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Past Speakers

The Kaleidoscope Leadership Institute draws a diverse array of accomplished women of color from a variety of disciplines to speak and provide thought leadership at our in-person events and webinars.  In addition, they provide content to our website, Facebook and LinkedIn posts. We are proud to feature them as part of our extended family.


Dr. Monica Martinez
Education Strategist, Senior Scholar to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Menlo Park, CA
Dr. Monica Martinez is an education strategist for philanthropy and non-profits, Senior Scholar to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and appointee to the White House Commission of Educational Excellence for Hispanics.  As an education strategist for philanthropy and non-profits, Monica serves in an advisory role to leaders’ of organizations, helping create, shape or assess an organization's initiative; assist in the roll-out of initiatives and ongoing management or short term execution; and help establish or codify strategic priorities and develop plans for their implementation, including state departments and higher education systems. Her clients have included The Bechtel Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, The Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, The Community College of Philadelphia and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.  Martinez has recently completed a book with Dennis McGrath, Deeper Learning: How Eight Public Schools are Transforming Education in the 21st Century (New Press, 2014).Monica’s expertise is in secondary education and college success. She has worked across the K-16 sector primarily on high school reform and innovation as well as access and success in higher education. Prior to serving as an independent educational strategist, Monica served as the CEO and President of the New Tech Network and the Vice President for Education Strategy at KnowledgeWorks. In Washington, DC, Martinez was a senior associate at the Institute for Educational Leadership where she founded the Washington, D.C.-based National High School Alliance, developed two projects for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the Theme High School Network and the Catalog of Core Research on Secondary School Reform) to support their work on small schools while also managing the National Clearinghouse for School Reform (NCCSR) in collaboration with the George Washington University. Before moving to D.C., Monica was an Assistant Dean of the College for Williams College and then in New York in the Dean’s Office and working with a Ford funded initiative, the National Urban Partnership Program, and the Annenberg Challenge Grant. Monica serves as a Commissioner for the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) and  10,000 Degrees, one of the most effective and innovative college access organizations in the country based in San Rafael, CA.  She has been appointed by the Chancellor of SUNY (State University of New York System) to TeachNY Advisory Council and previous to that, was appointed to the NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel member focused on the Future of Teacher Preparation. She has served on the boards for AdvancED, an international accreditation agency, and Youth Leadership Institute (San Francisco/Marin), Grantmakers for Education (GFE), A Better Chance (ABC); and was an Advisory Board member for the Pathways to College Network and E.L Haynes Charter School, DC.Martinez was a columnist on “Innovation in Education” for Kappan Magazine and still occasionally publishes in the magazine. She was a contributing author in several books, including Putting All Students on the Graduation Path (Jossey-Bass), Double the Numbers for College (Harvard Press), and Saving America’s High School (Urban Institute). She has also authored multiple independent reports such as The Link Between High School Reform and College Access. She is an international, national, regional and local public speaker for educators, education and policy leaders, foundations, membership organizations, and state departments on the topics of high school reform and innovation, deeper learning, the future of learning, and college access and success. Monica earned her PhD in Sociology of Education and Higher Education Administration from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University and her B.A. from Baylor University.
Judge Phinia Aten
Chief Magistrate Judge - Rockdale County, Conyers, GA
Judge Phinia Aten is the Chief Judge of the Magistrate Court of Rockdale County.  Her election as jurist in 2012, was a natural progression for the veteran trial attorney with over 14 years of experience, primarily in the areas of criminal and family law, and distinguished record of community leadership and involvement.  Judge Aten holds the honor of being the first African-American female judge in Rockdale County’s history.  In 2013, she created an innovative pro se litigant assistance program, the Smart Justice Seminar Series, designed to promote public confidence in, and awareness of, our judicial system.  The Smart Justice Seminar Series is a quarterly-produced, free and public forum that provides general procedural information about the Magistrate Court’s jurisdictional matters.  To-date, the Series has covered elder abuse and exploitation, abandoned motor vehicle lien foreclosures and two seminars on residential landlord-tenant disputes.  In addition, an hour-length interactive play, “the Case of the Dog Owner Who Never Learned,” developed last spring under Judge Aten’s direction, is frequently utilized by the Court as a powerful teaching tool for the local youth groups who visit the Court.  The play has 10 performance roles for the children to assume and learn about legal careers and trial decorum and procedure.  