John is currently the Vice President of Compensation and Benefits for General Dynamics where he oversees the executive compensation, health and wellness programs for about 100,000 employees across the US and internationally. Prior to joining General Dynamics, he was the head of Total Rewards and Performance Management for Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (the sovereign wealth fund) in Abu Dhabi. John’s career prior to ADIA includes consulting on behalf of two large benefits consulting firms and as a Partner with the global accounting firms of Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young. His career was primarily in the New York City region before coming to the DC area in late 2014. John has contributed to the not for profit arena as an advisory board member to the Women’s Club of White Plains in its charitable mission and in Abu Dhabi for Operation Smile and Make a Wish Foundation. John has his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany and a Juris Doctor from St. John’s Law University. He is a member of the New York State Bar.
Born in NYC to Jamaican Immigrant parents and raised in Saint Petersburg, FL, Kassie May Edwards graduated from the Florida State University in 2010 with a B.A. in African American Studies.
Her eagerness to help young people became a focus after noticing the lack of a culturally diverse curriculum in public school systems. That led her to be an AmeriCorps Museum Educator at Providence Children’s Museum.
After serving her community, Kassie wanted a meaningful job that would further advance her ideas in community engagement. Since moving to Washington, Edwards has served as an Investigative Support Assistant for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and currently serves as Director’s Assistant at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Kassie resides in Laurel, MD and attends Restoration Praise Center and serves in the Young Adult and Children’s Ministry as events coordinator and teacher respectively. She also serves on the Executive Board of Greater Washington Urban League’s Thursday Network as Social and Cultural Events Chair. She enjoys teaching others about Black history, performing spoken word poetry, thrift stores, vintage apparel and making an impact in her community. As a campus rape survivor Kassie enjoys bringing awareness to issues that affect victims of sexual assault.
Chrisi West is a digital communications manager focused on nonprofit engagement and advocacy. She has worked on electronic communications, websites, social media, and online advocacy for a number of nonprofits, both as a staff member and a volunteer, and leads trainings for campaign volunteers, students, and advocates on social media ethics and using social networking tools for activism. She received a B.A. in Rhetorical Criticism from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Ms. West is an aspiring writer who is passionate about literacy and education for at-risk youth, women’s health issues, and voter participation.
Dora Szalai has more than 15 years experience in marketing, public relations and organizational communication, both in the public and private sectors. She served as marketing and communications director at BCN Systems House, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom in Budapest, Hungary. Before that she was marketing manager for a national health promotion project run by the Hungarian government and sponsored by the World Bank. Earlier in her career, as director of public relations in Hungary for Estée Lauder Companies, she introduced the Estée Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness program to the country in 1995, a campaign that continues to this day. A native of Hungary, she moved to the U.S. in 2008 where she has concentrated on volunteer work, most recently in voter registration efforts in Fairfax County, Virginia. Dora earned a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Szeged (Hungary) with a triple concentration in English literature, history and education. She also holds an MBA from Oxford Brooks University Business School (U.K.). She speaks Hungarian and English.