Speaker Bios

Speaker Bios
Quintin Cross 

Born and raised in Hudson, Quintin is the Founder/Director of the Staley B. Keith Social Justice Center. He holds a B.S. in Public Affairs from SUNY Empire State College and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Work and Policy Studies. Quintin was once a member of the city of Hudson, NY’s local legislature, called the Common Council. He was elected in 2001 as the youngest member in its history. During his nearly six years on the Council, Quintin also rose to the position of Majority Leader at age 20. He chaired the Legal, Police, Youth & Aging Committees as well as being the Chairman of the Hudson Industrial Development Agency. He also served on the Hudson Development Corporation Board which administered SBA loans, The Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency which administered Section 8 Housing funds and the Columbia County Empire Zone which gave incentives for business to come into the county. Also during this time Quintin was deeply involved in community work as the Vice-President of the local chapter of the NAACP, and founder of the Hudson African American Leadership Alliance.

In the recent Multicultural BRIDGE publication, Berkshire Mosaic, is found among others, an interview with Dr. Homer "Skip" Meade. The reporting interviewer begins her article by writing: By any rationale measure, Dr. Meade has led an intellectual life; a life that has always examined truth and decency. For more than 40 years, Meade a W.E.B. scholar and Cornell University graduate has made his home in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. He has taught in local and regional schools of Western Massachusetts, served as a member of the University of Massachusetts W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at Amherst, and has been involved in crafting curriculum and teacher standards to ensure future academic excellence for a new generation of Americans. Dr. Meade has earned: A.B. Cornell University '69; M.Ed. North Adams State College '76; M.A. University of Massachusetts '80; Ed.D. University of Massachusetts '87.
Janine Fondon 

Janine Fondon, President and CEO of UnityFirst.com, and her husband Tom have often been referred to as an 'information age griots’ for sharing news and information across the Commonwealth and country for more than 15+ years. Unityfirst.com is the Commonwealth’s oldest e-communication service targeting diverse communities state-wide. Fondon, who is also known for national outreach via UnityFirst.com –linking some 2 million+ readers--and  has been referenced in major publications such as FORTUNE, ENTREPRENEUR, Forbes, Black Enterprise, Upscale, The Boston Globe, and XM Radio. Her corporate communication experience includes management positions at Digital Equipment Corporation, BankBoston, ABC-TV (New York and Washington, D.C) and CBS-TV (New York). Recently, Janine and her husband were cited in the new book by Beatryce Nivens, “Rise to the Top” that highlights inspirational African American CEOs. Also, she has won numerous national and local business and leadership awards and is co-author with her husband of the career-focused book, “The Practice of Power: Finding Success in a Diverse World.”She was also named one of the 25 Influential Black Women in Business by NYC's Network Journal. With a commitment to helping the next generation, she also enjoys her role as adjunct faculty member at various area universities. 
Maxine McKinney de Royston

Maxine McKinney de Royston is a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her PhD in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. McKinney de Royston is committed to disrupting racialized inequities in education through her research and teaching on pedagogical approaches and characteristics of learning settings that seek to improve the educational outcomes and experiences of African American students. Her research focuses on the linkages between race, identity, and learning, with a focus on mathematics and science classrooms and predominantly African American learning environments. Dr. McKinney de Royston’s current project is a comparative analysis of how schools and teachers in Oakland, CA and in Pittsburgh, PA conceptualize and respond to issues of race and poverty.
Joyce Shabazz

Joyce Shabazz is an accomplished social entrepreneur, mediator, facilitator, educator, and life coach with over four decades of experience. Ms. Shabazz is the founder of Evolution LLC a consulting firm that works with individuals and organizations addressing challenges to the relational implications of equity and inclusion for leaders. Through her consulting practice, Ms. Shabazz has provided coaching and strategic planning support to organizations and community/business leaders in the United States, Canada, England. Switzerland, South Africa and Brazil. Ms. Shabazz’s work on racism is acclaimed for the inclusion of all identity groups.

Ms. Shabazz’s research focuses on the impact of racialization on Black African Heritage leadership and communities. Ms. Shabazz has presented leadership development institutes for leaders of Black Race Identity for the past 26 years. She has directed and consulted to 7 Affinity Identity Caucus Directors for an International Diversity Leadership Development Organization for two decades.

DR. Rasool

Mulazimuddin S. Rasool was born and raised in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, attended Berkshire Community College, Cheyney State University, and the University of Massachusetts, where he received a BA in American History, and minored in African American Studies. He also earned a Masters Degree (M.Ed) in Counseling, with a minor in Organizational Development, and an Ed.D in Instructional Leadership. He is a Consulting Hypnotist (MCH), and is certified by the state of Massachusetts as a Social Studies Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Principal, and Attendance Officer. Dr. Rasool has written and published two books of poetry-”A Breath of Light” co-authored and “Words A Woman Needs...” Three Marriage Workbooks-”The Marriage Workbook: Before You Marry,” “The Marriage Workbook: Before You Remarry,” and “The Marriage Workbook: Now That You Are Married.” He is a track and field coach, track and field official, and Program Manager for Will Power Consultants.