Judge Aten serves on the Executive Committee of the Council of Magistrate Judges as a District Four Representative and through her collaborative work on a pro se litigant assistance project for the Council, a state-wide, free online service to complete an interview, generate the applicable forms and electronically file court forms, via a web-based portal, has been established.  The service is known as the Magistrate Courts Free Forms Generator and affords Georgia’s 159 magistrate courts with the opportunity to offer in-house access to a guided filing process, expanding access to justice across the state for unrepresented litigants.During the last decade, Judge Aten garnered scores of headlines and media interviews as lead counsel in several high-visibility cases.  From 2004-2012, Judge Aten chaired the Continuing Legal Education at Sea Program for the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA), organizing professional legal conferences in a host of countries including Haiti, Belize, Egypt and Brazil.  In addition, she is a former adjunct professor of Herzing University’s Atlanta campus where she taught business law, critical thinking, speech and career development.  As a result of her trial skills, legal scholarship and engaged style, Judge Aten is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer on litigation techniques, substantive legal topics and inspirational matters. Judge Aten is the recipient of numerous honors, including Outstanding Citizen Recognition by the Georgia Secretary of State, 2012 Top Lawyer Recognition by On Common Ground Newspaper, the 2011 Outstanding Community Service Award from the Conyers Art Conservatory, the 2011 Luminary Business Leadership Award from the Rockdale-Newton Chapter of the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women and C.J. Hicks Elementary School World Class Support Recognition, among others.  Her professional and leadership roles include the Council of Magistrate Judges, Georgia Next Generation Courts Commission, Rockdale County Re-entry Program Steering Committee and Rockdale County Child Abuse Protocol Committee.Judge Aten is an active community stakeholder.  She is most proud of her tenure as the inaugural president, from 2012-2013, of NewRock Legal Society, a community-focused bar association committed to serving the citizens of Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties.  In this trailblazing role, she spearheaded the launch of the free public legal program-“Know Your Rights”- designed to inform the community about prevalent legal matters such as criminal street gang activity and domestic violence, and participated in many other charitable initiatives.  She currently chairs the Society’s judicial section.  Judge Aten served on the board of directors for ComiziaCare, Inc., a non-profit agency that provides child welfare resources and education to single-parent families in East Metro Atlanta, and was an inaugural mentor of GABWA’s Sister2Sister Mentoring Project, a court-sponsored alliance that pairs teen girls embroiled in Georgia’s juvenile justice system with women attorneys who promote positive teen decision-making and life skills training.    Judge Aten earned her law degree and a certificate of sports law from Tulane University in New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Wayne State University in Detroit.  She was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 1998.
Dr. Patricia Hsieh
President, San Diego Miramar College, San Diego, CA
Patricia Hsieh is in her tenth year tenure as President at San Diego Miramar College. Hsieh is also an experienced adjunct faculty member at several universities. Prior to her current position, Hsieh served as Vice President of Student Services and Interim President at Sacramento City College. Hsieh has spent her career working to improve student success and access in California community colleges. At San Diego Miramar College, she has been instrumental in transforming the College to improve teaching, learning, and student completion. Hsieh understands the important connection between community colleges and the economy, and was the former chair of the Economy and Workforce Development Program Advisory Committee (EDPAC) to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the former chair of the Commission of Workforce Development of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and a member of the Community College League of California (CCLC) Advisory Committee on Legislation (ACL).  As an active member of the business community, she serves as a member of the Board of the Asian Business Association, and is the first educator to serve as a trustee on the Board of San Diego Maritime Museum and City of San Diego Mayor’s API Advisory Committee. Hsieh is also a recognized leader on national education issues currently serving on the Commission of Internationalization and Global Engagement and the Commission on Educational Attainment and Innovation of the American Council on Education (ACE) in Washington, D.C. Hsieh is also the chair of the Executive Committee of Sustainability Taskforce of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), as well as a former member of the Executive Committee and Board of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Hsieh is also active in the Chinese arts and culture, having served on the Boards of the San Diego Chinese Art Association and the San Diego We Chinese in America Foundation. Hsieh studied at the Harvard University Management and Leadership in Education (MLE) Program and Institute for Educational Management (IEM), and has received her doctorate in Institutional Management focusing on Community College Administration at Pepperdine University, her master's in Guidance and Counseling from Wayne State University, and her bachelor's in Western Languages and Literature from Chengchi University in Taiwan. Hsieh was the 2006 Asian Heritage Award recipient, and in 2010 she was selected as a Fulbright Fellow to the Russian Federation.

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