Cyndi is the co-editor of the Big Questions in Creativity book series and co-author of the books Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum, 20 Lessons for Weaving Creativity into your Curriculum (coming Spring, 2021), and My Sandwich Is a Spaceship: Creative Thinking for Parents and Young Children.
Some of her projects include: working with educators to bring creative thinking into the classroom, connecting communities of creative thinkers via social media, and designing and running a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Everyday Creativity. She is the recipient of the President's Medal for Excellence in Teaching 2018 by SUNY Buffalo State, was Buffalo Business First, Woman of Influence 2018 for her work in creativity, and was featured in the New York Times article titled, "Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline."
Cyndi has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater, a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership, and a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning, all of which she uses to help ignite creativity in education around the world. In her spare time, she can be found singing and dancing with her two children, propagating plants, and trying to find the world’s best slice of pizza.
Her acumen for applied creativity is evident in her diverse range of projects and clients that include large organizations, entrepreneurs, governments, academics, not-for-profits, the armed forces, educators, parents, and children all over the world. Her clients range in age from five to “undisclosed,” and she has been known to provide on-demand creative conversations to just about anyone (and anywhere) including, but not limited to, complete strangers in coffee shop queues and Marines at the Pentagon! Ismet was the founder of Beyonder which was originally the programming partner of Creativity and Education that offered training and facilitation for parents, educators, and youth with the mission of using creativity as the means to unlock the human potential of the next generation. In 2021 Beyonder merged with Creativity and Education, and Ismet now serves as Director and programming partner.
Ismet was recently featured in TIME magazine’s special edition on the Science of Creativity for her creative approach to parenting and for the work she does globally to weave creativity into education. She is a graduate of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State where she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, the President’s Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student at Buffalo State, and the Firestien Family Creative Achievement award for her work in the field of creative thinking and facilitation.
Barney has traveled to Israel, Vietnam, Spain, and India, to speak about his work. The United States State Department had him visit China and Russia as part of a cultural exchange program, where he spoke about creativity, the beauty of making mistakes, and where ideas come from. His books have won numerous awards, including NAPPA Gold Awards, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Starred Reviews. Most recently, Melinda Gates chose Beautiful Oops as one of the top three books every child should read.
Barney has been writing and illustrating picture books since 1981. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two dogs. They have two adult children who often stop by to see what new books are being written and for dinner. In his spare time, Barney can be found playing one of his eclectic guitars, and babysitting Waffle Monster, his grand-dogger.
In recognition for his work, he was awarded the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, The State University of New York's Online Teaching Ambassadorship, the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and grants from the National Science Foundation and the State University of New York. John is also a Fulbright Scholar. He served his Fulbright at the Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga (UNAB). There, he helped found UNAB’s Center for Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and facilitated UNAB’s organizational culture change process to become the first creative campus in Latin America. In Myanmar, he is currently supporting the Ministry of Education's National Strategic Plan to improve the Myanmar publicly-supported school grades prior to college. This initiative is integrating an educational model that generates the conditions for a teaching-learning practices that lead to the development of 21st century skills focusing on the creativity skills of students.
John has written journal articles, book chapters, and books in the areas of business, technology, engineering, and creativity. In 2017, he and his colleagues published their book Organizational Creativity: A Practical Guide for Innovators and Entrepreneurs by SAGE Publications.
Dr. Cabra is also a visiting professor at the Universidad de La Sabana located in Colombia. John earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Manchester, England, and an M.S. in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York.
Lola has a Bachelor's in Primary Education, a Graduate Certificate in Social and Emotional Learning, and a Masters in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State, where she was awarded the Mary Murdock Award for her creative spirit. Her academic interests include: How to use creativity to improve schools and classrooms, and developing creativity and leadership in new generations.
Her work includes projects such as leading Be Spark, a foundation that aims to develop conscious individuals through creativity and leadership, and workshops with educators and students to help them value their creativity. She was part of the team that implemented the new public education system in Chile, advocating for creativity as a driver of change.
