Career Navigator and LCAN Coordinator, BSAID
Renee Courier Aumock is an advocate for people and her community, especially those who are systematically disadvantaged. She has worked in postsecondary and career planning for over 15 years. Being a first-generation graduate, Renee personally understands the importance of career exploration initiatives. Her goal is to ensure everyone knows how to gain training and employment in any field they enjoy and are gifted to work in. As a non-traditional student, full-time employee, and a single mom, Renee obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business with a minor in Health Information Management and a master’s degree in Business/Strategic management. Renee operates in her passion for helping people and the community through her current role as a career navigator at Bay-Arenac ISD. Partnering with school districts, postsecondary institutions, and the business community, she is helping to build the talent pipeline for a successful future for all.
She recognizes injustices and acts to make change. She is a motivational speaker who encourages people to rise above challenges to create the positive life they deserve. Renee works to break the cycle of generational poverty by providing access to further education and training to gain independence through a career. Renee currently serves as the state representative and chair for the Bay County Department of Health and Human Services and the Bay County Medical Care Facility boards.
Director of Operations, TN College Access & Success Network
With nearly 20 years of experience in college access and success, Wendy has worked with programs such as The Kresge Foundation’s CoPro2.0, JP Morgan’s New Skills Ready Grant, Ed Trust TN’s Thrive initiative, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), the College Access Challenge Grant, KnowHow2Go and Race to the Top. Wendy earned a master's degree in public relations and advertising from the University of Alabama and a bachelor's degree in communication from Mississippi State University.
Vice President of College Advancement & Community Relations, Macomb Community College
Kevin Chandler has worked in various roles in higher education for close to 22 years. As the Vice President of College Advancement and Community Relations at Macomb Community College, Kevin provides the creative leadership and direction to support and enhance the advanced educational mission. His responsibilities include leading a team in operations throughout various departments including the college's foundation, marketing/ graphics, public relations/ internal communications, cultural center, and the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.
His community service and economic development experience includes co-founding an aerospace and defense committee in Macomb County with the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce, of which he is past Chairman of the Board. He also co-founded NextGen Macomb, a nonprofit for young professionals designed to provide opportunities for volunteering and professional development in and around Macomb county. And was elected Trustee and President Pro-tem in the Village of New Haven from 2014 to 2018. In October of 2016 he was named one of Crain’s Business Class of 40 under 40 in Michigan. Kevin earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Michigan University and completed his Ed.D. in education with a concentration in organizational leadership at Oakland University.
Director of Education & Workforce Partnerships, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Daryl Curry is currently the Director of Education & Workforce Partnerships for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce where he leads the Chamber's Annual Education Report, and supports the New Skills Ready Nashville Network. Prior to joining the Chamber, Daryl spent 6 years with the Oasis Center providing technical assistance and support to first-generation, low-income and New American students, all across Nashville, as they pursued a postsecondary education. Daryl is passionate about connecting communities of color here in Nashville with the opportunity and growth taking place in the city.
Executive Director, Advisory and Capacity Building, One Million Degrees
Melanie D’Evelyn leads One Million Degrees’ (OMD) Advisory and Capacity Building work and heads up its Colorado Office. As Executive Director, she oversees the organzation’s commitment to broaden its impact in propelling economic mobility for community college students nationwide and is building technical assistance and consultative service offerings to support partner organizations that share OMD’s mission.
Prior to joining OMD, Melanie led the Detroit Regional Chamber’s cross-sector collaboration called Detroit Drives Degrees, which sought to forward educational equity in the region. During her tenure, Melanie spearheaded a “talent compact” among the region’s top business CEOs, philanthropic leaders and government officials and raised over $25,000,000 to implement this vision. She was named among both DBusiness Magazine’s “30 in their Thirties” and Crain’s Detroit Business “40 under 40” awardees.
A native Coloradan, Melanie has served as a consultant for the Colorado Department of Higher Education and spent the first ten years of her career in public policy and advocacy in Washington, DC. She has a Master in Public Policy degree from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts from Principia College. She lives with her husband, James, young daughter, Maya, and misbehaving dog, Soula.
Principal, Halsey Consulting
Committed to creating relevant workforce solutions through public/private partnerships, Barbara Halsey’s professional career has included roles at the local, state, and association levels. Initially employed in the private rehabilitation field, Barbara developed supported work programs for developmentally disabled adults. Her career path led her to the employment and training field, where she advanced into executive leadership positions with the San Bernardino County Department of Workforce Development (1997-2007), the State of California Workforce Investment Board (2007-2011), and the California Workforce Association (2011-2013). In these executive roles, Barbara championed the creation of a demand-driven workforce system. She maximized the connection between business and public sector partners through the launch of industry-based initiatives, promotion of sector strategies, and regional planning partnerships across California. In 2014, Barbara launched Halsey Consulting.
