Annual Student Leadership Conference

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The Annual Student Leadership Conference at The College at Brockport is open to all Brockport students who wish to learn more about leadership. Planned by the Capstone Leadership Certificate students, the conference features alumni presenters who have learned leadership lessons in their lives, and can share with students how they, too, can demonstrate leadership.

Empowering Ourselves to Empower Others

Sunday, February 25, 2018

11 am - 4 pm

Seymour College Union


Meet Our Speakers

Darryl Bellamy


Darryl Bellamy has traveled the country inspiring students to conquer their fears and self-doubt to lead on campus and in life. Darryl has collected and read thousands of fears from students and uses them to better address students’ roadblocks. Darryl recently released the highly rated book, Waking Up Chase: One Student’s Journey to Awakening His Potential, which is now used as a common read in various classrooms. While in undergrad, Darryl was a well-rounded student leader who overcame his own fears to receive multiple awards, participate in two corporate internships, and run for student body office. He now uses those experiences to help students thrive.


Julie AchtylJulie Achtyl, Class of 2006

"Leading with Positivity: Empowering Others to Commit to Change for the Betterment of Patient Care"

Julie received her bachelor’s degree from The College at Brockport, State University of New York. She dual-majored in psychology and health science with a concentration in alcoholism and substance abuse studies. Upon completion of her internship at the University of Rochester Medical Center/Strong Recovery, she began her career as a primary therapist in the methadone maintenance program. In 2011 she transitioned to a Co-Occurring Disorder Therapist and specialized in group and individual counseling. During this time Julie obtained her master’s degree from the University of Rochester Warner School in community mental health counseling and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Julie was the chair of the Joseph Ryan Committee as well as a member of the Clinical Operational Leadership Development program. Julie was an adjunct professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, where she taught both the group counseling and individual treatment planning class. She was later promoted to a Clinical Supervisor and is currently the Program Manager/Clinical Coordinator for the Chemical Dependency Program at Strong Recovery. Lastly, Julie is also the co-owner of the local business Harvest Home Décor and a proud mother to her two sons, Kolden and Kamden.

Jonathan AllentoffJonathan Allentoff, Class of 2014

"Building Community through Teamwork, Collaboration, and Partnerships"

Jonathan Allentoff '14 is a nationally-acclaimed conductor, composer, performer, educator, and clinician. He serves as the founding music director of the Brockport Symphony and Temple Beth El Orchestras, music director of the Greece Central Schools Continuing Education/GPAS Greece Community Orchestra & Greece Summer Symphony, and associate conductor of the Brighton Symphony Orchestra. His works and licensed arrangements have been performed by ensembles across the globe, and he manages his own music publishing business, Allentoff Music. Currently pursuing graduate studies at Stony Brook University's School of Professional Development, he is a member of CODA, APME, ASCAP, ASMAC, ASTA, NAfME, and NYSSMA.

Marian BrownMarian M. Brown, Class of 1978

"Finding the U in Sustainability"

Marian Brown directs the Center for Sustainability and the Environment at Wells College, which advances the institution's sustainability efforts in the areas of curricula, campus operations, and community outreach. Marian teaches sustainability academic program courses and supports faculty and students with class projects, applied research, and sustainability internships. She works with operational unit managers to embed sustainability thinking and practice, with the goal of transforming the campus into a “living-learning” laboratory that models and reinforces student learning about sustainability in the classroom. The Center for Sustainability leads sustainability outreach efforts to educate and engage our campus and wider community.

Laura CanneLaura Canne, MPA, Class of 1998

"This Is Your Brain on Poverty"

Laura Canne owns New Beginnings Consulting. She specializes in helping non-profit agencies launch new initiatives or programs. Laura has over 20 years of experience in program development and administration, training, supervision and management of not-for-profit organizations. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology from SUNY Geneseo and a master's in public administration from The College at Brockport.


