Presenter Bios

John “Jack” Bray
Coordinator For Employee Assistance Program (EAP), TrueNorth Wellness Services

As the Coordinator for the EAP program, Jack helps local businesses develop and market their EAP. He also trains supervisors how to use their EAP as a management tool to aid in creating a positive and healthy workforce. He has conducted numerous workshops on stress management, team building, and conflict resolution.

Jack began his career with the Department of Defense in the communications security field. After his career with DOD, Jack became a mental health therapist. In this capacity, he performed intake evaluations, diagnosis and devised treatment plans and follow-up therapy for patients.

Jack obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and his Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University.

Crystal Chisholm
CEO & Founder, Crayne Career Solutions, LLC
V.P. of Branding and Social Media Marketing, NAAAHR-NJ

Recruiter and Human Resources professional, Crystal Chisholm, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach, and Branding Strategist. In 2002, Crystal began her career writing job winning resumes and cover letters for family, friends and associates who had difficulty finding employment or new opportunities within their industry. After receiving a plethora of accolades and much gratitude from those who have acquired employment or career advancement due to her persuasive resume writing and marketing expertise, she decided to formalize this process for those in need of personalized services. In 2016, she transformed her core resume writing business into a full-fledged career and business solution enterprise which provides personal branding and professional development for individuals seeking more rewarding opportunities.

Whether collaborating with students, recent grads, the unemployed, career professionals, entrepreneurs, or specialized groups, Crystal uses a holistic approach to discover roadblocks, set goals, and deliver realistic solutions. Crayne Career Solutions provides various forms of professional branding, marketing, and networking tools including stylistic and accomplishment-filled resumes, customized job searching techniques, impactful LinkedIn profiles, memorable websites and engaging group workshops and webinars.

Combined with her passion, skills and dual degrees in Human Resource Management and Business Administration, Crystal’s professional expertise includes 15 years of corporate, non-profit, law and healthcare experience within Human Resources, Recruiting, Training and Professional Development. Crystal is an active Executive Board Member of the National Association of African-Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR) – New Jersey Chapter, where she oversees the Chapter’s brand management initiatives and is responsible for increasing social media viewership, community engagement, and support. She also volunteers her time as a Career Coach and Facilitator with Rutgers University’s New Start Career Network program where she coaches long-term unemployed New Jersey residents and assists them with personal brand management, resume building, and strategizing their job search.

Chris FussellChris Fussell
Former Navy SEAL, NY Times Best Selling Author

Chris, a managing partner at The McChrystal Group, and the leader of The McChrystal Group Leadership Institute. He has appeared in numerous media outlets, including MSNBC, and gives speeches around the country. Chris is an author of the 2015 New York Times bestseller Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World.


Paul MeshankoPaul Meshanko
President & CEO, Legacy Business Cultures

Paul Meshanko is an author, professional speaker and business leader with over 20 years of experience in leadership development and organizational culture change. After a 12-year career with AlliedSignal, he opened Legacy Business Cultures in 1997 to serve a growing demand for proven culture change strategies and tools within the private, government and not for profit sectors. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become one of the country’s most innovative and highly-regarded organizational development and training providers.

As a presenter, facilitator and training professional, Mr. Meshanko has inspired, trained and lead over a quarter million leaders and business professionals on five continents to help implement positive changes both individually and for their organizations as a whole. These changes have positively impacted their companies’ bottom lines, employee satisfaction scores, retention and other critical performance metrics. Just as importantly, many people have reached out to Mr. Meshanko to let me know how his programs have positively impacted their personal lives as well.

Mr. Meshanko’s instructional materials have been translated into over 25 languages and his newsletter, blogs and social media posts are read by thousands of people each month. Known for his ability to provide cutting–edge strategies and behavior change tools supported by the most current scientific research, his speaking topics include organizational and personal adaptability, implicit and unconscious bias, employee engagement, and respectful work cultures. In addition, his company provides more in-depth support in the areas of culture change, EEOC compliance and employee climate assessment.

