2020 Metro DC Chapter Board Elections

Hello Metro DC - Thank you for participating in our chapter election this year! It's an exciting election with several contested positions. This speaks to the passion and commitment of our membership. I want to thank each of the individuals on the ballot for running.  - Jonathan Southgate, Past President & Chair of Nominations Committee

  • You must be a member in good standing to vote
  • The statement of interest and bio for each candidate is listed below
  • Voting will remain open until September 18, 2020


Director of Communities of Practice

Director of Virtual Programs
VP Learning
Director of Professional Development
Director of Strategic Partnerships


Deborah Smith Cook  (LinkedIn) 

An accomplished strategic thinker, facilitator, and consultant, Deborah Smith Cook has been helping organizations, leaders, teams, and individuals build forward leaning, productive organizations. Working collaboratively with her clients, she leads organizations into solving the complex problems that challenge today’s organizations

Statement of Interest

DC Metro ATD is such a vibrant community thanks to the efforts of the current and past boards. I want to carry on the initiatives started and work to add more innovations to our portfolio of services.

Judith Bartels-Brezac, MS, CPTM, PMP (LinkedIn) 

Judith Bartels-Brezac is an active member of ATD Metro DC and currently serving on the board of directors in the position of Director of Communities of Practice and also serving as the Co-Lead of the Free Agent Community of Practice. She is a licensed PMPĀ®, a Certified Human-Centered Design Practitioner of the LUMA Institute and a Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM).

Judith received a master’s degree in Training and Development from the University of Wisconsin – Stout and has worked in a variety of Learning and Development positions to include; e-commerce, finance, independent consulting, and government contracting. She is currently employed as a Learning and Performance Consultant managing organizational-wide performance initiatives for a well-known financial company headquartered in McLean, VA.  

Statement of Interest

I joined DC ATD in May of 2011. I had moved to the DC metro area from Minnesota and was looking to learn more about the industry and network with like-minded people. Since then I have attended over 130 events, served as a volunteer, and then was elected to the board as the Director of the Communities of Practice (CoP). In that position I supported an amazing team of CoP Leads, people passionate about their work, who, in my tenure as Director, conducted over 80 events with almost 1500 members enrolled. The CoPs are often the first interaction that a member, or potential member, has with the chapter and are paramount to the success of the chapter. It is for that reason I strove to make the CoPs to be engaging with event activities, welcoming to new members, and supportive to each of their individual practices for success.

I accomplished this by maintaining a consistent level of engagement for myself and for the CoP Lead team by implementing and conducting monthly check-in meetings, creating mandatory roster management, advocating for the CoP leads at board meetings and by being ready and available for any questions and support to the CoP team. Recently, the chapter implemented the CoP Resource web pages that provide additional resources for members and a forum to discuss current topics. To launch this great new member benefit, I coordinated with the CoP leads to create a promotional video. Check it out here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm36N5pkt3o.

I have learned so much in my tenure on the board and recommend to those who are interested to get involved and volunteer. As a volunteer you get the opportunity to network with an amazing group of people, gain leadership experience from other professionals, and be exposed to and learn to use tools and technologies to enhance your personal development. 

In addition to my board service, I am co-leading the Free Agent CoP and am on multiple committees to complete the Metro DC chapters’ strategic initiatives. My contributions include the design of the 2021 Evaluation Strategy, the onboarding program for new board members, the review of board positions, and also co-heading the Content Committee for a yet-to-be-announce event in December. 

Now I want to take everything that I have learned and continue with my board service as President Elect.

The chapter is going through exciting changes due to external factors, providing a new way to offer value to our members with a new energy. I want to take my experience as a board member and as a highly active chapter member and continue to contribute by leading the board through future opportunities, and to facilitate the growth of the chapter and the people within it as the next President Elect. Thank you for your consideration.

Maurine Kwende, M.Ed, MA, PHR, CTP (LinkedIn) 

Maurine Kwende, M.Ed, MA PHR CTP is a Senior Instructional designer leading the training and development team at SAIC. Prior this role, Maurine was the Director of E-Learning at NHPCO for almost eight years. With over fifteen years’ experience, Maurine is a leader, a heavy hitter in the workplace learning and performance improvement space with expertise in the areas of strategic planning, business development, Instructional Design, Training and Development, performance improvement, leadership development, organizational development, scrum and agile project management. Maurine holds a chief learning officer executive certification from George Mason university, 2018. Maurine also holds a master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology as well as a graduate eLearning certificate, from George Mason University, 2015.

