Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact
October 15-16, 2023
LBJ Presidential Library
& University of Texas Campus
October 15-16, 2023
LBJ Presidential Library
& University of Texas Campus
Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact
The National Summit on Period Poverty Inaugural Gathering
Dignity Grows Executive Session
PRIVATE SESSION for Board of Directors,
Board of Advisors and National Leadership Council
In Perspective: Building Movements & Making Change
From dream to vision to action: reimagining the landscape of Period Poverty
Hosted by the Dignity Grows Austin Chapter
Monday, October 16
Optional VIP Tours of the LBJ Presidential Library
We Are Every Woman
Dynamic panelists reflect on the endemic, intimate, and critical nature of this long-stigmatized crisis and the ripple effects on families and communities
Dignity Grows releases the results of our groundbreaking national survey
Where Period Poverty Lives
Expert panelists illustrate the journey from community conscience to actionable change through their unique nonprofit, corporate, and direct service perspectives
Keynote: Where Dignity Grows, Women & Girls Thrive
Soledad O’Brien issues a rousing call to action: the growing movement to make systemic change and the stories of the women, families, and communities empowered through change
In Perspective: Profiling Presidential Leadership
Two leading presidential historians discuss how successful social movements achieve their goals and the decisive role American Presidents play in those movements
Special Announcement: Changing the Cycle of Period Poverty
Dignity Grows outlines a revolutionary plan to cut Period Poverty in America
Taking Action: Dignity Grows Packing Party
As the Summit adjourns, participate in a signature Dignity Grows hygiene tote Packing Party to support women and girls in Austin
Optional Exclusive After-Hours VIP Tours of the LBJ Presidential Library
The National Summit on Period Poverty Inaugural Gathering
Award-Winning Journalist, Entrepreneur and Host of the Weekly Syndicated Political Show Matter of Fact
Through the power of storytelling, Soledad O’Brien brings a fresh perspective on diverse and contemporary issues to foster change in your own community or organization.
As the host of the Sunday morning syndicated political show, Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien, Soledad has established herself as one of the most recognized names in broadcasting by telling the stories behind the most important issues, people and events of the day. A champion of diversity, she gives voice to the underserved and disenfranchised through her Emmy-winning reporting and acclaimed documentary series, Black in America and Latino in America. While also the contributing editor, reporting in-depth news magazine pieces for PBS NewsHour and correspondent for HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. A prominent philanthropist, Soledad is the founder of PowHERful, a foundation that mentors and funds college tuition and expenses for young women.
With eloquence and a measured ability to make often-divisive issues such as race relations, social inequality and mass incarceration accessible to all, she moves audiences to delve deeper into the headlines that shape our lives, outlooks and daily interactions.
On stage, Soledad draws from her life and career to stimulate thoughtful conversation on the roles we each play within our communities and organizations, leaving audiences with memorable takeaways on the power of individuals and companies to make meaningful and lasting change.
Congresswoman Grace Meng
HONORARY SUMMIT CHAIR
Menstrual Equity for All Act
U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng is serving her third term in the United States House of Representatives. Grace represents the Sixth Congressional District of New York encompassing the New York City borough of Queens, including west, central and northeast Queens.
Grace is the first Asian American Member of Congress from New York State, and the only Congressmember of Asian descent in the entire Northeast. She is also the first female Member of Congress from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
Grace is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittees on State and Foreign Operations, and Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies. The Appropriations Committee is responsible for funding every federal agency, program, and project within the United States government.
Previously, Grace served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.
Grace is also a Senior Whip and Regional Whip for New York, and a founder and Co-Chair of the Kids’ Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House that promotes child-safety issues. She helped create and serves as a founding member and former Co-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus which works to mitigate excessive aircraft noise that adversely affects communities.
Grace has passed several pieces of legislation in law. These include laws about religious freedom, making Queens historic sites part of the National Parks Service, striking “Oriental” from federal law and protecting public housing residents from insufficient heat. Also signed into law were her measures that assist veterans and members of the military, as well as legislation to combat flood damage, strengthen anti-terror initiatives and improve the safety of school buses and child car seats.
