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Sara Mayo-Rex Founder, President & CEO at SPEAK

Hi, my name is Sara Mayo-Rex and I am the founder of SPEAK - A program purposed to cultivate community citizenship through excellence, empowerment, critical thinking and authentic leadership. I bring passion to this work as a mother, as a victor over poverty and as a proven leader in driving and sustaining large organizational change strategies. With over 18 years in corporate leadership, I have had the great opportunity to design numerous organization wide programs that have not only achieved great corporate success but most valuably, through shared testimonies, have effectuated personal transformations. In my Get Involved, I’m blessed that my voice and heart reaches thousands of employees and through their transformations, their voices and hearts, hundreds of thousands more people. ​ I am often asked about how I became a change agent, about my passion, about my energy, my drive and why I’ve started SPEAK. I became inspired to start this organization as I reflected on the experiences and accomplishments of my life; my personal experiences as a child; being born into poverty, raised on welfare by a single mother who had only a 6th grade education; on becoming a mother and achieving success as an executive and strategist. ​ I recall my personal dependency on local community centers, government programs and the kindness and actions of people and those of my teachers.

My adversity and their desire for my personal achievement, greatness and preparedness introduced me to a lifetime of learning, intrinsic motivation, selflessness and the pursuit of excellence. It is because of my direct personal benefit from community service organizations and human kindness that I have the passion for SPEAK and a strong need to create opportunities for others. ​ As a mother of four, I reflect on the first-hand knowledge of the challenges my children and my friends’ children face with staying focused, being selfless, setting aspirational goals, being independent thinkers and leaders in our all-consuming society. The excessive access to excessiveness serves as a powerful distraction to our youth. It provides a great haven for mindlessness and inaction, or worse yet, propels them to follow the lead of people who make poor choices and live At-Risk lives. I started SPEAK because our children and young adults need consistent and positive drivers to intrinsically motivate them to a life well positioned for success; to make meaningful differences in our world, to cultivate a global culture of peace and selflessness. My children, my friends’ children and yours are the most dominate source from which my energy and drive for this work. ​ It is through countless documented testimonies, personal stories, corporate balance sheets, bottom line breakthrough improvements and sustained culture change that I know that SPEAK will positively impact our youth and young adults. It will foster local, national and global citizenship. This program will change lives. Our children. Our communities. Our future. I’m committed to empowering our youth to SPEAK what matters!

Meet the Team:
Tracy Drain
Board Member
Tracy Drain is a Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and is currently the Deputy Chief Engineer for the Juno Mission to Jupiter. Tracy graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kentucky and earned a Master’s Degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology, both in the field of Mechanical Engineering. As an undergrad at UK, she completed four rotations as an engineering co-op student at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. Upon graduating from Ga Tech in 2000, she officially joined the NASA family as a Systems Engineer at JPL. In her 16 years at the lab, Tracy has been involved in the development, testing and operation of three missions: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (a science and relay orbiter at Mars), Kepler (a space based observatory searching for Exoplanets) and Juno (an orbiter at Jupiter). Her work on these missions included tasks such as generating and refining requirements, leading the development of mission system fault trees, running and analyzing faulted test cases, and coordinating the operations team response to in-flight anomalies. Her roles on these projects have included serving as the Transition Phase Lead and Lead Systems Engineer for MRO, the Mission Readiness Lead for Kepler, and now the Deputy Chief Engineer in operations for Juno. During part of her time on Juno, Tracy split her time between Juno operations and management, serving as the Technical Group Supervisor for the Flight System Systems Engineering group. While in that role, she provided guidance and oversight to other systems engineers supporting a variety of JPL missions. Trach is passionate about space exploration and STEM fields in general and loves taking every opportunity to share her enthusiasm with students, their parents and teachers.

Shirley Steinback-Hawthrone
Board Member
Shirley Steinback-Hawthrone has more than 30 years of leadership experience in healthcare. She is driven by her passion to serve others. Shirley holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from San Jose State University, a Masters Degree in Education from the University of San Francisco and is a registered nurse. She began her career as a Staff Nurse in the hospital setting providing quality care to patients. She also held other nursing positions and worked at community agencies and schools for 15 years. Shirley joined Kaiser Permanente in 1982 where her career in leadership began. She held various leadership positions such as nurse manager, clinical services director, assistant medical group administrator and medical group administrator. She proudly worked as a leader for 15+ years serving many members, physicians and staff. Her passion to serve provided many opportunities to partner with community health agencies, faith based organizations and community associations committed to improve the health and wellness of individuals. Shirley shares her leadership expertise through mentoring of young adults and serving on boards such as SPEAK-another opportunity to serve others.

