Meet our Dynamic SSpeakers

See Full Bios Blow

Dr. Cathy Owens

Charlotte, NC

Ms. Waynell Henson

Dallas, TX

Ms. Lavern Thomas

Chicago, IL

Mrs. Cecily Adams

Lenexa, KS

Pastor Patron Thomas

Dallas, TX

Ms. Melody Thuston

Charlotte, NC

Mrs. Alisa Alexander

Allen, TX

Pastor Michael McWilliams

Denton TX

Dr. Cathy "Dr. O" Owens Oliver

Dr. Cathy Owens Oliver is a National Board Certified Teacher. She earned her Ed.D. in Education, Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University.  She has held senior roles at state and national education agencies, including: the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council), the NC Department of Public Instruction, and others). She has served as adjunct faculty for several colleges and universities. She completed leadership and coaching training with the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Dale Carnegie Corporation, Institute for Management Studies, Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development, Rich Lit-vin Group, and the Parker Palmer Center for Courage and Renewal. 

She has presented at many national conferences and written for leading education journals including Accomplished Teacher Magazine, the Journal of Staff Development, and the Hope Foundation’s What Works in Schools newsletter. Her work also appears in the college textbook: Black Star: An Introduction to African-American Studies. She has expertise in effectiveness coaching and group facilitation, organizational leadership, member engagement, professional ethics, policy implementation, school improvement, and adult learning. She has traveled the U.S. and Canada training teachers, school leaders, boards of education, and college faculty.

 

She completed extensive ministerial leadership development under the tutelage of Dr. Otis Lockett, Sr. and has served as a director of ministerial training in NC, MI, and PA.  She is also the Dean of Education for the COGIC IMD and Founder of the Good Girls Got Life national network. Affectionately known as Dr. O, she has led several businesses, education agencies, and ministry leaders in implementing organizational change. Additionally, she invests her time in coaching millennials through personal and professional decision-making.

"That Sunday School Girl"

Waynell Henson

Waynell Henson is a native of Kansas City, Kansas and currently resides in Dallas, TX.  She is a member of Dominion Word Ministries Church of God in Christ serving under the leadership of Pastor Michael McWilliams.

 

Reared at the Henson Memorial Church of God in Christ, Waynell was trained to serve in ministry leadership and to have a love for God’s people. She is a fifth generation member of the Church of God in Christ and has served it on every level.

 

Waynell is known to many as “That Sunday School Girl of www.ThatSundaySchoolGirl.com”  She is a social media influencer and impacts an online community of more than 20,000 (verified) with the weekly video study of God’s Word.  Her Sunday School focused Youtube Channel has been viewed more than 1 million times around the world.  Waynell is a gifted administrator with a unique ability to efficiently and effectively manage ministry affairs and accomplish Kingdom goals.   She is a licensed Evangelist Missionary making a Kingdom contribution as a Sunday School Teacher and Administrative staff member at Dominion Word.  Waynell is the Co-Chairman of the AIM Convention of Kansas East Jurisdiction, Bishop L.F. Thuston, Chairman of the General Assembly, Prelate. She is the Executive Secretary and Director of Finance of the International Sunday School Department. She is also the leader for the International Sunday School Department Millennial Training.

 

She holds the degree of Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in May of 2018.  She also holds an MBA from The University of Mississippi and an undergraduate degree in Business Management from Rust College. Waynell is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  She has a specific passion to encourage young women to be holy women, appropriately applying God’s Word to daily life to experience victorious living and receive and achieve God’s best!

Lavern Thomas

Laverne Thomas is an educator from Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in Englewood with her parents and eight siblings. Being the fifth of nine children, Laverne learned early about the importance of family and the impact it has on a child’s life. Her parents taught all of them very basic yet valuable lessons to adhere to growing up. They all had to know and love God, respect their parents, love one another, educate themselves and serve without hesitation. Her parents not only taught them these family values but they also exemplified it by taking care of children in the community, giving back to families in need and attending church weekly. These examples that Laverne witnessed daily are what catapulted her life’s mission to creating amazing educational, emotional, social and life changing experiences for all of God’s most innocent vessels, children and teens.

These experiences sparked a desire in her to pursue her education in order to effectively impact underserved children and teenagers. She attended Aurora University, in Aurora, Illinois, majoring in both Psychology and Criminal Justice. While working on her dual bachelor’s degree, she joined several organizations such as the Campus Gospel Choir, Black Student Association, Peer Mentoring and her favorite one of all, becoming a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Inc. Before graduating from Aurora University in 2005, she had the opportunity to intern with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Here she created and implemented programs for youth in underserved communities and local school based programs. Working with this population taught Laverne that helping children and adolescents succeed in every area of their lives was something she not only wanted to do, but had to do.