Maurine holds a second Masters of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in languages and linguistics.  In addition to expertise and educational accomplishments, Maurine is also a public speaker and have spoken in many conferences and events on a variety of learning technology driven topics.  She loves giving back to her community as a past president and board member of ATD Tallahassee Florida chapter, a current member of ATD national and local DC metro chapter. Maurine is currently pursuing a PhD in Learning Technologies Design Research at George Mason University with research interests in artificial intelligence, user experience design and mobile applications.

Statement of Interest

I would love the opportunity to assist in strategic planning and coordinate with the advisory board. As past president of the Tallahassee Florida where I was also a board member, VP Communications and professional development, I have some experience in this role and believe I have the ability to serve in this role, listen, learn and lead effectively. Even though I have been a member of the dc metro chapter for years, I have not had the chance to serve except when I participated in the mentor program and volunteer at the ATD tech conference in DC. Its a great opportunity to use my skill sets to learn and serve the chapter.


Boshra Zawawi (LinkedIn) 

Boshra Zawawi is an instructional designer at Cybermedia Technologies (CTEC). She holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies Design Research and a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction with concentration in Instructional Design and Development from George Mason University. Dr. Zawawi worked as an adjunct faculty teaching undergraduate courses at George Mason University. She has several publications in conference proceedings and educational journal articles. She presented her research at many national and international conferences such as the EdMedia World Conference. Her research focuses on the pedagogical application of constructivist learning theory, online learning, and lifelong learning. Dr. Zawawi is one of the co-directors of the ATD Instructional Design community of practice. 

Statement of Interest

I am interested in applying for the Director of Communities of Practice (CoP) position at the ATD D.C. Chapter for many reasons. The first and most important reason is to support the ATD D.C. communities of practice missions that include but are not limited to establishing a lively lifelong learning community that helps members stay up to date with trends in their fields. I firmly believe that creating a community of passionate learners who are eager to advance their knowledge and skillsets is a critical component in people’s professional development. When I became a member at the ATD D.C. Chapter in 2018, I found that the CoPs play a significant role in supporting members’ lifelong learning by providing monthly learning events. This finding resonates with my dissertation research that urges instructional designers to take full responsibility for their PD by creating a network of like-minded people. Hence, I am keen to help our CoPs at the D.C. Chapter flourish by promoting innovative learning/teaching strategies so members would keep coming for more exciting and interactive learning experiences. Creating such memorable learning with my fellow CoP leaders is the other reason for applying for this position. As such, I plan to connect with other CoP directors from various ATD chapters to discuss and share best practices to improve our CoP learning strategies.

I am also planning on building upon what the current CoP director, Judith Bartels-Brezac, did to help CoP leaders best accomplish their tasks. For example, inviting new CoP leaders for an onboarding orientation before they start their role is essential for a smooth and quick transition. In addition, developing a step-by-step manual that includes a list of all tasks, links to all documents and forms, a directory with names of ATD D.C. chapter directors, and tech support people will help current and new CoP leaders with their tasks. Furthermore, taking such a responsibility as a CoP Director will allow me to gain invaluable opportunities to sharpen my leadership, communication, and management skills. I also look forward to expanding my network with experts and professionals across various sectors to build a lifelong learning community.

Selin McCurdy (LinkedIn) 

Selin McCurdy is a dedicated, passionate and resourceful learning specialist with over 15 years of experience in establishing a culture of learning that effectively addresses the needs of learners and promotes ongoing reinforcement to build a purpose-driven organization. She brings 13 years of experience in curriculum design, training development and delivery, and monitoring and evaluation of training programs, and 10 years of experience in online learning and communications. She is recognized for her superb client engagement and management, and connecting clients to new information and opportunities across countries and regions through her creative ideas. She possesses a high level of integrity, responsiveness, professionalism and attention to detail. As part of her company’s efforts to create well-being in the workplace, she launched and is leading the “Working Out Loud” initiative, a peer mentoring approach (created by John Stepper) for personal and professional development. 

