Youth Summit

Youth Summit

The YMCA Youth Summit is a one-day convening for Mercer County youth (rising freshman through – 18 years old) on June 29th for the purpose of bringing diverse perspectives, voices and ideas together to examine the meaning of service and leadership, and organize a service project that will be led and delivered by the participants.

You do not need to be a YMCA member to participate.  Simply select the YMCA closest to your home.

Friday, June 29, 2018
9:00am – 5:00pm

Conference Center at Mercer County Community College
1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550



2018 Youth Summit
Presenting Sponsor

9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM

12:00 NOON – 1:00 PM

1:15 PM – 2:15 PM

2:30 PM – 3:40 PM

3:50 PM – 4:00 PM

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM


Keynote Speaker: Adriana Abizadeh
Executive Director of the Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund (LALDEF)

Adriana received a BA in political science from Rutgers-Camden, and an MS in public policy from Drexel University. Her last position was Special Projects Coordinator for the St. Joseph’s Carpenter Society (housing rehabilitation and home ownership in Camden.) She has volunteered at a homeless shelter in Camden, and in an underdeveloped area of El Salvador.

LALDEF is the primary organization in central New Jersey that assists and advocates for new immigrants. It’s mission is to defend the rights of the Latin American Community, facilitate its access to health care and education, and advance cross-cultural understanding within the Mercer County region. It’s services include the Mercer County Community ID Card (over 12,000 have been issued since 2009); FUTURO – a mentoring and college preparation program for  high school juniors and seniors; ESL, computer training and citizenship preparation classes; immigration legal services; domestic abuse counseling; free tax preparation classes; immigration legal services; domestic abuse counseling; free tax preparation (for low income immigrants:

Michael Waas
Global Vice President of Brand Partnerships at TerraCycle
Social Entrepreneurship: Making Money While Making a Difference

Michael Waas is the Global Vice President of Brand Partnerships at TerraCycle, Inc., a global leader in recycling the non-recyclable.
Michael is responsible for TerraCycle’s platform of national recycling programs, which recycle traditionally non-recycle waste streams in 21 countries and are run in conjunction with brand partners including Nestle, P&G, General Mills, Kashi, Bear Naked, Colgate-Palmolive, Glad, Kraft-Heinz, PepsiCo, Mondelez, Kimberly-Clark and many more. The programs engage tens of millions of consumers and have diverted billions of pieces of waste. Since 2007, TerraCycle has paid more then $10 million to schools and non-profit organizations in return for waste collected through the programs.

Michael joined TerraCycle in 2008 after meeting TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky through the StartingBloc fellowship. He holds an undergraduate degree in Music and Political Science and an M.A. in Political Science from Central Michigan University.

Reverend Andrew Wilkes
Principal of Wilkes Advocacy Group
Keepin’ the Peace: Principles of Conflict Resolution and Nonviolent Social Change

Reverend Andrew Wilkes is the Principal of Wilkes Advocacy Group and a board member for Habitat for Humanity – New York State and Labor-Religion Coalition of New York. Cathedral of New York (GAC). Reverend Wilkes is a bi-vocational minister and has built his career on a dual commitment to community development and economic justice. In 2015 he began his post as Executive Director of The Drum Major Institute (DMI), an organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which carries forward the social change legacy of King by promoting economic justice, dismantling structural racism, and advancing civil rights.

A native of Atlanta GA, Wilkes is a proud graduate of Hampton University and Princeton Theological Seminary; it was there that he won the Elder Garnett Hawkins award for Academic Excellence and honed his policy interests. His decision to work in the first administration of Newark, New Jersey Mayor, Cory Booker for his field placement separated him from his colleagues. While others were serving in churches, Wilkes followed his calling by merging his faith with policy issues.

Alyssa McFarlane
Peer Educator, HiTOPS
Ethical Leadership & Anti-Bullying

Alyssa McFarlane is passionate public health educator, with 5+ years of experience building healthy communities through multiple innovative approaches. A leader for wellness and safety among college students and trained in crisis management, she currently works at HiTOPS training high school students as peer educators on comprehensive sexual health education. She has led workshops and training’s  on sexual health, nutrition, stress management, parenting and discipline, developmental milestones, bullying and self-esteem, and much more.

