2017 Annual Conference Speakers

Speaker Highlights

Keynote Speaker:

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Tamara Copeland, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

Tamara joined the staff of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers in September 2006.  In this position, she leads a staff committed to promoting and supporting effective and responsible philanthropy across Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the District of Columbia.  Over the course of this time, Tamara has become one of the key spokespeople for philanthropy with her blog, A Voice from Philanthropy. -> Full Bio.

Keynote Speaker:David Hardesty

David C. Hardesty, Jr., President Emeritus, West Virginia University

David Hardesty is President Emeritus and Professor of Law at West Virginia University. He teaches subjects related to legal ethics, leadership for lawyers, trends in the legal profession, law practice management and the role of legislatures in the American legal system, including bill drafting. -> Full Bio.

Keynote Speaker: Delusional Altruismkris-press

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Putnam Consulting Group, Inc.

Kris Putnam-Walkerly, MSW, is a strategic advisor to foundation leaders and high-wealth donors and across the globe, helping them transform their giving and catapult their impact. -> Full Bio.

Afternoon Session: Effective Partnerships/Foundation Openness Project

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Becky Cain Ceperley, Retired Foundation Executive and Philanthropy Consultant

Becky Cain Ceperley is an at-large member of the Charleston, West Virginia City Council.  As a member of City Council, Ms. Ceperley serves on the Finance and Planning Committees. She is currently employed as the Executive Director of West Virginia Independent Colleges and Universities. -> Full Bio.

Morning Breakout Session: Public Policy

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Claudia Y.W. Herrold, Philanthropy Ohio

Claudia Y.W. Herrold is the Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Policy, at Philanthropy Ohio. She is responsible for overseeing all print and electronic communications, research efforts, marketing and media relations. -> Full Bio.


John Mullaney, The Nord Family Foundation

John Mullaney has been the Executive Director of the Nord Family Foundation since April 1998. Prior to his tenure at The Nord Family Foundation, Mr. Mullaney served in both the education and non-profit sectors and developing countries. -> Full Bio.

Morning Breakout Session: West Invest Project


Cpl. Errol Randle, Charleston Police Department

Cpl. Errol Randle is a 23 year veteran of the Charleston Police Department. His past duty assignments include patrol officer, Street Crimes Unit detective, and FBI gang task force officer. -> Full Bio.

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Ron Butlin, Charleston Urban Renewal Authority

Mr. Butlin brings 35 years of experience in both public and private business, covering real estate finance, development, construction and downtown revitalization.  Mr. Butlin has worked in construction, Community Reinvestment Act and Urban Renewal lending with Wells Fargo Bank throughout California. -> Full Bio.

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Susie Salisbury, Charleston Area Alliance

Susie Kortz Salisbury is the Vice President of Community Development for the Charleston Area Alliance.  She has an extensive background in community and economic development serving in several capacities including Main Street West Virginia Program, Charleston Renaissance Corporation, City of Charleston and private consulting. -> Full Bio.

Morning Breakout Session: Leveraging Partnerships in Funding and Impact

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Mary Hunt, Claude and Worthington Benedum Foundation

Mary Hunt is the Program Director for Community and Economic Development for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation based in Pittsburgh serving all of West Virginia and four counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.  In her program areas Mary works with nonprofits, local, state and federal governments as well as educational institutions. -> Full Bio.


Hilary Heishman, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Hilary Heishman joined the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2011 and spent her first two years supporting regional health care system transformation through initiatives like Aligning Forces for Quality. As a senior program officer, she has expertise in a variety of topics, with special attention to improving and connecting systems that enable people to be healthy. She embraces the aspect of her role that she describes as “finding connections among projects that RWJF supports.” -> Full Bio.


Specialized Skill-Building Session: Capacity Building


Nichole Hoeflich, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations

Nichole Hoeflich is a program manager at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. GEO is a diverse community of more than 500 grantmakers working to reshape the way philanthropy operates. The community is committed to advancing smarter grantmaking practices that enable nonprofits to grow stronger and achieve better results. -> Full Bio.

Specialized Skill-Building Session: Unexpected Legal Issues in Challenging Times


Zac Kester, JD; Executive Director of Charitable Allies, Inc.

Zac Kester, Executive Director of Charitable Allies, Inc., has practiced law primarily for charities for nearly 10 years and holds an LL.M. in the needs of tax-exempt organizations from Indiana University Maurer School of Law as well as a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. -> Full Bio.


Melissa Watkins, Member of Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC.

Melissa Watkins concentrates her practice in the areas of taxation, business and commercial
planning, nonprofit tax issues, and other areas related to the establishment, governance, and
operation of nonprofit organizations. She is also a licensed certified public accountant. -> Full Bio.


Elaine Wilson, JD; WVU College of Law

Professor Elaine Wilson joined the faculty of the WVU College of Law in 2012 as associate professor. She heads the College’s tax law curriculum, teaching federal income tax, taxation of business entities, estate and gift taxation, and nonprofit organizations.

-> Full Bio.

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Gene Coulson, EntreEd

Dr. Gene Coulson has been involved with entrepreneurship education since 1978 as a high school teacher and community college instructor. He coordinated entrepreneurship education at the West Virginia Department of Education for 28 years and has been the Executive Director of EntreEd, The Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education since 2014. He is married to a red-headed former teacher and is owned by three Keeshonden.