With an early focus on Sector Strategies, Barbara supported efforts focused on the Green and Biotech sectors. In addition, she worked with Delegata Corporation (2015-2019) as a Chief Principal supporting Organization Change Management, Strategic and Communication Planning for state and international clients. More recently, her projects have included facilitating Prison to Employment partnerships, coaching Next Generation Sector Partnerships at the local, regional, and state levels, and supporting the launch and operation of signature projects for ProjectAttain! - a regional Working Age Adult Attainment initiative focused on California’s Capital Region.
She is a graduate of Northwestern College in Orange City, IA, where she received a bachelor's degree in social work. Barbara is also a Prosci® Certified Change Management Practitioner.
Vice President, Education and Talent, Detroit Regional Chamber
Greg Handel is the vice president of education and talent for the Detroit Regional Chamber. In this rol,e he is responsible for the Chamber’s efforts to ensure that employers in the region have access to the talent needed to thrive in the 21st century global environment.
Handel oversees Detroit Drives Degrees, a regional initiative designed to increase the percentage of adults throughout the region with a quality postsecondary degree and reduce the racial equity gap in degree attainment. He is also responsible for the Detroit Promise, which offers a tuition-free pathway to college for every Detroit high school graduate who resides in the city. He also plays leadership roles in education policy development and advocacy as well as talent retention and attraction initiatives.
Handel serves on the boards of the Michigan College Access Network and Detroit College Access Network, Trillium Public School Academy, Global Detroit, and numerous other committees, advisory boards, and partnerships dedicated to improving educational outcomes across the region and the state.
Handel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in economics at the University of Detroit Mercy and is a graduate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management and the Center for Creative Leadership. He is also a Leadership Detroit Class XXII graduate. Handel served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa for two years.
FutureMakers Director, Collaboratory
Tessa LeSage is the architect and director of FutureMakers Coalition, Southwest Florida’s premier regional, collective impact initiative at Collaboratory. FutureMakers Coalition is a network of 250+ individuals and 140 partner organizations with a shared goal of transforming the workforce in Southwest Florida. FutureMakers Coalition is regarded as one of Florida’s most advanced workforce networks, prioritizing students who face the most significant challenges to attainment, whether traditional age, adults with some college but no degree, or those without post-high school education experience.
LeSage joined the Southwest Florida Community Foundation in August of 2014 as the Director of Social Innovation & Sustainability. She spearheaded and led the development of innovative solutions aimed at understanding philanthropic impact by mapping individual organization and local level outcomes to the Sustainable Development Goals, resulting in a framework that facilitates collective impact and increases the positive outcomes of philanthropic investment.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Tessa was the first Sustainability Director for the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. She has been recognized as one of Southwest Florida’s accomplished young leaders, receiving Gulfshore Business’ “40 Under Forty” award. She received the Urban Land Institute’s Trailblazer award; the U.S. Green Building Council’s Member of the Year for Southwest Florida; the Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce’s, Women in Business APEX award; CAEL’s Pamela Tate Rise Award; and Gulfshore Life’s Men and Women of the Year award.
Associate Vice President, Shasta College/North State Together/SCAILE
Kate is Associate Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives at Shasta College and is also the Director of a new project called SCAILE (Shasta College Attainment and Innovation Lab for Equity). SCAILE has evolved from the work of North State Together, the Lumina Talent Hub and the Innovation Awards at Shasta College. Its goal is to create a place where policy, practice, inquiry and applied research come together to foster educational attainment and innovation and reduce equity gaps; with a spotlight on the changing dynamics of rural communities.
Kate has held leadership roles in K-12, Community College and the UC system and understands the importance of helping students and families navigate between educational sectors. She is recently returning from a two year assignment with the California Commnity College Chancellor’s Office where she worked with all community colleges in the north and far north to expand guided pathways and equity strategies at the local level. Kate has a master’s degree in Humanistic/Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz and an Ed.D in Educational Leadership from University of Southern California. Kate has worked in education for over 20 years with the focus on improving the educational pipeline, both access and outcomes; especially for underrepresented students and communities.
Director, Berrien College Access Network
Maureen Ovington knew she wanted to find a more purposeful and impactful career that would make her excited about work again, after working in Corporate America for over 16 years. Her work at Berrien CAN has done just that by working towards moving the needle on how we can create change in the educational systems in Berrien County.
Maureen has long been a part of the Berrien community and volunteered in various ways. She enjoys interfacing with people, leading teams, trying to grow as much as possible personally and professionally, and making an impact in the lives of youth.
