Welcome to 9×9
Friday, September 23 | 12 – 2 p.m.
WOSU Ross Community Studio
9×9 is a TED-like showcase featuring 9 emerging speakers, each delivering a 9-minute talk. This event is produced by Articulation, under the direction of our founder, Ruth Milligan.
Meet Our 9X9 Speakers
Bios are provided below.
ENGAGE (Everyone Needs Guidance And Grace Everyday)
Rita McNeil Danish
Together WE Rise
The Hacker Mindset
Keeping Kids Happy While Parenting Apart: Lessons from My Asshole Parents
Breaking All the Rules: Philanthropy on Your Terms
Beyond System 1 and 2: The Brain Science of Why Kids are Smarter than You
Making Something Out of Nothing
The Essence of Belonging
9×9 Speaker Bios
Lachandra B. Baker, MBA, CDP, ABC, CTA (she/her) is an Engagement, Culture, and Inclusion practitioner and Founder/Principal Consultant at LBB Edutainment, LLC.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Central Washington University, majoring in Hospitality Management and Communications. and her MBA with a Marketing specialization from the University of the Southwest. She is an Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) and a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for the Greater Columbus Region. She is a two-time graduate of Cornell University’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion certification programs (CDP) and was named one of Columbus’ Future50 leaders in 2021 and a WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development) Woman WELDing the Way 2022 honoree.
Mrs. Baker is an award-winning communicator and five-time TEDx speaker/performer. She is very active in the community and is a popular and highly-engaging emcee and host. She volunteers through Experience Columbus and Besa for many events, activities, and festivals around the city.
In her free time, she enjoys experiencing new cultures, eating great food, and doing fun projects with her family.
Rita McNeil Danish
A highly accomplished attorney, transformational leader, and community changemaker, Rita McNeil Danish possesses more than 30 years of professional legal experience across a range of industries and business sectors. In her roles as partner and consultant, Rita is especially skilled at fostering intercultural interactions that embrace and celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion, resulting in communities that are both empowered and strengthened. Leveraging her breadth and depth of insights into municipal and government law, she has a proven history of building bridges across party, racial, and gender lines, fostering open cultures, dismantling prejudices, and empowering individuals to uniquely contribute to society.
Rita’s work is that of passion and history. Her mother, an English professor, and her father, a Chicago criminal defense attorney and civil rights leader, established a foundation committed to community, advocacy, and justice and that fueled Rita’s pursuit of law. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from Howard University and her Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University College of Law. Her law career began at Schottenstein, Zox and Dunn (now Ice Miller) before she moved to the Governor’s office as Assistant Deputy Legal Counsel. She then transitioned to the Ohio Department of Commerce as Chief Legal Counsel & Acting Superintendent of the Division of Real Estate, a role in which she thrived.
In 1994, Rita served as Magistrate of Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic & Juvenile Division before she was later invited by the Attorney General to serve the Ohio AG’s Civil Rights Section as Section Chief. In 1998, she moved to the City of Dayton as City Attorney & Director of Law where she began her work forging positive relationships with police. This work proved pivotal when, in 2002, she moved to the City of Cincinnati, one of the world’s top five most competitive cities, to serve as the City Solicitor. There she negotiated and implemented one of the nation’s landmark and most notable memorandum of agreements with the Department of Justice, delivering critical police reform.
In 2008, Rita transitioned to Vice President for Government Affairs for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and in 2010 she was recruited to the City of Greensboro to serve as the City Attorney. In 2014, she was appointed by then-Governor John Kasich to serve as a Judge in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Domestic & Juvenile Division.
Throughout her career, Rita has worked as Of Counsel & Associate with Crabbe, Brown & James where she transformed the culture to better encompass DEI. Additionally, Rita serves clients as the Founder, CEO, and Principal of JD2 Strategists, LLC, and she is currently a Partner and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Business Partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP. In both roles, she diligently supports and provides counsel to small, minority- and women-owned businesses. Through collaboration and communication, Rita engages elected officials, state legislators, community stakeholders, and business leaders to find a foundation of unity on which to build systems that deliver safer communities with justice for all.
