Keynotes and Breakout Speakers

Breakout Presenters:

Christine Darr is the chair of the Dubuque Democratic Socialists, which is a local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. She is also an Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at the University of Dubuque, a mom, and an avid reader of post-apocalyptic fiction.

Howard Lee III aka The Motivational Poet. He graduated from The University of Dubuque with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a Master’s of Business Administration. He is a Master Spoken Word Artist, Published Author, Youth Empowerment Champion, Community Relationship Pioneer, and an Exuberant Orator who has improved the living conditions of hundreds of families and youth with mentorship in parenting, connecting community resources and promoting healthy relationships. He launched a dynamic Youth Empowerment platform that instructs poetry and business modeling concepts to promote entrepreneurship. StoryBook Enterprises consists of Poetry. Publishing and Radio. He launched a dynamic Youth Empowerment platform that instructs poetry and business modeling concepts to promote entrepreneurship. StoryBook Enterprises consists of Poetry. Publishing and Radio.

Howard has impacted hundreds of youth and their families during 5 plus years within the community. Howard has taught the nationally recognized and respected by community-based organizations, schools and faith-based organizations curriculum known as Dare to Be King. He also has taught The Phoenix Curriculum, an evidence-based and recognized by National Gang Center/OJJDP/Bureau of Justice Assistance gang intervention curriculum for middle school, high school and alternative school students. Howard has training in the Nationally Recognized Aggression Replacement Training (ART), a research-based, proven-effective approach for working with challenging youth. A curriculum of over 30 years of use in schools, community agencies, juvenile institutions, and other settings. He is training within the Nationally Recognized, evidenced-based Trauma Informed Care.

Dr. Parks earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Texas A&M University in 2007 and has been a faculty member in the sociology departmant at Loras College since then.  She has taught courses on the sociology of education, social demography, research methods and statistics, social problems, democracy and global diversity, the social construction of whiteness, race and ethnicity, among others.  Her research interests often focus on racial and educational inequality. Currently, Dr. Parks is working on a project about the impact of motherhood on academic careers.  She also has experience with designing research projects, analyzing data, and consulting on projects.  When she’s not teaching or reading sociology, Dr. Parks enjoys time with her husband and two kids.  She enjoys travel, films, podcasts, playing board games, knitting, reading, and singing karaoke. She also serves as a Human Rights Commissioner for the city of Dubuque.

Oather Taylor is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultant and adviser based in Cedar Rapids, IA. In September 2018, Oather retired from Alliant Energy as their Director of Recruitment & Diversity. He was with Alliant Energy for 17 years previously holding the roles of Director of Security, Facilities & Continuity of Operations, and Director of Gas Engineering and Operations Support. Before joining Alliant Energy, Oather spent 14 years in the Oil, Petrochemical & Chemical industries in various engineering and management positions living most of that time in New Orleans, Louisiana, but leading large projects throughout Louisiana, Texas, Iowa and in Trinidad & Tobago. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Oather serves on the board and Executive Committee of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. Oather is a board member of the Academy of Scholastic & Professional Success, an origination in the CR/IC region focused on underrepresented students by developing their leadership skills and getting them prepared for college. Oather recently stepped down as chair of the Iowa Energy Workforce Consortium, and as co-chair of the Madison (WI) Regional Economic Partnership’s Labor & Diversity Committee. Oather also served on State of Iowa’s Sector Partnership Leadership Council. Oather was the first male to serve as a board member of the Corridor Women Connect organization. Oather has served as Board President of the African American Museum of Iowa, and also served on The Board of Trustees for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art as a member of their Executive Committee and chair of the Buildings Committee. Oather was a Loaned Executive to the United Way of East Central Iowa in 2005. Oather is the co-founder and former Chair of the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Employee Resource Group Consortium (ERGC) now known as Inclusive ICR, and he remains a member of the organization’s Advisory Committee.

Oather was born and raised in Freeport, IL. He and his wife have a daughter in high school and a son attending the University of Iowa.

Mr. Todd Schmidt graduated from University of Iowa law school in 2006 has been an attorney at the Dubuque office of Iowa Legal Aid since then.  His areas of legal expertise includes fair housing law, veterans law, consumer law, among others

Dr. Anderson-Bricker is Professor of History at Loras College, specializing in race and gender reform in the United States. She has served as a consultant and has been a member of many different boards and committees, including the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association; the State Historical Society of Iowa; National Endowment for the Humanities/Iowa; the Effigy Mound National Monument; and Humanities Iowa, to name just a few.

Ernest Jackson is the operations manager of John Deere Dubuque Works, Construction and Forestry Division. He began his career as a welding engineer and over the years has had many opportunities with John Deere including, Engineering Supervisor, Quality Manager, Business Unit Manager and Director of Global Operations.

Ernest holds a degree in Welding Engineering from Ohio State University and his MBA from the University of Dubuque. Throughout his career he has served on numerous boards and committees throughout the community. Currently Ernest is a board member of Dubuque’s True North, Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and Dubuque Black Men Coalition. Ernest is also a mentor with the Dubuque Youth Mentoring Program and a member of the Deere Black Leadership Forum

Tom Lo Guidice, PhD is a retired professor of Human Relations education and immediate past chair of the Friends of Fair Housing, A Dubque Branch NAACP sponsored organization.

