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The CFLS Speakers Bureau is a syndicate of women who speak professionally on their powerful lived experiences. Speakers Bureau members are fierce and resilient women who wish to share their stories with the world in order to empower others and effect change.

Members of the CFLS Speakers Bureau are available for hire for panel discussions, trainings, conferences, and other events. To hire a speaker, please contact Mackenzie Mcswain at mlmcswain@cflsdc.org.




CFLS Speakers Bureau Members

Marlene Aiyejinmi

Marlene Aiyejinmi has ten years of experience as a customer service representative. She is currently attending Community College Preparatory Academy in Washington, DC. Her public speaking experience includes talking about being homeless with HIV/AIDS on the Hill; speaking at a Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) conference; and speaking at a HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration (HAHSTA) meeting.


Her topic areas include Anger Management, Childhood Abuse, Cycle of Abuse, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, HIV Prevention and Awareness, Maternal Health, and Mental Health.

jacqueline campbell

In the past year, Jacqueline Campbell served as the first resident advocate at the Conway Center, a mixed-use facility built by So Others May Eat (SOME). In this role, she served as a resource, advocate, and supporter of the residents at Conway. She gave the welcome address at her high school graduation and spoke at SOME’s addiction treatment program graduation.


Her topic areas include Children of Drug Addiction, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, Healthy Relationships, Health Self-esteem, Medical Disease, Substance Abuse and Recovery, and Surviving Domestic Violence.

Sherrie Davis

Sherri Davis is a former DC Public Schools teacher and recipient of the 2008 TEAM Award. She previously owned a tax preparation company, which she single-handedly grew to four retail locations and over 5,000 clients. Sherri is also a formerly incarcerated woman. She now uses her testimony to encourage, uplift, motivate, and guide others. Today, she is a graduate of the Georgetown University PIVOT Program, which provides returning citizens with entrepreneurship training. She attained her AA, BA, and MBA in Business Administration at Strayer University, and from Trinity University she earned a Teaching degree in Elementary Education. 


Topic Areas Include: Reentry Process and Policies, Programs in Prison, Mass Incarceration, Prison Reform, Childhood Abuse, Teen Pregnancy/Young Motherhood, Mental Health and Incarceration (Paranoid Schizophrenia), Healthy Self-Esteem, Surviving Abuse, Affordable Housing, Felony Disenfranchisement, Prison Gerrymandering, Grief/Loss of a Loved One

Jarnese Harris

Jarnese Harris is an executive assistant at The National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens. She was interviewed by HomeOneSource about her work at The National Reentry Network and she has been a leader for a reintegration support circle of 7-8 people.


Her topic areas include Codependency, Healthy Relationships, Human Trafficking, Mass Incarceration, Prison Reform, Programs in Prison, Reducing Recidivism, Reentry Process and Policies, and Surviving Domestic Violence.

Khadjia Jones

Strong is one distinctive word to use when describing Khadija Jones. As a foster care youth, Khadija rose above statistics, labels, and stereotypes. Khadija uses her voice to empower women to share their stories, dismiss stigmas, and focus on healing. By day, you can find her managing rental properties in the nation’s Capital while simultaneously educating, encouraging, and inspiring women to speak up and tell their stories. Khadija received her BA from Morgan State University and is an activist and advocate for young mothers experiencing barriers. She is a former foster care youth, a doula/lactation consultant, and Certified Property Manager. 


Topic Areas Include: Maternal Health, Teen Pregnancy/Young Motherhood, Youth Education, Foster Care Reform, Childhood Abuse, Cycle of Abuse 

Charnal moody

Charnal Moody is an event planner and youth organizer with The WIRE: Women Involved in Reentry Efforts. Before her training with the Speakers Bureau, she took a public speaking course at Prince George’s Community College and received coaching through an entrepreneurship program. She also facilitated a workshop at the Maryland Correctional Institute for women preparing for their release. She is a yoga instructor and uses her training to support the wellness of formerly incarcerated women.