The experiences learned from her internship led her to pursue her graduate education. She attended  graduate school at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, IL earning both a Master of Business Administration (2008), emphasizing on Public and Non-profit Management as well as a Master’s in Educational Administration (2011). Those degrees allowed her to maintain leadership positions in several public agencies that serviced children in the foster care system, juvenile detention centers, government social services and Chicago Public School’s secondary educational system. These direct service and leadership positions allowed her to make immediate change in the lives of youth and their families. All of these experiences prepared Laverne for her current leadership role as the Director of Children and Youth Ministries with New Life Covenant Church South East. Here she is able to impact the children of over 15,000 members and the Grand Crossing community through weekly Sunday services, weekend programs and community partnership initiatives. Under her leadership, the youth ministry will continue to thrive and support the heart of the house to impact the next generations to come. Laverne Thomas currently lives in Chicago in the Washington Heights community with her two children, Daniel and Madison.  

Cecily Adams

Cecily P. Adams was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. She is the 4th child of Lloyd and Jean Henderson.  She received  her entire education in Kansas City, Kansas and graduated from Sumner Academy in 1992.   She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 1996 and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Emporia State University in 2008.

She has served as a teacher at Rosedale Middle School for eight years, a 5th grade teacher at Welborn Elementary School, and presently an 8th grade English teacher at Eisenhower Middle School.   For the various schools, she has sponsored and coached many after school activities such as Drill Team, Student Council, Yearbook, and Cheerleading.  While teaching, she has continued her education by acquiring an English as a Second Language endorsement from Kansas State University, as well as received a certificate of completion in the Teacher’s Technology program from the University of Southern California.  One of her greatest accomplishments was be awarded the Kansas City, Kansas USD 500 “Teacher of the Year” in 2010.  

 

For many years, Cecily attended Madden Temple Church of God in Christ, and served her church as the Choir Directress, Youth President, Sunday School Teacher and Secretary, and a member of the Missionary’s Circle. Presently, she attends New Fellowship Baptist church.  She has done workshops for local churches as well as helped churches organize children’s church.   On the jurisdictional level, Cecily serves as the Coordinator of Music for the Kansas East State Sunshine Band. She is married to the “love of her life” – Troy Adams.  She is the proud mother of Amber and Jaida, and the “Mimi” to her granddaughter, Layla. 

Pastor PatronThomas

Pastor Patron Thomas is a native of Dallas, TX. He is the pastor of High Praise Pentecostal C.O.G.I.C. He heeded the call of God to be a minister of the word in 1998 and served faithfully as an associate minister under the leadership of the late Elder George Clinkscale, Sr. In early 2000, Elder Thomas was appointed as the Assistant Pastor of High Praise Church. After much prayer and fasting, Elder Thomas heeded the call of God to become the Senior Pastor of High Praise after the demise of Elder Clinkscale. Since then God has continually blessed the church as well as the community through the powerful preaching and teaching ministry of Pastor Thomas. In addition to his local church responsibilities, he has served as the Chaplain and Y.P.W.W. President in the North Dallas District under the leadership of the late Bishop Robert L. Asberry and an instructor in the Texas Northeast First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Annual Lyceum under the leadership of the late Bishop J. Neaul Haynes. It is now with great joy and honor that Pastor Thomas serves as the TNE4 Sunday School Superintendent and the Secretary of the Pastor’s & Elder’s Council under the awesome leadership of Bishop Nathiel D. Wells.


Pastor Thomas married to the love of his life, Lady Constance Thomas. From their union they have four children, Sydney, Brooklyn, P.J. (Patron Jr.) and Madison. Together Pastor and Lady Thomas are laboring in the ministry to fulfill God's will in preparing God's people for ministry.

Ms. Melody Thuston

Motto: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Website: http://www.melodythuston.com 

With nearly ten years of public relations experience spanning across B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer), crisis communications, media relations, social media, influencer engagement, experiential engagement and leading c-suite communications Melody R. Thuston is indeed a jack of all trades. In short, she could say “story-telling” is kind of her thing.

