The Social Justice Training Institute

Vernon A. Wall, M.A.

Co-founder and facilitator, SJTI

Vernon WallVernon A. Wall has accumulated over 25 years of professional Student Affairs experience at Iowa State University, the University of Georgia, UNC-Charlotte, and UNC-Chapel Hill and has experience in Greek life, new student orientation, student activities, leadership development, global education, and university housing. Vernon currently lives in Washington DC and is the Director for Business Development at  LeaderShape, Inc.  Prior to this position, Vernon served as the Senior Director for Professional Development, Research & Scholarship for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA), College Student Educators International. He received his B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University and his M.S. degree in College Student Personnel Administration from Indiana University. Vernon has received several awards for his contributions to the quality of student life, is a nationally known speaker in the areas of social justice and leadership, and is one of the founders and facilitators of the Social Justice Training Institute.

Visit Vernon at www.vernonwall.org.

Kathy Obear, Ed.D.

Co-founder and facilitator, SJTI

Kathy ObearKathy is the president of her organizational development consulting firm, Alliance for Change, specializing in diversity and change management. Earlier in her career she worked in residential life at several colleges including Colorado State University where she coordinated leadership development and educational programming. Since starting her business in 1987, Kathy has given speeches and facilitated trainings at hundreds of universities across the nation. She has published a number of works addressing issues of homophobia and heterosexism on college campuses and universities. She works with human service organizations and corporations to create work environments that respect the diversity of all employees. Some of her clients have included Mass Mutual, Fleet Financial Group, St. Paul Insurance, Big Y Foods, Holyoke Hospital, First Union National Bank, The Department of Mental Health, and The Home for Little Wanderers. Her recent research focuses on helping diversity trainers to more effectively manager emotional "hot buttons" and "triggering" events.

Visit Kathy at drkathyobear.com.

Jamie Washington, Ph.D.

Co-founder and facilitator, SJTI

Jamie WashingtonRev. Dr. Jamie Washington serves as the President and Founder of the Washington Consulting Group, a Multicultural Organizational Development Firm out of Baltimore, MD. He is also a senior consultant with The Equity Consulting Group of California, and Elsie Y. Cross and Associates out of Philadelphia. Dr. Washington has served as an educator and administrator in higher education for over 20 years. He most recently served as the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). He has been an instructor in Sociology, American Studies and Education, and an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at UMBC. As a native Philadelphian, Dr. Washington earned his B.S. degree in Therapeutic Recreation and Music from Slippery Rock State College, and a double Masters' of Science degree from Indiana University/Bloomington in Higher Education Administration and Counseling, with a concentration in Human Sexuality. He holds a Ph.D. is in College Student Development, with a concentration in Multicultural Education from the University of Maryland College Park. Dr. Washington completed his Master of Divinity program @ Howard University School of Divinity in May of 2004.

Dr. Washington has held leadership positions in ACPA, NASPA, ACHUO-I, MACUHO, MCPA, APA, NGLTF, The Campaign to End Homophobia and the Nation Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum. Dr. Washington is a Lead faculty member with the LeaderShape Institute and the National Certified Student Leader Program, a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Golden Key, Alpha Phi Omega, Phi Delta Kappa, education Honorary, and a Life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He has over 30 years of experience in music ministry, is an ordained minister and currently serves as an Associate Minister at Unity Fellowship Church of Baltimore. Rev. Dr. Washington sees himself as an instrument of change. He works everyday to help people find the best in themselves and others.

Visit Jamie at www.washingtonconsultinggroup.net.

becky martinez

Facilitator, SJTI

becky martinez"I trust this experience will be exactly what you need in your life’s journey – stretch, feel, connect, do, and 'be'.

I am honored to be part of SJTI – what I define as my 'light-switch' in my role as a change agent. I continue to learn about the intersections of my identities and the ways those frame my work and my life. Through power and humility, I strive to be my definition of leader – a woman of color living with compassion, integrity, and boundless possibilities in contributing to community and humanity."

dr. becky martinez is an organization development consultant and trainer with a focus on social justice, leadership and organizational change. Her work focuses on dismantling systems of oppression through critical dialogue and reflection intertwined with theoretical foundations.  She works with organizations seeking to meet shifting demands, resources, and leadership to develop goals, vision, and purpose. She believes that while organizations may have a depth of diversity, there is a great deal of work to do to create an inclusive environment, and it is our responsibility as community members to create such space.

She has worked in a variety of settings to create dynamic, engaging learning opportunities. In her administrative roles, she provided vision and advocacy for professional, administrative and paraprofessional staff, and students. becky is passionate about social justice, transformation, and being an instrument for people to tap into their full potential. Her work includes diverse groups at the college level, with community-based organizations and with for-profit companies. She brings a variety of skills to tailor around her clients needs.  Her experience and knowledge results in highly effective training workshops and coaching relationships.

becky’s career portfolio includes being a business owner as a organization development consultant, working as an administrator within the California State University, the University of California, and the Colorado State University systems as well as private liberal arts colleges. She is a faculty member for the Social Justice Training Institute, a Lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute, a certified trainer for the Anti-Defamation League, a certified trainer for the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, a member of the Southern California Trainer’s Institute, and a former certified counselor-advocate through Peace over Violence (previously Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women) and works with a Title I elementary school in California regarding going to college.  She holds a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne with her research focused on the union of transformative learning, social justice and racism, a Master of Science in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of La Verne.