Her topic areas include Anger Management, Childhood Abuse, Community Health, Cycle of Abuse, Family Reunification, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Self-esteem, Juvenile Reform, Maternal Health, Overcoming Adversity, Poverty, Surviving Abuse, Surviving Domestic Violence, and Teen Pregnancy/Young Motherhood. 

aaliyah polite

Aaliyah Polite is a behavior and educational aide at Ballou Senior High School in DC and a violence interrupter with the National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens’ “Cure the Streets.” She was also a Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program supervisor through the DC Department of Employment Services. In college, she was the keynote speaker for her sorority’s new member ceremony.


Her topic areas include Children of Drug Addiction, Community Support, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, Juvenile Reform, Overcoming Adversity, Reentry Process and Policies, and Youth Education.

jennifer speight

Jennifer Speight works at the Fair Budget Coalition. She has lead community organizing efforts around the closing of DC General Shelter and for the homeless population in DC. She has spoken at community meetings at her daughter’s school and at her church. She has also testified before DC City Council.


Her topic areas include Affordable Housing, Anger Management, Childhood Abuse, Community Health, Community Support, Healthcare, Healthy Relationships, Homelessness, Juvenile Reform, Maternal Health, Medical Misdiagnosis, Mental Health, Overcoming Adversity, Poverty, Prison Reform, Violence Prevention, and Youth Education.

heidi Christainsen

In Memorium: Heidi Christiansen


The Speakers Bureau remembers Heidi Christiansen with great affection. Heidi Christiansen was the mother of a 23-year-old son and grandmother to a 1-year-old girl. Prior to her involvement with the justice system, she was an accomplished entrepreneur. She earned an MBA from Tulane University, and her work focused on financial systems restructuring in the oil industry in South Louisiana. She was the survivor of domestic violence by her ex-husband for over 15 years. We continue remember Heidi as a warm, giving, and caring individual who stays with the Speakers Bureau in spirit.


O.A. has a history of working on political movements and health education in her home country of Uganda. Since seeking asylum in the United States from political persecution, O. has become an active public speaker and advocate through the Asylum Seeker Assistance Project (ASAP) and the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition. She has received public speaking/storytelling training from ASAP.


Her topic areas include Childhood Abuse, Community Health, Cycle of Abuse, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, HIV Prevention and Awareness, Maternal Health, Political Persecution, Poverty, Surviving Abuse, Surviving Domestic Violence, Surviving Sexual Abuse, Teen Pregnancy/Young Motherhood, and Youth Education.

diane carter

Diane Carter works in gender-responsive criminal justice reform, social support, and advocacy for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women. A formerly incarcerated woman herself, Diane specializes in HIV support, substance abuse, and reentry. While in prison, Diane acquired her GED, and later, she obtained her Bachelor’s degree at the University of the District of Columbia.


Topic Areas Include: Reentry Process and Policies, Children of Drug Addiction, Programs in Prison, Substance Abuse and Recovery, Community Health, HIV Prevention and Awareness

sierra Hale

Sierra Hale grew up in the foster care system between ages twelve to twenty-one, living with over five different families. She endured childhood trauma, and from the ages of 12 to 14 she was a victim of sex trafficking. After intensive trauma treatment, Sierra completed her high school diploma. She is now a fierce advocate for preventing sex trafficking and supporting women and girls with mental wellness. She has spoken at the Maryland Department of Social Services’ foster parent trainings and is an active member of the HER Resilience Center.


Her topic areas include Childhood Abuse, Community Support, Foster Care Reform, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, Mental Health, and Maternal Health.

Carmen Johnson

Carmen Johnson is the founder and CEO of the Katie Able Foundation, which teaches financial literacy to students and adults. She has also served as Board of Director for the region for the US Army and served as the housing chair for the Maryland chapter of the NAACP. Prior to her incarceration, she led political rallies and spoke in front of a crowd of 5,000 homeowners.


