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PDC 2024 - Workshop Descriptions

Help! Have I complied with the Brown Act?
Presented by Liebert Cassidy Whitmore
Meredith Karasch, Senior Counsel
Many governing bodies for students must comply with the Brown Act. Those advising these bodies must know how to comply with the Brown Act. This workshop will cover the basics of when the Brown Act applies, how to properly agendize meetings, and the public meeting requirements of the Brown Act. We will give you the tools and tips for running effective and compliant meetings.

Learning Outcomes:

  • This workshop will teach you what you need to know to run a meeting that complies with the Ralph M. Brown Act.


Meredith Karasch

Meredith Karasch provides counsel and advice to educational institutions and public agencies in all aspects of labor, employment, and education law. Meredith has a passion for education law and has substantial expertise in a variety of matters such as student issues, employee discipline, discrimination and harassment investigations, and business services. An experienced litigator and trial lawyer, Meredith has defended clients before administrative bodies and state and federal courts where she has been effective at obtaining favorable results for the firm’s clients. Her litigation practice includes handling writs and appeals involving education, employment law and general business issues. Meredith is also experienced in providing advice and counsel on a wide variety of education, employment and business issues.

NeuroLeadership: Unleashing the Power of the Brain for Inspired Leadership and Organizational Success
Presented by Julie Anderson, CEO and Founder @ Your Best Mind LLC
Unlock the power of your leadership potential by embracing the fascinating world of neuroscience and neuropsychology. In this thought-provoking presentation, Brain Lady Julie reveals groundbreaking insights that will revolutionize your approach to leadership. Discover how the latest findings in neuropsychology can transform your organization, enhance productivity, and cultivate a culture of inclusivity and positivity. This engaging and informative session bridges the gap between neuroscience and effective leadership. Dive into the intricate workings of the human brain and learn practical strategies to motivate, communicate, and innovate like never before. Brain Lady Julie's expertise will demystify complex science, empowering you to implement actionable changes for incredible results.

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of neuroscience breakthroughs and their implications for leadership
  • Learn how to leverage neuroscience to maximize productivity and employee satisfaction
  • Discover strategies to foster an inclusive and positive company culture
  • Ignite innovation by tapping into the hidden potential of the human brain
Julie Anderson

Julie “Brain Lady” Anderson is considered to be one of the nation’s top experts on the brain and personality strengths. She is a dynamic and engaging international professional speaker; business, communication, and relationship consultant; high level entrepreneur coach; corporate leadership and team trainer; as well as an international bestselling author. She is captivating and possesses an exceptional ability to engage and motivate audiences. What sets her apart is her innovative approach that seamlessly integrates cutting-edge scientific research on the brain-personality connection. By delving into the fascinating 'why' behind human behaviors and thought patterns, Julie empowers her clients with profound insights. For more than 20 years she has been igniting her audiences and clients to fire up their brains to inspire positive changes in the lives of all she works with. The information she shares will help those who hear to accelerate their success in life and business through the discovery of their natural gifts and maximizing their brain power. With a deep understanding of brain chemistry, Julie equips her audience with practical tools and actionable processes that have a transformative impact on their lives. She masterfully guides individuals in overcoming obstacles and generating forward momentum, both in their personal journeys and interpersonal dynamics. Julie's unwaveringly positive and uplifting demeanor is a driving force behind her success. Her presentations infuse optimism and inspiration, leaving an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to experience her wisdom.

Shifting Perspectives: Fostering Disability Inclusion
Emily Purry, Owner @ Purry Consultants
Step into a transformative journey of empathy and empowerment with this workshop! In today's diverse workplace landscape, understanding and embracing differences is not just beneficial—it's essential. Join us as we delve into the vibrant world of disability awareness and allyship. Unlock the power of self-awareness as we explore the perceptions surrounding disabilities that may be ingrained within us. Through interactive exercises and thought-provoking discussions, we'll challenge preconceptions and cultivate a deeper understanding of ableism, microaggressions and allyship. Prepare to embark on a journey of growth and inclusivity, where you'll emerge with a solid foundation to become a powerful ally within your team. Together, we'll foster an environment of respect, support, and genuine appreciation for the unique contributions of every individual. Don't miss out on this opportunity to make a meaningful impact within your workplace and beyond. Let's come together to create a culture where everyone feels valued, understood, and empowered to thrive.

