lisa burwell

Being a seasoned creative influencer with over 33 years of experience in marketing and publishing has positioned this maven and renegade to define her own boundaries. A Boston native who has lived in Northwest Florida for 23 years, Lisa Burwell has navigated the growth of her company, Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising – The Idea Boutique®, for 22 years, and also founded a thriving publishing house 10 years ago despite economic obstacles. What began as a one-woman show with no financial backing now includes 16 employees in the USA and Ireland.

A pioneering spirit and a lot of tenacity have equipped Lisa Burwell to be able to forecast changing industry climates and react nimbly to the demands of business, emerging trends, and rebranding her company and those of clients when needed. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech & Communications from Suffolk University and was a member of the Speech & Debate team there. This education offered Lisa Burwell rich training that has translated well into running a marketing agency and launching several magazine titles. She has also been engaged as a motivational speaker on many occasions.


tretta bush

For nearly a decade Tretta Bush has been a sought Managerial Accountant specializing in small business operations. Her expertise in accounting, tax strategy, and operations has allowed her to successfully service a plethora of diverse businesses. Her roster of clients range from church leaders to benchmarking CEOs and their annual earnings have ranged from 60k to 100m. But it was Tretta’s personal experience with crippling debt that started the next leg of her journey.

Tretta’s financial prowess has been featured in ESSENCE Magazine and she has appeared on as a financial expert. Tretta also carries a weekly segment on the Stellar Award Winning Radio 1000 offering practical tips on how to live a full life while being financially responsible.

Now, as a personal finance educator, Tretta uses personal mantra of “Building Wealth In My Stilettos” to drive home her commitment to being spiritually grounded, fabulous, and wealthy!

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j.W. Carpenter, jd

J.W. Carpenter has served as Executive Director of the Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF) since September 2013. Before coming to BEF, Carpenter served as the founding Executive Director for Teach For America Alabama-a branch of the nationally-recognized organization committed to providing and advocating for high quality education for students in low-income communities. Prior to his role with Teach For America, Carpenter was a litigator for the Birmingham law firm of Walston, Wells, and Birchall, LLP. Carpenter earned a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College and J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. He serves on the boards of A+ Education Partnership, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, Operation Hope-Alabama, and k12 Lean Labs, and is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Birmingham, the PARCA Roundtable, and the GEAR UP-Birmingham Advisory Board. He was named Top 40 under 40 in Birmingham in 2010, and is an alumnus of Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, and Leadership UAB. In 2016, Carpenter was selected for a weeklong fellowship in Strategic Nonprofit Management at Harvard by the Alabama Association of Nonprofits and the Birmingham alumni chapter of Harvard Business School.

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LaToya lee, ms

LaToya is a sought-after speaker, clinician, and community activist. She is a grant writer and nonprofit consultant with over 10 years of experience. She received a Bachelors in Biology/Chemistry from Mississippi Valley State University, a Masters in Community Development from Delta State University, and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership, with an emphasis in nonprofit management. 

In 2011, LaToya founded Precision Grant Writing & Consulting Services, LLC, a nonprofit consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits thrives in every area. LaToya has secured over half a million dollars in grants and fundraising. She has also help to develop over 20 nonprofit organizations across the United States.

LaToya is known for her hands-on training and techniques in grant writing, nonprofit start-up, leadership training, and board and staff development. In 2016, LaToya founded Treasures, Inc., a nonprofit organization designed to enrich, empower, equip, educate, encourage, and enlighten, women. She hosted the very first Women in Business Brunch in Cleveland, MS, where several business owners, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, and individuals interested in starting both for-profit and non-profit businesses, gathered together to share ideas and be uplifted and empowered.

Her goal is to serve the needs of others with devotion, integrity, and precision.


Yulunda Tyre, PhD, LPC, NCC

Dr. Tyre is Owner of Reignite, Counselor, Coach and Consultation Service and author of Reignite, a 21 Day Devotional. She is committed to helping others realize, renew and ignite their talents, dreams and goals.

She currently services Auburn University Montgomery as Assistant Vice Chancellor Student Affairs, in this role she oversees Counseling and Health Promotion Services, Career Development Center, Disability Services, coordinates assessment for the division and is Chair for the Athletic Appeals Committee.

Dr. Tyre is a Nationally Board Certified and State Licensed Counselor and Supervisor. She obtained a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Auburn University and a Masters from Auburn University Montgomery in Community Agency Counseling. She is President Elect for the Alabama Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors, Past-President of the Alabama College Counseling Association, the current Chair of Current Issues and Trends for the Alabama Counseling Association Board. She was selected as the 2008 Alabama Counseling Association, Emerging Leader, the 2006 SACES Emerging Leader, she is a prior board member of Mental Health America and is an active member of the Montgomery Junior League, and a graduate of Leadership Montgomery, Class XXXIII, Emerge Montgomery and the AUM Leadership Team.  She has presented and published at several state and regional conferences in the area of Student Affairs and Counseling.