Director/Higher Education Innovation, Michigan College Access Network
Dr. Jamie Storey currently serves as the Director/Higher Education innovation for the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). Throughout her career, Dr. Storey has served in various student-success-related capacities within areas, including advising, career exploration, first-year programs, and other academic support services, at Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, and Davenport University. Dr. Storey aims to challenge antiquated systems to increase college access and completion through equity-focused policy and process.
Senior Director, Talent Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber
Christi Taylor works as senior director of talent initiatives with the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Education & Talent team. In this role, she leads collaborative efforts between Chamber departments and initiatives focused on developing career pathways, leading to a robust talent pipeline. She also serves as the primary liaison between the Education & Talent team and corporate partners, fostering relationships with companies interested in adopting national best practices in providing employee tuition assistance, internships and work-based learning, and creating an equitable learning culture. She leads the Chamber’s efforts to develop collaborative regional employer-led sector partnerships, and is co-leading a mobility sector strategy focused on community college pathways. She has been part of the Chamber team since 2019.
Prior to joining the Chamber, Taylor worked at ACCESS, where she oversaw corporate giving and fundraising operations, and the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), where she was instrumental in developing MCAN’s strategy to increase college application, FAFSA completion, and enrollment rates. She has experience in community relations and engagement, program development and project management, and scaling up impactful philanthropic programming. She received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and her Master’s in English Literature from Michigan State University.
Associate Commissioner for Adult Strategy, Indiana Commission for Higher Education
Dr. Stacy Townsley joined the Indiana Commission for Higher Education (ICHE) in September 2022 as its first Associate Commissioner for Adult Strategy, having most recently served as vice president for adult strategy and statewide partnerships at Ivy Tech Community College. Previous roles in higher education include overseeing research and analysis at ICHE and various academic administrative and adjunct faculty roles at four-year public and private institutions.
Townsley has contributed to the development of national policy and practice frameworks supporting adult learners related to the expansion of the awareness and utilization of credit for prior learning, stakeholder engagement, and data quality. She is a member of the Education Design Lab’s Designer in Residence program and has been actively involved with the Indiana Talent Network. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Systems from Saybrook University with a focus on sustainable cross-sector collaboration, and degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Tulsa.
Director, Texas College Access Network, Educate Texas
Shareea Woods is a passionate advocate for student success and the Director of the Texas College Access Network (TxCAN), an initiative of Educate Texas. She leads a coalition of statewide leaders, including representatives of the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Workforce Commission, regional education coalitions, and funders. In this role, Shareea spearheads efforts to enhance college access throughout Texas.
With a vision to increase Texas student enrollment in postsecondary programs directly from high school to at least 65% by 2030, Shareea drives TxCAN's mission of connecting and supporting college access initiatives across the state..
Prior to her role at Educate Texas, Shareea excelled as the leader of the After the Bell Alliance for Dallas Afterschool, advocating for increased funding for expanded, affordable after-school programs. She also served as the Chief Program Officer for the Young Women's Preparatory Network, playing a pivotal role in establishing and supporting public all-girls schools across Texas. Hailing from California and the proud daughter of first-generation college students, Shareea's own educational journey has shaped her commitment to empowering others.
Founder & CEO, Change By Degrees, LLC
Monica Brockmeyer, Ph.D., an experienced and pioneering higher education leader and Founder of Change By Degrees consulting, has dedicated her career to helping colleges and universities boost student success. Her commitment, innovation, and empathy have led her to develop tailored strategies for institutions to support and engage diverse students, increase enrollment and retention rates, boost degree attainment, and enhance the social mobility of college students. She served as Senior Associate Provost for Student Success at Wayne State University in Detroit, where she led the university to impressive gains in graduation rates. Under her leadership, the university increased its six-year graduation rate from 26% to 60% in just eleven years, making WSU the fastest improving large public university in America. Dr. Brockmeyer has been named a Crain’s Notable Woman in Higher Education and the MIACADA Pacesetter Award.
Director of Program & Outreach, Community Education Coalition
As Director of Program & Outreach at the Community Education Coalition (CEC), Veronica Franzese manages a team driving equity-focused initiatives across the education system, from early learning to post-secondary, using a systems-thinking, collaborative approach. Prior to joining the CEC, Veronica worked in operations at a financial technology start-up focused on increasing access to affordable lending among historically underserved populations. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Business Administration from MIT.
