The wisest man has something yet to learn" - George Santayana
Will Baker - Executive Director Will has twenty-four years of experience in nonprofit management, debate coaching, and marketing. For the last twenty years, he’s helped young urban students express themselves, think critically, and use words rather than fists to settle conflicts through the transformative power of debate. As an advocate for youth, education reform and religious freedom, his methods return debate to classrooms & school districts while extending the model into community-based organizations, religious venues, the corporate sector, prisons and the public square. In 2008, he was elected as the Executive Vice President of the American Forensics Association. He was a finalist in the Ford Foundations Leadership for a Changing World competition and is a past winner of the Paul Slappy Award for Diversity and the Barkley Forum Award for Distinguished Service. He is listed in the Marquis Who's Who in the World. Mr. Baker is the Chief Executive Officer of the IMPACT Coalition, an educational development nonprofit organization. His work with IMPACT has received accolades in the NY Times, US News & World Report, the Nonprofit Times and the Christian Science Monitor. As head of Baker Consulting Services International, he has provided management consulting services to major foundations, corporations, United Nations agencies and nearly one hundred nonprofit organizations. He is a Past President of the Committee of Religious Non-Governmental Organizations at the United Nations and serves as the Alternate UN Representative for the International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF). Will was elected president of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA), the largest intercollegiate organization sponsoring policy debate. He is a former Assembly District Leader for the 27th District in Queens. Mr. Baker serves as special consultant to the Zuckerman Forum at NYU and as the Director of Debate at NYU was the first African American director to capture an intercollegiate debate championship since Wiley College in 1935.
Pam Block - Managing Director for National Partnerships is the founding Executive Director of the Baltimore Urban Debate League. She earned her undergraduate degree from Brandeis University with a dual major in Psychology and African and African-American Studies. When Pam arrived as a transplant in Baltimore 16 years ago she got to know the city and its young people by taking a job as a caseworker in Mark Shriver’s Choice Program. In that position Pam worked as round the clock mentor and advocate for young people inside the city’s schools and juvenile justice system and got to know first hand the devastation and destruction that poverty, drug addiction and lack of educational opportunities can have on neighborhoods and families. After Choice and upon receiving her Masters Degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work, Pam had the honor of being the first student from her program accepted to the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows Program where she had an opportunity to explore her interest in public policy. In this position Pam worked for the Federal Government in the Health Care Finance Administration’s Medicaid bureau on issues of maternal and child health. In 1996 Pam left the federal government and returned to direct service taking a position as a school social worker in the Baltimore City Public School System. For the last 10 years Pam has channeled her passion for social justice, education, community and youth development with the students and teachers of the Baltimore Urban Debate League. Under her leadership the Baltimore Urban Debate League has received national recognition and acclaim. The League has been featured in US News and World Report, The Washington Post, and on CBS’ 60 Minutes. In 2006 the Baltimore Urban Debate League was recognized at the White House as one of the nation’s premier youth development organizations when it was awarded the President’s “Coming Up Taller Award”. Pam is a Weinberg Fellow, a GBC Leadership alum, and a recipient of the B’More award for Baltimore’s unsung heroes.
Gayle Gatchalian - Press Officer- earned her undergraduate degree at University of California, Los Angeles. Previously, she worked at Walt Disney Co. and managed product packaging, negotiating company needs with licensee’s proposals to achieve the most beneficial compromise and established new best practices processes for product packaging approval with third party creative team and prior to that worked for Warner Bros. Records. . She has written for the Asian Journal and is pursuing an MA from New York University in the Deparment of Media, Culture and Communications.
Jeff Fryer - Digital Media Platforms has over 10 years experience in brand strategy & product management. His background includes expertise in strategic planning and execution for entertainment/media companies, digital marketing strategy (audio/video content, web, mobile and interactive), and live events. Mr. Fryer served as the Marketin Manager for AEG Live where he was responsible for all marketing and advertising aspects for first-ever All Points West Music & Arts Festival (Radiohead and Jack Johnson, headliners) including print, radio, online, posters/flyers, and outdoor media for 75k attendees; managed $375k ad budget for festival. His efforts help to brand a new metro NYC multi-stage festival and generated more than 65 million impressions for overall media campaign leading to more than $6 million in ticket sales for festival.
Benita Gayle-Almeleh -Parent Blogger has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofiyt management. She holds a B.A. from George Washington University. and an M.A. Brandeis University, Waltham, MA. She served as the Marketing and Public Relations Director for GMAC Real Estate IPG where she designed and executed marketing strategy for best-selling real estate book; initiated and responded to media inquiries; facilitated media and public appearances for author; monitored corporate identity standards. From 2001-2005, she was the conference coordinator for th American Red Cross “Rebuilding Lives and Rebuilding Practices: Lessons Learned from the September 11 Recovery Program”. Her responsibilities include program planning and execution. She was the Senior Community Consultant; Director of Community Relations and Special Projects for the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. In that area, Benita provided consultative and capacity-building services on all aspects of community relations work and crisis management, including policy, leadership and organizational development issues. She staffed and facilitated annual national public policy formulation process involving 122 community-based organizations and 8 national agencies. Benita conceptualized, implemented and edited the JCPA Insider weekly e-mail newsletter highlighting legislative developments with circulation of 2500+ influentials nation-wide. She also directed two national Public Affairs Surveys. While at the American Jewish Congress, she provided oversight of national field operation, including fiscal management, program, recruitment, staff development and supervision of 12 regional directors. Benita managed $1.3 million direct mail membership acquisition, special appeal and renewal program, resulting in more than $750,000 income annually.
Trinya Smith - Alumni Liaison is a pre-service elementary education teacher. She worked as a substitute teacher in Baltimore City for two years. She serves as co-President for the Baltimore Chapter of the Hip Hop Congress and is an Executive Board Member of United Campus Access Media which promotes cooperative education, training, access and support in the pursuit of freedom of expression through all forms of media in service to the public. Prevously, Trinya was the Middle School Apprentice Program Co-Coordinator for the Baltimore Urban Debate League. An urban debate scholar at Towson University, Trinya is a product of the Baltimore Urban Debate League with a reputation for dynamic presentations, insightful speeches and powerful scholarship. Last month, she participated in a series of panels and presentations with the Afterschool Alliance, followed by meetings with Congressional staffers representing the Associated Leaders of Urban Debate. She represented the National Communication Association as part of the CIDD debate tour of Eastern Europe.
Andrew Todd- Social Marketing Officer graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in communications. He was a Hope Lottery Scholar (2005-08) and a Robert Joel scholar with a concentration in advertising. With a background in media strategy, advertising and campaign development and a consummate Web 2.0er, Andrew brings a unique perspective to the application of social media in the nonprofit world.
Debate Delivers Dreams