Dr. Selcuk Acar
Selcuk Acar is an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of North Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2013 (with an emphasis in Gifted and Creative Education) from the University of Georgia. His primary area of research interest includes divergent thinking, assessment of creativity, and the education of the gifted and talented. In addition to numerous book chapter and encyclopedia entries, Dr. Acar published over 30 peer-reviewed articles, some of which appeared in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, Creativity Research Journal, and Journal of Creative Behavior.
Luciane Bonamigo Valls
Luciane Bonamigo Valls has more than 20 years of experience with children, teenagers, families, and educators. She has a bachelor's degree in Psychology and two graduate certificates (Educational Psychology and Educational Management). Luciane is pursuing a Masters' Program in Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State, where she received the Mary Murdock Creative Spirit Award. Originally from Brazil, Luciane has been living in the USA since 2012. Her previous experiences include projects such as creating and teaching an online course for teenagers about invention and innovation, problem-solving, and creativity, and working with teachers and school administrators to bring creative thinking into schools.
Tamara L. McMillan
Tamara L. McMillan is an author and an award-winning Lecturer. Known for her passion, Tamara’s speaking, training and facilitation skills are supported by her 18 years of corporate and higher education experience. She provides leadership and creative problem-solving learn-shops and seminars. Tamara has a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from SUNY Buffalo State. She holds an advance certificate of studies in Creativity and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity. Additionally, she’s a doctorial candidate at The University of the Virgin Islands.
Dr. Marta Davidovich Ockuly
Dr. Marta Davidovich Ockuly is a humanistic psychologist, creativity researcher, educator, catalyst, encourager, and influencer with a passion (and process) for awakening, developing, inspiring, and encouraging individual and educator creative confidence with J.O.Y. (just one yes). Her key research (2019) outcomes included the first universal definition of personal creativity that is imagination-informed, phenomenon-based, precise, descriptive, embodied, and actionable a 500-word lexicon of lived experience of creativity terms, a non-linear creative process model, and the concept of creativity influencer(s). This new definition has been adopted for use with United Nations-sanctioned World Creativity & Innovation Day #WCID. http://www.joyofquotes.com/
Beth Slazak holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Buffalo in History and Dance, a Social Studies Certification in Education from SUNY, Buffalo State, and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State. She has completed a three-year Certified Humor Professional program, and is in D’Youville’s MBA program.. Her work as the Manager of Education and Events for the Creative Education Foundation allows her to spent time at every level of the education world, from elementary to college, sharing the tools and techniques of creativity.
Najja is a creative facilitator & high-performance coach. He is driven by curiosity and the belief in the capacity of every person to achieve their fullest potential. He has earned a B.A. in Psychology from Buffalo University and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State, where he is now an Adjunct Lecturer. Najja is a deforested disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, where he honorably served in operation Iraqi freedom. In addition to working with scientists around the world, Najja works with Buffalo’s local youth. He has an uncanny ability to get moody teenagers to care about creativity and entrepreneurship. His talents are equaled only by his stylish hair and amazing collection of fashionable sweaters.
Katrin (Kate) McElderry
Katrin (Kate) McElderry teaches language skills at a school designed for students with dyslexia and other cognitive learning differences. She has a Master of Arts in Curriculum Development from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, where she served as a graduate assistant in the Education Department. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Dyslexia Association. Her workshops have spanned the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and South America. Collaborating with other educators on the topics of learning differences, intellectual risk-taking, and creativity is one of Kate’s passions. Outside work, she enjoys dancing, biking, and spending time with her family.
Dr. Jim Devivo
Dr. Jim DeVivo specializes in youth-driven theatre as a teacher, director, and researcher. He is a Theatre teacher in the Holmdel Township Schools and an adjunct at NYU. Prior to teaching, Jim taught and produced annual workshops and festivals for young playwrights across New Jersey. He continues this work via the Young Playwrights Guide. Jim facilitates workshops in theatre integration with the philosophy that theatre is a tool for leadership, social-emotional learning, and community development. Jim has a BFA in Theatre and English and both a MA and PhD in Educational Theatre from NYU. He is the recipient of a NJ Governor’s Award in Arts Education, a NJ Theatre Alliance Award of Excellence, and a member of the Liverpool Central Schools Fine Arts Hall of Fame.
