Our signature panel discussion event is back and better than ever! We are excited to host a diverse panel of young leaders in Cleveland for a discussion on community activism. This panel will feature Alysha Ellis, CEO & Founder, Mas LaRae, Su He, Attorney at Law, Buckley King, Melaak Rashid, Nonprofit Consultant and Development Director - United Funding Consulting and Smart Development Inc., Karlynn Wells, News Reporter, Spectrum News 1 Ohio. This panel will be moderated by Leah Berdysz, author, Conscious Empowerment: A Guide to Helping Girls Build Self-esteem & Confidence.
Admission includes one drink and appetizers. Register now as seating and capacity are limited.
Leah Berdysz - Leah is on a "mission to empower and educate girls on how to be beautiful from the inside out through discovery of social, mental, and physical components." After graduating from John Carroll University with her Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science and Entrepreneurship in 2017, Leah founded Empowered & Poised LLC. This inspired her to return to school, where she received a Master of Science and Social Administration (MSW equivalent). She specialized in children, youth, and families, and school social work while in graduate school, and is now a licensed social worker. Leah published her first book,Conscious Empowerment: A Guide to Helping Girls Build Self-esteem & Confidence in June of 2021.
Due to her own experience with anxiety and body image issues, Leah recognized the need to equip girls with the skills they need to become Empowered & Poised. Leah is extremely passionate about wellness, entrepreneurship, and helping others to become their strongest, healthiest, and happiest selves. She has attained over 10 years of experience working with youth, including mentoring, volunteering, camp counseling, coaching, and teaching an all-girls physical education class.
Su He - Su was born and raised in Beijing, China. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in law in China, she came to the United States for additional four years of legal training. She started as an international student who felt it was hard to order a coffee from Starbucks to finish her Master’s and Doctor’s degrees in Law from Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Su is licensed to practice law in the states of Ohio and New York. She is a lawyer at Buckley King, and an adjunct professor teaching at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Su focuses her practice on U.S. immigration and business law, providing bilingual immigration and business legal services to corporations, families, and individuals across the nation and around the world. Besides, Su has been volunteering as the Executive Director and leading the Greater Cleveland Chinese Chamber of Commerce since 2017. Su and her husband are raising two boys, who are 7 and 4 years old.
Melaak Rashid - Melaak Rashid, MPA, SHRM-CPA is a co-founder and Development director for Smart Development Inc, a 501c3 nonprofit aimed at community improvement, civic engagement, and social services for the refugee and immigrant populations in Greater Cleveland an is also a nonprofit consultant specializing in organizational development and grant writing for minority-led organizations.
Karlynn Wells - Karlynn Wells is a news reporter and community-focused journalist for Spectrum News 1 Ohio. She considers herself extremely fortunate to be able to tell the stories of those living in Northeast Ohio. Through her work , Karlynn strives to amplify the voices of those who often feel left out of many narratives.
Previous to coming to Ohio, she was a reporter and weekend anchor for WDVM-TV, covering Northern Virginia . Her career in journalism and news media began soon after she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & Media Studies.
A year after relocating to Cleveland, Karlynn launched the nonprofit organization Junior to Senior. Junior to Senior partners with Greater Cleveland area senior citizen homes and assisted living communities to help build and sustain intergenerational relationships. Because of her experiences with her grandfather, Karlynn knows how vital engagement with senior citizens is for their mental and physical health. Little did she know, Junior to Senior would play a major role in combating the heightened loneliness that many senior citizens would experience during the Coronavirus pandemic. Through Junior to Senior’s “Sponsor a Senior” program, dozens of senior citizens have been “sponsored” by volunteers across the country. Junior to Senior volunteers sends senior citizens items that they can’t access on their own and keep in written and virtual contact with them.
Alysha Ellis - Alysha is the founder of Mas La Rae, a media/broadcasting company aimed to spotlight, support, and share positive impact throughout the world.
Alysha LaRae Ellis has a Master's in Business, Bachelor's in Urban Regional Planning with a minor in Business Management and Labor Relations from Cleveland State University, and an Associate's in Liberal Arts from Mercyhurst University. She is a Cleveland, Ohio native and has dedicated herself over the years to investing in community, equity (health, economic, women, and racial), and entrepreneurship. During her engagement in community transformation, she has launched several initiatives, businesses, programs, and innovative strategies.
Her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to seeing the community and city healthy from all aspects of life has driven her over the years. Alysha serves as a board member for LAND Studio and Entrepreneurship Education Consortium. She serves on the Advisory Committee for Food Access Raises Everyone. She also served on the Hispanic Liaison Advisory Board for the City of Cleveland and John Marshall HS Advisory Council.
Alysha has also received certifications of completion from Cleveland Leadership Center Onboard Program, Jumpstarts Core City Impact Program, Hispanic Alliance Leadership Development Initiative, Financial Essentials for Small Businesses, Operation Hope Small Business Workshop, Entrepreneurship Education Consortium, and Leadership Training for Fostering Success Coaching from Western Michigan University.