Conference Speakers

Jamie Live Photo 2016

Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, Conference Speaker

Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington is the President & Founder of the Washington Consulting Group (WCG). In October of 2015, WCG was named by the Economist as one of the Top 10 Global Diversity Consultants in the world. Dr. Washington has served as an educator, administrator, and consultant in higher education for over 33 years.  He is the President and Co-Founder of the Social Justice Training Institute and the Vice President and President Elect of the American College Personnel Association (ACPA)Dr. Washington earned his B.S. degree from Slippery Rock State College; a double Masters’ of Science degrees from Indiana University/Bloomington; a Ph.D. is in College Student Development, from the University of Maryland College Park; and a Masters of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity. He has received many awards and honors. Most recently he was honored with the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Legends of Excellence Award for his contribution to the lives and education of Black and LatinX faculty, staff and students. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Golden Key, Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Delta Kappa, Education Leadership Honorary and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity Inc.

He serves as the Pastor of Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore and is the grandfather of 6 and great uncle to 7.  One of his favorite passed times is binge watching TV programs.  Some of his favorites are Grim, The Walking Dead, Greenleaf, This is Us, Power, Empire, The Fosters and of course The Golden Girls 🙂

Known and “The Engagement Specialist”, He sees himself as an instrument of change.  He works every day to help people find the best in themselves and others. He lives by the words of one of his favorite songs;

If I can help somebody, as I pass along:  If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song: 

If I can show somebody, that he, she, ze or they, are traveling wrong,

Then my living shall not be in vain


Jess Pettitt

Jess Pettitt, Conference Speaker

Audiences are inspired to stand up and take action as Jessica Pettitt leads them down the path to understanding they are good enough to make the changes they seek. Challenging long held assumptions about the type of people who drive change and are successful, Jessica eradicates excuses and provides strategies to communicate openly and actively seek success.

Let’s roll up our sleeves, make space for real talk, develop reality based plans, for actual change.

Humor is a great equalizer and is often the quickest way to diffuse conflict and move toward real connection. With a background in stand up comedy, Jessica Pettitt, frames even difficult subjects in an engaging and welcoming way.

As a professional speaker, her expertise earned her the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. A designation held by fewer than 800 people world-wide. As a facilitator, she provides the framework for open, welcoming, and productive conversation. Whether she provides a motivational keynote, an in-depth workshop, facilitates group interaction, or frames an entire conference as emcee, Jessica brings humor, a high level understanding of adult learning, and an ability to engage participants and encourage them to engage with each other. Participants walk away focused and confident in their role to make change now.

By moving the discussion away from daily squabbles or task oriented challenges, to a larger vision of what is possible and how best to engage people of diverse experiences, Jessica provides the context to evaluate the situation now and move forward successfully to what could be.

For more than a decade, Jessica has been educating college and university staff members to support and guide diverse students to success. Her social justice and diversity curricula are used nationwide. This background uniquely qualifies her to educate employers on building welcoming, productive, and innovative teams. The ability to communicate, listen, learn, take responsibility, acquire and retain talent and resources will lead to and maintain a welcoming, and dare we say, fun workplace environment. This has a direct impact on your bottom line NOW.


Dr. Jon P. Higgins, Conference Speaker

Dr. Jonathan P. Higgins is a speaker, educator and thought leader. With over ten years of experience in education, social justice and grassroots movements, Dr. Higgins is focused on public speaking and working with the media on issues centered on people of color, LGBTQ storytelling and marginalized communities. His work has been included on Blavity, The RootEfniksWear Your VoicePride.comIntoMore.comSOULE and Talkspace. Dr. Higgins serves as Campus Pride’s Curriculum Educator, is a Lambda Literary writing fellow and a regular contributor to Presence.IO.

Dr. Higgins is committed to using his voice to highlight and bring focus to the issues that affect both the Black and LGBTQ community. In September of 2016, Dr. Higgins launched a YouTubechannel where he posts weekly videos about race and identity issues, and began sharing pieces of his a mini-documentary highlighting stories related to his life as a queer Black man growing up in the inner city of San Bernardino. This mini-documentary also covers his journey to receiving his doctoral degree.

Dr. Higgins has spoken at universities including Kansas State, Colgate University, UCSD, and UCLA. He has consulted with Purdue University to restructure their Safe Zone program and has given several presentations within the California State University system about what can be done to better serve LGBTQ+ students. Dr. Higgins continues to lecture all over the country on topics related to intersectionality, race, gender and sexuality and has gained attention from websites including Attn: and Vox. In April of 2017, Dr. Higgins gave his first TEDx talk on how to unlearn fear and develop personal power, leading to an op-ed piece on Splinter.com.

Dr. Higgins was born in Los Angeles, California and graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies and a minor in Women’s Studies. He also holds a Masters of Arts in Management from the University of Redlands, where he graduate top three in his class and was inducted into the Whitehead Leadership Society.

Dr. Higgins recently completed his Educational Doctorate of Leadership in Justice from the University of Redlands where he wrote his dissertation on the first year experiences of queer men of color in higher education. You can connect with him on all social media by using the handle, @DoctorJonPaul.