In addition, Grace helped obtain increased funding for Israel’s defense systems, acquired additional resources for small businesses, improved access to feminine hygiene products and worked to create New York City school holidays for Lunar New Year and Eid. Further, she helped improve mail delivery, secured resources to combat airplane noise, advocated for the new ban on African Elephant Ivory and the slaughter of “downer” calves, and obtained a probe that outlined needed improvements to local railroad safety.
Born in Elmhurst, Queens, and raised in the Bayside and Flushing sections of the borough, Grace attended local schools, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. She then earned a law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
Prior to serving in Congress, Grace was a member of the New York State Assembly. Before entering public service, she worked as a public-interest lawyer.
Grace resides in Queens with her husband Wayne, and two sons Tyler and Brandon.
Jeannie Infante Sager
Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Indiana University
Jeannie Infante Sager is the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute which is housed under the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis, Indiana. WPI envisions a world where women donors understand and use their growing power and influence to support causes they care about; where fundraisers and nonprofit leaders take women seriously and approach them in ways that appeal to them; and where both women and men are giving, giving more, and giving more intentionally and effectively. Jeannie leads WPI’s efforts to translate research to practice, works closely with WPI’s national advisory council and serves on the executive leadership team for the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She has been quoted in a wide array of media outlets including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune Magazine. An active speaker on a range of topics related to women’s philanthropy, she has presented to national and international audiences. She serves as an associate professor with the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and teaches with The Fundraising School.
Jeannie is a seasoned nonprofit executive with over 25 years of experience in health care, higher education, and independent school leadership. She most recently served on the leadership team that created the IU Health Foundation. Nationally, she serves as immediate past chair for the Indiana University Alumni Association’s board of managers, on the advisory council for WOC – Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy and on the advisory board for Donate Stock. In service to women and girls, Jeannie is on the board of directors for Girls Inc. of Greater Indiana and Women for Change Indiana.
Jeannie earned her master's degree in philanthropic studies from Indiana University where she was a Jane Addams Fellow and earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from Rollins College where she was recognized with their distinguished alumni award.
Pamela Benson Owens
MODERATOR & SPEAKER
CEO, Six Square; President & CEO, Edge of Your Seat Consulting, Inc.
Pamela Benson Owens is the President and CEO of Edge of Your Seat Consulting, Inc and is also serving as the CEO of Six Square. For 25+ years Pam has owned Edge of Your Seat Consulting, a unique consulting firm that is dedicated to assisting for-profit, nonprofit, and faith-based entities. The major focus of Edge of Your Seat Consulting, Inc., is to provide methodologies that help manage perceptions and narratives about complex and challenging issues with courage and strategic passion.
Pam leverages humor and honest storytelling to create memorable and applicable strategies for sustainable and substantive change.
She serves the community in a variety of capacities with the intentional motive of building a stronger and more equitable community. Pam serves on several non-profit boards, is the co-chair of the Black Fund a partnership with Austin Community Foundation, joyfully serves on the faculty of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence at Austin Community College, is often a guest lecturer at institutions of higher learning and thrives on the opportunities her consultancy work paves the way to assist organizations to be stronger by navigating the nuances of organizational culture.
She is a proud Texas A&M Aggie where she earned a degree in Journalism and a certification in Diversity Education and completed her graduate work at St. Edward's University with a master’s in human services with a concentration in Conflict Resolution/Mediation. Pam has also completed coursework at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, a certification in DEI from Cornell, is a self-professed book nerd and lifelong learner, and has most recently launched a new business with all four members of her family called 4 The Culture Coffee- an online coffee shop that directs a percentage of the proceeds back to BIPOC nonprofit organizations in the Central Texas region. She resides in Austin with her spouse, Arlyn, and two exceptionally amazing kids, Preston, and Allyson.
Dr. Daphne Bazile
Medical Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bon Secours
Daphne Bazile MD FACOG is a practicing board certified OBGYN in the Richmond Virginia area. She currently serves as the Medical Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the Richmond Market of Bon Secours. Originally from New York, she attended Barnard College, Columbia University. She went on to obtain her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine. She completed her residency at Howard University Hospital . Upon completion of residency she joined the hospital as faculty and shortly thereafter became an Assistant Professor in the Department of OBGYN. She joined Southside Regional Hospital in 2016. Committed to her community she serves as a women’s health advisor for many local organizations such the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Richmond Chapter and Cardinal Ladies Group of Richmond. She is a key member of the annual “Pink Parties “ at Southside Regional Hospital in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Recently has joined with Hebron of Petersburg in their “Cycle Celebrations”, education young ladies on their menstrual cycles and working with local organizations to hopefully providing adequate resources for those most of need of supplies. As an advocate for women’s health she is educates that health begins with knowledge and helps women and their families be the best advocates for themselves. Dr Bazile’s commitment to her community and her patient has garnished her many recognitions.
