Texas 2018 Speakers

More speakers to be announced soon!


Keynote

Representative Nicole Collier, Texas House of Representatives, District 95

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Follow Representative Collier on Twitter @nicolecollier95

Nicole Collier is a respected attorney, small business owner, grandmother and mother of three who has spent her life working to obtain the American Dream. Nicole was raised in a family with vision and a dedication to service. Her grandfather, Walter B. Johnson, Sr., a World War II veterans, started his career as a hostler for a local railroad company, and later went on to work for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing as a janitor. After years of hard work and determination, Walter rose to become one of the first African-American plate printers at the Bureau, landing him on the front cover of Jet Magazine. 

Nicole’s father, Rolland Johnson, Sr., started working at the Bureau following a tour in the U.S. Navy. While attending Howard University in Washington, D. C., Rolland worked nights as an apprentice plate printer, and eventually retired lead foreman. Both Rolland and his father Walter were proud members of the plate printer’s union. Meanwhile, Nicole’s mother, Shirley Johnson, dedicated her life to serving children in many youth ministries and caring not only for her children and grandchildren but for many local neighborhood children. 

Nicole herself was born with the same vision and determination as her predecessors. As a single mother before finishing high school, both her faith and her family bolstered her to continue her education all the way through law school graduation. Nicole graduated from the University of Houston and married her soulmate Gary “Big C” Collier shortly thereafter. Gary and Nicole established their home in Fort Worth, Texas, and for the last sixteen years, Nicole has been a tireless legal advocate for individuals and families in the Texas court systems and has now taken her passion to the state capitol.

Nicole is the first African-American woman to represent House District 95 in Tarrant County. 
In the 84th Texas Legislature, Representative Collier served as Vice-Chair of the General Investigating and Ethics Committee and was a member of the Select Committee of Federal Environmental Regulation, Public Health, Business and Industry Committees. The Representative will be working on legislation this session to eliminate credit checks on certain employment applications, limit the collection of so-called “zombie debt”, expand paid sick leave, and ensure our children have clean drinking water at school.

The simple yet courageous #metoo hashtag campaign has emerged as a rallying cry for people everywhere who have survived sexual assault and sexual harassment – and Tarana’s powerful, poignant story as creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors is moving, uplifting, and inspiring.

#metoo is not just an overnight hashtag sensation; Tarana has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault. The movement now inspires solidarity, amplifies the voices thousands of victims of sexual abuse, and puts the focus back on survivors.

A sexual assault survivor herself, Tarana works under the banner of The ‘me too’ Movement to assist other survivors and those who work to end sexual violence. She is the senior director at Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity. Her work at its core is about lifting up marginalized voices, enabling survivors across all races, genders, or classes to know that they are not alone, and creates a place for comfort and healing to those who have experienced trauma.

Moderator

Alisha Laventure, C0-Anchor at WFFA News 8

alisha-laventure_1476203394083_6479824_ver1.0.pngFollow Alisha Laventure Collier on Twitter @AlishaLaventure

Alisha Laventure is the co-anchor of News 8 at 4pm and solo anchors News 8 Midday at 12pm. She joined WFAA in July 2016 as News 8 Daybreak's weekend morning anchor.

Alisha began her journalism career at CBS Broadcasting Inc. in Manhattan, where she worked as a junior production assistant in affiliate relations. Given her Haitian ethnicity and fluency in Haitian-Creole, she was able to help produce 60 Minutes', "The Lost Children of Haiti," following the 2010 earthquake. The piece won an Emmy for Best Report in a News Magazine.

From her home state of New York, Alisha's next stop was WMBF-TV News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. There, she led the evening newscasts from the Florence bureau with live, late-breaking coverage across five counties in the Pee Dee region.

Alisha eventually returned to New York in 2011 as a general assignment multi-media journalist at News 12 The Bronx. Within a year, she was promoted to anchor/reporter for both News 12 The Bronx and News 12 Brooklyn. During that time, she won a NY Associated Press Award for her work on "Pieces of the Puzzle, ” a special on children with autism. In 2014, Alisha joined the network's flagship station, News 12 Long Island. While there, she served as weekend morning anchor, host of "Diverse Long Island," and led the 5pm and 10pm newscasts as a general assignment reporter. She was recognized by the Press Club of Long Island in 2016 for her breaking news coverage, and an original series she created called "Exotic Eats."

Alisha is a graduate of Washington and Lee University, where she double-majored in Broadcast Journalism and Romance Languages. She speaks French, Spanish and Haitian-Creole. While in college, she traveled the world, studying abroad in Senegal, China, Peru, France, Colombia and Ghana. While on campus, she reported for and anchored the journalism department's student-produced newscast, The Rockbridge Report.

In her spare time, Alisha enjoys reading New York Times bestsellers, playing marathon games of Scrabble and Monopoly and trying new recipes. (She makes a mean tiramisu!) She also enjoys volunteering with organizations that promote college access and preparedness.