Meet our Speakers



Representative Park Cannon, Georgia House of Representatives 

Park Cannon is starting her third term as the youngest member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She is excited to represent Midtown, Downtown, and Southwest Atlanta. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Representative Cannon said "We need to trust black women!" and will continue to stand up for LGBTQ and minority visibility in the South. Park serves on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, the nation's largest state black caucus as the Chair of the Civil and Human Rights Committee as well as the Co-Chair of Communications. She serves on Insurance and Small Business Development House Committees, City of Atlanta Delegation, Fulton County Delegation, Bi-partisan Future Caucus and is the secretary for the Women’s Caucus.


Amira Daugherty, President, Agnes Scott College Student Government Association

Amira Daugherty is a future attorney and politician who holds an Associates of Science in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University. Currently, she is in her final year at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, where she is pursuing her Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science, with special interest in public policy. As she prepares to enter law school, she continually engages her passion for community service by promoting student justice efforts on campus. She currently serves as the President of the Student Government Association, a role through which she works to create dynamic changes for the students of Agnes Scott College by way of bills, resolutions, and other action items. She has served as the Chairwoman of the Constitutional Review Committee, and is currently a student representative for the Judicial Review Committee. She has a love of music, and serves as the lead alto in Nocturne A Capella group, as well as the Agnes Scott Collegiate Chorale and the World Jazz Ensemble. In the greater community, Amira does contract work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation (CDC-F), where she strives to garner monetary support for the eradication of the most pervasive diseases plaguing our world. She volunteers with local mock trial teams to sharpen their skills in debate, and with the DeKalb 4-H Club to teach children and adolescents about healthy living, drug and alcohol awareness, and money management. In her legal career, she will continue to volunteer regularly, and use pro bono work as a means to create a more equitable criminal justice system. In the next decade, she intends to run to represent the 4th District of Georgia, and in 2040, she will run for President of the United States.

Dean Karen Goff, Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students

Dean Goff began her tenure at Agnes Scott August 1, 2016.  She comes to us from Georgian Court University in New Jersey, bringing with her a combination of fifteen (15) years of higher education, and non-profit management experience.  

Vice President Goff leads the Division of Student Affairs at Agnes Scott College, which includes Athletics, the Gué Pardue Hudson Center for Leadership and Service, the Center for Student Involvement, Religious and Spiritual Life, Residence Life, and the Wellness Center.  Additionally, she plays a key role in SUMMIT, Agnes Scott’s unique approach to the liberal arts and sciences that provides every student, regardless of major, with a four-year focus on global learning and leadership development.

In 2003, she founded InsideOut International, a nonprofit organization that offers leadership training and mentoring to emerging women leaders.   Dean Goff has conducted leadership development workshops internationally, in countries such as Croatia, Canada, and Russia, and participated in many short-term immersion trips to her native Jamaica, West Indies, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.  As part of her commitment to civic engagement, she has also served on the boards of the Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore, United Way, and the Morris & Sussex County Youth Advocate Program.  In 2007, she received the Soroptimist International Women of Distinction Award. 

Dean Goff holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and history from Georgian Court and a Master of Divinity with a concentration in counseling from Nyack College. She earned a certificate in leadership development from the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina and is completing a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Northeastern University.

She is married to Roger Goff, who is active in the U.S. Army National Guard.  

Representative Brenda Lopez, Georgia House of Representatives 

Attorney Brenda Lopez made history last fall when she became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly, representing House District 99 in Gwinnett County. She was sworn in January 2017 and is one of two Latino representatives in the General Assembly. She sits on the education, retirement and state planning & community affairs committees. Representative Lopez is a rising star in Georgia politics.

As the principal attorney at The Lopez Firm, Representative Lopez handles removal and family-based immigration cases.

Representative Lopez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age 5. She is a product of DeKalb County Schools and graduated from Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Georgia State University and, after working as a paralegal and in advocacy for three years, she graduated law school from Syracuse University. She has focused on international law, national security, and comparative politics in her academic career.

While in law school, Representative Lopez worked as a clerk for the Georgia Legal Services Program, the American Civil Liberties Union, and interned for a trial judge in Morelos, Mexico, where she is from. After law school, she worked as a staff attorney with Catholic Charities before opening her solo practice. In early 2015, she decided to run for office.

Representative Lopez is involved in political, legal, and education advocacy and has volunteered with organizations such as GALEO (the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials) and Amnesty International. She is particularly passionate about education and access to education for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to this country as children. She is most proud of her volunteer work as a GED instructor with the adult education program at the Marist School.

Representative Lopez serves as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Latino Caucus. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath, U.S. House of Representative

Lucia “Lucy” McBath is a mother, wife, businesswoman and activist for social justice. After a 30-year career with Delta Air Lines, her second career has focused on reform that will make our communities safer and better for every American of every background.

