2020 Speakers

Stephanie L. Young

Stephanie L. Young serves as the Managing Director for Culture & Communications at When We All Vote, a non partisan voting initiative launched by Michelle Obama. She has over 12 years of strategic communications and public engagement experience ranging from the Obama White House, political campaigns, House Democratic Leadership, BET Networks and NBC Cable Entertainment. During her time in the Obama Administration, Stephanie had the unique opportunity of serving in two critical roles as the Associate Communications Director and then as the Senior Public Engagement Advisor in the Office of Public Engagement. Prior to her White House stint, she worked on Capitol Hill as the National Press Secretary for Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Stephanie resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Stefanie Brown James

Stefanie Brown James serves as the Vice President of Training and Community Engagement at EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, where she oversees the organization’s training programs and national partnerships. Stefanie is also the co-founder and board chair of The Collective – a multifaceted organization founded in 2016 that has raised over $7 million dollars to recruit, train, fund and support Black candidates running for office.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Stefanie served as the National African American Vote Director for the Obama for America Campaign in 2012 where she created the national strategy to engage Black voters to re-elect President Barack Obama. Stefanie also served as the National Field Director and Youth & College Division Director for the National NAACP. Stefanie is a member of Delta SigmaTheta Sorority, Inc. and a past member of the Board of Trustees at her alma mater, Howard University. Yet, her greatest accomplishment is marrying her business partner Quentin James and being the mother of toddlers, Carter & Elijah.

Dr. Toni Alvarado

Dr. Antoinette G. Alvarado is the Co-Pastor of Grace Church International, Executive Director of My Sister’s Keeper Foundation for Women and President of Targeted Living Coaching & Consulting, LLC. Dr. Toni as she is affectionately called, is a dynamic preacher, teacher and workshop presenter, serving in national and international conferences. She is the author of Run and Not Be Weary: The Pursuit of Purpose and Destiny, Stoking the Fire of Your Dreams and Harmonize Your Life: A Journey Toward Self-Care and co-authored Let’s Stay Together: Relationship Strategies for Successful Marriages, with her husband Dr. Johnathan E. Alvarado. Dr. Toni is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is passionate about fitness training, reading, writing and spending time with her family. Her years of experience as a community leader, pastor, professor, speaker, and coach and trainer imminently qualify her to empower others.

Mũthoni Wambu Kraal

Mũthoni Wambu Kraal is the National Political & Organizing Director at the Democratic National

Committee. In this role, she directs the electoral and organizing strategy as well as investments of the party committee. She has been in progressive politics for over two decades and is well-accustomed to the warp speed of grassroots organizing. As the new DNC National Political

and Organizing Director, she leads top-notch team of strategists. She is part of an intergenerational team that values diversity and the strength it’s bringing to the work. Mũthoni along with her team, is dedicated to working in every state to elect Democrats up and down the ballot and to build the power of our communities in the party.

 

Previously, she served as the Vice President of National Outreach and Training at EMILY’s List, where she oversaw their training programs, and created strategic partnerships with the progressive community and beyond.

 

It was during 2 cycles at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raising money for candidates and Congressional incumbents in tough races that she learned about the world of campaigns and the important role fundraising plays in winning campaigns. She also saw up close that some of the most underrepresented groups in Congress—women and people of color—weren’t keeping up with the growing influence of money in elections.

 

In addition, Wambu Kraal co-opened and ran a woman-owned fundraising firm that serviced clients at every level of political office. She served as the PAC Coordinator for the AFL-CIO, and served as the deputy political director for then-U.S. Senator Joe Biden. In 2008, she was the deputy campaign manager and political director for Senator Kay Hagan’s successful race against Senator Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina. Wambu Kraal was born in Chicago and spent her formative childhood years in New York City. Raised by two passionate educators who met because of their community activism, she attributes her dedicated interest in politics to parental osmosis. This includes the subtle fact that she could hold protests signs before she could walk.

 

A graduate of Howard University where she earned a B.A. in journalism. Wambu Kraal is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and a lifetime member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband John Peter and their young son Mirii. The boy is subject to the same parental osmosis as she was growing up. He’s been standing with women before he could physically stand.

Raynelle McNeil

Raynelle McNeilhas been an event & floral designer for over 17 years and is the creative director and visionary behind rai Entertainment Design, an event production firm. Raynelle McNeil has been setting the standard for high-end events, celebrity parties, exclusive corporate galas & fundraisers, memorable brand activations, hip entertainment industry soirées, society weddings, film/tv sets, and destination extravaganzas – for both private and corporate clientele who all share a passion for the dramatically different. At the cutting edge of the latest trends in decor, Raynelle McNeil takes the client’s vision to a new level, creating original celebrations in locations worldwide that are provocative and impact all senses, telling a distinct story.

Designer Raynelle McNeil ensures that every element — Florals, catering decor, signage, entertainment, staff attire, lighting, custom furniture, graphics, draperies, linens, and prop fabrications to name a few — is thoughtfully curated and clearly communicated in a detailed and cohesive harmony throughout the events. In addition, Raynelle McNeil is a Master Swarovski Crystal Element Artist and Creative Director for Rai Rocks, a Swarovski Crystal Element Design Firm, for over 5 years. Her hand applied crystal designs and art installations can be seen on some of America’s top Celebrities, High-end Fashion lines, and Award-winning Visual Art exhibits and collections

Lori Wilhite

Lori Wilhite is the founder of Leading and Loving It which is dedicated to empowering women in ministry and leadership. They equip, connect, and impact thousands of women through their conferences and resources. Lori is the author of Rise Up and My Name is Victorious. Lori also co-authored My Name is Victorious: Teen Edition with her daughter and Leading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership with Brandi Wilson.

She serves alongside her husband, Jud, who is the Senior Pastor at Central Church in Las Vegas. Central currently has twenty-six locations nationally and internationally including twelve locations inside prisons around the country.

Lori is the proud mom of two hilarious kids, Emma and Ethan. She loves time with friends, reading, and crying during episodes of Antiques Roadshow.

Chrystal Evans Hurst

Chrystal is an energetic, life-loving “girl-next-door” who loves encouraging others to fulfill their potential in Christ. With humor and vulnerability, Chrystal tells it like it is but does so with grace, integrity, and love. 

 

She is the best-selling author of She’s Still There , Kingdom Woman and the newly released Show Up for Your Life. You can find Chrystal regularly sharing encouragement via podcasts and blogs, where she poignantly reflects on faith and speaks with frank honesty and practical wisdom about experiences that affect women every day. Chrystal firmly believes God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans that I have for you…” and she desires to help other women believe and apply that truth to their lives. You can find Chrystal sharing chronicles of the journey at ChrystalEvansHurst.com.