  • Understanding the Value of Inclusivity: Attendees will learn about the significance of creating spaces where everyone feels they belong, regardless of their background or experiences.
  • Strategies for Fostering Belonging: Participants will gain insights into practical steps and strategies that individuals and organizations can implement to ensure everyone feels included and valued.
  • The Impact of Belonging on Performance and Well-being: The speech will highlight how a sense of belonging can positively affect individual performance, overall team dynamics, and mental health.
  • Navigating Personal Experiences of Exclusion: Attendees will be equipped with tools to navigate and overcome feelings of exclusion, turning these experiences into opportunities for growth and advocacy.
  • Empowering Actions for Change: The session aims to inspire and empower attendees to become agents of change in their environments, promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion actively.
Emily Purr

Emily Purry is a certified Drug and Alcohol counselor holds a Master’s Degree in Business Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She founded Purry Consultants to advocate for disability rights and to normalize the conversation around disability. As a legally blind athlete, Emily brings her lived experience to her signature keynotes with a lighthearted, relatable, and energetic message. With three biracial children including one on the autism spectrum, she is uniquely qualified to provide insightful and impactful guidance on topics of inclusion and belonging. Emily Purry is a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and consultant who helps companies and organizations create more welcoming and inclusive spaces. She specializes in disability awareness and accessibility as it relates to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access (DEIA) programs. With a deeply personal perspective, her unique approach strives to improve employee recruitment and retention and to increase customer loyalty.

Leaders Lead! Unlock the Power of Leadership Excellence!
Julia Rock, Employment Expert and Career Development Speaker @ Rock Career Development
The significance of effective leadership cannot be overstated when it comes to the profitability and sustained success of any organization. Repeated surveys emphasize the importance of trust in leaders, the impact of leadership on an organization, and the necessity of adapting leadership styles to cater to different generational groups. Moreover, organizations worldwide face the ongoing challenge of identifying suitable individuals to lead their organizations through ever-changing economic and social landscapes. This session offers a framework to identify untapped leadership skills within your organization, attract and develop high-performing leaders, and increase engagement, ultimately improving financial performance.

  • Actively Listen to identify pain points and areas of improvement that can become new opportunities for leadership development.
  • Engage and empower your organization to understand its strengths, increase productivity, and deliver better results.
  • Assess whether you have the right people in the right positions to inspire, motivate, and activate your organization, enabling them to accomplish more than they thought possible.
  • Develop and unleash key talent for leadership, ensuring the capability to achieve your strategic and financial goals.
  • Understand the importance of leveraging resources equipped with innate leadership qualities vs. solely demonstrated operational success
Julia Rock

Asia Bribiesca-Hedin is the founder and CEO of Bridgewell Professional Services, a leadership development and strategy execution firm in Southern California. Asia’s expertise (and passion!) is coaching her clients to become influential leaders and gain recognition for their contributions without burning out, people-pleasing, or selling their souls! Prior to starting her own firm, the strategy expert turned leadership coach spent 8 years with a comprehensive cancer center helping them plan and implement their transformation initiatives. After earning her MBA and MPA degrees at the University of Southern California, Asia began her career as a management consultant with a global Big 4 consulting firm, gaining unparalleled experience in advising leaders on how to mobilize their teams to deliver on strategic priorities. Asia earned her BS in management from Pepperdine University and earned advanced certificates in leadership, psychology, professional coaching, and real estate development. She is at home in Southern California with her husband and their 3 children.

Let’s Talk Strategy: How To Intentionally Build Influence And Grow Your Career
Asia Bribiesca-Hedin, Principal Coach and CEO of Bridgewell LLC Professional Services
Staying strategic about your organizational and professional priorities and career growth isn't always easy when you’re busy simply doing your job. But without a strategic approach, you’re going to continue to feel like you’re overworked, overlooked, or like your work doesn't matter.