Kandy Samy
Board Member
Kandy Samy is currently a Director at Microsoft where has donned multiple roles, including global head of customer and partner experience for the $5 Billion Worldwide Services business and quality leader & six sigma master black belt in Quality and Business Excellence organization. Before Microsoft, Kandy was a Director with Computer Science Corp (CSC). Kandy was named as the 2009 ASQ Feigenbaum medalist for displaying outstanding characteristics of leadership, professionalism, and potential in the field of quality and also whose work has been or, will become of distinct benefit to mankind. Kandy has numerous professional certifications including ASQ Six Sigma Master Black Belt, PMI Project Management Professional, QAI Certified Software Quality Professional, Scrum Alliance's Scrum Master, STQC Certified Information Security Auditor and EXIN's Certified ITIL Foundations. Kandy has been very active in the quality industry with numerous leadership roles including Chair of ASQ 702 San Gabriel Valley and National Chair of ASQ Software Division. He currently lives with his wife Thulasi Kandy Samy and two young kids in Seattle, WA.

Board Member
Omoiye Kinney was named Senior Director of Client Services for the YMCA of the USA in January 2015. In this new role, Ms. Kinney leads the marketing, communications, design, video and digital teams within Y-USA. She is responsible for developing and executing integrated marketing and communications strategies supporting key brand pillars and the leaders of strategic programs within Y-USA. She also serves as an inspirational catalyst exerting influence throughout the organization and is key to communications, evaluation and implementation of strategic programs that are executed in more than 2,700 local Y branches across the country. Ms. Kinney previously served as the Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA, where she oversaw all internal and external communications for the organization. Her primary responsibilities included developing, managing and implementing comprehensive communications, marketing, public relations and social media strategies. She provided leadership in reputation management, brand positioning and shaping the image of the organization. She was also the primary media spokesperson. Prior to joining the Y in 2006, Ms. Kinney held Marketing Communications positions in both the private sector and non-profit arena. She was the PR & Marketing Manager for Tasty Baking Company, and the Director of Public Relations for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross. In this capacity Ms. Kinney was the primary media spokesperson for the organization and was involved in several national and international disaster relief communications efforts including the response to September 11th and the American Red Cross Measles Eradication Project in Ghana in 2002. Ms. Kinney holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Springfield College in Springfield, MA. Ms. Kinney is also an adjunct professor at Springfield College.

Juan Carlos Hidalgo
Board Member
Juan Carlos Hidalgo is a passionate radio strategist with over 30 years of experience, 25 at Spanish Broadcasting System. Latin formats expert specializing in station startups or turnarounds: from Regional Mexican, Spanish Contemporary, Spanish Oldies, Spanish Pop, Millennials, Spanish Urban and Spanish talk.  JC’s commitment to cultivating leaders stems from his years of expertise in coaching, training and mentoring.  He is a natural leader and is dedicated to developing a new generation of marketable and engaging aspirational leaders.  

Dr. Wesley Proctor
Board Member
Dr. Wesley Tyrone Proctor was born to Catherine Proctor and the late James Proctor on July 28, 1971. He is a graduate of George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science and is a proud member of the White-Williams Scholars class of 1989. After high school, he received a scholarship to attend the University of Delaware. At Delaware, he received numerous awards and served on several university and community related committees - including the University of Delaware’s Board of Trustees. Adding to his outstanding commitment at Delaware, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in English with a concentration in Business and Technical Writing 1993. After Delaware, he attended Temple University and received his Master’s Degree in 1994. Shortly after obtaining his Master’s in Education, he was awarded the Dr. Marcus Foster Fellowship. This fellowship funded his doctoral education at the University of Pennsylvania. At age 26, he obtained the degree of Doctor of Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. His dissertation was entitled: A Piece of the Ivy: A Case Study of Black Student Retention at the University of Pennsylvania and his final defense merited distinction by his committee. While at Penn, Wesley worked for Dr. Judith Rodin, who was the first female President of the University of Pennsylvania, as her Speech Writer and was later appointed as Director of Multicultural Recruitment Program for the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Proctor is also well-known and respected across the country because of his expertise in helping hundred of churches and other non-profit organizations obtain their 501c3 status from the IRS. Currently, Dr. Proctor serves on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations including: the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for AIDS Research and Philadelphia Futures, Inc. Recently, Dr. Proctor was awarded the 2014 Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement by the University of Delaware – which is the institution’s highest alumni award. Wesley published four books entitled: How to Give Your Pastor A Happy Anniversary, Footprints of the Future: A Youth Journal Vol.1, Footprints of the Future: A Christian Guide to Sexual Issues Vol. 2, and his recent release, Footprints of the Future, the Complete Edition. In addition, he is the CEO/Founder of Wesley Proctor Ministries, Inc. which is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting spiritual and academic excellence. Dr. Proctor was featured in Gospel Today as one of “2008’s Most Loved Youth Pastors.”
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