Director of High School Innovation, Michigan College Access Network
Jeneen brings valuable experience leading systemic innovation at both school and district levels, where her efforts resulted in significant improvements in the structure and practices within schools and a subsequent improvement in student outcomes. Jeneen's work as an administrator at a Chicago public high school led to some of the highest growth in college enrollment, scholarships awarded, and early college credential attainment in the city. This work became a model for the city. As a daughter of an immigrant parent, Jeneen has witnessed how postsecondary access can impact not only an individual but can change trajectories for generations to follow. She earned a Bachelor of Arts at Michigan State University and a Master of Education in educational leadership and supervision from Loyola University. Jeneen is dedicated to supporting the college-going journeys of others and creating more equitable paths to postsecondary education.
New Skills Ready Project Manager, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
Laura Herrell is an advocate for equity in education with 11 years of experience in college access and an M.S.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Affairs. In 2012, she discovered her passion for helping students transition from high school to postsecondary opportunities when she joined AmeriCorps for the Martha O’Bryan Center, a local nonprofit in Nashville. She later became the Lead College and Career Coordinator, overseeing the Center’s college access activities. Now, Laura uses her experience serving students to inform her work at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce as the Project Manager for New Skills Ready. This collective impact initiative, made possible by an investment from JP Morgan Chase, supports underserved high school students in their pursuit of postsecondary opportunities.
Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative Director, Detroit Regional Chamber
Stephanie Weiss is the Director of the Detroit Drives Degrees Community College Collaborative at the Detroit Regional Chamber, leading the effort to elevate the role of community colleges and convene cross-sector organizations in pursuit of equitable systems change in the Detroit Region. She serves as an active member on the Chamber’s Equity Task Force and Diversity Champion and Wellness Champion committees. Stephanie started at the Chamber as an AmeriCorps VISTA in June 2021 and became full-time in October 2021. Prior to joining the Chamber, Stephanie was a teacher and college access counselor in New York City. Stephanie earned her Master in Public Affairs and Bachelor of Art in International Studies and Social Work from the University of Michigan, and her Master of Science in Education from Long Island University.
College & Career Readiness Manager, Washtenaw Community College
As a proud Business Administration graduate of Bennett College for Women and Higher Education Student Affairs and a Masters graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Mia currently serves as the College and Career Readiness Manager at Parkridge Community Center, an off-campus site of Washtenaw Community College. Throughout Mia’s career in education, an obvious fact that continues to surface is that students from underserved communities lack the basic resources needed to advance to higher levels of educational and professional success. With her passion for being a part of the change needed in the advancement of the underserved population, Mia focuses on providing access to opportunities that will grant resources and guide students, families, and community members to a level of success that will assist in dissolving complex social and economic issues in the community.
Scott McCorkle currently serves as CEO of MetaImpact, a company focused on building a digital infrastructure to enable systems change. With MetaImpact, enterprises, coalitions, and entire ecosystems solve big problems by acting on shared goals and creating collective impact through active, measurable collaboration. Scott has been lauded as a technology visionary, honored with awards including 2016 TechPoint Trailblazer Award and the 2017 Indiana Chamber 2025 Dynamic Leader of the Year. Scott is formerly the CEO of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and President of ExactTarget, acquired by Salesforce in 2013. Scott’s career can be traced back to the first publicly-traded software company in Indiana, Software Artistry, which was acquired by IBM in the late 90’s. Scott served as Vice President of Engineering for Software Artistry and CTO of CRM technologies for IBM.
Director, Ostego Career Access Network
Brian Pearson leads the Otsego Career Access Network (OCAN) after retiring from a 36-year career in K-12 Eduction. Otsego Career Access Network is funded by Michigan College Access Network and the Otsego Community Foundation. The Otsego Career Access Network leadership team is made up of 24 individuals from 22 different organizations. During his tenure in K-12, he served as a teacher, counselor, and administrator. From 2016-22 Brain was the superintendent of Gaylord Community Schools. In the summer of 2022, he transitioned from K-12 education to leading the Otsego Career Access Network.
Detroit Drives Degrees Senior Director, Detroit Regional Chamber
Meghan Schmidbauer is the Senior Director of Detroit Drives Degrees, a collective impact initiative dedicated to increasing postsecondary attainment to accelerate economic prosperity and greater equity. She is an education and data champion with over a decade of serving others and community partners and specializes in higher education data and enrollment management as well as policy. In her role with Detroit Drives Degrees, she oversees the Detroit Regional Talent Compact and its Leadership Council. The Talent Compact members represent K-12 and higher education, government, nonprofits, business, and philanthropy who have made public commitments to implement or transform student success initiatives at their organization to support the two abovementioned goals. Before becoming the Senior Director, Meghan was the Director of Student Success and Postsecondary Partnerships with Detroit Drives Degrees. Before joining the Chamber, Meghan worked in enrollment management at a community college in Ohio for nearly ten years, where she spearheaded process transformation based on emergent needs and state policy.
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