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Panel: Pathways to Leadership

  • Northwestern, Program of African Studies 620 Library Place Evanston, IL, 60201 United States (map)

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These three women who are social workers of color, Nesha Griffin, Freda O’Donoghue & Gisel Romero, will discuss their the personal and professional life paths and how they've overcome barriers while transforming into community leaders.

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Quanesha Griffin AKA Life Coach Nesha is an author, speaker, youth advocate and life coach. At 26 years old, she just obtained her Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Author of CEO Sessions: Taking Charge of My Life & CEO of Executive Behavior Life Coaching Agency, Nesha primarily works at a nonprofit agency working with children and teens to meet their therapeutic goals. She also gives back to the community as a mentor to the youth in Chicago. 


Freda is a Crisis Counselor at Northshore Hospital Psychiatric Department. She specializes in working with adults and children who have mild to severe behavioral health concerns. She has worked with different agencies and hospitals in many roles, including mental health, assessments, psychotherapy, family and individual sessions, research, case management, and refugee resettlement.

Her passion is working with diverse populations to enhance their well being, nurture self growth, and assist in engaging with their community. She has volunteered at World Relief Chicago in their Early Childhood program and The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights as a Child Advocate. Freda received her Master's Degrees from Loyola University in Social Work and Erikson Institute in Child Development.



Gisel recently graduated with her MSW from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to starting at Loyola, she did an AmeriCorps program called Public Allies, with the mission to create a just and equitable society and the diverse leadership to sustain it through anti-oppression work and community building. This experience was transformative for her – where she learned the power of consciousness raising, vulnerability, and diverse peoples working together.

Gisel is the proud daughter of Honduran immigrants, which has greatly shaped her perspective of the world. She aims to further social justice with the sacrifices of her parents and ancestors in mind. She imagines a much more beautiful, just, and inclusive world where oppressive structures have been dismantled and there is the liberation of all peoples. She is committed to making this beautiful world a reality.

The panels are open to volunteers, host families and Expanding Lives' supporters.

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Earlier Event: July 8