Rochester MN

Mar 31 - Apr 1, 2017

The "Why You?" Initiative invites you to attend the [YU?] Bi-Annual Spring Confab 2017 to be held on April 1, 2017 (with Pre-Confab Workshops on March 31, 2017) at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Rochester, MN. 

The [YU?] Bi-annual Confab Spring 2017 will offer cutting-edge presentations, posters, workshops and panel disccusions on emerging issues and challenges facing the students and communities we serve.  This conference provides an opportunity for individuals, especially scholars, mentees and young professionals, to discover, inspire, reinforce aims, trigger thoughts, touch dreams, plan innovatively, and realize potentials.

It's highly recommended that all those connected to the [YU?] register for this conference. 

Please note that Business Attire is highly recommended.


Mr. Kwesi Foli, a Writer, Video Producer & News Assistant for the New York Times, who received his degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mr. Foli also writes for for The Huffington Post and ESPN's The Undefeated.




[YU?] Bi-Annual Spring Confab Schedule at a Glance 


March 31, 2017
Pre-Confab Workshops & Tour of the Mayo Clinic 

April 1, 2017
Opening Plenary & Reception 8:45AM-9:15AM
Workshops & Panel Sessions 9:15AM-11:50AM
Lunch* (lunch may not be provided)
Academic Tour 1:00PM-1:50PM
Workshops & Panel Sessions 2:00-2:50PM
Closing Plenary & Reception 3PM

Post-Confab Evening Activities 6:30PM-8:30PM

Workshops & Panel Sessions are designed for high school students, undergraduate students, graduate students and parents.  

There are three tracks:

Session 'A'= Geared towards High School Students.

Session 'B'=Geared towards Undergraduate & Graduate Students.

Session 'C'= Geared toward Parents.








Hotel Accommodations:

Below are the recommended hotel accommodations  for confab guests, strategy team members, and those [YU?] mentees/young professionals who are not in school. 

**Please note that shared hotel accommodations (Kahler Grand Hotel) will be provided for those [YU?] mentees/young professionals that are currently in school. 







Have questions about [YU?] BIANNUAL CONFAB SPRING 2017: "START WHERE YOU ARE!"?

Contact THE "WHY YOU?" INITIATIVE [YU?] at admin@whyyou.org

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Antonio Boyd

CEO, Rocknation/University of Maryland

Bio: ntonio Boyd, better known as “Coach B,” is a vibrant and enthusiastic life coach, motivational speaker and student advocate. Coach B was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where his life started with many hardships. He was raised by a single, teenage mother in the “Desire” housing projects, and his father was in and out of the prison system. During this time, he learned the true value of family. Coach B often tells the story of how he was reared by 11 women: his mother, two grandmothers, and eight aunties. These women helped to nurture and guide him to make good decisions in life to avoid the pitfalls of his predecessors and lead a successful life. He also had a handful of teachers and coaches who encouraged and assisted him during his grade school years. By the age of 12, Coach B’s life took a major turn. He was accepted into De La Salle, an elite private high school, through a football scholarship. This abrupt change in environment completely unlocked his perspective of the opportunities for his life. He excelled in high school – successfully graduating and obtaining a full athletic scholarship to Northwestern State University of Louisiana. He continued to be a leader throughout college: In academics, athletics, community activities, and as an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 2005, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine/Business. In that same year, Hurricane Katrina caused much devastation in his hometown of New Orleans. He didn’t have many options to return home because of the catastrophe. The following year he decided to move to the Washington, DC metropolitan area where he served as director of personnel at a non-profit early childhood learning center. Through this experience, Coach B began learning that his true gift involved working with the community at large. He soon began coaching for a local little league football team, and this eventually led into head coaching positions in basketball and softball. In 2011, Coach B geared his focus on the public education school system becoming a student advocate. He also became a major component in revitalizing school spirit, spearheading a young male mentoring program, and helped to lead the Drew Freeman Middle School girls’ basketball team to the county championship. In that same year, Coach B founded Team Elevation, Inc., a company formulated to empower the community. Team Elevation follows the “Triple M” motto: Meet, Mentor, and Motivate. The goal is to develop a generation of Difference Makers who will excel in life and take ownership of their communities. If you’ve ever met Coach B, you may have heard him chanting one of his favorite slogans, “Let Me Be Great, Baby!” which can be applied to everything in life. Coach B has hosted speaking events for the Boys & Girls Club, Hillside Family of Agencies, public school systems, and community colleges. They also provide workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and motivational speaking events. In each session, they provide current and relevant information that will assist in the growth and development of individuals and/or team goals. With all of these great accomplishments, Coach B continues to expand his horizons as he is currently earning his Master’s in Education Leadership. He is also a great husband and father; happily married for nine years with three beautiful children.