Statement of Interest

I am delighted to be considered for the role of Director of Communities of Practice. When I joined the ATD DC Metro Chapter a few years ago, I will never forget the warm welcome I received from the CoP Leads at my first meeting. Since then I was hooked and participated in a range of activities offered by the Chapter. I also started volunteering at various events and am currently co-leading the ATD DC Mentoring program. I am inspired and motivated by this community, and want to offer my time to support each community of practice to continue engaging current members and reaching new members. I realize the hard work required to be a Community Manager. I have a certification in Community Management from FeverBee and worked as a Community Manager for a project with the World Bank and the European Commission for five years, and I plan to utilize and transfer these skills for this role. I hope to be a loyal and dedicated supporter of the Community of Practice Leads so that we can meet the needs of our members and bring passion and build connection for our community.


Julia Drewniak (LinkedIn) 

Julia Drewniak has created learner-focused solutions for over 10 years (4 years as an “official” instructional designer). She works as an Instructional Designer at MyEyeDr., one of the top 10 optical retailers in the country. In her role she develops a variety of learning solutions, from engaging videos, interactive eLearnings, and creative visual designs, working with a variety of experts and stakeholders from across the company and leadership team. Outside of work, she enjoys using her technology skills to support Metro DC ATD Virtual Programing, experimenting in the kitchen, and watching the latest videos on Netflix and YouTube.

Statement of Interest

During the start of the pandemic when I was furloughed, the Virtual Programs offered by Metro DC ATD kept me engaged and allowed for professional development while I was out of work. With a large membership area, virtual programs allow for more members to experience and participate in what we offer. I want to continue offering a variety of virtual programs and look for creative ways to provide digital experiences when our in-person events return. In order to expand our Digital Resource Library, I would work with our speakers and other board members to develop new and innovative digital offerings that allow our members to further their professional development.

Christina Eanes (LinkedIn

Christina is on a mission to help others achieve more in life – mainly by getting out of their own way – as an author, speaker, and podcast host. Through her company’s products and services at ChristinaEanes.com, she inspires others to take responsibility for their success at work and at home. Along with her team, she provides valuable strategies that lead to better professional and personal relationships, improved communication skills, and, ultimately, increased productivity in accomplishing individual and organizational goals. Before launching her professional development firm, Christina spent more than fifteen years of public service with a California police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She worked on an array of programs, including the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and the FBI’s Leadership Development Program, where her teams helped train thousands of leaders.

Statement of Interest

In 2021, virtual programs will be the primary connection point for all of our members – a vital medium to ensure our tribe stays together in our new normal. As Director of Virtual Programs, I would consider it my mission to work with the rest of the Learning team, under the leadership of the VP of Learning, to ensure that our members receive exceptional programs consistently and that each program is aligned with the Chapter’s strategic goals and ATD’s Talent Development Capability Model. As a former Chapter President, I am very familiar with the dedication involved in serving our members and hope I will have the opportunity to do so again. As a former senior manager of the FBI’s Leadership Development Program and current owner of a professional development firm, I am intimately familiar with what it takes to run successful learning programs, encouraging participants to connect while developing themselves, specifically in the virtual environment. Running virtual development programs within my company, in addition to producing the Quit Bleeping Around podcast and Christina Eanes YouTube Channel, I have become quite technologically savvy, which is also required of this position. I would be grateful for the opportunity to use my skills and abilities to serve my DC ATD tribe again.

VP Learning

Laetitia Gnago, MBA (LinkedIn) 

Laetitia Gnago, MBA is an experienced talent management & talent development Leader.   She has coached hundreds of professionals at all levels to gain new skills and learn the value of Learning to help them advance within their professions and maintain their competency levels.  

As a learning & development practitioner and strategist, she has focused her professional expertise on soft skills development and proficiency as her method of choice to empower professional growth.  The impact of her work has resulted in emerging leaders acquiring sets of skills that they continue to leverage, years after benefiting from her training techniques and professional mentorship.  Recently, Laetitia has shared her creative skills by helping organizations design their in-house Learning & Development and Leadership programs as well as constructing and maintaining best practices to strengthen Organizational Excellence.  

Laetitia holds an M.B.A and has made the most of the year 2020 satisfying her intellectual curiosity and committing to her future readiness by earning Certifications such as the Certified Professional in Training Management (CPTM), the Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT), and the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD).  She has also acquired advanced certificates including Project Management for Learning Professionals and the Positive Psychology Practitioner Certificate (PPPC). 

Her passion is to help professionals master alignment so that they can design and maintain the type of professional experiences that are strategic and that add value to their careers.  We are excited for our partnership with Laetitia and we thank her for bringing her experience, knowledge, skills, techniques and expertise to our Chapter as our elected VP of Learning for the year 2021.