Campaign Director & Chief of Staff, More Perfect
Mollie Bowman is the Campaign Director and Chief of Staff for More Perfect, where she leads daily operations, strategy, and the development of a national movement to strengthen democracy. Prior to More Perfect, Mollie was a DE&I consultant who led strategic communications for Deloitte's antiracism hub, the Black Action Council, and previously worked at POLITICO, for Hillary for America, and in the Obama White House. She is an adviser to several nonprofits in Washington, DC, including as the immediate past president of Jewish Women International’s Young Women’s Impact Network. Mollie holds a B.A. in political communication and a M.A. in public affairs from the George Washington University, where she is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Dean, LBJ School of Public Affairs
JR DeShazo is the 12th dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He previously served as the founding director of the Luskin Center for Innovation at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), one of the nation's leading environmental policy
He is a distinguished scholar focusing on clean technology policies, policy design to enhance environmental equity, methods for valuing changes in environmental quality, and the performance of public agencies.
In his leadership roles, DeShazo has made faculty research and student experience key priorities. He led campus-wide interdisciplinary research efforts, enhanced training and mentorship of students, and spearheaded efforts to increase representation among both faculty and students. DeShazo was also responsible for fostering strategic partnerships with leading organizations, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
Through his research and appointments, he has served as a policy adviser to international organizations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations, as well federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
DeShazo earned a doctorate in Urban Planning from Harvard University, a master's in Development Economics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a bachelor's degree from the College of William & Mary.
CEO & President, Interval House
Mary-Jane Foster became the CEO and President of Hartford’s Interval House in January of 2017. Interval House is Connecticut’s largest domestic violence agency and in 2023 celebrates 46 years of service. Foster is just the second CEO of the agency. She served as Vice-President of University Relations at the University of Bridgeport, from May 2009 until June of 2016. She is an attorney admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York. She is a co-founder and former co-owner and
CEO of the Bridgeport Bluefish Professional Baseball Club and Westchester Baseball, LLC. Ms. Foster was a candidate for mayor of Bridgeport, CT in the 2011 Democratic primary and the 2015 general election.
Before attending law school, Ms. Foster was an actress in New York. She has performed on stage, film, television and radio and has appeared in over two hundred television and radio commercials.
Director, Women’s Philanthropy and Affinities, Jewish Community Federation of Richmond
Jill was instrumental in launching Dignity Grows in Greater Richmond, seeing it as a key opportunity to reach beyond the Jewish community and at the same time inspire leadership and connection within the Jewish community. During the program'sfirst full year, Dignity Grows Richmond has secured over $133,000 in funding and partnered with six Distribution Partners including an elementary school, a women’s shelter, food banks,and service agencies touching almost every demographic with the Greater Richmond community.
A Florida native, Jill has more than 15 years of management experience and a strong background in the nonprofit world, both professionally and as a volunteer. Jill adores her daughter Sydney, a tax accountant living in Philadelphia; and her son Harrison, a second-year student at The University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. Jill is a four-time Boston Marathon qualifier and a French Bulldog enthusiast.
Texas Representative Donna Howard
Representative Donna Howard has served in the Texas House of Representatives since 2006. She currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Select Committee on Health Care Reform, is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Higher Education Committee. Rep. Howard also serves as the Chairwoman of the Texas Women’s Health Caucus which is the largest caucus in the country solely focused on advancing women’s health policy. During her time in the Legislature, Chair Howard has advocated to increase funding and access to women’s health services and has fought against anti-abortion misinformation. Over the last year, she has worked to increase national awareness of the current state of women’s health policy in Texas and the effect anti-abortion legislation has had in our communities.
A native of Austin, Donna earned a Bachelor’s degree in nursing and a Master’s degree in health education from the University of Texas. She worked as a critical care nurse at Brackenridge and Seton hospitals and served as Austin’s first hospital-based Patient Education Coordinator. Donna is a past president of the Texas Nurses Association (District 5) and was a health education instructor at UT.