Her topic areas include Higher Education in Prison, Mental Health, Prison Reform, Programs in Prison, Solitary Confinement, and Surviving Abuse.

crystal marshall

Crystal Marshall has worked as a cook and lead culinary specialist, and she previously worked as a workforce development specialist at DC Central Kitchen. Prior to her training with the Speakers Bureau, she spoke at several conferences and forums through DC Central Kitchen, Suited for Change, and Trauma Informed Youth.

Her topic areas include Gun Violence Prevention, Healthcare, Homelessness, Juvenile Reform, Reentry Process and Policies, Substance Abuse and Recovery, and Trauma-informed care.

Tanisha murden

Tanisha Murden was born and raised in Washington, D.C. She continues to cope with past trauma including kidnapping, molestation, abuse, drug addiction, and abandonment. Her experiences as a youth led her into the foster care system, residential treatment facilities, psychiatric institutions, group homes, and eventually the juvenile and adult justice systems.


But through all this, her energy and drive were not defeated; she returned from incarceration and obtained her High School Diploma at Booker T. Washington Public Charter School. She earned a certification in Customer Service, and she enrolled in the University of the District of Columbia to pursue her degree in Social Work. She is the founder of Unity & Faith LLC, Program Director of The W.I.R.E (Women Involved in Re-Entry Efforts), and the Co-chair of the Commission on Reentry and Returning Citizen Affairs. Tanisha is also a member of The National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.


Topic Areas Include: Reentry Process and Policies, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Self-Esteem, Foster Care Reform, Substance Abuse and Recovery, Surviving Abuse, Surviving Sexual Abuse, Surviving Domestic Violence, Youth Education

Maliha Shaikh

Maliha Shaikh is an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. After surviving abuse in a long-term relationship and fighting for her life and the lives of her children, Maliha is now empowered to share her story. After living in secret for years, she has undergone the process of escaping severe domestic abuse and rebuilding her life with her children. Maliha is a first-hand messenger for the community to realize red flags in relationships, and she provides valuable insight as to how the healing process begins. 


Topic Areas Include: Surviving Domestic Violence, Community Support, Cycle of Abuse, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Self-Esteem, Maternal Health, Young Motherhood

Shirl stephens

Shirl Stephens is a founding member of The WIRE: Women Involved in Reentry Efforts and a former outreach worker at the National Association for the Advancement of Returning Citizens (NAARC), a gun violence prevention and intervention organization. In recovery for nearly ten years, she is also a peer support specialist and recovery coach with the DC Department of Behavioral Health. Shirl has testified before DC City Council and spoken at Eleanor Holmes Norton’s reelection campaign.


Her topic areas include Family Reunification HIV Prevention and Awareness, Reentry Process and Policies, and Substance Abuse and Recovery.

Helenia bragg

Helenia Bragg is a three-time returning citizen and a reformed survivor of over 40 years of substance abuse. During her last period of incarceration, she earned vocational certificates in Substance Abuse Matrix Co-F, Breaking Barriers, HVAC, Building Maintenance, and Entrepreneurship, as well as an Associate’s Degree from Piedmont Virginia Community College. Through her educational accomplishments, she developed self-worth and a thirst for knowledge. In May of 2019, she received a Bachelor's degree from Marymount University at the age of 62. She is in the process of establishing a non-profit S.H.E. (Seeking Higher Employment) for female returning citizens who have education and/or vocational accomplishments.


Topic Areas Include: Reentry Process and Policies, Programs in Prison, Higher Education in Prison, Reducing Recidivism, Prison Reform, Substance Abuse and Recovery

Enidsia Darby-Gill

Enidsia Darby-Gill is a formerly incarcerated woman, a wife, and a mother of four. Ms. Darby-Gill is currently employed at MBI Health Services as an Executive Assistant, and prior to her new position she served as the Staff Assistant at the Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs. She is a full-time student at Strayer University where she is pursuing her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management, and she is also a licensed cosmetologist. 