Dr. William David Yates
Dr. Yates has been a K-12 and college educator for the past 46 years. He is currently an adjunct for Buffalo State and Southeastern University in Florida. He has extensive faculty training experience because he was the Director of the Center for Excellence and Creativity in Teaching for Southeastern. He also spent eight years in the communications field and supervised the student media production program of the Polk County (FL) public schools for 25 years. Dr. Yates has earned a BA in English from Notre Dame, an M.A. in Mass Communication, an M.S. in Creativity Studies and Change Leadership, and a doctorate in Ed Leadership with a specialization in educational technology.
Dr. Molly Holinger
Dr. Molly Holinger is a Visiting Professor at the John W. Altman Institute for Entrepreneurship in the Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio. She holds a PhD in Educational Psychology: Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity, SUNY Buffalo State. Her publications include two chapters, “The Relationship between Creativity and Feedback,” and “Taking a Prospective Look at Creativity Domains” and the article “Creative problem solving in small groups: The effects of creativity training on idea generation, solution creativity, and leadership effectiveness.” Her current research focuses on the positive outcomes of creativity such as positive emotions, engagement, and meaning.
Mohammad Issa has been working as a community development specialist since 1997. He has a Master's Degree in international cooperation and development from Bethlehem University. Mohammad used to work for different local and international organizations. He has trained, coached, and mentored thousands of youth and children. He has represented his country in different international platforms. Over the last four years, Mr. Issa has facilitated virtual and physical workshops as a part of Ibtikar's program and projects. These projects promote education for social innovation. These projects allow Palestinians to use their creativity to respond to social issues and contribute effectively to building a fairer, more caring, and equal society. Recently, Mr. Issa was appointed as a representative for the MENA Region in the Steering Committee of Action 4 SDGs.
Jocelyn Tejeda has designed and delivered dozens of trainings, workshops, and initiatives on creative problem solving, diversity and inclusion, leadership development, women's empowerment, and student success. Her energy and commitment to helping others grow and bring their vision has allowed her to work with partners like HBO, St John’s University, the International Center for Studies in Creativity, the Design Innovation Garage (DIG), the Women’s Business Center at Canisius College, and many others. She holds a Master's of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership and a Master's of Science in Higher Education both from SUNY Buffalo State. She is currently a lecturer and Advisor/Life Coach at SUNY Buffalo State.
Kathy Frazier is the gifted education specialist at Orange City Schools in Ohio and an adjunct professor at Kent State University. She has an Educational Specialist Degree in Elementary Education and K-12 Gifted Education and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She was awarded Ohio Gifted Teacher of the Year and International Future Problem Solving Coach of the Year. Kathy is a co-author of the Future Problem Solving Teacher Activity Units, Power Up Your Creative Mind, and Into the Future! A Kids Guide to Scenario Writing. She has made numerous presentations on Creativity, Problem Solving, Entrepreneurship, and Service Learning at world, national, and state gifted conferences. . Kathy has been involved in community theater productions both acting and directing for the past 15 years.
Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe
Dr. Connie Nshemereirwe is an independent science and policy facilitator, and acts at the science-policy interface as a science writer, trainer, and speaker. A Civil Engineer turned Educator, her primary interests lie in creating solutions for the transformation of the education system in her home country of Uganda, especially targeting basic skills acquisition and equipping teachers to better adapt to changing times. She is also passionate about equipping scientists with the skills to communicate their science better with the public.