His first book, Conversations on Success, was released in May 2006 and his second, The Respect Effect, was released in May 2012. The Respect Effect was expanded with additional research chapters and in 2013, McGraw-Hill published The Respect Effect: Using the science of neuroleadership to inspire a more loyal and productive workplace.

Mr. Meshanko holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The Ohio State University and a Master in Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace College.

Vanessa Phipps
Principal, The Future Force Group

Vanessa Phipps is a leadership development coach and consultant who is excited by the twenty-first century learners who are poised to become our twenty-first century’s leaders. She believes organizations that currently are governed through control will soon be powered by influence.

With over eighteen years of successful executive and management development training, combined with a strong background in compliance and global diversity and inclusion consulting, she designed a development process that supported high performing individual contributors, many of whom were “Gen Y” employees whose approach to work and definitions of success were not always in concert with those of their respective organizations. Her new curriculum resulted in a 68% increase in organizational movement by those who graduated from the program. (Some received promotions, while others sought and gained broader company knowledge through lateral growth.)

In 2016, Vanessa launched The Future Force Group LLC, a learning and development company that underscores and supports her belief that workforces should be built “from the inside up.” In her new role, she has expanded her scope of work to include partnerships with both for-profit corporations and not-for-profit educational and community-based organizations.

Vanessa is also the Board President of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR New Jersey). She joined the organization in 2013 as the Vice President of Member Retention, and when the then-president accepted an out-of-state career opportunity, she re-launched the chapter with a new board, a renewed vision, and an enduring commitment to building and sustaining a chapter that provides ongoing educational, skill-building, and networking opportunities for the association’s members, professional partners, and sponsoring corporations.

Bill Valdez

Bill Valdez
President, Senior Executives Association

Bill Valdez was appointed SEA President in September, 2016. Since his retirement from Federal service as a career Senior Executive in July 2014, Mr. Valdez has provided expert consulting services to major international corporations and governments in energy, environment and science/technology policy, serving as Principal at Deep Water Point, LLC, and Senior Vice President at The Consultants International Group, Inc.

Mr. Valdez's career with the Department of Energy spanned over 20 years. He has extensive knowledge in the areas of R&D portfolio analysis and and evaluation, grid security and regulatory policies, energy/environmental technologies and policies, small business development, supply chain analysis, science and engineering workforce development, budget planning, diversity and equal opportunity issues, science policy, human capital processes and policies, procurement processes and policies, corporate and strategic planning, and contract management.

Mr. Valdez held the positions of Acting Director, DOE Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; Director of Business Services, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; and Director of Planning and Analysis, and Director for Workforce Development within DOE’s Office of Science. evaluation, grid security and regulatory policies, energy/environmental technologies and policies, small business development, supply chain analysis, science and engineering workforce development, budget planning, diversity and equal opportunity issues, science policy, human capital processes and policies, procurement processes and policies, corporate and strategic planning, and contract management.

Mr. Valdez is an Adjunct Faculty at American University’s School of Public Affairs, where he specializes in Federal government evaluation and strategic planning and is co-editing “The Handbook of Federal Government Leadership and Administration” to be published in 2017. He also serves on the board of directors and scientific advisory committees of non-profit and for-profit organizations, such as YEDF, I-Com, LaborVoices, Fuelcor and ipCrossing.

In addition, Mr. Valdez was co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council’s Science of Science Policy Interagency Working Group from 2005-2014.

Mr. Valdez was awarded the Presidential Rank Award (Meritorious) in 2007, was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006, and was elected to Senior Executive Association’s Board of Directors in 2005 and served as Chairman from 2011-13.

Prior to working at DOE, Mr. Valdez worked as a Senior Project Manager in private industry where he provided strategic planning services to Asian and European multinational corporations.

Mr. Valdez received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas and his Master of Arts in International Economics and Energy Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.