth D. Babcock, MCRP, Ph.D.

Elisabeth Babcock photo

Elisabeth D. Babcock (Beth) is the President and CEO of the Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU), a Boston-based charitable organization dedicated to creating innovative new pathways to economic independence for low-income women and their families. With an annual operating budget of over $10 million and direct services to more than 1,500 women and children, CWU combines ground-breaking economic mobility, housing, and education and workforce-development programs with anti-poverty research and public advocacy. Beth’s role as CEO is to lead CWU in its strategy to be a research and innovations powerhouse consistently delivering new programmatic and public policy approaches that expedite pathways out of poverty.

Beth received her master’s degree in city and regional planning from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and her Ph.D. in non-profit strategy from Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has taught non-profit strategy and implementation in the MBA program at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. The 2008 article she co-authored for the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “Achieving Breakthrough Performance,” was chosen its article of the year.

Dr. María Idalí Torres

Dr. María Idalí Torres became the new Director of the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy in January 2009. A medical anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Connecticut, Dr. Torres’ research has focused on the promotion, protection and maintenance of health among Latino women and their families. Dr. Torres, in addition to her post as director of the Institute, will hold a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Public Policy at UMass Boston. Dr Torres has a long experience in planning, implementing and evaluating health programs in schools and community settings. Her scholarship promotes community capacity, combines trans-disciplinary orientations and uses participatory research methodologies and partnerships with community residents and organizations. Prior to coming to UMass Boston she was an Associate Professor at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at UMass Amherst. The mission of the Gastón Institute is to inform policy makers about issues vital to the state’s growing Latino community and to provide this community with the information and analysis necessary for effective participation in public policy development.

The Honorable Evelyn Murphy, Ph.D.

Evelyn Murphy photo

Founder and President of The WAGE Project
2010 Recipient of the Boston Business Journal Advancing Women Award

Evelyn Murphy is the President and Founder of The WAGE Project a national grassroots organization dedicated to eliminating the gender wage gap. With over 500 trained facilitators throughout America, WAGE conducts salary negotiation workshops for college women to get paid fairly when they begin their careers, for working women, women returning to work after long absences, and trades women to get the raises and promotions they deserve. In 1987, Evelyn Murphy was sworn in as Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, the first woman in the state’s 200 year history to hold any statewide office.  She is Chair of the Board of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, headquartered in New York City, a Resident Scholar (on leave) at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, and a founding director of The Commonwealth Institute, a group dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Evelyn earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Duke University, a masters degree in economics from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from Duke University. The recipient of eleven honorary degrees, she is frequently speaking on women’s equity issues on radio, television, and before US Congressional Committees.

Sharon Reilly

Sharon Reilly PhotoSharon Reilly became executive director of The Women’s Lunch Place in July, 2007. The Women’s Lunch Place is a day-community for poor and homeless women located in the Back Bay of Boston on Newbury Street. Sharon was hired by the board of directors to lead the WLP to its next level of maturity as an organization. Under her leadership, the WLP celebrated its 25th anniversary with a signature dinner that raised the most money in the 25 year history of the organization. Sharon is leading the organization’s effort to institute a comprehensive evaluation system to measure the impact of The Women’s Lunch Place services in the lives of poor and homeless women as well as guide the organization through strategic planning to chart the course of growth and programmatic thrust over the next three to five years. She is also charged with diversifying and expanding the organization’s donor base and raising its profile among target constituencies.

Prior to joining The Women’s Lunch Place, Sharon was the director of community relations at The Food Project where she was responsible for the organization’s public policy initiatives and leveraging relationships to build brand awareness in the Boston market. Sharon moved to Boston in 2003 from Ft. Smith, Arkansas where she was employed by Beverly Enterprises, Inc., a Fortune 500 company where she led corporate wide team projects on corporate compliance and business ethics, staff recruitment and retention. A former regional director for Minnesota based National Marrow Donor Program, Sharon’s region was number one in the recruitment and retention of donors of color and she produced the organization’s award-winning video on targeted minority recruitment. Throughout her professional career, Sharon has brought to all of her positions a remarkable array of skills that have empowered the organizations to fulfill their missions.

A native Mississippian, Sharon has a passion for social justice issues. She grew up on a sharecropper’s farm during the 1950s and 1960s and she understands the plight of poor women and the devastating effects of poverty. A graduate of Rust College and the University of Mississippi, Sharon graduated with honors from both institutions.

Sharon is a graduate of the Commonwealth Seminar, a member of the Board of Directors for Brookwood Farm, a co-founder of the Executive Directors’ Roundtable, and a member of the Steering Committee for the Boston Food and Fitness Collaborative.

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