Giséle Frazão Teixeira
Giséle Frazão Teixeira was born and raised in the Amazon in Brazil and comes from a family of educators. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design, from the The Federal University of Amazonas, and a Multiple Subject CLAD Teaching Credential from the Dominican University in San Rafael, CA. She has been teaching for about 15 years, in Brazil, the U.S. and at international schools in Venezuela and Brazil. She currently teaches 3rd grade and loves it. She’s married and has two awesome sons, Diego and Caio. She loves her family, art, music, and creative, fearless people.
Todd Stanley is a National Board teacher and the author of many teacher-education books including Project-Based Learning for Gifted Students: A Handbook for the 21st Century Classroom, Promoting Rigor Through Higher Level Questioning, and his latest, Enrichment Activities for Gifted Students: Extra-Curricular Academic Activities for Gifted Education. He served as a classroom teacher for 18 years where he worked with all grade levels in all subject areas in all types of service. He is currently the gifted services coordinator for Pickerington Local Schools where he lives with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter @the_gifted_guy or visit his website at thegiftedguy.com where you can access blogs, resources, and view presentations he has given.
Dr. Roger Firestein
Dr. Roger Firestien has taught more people to lead the creative process than anyone else in the world. He is considered “The Gold Standard” of creativity training by his clients, presenting programs in creativity to over 600 organizations nationally and internationally ranging from major fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, associations and churches. He is an Associate Professor and senior faculty member for the Master’s of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State and President of Innovation Resources, Inc. His latest book: Create in a Flash: A leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation is now available worldwide.
Melinda Ferraraccio uses intermodal arts therapy intervention approaches to performance, facilitation, and community outreach and has worked in a range of educational, therapeutic, and artistic settings. For the past 10 years, Melinda has helped to develop and direct a sibling art support program for a not-for-profit organization providing financial and emotional support to families dealing with the life-threatening illness of a child. She holds a master’s degree in Expressive Arts Therapy from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. Find out more about Melinda’s work at http://healingwitharts.com/
Hana is a student at the University of Rochester studying Psychology and Business. She is trained in Creative Problem Solving and facilitation and has been using it from a young age since she grew up in a household run by Ismet, the Director of Creativity and Education. She has experience in teaching her peers Creative Problem Solving techniques as well as helping facilitate workshops for a variety of clients, including educators.
Juliana Sanchez-Trujillo is cofounder of Borealis Innovation, professor and keynote speaker in creativity, innovation and change management, with large experience in Colombia, USA, Mexico, Canada, Panama and Ecuador. She is a certified Prosci Change Management’s facilitator, Lego Serious Play workshop designer and facilitator, and a FourSight facilitator. She is also fluent in Spanish, English and French. Juliana holds a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State and a Bachelor on Corporate Communications.
Keriann Armusewicz has over a decade of experience teaching visual arts to students around the globe, having worked in schools from Singapore to New York. She holds a Masters in Art and Art Education from Teachers College and a Bachelor’s in Art Education from Buffalo State College. Keriann is currently pursuing her second masters in Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State. She is interested in educating teachers and parents about how authentic artmaking can be used to cultivate children’s creativity. Keriann teaches art to K-5 students in Menlo Park, California.
Giambattista Giacomo Davis
Giambattista Giacomo Davis is a former Teaching Assistant for the Gifted Math Program, and currently the Advisor for Student Support Services at the University at Buffalo (UB). He was born in Buffalo, and lived in Treviso, Italy, for 12 years! He completed his undergraduate degrees at Daemen College, in Mathematics and in Liberal Studies, with a minor in art history, philosophy, and psychology. He graduated with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from UB with interests in multicultural aspects, finance of higher education, and statistics. He is currently pursuing more coursework in Education Studies, with a focus on Comparative and Global Education, and Advanced Certificates in International Education Data Analysis as well as Qualitative Methodology.
Elaine Mead is a Senior Careers Educator and Writer, with international experience, supporting students from a variety of academic backgrounds explore their chosen industry. Her work in this space has taken her from working with young unemployed people in London to university graduates in Australia, running internship programs, and supporting adults from migrant backgrounds. Elaine now works within Australian high schools, supporting year 9 and 10 students as they transition to their next step. Next year she will commence her MA in Educational Psychology and hopes to one day create a creativity-driven careers curriculum that encourages young people to explore their career ideas throughout their high school journey. You can find her sharing more words and great career content she finds on the internet over on Twitter: @_elainemead.
