9th Annual Public Service and Leadership Conference

public-service-leadership-conference-flyer.jpgThe Master of Public Administration and the Master of Science in Leadership programs at Roger Williams University, along with RI ASPA, cordially invite you to attend the 9th Annual Public Service and Leadership Conference on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

This year's program theme will be, “Social Justice," and will feature speakers and student panelists giving presentations from a number of perspectives that touch on diversity, inclusion and justice. 

Risha Grant, CEO & Founder of Risha Grant LLC., will provide the keynote address. Risha Grant whose book, "That's BS," details how women, particularly women of color, are discriminated against and how it can be counteracted.

The featured speaker for social justice in art is Thomas Daly, Curator of Education at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The event will provide networking opportunities with distinguished members of the community and RI ASPA. Light refreshments (breakfast and lunch) will be served.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Rhode Island College,
8:30 am registration opens
9:15 am Introductions and welcome

Register Now!

Public Service and Leadership Conference

Keynote Speakers

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Risha Grant

Risha Grant – CEO & FounderRisha Grant is a CEO, Author & Speaker. She founded Risha Grant LLC, an award-winning, full-service diversity communications, training and consulting firm 18 years ago. Its mission is to utilize diversity communication strategies, tactics and training as a catalyst to create inclusive cultures in companies and communities.

Risha soon realized that diversity recruitment would be a very important element of this strategy. Therefore as an ancillary product, she founded DiversityConneX.com to assist her clients in creating a diverse workforce as well as to assist nonprofits with building diverse boards. DiversityConnex.com connects diverse professionals with careers, internships and board positions.

DiversityConneX.com, which boasts some of the most innovative technology in the nation matches and culturally fits potential career candidates into work environments. It is proud to have clients such as Morgan Stanley, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Webco, American Fidelity & Assurance Co., ONE Gas and OG&E among others as valued members.

Motivated by her passion to correct societal isms like racism, sexism, classism and plain old stupidism, it is Risha’s personal mission to expose the value of Diversity & Inclusion while shining a light on the economic impact it creates. To that end, she has personally raised more than half a million dollars toward Diversity & Inclusion economic development and empowerment projects throughout the state of Oklahoma. Using passion, persistence and knowledge to solidify a seat at the table, she has consulted with Governors, Mayors, NBA Teams and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies and other business and community leaders to discuss and strategize Diversity & Inclusion initiatives.

Using her experiences running a Diversity & Inclusion communications firm as well as personal anecdotes, Risha wrote her first book. That’s B.S. – How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures and the Power to Attract Diverse Markets.

Additionally, she is currently a board director for Leadership Oklahoma, Oklahomans for Equality, and the National Federation for Just Communities. She is also an executive committee member and board director for the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice.

Risha’s awards and honors include – 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year, The YWCA Women of Moxie, WNBA/Williams Women of Inspiration, and One of Top Ten Entrepreneurs by Engage Magazine, One of Four to Watch by the Tulsa World, Achiever’s Under 40, and Oklahoma Small Business Journalist of the Year and Small Business Journalist of the Year for Region IV among others.

Thomas Daly

dalyThomas Daly is the Curator of Education for The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge. The museum is located in a small town in western Massachusetts, the same town that Norman Rockwell lived in for the last twenty-five years of his life. Thomas was raised in the Berkshires and educated in a variety of colleges in Western MA.

His programs have served tens of thousands of students from pre-k to graduate. He has lectured at college campuses and museums around the country about Mr. Rockwell’s work, life, and times. Large corporations as well as small historical societies have requested he address their specialized groups with an illustrated lecture.

Thomas personally crafts each of the presentations to fit the needs of the group being addressed. Using his years of experience, he has gained by being in the museum education field since 1992. He hones the program to the viewer’s interest. During his 20 plus years with the Norman Rockwell Museum, he has taken on a number of different roles, all of them adding to his knowledge of the work of America’s favorite illustrator. Being a native of the area, he also has a unique view on Norman Rockwell and his art. From Thomas’s desk in Stockbridge, he has written many articles about Norman Rockwell and the work that Mr. Rockwell created during his nearly 70 year career as an illustrator.

ASPA Leadership

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Janice Lachance

Honorable Janice R. Lachance, Esq., FASAE

An accomplished executive and effective leader, Janice Lachance is the Executive Vice President for Strategic and Operational Excellence at the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a professional society of more than 60,000 Earth and space scientists working in 110 countries. Her work at AGU includes management of the renovation of the organization’s 62,000-square foot headquarters into a net-zero energy consumption building – the first renovation of its kind in Washington, D.C.