The first ten years of Stephanie’s career began with a focus on ethical hacking, reverse engineering, and advanced vulnerability analysis as a defense contractor, building a deep knowledge and passion for the hacker mindset.
Stephanie later pivoted her offensive skills to the defense building and leading two cybersecurity businesses focused on defense of embedded systems, medical devices and the healthcare industry.
She serves as a prominent industry consultant and advisor with a broad range of tech companies and device manufacturers, from the newest startups to the industry giants.
Stephanie is currently the Chief Security Technology Strategist for Intel where she owns the cross-Intel security technology strategy, formulating and implementing strategies that will accelerate Intel’s strength, competitiveness, and revenue growth in the area of Security, spanning hardware such as processors, graphics, networking, memory, but also software and security solutions. She is a passionate educator, strategist, speaker, advisor, and all things security enthusiast.
She is a native of Columbus, graduate of The Ohio State University and is married to another ethical hacker, with whom she has 4 children. They reside in Newark, Ohio.
Attorney, entrepreneur, facilitator, and speaker, Christian Family, Esq. is a twice-divorced, adult child of divorce, co-parenting mother of three, whose still divorced parents live with her. Drawing on personal life experience and 20 years as a practicing family lawyer, Christian shifts paradigms around divorce and co-parenting. Her transparency and vulnerability inspire the kind of introspection that creates change.
In what could easily be a sitcom, Christian is living the proposition that divorce doesn’t have to destroy families. She is intimately acquainted with the joy available when divorce and co-parenting are done amicably, and with the devastation children experience when it isn’t. High stress and anxiety in co-parenting relationships is the unfortunate norm, but Christian offers keys to a new normal. Through her engaging workshops and talks Christian unlocks ideas that support lasting change and healed relationships.
Christian earned her law degree from Case Western Reserve University and her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Rochester. She is a thought-leader in the area of family law and is sought after to mentor young lawyers in the field. Christian has completed programs in transformational facilitation with Next Level Trainings and in entrepreneurship with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Christian is also the host of the Asshole Parents with Christian Family podcast and in 2019 presented a Tedx Talk titled “Real Talk About Divorce.”
First-generation American and Columbus, OH resident, Sophia Fifner is an advocate, mother, #metoo survivor, pageant queen, philanthropist and social changemaker.
Sophia has spent over 15 years advancing her career in philanthropy. She has worked with multiple social justice and gender equity nonprofits, helping them leverage an intersectionality- and equity-driven lens to further their missions. At present, she works as Director of Communications and Executive Director of the NiSource Charitable Foundation.
As one of the founding members of the nonpartisan Ohio Matriots Political Action Committee, Sophia brings women leaders together from both sides of the aisle to engage in important conversations—whether regarding economic equity, access to education, or the health and safety of their surrounding communities. She is passionate about increasing female representation in public office and working to narrow the gap between female political power and buying power.
Since 2014, Sophia has volunteered as a Speakers Bureau Volunteer for RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) and continues to volunteer her time and share her story in support of other victims of sexual violence. She also serves on the Survivor Advisory Council of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence and the Board of Directors of the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio.
Angus Fletcher (PhD, Yale) is Professor of Story Science at Ohio State University’s Project Narrative. He has dual degrees in neuroscience and narrative theory and is one of the world’s leading academic experts on human intelligence—the science of why humans outperform computers at creativity, low-data decision making, empathy, and other mental tasks that are critical for effective leadership and organizational growth.
His research has been called “mind-blowing” by Malcolm Gladwell and “life-changing” by Brené Brown, and his recent work with US Special Operations has yielded a “revolutionary” new science of creative leadership published in Harvard Business Review (2022) and The New York Academy of Sciences (2022). Other recent scholarship includes his 2022 peer-reviewed proof that computer AI will never innovate technology or develop original business plans, and his identification of 25 story formulas that increase courage, focus, scientific thinking, and other mental abilities (Wonderworks, Simon & Schuster, 2021).