  • Avoid the mistake that holds back even the most accomplished professionals from advancement and making a real impact
  • Make better decisions day to day so they can make consistent progress (it's easier than you think!)
  • Build influence and grow your reach in a way that has others look to you for leadership and thought partnership

Julia Rock is an employment expert and career coach who is passionate about transforming workplace dynamics to create mutual success between organizations and their employees. As a senior finance and accounting leader, Julia has personally overcome workplace burnout, disengagement, and inequality and has channeled those experiences to coach and empower 1000+ clients to career success. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Employment Interview Professional (CEIP). Her expertise has been showcased in notable publications such as Fortune and Business Insider. As a seasoned speaker, she's graced TEDx, the National Urban League, and Cheyney University stages. She's also a published author, co-authoring "The Six-Figure Athlete" and "Athlete to Entrepreneur Vol II". Outside of her professional pursuits, Julia enjoys exercise, traveling, writing, and cultivating her ever-expanding sneaker collection.

Strengthening Connections: Community Resources and Basic Needs Support as Catalysts for Change

Kelly Ramos, Senior Manager, Equity @ Foundation for California Community Colleges
Marisela Hernandez, Equity Manager @ Foundation for California Community Colleges
Join us for an enlightening workshop that will showcase a variety of Basic Needs and subgrant opportunities available for campus community members. This session is designed to empower faculty, staff, and administrators with the knowledge and tools to utilize these resources within their roles to enhance equity, student engagement, and student success on your campus.

  • Learn about effective collaboration and peer-led support models that align with system-wide goals like Vision 2030.
  • Gain knowledge of FoundationCCC resources and initiatives, such as the Basic Needs efforts, Student Ambassadors, and LGBTQ+ support, to utilize these within your role to promote student engagement and success
Marisela Hernandez

Marisela Hernandez is the Equity Program Manager at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, dedicated to advancing equity in higher education. With 11 years of experience, she focuses on ensuring the success of undocumented students through collaboration with the California Community College Chancellor's Office and the UndocuLiaison Network. Marisela has created the Undocumented Student Support eHandbook and founded impactful programs like the Sacramento City College Dreamers Program and Sierra College Undocumented Student Center. Currently overseeing Basic Needs Initiatives and Student Ambassador Programs, Marisela fosters a supportive environment by encouraging peer-to-peer outreach and discussions about basic needs. She holds a Bachelor's in Communications Studies from California State University, Chico, and a Master's in Business Administration for Executives from California State University, Sacramento, emphasizing effective communication and continuous learning. Passionate about fostering inclusive environments, Marisela focuses on supporting underrepresented communities, particularly first-generation students, by creating safe and welcoming spaces. Committed to advancing equity, she welcomes collaboration to make a meaningful impact in higher education.Michael Quiaoit (Key-ow-it) is currently a Dean in the Office of Equitable Student Learning, Experience, and Impact at the California Community College Chancellor's Office. Michael oversees multiple programs statewide: Student Equity and Achievement, Guided Pathways, Distance Education, LGBTQ+, Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Student Achievement, and Native American Student Success and Support. He has a baccalaureate in Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master in Public Administration from California State University, Stanislaus. Michael has over 25 years of experience in higher education. He has worked as a Financial Aid Counselor, Policy Analyst, Project Director, Marketing Director, and Program Specialist in both four-year and two-year college environments.

Kelly Ramos

Kelly Ramos is a proud biracial woman, born and raised in the Bay Area, with a vibrant mix of Japanese and Mexican roots. She grew up in the California Community College System, participating in programming from concurrent enrollment through transfer and tagging along to college events and activities with her father who was a community college professor. She is a proud wife of an Air Force Veteran and mother of four kids ranging from toddler to teenager. She has over 15 years of experience working in the California Community College System. Kelly has held various positions at Contra Costa Community College in student services and overseeing HSI STEM and HSI campus-wide initiatives. In her current role as Senior Programs Manager in Equity with the Foundation for California Community Colleges, she collaborates across the community college system to bring basic needs resources and holistic support to students. She currently oversees work in the areas of LGBTQ+ initiatives and student support, current and former foster youth programming, financial literacy, and digital equity. Kelly strives to foster inclusive environments that nurture personal growth, and enhance holistic well-being, both for students and the dedicated teams of professionals who stand with them in their educational and personal journeys.

Addressing Student Sexual Harassment under California Law

Presented by Liebert Cassidy Whitmore Law Firm
Pilar Morinm, Partner
Gabriella Kamran, Associate
Using case studies, this workshop will discuss California law that protects students against sexual harassment, particularly when a complaint does not meet the definition of sexual harassment under the 2020 Title IX regulations. We will discuss what CCDs need to effectively respond to student reports of sexual harassment under the Education Code and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

  • Participants will familiarize themselves with relevant state laws governing student sexual harassment prevention and responses.