Contact becky at www.infinitymartinez.com.

Beth Yohe

Facilitator, SJTI

becky martinez Beth Yohe is a facilitator, consultant and training designer focused on social justice, inclusion, leadership and organizational culture. With over 20 years of experience, she has written and delivered training programs on a variety of topic areas including intentional climate and culture, dismantling privilege, inclusive management practices, ally-building, and analyzing curriculum through a social justice lens and facilitation skills. Beth has worked in the non-profit field for over 20 years and is currently the Executive Director of The Conflict Center (conflictcenter.org) in Denver, CO. Beth is also a consultant with Authentic Seeds (www.authenticseeds.org) and also serves on the boards of The Privilege Institute, International Bullying Prevention Association and the Mapleton Education Foundation.

Raised in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, Beth graduated from Texas A&M University with a BA in Speech Communications and received a Master of Science degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. Happy to call Denver home, she spends her free time hanging with her fabulous family who keeps her grounded and connected to the importance of the work.

Contact Beth at beth.yohe@conflictcenter.org.

Alejandro Covarrubias

Facilitator, SJTI

becky martinez Alejandro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Leadership Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he teaches in both the Organizational Leadership graduate program and in the Higher Education Student Affairs graduate program. He worked as a student affairs practitioner for ten years in the areas of housing and residence life, multicultural affairs, gender equity centers, and LGBTQ centers. Alejandro is also a diversity and social justice educator and consultant. Over the last nine years has worked with numerous institutions providing trainings and workshops for students, professional staff, and faculty to building capacity for equity and social justice.

Academically, he earned his Ed.D. in International and Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Human Rights Education at the University of San Francisco. Alejandro’s research focuses on how how men of color student leaders navigate their racial and gender identity while being supervised by white women student affairs professionals. More broadly his research agenda uses Intersectional Feminist Theory, Critical Race Theory, and critical qualitative methodologies to understand campus environments and cultures. He also earned an MS in Student Affairs in Higher Education with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Colorado State University and a BA in Psychology with a certificate in Ministry from Gonzaga University.

Personally, Alejandro is grounded in the power of critical hope and the examination of oppression from the individual, group, and systemic levels. He approaches social justice work through an intersectional and analytical lens that bridges the power of storytelling with theoretical foundations. He is dedicated to challenging himself and others to think critically about social justice and identity issues holistically through the head, the heart and the body.

Contact Ale at afcovarrubias@gmail.com.

Carmen Rivera

Facilitator, Student SJTI

Carmen RiveraCarmen Rivera currently works with the Access Center at Colorado State University as the Director of College Access. She sees her work with programs that are focused on promoting college access to first-generation and low income students as her anchor in her commitment to social justice. She also teaches for the Ethnic Studies department, focusing on Ethnicity in the Media, as well as for the President’s Leadership Program.

She is originally from New Mexico and moved to Colorado for college. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Northern Colorado in Spanish & Hispanic Studies and then went on to earn her Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. She is a faculty member for the Social Justice Training Institute and a lead facilitator for the LeaderShape Institute. Carmen is also a part-time leadership and social justice consultant.

To contact Carmen, please email seerivera@gmail.com.

Samuel R. Offer

Facilitator, Student SJTI

Samuel Offer"Wow! Challenging! Soul searching! Life changing! These are only a few of the expressions that come to mind when I think of my SJTI experience (2008). This pivotal moment in my life has been one of the most transformative I have ever experienced. I am honored to return as the first apprentice! Though my role is mostly observational in silence, having the opportunity to relive my own journey helps me to see growth and the areas where I can create new learning edges."

Sam Offer serves as Vice President and senior consultant with the Washington Consulting Group, a Multicultural Organizational Development Firm out of Baltimore, MD. Sam has served as an educator and administrator for over 30 years.

A native Marylander, Sam earned his B.S. from Calvary Christian College with a concentration in Early Childhood Development studies. Other studies included Sexuality, Religious and Spiritual Pluralism, Religious Issues within the LGBTQ community (particularly through a Christian lens), and Social Justice. Sam is an alumnus of Landmark Education and the Social Justice Training Institute. Sam serves as a lead facilitator for LeaderShape, Inc., and lead faculty for the Social Justice Training Institute: The Student Experience. He has spent many years working with the development of youth and young adults in education and within the community. Sam is a member of Maryland Black Family Alliance and is an advisor to Pride and Faith, organizations advocating for equity of all people. Sam served as co-chair of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force premier conference, Creating Change 2012. Sam served as chair of the African American People of Faith Caucus for Marylanders for Marriage Equality. His leadership and efforts helped to uphold Civil Marriage Law during a referendum in 2012. He has been named as on of the most influential leaders in LGBTQ community in Baltimore, MD. He travels the world advocating social justice and equity for all humanity. He is known for his witty personality, style and love for the work he does.

His work includes developing presentations and workshops for colleges, universities and corporate and non-profit businesses; developing and implementing curriculum for local religious and community organizations to engage social justice issues in order to build more inclusive communities; developing and implementing curriculum for engaging spirituality and religion in the workplace; facilitating group sessions and trainings on topics including leadership, organizational change development, spirituality, diversity, inclusivity, leadership and social justice.

To contact Sam, please email rayfield90@hotmail.com.