Conference Presenters and Performers
RAFIYA is a Congolese artist based in New York. She travelled extensively in her formative years living in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Cape Verde Islands, Benin, Senegal, Guinea, Barbados, and Côte d’Ivoire. RAFIYA first garnered international attention in 2010 upon the release of her “Amazing” debut album which gained traction in France, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has performed in legendary venues around the world; including the Apollo and SOBs in New York, The Kennedy Center in DC, and le Bataclan in Paris, headlining shows but also collaborating and sharing the stage with artists like Youssou N’Dour, Yemi Alade, Fally Ipupa, Burna Boy, Estelle, Dadju and more. In addition to pursuing her musical career, RAFIYA is a Middle School French teacher involved in humanitarian causes in Congo and Côte d’Ivoire. RAFIYA believes in conveying messages through her music. Her mission is to uplift and to promote African pride and solidarity. Her singles “Where I’m From” and “Bana Africa” are true anthems that celebrate her African Heritage.
RAFIYA’ s sound is a unique fusion of pop music and African sounds influenced by her expansive exposure to various cultures. In March 2020 she released “Po Na Yo ”,which takes us on a sonic journey that incorporates the cadence of Afrobeats and the distinctive Congolese guitar, and followed up on August 3rd, 2020 with “For You”. On "For You," her smooth, expressive voice makes a passionate plea for the object of her desire atop a mid-tempo Pop rhythm. The infectious drum loop, the Congolese guitar and the airy atmospherics coalesce with a simple lyric to make an instantly catchy, sensuous track you will fall in love with.
Cosette "Coco" Leary
Cosette “CoCo” Leary loves to live out loud! She is a jubilant Motivational Speaker, Professional Coach, Author, and Educator who has overcome a childhood of poverty, abuse, growing up in orphanages, group homes, and foster homes since the tender age of 12, and finding herself pregnant with her first child at 14 years old.
She has raised four children through hard work and painful decisions and has gone from years of surviving off welfare benefits to earning her University Degree in, Public Administration graduating with the highest honor of, Summa Cum Laude while serving as a staff member in both a Senatorial and Congressional office. Ms. Leary pulled herself out of poverty in order to show others how to do the same. She exists in order to breathe life back into impoverished communities, rekindle relationships across economic class lines and empower women.
Danielle is the "Energize Your Life Business Success Coach" focused on helping entrepreneurs create joy and freedom. She provides one-on-one coaching, group coaching, as well as educational workshops and live events.
She is an author of two Amazon best-selling books: Energized! and Empowered Leadership. She has 18 years' experience in Operations Management, a degree in Organizational Communication and is a certified Life Mastery Consultant. She studied cutting edge marketing strategies from the Queen of Conversion, Lisa Sassevich which included how to “Speak-to-Sell" and how to create your own “Unique Branded System”. She studied “Quantum Benefits” and “Sales Mastery” from Jennifer Diepstratten. As well as, webinar creation and lead conversion from experts Frank Kern and Satori Mateau. She combines this knowledge to help clients create businesses that are fun and energizing.
Raquel D. Muller, Ph.D.
There’s never been a more challenging time to be both a mother and an entrepreneur. As a psychologist and coach, entrepreneur, wife and mother of two, Dr. Raquel Muller knows first hand how self-criticism, unrealistic expectations, and insufficient support can cause entrepreneurial moms to experience a disproportionate amount of overwhelm, guilt, and self-doubt.
After struggling with these issues herself, Dr. Raquel used the skills she learned, both through her psychology training and through her own personal self- development journey, to become more confident, fulfilled, and successful as a mother, wife, and business woman.
As The Mompreneur Success Specialist, Dr. Raquel now uses these same skills to empower mom entrepreneurs, teaching them ways to relieve the pressure while creating balance, purpose, confidence, and success!
An engaging and inspiring speaker, Dr. Raquel has been invited to speak at many moms’ groups and women's organizations, including the Junior League of Portland and Eugene, Mom Owned Business, the Soroptimists, and various Chambers of Commerce. She has also been featured in several podcasts and TV presentations, including TV Toastmasters, the Captivatingly Confident Podcast, the MotherHustler Podcast, and the NYAM Project Podcast. Dr. Raquel offers inspirational and educational content in her Facebook Fan page, Joyful Imperfection Counseling, as well as her Facebook group “Redefining Supermom.”
A true social entrepreneur, Lou Radja continues to work tirelessly to help individuals and teams thrive at the intersection of success & significance. A recognized and award winning Motivational Speaker and founder of Lou Radja Enterprises, Mr. Radja’s trainings on leadership, personal growth, diversity and service inspire and equip audiences around the world, to Be More and Give More. As Founder and Executive Director of EduCongo, a U.S. based nonprofit organization; Lou’s energy is also devoted to generating awareness and support to provide quality education for over 2,000 underprivileged children in the Congo. A graduate of Portland State University where he studied International Affairs with a focus on development challenges and opportunities in today’s globalized world. Lou is a member and Past President of the Portland Pearl Rotary Club and serves on various nonprofit boards in the community. Lou and his wife Stacy are proud parents of two boys, Yenga and Senda!
storäe michele—a self-given name speaking to the sacred act of storytelling—is an interdisciplinary artist, performer, poet, playwright, theologian and seasoned educator.