Kwesi Foli

Writer, Video Producer & News Assistant, New York Times, The Huffington Post, ESPN's The Undefeated.

Bio: Mr. Kwesi Foli, a Writer, Video Producer & News Assistant for the New York Times, who received his degree in English, Creative Writing and History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Mr. Foli also writes for for The Huffington Post and ESPN's The Undefeated.

Missy Morrow

Assistant Professor Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic

Bio: Dr. Missy Morrow is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Mayo Clinic within the Health Sciences Research Department. Her research program is focused on secondary conditions of spinal cord injury and remote monitoring in health care. Her work in spinal cord injury is currently funded by the NIH, DoD, and Neilsen Foundation.

Nicholas Wysocki, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Winona State University

Bio: Dr. Nicholas Wysocki is a faculty member in the Education Studies Department at Winona State University. He holds a Ph. D in the Social Foundations of Education from The University of Iowa, and he has worked in higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Wysocki currently works with both teacher candidates seeking a Minnesota teaching license and graduate students engaged in ethnographic analysis projects in the local community.

Rita Garcia

President and CEO, Business Partners Plus, Inc

Bio: Rita Garcia is the President and CEO of Business Partners Plus, Inc. Throughout her professional career with Xerox Corporation and consulting in the non profit sector, she has been a champion for women and people of color. Facing many professional challenges, she was able to manage her career from entry level employee to serving in numerous vice-president roles including a $1.4 billion dollar international developing markets service operation. Rita has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work within the corporate world and the community in opening doors and creating opportunity. She has an MBA from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York and a bachelors degree in education from Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, Minnesota.

Tamiko Castile

Post-Secondary & Community Partnerships Coordinator, Saint Paul Public Schools

Bio: Tamiko has extensive experience developing, managing and providing support for multi-cultural, academic, and community programming designed to strengthen students' and families' well-being and success. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Professional Communication and a Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership. Ms. Castile is currently the Post-Secondary and Community Partnerships Coordinator for the Office of College and Career Readiness in Saint Paul Public Schools.

Donavan Bailey

Social Worker-Dispositional Advisor, State of Minnesota Public Defender

Bio: For the past 10 years Donavan Bailey has served as a Dispositional Advisor with the Minnesota 3rd District Public Defender Office. His past experience includes work as a chemical dependency youth counselor, police officer and juvenile residential program supervisor. He serves on various committees such as the DFO Taskforce Committee, The Olmsted County Drug Court Community Committee, The 3rd District Equal Justice Committee and the Von Wald Group Home Advisory Committee. In the past he served on the MN State Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, and the Olmsted County Human Rights Commission,. He holds, a Masters of Educational Leadership, and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker. He currently is completing an Ed. D. in Leadership at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Alex Hines

Director of Inclusion & Diversity, Winona State University

Caitlin Stephenson

Director of Marketing, Limb Lab

David Coleman

CPO, Limb Lab

Dr. Renaldo Blocker, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, [YU?]

Eric Soberg

Assistant Manager II, The Men's Wearhouse

Ira W. Whitlock, Esq.

Attorney at Law, Whitlock Law Office, LLC

Jodi Boutte

Graduate Research Assistant, LSU Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Joshua Francis

Health Systems Engineer, Mayo Clinic

Karl Erickson

Performance Specialist, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine

Kevin Curwick

Student, St. John's University

Les Dvorak

Regional Manager, Men's Wearhouse

Sagashus Levingston

Founder and CEO, Infamous Mothers, LLC

Tanisha Pyron

Brand Manager, Face Off Theatre Company

Tonya Love

Student Coordinator, pbc college tour

Wesley Cammon

Undergraduate Technology Support, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Isaac Rinehart

Police Officer, St Paul Police Dept, Florida A&M University, University of Mn, MnNBPA, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

John Hubbard

COO, The "Why You?" Initiative [YU?]

Levy Hodges

Student, Normandale Community College

Asante Lloyd

Kennesaw State University

Jayvie Ramirez

Augsburg College

Marie Beasley

The "Why You?" Initiative [YU?]

Shaquille Duncan


Tizon Matthews

UNCF KOCH SCHOLAR/ Legacy I3 Alumn/ WhyYou Student

Attendees please download Whova event app, to access the information of all 37 speakers.

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We are excited to use Whova as our event platform. Attendees please download Whova event app, to access the documents and handouts shared by the organizers.