Currently, Melody serves as a senior public relations manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement leading CSR (corporate social responsibility) communication efforts in Mooresville, North Carolina. Before Lowe’s, Melody acted as a media relations’ manager at Golin (formally Golin Harris) in Chicago, IL and in this role, she acted as an expert in engaging consumers, and business audiences. Before joining the Golin team, Melody acted as the area sales manager for the Pacific West region at Groupon Getaways with a primary focus on the California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii markets. As an area sales manager, Melody developed dynamic revenue and marketing strategies for 150+ valued hotel partners—helping them exceed their property needs and goals. Melody is the former corporate communications coordinator at Johnson Publishing Company—the preeminent publisher of EBONY and JET magazines and owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Through Melody’s efforts, she secured media coverage in top national outlets including, New York Times, Today Show, W Magazine, ELLE Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, CNN, Huffington Post, and MSNBC.

Previously, Melody worked at Burrell Communications---the leading African-American marketing, advertising, and PR agency. At Burrell, Melody worked on the McDonald’s account in engagement marketing and contributed to the strategic planning for McDonald’s 365Black and Men of McCafé initiatives at the Essence Music Festival.

Melody is native of Kansas City, MO and holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies from Temple University. Thuston enjoys going to church, singing, traveling, trying new restaurants and playing tennis. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the only child to Bishop Lemuel and Lady Marian Thuston.

Mrs. Alisa Alexander

Alisa is a highly qualified motivational speaker, teacher and learning professional who holds degrees from Baylor University and Texas Woman’s University.  Because enriching the lives of others is her passion, she considers it a privilege to have built a career and more importantly a life helping others.

Alisa is elated to have shared twelve of those years enriching the lives of women at Mary Kay. While responsible for many opportunities at Mary Kay, career highlights have included creating the first career development program for its multimillion dollar earning new Independent National Sales Directors, coordinating a global professional development conference for new Nationals to include nine countries and six languages and creating the first educational web series, the very popular internet talk show, Power Class. In addition to featuring Mary Kay’s most elite sales force, the show opened the door to create a studio for film production at Mary Kay and provided a prototype for more web-based learning for Mary Kay’s amazing sales force. More recently, Alisa has been given the awesome responsibility of designing and implementing the educational strategy for new leaders at Mary Kay. To educate, empower and motivate this amazing audience, she’s created three yearly empowerment conferences, monthly learning opportunities available via text, numerous interactive live stream opportunities, an onboarding webpage and online lessons via MKU and MKU for Sales Directors.

She’s taught in civic and religious settings, schools and college at Texas Woman’s University.  This passion for education has also provided an opportunity to co-author the textbook, Women in Sociology.

Much of Alisa’s professional background is in coaching, facilitation, training and education. As a result, she’s worked internationally as a lead instructor and Director for the Canadian-based world’s largest train-the-trainer company.

On a personal note, Alisa is a wife and mom who loves to write and sing and is a featured soloist on several gospel CDs, including the Grammy award-winning Potter’s House Choir’s Live in Kenya CD. She’s also a featured soloist on Amazing Grace, The Soundtrack CD. This powerful CD was the soundtrack for a stage play that’s toured in Canada and is being shared at a symposium promoting faith and mental health.

Meet our Dynamic SSpeakers

See Full Bios Blow

Dr. Cathy Owens

Charlotte, NC

Ms. Waynell Henson

Dallas, TX

Ms. Lavern Thomas

Chicago, IL

Mrs. Cecily Adams

Lenexa, KS

Pastor Patron Thomas

Dallas, TX

Ms. Melody Thuston

Charlotte, NC

Mrs. Alisa Alexander

Allen, TX

Pastor Michael McWilliams

Denton TX

Dr. Cathy "Dr. O" Owens Oliver

Dr. Cathy Owens Oliver is a National Board Certified Teacher. She earned her Ed.D. in Education, Leadership, Management, and Policy at Seton Hall University.  She has held senior roles at state and national education agencies, including: the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Learning Forward (formerly the National Staff Development Council), the NC Department of Public Instruction, and others). She has served as adjunct faculty for several colleges and universities. She completed leadership and coaching training with the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Dale Carnegie Corporation, Institute for Management Studies, Jack McDowell School for Leadership Development, Rich Lit-vin Group, and the Parker Palmer Center for Courage and Renewal. 

She has presented at many national conferences and written for leading education journals including Accomplished Teacher Magazine, the Journal of Staff Development, and the Hope Foundation’s What Works in Schools newsletter. Her work also appears in the college textbook: Black Star: An Introduction to African-American Studies. She has expertise in effectiveness coaching and group facilitation, organizational leadership, member engagement, professional ethics, policy implementation, school improvement, and adult learning. She has traveled the U.S. and Canada training teachers, school leaders, boards of education, and college faculty.

