Summit Presenters

NIOBE WAY

KEYNOTE

Niobe Way, PhD

Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University

Dr. Niobe Way is an internationally recognized leader in the field of adolescent development, studying the social and emotional development of adolescent boys and girls for almost three decades. The study of gender, racial, ethnic, and sexual identities and their intersections, and the effects of cultural stereotypes on such identities, are also at the core of her work. She is widely published with over 65 scholarly articles and 6 books including Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection (2011; Harvard University Press)

 

Facilitated Dialogue: Deepening the conversation about boys and men

Steven Botkin

Steven Botkin, EdD

Senior Trainer, MERGE for Equality, Inc.

Dr. Steven Botkin received his doctorate in Social Justice Education from UMass Amherst after co-founding the Men’s Resource Center for Change in 1982. He also co-founded Men’s Resources International in 2004. Since then he has consulted worldwide, helping create over a dozen new organizations and training programs to support the development of masculinity awareness and engaging men in ending domestic violence. He has been a Senior Trainer and curriculum developer with MERGE for Equality and it’s preceding organizations for over 35 years.

James Arana 2 copy

James Arana, BA, Social Work

Senior Trainer, MERGE for Equality, Inc.

James Arana co-founded Men’s Resources International in 2004. Mr. Arana is a facilitator, mediator, and community organizer with 35 years of experience inspiring and challenging individuals, youth programs, community organizations, and international NGO’s to strengthen their work in transforming masculinity. As a MERGE Senior Trainer, James has helped develop men’s initiatives to promote a healthy, compassionate, and responsible model of masculinity and facilitates a consciousness-raising process, using a popular education methodology, to assess and analyze the privileges and challenges of traditional masculinity with communities around the world.

Case Study: Building Healthy Communities through Empowered Relationships

Erin Saylor

Erin Saylor, LCSW

Senior Director,
Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut

At CFA-CT, Ms. Saylor oversees 9 home-based programs and the clinical operations at the Essex, CT location. With expertise in attachment theory and trauma-based interventions, she is also well-versed in numerous evidence-based practices. Her strong interest in gender-equality issues and working with community partners has helped spur growth at CFA in these areas, where she has promoted gender awareness programs, bringing in outside workshops titled “Developing Healthy Men and Boys”, holding a screening of the Mask You Live In followed by community conversations, and supporting efforts such as the Youth Story Project.

Marisa Valdiserra

Marisa Valdiserra, LPC, R-DMT

Director of Home-Based Services,
Child & Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut

Marisa Valdiserra is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Dance/Movement Therapist, specializing in clinical supervision and oversight of trauma and attachment programming. Ms. Valdiserra’s area of expertise includes counseling children and families who have experienced trauma and disrupted attachments as well as working with children and adolescents diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and co-occurring disorders. She also facilitates movement therapy groups for a variety of populations in order to strengthen relationships and promote connectivity, within the self as well as amongst group members.

 

Workshop: Intersections of Trauma and Gender for Raising Healthy Boys

Steven Botkin

Steven Botkin, EdD

Senior Trainer, MERGE for Equality, Inc.

Dr. Steven Botkin received his doctorate in Social Justice Education from UMass Amherst after co-founding the Men’s Resource Center for Change in 1982. He also co-founded Men’s Resources International in 2004. Since then he has consulted worldwide, helping create over a dozen new organizations and training programs to support the development of masculinity awareness and engaging men in ending domestic violence. He has been a Senior Trainer and curriculum developer with MERGE for Equality and it’s preceding organizations for over 35 years.

James Arana 2 copy

James Arana, BA, Social Work

Senior Trainer, MERGE for Equality, Inc.

James Arana co-founded Men’s Resources International in 2004. Mr. Arana is a facilitator, mediator, and community organizer with 35 years of experience inspiring and challenging individuals, youth programs, community organizations, and international NGO’s to strengthen their work in transforming masculinity. As a MERGE Senior Trainer, James has helped develop men’s initiatives to promote a healthy, compassionate, and responsible model of masculinity and facilitates a consciousness-raising process, using a popular education methodology, to assess and analyze the privileges and challenges of traditional masculinity with communities around the world.

Workshop: Intersections of Race and Gender for Raising Healthy Boys

Albert W. Pless

Albert W. Pless, Jr., MS

Program Manager, Men's Health League,
Cambridge Public Health Department

Albert Pless has an MS in Community Economic Development and over 20 years of experience with community-based programs in the Greater Boston area. Previously, he directed a nationally recognized community health worker program for Black and Latino men at the Boston Public Health Commission. Mr. Pless is on numerous boards and committees including the Men’s Health, and Black Health Care Workers Caucuses of the American Public Health Association (APHA). He has also co-facilitated fathers’ groups for the Fatherhood program at the City of Cambridge’s Center for Families

Haji Shearer

Haji Shearer, LSW

Director of the Fatherhood and Co-Parenting Initiative,
The Children's Trust, MA

As Director of the Fatherhood Initiative, Mr. Shearer works to increase father involvement in 25 Healthy Families programs across the state and supports the Fathers and Families Network (FFN). Early in his career, he provided crisis intervention therapy to families involved with child protective services and facilitated groups for fathers and co-parents. He is a Licensed Social Worker whose writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Voice Male magazine and the anthology, “Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex and Power.”

Workshop: Intersections of Gender Identity and
Expression for Raising Healthy Boys

Mason Dunn

Mason Dunn, JD

Executive Director,
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

In his role at MTPC, Mason Dunn works to educate the public, advocate with state, local, and federal government, engage in activism, and encourage empowerment of community members through collective action. Also serving as co-chair of the Freedom Massachusetts campaign, Mr. Dunn is an adjunct faculty member at UNH Manchester, teaching on LGBTQ media and perspectives, and serves on the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. He has received numerous awards for his work on trans rights and education in New Hampshire, where he also received his law degree.

Bobbi Taylor photo

Bobbi Taylor, MSW

Steering Vice Chairperson,
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

While Clinical Director of Starlight Ministries in Boston, Ms. Taylor’s supervision supported all aspects of service delivery to chronically homeless youth and adults, and youth at risk of homelessness. Since that time, Ms. Taylor has become an experienced presenter for various interfaith workshops, keynoting events and facilitating support groups for the Boston Bisexual Resource Center, and dedicating time and expertise to numerous organizations such as the Massachusetts Sex Worker Ally Network.

Making Connections:
Raising Boys at the Intersections of Gender, Race and Trauma

John

John Engel, MA

Executive Director, MERGE for Equality

As both an executive director and a consultant, Mr. Engel’s career is focused on promoting social change by designing and facilitating collaborative processes and teams. He has played a founding role in three non-profit organizations, including MERGE for Equality, which resulted from the merging of the Men’s Resource Center and Men’s Resources International. He previously served as faculty in the Environmental Studies Departments at both Naropa University and Greenfield Community College. Since 2011, John has written a monthly column, ‘The Fatherhood Journey,’ which is published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and found online at fatherhoodjourney.com.

Bobbi Taylor

Craig Andrade, LATC, RN, and DrPH

Director, Health Access Division,
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

As Director of the Division of Health Access for the MA Department of Public Health, Dr. Andrade oversees programs promoting greater access to health care and education to populations across the lifespan, including areas such as Adolescent Health and Youth Development, and School-based Health Centers among others. Previously, he directed the Office of Child & Adolescent Health at MDPH, was Associate Dean of Wellness at Wheaton College and served as a nurse at Boston Medical Center. He received his doctorate from Boston University with a focus on social behavioral science, violence intervention, behavioral risk management and resilience-building among adolescents and youth.