Dr. Ross Anderson
Ross C. Anderson holds a PhD in Education Leadership from the University of Oregon and is currently Principal Researcher at Inflexion and Co-Founder of Creative Engagement Lab, LLC. He focuses on fostering agentic, artistic, and creative development in both educators and youth to drive equity, cultural responsiveness, and overall well-being in school. Dr. Anderson has led $15 million in grant-funded research and development, including the ArtCore project (www.artcorelearning.org/) and the makeSPACE project (www.makespaceproject.com), developing a groundbreaking online training to integrate creativity and the arts into the philosophy and pedagogy of K-12 classrooms. He has published more than 27 book chapters and journal articles in outlets, such as Mind, Brain, and Education, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, and the Journal of Creative Behaviors.
Andrea Mango has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and a master’s degree in Elementary Education-Birth-6th. She has taught kindergarten through 2nd grade at Dodge Elementary in Williamsville, New York, for the past 15 years. Before teaching, Andrea worked at Erie One BOCES’ Positive Youth Development Center, where she trained teachers on empowering students in the classroom and prepared middle and high school students to become positive leaders among their peers.
Dr Kulvarn Atwal
Dr Kulvarn Atwal FCCT has spent his entire career teaching and leading in East London schools and is currently Executive Head Teacher of Highlands and Uphall Primary Schools. Highlands was recently awarded the Mayor of London's Schools for Success award for the fourth year in a row; one of only 12 primary or secondary schools in London to achieve this award. Kulvarn specialises in teacher professional learning. His doctoral thesis highlighted the factors that impact upon teacher engagement in professional learning activities, with a particular focus on workplace learning theories and action research. He has worked with educators across the world to develop expansive learning environments in schools.He has published his first book, 'The Thinking School. Developing a Dynamic Learning Community'. He occasionally tweets at @thinkingschool2
Kathleen Donohoe has held a number of senior positions within NSW, Ireland and the United Kingdom across K-12, Tertiary and Vocational education. She is the Founder and Director of Leading Thinking International, building on her experience as Director, Futures Learning at NSW Department of Education. Her previous work includes the European Union, UNESCO and the University of Sydney.
Kathleen now works with school, universities, jurisdictional bodies and industry in thought leadership, professional development, developing and implementing strategy across physical, virtual and social space. Kathleen has a strong commitment to research and evidence based approaches to emerging learning and teaching practices.
David Eyman believes more people should say yes! Yes to living creatively and bringing joy to the world.
As an entrepreneur, innovation leader, and industrial designer, David Eyman brings over twenty-five years of creative experience to his teaching at Miami University. As a catalyst, his expertise lies in developing infrastructures and new thinking. His work has led to countless new products, environments, and deeper insights. Eyman believes that “It’s about leveraging the transformational power of creativity to build community.” David holds an Industrial Design degree from the University of Cincinnati DAAP, and Master of Science in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo.
Lindsay Brauer-Dzielski is a play advocate for children. She works with communities and groups to nurture and ignite creative play between children and adults. She believes in puddle jumping, mud pies, finger painting, and playing in nature. She holds fort-building contests, sensory playgrounds, and art opportunities for children and families. Lindsay has a Bachelor of Fine Arts as well as a Bachelor of Science Education and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State.
Elizabeth Klocek is a seventh grader at The Seven Hills School in Ohio. She enjoys painting, drawing, playing with her puppy, and riding her bike when she is not creating and innovating in the kitchen. Elizabeth has participated in the Youth Wise Program for 3-years at the Creative Problem-Solving Institute Annual Conference. She loves to present her ideas in front of audiences and has co-presented with her mom on several occasions.