Donna was elected to the Eanes ISD board in West Austin for the 1996-1999 term. She has served on the boards of Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, Common Cause Texas, Texas Freedom Network, and the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. She now serves as a board member of the Expanding Horizons Foundation, supporting low-income housing and education.
Representative Howard was married to attorney Derek Howard for 40 wonderful years and they proudly raised three children together. Rep. Howard is also a grandmother to seven perfect grandchildren.
Chair, Policy Education & Advocacy Committee, Feeding America
Jason Jakubowski is President & CEO of Connecticut Foodshare, the official Feeding America food bank serving the entire state of Connecticut. With a dedicated team of 120 employees and more than 5,000 volunteers, Connecticut Foodshare distributes more than 45 million meals each year through a statewide network of 600+ pantries and mobile distribution sites. Throughout Jason’s tenure, Connecticut Foodshare has been named a “Top Workplace” five times by the Hartford Courant and Hearst newspapers; and in 2020, Jason received the prestigious C-Suite Award from the Hartford Business Journal for his organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to joining Connecticut Foodshare, Jason served as Vice President of External Relations at Hospital for Special Care and he worked as the Director of Corporate & Community Development at Charter Oak State College. Jason holds adjunct faculty appointments at both the University of Connecticut School of Public Policy and Central Connecticut State University’s Department of Political Science.
Jason holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Connecticut, and he is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program. At the age of 21, Jason was elected to the New Britain City Council followed by two terms as City Treasurer. In 2012, he was one of Connecticut’s seven Presidential Electors for Barack Obama.
Jason has chaired the Board of Directors at both Leadership Greater Hartford and Community Health Resources, and he currently chairs Feeding America’s national Policy Engagement and Advocacy Committee (PEAC). Jason currently serves on the boards of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, the West Hartford Chambers of Commerce and the United Way of Connecticut. He served on the Transition Teams for Governors Ned Lamont (2018) and Dannel P. Malloy (2010), and in 2019 he received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association of Leadership Programs. In 2021, he received the Polaris Award for Visionary Leadership from Leadership Greater Hartford.
Jason currently lives in West Hartford with his wife and five children and was a longtime coach with the West Hartford Youth Baseball League.
Mark Atwood Lawrence
Director, LBJ Presidential Library and Museum
Mark Atwood Lawrence is Director of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas. Until January 2020, he taught as Professor of History at UT-Austin, where his classes focused on American and international history. His most recent book is The End of Ambition: The United States and the Third World in the Vietnam Era, published by Princeton University Press in 2021. He has published several edited and co-edited books, as well as numerous articles, chapters, and reviews on various aspects of the history of U.S. foreign relations. He earned his BA from Stanford University and his PhD from Yale University.
President & CEO, Jeremiah Program
Executive Director, Texas Impact
Bee Moorhead has been Executive Director of Texas Impact and its sister organization, the Texas Impact Foundation, since 2000. Under Bee’s leadership, Texas Impact and the Texas Impact Foundation are among the most respected interfaith networks in the country. Texas Impact regularly mobilizes tens of thousands of Texans from across a spectrum of faith traditions to advocate for policies that support vulnerable people, local communities, and a livable planet. The Texas Impact Foundation produces timely policy research and analysis, and delivers innovative policy and advocacy education through publications, events, and extensive online multimedia offerings.
Bee’s policy expertise includes a wide range of issues including health and human services, climate, migration, public budgets, and civic engagement. She has served on numerous state agency working groups and task forces on topics ranging from nursing homes to hurricane response. She is a credentialed observer to the United Nations climate policy negotiations process; in that capacity, she has attended the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s annual Conference of the Parties every year since 2015. She is a registered lobbyist with the State of Texas. Her government experience includes 8 years as a senior fiscal policy analyst for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Bee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Costume Design from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. She has completed coursework at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is a trained Mentor for former Vice-President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project.
Since 2012, Bee has been an adjunct faculty member at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where she co-leads a senior-level course in Faith and Public Policy. She also has taught a version of this curriculum as a required government course for undergraduates. Through her leadership, Texas Impact partners with seminaries and universities throughout Texas to offer internships and other learning opportunities to Texas higher education students. She is a sought-after lecturer and presenter at conferences, religious gatherings, and in a variety of educational settings. Her writing has appeared in major Texas newspapers and denominational publications.