Alyssa has an undergraduate degree in Public Health and is currently working toward her Master’s in Public Health. She has experience as a peer health educator and resident assistant at William Paterson University. She has developed and coordinated community-based health education programs. Most recently, she worked with the Central Jersey Family Health Consortium as a Community Health Worker in their Improving Pregnancy Outcomes Initiative. As a Community Health Worker she connected families to local resources and provided health education. Her goal is to meet individuals where they are and provide empathetic support to those in need.

Jessica Golden
Market Access Strategic Execution & Operations Manager, Novo Nordisk
Collaboration, Not Domination: Exploring Collaborative Leadership

Jessica joined Novo Nordisk in 2015 and oversees the execution of market access strategy. Prior to joining the company, she wo

rked at Pfizer and several New York advertising agencies in account management with clients such as Bayer and Merck. Jessica was born and raised in South Jersey, but now lives in Princeton. She earned her Bachelor’s in Economics from New York University. While minoring in Spanish, she was able to study abroad in Madrid.

Tyler Seville
State Government Affairs Operations Senior Associate, Novo Nordisk
Collaboration, Not Domination: Exploring Collaborative Leadership

Tyler joined Novo Nordisk in 2017 and evaluates public policy affecting the business and NNI’s patients. Prior to joining the company, he worked as a policy consultant and business advocate, serving on a variety of education-related boards, including the NJ Department of Labor as well as the NJ Department of Education. Tyler was born and raised in South Jersey and lives in Delran. He earned his Bachelor’s from Rutgers University and Master’s from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kate Bech
CEO, Princeton Family YMCA
Leadership 101

Before joining the Princeton Family YMCA in 2007, Kate served as the chief advancement officer for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia where she led the organization’s fundraising and communications programs for six years. Her other experiences include a six-year tenure with an independent YMCA association and another five years with a small Girl Scout council in suburban Philadelphia. She also directed the annual fund for the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York and started her career with the Rosenbach Museum & Library as an events coordinator following college. Kate received her Bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, and a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the University of Pennsylvania.

Samantha Hanson
Engagement Coordinator, One Love Foundation
#MeToo: Leadership, Consent & Healthy Relationships workshop

Samantha Hanson is an Engagement Coordinator for One Love Foundation working to bring Escalation to schools in the tri-state area as well as assisting on the Campus Ambassador program. Samantha was born and raised at the Jersey Shore and attended Florida Atlantic University for her undergrad before completing her master’s in School Psychology at Georgian Court University. After graduation, she spent three years working for Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation where she worked on various research-based youth programs to build a kinder and braver world. Her research areas include LGBT studies, social emotional learning and anti-bullying techniques. She has presented on these topics at various conferences and universities across the country and hopes to continue conducting research-based studies to help build positive environments for young people.

Nhat Duong
Vice President, Investment Advisor at PNC Wealth Management
“Cash Rules Everything Around Me:” Principles of Money Management

As an Investment Advisor and Vice President, Nhat works with a team of seasoned professionals to assess and resolve complex financial problems for PNC Wealth Management clients. He lends his skills in matters dealing specifically with the management of trusts and estates, retirement accounts, and personal investment accounts.

Nhat joined PNC Advisors in 2011 through PNC’s Asset Management Program where he served in various roles while expanding his analytical and financial expertise. Prior to joining the Wealth Management team in Princeton, Nhat was an associate for a team of Portfolio Managers who provided advice on defined benefit and defined contribution solutions PNC Institutional Investment group. During his time at PNC, Nhat has held primary management responsibilities for assets of business owners, retirement plans, charitable and other institutional organizations.

Prior to 2011, Nhat spent a year working with UBS Wealth Management as an Assistant Client Advisor, and before that as a Financial Analyst intern at a boutique equity research firm in Beijing. Nhat earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh where he studied finance and economics.








For more information, contact:

The Youth Summit Committee