He has consulted for dozens of corporate leaders worldwide, from Midwestern Fortune 50 c-suites to Silicon Valley B-Series startups to billion-dollar London hedge funds. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the New York Academy of Medicine. His current books are Plan2 (Simon and Schuster), Storythinking (Columbia University Press), and Make it New (Princeton University Press).
DeAndre “Coach Poo” Gaston is a fitness coach, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and social activist. He is the founder and executive director of Go Tyme Grynd (GTG), a movement of underdogs bringing fitness and wellness to those often locked out of opportunity. With a unique business model that is affordable and accessible, GTG is tailored to push each individual to their greatest potential.
DeAndre was born and raised in the inner-city of Toledo, Ohio to a teen mom and a family that was the product of generational poverty. A focused, precocious student and a promising athlete, DeAndre avoided getting caught up in his environment, until the age of 18, when, with no previous criminal activity, he committed a crime and was sentenced to 16 years in prison. After facing the reality of the extreme trajectory his life had taken, DeAndre refused to allow this new level of suppression to be the ending of what he knew his life was about. Through faith, optimism, discipline, and familial support he managed to overcome the malevolent force of prison. He dug deep within to transform the stagnating pain of prison into fodder for a flaming determination to be free. He began to develop into a man of honor and purpose and rekindled his passion of being a black man that was more than a statistic.
DeAndre used the oppression of incarceration as an opportunity to develop and prepare for a life of freedom, success, and impact. Along with the establishment of Go Tyme Grynd, DeAndre is also Healing Broken Circles’ 2022 Entrepreneurial Fellow, and is a key speaker and emcee for the non-profit’s creative platform The Back Wall. He is also the Virtual Engagement Manager for Think Make Live Youth of Columbus, Ohio. He is fluent in Ancient Greek and the Hebrew languages, developed and facilitated the 2021 African American history program for Marion Correctional, and regularly speaks at the Joshua Treatment Center in Holland, Ohio. In 2020, DeAndre’s moving account of covid in prison was published as part of Michelle Alexander’s editorial in the New York Times titled Let Our People Go.
DeAndre has an Associates in Business Administration from Marion Technical College and is an International Sports Science Association (ISSA) Certified Elite Level Personal Trainer. He is a Toastmaster’s Certified Advanced Communicator and Competent Leader. From 2015-2018 he was Chairmen of the NAACP Youth Works Committee in Marion, Ohio, and, from 2014-2016, was a Peer Leader and Coach with the Horizons Interfaith Program. In 2019, DeAndre completed the Diversity and Inclusions Social Justice Consultant and Guest Lecturer curriculum of The Ohio State University Inside Out Prison Exchange Program.
DeAndre believes that the key to transforming our lives and communities is to discover the value of the resources within and around us. He uses his story to provoke people, especially youth, to use what they have to make an impact where they are. He moves people to turn their proverbial “nothing” into something. DeAndre Gaston is determined to utilize the platforms afforded to him to tell his story and empower his people.
Dr. Pascal Losambe is the Co-Founder, Chief Content Officer, and consultant for Synergy Consulting Company. Dr. Losambe has a Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from Middlebury College and a Master of Science in Biology with a focus on Neurobiology from Boston College where he received the Donald J. White award for teaching excellence, a distinguished honor given annually to graduate instructors. He has earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Purdue University with a focus on cultural competence.
Dr. Losambe has worked as a leader and educator at multiple educational institutions and has led strategic vision initiatives and conducted multiple workshops on cultural competence at national and international conferences.
Samara Williams is a Texan turned Ohioan, who won’t disappoint. She is a trained cybersecurity professional and leader who enjoys speaking on topics like Information & Cybersecurity, Career and Program development, Work Life Integration, and many others. As a dynamic speaker, she promises you laughter, the occasional curse word, and a perspective that you may not have considered before. She has experience speaking to a wide range of audiences from kids to adults, tech and business professionals, student and the general population. If you see her on the street, say hey; the RBF will transform into a welcomed embrace.
Want to host your own TED-like event at your organization? We can help. Learn more about Articulation’s Transforming Talks program.