Pilar represents educational institutions in the full range of issues they confront, including personnel and student matters, discipline, disability issues and the interactive process, privacy, speech, confidential records, grievances, complaints, mandated reporting, civil rights, governance, and conflicts of interest. She regularly advises clients about sexual misconduct policies and procedures and compliance with the Education Code, Campus SaVE Act, Clery, and FERPA. Pilar has trained boards, Title IX Coordinators, faculty, and students at various colleges and schools concerning the prevention of and response to sexual harassment and assaults in compliance with federal and state laws.


Gabriella Kamran is an Associate in the Los Angeles office of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore. Gabriella specializes in all employment and labor law matters related to public agencies and private education clientele. She also has experience in Title IX matters. Gabriella originally joined LCW as a Summer Law Clerk, where she worked hand in hand with a multitude of our Public Agency and Private Education clients. Prior to joining LCW, Gabriella clerked for an administrative law judge in the EEOC Hearings Unit and interned for the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She also worked as the Title IX Director in UCLA’s undergraduate student government. In these roles, Gabriella supported in adjudicating employment discrimination cases filed against federal agencies researched complex discrimination issues and drafted verdicts on motions for summary judgment in sexual harassment cases.


Friday Panel Discussions with the CCCCO:
Creating the Conditions for a Student Centered Ecosystem

Mia Keeley, Dean, Educational Services and Support
Rebecca Ruan-O'Shaughnessy, Vice Chancellor, Educational Services and Support
Gina Browne, Dean, Educational Services and Support
Michelle Smith, Visiting Assistant Vice Chancellor

James Todd, Dean, Educational Services and Support
Join us for an informative panel session featuring key stakeholders from the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellors' Office as they provide updates on critical topics impacting student success. This session will focus on key areas such as Student Success, Guided Pathways, Basic Needs, Mental Health, Health Services, Student Conduct, legislation coming down, and more, highlighting the latest initiatives and strategies being implemented to support students across the CCC system. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with the panelists through a Q&A session, where they can ask questions and share insights on how to further enhance support for CCC students.

  • Awareness of Current Initiatives: Attendees will become familiar with the current initiatives and programs implemented by the CCC.
  • Insights into Best Practices: Participants will gain insights into best practices for supporting student well-being and success.
  • Collaborative Opportunities: Attendees will identify opportunities for collaboration and partnership with the CCC Chancellors' Office and other stakeholders to enhance support services for community college students.
Mia Keeley

Mia Keeley is a dedicated professional who has been an integral part of the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office since October 2013. With a wealth of experience spanning two decades in the field of education, Mia has consistently demonstrated her commitment to fostering student success and advancing the goals of the California Community Colleges system. In her current role as a Dean of Educational Services and Support, Mia oversees multiple categorical programs, playing a key role in shaping and implementing initiatives that directly impact student outcomes. Before her tenure at the Chancellor's Office, Mia served as a high school counselor, bringing a unique perspective to her current role. Her years as an educator in diverse public education settings have provided her with invaluable insights into the varied needs of student populations. Mia holds a Master of Science in Educational Counseling. This educational background, coupled with her extensive practical experience, equips her with a deep understanding of counseling methodologies and strategies that contribute to student success.

Ruan Oshaughnessy

Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy is the Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Support at the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. She oversees student service programs and initiatives to ensure equitable access and foster unconditional belonging among 1.9 million students. With a diverse professional background spanning the private sector, public service, and nonprofit organizations, Rebecca places a strong emphasis on catalyzing economic empowerment and social mobility. Her experiences include service as vice president at United Healthcare, where she led a national unit in the development and implementation of employment-based social determinants of health strategies to improve population health outcomes for the company’s six million Medicaid members; the first corporate executive for a U.S. subsidiary of a global manufacturer, where she led the company’s transition from concept to full production with over 1,000 employees within 18 months; and the head of a state economic development office that made strategic business and economic investments. She received her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and her J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School.

Browne 960x1200

Gina Browne joined the Chancellor’s Office team in December of 2018 and has been working to support a variety of areas in our Student Services Unit. Prior to joining us she was a Manager at the California Student Aid Commission focused on foster youth and outreach, and previously was the Financial Aid Coordinator at Evergreen Valley College for 10 years. Dean Browne will be overseeing the areas of Financial Aid, Student Senate, Veteran’s Affairs, and Title IX/Campus Safety.



