Ivan Canada, Executive Director, The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ)

Ivan Canada is currently serving as executive director of The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad, and before his recent appointment, he served in a role that was created just for him – Senior Director of Development, Communications and Strategic Partnerships. Prior to joining the NCCJ staff, he worked with Guilford Green Foundation as Executive Director and Director of Special Projects.  His first non-profit related job was during his time with Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants-Hotels when part of his role as an Account Executive was working to identify sponsorship opportunities within the local nonprofit community.  

Ivan is a leader in the Triad community, and has been awarded the Triad Business Journal’s “Forty Leaders Under 40 Award”, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s “Change Agent Award” and was recently recognized by Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and Emerging Practitioners of Philanthropy (EPIP). He currently is serving on the boards of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) as the National Board Co-Chair, N.C. Center for Nonprofits, S.J. Edwards Foundation, a local family foundation, and a member of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Board of Visitors, and has served on numerous other boards and committees over the past ten years. He most recently completed Independent Sector’s American Express NGen Fellows Program for emerging nonprofit and philanthropic leaders.

Ivan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Journalism and Mass Communication. 

About NCCJ

The National Conference for Community and Justice of the Piedmont Triad (NCCJ) became an independent nonprofit in 2005. NCCJ was originally founded in 1937 as the Greensboro Council of Protestants, Jews, and Catholics, an affiliate chapter of a national organization. Over the years, the name was updated to reflect expanding areas of focus as the organization evolved to meet the community’s changing needs. For 80 years, NCCJ has promoted understanding and respect among all people in the Triad. Today, NCCJ specializes in human relations and leadership training for youth and adults. 

NCCJ promotes understanding and respect among all cultures, races, and religions through advocacy, education, and dialogue. We don’t advocate for any single group or philosophy; rather, we work to build mutual respect among all people – regardless of race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, socioeconomic background, or faith.

Our mission is to build compassionate and just communities free of bias, bigotry, and racism. Our vision is that every community becomes a place of promise, with opportunity and justice for all.  

View the NCCJ website.

Rev. David Fraccaro, Executive Director, FaithAction International House

Rev. Fraccaro is the Executive Director of FaithAction International House. Prior to coming to Greensboro, David worked as an immigration specialist with the Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago, educating students and faith communities throughout the United States on immigration issues. David has also worked for the National Council of Churches, and the Riverside Church in New York City as Coordinator for Sojourners Visitation Ministry with Detained Immigrants and Asylum Seekers, the group the inspired the independent movie, The Visitor. Rev. Fraccaro is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and has been a human rights volunteer for the UCC in Bolivia, Kenya and East Timor, and with the United Nations. His blogs and editorials have been featured in the Washington PostNew American Media, and the News and Record, and his work has been featured in Sojourners Magazine and the Associated Press. David is a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity) and Columbia University (Masters of Human Rights). Prior to graduate school, David worked as an actor and singer performing in theaters across the United States. 

Our Mission: FaithAction International House serves and accompanies thousands of our newest immigrant neighbors, while educating and connecting our diverse community across lines of culture and faith – turning strangers into neighbors! Our goal is to help Greensboro become a model Stranger to Neighbor city, and to share our experience with other communities at this urgent time in our nation’s history. North Carolina and many other communities across the US have experienced a tremendous new influx of immigrants over the last decade, bringing significant ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.  We recognize the challenges, as well as the wonderful gifts our new diversity offers.  In the midst of these demographic shifts, we believe each person, each faith community, each community has an important question to answer - Will we fear one another as strangers or embrace one another as neighbors?  We believe that when we choose to positively engage our diversity and embrace our newest immigrant neighbors, our entire community benefits.  

View the FaithAction International House website.

Michelle Gethers-Clark, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Greensboro

Michelle Gethers-Clark is President and CEO of United Way of Greater Greensboro.  Michelle’s professional career spans 32 years.  She has celebrated success as a senior vice president for American Express Company, as an entrepreneur with a consulting firm, and as an author.  Michelle has held roles with global leadership responsibility in the US, Canada, Philippines, and India.  Michelle’s accomplishments and career success have been featured in Ebony, Black Enterprise, Working Mothers, Biz Life, and Triad Business Journal as a 2017 Most Admired CEO.

Michelle is an energetic public speaker.  Her published book, The Next Level presents a perspective on leadership.  Michelle is a native of New York City and currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband and two children.

Her mantra is “People follow character and not titles.”

For years, United Way of Greater Greensboro raised and allocated money to a network of agencies that met a variety of worthwhile needs in our community. Times have changed and so have our community’s needs. With an increasing poverty rate of 20%, United Way’s board of directors made a bold decision to focus the organization’s work on breaking the cycle of poverty in our community. Now, United Way is leading the community in the critical mission of breaking the cycle of poverty in greater Greensboro.