Clayton Rhodes is a full-time faculty member at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. At Durham College, Clayton teaches Creativity: A person understanding, Hockey: The First Century, and a variety of communication courses. As well, Clayton is a member of the college’s creativity community of practice. Outside of the college, Clayton has been a member of several nationally and provincially funded projects for Literacy Northwest, Connect Strategic Alliances, College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading and Skillplan. Clayton earned his Honours Bachelor of Arts from York University and his Master of Arts in Education from the University of Phoenix. During his spare time, Clayton enjoys bowling, slo-pitch, and in-line skating.
Donna Ratchford is an elementary gifted education teacher who teaches in the home of blues and BBQ, Memphis, TN. She has been teaching since 2006, serving diverse students in the community. She graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of Memphis in 2006. She then earned her master’s degree in Gifted Education from Arkansas State University in 2014. In 2020, Donna graduated with her Educational Specialist degree in Administration: Principalship. Donna leads several before and after-school activities such as Girls Who Code, Destination Imagination, and Math teams. She also is a member of her school's Tech Team that leads training on various technologies in the classroom. She is currently spearheading a movement to increase diverse curriculum in the district’s gifted department.
Tanya Knudsen is a world traveler and trilingual educator teaching French, German and ESL in the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her family. Tanya is a traditional hot yoga enthusiast and cyclist. She recently founded the zero-waste movement in her community in Redmond, Washington. Tanya is currently undertaking her second master's degree in Creativity and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State and wants to apply creativity to sustainable living, beginning with her commitment to figuring out how to design a zero-waste kitchen.
Xiao Chen has a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State. Her mission is to ignite people’s natural creativity and bring her expertise to China. She is an educator, facilitator and consultant, who has provided workshops, trainings and speeches for a wide variety of organizations For instance, Ms. Chen delivered presentations and workshop to such organizations as Disney China, Aloma D Johnson Charter School, the American Women Association, and SUNY-Buffalo State.
Charlotte Murphy is a Canadian educator and artist. For 20 years, she has taught primary, elementary, and middle school students in Asia, New Zealand, and the Middle East, and is currently teaching visual art in Saudi Arabia. Charlotte has a Concurrent Bachelor of Education from Memorial University of Newfoundland and recently completed her National Board Teacher Certification (Visual Arts). She is passionate about creating a culture of thinking in her classes and loves anything creative! Twitter: Edu4creativity Insta/FB: charlottemurphyart
Jonathan Garra is a parent of four, an aspiring gentleman farmer, and an upper-school history teacher at Elmwood Franklin School in Buffalo, New York. Jon holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education from Canisius College and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State. When not teaching history, he can likely be found in the field with his kids–going on a bear hunt.
A curious mind, Alesssia graduated in Art History and specialized in coaching and facilitation. Since 2012, Alessia has passionately been part of the CREA Conference staff, the main European event on creativity and innovation. She also manages a creative hub in Milan, Yellow Sound, and works, in Italian and English, with organizations and individuals, children and parents. She has worked in the educational department of art galleries and foundations designing guided tours and workshops for school children and families and still has fun running mom-and-tots playgroups in Milan for international families. An unstoppable seeker and traveller, she has lived and worked in the United States and Great Britain, and is intrigued by the creative potential of thinking and speaking in one's second language.
Jonathan Hulbert is an organizational development facilitator and strategist who has worked with over 50 institutions of higher education. He is currently the Director of Leadership and Organizational Development and a Part-Time Lecturer in the Higher Education and Students Affairs Administration Master of Science Program at SUNY Buffalo State College. In 2019, Mr. Hulbert received the Workforce Game Changer Award through Work Force Magazine, which is given to 40 high-potential professionals under the age of 40 who are some of the best workforce development practitioners and strategists in the nation. He leverages human-centered design practices, complexity management frameworks, and institutional data to empower campus communities to facilitate the development of innovative people-management practices, cross-divisional student services that increase student persistence to graduation, and operational efficiencies.