James Todd

Dr. James Todd has over 17 years of experience in instruction and student services in California community colleges. James is a transformational leader who grounds his philosophy and practice on principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion. He is passionate about fostering access and opportunity for underserved populations, meeting the needs of local communities, facilitating student success and completion, building public and private partnerships, and ensuring equitable post-graduation outcomes for students. James has served as a tenured anthropology professor at Modesto Junior College, and later became the Vice President of Student Services. James was previously the Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Instruction and Planning at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton and the Assistant Superintendent and Vice President of Student Services at Sierra College. James is currently at the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office in the role of Dean of Educational Services and Support in the Office of Equitable Student Learning, Experience, and Impact.

Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith is a Visiting Assistant Vice Chancellor in the Office of Equitable Student Learning, Experience & Impact Office at the California Community Colleges. Michelle has been in a higher education leadership role for over 25 years under Student Affairs. She has her master’s degree in organizational leadership from CSU Bakersfield. She is the Past President of the California Association of Community College Registrars and Admissions Officers (CACCRAO).

Advisors Leading the Way: Empowering Student Governance
Presented by Student Senate for California Community Colleges
Stephen Kodur, Engagement and Development Coordinator
Julie Adams, Executive Director
Against popular belief, the student government’s main function is not to hold. By law, their role is to be the official voice of students in participatory governance. As advisors to the Student Body Association (SBA), your role is crucial in fostering an atmosphere where student perspectives are not just acknowledged but actively embraced in campus decision-making. This hands-on workshop aims to provide you with the tools, insights, and techniques needed to support student leaders in championing the interests of their peers within campus governance structures. Join us to discover how you can empower your students to drive meaningful change through active participation.

  • Cultivate Leadership Skills: Learn techniques to develop effective leadership skills among student government members, including communication, negotiation, and consensus-building.
  • Identify Barriers to Participation: Recognize common challenges that hinder student participation in governance committees and brainstorm solutions to overcome these barriers.
  • Foster Collaboration and Engagement: Explore strategies to foster collaboration between student government members and other stakeholders within the campus community, such as faculty, administration, and fellow students.
Stephen Kodur

Stephen Kodur (He/Him/His) is a recent graduate of the California community college system and a staunch advocate for community college students. As a student advocate, he has fought for basic needs resources, financial aid reform, student empowerment, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion policy changes to name a few key issues. Prior to the SSCCC, Stephen worked with other nonprofit organizations and school districts to train and equip young people to prepare for their future. He has held positions as both an after-school program coordinator and physical education teacher all the while going to community college. Stephen is a graduate of Reedley College with degrees in Communications and Political Science and is continuing his education in organizational leadership at Chico State. Stephen has also served within the SSCCC organization and has held various leadership positions. His goal has always been and will continue to be, as the SSCCC Engagement and Development Coordinator, to bring more students into the organization that gave him a place and purpose during his community college journey. He recently moved to Sacramento and loves to golf in his spare time.

Julie Adams

Dr. Adams (She/Her/Hers) has over 30 years of experience in nonprofit management. Prior to joining the Student Senate, Julie provided, for more than 20 years, the organizational oversight of the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, served as the transition manager for Umoja Community Foundation, and started her own business -- Agile Association Management Solutions. After serving in the US Army, she attended more than six California community colleges, received her Bachelor's Degree in Business from California State University - Sacramento, an MBA from the University of California – Davis, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management and leadership, from Walden University. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and CalSAE (California Chapter). She also has a Nonprofit Board Consulting Certificate from Board Source.

Our Work and Vision 2030
Presented by Tim Morehouse, Guided Pathways Lead Regional Coordinator Sponsored by Foundation for California Community Colleges


Tim Morehouse joins the Guided Pathway team with a commitment to improving education outcomes at all levels. As an alumnus of the California Community College system (American River College), Tim is proud to be serving the institution that provided him so much. Tim brings decades of experience working in collective impact, economic and workforce development, educational institutions, non-profits, multinational corporations and small businesses. Most recently, Tim worked for the University of California Office of the President building college-going cultures on middle school campuses in northern California. If you want to strike up a conversation with Tim, you can ask him about remodeling his house, soccer, or his most recent Lego build.

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