View the United Way of Greater Greensboro website.

Ivey Ghee, Lead Consultant, The Hospitality G, LLC

Ivey Ghee is a small business owner and lead consultant at The Hospitality G, LLC which specializes in motivating hospitable behavior in the work place. She is an energetic outgoing motivational speaker that loves

spreading her joy and passion throughout Greensboro and beyond. Ivey was "Made in Greensboro" in July of 2017 featured as a "Community Builder", and has done just that as she has served on the following boards: Welfare Reform Liaison Project 2011-2015, Guilford Green Foundation 2011-2016, Guilford College Employer Advisory Board 2014-2016, and currently serves on the LGBTQ Advisory Board for Guilford County Schools. 


Joyce Gorham-Worsley, Vice President of Leadership Development, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce

As part of her work with the Chamber, Joyce leads the Minority Business Accelerator and the Other Voices program.

After returning from our 2015 Intercity Visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee, a small group of attendees formed the minority business development taskforce for the purposes of focusing on growing the local, ethnic minority-owned businesses and expanding our region’s minority entrepreneurial community. Our vision for the program is to make Greensboro the Nation’s #1 destination for Minority Entrepreneurs to design and enhance their business. The purpose of the Minority Business Accelerator is three fold:

1. Help create jobs in our region
2. Contribute to the economic vitality of our region and strengthen our local economy
3. Create cultural diversity and economic inclusion participants – in frank and open dialogue – build their insight and understanding of the roots of prejudice. The program facilitator helps participants determine how “oppressive-isms” affect their quality of life in shared cross-cultural environments. Participants evaluate personal biases that play out in behaviors; develop a vision for dealing with problems; and develop skills and strategies for alleviating these problems individually, at the workplace, and in the community.

Other Voices is a leadership development and community-building experience in which participants – in frank and open dialogue – build their insight and understanding of the roots of prejudice. The program facilitator helps participants determine how “oppressive-isms” affect their quality of life in shared cross-cultural environments. Participants evaluate personal biases that play out in behaviors; develop a vision for dealing with problems; and develop skills and strategies for alleviating these problems individually, at the workplace, and in the community.


Maria Hicks-Few, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, City of Greensboro

Maria Hicks-Few is a business professional with more than twenty two years of diversified and progressive experience within the human resources field. She has expertise in successfully managing all facets of human resources functions including recruitment, retention, affirmative action/compliance, employee relations, position/performance management, benefits, EHS, succession planning, talent development, policy development and implementation training, and human resources information systems (HRIS)/IT.

Maria’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science from North Carolina A & T State University, a Master of Science Degree in Public Affairs from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a MBA in Human Resources Management for the University of Phoenix Online.

Maria is a Certified Professional in Human Resources, Sr. Certified Affirmative Action Professional, Six Sigma Green Belt, and Kaizen Change Management Facilitator. In her current role as the City of Greensboro’s first Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Maria supports municipal operations though developing and implementing the City of Greensboro’s Diversity and Inclusion strategy and associated action plan. 

Defining Diversity and Inclusion 
The City of Greensboro defines Diversity and Inclusion as the collective mixture of differences and similarities that includes for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.
Diversity and Inclusion Mission 
The City of Greensboro’s Diversity mission is to create an culture that is inclusive and provides strategies and best practices for internal and external customers to assist with recruitment, hiring, promoting, and engaging a diverse, results-oriented, high-performing workforce.



View the City of Greensboro website.

Michelle Kennedy, Executive Director, Interactive Resource Center (IRC)

Michelle Kennedy is the Executive Director of the Interactive Resource Center (IRC), an innovative day center working to end homelessness. The IRC offers fundamental services (showers, laundry, etc),
services that create a solid foundation (mail services, computer lab and other services allowing people to create connections), and services that help build esteem and create self-sufficiency (shelter referrals,
case management, classes, support groups, etc).

In 2017, Michelle was elected to serve as a Greensboro City Council Member, At-Large. Prior to her election she served on the City of Greensboro Human Relations Commission and the City of Greensboro Police Community Review Board. Michelle was named the 2016 Greensboro News and Record Woman of the Year. In addition, she was awarded the Guilford Green Foundation’s 2016 Distinguished Leadership Award and recognized by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro as a Community Game Changer in 2014.

Michelle is a nationally-recognized leader in healthy homes/housing program design and implementation. She has more than a decade of experience managing nonprofit programs and agencies
serving low-income communities with budgets ranging from $1M to $12M and teams ranging from 10 to 80 members.

Her career has included advocating for safe, decent, affordable housing with the Greensboro Housing Coalition; overseeing technical training and operations for the NC State Energy Office, Weatherization
Assistance Program and advocating for families and teenagers with the YWCA of Greensboro. After more than 20 years in Greensboro, Michelle moved to Los Angeles to become the Associate
Director, and them Interim Executive Director, of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, a tenant rights and economic development organization in South Central LA. While in LA, she led the development of a
health and human rights initiative in partnership with the Los Angeles Health Department and other social justice organizations to improve housing conditions in low income apartments.