Prior to her work in the not-for-profit sector, Janice was nominated by President William Clinton and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Cabinet-ranked Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the federal government’s independent human resources agency responsible for all policy and programs affecting the 2.1 million members of the nation’s civil service. Janice also served as Chair of the National Labor-Management Partnership Council, a member of the President’s Management Council, and a member of the President’s Council on the 2000 Presidential Transition. Prior to becoming Director, Janice served as OPM’s Director of Communications and Policy, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Director.

Janice is credited with numerous seminal achievements at OPM, including: reformulating the agency’s mission and strategy as well as re-engineering its 3,700 employee organizational structure and culture; expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act to permit the use of sick leave to care for a newborn, adopted child, or ailing family member; instituting affordable long-term care insurance for  million federal employees, members of the armed services, and retirees; making innovative and cost-effective improvements in health insurance and retirement programs; dramatically increasing outreach and recruitment efforts to first-job employees from underrepresented populations; and, establishing USAJOBS.GOV, the Federal Government's official source for federal job listings and employment opportunity information which attracts more than 20 million visits annually.

As a cabinet-ranked member of the Clinton Administration leadership team, Janice was appointed by the President to lead five US diplomatic missions, including to the Republic of China, the People’s Republic of China and Israel. She was appointed to serve as a Commissioner of the White House Fellows program, as Chair of the National Labor-Management Partnership Council, and as a member of the President’s Management Council.

Her experience in the not-for-profit sector includes service as the Interim Executive Director of the American Library Association’s Washington Office, where she served as chief strategist and spokesperson for America’s libraries and their users before Congress and the Executive branch of the federal government. Prior to her work at ALA, she was Interim President of the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust, the BBB foundation implementing programs in consumer protection, financial literacy, organizational and leadership ethics, and research based on the BBB’s proprietary data. She navigated a successful leadership transition as Interim President and CEO of the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals International, which represents a global profession of best-in-class customer care experts across all industries. Before her service at SOCAP, she served as CEO of the Special Libraries Association for more than 10 years, leading the global association of 8,000 librarians and information professionals and their business partners located in 75 countries.

A leader in her profession, a dedicated volunteer and trusted advisor, she is the President of ASPA - the American Society for Public Administration, a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Wise Giving Alliance.

Born and raised in Biddeford, Maine, Janice graduated from Manhattanville College and earned her law degree from Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in the State of Maine, the District of Columbia, and the United States Supreme Court.

She can be reached at Janice@JaniceLachance.com.


Paul Danczyk, PhD

Paul Danczyk, PhD, is the Director of Executive Education in Sacramento for the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy.

In his current capacity, Paul designs, coordinates and presents in leadership and management programs – impacting national, state and local governmental and nonprofit organizations – and teaches master-level classes in California and, previously, Mexico. He is an executive coach, working with over 200 public sector executives, and cofounded and is the lead architect of www.LeadershipEnergizes.com.

Paul is President-Elect of the American Society for Public Administration, the leading interdisciplinary public service professional organization.

A returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Paul earned his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, focusing on Public and International Affairs; Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California; BS in education from the Pennsylvania State University; certified executive coach through the International Coaching Federation, trained at the Hudson Institute for Coaching; and holds Harvard University’s Mediating Disputes certification.

He and his wife are raising two sons. Paul enjoys landscaping, creating sculptures, painting, and bee keeping.  He can be reached at danczyk@usc.edu .



Tonya T. Neaves, PhD, MPPA

Director, Centers on the Public Service
Executive Director, Virginia Certified Public Manager® Program
Research Instructor, Masters of Public Administration Program
Schar School of Policy and Government
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

3351 Fairfax Drive / MSN 3B1
Arlington, Virginia 22201, USA
Office: (703) 993-9377
Fax: (703) 993-8215
Email: tneaves@gmu.edu
Website: http://schar.gmu.edu

Dr. Tonya T. Neaves is the Director for the Centers on the Public Service with George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. In this role, Dr. Neaves maintains oversight of its day-to-day administrative operations as well as secures new research and development contracts and establishes a series of executive education programs. Other major activities include serving as a Research Instructor in the Masters of Public Administration program and Coordinator for its Emergency Management and Homeland Security graduate certificate. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Virginia Certified Public Manager® Program. Prior to joining Mason, Dr. Neaves was the Director for the Mississippi Public Safety Data Laboratory at the Social Science Research Center of Mississippi State University, where she is still an active Research Fellow.

