Monthly Archives: April 2021

Breakthrough Inspiration: CUSA 2021 Virtual Leadership Conference Featured Speakers

Join Circles USA Leadership Conference, April 19-23, 2021 online for five days of powerful keynote speakers, webinars, breakout sessions, networking, and more. Final ticket sales close on Thursday, April 15th. Get your tickets here.

Breakthrough Understanding: The Racial Wealth Gap Florence French Fagan from Bread for the World Monday, April 19 @ 9:45 PT / 12:45 ET

How can we better understand the connections among racial equity, hunger, poverty, and wealth? Bread for the World’s Racial Wealth Gap learning simulation explores how federal policies, such as property ownership and education, have affected communities of color. (Since February 2020, this learning simulation has been facilitated at Circles USA’s quarterly Hands-On Training for new staff and volunteers.) As the Florida State organizer with Bread for the World, Florence French Fagan will reflect on how the pandemic exposed the barriers that trap people in poverty and changed mindsets about why poverty exists. She will also address how nonprofit organizations like Circles can get involved in civic engagement and policy change.

Florence French Fagan

Florence French Fagan is the Florida state organizer with Bread for the World – a non-partisan, faith-based advocacy organization focused on ending hunger. Florence mobilizes people across Florida to advance equitable policies for reducing hunger. As a member of Circles Central Florida’s Big View Team, she recently brought Circle Leaders to a virtual town hall to share their experiences with local policy makers. She is passionate about helping people change their understanding of why poverty exists and discover ways to make a positive difference.

Breakthrough Work on the Cliff Effect: Panel Discussion with National Partners Dave Altig and Alex Ruder from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Karen Schoellkopf from Leap Fund Tuesday, April 20 @ 9 PT / 12 ET

This panel will feature Circles USA’s new partnerships with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and Leap Fund. The Cliff Effect occurs when a pay raise at work triggers a disproportionate loss of government assistance. This panel will provide an overview of the issue and the unique approach being pursued by each partner. The Atlanta Fed created an online planner for individuals to compare different jobs and create a long-term budget to overcome the Cliff Effect. Leap Fund created a calculator for recipients of public benefits to determine if they will hit a cliff, when it will happen, and how long it will take to recover.

Dave Altig is the director of research and an executive vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Among his Bank responsibilities, he is an executive sponsor of the Bank’s strategic priority on economic mobility and resilience and oversees its Advancing Careers initiative. Dave is also an adjunct professor of economics in the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and is currently the vice president of the National Association for Business Economics.



Alex Ruder is a principal adviser in community and economic development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His work focuses on workforce development, economic development, and higher education.



Karen Schoellkopf is the founder of Leap Fund and an end-to-end product lead with experience on projects for Samsung, Target, Verizon, Meetup, Spotify, the American Medical Association, Harvest, Justworks, and more. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and her BA from Binghamton University. She is a fellow at Sterling Network, whose mission is to enhance economic mobility across NYC. She has spoken about benefits cliffs and fintech solutions to policy failures at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; NYS CDFI Conference; Episcopal Community Services Forum on Justice and Opportunity; and the Ideas42 Behavioral Summit.

Breakthrough Change: The Power of Empathy in Creating Systems Level Change Christy Vines from Ideos Wednesday, April 21 @ 9:30 PT / 12:30 ET

How can empathy help people navigate change, strengthen collaboration, promote innovation, and transform conflict? How can people master the critical skill of empathic intelligence as a catalyst for human flourishing and social transformation? Circles USA board member Christy Vines will share frameworks and resources from her work at Ideos – a community of practice working to engage the norms of empathy and justice in areas of political, ideological, and social divisions and conflict. Ideos is the founder and sponsor of the January 5th National Day of Dialogue. We look forward to our Circles chapters participating in 2022.

Christy is the President & CEO of Ideos and a California-based expert on issues at the intersection of faith and social/cultural polarization and conflict transformation. Prior to Ideos, Christy founded and led the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership and served as senior vice president of Global Initiatives and Strategy at the Institute for Global Engagement. She also held several roles with the RAND Corporation, including serving as interim director of the African First Ladies Initiative and with the RAND Centers for Middle East Public Policy, Asia Pacific Policy, and Global Risk and Security. Christy earned her master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Breakthrough Sustainability: Addressing Staff Burnout Through Mindset Shifts Fran Moore from The Prosperity Agenda Thursday, April 22 @ 9 PT / 12 ET

This presentation will invite the audience to interrogate the ways in which they view the families they serve in an effort to bring awareness to how their experience, bias, and organizational culture may be causing severe fatigue. For human service providers and their leaders, it offers important insights into the benefits of switching to a coaching mindset with a full family focus, as well as suggested methods for navigating case management and coaching mindsets.

As the learning manager at The Prosperity Agenda, Franceria Moore specializes in designing and facilitating learning experiences for partitions across many sectors in human services. Since joining TPA in 2019, she has focused on intensifying the lens of racial equity in service delivery programs serving families experiencing poverty, as well as leading the design of online, interactive training experiences that support organizations in the actualization of establishing a whole-family, two-generational approach by working with organizations from conception to the development of a professional community of practice. She has a background in experiential learning, strategic organizational leadership, family-centered coaching, and equitable organizational training design and facilitation.

Breakthrough Policies: Gender Equitable Recovery Dr. C Nicole Mason from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Friday, April 23 @ 9 PT / 12 ET

What is the impact of the economic crisis and recession on women, their families, and communities? What can we do to build toward a future of shared prosperity and equitable economic recovery? As president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Dr. C. Nicole Mason will reflect on the challenges and opportunities of this present moment. Dr. Mason will share a blueprint for a gender-equitable recovery that is not only about meeting the immediate economic needs of women and families but lays out a long-term strategy for creating stronger systems and institutions that reflect the experiences and contributions of women in the workforce, in society, and to their families.

Dr. C. Nicole Mason is the president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a leading voice on pay equity, economic policies, and research impacting women. For the past two decades, Dr. Mason has spearheaded research on issues relating to economic security, poverty, women’s issues, and entitlement reforms; policy formation and political participation among women, communities of color, and youth; and racial equity. Dr. Mason is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin’s Press).