Having worked with communities in poverty her entire career, Michelle believes in meeting people where they are, coming out of our professional comfort zones and providing services and support with
dignity where they matter most.

View the Interactive Resource Center (IRC) website.

Wilson Lester, Executive Director, Greensboro Community Development Fund

The Greensboro Community Development Fund (GCDF) is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

GCDF serves the purpose of providing financial assistance to small businesses located in Greensboro and neighboring communities underserved by traditional financial institutions, in the form of loans, subordinated debt, and equity investments to enable such businesses to obtain the capital needed to develop an effective business enterprise. 

Our expertise is in small business lending, and capitalizing Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) with sustained development and service contracts. GCDF provides clients with training and technical assistance to support business development and offers small business loans from $5,000 – $25,000 and contract loans from $10,000 – $50,000.

Our Mission: To generate economic growth, encourage small business development, create jobs, and revitalize neighborhoods by providing loans and financial services to underserved businesses in our community.

Our Vision: To economically empower the Piedmont Triad’s underserved and distressed communities.


Jodi Lorenzo-Schibley, Executive Director/CEO, Sanctuary House

In 2002, Jodi was hired to serve as the founding executive director of Sanctuary House, a nonprofit whose mission and focus is working with adults with severe mental illness. Sanctuary House provides supportive services such as employment services, personal care, clinical outpatient, psychosocial rehabilitation and a social entrepreneurial business, A Sweet Success! Bakery. Jodi has been grateful for the community that has embraced the work of Sanctuary House. She has been called an advocate and a warrior for those who experience mental illness.

Jodi received a Bachelor’s in Psychology/English and Masters in Mental Health Counseling in Ohio. She has served in many community/civic roles in our community including Guilford County Human Relations Commission committee member, Rotary Club of Greater Greensboro, etc. Jodi is a graduate of the Inaugural Class of the Executive Director Academy. Additionally, she received leadership training through the Center for Creative Leadership and was delighted to also be a part of Leadership Greensboro. She is presenting serving in Leadership North Carolina - Class of XXV.

Recently, Jodi was acknowledged by the Triad Business Journal as being named one the recipients of the prestigious Outstanding Women in Business. In May of 2017, Jodi received a Congressional nod as a Community Hero Award by Congressman Mark Walker.

Sanctuary House was established to provide a place of comfort, belonging and inspiration to those who experience a mental illness and has rapidly evolved into a close-knit, uniquely supportive community. Each day, members and staff work closely together to learn new skills, build confidence, gain a greater sense of independence and pride, and prepare for a purposeful, rewarding life that our members desire and undoubtedly deserve.

View the Sanctuary House website.

José Oliva, Fellow, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation & Member at Large for the NC Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs

José Oliva joined the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation as a Fellow in July 2017. The Foundation is a statewide, private, family foundation that has been a catalyst for positive change in North Carolina for more than 80 years. José also serves as a Member at Large in NC Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs. Prior to coming to the Foundation, José worked on several initiatives at the state and local levels focused on increasing access to higher education, civic engagement, immigrant and refugee rights, and community economic development. In 2015, José was named a Fellow of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership. He was also elected to serve on the International Advisory Committee for the City of Greensboro. In this role, José worked with City’s staff and elected officials to support Greensboro’s international community. José has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations including the American Friends Service Committee, the Global Opportunities Center, and Say Yes to Education. He has been recognized as a Notable Latino of the Triad, and was one of the youngest people to receive the Latino Diamante Award, which is given to individuals who have made significant contributions to the Latino community in North Carolina. José received his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics from Guilford College, where he was a Bonner Scholar, served as the first Latino Student Body President, and was a recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. José moved to Greensboro, North Carolina from Guatemala in 2011.

View the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation website.

Gary M. Palmer, Manager, Community Affairs, Replacements, Ltd.

Gary Palmer is the Manager of Community Affairs at Replacements, Ltd. and has been employed there for 26 years.  He started his career as a high school biology teacher and afterward moved into sales, becoming the sales manager for Old Dominion Brush Company in Richmond, VA and later as the wholesale sales manager for Jones Furs in Greensboro.

Gary earned his B.A. from Lee University where he majored in Education and Biology and minored in Religion.  He obtained his Master’s in Education from Western Kentucky University.

His 26 years at Replacements, Ltd. have provided him the opportunity to fulfill his passion for service by being involved in numerous community non-profit organizations.  Gary has served on several boards including the United Way of Greater Greensboro, National Conference of Community and Justice, the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro, Triad Health Project, Guilford Green Foundation, Triad Business and Professional Guild, Alternative Resources of the Triad, Guilford County Aids Partnership, Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Support System, Gay Straight Advocates for Education, Triad Friends, Guilford Education Alliance, JBC Institute Advisory Board, Greensboro Human Relations Committee and several others.