As a scholar, Dr. Neaves’ research portfolio has included securing contracts from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Transportation Security Administration, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. To date, her total research funding approximates $6 million. Dr. Neaves has also published her efforts in the Review of Policy Research, Journal of Emergency Management, Review of Public Personnel Management, and the American Journal of Public Health. She has also co-authored book chapters in The Future of Disaster Management in the U.S.: Rethinking Legislation, Policy, and Finance, New Voices in the Old South: How Women and Minorities Influence Southern Politics. She was also an editor for the National Academy of Public Administration and American Society for Public Administration’s Memos to National Leaders.

Dr. Neaves holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University, where she also earned her Master’s in Public Policy and Administration. She has also participated in the University of Zagreb’s (Croatia) Center for Advanced Academic Studies, University of Michigan's Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, Duke University’s Dynamic Management and Leadership Programs, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Management and Innovation Program.

As an active member of the American Society for Public Administration, Dr. Neaves recently served as District Representative to National Council, 2014-17, and was the Conference Coordinator for the Northeast Conference on Public Administration, 2014-15. She is also the Treasurer for its Section on Emergency and Crisis Management and Program Co-Chair for the 2018 annual conference. Dr. Neaves is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Urban Management and is a board member for Public Personnel Management.



Kendra Stewart

Kendra B. Stewart is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston.  Her research interests include South Carolina government, non-profit management, state and local government, food policy, and women and politics.  She is co-editor of a book entitled The Practice of Government Public Relations.  The articles she has authored have appeared in The Practice of Strategic Collaboration: From Silos to Actions, Urban Affairs Review, Public Finance and Management, Perspective in Politics, and various scholarly books.  

Dr. Stewart is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), an independent, nonprofit, and non-partisan organization chartered by Congress to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent organizations. She has conducted political analysis for a variety of print, radio and television media, including Good Morning America, Fox News Channel, the Associated Press, The New Yorker, and National Public Radio.  

Prior to her current position, Professor Stewart was a faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University and worked for the state of South Carolina Budget and Control Board.  In addition, she has conducted program evaluations and strategic planning assistance to a variety of public and nonprofit organizations.  Kendra is very involved in the community as well, serving on the boards of several professional and non-profit organizations.  

In addition to her service in state government, Dr. Stewart has worked with the South Carolina and Kentucky City/County Management Associations.   She serves on a variety of nonprofit boards in her community and has recently been elected into the National Academy of Public Administration.  One of her most significant career opportunities was serving on a USAID project in Lahore, Pakistan assisting a prestigious university develop academic and professional training programs to professionalize public administration in their country.  Kendra regularly conducts political analysis for a variety of print, radio and television media, including Good Morning America, NPR, BBC, Fox News Channel, the Associated Press and The New Yorker.  She holds two bachelors degrees from the University of Central Florida and an MPA and Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina.  Kendra resides in Charleston, SC with her husband and their five children.



William Shields, M.A.

Bill Shields became Executive Director of the American Society for Public Administration, the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration, in January 2014. During his tenure, Shields has significantly broadened the Society’s professional development programming, strengthened its more than 50 local chapters and 30 subject matter sections, revitalized its operations and enhanced the quality of its communications. He also has recommitted the Society to its core mission of advancing excellence in public service and made considerable inroads in partnering with like-minded organizations on a wide range of activities.

Shields brings to his current position more than 15 years of executive and management experience in the non-profit sector, most recently as Vice President of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the nation's leading public policy organization dedicated to ensuring that people with the lowest incomes have affordable and decent homes. In this role, he was responsible for the organization’s operational, financial, membership, outreach and fund development functions.

For more than a decade, Shields held senior management and research positions at the National Academy of Public Administration, a congressionally chartered organization established to assist government leaders in building more effective, efficient, accountable and transparent organizations. As Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Director of Communications, he worked extensively with the Academy’s 500 elected Fellows, the nation’s top leaders in the study and practice of public administration. He served on research teams studying organization and management issues at the U.S. Departments of Defense, Housing and Urban Development, and Transportation. He edited more than 50 Academy panel reports on issues ranging from federal compensation issues to FBI reorganization.

Shields also served as Director at the Chief Executives Organization, a non-profit organization of 2,000 chief executives around the world, and in the Executive Office of the Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island. He earned his M.A. in Government and B.A. in Journalism from American University, where he has been an Adjunct Professor since 2000. In 2015, he received the School of Public Affairs’ Award for Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Position. Shields lives in Washington, DC with his wife and daughter.

Additional Resources

This Event is Co-Hosted by the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration

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