 

She completed extensive ministerial leadership development under the tutelage of Dr. Otis Lockett, Sr. and has served as a director of ministerial training in NC, MI, and PA.  She is also the Dean of Education for the COGIC IMD and Founder of the Good Girls Got Life national network. Affectionately known as Dr. O, she has led several businesses, education agencies, and ministry leaders in implementing organizational change. Additionally, she invests her time in coaching millennials through personal and professional decision-making.

"That Sunday School Girl"

Waynell Henson

Waynell Henson is a native of Kansas City, Kansas and currently resides in Dallas, TX.  She is a member of Dominion Word Ministries Church of God in Christ serving under the leadership of Pastor Michael McWilliams.

 

Reared at the Henson Memorial Church of God in Christ, Waynell was trained to serve in ministry leadership and to have a love for God’s people. She is a fifth generation member of the Church of God in Christ and has served it on every level.

 

Waynell is known to many as “That Sunday School Girl of www.ThatSundaySchoolGirl.com”  She is a social media influencer and impacts an online community of more than 20,000 (verified) with the weekly video study of God’s Word.  Her Sunday School focused Youtube Channel has been viewed more than 1 million times around the world.  Waynell is a gifted administrator with a unique ability to efficiently and effectively manage ministry affairs and accomplish Kingdom goals.   She is a licensed Evangelist Missionary making a Kingdom contribution as a Sunday School Teacher and Administrative staff member at Dominion Word.  Waynell is the Co-Chairman of the AIM Convention of Kansas East Jurisdiction, Bishop L.F. Thuston, Chairman of the General Assembly, Prelate. She is the Executive Secretary and Director of Finance of the International Sunday School Department. She is also the leader for the International Sunday School Department Millennial Training.

 

She holds the degree of Juris Doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law in May of 2018.  She also holds an MBA from The University of Mississippi and an undergraduate degree in Business Management from Rust College. Waynell is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  She has a specific passion to encourage young women to be holy women, appropriately applying God’s Word to daily life to experience victorious living and receive and achieve God’s best!

Lavern Thomas

Laverne Thomas is an educator from Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in Englewood with her parents and eight siblings. Being the fifth of nine children, Laverne learned early about the importance of family and the impact it has on a child’s life. Her parents taught all of them very basic yet valuable lessons to adhere to growing up. They all had to know and love God, respect their parents, love one another, educate themselves and serve without hesitation. Her parents not only taught them these family values but they also exemplified it by taking care of children in the community, giving back to families in need and attending church weekly. These examples that Laverne witnessed daily are what catapulted her life’s mission to creating amazing educational, emotional, social and life changing experiences for all of God’s most innocent vessels, children and teens.

These experiences sparked a desire in her to pursue her education in order to effectively impact underserved children and teenagers. She attended Aurora University, in Aurora, Illinois, majoring in both Psychology and Criminal Justice. While working on her dual bachelor’s degree, she joined several organizations such as the Campus Gospel Choir, Black Student Association, Peer Mentoring and her favorite one of all, becoming a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Inc. Before graduating from Aurora University in 2005, she had the opportunity to intern with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Here she created and implemented programs for youth in underserved communities and local school based programs. Working with this population taught Laverne that helping children and adolescents succeed in every area of their lives was something she not only wanted to do, but had to do.

The experiences learned from her internship led her to pursue her graduate education. She attended  graduate school at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, IL earning both a Master of Business Administration (2008), emphasizing on Public and Non-profit Management as well as a Master’s in Educational Administration (2011). Those degrees allowed her to maintain leadership positions in several public agencies that serviced children in the foster care system, juvenile detention centers, government social services and Chicago Public School’s secondary educational system. These direct service and leadership positions allowed her to make immediate change in the lives of youth and their families. All of these experiences prepared Laverne for her current leadership role as the Director of Children and Youth Ministries with New Life Covenant Church South East. Here she is able to impact the children of over 15,000 members and the Grand Crossing community through weekly Sunday services, weekend programs and community partnership initiatives. Under her leadership, the youth ministry will continue to thrive and support the heart of the house to impact the next generations to come. Laverne Thomas currently lives in Chicago in the Washington Heights community with her two children, Daniel and Madison.  

Cecily Adams

Cecily P. Adams was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. She is the 4th child of Lloyd and Jean Henderson.  She received  her entire education in Kansas City, Kansas and graduated from Sumner Academy in 1992.   She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from MidAmerica Nazarene University in 1996 and a Master of Science in Educational Administration from Emporia State University in 2008.