Lucy’s passion for public service was awakened by her family’s tragedy in 2012. She is the mother of Jordan Davis, who was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla. that year by a man objecting to the music he was playing in his car. The shooter used Florida’s stand-your-ground law as his defense. He was not found guilty of murder in his first trial. In an October 2014 retrial, the shooter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Losing her son in such a senseless way has fueled her lifelong commitment to community activism and the importance of political engagement. Early on, McBath’s sense of public service came from an extensive family background involving civil rights. Her father was the Illinois Branch president of the NAACP for over twenty years and served on its national board as well. As a child, she traveled with her family attending marches and rallies supporting the civil rights movement and the coalitions of organizations fighting alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her mother was a registered nurse, often helping students completing coursework with tutoring and other support to further their healthcare careers.

Before running for Congress, Lucy held dual roles as the national spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, as well as Faith and Outreach Leader for both. Her work included testifying in state capitols and speaking with lawmakers, activists, universities and community organizers across the county. In Washington, D.C. she has testified before the US Senate Judiciary Committee, lobbied members of Congress, and spoke at the White House Summit on Educational Excellence for African Americans. She served as a surrogate for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2016 as one of the “Mothers of The Movement”. Here at home, McBath lobbies Georgia’s Congressional, State House and State Senate delegations to enact common-sense gun violence prevention laws that save lives.

Lucy’s work in her home community in Cobb County includes creating the “Champion in The Making Legacy Foundation” which provides charitable and educational assistance to graduating high school students attending traditional as well as technical and training colleges and universities – with two recipients attending Kennesaw State University. The foundation has expanded its program with its mentorship program which provides support and guidance in building life skills for the young men and women striving for academic success, with an incubator headquartered in Powder Springs. She serves as Lead Usher at Trinity Chapel (Seven Springs Church) and is an active member with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Marietta / Roswell alumni chapter.

McBath’s work has been recognized widely. She is honored to have been the recipient of the Chairman’s Award of the Georgia Democratic Party in 2017, “Mother of the Year 2016” by VH1 Television, voted as one of Refinery29’s 26 National Treasures, and an EMILY’s List Honoree. Her media appearances include Georgia Public Television, CNN, MSNBC, HLN, TV One and her son’s story has been featured in Jet, Rolling Stone, and Ebony and Essence magazines and in the documentaries “The Armor of Light” and “3 1⁄2 Minutes: 10 Bullets.”

Lucy was employed by Delta Airlines In-Flight Service for 30 years. She received her B.A. degree in political science from Virginia State University in 1982. Lucy is married, and these days, doesn’t have a lot of free time, but when she does she enjoys motorcycling, serving her church, and walking her beloved dogs.

Jennifer Owens, Deputy Director, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Jennifer Owens is the Deputy Director for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization that analyzes state policy and offers evidence-based solutions to increase economic opportunity for all Georgians. Jennifer has 15 years of Georgia-based experience in policy research and advocacy, stakeholder engagement, strategic communications and fundraising. Prior professional roles include Deputy Political Director for the 2014 Jason Carter for Governor campaign, development and policy advocacy director for Georgia Organics, and former executive director of The League of Women Voters of Georgia.

Jennifer has been honored as one of the youngest recipients to be awarded the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 Under 40” and a 2012 recipient of The Georgia Conservancy’s Longleaf Award for Excellence in Environmental Advocacy.

Jennifer Owens lives in Brookhaven with her husband, Colin, and two spunky daughters, Ellie and Jules. Jennifer is a proud graduate of the University of Georgia and is an avid college football fan, novice urban farmer and untrained cook. Jennifer is active in her community serving as a volunteer at Ashford Park Elementary School as well as holding appointed positions on the City of Brookhaven’s Affordable Housing Task Force, Charter Review Commission and Zoning Rewrite Committee. Jennifer is also a mentor for the 2017-2018 class of the Georgia Women’s Policy Institute, a project of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, and serves on the Board of Directors for Faith in Public Life and We Love BuHi, a community development organization focused on illuminating the diversity and opportunity along the Buford Highway corridor.

Pallavi Purkayastha, Political Strategist

Pallavi is a political strategist who has worked on multiple campaigns to elect Democrats to office. She was Field Director to Rep. Sam Park whose victory made history as he beat a three-term incumbent to become the first openly gay man to serve in the legislature, Campaign Manager to Rep. Bee Nguyen who is the state legislature’s first progressive Asian American woman to be elected, and Campaign Manager to Rep. Angelika Kausche, a German immigrant who flipped a seat blue for the first time. She also serves as Chief of Staff to Rep. David Dreyer and is working on bills to protect voting rights, improve affordable housing, and fight for incarcerated women. She is Vice Chair of Red Clay Democrats and is dedicated to improving Asian American civic participation.

Nicole Rankin, CEO, The COLE Academy of Personal Growth

Nicole Rankine, affectionately known as Dr. Nic, is one of the most engaging certified Next Generation Coaches around. She is a teacher, speaker, and coach with the John Maxwell Team who started The COLE Academy of Personal Growth, a professional development company who partners with entities serving our next generation including schools, universities, organizations, and businesses to assess the methods used to develop and lead our future leaders.