An ordained ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Bee currently serves on the Session of University Presbyterian Church in Austin, where she has been a member since 1983. She is a leader in her neighborhood association and serves as a poll worker for Travis County. She serves as the trustee of her family’s historic farm, Locust Grove, in Meigs County, Ohio, and serves on the board of the United Church of Christ Cornerstone Fund.
Bee is married to Robert Moorhead, a longtime staff member for the PBS series Austin City Limits, the longest-running music program in television history. The Moorheads have three grown children and one grandchild.
Lead Facilitator, National Alliance for Eating Disorders
Kate Peoples is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, Texas where she works with adolescents and adults experiencing eating disorders and co-occurring mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders in her outpatient private practice. She is a lead facilitator with the National Alliance for Eating Disorders, the leading national non-profit organization providing education, referrals, and support for all individuals experiencing eating disorders, including their loved ones.
In addition to her clinical work, Kate is passionate about furthering policy that ensures accessible care for eating disorders on both the state and federal level. She has worked with the Eating Disorders Coalition through their annual National Advocacy Days since 2013, leading teams of constituents in meetings with their elected officials to educate Members of Congress and push for important policy goals.
Kate earned both her Masters of Science in Social Work, with a clinical concentration, and Bachelors of Social Work degree from The University of Texas at Austin. During her master’s, she received her Interprofessional Practice and Education certificate as the first class of social work students to collaborate with the Dell Medical School, School of Nursing, and College of Pharmacy to further advance team-based learning and interprofessional collaborative practice.
Social Emotional Learning Instructor; Founder, Heroes in Training
Jerrell Starling is a master fitness professional and budding entrepreneur from Hartford, Connecticut. The nephew of former world champion boxer, Marlon "The Magic Man" Starling, Jerrell is the founder of Heroes In Training LLC (HIT), an organization geared towards Youth Empowerment in the Greater Hartford area through boxing basics, social emotional learning, and physical fitness.
In just over a year of operation, HIT has already served hundreds of students as a vendor for Catholic Charities, The Village for Children and Families, CRT, and Gan of Israel-West Hartford. In addition to combating our nation's staggering obesity rates, this program was created to help give our youth a uniquely heightened sense of confidence, discipline, awareness, and an obligation to serve and represent their communities in the best way possible.
Jerrell also serves as a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) instructor in a class he calls "Simple Wisdom" and teaches high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes at 9-time Best of Hartford award winning BodyRoc FitLab in West Hartford, and"worldwide leader in sports" ESPN's Wellness Center in Bristol. He is an Olympic referee and active philanthropist with USA Boxing. He owns an independent music production company, Lost Art Music LLC, and is even an actor, who had his last starring role in a play as Dr. John Prentice (originally played by Sydney Portier) in a live recreation of the silver sceen classic "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" with the Theater Guild of Simsbury in 2019.
His first role in public speaking came in 2000, where he (a former "little" in an interracial pairing) served as the keynote speaker for Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters' Annual Meeting - helping boost program funding during a pivotal year - at just 16 years old. Jerrell attributes a large part of his early success in education to his partnership with Dignity Grows and the much-needed Hope In A Bag program, through which he assists over 40 families with menstrual hygiene product support. Starling's next goal is to establish HIT as a nonprofit organization and is constantly working towards growing his brand beyond Hartford, but his greatest joy and life accomplishment is his 12 year old son, Prince.
President & Founder, Measure
Her commitment to fostering a more equitable and just society is evident in the numerous social justice-focused programs and projects she's spearheaded in both Texas and California. Drawing on her own lived experiences and tireless energy, Meme inspires others to join her in the fight against racism.
But her impact doesn't stop there. As a Social Science Research Council, Just Tech Fellow, Meme is at the forefront of solving for anti-racist technology. Her pioneering work in this area is helping to shape the future of tech, making it more inclusive and equitable for all.
With an impressive educational background that includes a Bachelor's of Science in Communications, a Masters Of Public Administration with a concentration on National Security, and a Certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from Cornell, Meme is a true trailblazer. She's also certified in Performance Measurement through George Washington University College of Professional Studies and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree at Liberty University.