Lynn Sutton is a practicing nurse, former member of the Dubuque City Council, and a well-known and practiced Citizen Advocate

Mr. Wes Hall is an Arthur Vining Davis Fellow, An Aspen Institute Scholar, An Educational Consultant to the Los Angeles Unified School District, Author, and Weekly Radio Talk Show Host.

Mr. Hall was recently selected by the Las Vegas My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to present a Keynote on his work involving trauma-informed instruction at their state-wide conference. His work around trauma also prompted Asia’s largest early childhood conference (Early Ed Asia 2019) to select Mr. Hall to present his insights and strategies at their upcoming conference in India.

Mr. Hall co-created the Young Men of Color Initiative for the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is comprised of the annual conference series, the Village Mentoring Movement, and Gathering of Great Minds. His work garnered him an invite to the White House, where he joined a small cohort of administrators from LAUSD to share their gains in the areas of absenteeism and mentoring. In 2018, the Los Angeles Clippers Basketball Organization recognized his work with young men of color and honored him with the Community Hero Award.

Dr. Rachel Daack has been teaching about diversity-related topics for the past twenty years as a college instructor and in the past fifteen years as a local consultant.  She currently teaches at Clarke University as Professor of Sociology.  Areas of interest include gender and race.  As a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, she also has some specific thoughts about disability.

Her past professional positions include: college textbook developmental editor for Wm. C. Brown and Times Mirror, HTML programmer/technical writer consulting for John Deere Corporate, and solid waste educator for Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Association.  Prior to that work she worked in food service, as a valet parker, as a domestic helper, and as an office worker.

Rachel earned a BA in Global Studies with a French minor from the University of Iowa.  She also earned a 6-12 teaching certificate from Clarke College.  She holds an MA in geography and an interdisciplinary PhD, both also from the University of Iowa. 

Her relevant community involvement includes: 10-years of leadership with the Lincoln Elementary parent organization (PALS), chair of the Dubuque Branch NAACP education committee, leadership of Clarke University’s Multicultural Issues Committee, serving on diversity and inclusion panel discussions in the region, and active participation with the Best Practices and Education sector groups of Inclusive Dubuque.  Daack also began a mentoring program between Clarke students and students at Dubuque Senior who are at risk for not graduating from high school.

Rachel grew up in the Holy Ghost/Fulton neighborhood of Dubuque.  She and her spouse have lived in Dubuque for nearly twenty years and have raised two children here.  The children are graduates of Lincoln Elementary, Washington Middle School, and Dubuque Senior.

Sarah Schneider attended Loras College receiving her Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice with minors in Sociology and Gender Studies. She then went on the obtain a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Corrections from Indiana State University.

Sarah has worked at Lutheran Services in Iowa for nine years in various capacities. She began as a Behavioral Health worker, meeting with children and families to build skills surrounding the child’s mental health diagnoses and behavioral symptoms. Then, she moved into a Program Supervisor position working with and overseeing the care of children and adults with disabilities, including chronic mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and brain injuries. Beginning in March 2019, Sarah took over as the Host Home Coordinator, coordinating the care of individuals across Eastern Iowa. Host Homes is an innovative program that places individuals with high needs into a mentor’s home, rather than placing them into a residential setting. In each of these capacities, Sarah continues to serve those with disabilities as they navigate through the Medicaid system in Iowa and at times, the Criminal Justice System.

Sarah is also an Adjunct Instructor at NICC as the only Criminal Justice instructor. She has taught for several years, both in a face-to-face setting and online, with courses including Introduction to Criminal Justice, Police and Society, Juvenile Delinquency, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Criminology.

As a Dubuque native, Sarah is involved in many local groups and organizations including Dubuque County Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Stakeholders, Jail Diversion, Chief’s Forum, NAACP Criminal Justice Chair, DCPRC (Dubuque Community-Police Relations Committee), and Restorative Justice Practices as a group conference facilitator through the YMCA.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, traveling with her significant other, and preparing to welcome for their first child in December.

Sergio Pérez (He/Him/His) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and International Studies from Loras College and Master of Science in Education in Student Affairs Administration and Higher Education from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. He is currently on his 4th year working as the Director of Inclusion & Advocacy at Loras College. His work is influenced by the identities he holds often seeing his lived experience as a Queer Person of Color (QPOC) inform his diversity, equity, and inclusion practice.

He was nominated for the President’s Diversity Award at California Polytechnic State University in 2016 and was recently named a member of the Rising Stars Class of 2019 in Dubuque, Iowa. He is currently working towards his doctorate degree in higher education and leadership studies from Edgewood College.

America & MOORE, LLC was started in 1996 to provide comprehensive diversity, privilege and leadership trainings/workshops. Eddie is recognized as one of the nation’s top speakers/educators. His interview with WPR won the 2015 WI Broadcasters Association’s Best Interview in Medium Market Radio, 1st Place, and he’s featured in the film “I’m not Racist….Am I?” Dr. Moore is the Founder/Program Director for the White Privilege Conference (WPC),

In 2014 Dr. Moore founded The Privilege Institute (TPI) which engages people in research, education, action and leadership through workshops, conferences, publications and strategic partnerships and relationships. Dr. Moore is co-founder of the on-line journal Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, co-editor of Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories, The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys,The Diversity Consultant Cookbook: Preparing for the Challenge (2019) and Teaching Brilliant and Beautiful Black Girls (2020). Dr. Moore received his BA from Cornell College, his MA from Loras. I’ll Efe and his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. His Ph.D. research is on Black Football Players at Division III Schools in the Midwest.