This event took place on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 | 7:30am – 9:00am
Thank you to all who attended and helped make this Small Talks a success!
Please enjoy photos, resources and a video to recap the special event.
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Senior Vice President for Family Engagement, Think Small
Dianne has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She has directed five early childhood programs serving inner-city, low-income, ethnically diverse populations. She has overseen many human services programs in the areas of behavioral health; in-home parenting; youth outreach and out-of-school-time services; shelter and services to homeless families and individuals; and many other family and community programs. Most recently, she served as Senior Policy Aide for Mayor Betsy Hodges working on issues of early childhood, education and youth. Part of her work includes spearheading the mayor’s Cradle to K Cabinet, focused on children prenatal to three years old to ensure they are ready for early childhood education opportunities.
Haulcy previously was the Chief Operating Officer of The Family Partnership. Haulcy has a BA in Sociology from Spelman College and an MA in Public Affairs from the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota. Known for her leadership in the early childhood field, she currently serves on the Governor’s Early Learning Council, the Parent Aware Advisory Committee, and is the co-chair of the Northside Achievement Zone Early Childhood Action Team as well as Think Small’s Executive Leadership Team.
Bharti WahiExecutive Director, Children’s Defense Fund-Minnesota
As the Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund–Minnesota office Bharti Wahi brings 20 years of professional experience as an advocate in the nonprofit world and more than a decade of experience in education. Prior to joining Children’s Defense Fund, Ms. Wahi spent three years with Greater Twin Cities United Way where she oversaw several grant portfolios related to early childhood education, two-generation interventions and literacy. Previously, she led the Children and Family Program for the Minnesota Literacy Council for five years, building the home visiting program and overseeing two early learning centers.
As an active community member Ms. Wahi serves on the Board of Directors of the Hale-Field Schools Foundation and Women Organizing Women. In addition she sits on the McKnight Foundation’s PreK-Third Grade Design Team and is currently serving on the Minnesota Department of Education’s ESSA Accountability Advisory Committee and the Department of Human Services Parent Aware Advisory Council.
Ms. Wahi holds a Bachelor of Arts from the Saint Catherine University and a Master of Arts in public policy and nonprofit management from the University of Chicago.
Gertrude Matemba-MatasaExecutive Director, Phyllis Wheatley
Mrs. Matemba-Mutasa has nearly 20-years of program development, fundraising, and non-profit leadership experience. As a former small business owner of an early learning center, she has first-hand childcare program development experience. As a former Women’s Business Center Director and National Impact Investing Director, she also brings extensive community economic development expertise to families at Phyllis Wheatley Community Center.
Charisse PickronPresident’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Child Development, University of MN
Dr. Charisse B. Pickron is a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development. She earned her Ph.D. (2018) and M.S. (2015) in Developmental Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in Amherst Ma., and her B.A. (2008) in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Ma. Her research program examines the underlying mechanisms that support social development in the first 3 years of life. She is interested in the ways in which early social experiences with infants’ caregivers and greater community shape the way we learn to perceive, think about, and relate to one another. Her work focuses on how early experiences fine-tune both brain and behavioral development in the context of processing social information about gender and race.
She is currently working with Drs. Jed Elison, Melissa Koenig, and Kathleen Thomas to continue her training at the Institute of Child Development in social-cognitive and neuroscience research. Dr. Pickron uses several techniques including behavioral, infrared eye-tracking, and electrophysiological (EEG) to study social information processing and the development of early biases during the first years of life. She aims for her research to contribute to a better understanding of the way we develop interpersonal skills in hopes of reducing the presence of racial and gender biases. One of her primary goals during her postdoctoral training is to actively work with families of diverse backgrounds to build a collaborative bridge between underrepresented communities in the Minneapolis area and her work in child development.
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