Joanne DennisonJoanne Dennison, Class of 1982 and 1985

"Never Say Never"

Joanne Dennison has evolved to her third career as The Guidance Counselor for Grown Ups. Her education, both in and out of the classroom while at Brockport, opened many paths, piqued many interests, and created the professional, the leader, and the individual she is today. A student leader on campus led to her first career as a college administrator, which led to her second as a meeting and event planner, which evolved to her third. Her liberal arts degree taught her, as one professor said, “to learn how to learn,” which gave her the tools to keep up with the world.

Chet FeryChet Fery, Class of 1972, 1978, 1983, and 1988

"Is Kindness on Your Leadership Checklist?"

A 40-year-plus resident of Brockport. Spent early years in Buffalo, NY. Married to Marina Fery with 3 adult children. Former teacher, counselor, and school administrator. Founder of Bread Time Stories and More, an effort to promote random acts of kindness.


Zaula Kennedy

Zaula Kennedy

"Processing Leadership: Leaving a Legacy"

Zaula Kennedy is an academic advisor at The College at Brockport. She helps students persist through college challenges and provide strategies for academic support and degree completion. In this capacity, she also works closely with Student Retention by advising students on academic probation and creating programming for students interested in health-related careers. Zaula earned her BA in sociology and MS in higher education, both from Syracuse University. Her leadership skills developed the most from time as a student-athlete and professional work at colleges, universities, and non-profits, including University of Memphis and Vassar College.

Holly LeistenHolly Leisten, Class of 2007 and 2011

"When Plan B Comes Plan A"

Holly received her bachelor’s degree in health education (2007) from The College at Brockport and went on to complete her master’s degree in health education (2011). After graduation, Holly fulfilled her dream of teaching and was fortunate to have taught health education at North Rose Wolcott School District for one year and at the Rochester City School District for six years. She created, implemented, and evaluated lessons and activities for students in grades 4-12. While teaching, she created many wellness programs for students and staff including blood drives, walking challenges, and healthy eating clubs. In 2014, Holly left teaching to pursue a career in community health. She began working for Highland Family Planning as a Community Health Educator and Outreach Coordinator, where she continues to work. She has facilitated workshops to thousands of youth and adults in the City of Rochester and surrounding areas on topics related to sexual and reproductive health. Holly is a cofounder of the Rochester Sexual and Reproductive Task Force, is a presenter for the Greater Rochester LARC Initiative, and is a member of several committees. Holly helped create a Comprehensive Sexual Health Program at a local school which included being a facilitator for a peer-led health club. In 2017, Holly started pursuing her master’s in public health with a concentration in public policy from George Washington University in hopes of working to create policies around adolescent and women’s health, specifically around topics of sexual and reproductive health.

Melanie PhillipsMelanie Phillips, Class of 2017

"Adversity Does Not Define You"

Melanie Phillips graduated in May from Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She is currently a sales analyst at First American Equipment finance. She started her role as a sales intern and within two months was promoted. Chasing after her dream and success, she decided that not only did she want to get a good job after graduation, but wanted to continue her educational journey and apply for graduate school. Today, she can honestly say that she is part of Brockport’s 2020 MBA class. Along her journey, she has faced adversity but also experienced some amazing things. She wants to share her experiences with other students so they can understand adversity does not define you, nor will it ever, even after you walk across that graduation stage.

Anne UrckfitzAnne Urckfitz, Class of 2017

"Minding our Fears: How Mindfulness Practice Can Help Us Respond to What's Holding Us Back"

Annie Urckfitz, a graduate of The College at Brockport’s master’s program in English literature, is an 11th and 12th grade English teacher at Brockport High School. This fall, she will teach “Leadership and Language,” a course which she crafted and proposed. This course is designed with the intention of empowering students to face and respond to fears mindfully in order to take healthy risks and work towards meaningful goals, and, in doing so, recognize the ways in which they can add value to their community.

Christene WolanskiChristene Wolanski, Class of 2006

"Shifting Your Mindset to Empower Others"

After graduating from Brockport with a degree in biological sciences, Christene received a master's in education for grades 7-12. Christene is a wife and mother of a 2- and 4-year-old. Christene has been teaching middle school science for 9 years and has a passion to pour into the next generation.

Last Updated 8/6/19

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