her experimental films, performances, and choreopoems center womxn-identified and genderqueer black folx, honoring their routes to authenticity— the reclamation of body, sexuality and personhood—which
serve as reminders of how to create brave space as black queer wild + holy beings.
storäe returns to African diasporic folklore as a practice of story-weaving. by integrating archives of black folx, exploring ancestral accounts + documenting dreamworlds as transformative spells for healing, her art provides pathways toward future world-making.
her first film, [the listening heart], earned the Robert E. Seaver Award granted by Union Theological Seminary and has been officially selected by film festivals in Berlin, New York, Carbondale, Colorado and Cannes. her directorial debut was celebrated on the front cover of Women CineMakers, a digital
magazine in Berlin. storäe’s newest musings were accepted into Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices (Playwrighting Cohort, August 2021).
storäe is an Interdisciplinary Master of Divinity graduate of Union Theological Seminary (2017), a Master of Professional Studies graduate in Creative Arts Therapy + Creativity Development of Pratt Institute
(2008), and is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Performance + Performance Studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. For more information, please visit www.storaemichele.com .
Eunice is an intuitive psychosocial counselor, empathetic storyteller, mentor and life coach. Eunice graduated With BA in Psychology and is currently pursuing Masters in Peace and Development. She shares stories of women survivors of sexual violence, who are thriving, liberated, and passionate to end the cycle of sexual violence. She equips survivors to grow in self-dependency, leadership, and healing through her gift of counseling. Eunice is dedicated to giving all children and women the ability to protect themselves against all types of violence including gender based and sexual violence.
Lani is a Career and Life Strategist, Coach and Speaker. She is the founder of waveofwomen.com and co-founder of The Confidence Catalyst, First Time Speaker Series. She spends her time working with women on identifying their authenticity, how they want to show up in the world and then builds a path to self-actualizing. Lani is known for leadership coaching and her programs, Personal Brand Blueprint and Women of Influence.
Being a natural born introvert in a challenging childhood gifted Lani with the ability to read between the lines and deeply understand people. Having lost nearly everyone in her life years ago, she rebuilt her identity out of who she was at the core and her intention in life.
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, she now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her youngest daughter. Her burning desire is to use her mastery to help women recognize and play a bigger role in who they are, so they grow confident to create the life and career they love.
Her philosophy: Where women lead, their community becomes a better place. Where women own and use their feminine strength, the world becomes a better place.
Brenda R. Bryan
Brenda R. Bryan is a kick ass Inspirational Speaker - The Diviner of Human Potential. As a Transformational Coach and Mastermind Facilitator, she supports Women to unmask and nurture their genius, empowering them to live in the strength of their passion. Teaching through -The Raise Your Voice Speakers Club, one on-one coaching, workshops and stages around the country, she demonstrates authentic, warm-hearted humor with a deep wealth of knowledge of how important communication is to feminine power.
Brenda began working in her passion of building community and supporting women in the early 1970s. Graduating with a degree in Communications, she became active in the Women’s Movement. Through her activism, Brenda acquired lasting skills in group processing, facilitation, and leadership. She facilitates ritual and teaches people sacred art though drum making and other creative works. For the past 45 years, she has continued to build her tool kit to support women’s empowerment.
Most recently She is inspired to be the founder and CEO of “It Must Be Said Productions” which is the platform for the stories that need telling. A venue for social change. It is the weaving together of the creativity, innovation, invention that invites future visioning.
Nkumu Katalay is an artist, orator, multi-instrumentalist and a social activist whose main objective is to promote humanity. Born in Kinshasa, the capital city of the DR. of Congo and he lives in NYC. Nkumu's vision highlights the contribution of Congolese cultures in the modern world history. He is founder of The "Life Long Project" Band, a musical group and a project which focuses on pushing the positive narrative of the Congolese culture via music and social-cultural and educational initiatives. He is also founder of the Afro Congolese Dance program and company. Afro Congolese Dance programs has weekly mental and physical dance activities throughout New York City, in schools, corporations or cultural centers for all ages from children to adults and seniors.
Music became Nkumu's path to navigate the world, his corner stone, which holds fragments of his identity together. The study of musical notes or beats, especially their movements, patterns, and how they are parallel to human cultures, remains his lifelong fascination. To Nkumu, “musical notes or beats are pieces of cultures residing within the realm of sound, and the ensemble of their interactions makes music.” Similar to notes, human cultures are fragments of historical formation, which gather under a specific civilization, and like notes, cultures are continuously seeking for alternative manifestations. So, artistically, he discovered one tool after the other. Nkumu’s musical concept was cultivated via the Congolese “Mbonda” or “Ngoma” (drum) and movements (dance).
The cultural and social dynamics that exist both in New York City and Kinshasa helped his quest for translating his idea of sound and movements. Both places are very diverse and rich in culture. These two cities introduced Nkumu Katalay to the world, and they also poured in him a deep appreciation of humanity. While he mainly represents Congolese music and culture, his style is a hybrid of various genres reflecting the Afro-Diaspora global culture. Through dance, movements, songs, folklore, drumming, games, devotions, music, affirmation and more importantly, through sound, Nkumu is able to tap into the dialectic space of humanity. In turn this dialect enables him to express the three forms of human struggles, which he refers to as justice: the cultural justice, the social justice and global justice.
Rukshana Hafez Triem