Gisele Christian Conn
Gisele Christian Conn holds a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction and is a Colorado licensed educator; she is also a professional artist. She is chair of the Spanish Language Department at Cherry Hills Christian Middle School, where she also directs the Art Program. Gisele teaches both subjects–art and Spanish–with an emphasis on authentic, hands-on methodologies, including brain-based learning techniques with an emphasis in teaching creativity. She has two websites that she created and designed. The brain-based learning website is an integral part of her master thesis on brain-based learning for the middle-school adolescent student. The Arte website focuses on the creative process of her original art.
Cheta Ikemsinachi Onuecheta is an uncommon educator, e-learning strategist, researcher, and organizational psychologist. He’s an advocate of collaborative online international learning, accelerated learning, vocational education, practical entrepreneurship, and digitization of work. Originally from Nigeria, Cheta holds a Bachelor’s in psychology, a PGDE, an MSc in organizational psychology, and is a member of the Nigeria Psychological Association. He has over 10 years of experience in teaching and educational leadership in both Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates. He believes that if the world were going extinct and people asked to work for free to save the earth, that teaching is the job he would happily do for free. Cheta is currently working toward his doctoral interests in educational leadership and policy.
David Hoffman is a passionate secondary English teacher and founder of Raising Innovation, which he launched in 2019 in order to expand upon his dedication to create meaningful collaborations and partnerships between families, communities, businesses, and learning institutions. Throughout his teaching and creativity career, David has presented at national and international conferences, contributed to Jon Michael Fox’s book Why Study Creativity?, facilitated an International Entrepreneurship program, helped students launch businesses in as little as eight months, publish, plan and host fundraising concerts and spoken word events to raise awareness for various causes and social issues.
Jennifer Babcock is an academic specialist who has been teaching students from pre-K through adulthood. She has been teaching and training across New York State from Buffalo to New York City. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance, a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Education, and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership. She plans to use her experience to train and coach future teachers to be effective leaders for their students.
Matthew Zayas is an educator, non-profit leader, creativity and innovation consultant, and graduate of the International Center for Studies in Creativity. He and his team at Diversely NYC help fast-paced, innovative startup companies tackle business and organizational development opportunities. His greatest passion is traveling the world with his daughter, Luna.
Beverly Zapatka Weihz is a renaissance woman. She is a high school communications teacher, an artist, an entrepreneur, an avid traveler, and a voracious student of life. She holds a B.A. in Art Therapy and teaching certificates for both Art and English. She received a Master’s of Science in Creative Studies and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo in 2016. Her master’s study work focused on research in motivation and finding the balance between technology and creativity. Her desire is to create a learning environment where all students can discover their strengths, their creativity and their own version of badass.
Julie Cutelli is curious, colorful, and compassionate. She works in France at the International School of Paris as a learning support teacher and art therapist where she helps young people understand how they think and learn. She has over fifteen years of international experience in educational, clinical, and social settings. Julie has a Master’s Degree in Special and Inclusive Education from the University of Nottingham and a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy from Universite Paris 5 – Rene DesCartes. As a member of the French Federation of Art Therapists and the European Federation of Art Therapists, she is working to help further her profession both nationally and internationally.
Dr. Matthew Worwood
Dr. Matthew Worwood is Associate Director of the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media Design Department and Director of Digital Media CT, a statewide collaborative dedicated to furthering Digital Media education in Connecticut. Matthew’s research focuses on creativity as situated inside design thinking. He explores this concept from two perspectives: designing and integrating digital media products in education and teaching creativity via a design-based approach to problem-solving. Much of this work takes place as part of the Class of 2032 Project, which uses design thinking to explore and clarify education challenges that occur in response to new technology. Matthew's community outreach includes once serving as a long-term advisor to the NMC Horizon Report, and until recently, participating as an executive board member of the Everwonder Children’s Museum. More recently, Matthew co-founded the fueling creativity podcast and has a parenting blog called DadsforCreativity.com.