And on top of all that, Meme is a devoted wife to a US Veteran and a loving mother of four. With her unique blend of expertise, passion, and fearlessness, Meme Styles is a true visionary of the afro-futuristic world.
Mark K. Updegrove
President & CEO, LBJ Foundation; Presidential Historian, ABC News
Mark K. Updegrove is the author of five books on the presidency, including Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency; The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; and, most recently, Incomparable Grace: JFK in the Presidency. He is the president and CEO of the LBJ Foundation and the presidential historian for ABC News. Earlier in his career, he was the director of the LBJ Presidential Library and publisher of Newsweek.
Chair & Chief Executive Officer, Dignity Grows Inc.
Jessica is the Chair and CEO of Dignity Grows Inc., which she founded in 2019.
An alumna and class officer of Cornell University, Jessica is a classically trained chef and entrepreneur. As a food editor at Mademoiselle Magazine, she brought her unique culinary stylings to the publication. She was also a stylist and consultant for numerous cookbooks, magazines and advertising campaigns. She later ran a successful NYC catering business.
Her extensive experience as a dynamic community leader includes service on the boards of numerous educational and social service organizations, including that of the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Jessica has served as Chair and President of Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford and recently completed 8 years of service on the JFNA National Women’s Philanthropy Board.
Upon learning of the devastating impacts of Period Poverty, Jessica sprang to action, educating and motivating volunteers to make change for women and girls in her own community of Hartford, CT. Within a year and a half, her efforts had gained national attention and Dignity Grows chapters lept into action in cities across the USA. In addition to providing direct hygiene support for hundreds of thousands of Americans, Jessica recognized the need for Dignity Grows to take on policy and systemic change and the organization quickly evolved into the national leader in addressing trends in Period Poverty.
Jessica’s deep connections to giving back to the community stem from childhood traditions with her sisters, and their annual efforts to support individuals affected by Muscular Dystrophy. Along with her husband and three grown children, she continues to make community service a core value of their growing family.
President & Chief Operating Officer, Dignity Grows Inc.
Jennifer is the President and COO of Dignity Grows Inc., the nonprofit leader in addressing the growing public health crisis of Period Poverty. She oversees
program, strategic growth and corporate relations for the national organization and has been Dignity Grows’ operational lead since 2020.
Jennifer is an alumna of Boston University, where she undertook studies in both Religion and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. She has since been invited to return to her alma mater to guide students pursuing careers in social justice.
Jennifer brings over 20 years of experience in large-scale program development and management across the nation. She was the youngest member ever
appointed to the Management Team of the Marcus JCC of Atlanta, where she began her career in education and camp management.
A master educator and curriculum designer, Jennifer was recognized as Atlanta’s “Teacher of the Year”. More recently, Jennifer has served as Director of
Community Connections at the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and authored the “WOW!” values-based STEM experiential education curriculum.
She has been a featured presenter at NewCAJE conferences and is published in their journals.
Jennifer’s long standing commitment to communal service includes roles with the Play SAFE program The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. She continues this tradition of giving back with her three sons by fostering dogs with special needs for local rescue groups.
Senior Advisor, Strategy & Growth, Dignity Grows Inc.
Currently a seminarian at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Jesse earned his Master of Public Administration in Advanced Management and International Economic Policy from Columbia University. During his
undergraduate studies at the University of Rochester, Jesse worked in London as a researcher in Parliament. He was also a 2004 Harry S. Truman Scholar.
Jesse has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit management, organizational development, and fundraising, as a Chief Development Officer, strategic management consultant and political appointee. He has built and led teams to support social, education and health causes.
Jesse’s tenure with Dignity Grows Inc. focuses on the organization’s rapid expansion as the leader in research, policy and systemic change to reverse trends in Period Poverty. He is proud to engage national Dignity Grows efforts in his home state of Texas, where he shares his theological and communal service
passions with his extended family.
The National Summit on Period Poverty Inaugural Gathering
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Approx. 15 minutes to hotel;
Approx.14 minutes to LBJ Presidential Library
For your convenience, a block of rooms has been secured for October 15-17 at:
AT&T Hotel & Conference Center
1900 University Avenue, Austin
The National Summit on Period Poverty Inaugural Gathering
This Summit is made possible through generous contributions to our Fund for Strategic Growth.
Special thanks to:
The Savin Family Fund
Gayle, Steven, Alyssa & Lily Temkin