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Speakers

VIRTUAL KEYNOTE SPEAKER

VANESSA WILLIAMS

Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected and multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold millions of records worldwide, Vanessa has also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album and Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel, and Jazz.

Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings, and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including 4 Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, 3 SAG award nominations, 7 NAACP Image Awards, and 3 Satellite Awards. Her platinum single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the gay community and minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. Vanessa also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Her recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014), and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018.

Vanessa is the mother of four – Melanie, Jillian, Devin, and Sasha. Her charitable endeavors are many and varied, embracing and supporting such organizations as Concerts for America, Special Olympics, and several others. Vanessa is involved with and committed to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.

Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER

CHRISTINE CASHEN

One of the world’s most sought-after business humorists, Christine delivers a fast-paced, uproarious program brimming with memorable quips and relevant content that helps audiences spark new and innovative ideas, manage conflict, reduce stress, energize employees, and create a happier more productive workplace.

Christine is one of the few individuals to meet the rigorous induction criteria of the National Speakers Association, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, and there’s no question that she deserves that honor; her effortless ability to pull in any audience with her remarkable insights on commonplace situations make her and her messages unforgettable. And, yes, she is also a Certified Virtual Presenter.

Author of the award-winning books, THE GOOD STUFF: Quips & Tips on Life, Love, Work and Happiness and It’s YOUR Business: Good Stuff for Your Personal, Professional, and Funny Business, Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Adult Education. In 2016, she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Central Michigan University.

Before embarking on her journey as a speaker, she worked as a university admissions officer, corporate trainer, and broadcaster. She is a mother of two, wife of a “hottie engineer,” and an average golfer.

One of the world’s most sought-after business humorists, Christine delivers a fast-paced, uproarious program brimming with memorable quips and relevant content that helps audiences spark new and innovative ideas, manage conflict, reduce stress, energize employees, and create a happier more productive workplace.

Christine is one of the few individuals to meet the rigorous induction criteria of the National Speakers Association, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, and there’s no question that she deserves that honor; her effortless ability to pull in any audience with her remarkable insights on commonplace situations make her and her messages unforgettable. And, yes, she is also a Certified Virtual Presenter.

Author of the award-winning books, THE GOOD STUFF: Quips & Tips on Life, Love, Work and Happiness and It’s YOUR Business: Good Stuff for Your Personal, Professional, and Funny Business, Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Adult Education. In 2016, she was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Central Michigan University.

Before embarking on her journey as a speaker, she worked as a university admissions officer, corporate trainer, and broadcaster. She is a mother of two, wife of a “hottie engineer,” and an average golfer.

 

YOUR HOST

RENEE DININO

Renee DiNino

Renee DiNino is the Director of Community Affairs & On-Air Programming for iHeartMedia in Connecticut, the midday host on The River 105.9, and host of an hour-long syndicated talk show on all 10 CT iHeartRadio stations.

As a mid-day host on The River 105.9, her show entertains listeners through the workday with lifestyle and Hollywood celebrity updates and interviews. Daily features include The Healthy Tip of The Day, Adoptable Pet Picks, Recipe of the Day, Community Spotlight, The Artist Spotlight, and Trending Headlines. Additionally, she hosts Acoustic Sunday Mornings on The River 105.9 from 7 am to noon.

Renee has received many accolades for her community service and has been awarded numerous Humanitarian Awards. Some awards she’s extremely proud of are:

  • Celebrity Ambassador for Campaign for Bully-Free Communities 2016 – present
  • Connecticut Education Association’s Media Person of the Year 2020
  • Person Of the Year 2019, St Patrick’s Day Parade – Hartford
  • The Animal Advocacy Award 2019, The Gertrude O’ Lewis Humanitarian award from the Connecticut Humane Society
  • 2018 Unsung Hero & Presidents Award for Special Olympics Connecticut
  • Channel 3 Kids Camp Woman of The Year 2016
  • Mental Health Advocate of the Year 2017 for The Jordan Porco Foundation.

She serves on multiple boards and committees including; End Hunger CT, Kenway’s Cause, Inc, March Of Dimes, FoodShare, Operation Fuel, Special Olympics Connecticut, and Autism Speaks, amongst others.

Her most recent pet projects have included working with Connecticut Legislatures on the passing of an animal advocacy bill, working with Campaign for Bully-Free Communities as an Ambassador, Children’s Causes and Literacy, and Military/Veterans’ centered nonprofits. One major issue in Connecticut she is passionate about is working with Animal Control Officers to educate the public on the over-population of animals and the proper surrender of them.

In addition, you will see her weekly on WFSB Channel 3’s Better Connecticut with her Better Weekend report & blog and the Lost & Pound Pet segment. She is also a journalist for Season’s Magazines and CT Voice where you can read her quarterly Pet column.

Renee is married to her very handsome husband, Sal and they have a furry child, the love of their life, a 100lb black shepherd rescued from the streets of Hartford, Luciano. When not at the station or at one of her many community events, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and playing music.

PROGRAM SPEAKERS

Tanya Detrik

Tanya Detrik

Tanya Detrik is an author and a speaker who inspires audiences with the reflections and perspectives gained when her personal life dramatically changed in the “blink of an eye”. As a result, she shares with audiences her secret to stress relief, resilience, and well-being.

Her first book, Waking Up with Nora, is a memoir encompassing the two transformational years she was involved in the hospitalizations and care of her special needs granddaughter. Tanya’s second book, inspired by grieving the sudden death of her husband, is due out in August 2021. Tanya’s blog, Simply Inspiring Perspective, and her speech content about the challenges faced by special needs parents have earned her state and national press awards.

She is a resident of Middlebury, Connecticut, mother of two and grandmother of three.

Julia Ford Carther

Julia Ford-Carther

Julia Ford-Carther is a seasoned consultant and coach who helps visionary decision-makers master their leadership and organizational evolution to succeed in today’s cultural climate.

Whether leading a firm’s expansion into a new market or advising a former major league sports CFO, Julia activates systemic transformation through her Conscious Leadership Method, a unique approach distilled from her 15 years in communications, entrepreneurship, and emotional intelligence coaching.

Julia graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in Communication and has worked with brands such as NewCo, Allure magazine, Huffington Post, NBC, Shop Spring, W Hotels, the World Happiness Summit, and more.

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