Randah Taher is a Culture Designer and Innovation Facilitator with a playful sandbox. In it, there are methods that design cultures of innovation, creative problem-solving sessions, biomimic analogies, design thinking bootcamps, edutainment games and creativity tools. A TEDx and keynote speaker, she works with mavericks and intra-preneurs to transform their work starting with the smallest cultural shifts that nurture creative environments in organizations. Her bottom-top approach helped translate ideas into multi-disciplinary programs and develop internal innovation functions and squads. A few examples of the stories she shares include: the Creative Institute for Toronto’s Young Leaders and the Montreal-based crowd-sourced powerhouse, “My Arabic Story” as well as the Dubai-based design-led innovation consultancy “sajory” with its masterclasses and curated giftbox, “IMAGINESS” (which emphasizes imagining happiness at work).
Sarah empowers teams to navigate complex challenges so they achieve results. She has led global teams, founded a company, directed community wide initiatives, designed and taught an entrepreneurial studies course, advised entrepreneurs, provided consulting to corporations, and facilitated creative problem solving sessions.
Sarah’s skill set allows her to bring expertise to any client engagement. She collaborates with senior leaders and empowers clients to embrace challenges as opportunities and to view failure as a necessary means to growth and learning. Sarah received her BA from Brown University. She holds two graduate degrees, an MBA from the NYU Stern Executive Program, and a Masters of Science in Creative Studies and Change Leadership at SUNY Buffalo State.
Dr. Pronita Mehrotra
Dr. Pronita Mehrotra is the Founder and CEO of MindAntix, a company that develops tools and programs to build creative thinking skills in children. Her mission is to bring fun, humor and rigor to creative teaching programs. Using a unique approach of integrating thinking patterns underlying creative accomplishments, she has designed a creativity-focused curriculum that includes activities and project-based learning. In addition, she runs professional development sessions for educators interested in bringing creativity to their classrooms.
Apart from MindAntix, she brings over 15 years of experience in research and software development. She also worked at Microsoft in development and program management. Currently, she serves as Co-President at Gifted Education Advisory Committee, a non-profit organization supporting parents, students, and educators in the LWSD Highly Capable Community.
Rachel is a curriculum writer, science teacher, and lover of all things novel. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Middle Childhood Education from Cleveland State University. She has several years’ experience in urban education. She has held positions on building leadership and curriculum design teams. She is also among the first in the Canton City School District to institute a self-paced learning system for her students. Rachel’s greatest joy is helping others realize their own potential. She seeks to be the voice cheering, “Yes you can!”. Currently, Rachel is implementing creative initiatives in her church and community, including a summer camp for young entrepreneurs.
Matt believes creativity is not only in anyone, but for everyone. Over his 15-year career, he has been obsessed with finding ways to realize creative potential. In service of his mission, he founded Mammoth in 2015—a design and creativity agency focused on helping people connect to ideas. His company partners with world-leading brands such as Intuit, Deloitte, Genentech and Cochlear to create more memorable experiences that stimulate conversation and shift behavior.
Matt has a Bachelor of Design Studies in Visual Communication and is currently studying for a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State College. He's lived and worked in Asia, Australia, the UK and the USA. He can often be spotted moonlighting as an ageing centre-back, nappy changer, and amateur cook.
Dr. Hector Ramos
Hector holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a focus on Creativity, Intelligence, and Giftedness from Texas A&M University. His area of research is cognitive fixation in leaders from non-profit organizations. He has an M.S. degree in Creative Studies from SUNY, Buffalo State. Hector has trained and coached executives in applied creativity and innovation from the Civil Service College (Singapore), Citibank (Indonesia), a Banking Directors Group (Dubai), teachers and principals (Kuwait), and business directors undergoing the Buffalo Creativity Certification Program (Mexico). Hector is currently a faculty member of Texas A&M University. He coordinates and teaches the Creative Studies Minor for undergraduates including subjects such as Creative Problem Solving, Lateral Thinking/Six Thinking Hats and Personal Creativity and Giftedness.