Founder and artistic director of the Dance Institute of Washington (DIW), Fabian Barnes discovered dance at the age of 11, when he followed his older brother to a dance class. In doing so, he found his life’s work. He began studying dance in 1971 under the direction of Virginia Corkle, and was made an apprentice to the Pacific Northwest Ballet company at the age of 16. In 1979, he joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH), for which he toured extensively worldwide. Barnes founded the Dance Institute of Washington in 1987 during his summer break from DTH. In 2002, he founded Washington Reflections Dance Company, a professional ensemble of dancers and choreographers that impresses audiences and critics with dynamic contemporary ballet and modern dance performances. He has won numerous awards including the Oprah Angel Network Use Your Life Award and a Linowes Leadership Award. In addition, the Dance Institute’s outreach program, Positive Directions Through Dance, won the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Diane Bell-McKoy is the President and CEO of Associated Black Charities (ABC), Maryland’s leading African-American philanthropic organization, where she leads a team of “change agents” focused on closing the health and wealth gaps in the State of Maryland through strategic partnerships and investments. Their signature economic strategy, called “More in the Middle,” focuses on wealthier regions by strengthening the assets of African-Americans, low-income residents, the working poor and the fragile middle class. Bell-McKoy was the President (and is now Chair) of Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC), the non-profit organization that manages the Empowerment Zone in Baltimore City. Since the Empowerment Zone designation was instituted in 1994, more than 15,000 residents have been placed in jobs. Bell-McKoy lectures across the country on economic, business, and workforce development for low-income workers in underserved communities.
John Booth is the Founder and President of Annapolis, Maryland–based agency Quintain Marketing, where he leads the firm’s creative team. Quintain specializes in providing integrated marketing services to small and medium size businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Here, Booth consults with clients on strategic marketing strategies encompassing branding, corporate identity, web design, social media, inbound marketing, audience targeting, and more. John’s accomplishments in the field of marketing and social media were recognized by Counselor magazine, which named him to its 2010 “Hot List.” In addition to his work at Quintain, John is a frequent public speaker on topics relating to marketing, social media, and advertising.
Chris Coccia achieves a rare combination most other comedians only dream of: hilarious material and the ability to present it “in the moment,” with impeccable timing and delivery. Flowing seamlessly between his planned content and improvised interactions with the crowd, Coccia opens the audience up, pulling them into a shared recognition of our collective “humanness.” Coccia keeps a busy schedule, appearing everywhere from the country’s top comedy clubs to corporate events to colleges. He has appeared on Comedy Central, Game Show Network, and SiriusXM Radio, and is the winner of the 2008 Purina Pet Comedy Challenge.
Rich is no stranger to transitions and second acts, after 11 years as an HVAC professional he transitioned to general construction and carpentry, starting his own business; Unbelievable Finishes. With clients ranging from Embassy Suits to The Walters Art Museum to Sheppard Pratt Health Systems over the last 10 years Unbelievable Finshes has also expanded into residential renovations, working extensively across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Rich’s specialty area: “The whole schmear”
His attitude: “If it’s broken I’ll fix it, if it not broken it probably needs a face lift.”
Rich is an avid biker and is very involved with March of Dimes “ bikers for babies”, The Burn Ride for the Burn Foundation, and Toys for Tots. Rich spends his free time, when he is not watching Steven Segal movies, playing his guitar on his boat on the Chesapeake Bay and fishing and crabbing.
Jodi Hume is the founder of The Business of Life, a strategic facilitation and coaching firm that guides the important conversations that shape lives and businesses. Her clients range in size from large companies like Constellation Energy and Johns Hopkins University to not-for-profits like the There Goes My Hero Foundation, National Academy Foundation, and Teach for America. In addition, she has also worked with hundreds of small but growing entrepreneurial companies throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Hume has a degree in psychology from Loyola University, is trained as a skilled facilitator from Johns Hopkins University, and is trained and certified as a CoActive Coach by The Coaches Training Institute.
A well-known small business advisor, Art Jacoby cares deeply about entrepreneurs. Knowing that few small businesses generate more than modest results, he began his advisory practice, The Jacoby Business Growth Agency, with a mission that hasn’t changed in 30 years: to guide business owners to significant financial success. He’s given hundreds of clients affordable, practical, strategic and tactical guidance including business, financial, sales, and marketing plans. His early career included executive positions with retailer Target, hospitality conglomerate Carlson, and cosmetic manufacturer Aveda. A five-time CEO himself, Jacobs brings an unusual depth and breadth of experience to his clients.
Founder of SAKinterMedia, Stephanie A. Koehler has a broad, varied background in public relations, promotions, marketing, new media, leadership program development, and fundraising. She has over 20 years’ experience promoting everyone from musicians and movies to museums and food. Her background in developing leadership programs at prestigious schools such as Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C.; Wells College, in New York, and Cornell University have positioned her as an expert in the field of leadership training, from youth all the way to corporate America. She’s also a sought-after speaker, and offers communications seminars to both for-profit and not-for-profit businesses.
Eric Kornfeld is an accomplished — and versatile — writer, comedian, and performer. He was a staff writer on The Rosie O’Donnell Show (garnering an Emmy nomination) as well as The Caroline Rhea Show. Kornfeld has also worked extensively with iconic singer Bette Midler — he was the lead writer for Midler’s show, The Showgirl Must Go On (the biggest of her career), at Caesar’s Palace Coliseum, and then wrote and co-created Kiss My Brass, Midler’s critically acclaimed concert tour throughout the U.S. and Australia. In addition, Kornfeld has also appeared as a comedian on The Joan Rivers Show, VH1, and MTV.
A clinical social worker and therapist, Melanie Levine makes it a point to work as a team with her clients to help them realize their full potential and make realistic, sustainable life changes. Her specialty topics include anger management, establishing healthy relationships, and assisting those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse. A proponent of the mind/body/soul connection, Levine uses visualization and meditation techniques in her work and encourages yoga and other forms of exercise as part of the treatment plans she develops. This synergistic, holistic focus helps her clients achieve their treatment goals — and take control of their lives.