Topic Areas Include: Reentry Process and Policies, Programs in Prison, Prison Reform, Family Reunification, Solitary Confinement, Domestic Violence, Pregnancy in Prison 

Sakenia hammond

Sakenia Hammond is a born-and-raised Washingtonian. Growing up was not easy in a single-parent home; raised by her mother, she never knew father and had to learn many things on her own to overcome her surroundings. Arrested and sentenced to thirty-six years for a violent crime, Sakenia eventually made it to parole and was released in 2016. Since her release, she has facilitated public speaking engagements on what it is like to be incarcerated, maintaining relationships with family members, and how to reintegrate into the community post-incarceration. Sakenia was featured in a documentary called “Becoming Free,” which depicts her personal story of incarceration and entering a new world after sixteen years of imprisonment. Sakenia now has her business license with a small business in the Beauty Mobile Salon.


Topic Areas Include: Gang Violence, Surviving Sexual Abuse, Substance Abuse and Recovery, Reentry Process and Policies, Programs in Prison, Prison Reform

Sandra johnson

Sandra Johnson is an advocate for those living with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities. Throughout her life, she has experienced abuse, discrimination, addiction, and incarceration. She has spoken for CSOSA, and at the former Betterway Program in DC.


Her topic areas include Children of Drug Addiction, Cycle of Abuse, Mass Incarceration, Physical Disability, Surviving Abuse, and Surviving Domestic Abuse.

mariam a.m.

Mariam is the co-founder of Circle of Sisterhood, a support group for Muslim women in Sterling, Virginia. She was also the co-founder and director of Ikram Foundation, which seeks to enhance the dignity of women by empowering them through education. She also worked in an advocacy position with Faith—a social service agency in Virginia—within the Safe Haven supervised visitation center. Originally from Afghanistan, she has been involved in relief work, community service, and religious sensitivity training from a young age.


Her topic areas include Community Support, Healthy Relationships, Healthy Self-esteem, Muslim/Islam Education, and Surviving Domestic Violence.

nakia nicholson

Nakia Nicholson is a mother born and native Washingtonian. A certified violence interrupter in the Ward 8 community, Nakia has spoken before DC Council and become an advocate for change in her community. She has experienced complex trauma since childhood, and as she continues to grow personally and professionally, she is now using her story as a platform to assist other young girls in garnering the confidence to share their own stories. Now, she is a "Girl Interrupted, Reconstructed." Nakia has a desire to inform youth that it is okay to speak up, and she is a living testimony of transforming her problems into solutions, helping to redirect young women toward more positive futures.


Topic Areas Include: Surviving Abuse, Childhood Abuse, Surviving Sexual Abuse, Surviving Domestic Violence, Surviving Homelessness, Juvenile Reform 

Beverly smith

Beverly F. Smith-Brown is the founder of Momma’s Safe Haven, a nonprofit organization. She is the author of He Kept Me, as well as a filmmaker, a TV Show host, a transformational speaker, a curator, a wife, mother, grandmother, and a “forever student.” Mrs. Brown is dedicated to offering support to those who have experienced any of the trauma she has endured such as gang rap, domestic violence, homelessness, incarceration and the death of her loved ones.


Topic Areas Include: Children of Drug Addiction, Surviving Domestic Violence, Teen Pregnancy/Young Motherhood, Surviving Sexual Abuse, Substance Abuse and Recovery, Surviving Homelessness, Grief/Loss of a Loved One, Prison Reform, Programs in Prison, Reducing Recidivism, Reentry Process and Policies

gloria tyndle

Gloria Tyndle believes we accumulate wisdom through all aspects of our lives, whether enjoyable or challenging. She speaks about the realities our choices can bring to us. She also speaks about addiction, co-dependence, incarceration, impulsivity, and other related factors with which she has struggled. Gloria is also a songwriter and music artist.


Topic Areas Include: Codependency, Anger Management, Solitary Confinement, Cycle of Abuse, Surviving Domestic Violence, Healthy Self-Esteem, Healthy Relationships, Overcoming Adversity

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