His is the recipient of the Bob Page Spirit Award, the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Other Voices Change Agent Award and the Leadership Greensboro Medal.

Gary is currently serving on the board of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

View the Replacements, Ltd. website.

Rev. Julie Peeples, Senior Minister, Congregational UCC

Julie Peeples was born and raised in Charleston, SC, one of six children.  She is a graduate of Furman University and Andover Newton Theological School in Boston.

Julie has been the Senior Minister of Congregational UCC since 1991; her previous experience includes campus ministry, and serving as a Chaplain at the International Headquarters for Habitat for Humanity in Americus, GA. She has been a strong advocate for equality and justice issues, particularly for lgbtq and immigrants rights. Julie is a recipient of NCCJ’s Brotherhood/Sisterhood Citation Award, Equality NC’s Equality Champion Award, the Community Game Changer Award, the Guilford Green Foundation’s Distinguished Leadership Award. She currently serves on the board of Mustard Seed Community Health, which she helped to initiate. She and her husband Paul Davis have two daughters and one crazy puppy.

Julie's church has provided Sanctuary for multiple people facing deportation. 

Immigration authorities traditionally do not come into religious spaces to deport immigrants, and therfore religious congregations have both a unique ability and imperative to help people who have a fear of deportation. An immigrant facing deportation may seek protection by coming into a house of worship to stay “in sanctuary” for some period of time.


View the Congregational UCC website.

Fiston Rugwiro, Employment Specialist RAP program, CWS Refugee and Imigration Program

Fiston Rugwiro is Church World Services employment Specialist since 2016. Church World Service is a resettling agency and continue working with refugees until they are self-sufficient. 

Our work with refugees and immigrants: Every five seconds a person is displaced in the world today. This means that on any given day, thousands of people are being forced to leave their homes. CWS believes that one of the greatest things we can do is to help those people find a home again, whether that is through resettlement to another country, helping them find legal status where they are or helping them to feel safe in their communities. We see each day the resilience and courage displayed by refugees and immigrants. These are families who have survived war, violence, persecution, torture and often decades living in camps. They continue to inspire us in our work as we strive to help them realize their own dreams.

View the Church World Services website.

George Scheer, Executive Director, Elsewhere Museum

George Scheer is the co-founder and Director of Elsewhere, a living museum and artist residency set in a former thrift store in Greensboro, NC. George is a writer, scholar, and artist who fosters creative communities at the intersection of aesthetics and social change. Other projects include Kulturpark, a public investigation of an abandoned amusement park in East Berlin, and South Elm Projects, a curated series of place-based public art commissions for downtown Greensboro. George is also the grandson of Elsewhere proprietress and puzzle maker Sylvia Gray, whose stuff he has been moving around for years! George holds an MA in Critical Theory and Visual Culture from Duke University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Political Communications. Currently, George is pursuing a PhD in Communication and Performance Studies, writing about the cultural economy of art and urbanism.

Find out more about Elsewhere here http://www.goelsewhere.org/ 

Vision: Elsewhere’s collaborative approach investigates storytelling and play as a means for repurposing the resources of our past, exploring layered individual visions, and new possibilities for integrating creative practice in everyday life and society. Re-invigorating the South Elm neighborhood of downtown Greensboro through global and local exchanges, Elsewhere imagines our neighborhood as a place where available resources, at-hand beauty, and diverse citizens actively engage past, present, and future. As Elsewhere’s are everywhere in mind and matter–these ideas of sustainable transformation, wholistic inclusivity, and creative inquiry can be translated to sites across the globe.

QueerLab is a youth-led media program exploring LGBTQ+ experiences in the Southeast and beyond. Each QueerLab session brings together an editorial team of queer identifying youth to publish I Don’t Do Boxes, and organize workshops focused on creative media production and digital storytelling. This season we focus on queer liberation and individual transformation, explore the existence of the gender spectrum, and create multimedia experiences and sustainability resources.


Jodie Stanley, Education and Outreach Coordinator, Human Relations Department, City of Greensboro

Born and raised in Bolivia, South America, Jodie attended Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA. It was her ability to speak Spanish that opened up an opportunity for a career with the City of Greensboro. Her desire to advocate for underserved populations led her to the position of Education & Outreach Coordinator with Human Relations in 2014. Her responsibilities include liaising with immigrant and refugee populations, managing the City’s human rights commissions, overseeing the City’s Language Access Plan, coordinating Fair Housing outreach efforts, providing inclusion and diversity training, and organizing reentry support efforts for those with criminal records through an initiative called Thrive GSO.

View the City of Greensboro website.