She has served as a teacher at Rosedale Middle School for eight years, a 5th grade teacher at Welborn Elementary School, and presently an 8th grade English teacher at Eisenhower Middle School.   For the various schools, she has sponsored and coached many after school activities such as Drill Team, Student Council, Yearbook, and Cheerleading.  While teaching, she has continued her education by acquiring an English as a Second Language endorsement from Kansas State University, as well as received a certificate of completion in the Teacher’s Technology program from the University of Southern California.  One of her greatest accomplishments was be awarded the Kansas City, Kansas USD 500 “Teacher of the Year” in 2010.  

 

For many years, Cecily attended Madden Temple Church of God in Christ, and served her church as the Choir Directress, Youth President, Sunday School Teacher and Secretary, and a member of the Missionary’s Circle. Presently, she attends New Fellowship Baptist church.  She has done workshops for local churches as well as helped churches organize children’s church.   On the jurisdictional level, Cecily serves as the Coordinator of Music for the Kansas East State Sunshine Band. She is married to the “love of her life” – Troy Adams.  She is the proud mother of Amber and Jaida, and the “Mimi” to her granddaughter, Layla. 

Pastor PatronThomas

Pastor Patron Thomas is a native of Dallas, TX. He is the pastor of High Praise Pentecostal C.O.G.I.C. He heeded the call of God to be a minister of the word in 1998 and served faithfully as an associate minister under the leadership of the late Elder George Clinkscale, Sr. In early 2000, Elder Thomas was appointed as the Assistant Pastor of High Praise Church. After much prayer and fasting, Elder Thomas heeded the call of God to become the Senior Pastor of High Praise after the demise of Elder Clinkscale. Since then God has continually blessed the church as well as the community through the powerful preaching and teaching ministry of Pastor Thomas. In addition to his local church responsibilities, he has served as the Chaplain and Y.P.W.W. President in the North Dallas District under the leadership of the late Bishop Robert L. Asberry and an instructor in the Texas Northeast First Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Annual Lyceum under the leadership of the late Bishop J. Neaul Haynes. It is now with great joy and honor that Pastor Thomas serves as the TNE4 Sunday School Superintendent and the Secretary of the Pastor’s & Elder’s Council under the awesome leadership of Bishop Nathiel D. Wells.


Pastor Thomas married to the love of his life, Lady Constance Thomas. From their union they have four children, Sydney, Brooklyn, P.J. (Patron Jr.) and Madison. Together Pastor and Lady Thomas are laboring in the ministry to fulfill God's will in preparing God's people for ministry.

Ms. Melody Thuston

Motto: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Website: http://www.melodythuston.com 

With nearly ten years of public relations experience spanning across B2B (business to business), B2C (business to consumer), crisis communications, media relations, social media, influencer engagement, experiential engagement and leading c-suite communications Melody R. Thuston is indeed a jack of all trades. In short, she could say “story-telling” is kind of her thing.

Currently, Melody serves as a senior public relations manager for Lowe’s Home Improvement leading CSR (corporate social responsibility) communication efforts in Mooresville, North Carolina. Before Lowe’s, Melody acted as a media relations’ manager at Golin (formally Golin Harris) in Chicago, IL and in this role, she acted as an expert in engaging consumers, and business audiences. Before joining the Golin team, Melody acted as the area sales manager for the Pacific West region at Groupon Getaways with a primary focus on the California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii markets. As an area sales manager, Melody developed dynamic revenue and marketing strategies for 150+ valued hotel partners—helping them exceed their property needs and goals. Melody is the former corporate communications coordinator at Johnson Publishing Company—the preeminent publisher of EBONY and JET magazines and owner of Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Through Melody’s efforts, she secured media coverage in top national outlets including, New York Times, Today Show, W Magazine, ELLE Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, CNN, Huffington Post, and MSNBC.

Previously, Melody worked at Burrell Communications---the leading African-American marketing, advertising, and PR agency. At Burrell, Melody worked on the McDonald’s account in engagement marketing and contributed to the strategic planning for McDonald’s 365Black and Men of McCafé initiatives at the Essence Music Festival.

Melody is native of Kansas City, MO and holds a Master of Arts degree in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies from Temple University. Thuston enjoys going to church, singing, traveling, trying new restaurants and playing tennis. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the only child to Bishop Lemuel and Lady Marian Thuston.

Mrs. Alisa Alexander

Meet our Dynamic SSpeakers

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