With over 20 years of professional experience in helping people. Dr. Nic has worked in academia and government agencies as a Health Scientist, where she has led the design and novel development of quality systems that provided the key mechanisms needed to assure the quality and integrity products and services provided to customers.  Taking her passion for youth development and professional experience, she started a company that helps organizations ensure the quality of organizational instruction, leadership development, communication, and personal growth in order to increase student achievement.

Dr. Rankine travels both nationally and internationally devoting her life to helping equip, inspire, and empower young people worldwide. Dr. Rankine also serves as an Adjunct College Professor teaching our future public health professionals. She holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science Degree in Biology and a Masters and Ph. D. in Public Health.

Dr. Nic has held several leadership positions in her profession, service organizations, and in her community. She also founded Healthy Young People Excel, Inc., a nonprofit devoted to helping youth worldwide develop their soft skills so they can increase their self-esteem to see, own, and achieve their dreams.

Ariel Shaw, Co-Founder, AS Consulting LLC

Ariel Shaw, MBA, is a businesswoman and is the founder of multiple businesses and initiatives. She has a wealth of experience in government, politics, and business. Ariel received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of South Carolina in Columbia SC. She went on to obtain her Masters in Business Administration and is currently enrolled in a Doctorate of Public Administration program. She has worked as a Legislative Aide in the South Carolina House of Representatives for House District 113. She has worked on campaigns for SC House District 62, Darlington County Council, and just recently assisted in the win of the first African American Mayor in a local city as well as the first African-American female Commissioner on the Henry County Board of Commissioners. In 2017 and 2018, Ariel she has served Henry County as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Henry County Democratic Party, where she was instrumental in fundraising, visibility and assisting in candidate elections. Ariel currently serves on the Veterans Committee and the Women's Committee for the City of Stockbridge and has served on the Columbia County's Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee and as Chair of a local elementary school. Ariel Shaw, MBA has notably gained the recommendation of US Congresswoman David Scott for the National Women's Business Council. 

However, Ariel most proud of her most recent initiative, Real Leaders Read, where she has received state honors in 2018 from the Georgia General Assembly, as she seeks to increase literacy among the youth. 

Ariel Shaw, MBA has a passion for women and lives by the African proverb "....Teach a woman....and you teach a nation." Ariel truly believes in empowering women and wants to see them all win; because if they win, so will their community.

Adrienne White, VP of Strategy/Business Development, Citizens Trust Bank

Adrienne A. White is the VP of Strategy/Business Development at Citizens Trust Bank. Previously, she was the VP of Finance of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Prior to The Center, she worked at The Coca-Cola Company. She started the first four years of career at Ernst & Young LLP’s (EY) external audit services.

Adrienne’s primary passions in the community are health & wellness, women’s empowerment and education.

Adrienne was chair of Red Clay Democrats since 2018-17 and a board member since 2013 and was Chair of Georgia’s WIN List in 2015-2016, both state focused political action committees that invest in progressive candidates. She chaired Representative Bee Nguyen’s state house campaign in 2017. Adrienne was a part of the DNC’s 2016 Georgia Victory Leaders Council and a part of Hillary Clinton’s for45 Finance Council Steering Committee.

Adrienne has been on the Atlanta Public School audit committee since April 2016 and helps to advise the board about the APS risk & control environment. Adrienne was a board member and treasurer at The Intown Academy, a public charter school in the Atlanta Public School serving nearly 330 students in grades K-8 from July 2011 to June 2014.

Adrienne is a board member of the Atlanta Track Club, the nation’s 2nd largest track club, which produces the world’s largest 10K road race. She’s served on the marketing committee and currently serves as diversity committee chair. In April 2011, Adrienne was one of three leaders who launched the Atlanta chapter of Black Girls Run!, a national organization aimed at promoting an active lifestyle among African- American women through participation in running events. She also served as BGR! South Region Ambassador supporting 40 ambassadors across Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi in their efforts to support, encourage and activate over 25,000 members

Adrienne serves as board treasurer for Grove Park Foundation, the “community quarterback” guiding an inclusive, holistic neighborhood revitalization effort. Using the Purpose Built Communities model, Grove Park Foundation works with the neighborhood and partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to achieve an equitable and sustainable transformation that preserves and builds community. Grove Park Foundation is committed to a long-term effort that will build a cradle-to-college education pipeline, develop affordable and mixed income housing, and community health and wellness programs and facilities.

Aisha Yaqoob, Policy Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta

Aisha Yaqoob is the Policy Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice Atlanta. Aisha became familiar with Advancing Justice in 2016 during her work as the founder of the Georgia Muslim Voter Project, an initiative to increase voter registration and turnout in the Muslim community in Georgia. She completed her Masters of Public Administration from the University of Georgia in May 2016 after completing her undergraduate degree in Journalism/Public Relations in 2013. Aisha has worked and volunteered with various Atlanta area nonprofit organizations. She is involved in her local community through various initiatives and has served advisory roles in civic organizations. Most recently in 2018, Aisha ran as the Democratic nominee for State House District 97 in the northern parts of Gwinnett County.