Statement of Interest

Dear Metro DC ATD,

I write to express interest in joining the Board of Directors as its VP of Learning for the year 2021.  The position’s purpose of strategic planning and deployment of chapter learning programs are very attractive and present an opportunity for me to add value in these areas:

  • Programming development & alignment:

The clearest example I can provide is one of the deliverables I have accomplished during my time as Director of Virtual Programs for our Chapter.  When the website was revamped, I created folders to organize all virtual content linked and accessible virtually.  Specifically, I took the initiative to curate Speaking Engagements and corresponding materials and resources by the Talent Development Capability Model to demonstrate ways in which our membership can acquire its competencies when attending our virtual programs.  This demonstrates that the Chapter is interested in growing the learning capacity of our membership and cares enough to align with their professional needs by the content we provide.

  • Strategic skills:

Colleagues, fellow board members and executive clients have expressed to me that one of the things I do best is to make a complex idea become clear and achievable. I would be interested to help navigate the complex decisions and communications involved in the journey our chapter is about to take during the year 2021 in regard to Learning.  This year, I have participated in and contributed to our Board’s Strategic Planning sessions in effort to set the direction for the upcoming year.  In addition, I have recommended that the Virtual Programs Volunteers consider running for Board positions to create a succession planning opportunity, after I vacate the role at the end of this year.  The outcome of my efforts have resulted in them now undergoing the Board of Directors Elections process.

  • Leadership 

Within a few months of taking on the Director of Virtual Programing, I have been able to recruit a set of volunteers to help with Virtual Programs.  They are very committed and have done an excellent job via their own contributions to the virtual needs.  As we approach the end of the year, they will take on roles to help us achieve our first annual Virtual Conference goals.  I have demonstrated that I have the capacity for influencing and maintaining a collaborative environment that evokes our volunteers to be willing to take on tasks and enjoy working as a team.  These skills alone demonstrate that I have the ability to continue to evoke professionalism from those I will lead as the VP of Learning, especially as we look to adjust to possible changes in the coming 2021 year. 

  • Value-Add 

As VP of Learning, I have ideas that will help make our Chapter one of the go-to places for Learning for our members.  It is important to me that we serve as a source of learning and my goals include ensuring the Chapter’s local reputation is perceived as one that adds value and that elevates the capacity of our members in their quests to grow their skills and develop themselves so that they can, in turn, add value to their organizations.  I plan to leverage tools that have been discussed during strategic meetings and other resources to set a new standard for the Chapter and its impact on our membership.

Further, I am very comfortable working with all members of our Board.  Having already successfully worked with them in different capacities, I plan to continue to use my professional experiences to help further our membership’s potential in order to lead our goals to fruition and impact Learning.



Change agent with demonstrated success in identifying organizational needs and creating a path to the successful execution of effectual change, resulting in quantifiable results, while also championing the concept of corporate growth in concert with fostering an engaged workforce. 

Expert in developing and executing Human Resources strategies, re-engineering functions and services, building high performance Human Resources teams, and creating an engaged, talented workforce.

Leader who understands a company's strategic goals, mission, vision and values and alignment of such with individual business units and the people who do the work.

By providing clarity regarding institutional expectations for the workforce a culture of ownership and accountability evolve, resulting in a viable organization, with an engaged, highly performing workforce. 

Specialist in human resources management, labor and employee relations, executive coaching, facilitation, consultation, and compliance in complex organizations of varying sizes and revenue levels.

Statement of Interest

I am very passionate about developing individuals and providing them with opportunities that enable them to not only gain a better understanding of their capacity to grow and develop professionally, but also personally. My focus is always to make my team better and prepare them for their next position. Developing people is an excellent way of paying forward the excellent mentorship and advice others have given me over the course of my career.



Deadra Welcome, CPTD, CPTM is the Founder and CEO of Concerning Learning LLC, who has trained and coached thousands of people in corporations, non-profit entities, and government agencies to achieve improved organizational and individual performance on a wide range of soft-skills topics.

In June 2018, Deadra completed a successful 27-year federal government career where she demonstrated the ability to create comprehensive learning and development programs as a full-time consultant. In addition to helping others learn, Deadra enjoys spending time exploring new restaurants with her friends and family!

Statement of Interest

I am interested in the Director of Strategic Partnerships to merge my experience in the chapter, ATD, and my network of over 4,000 connections. I remain active in various professional organizations which positions me to leverage existing relationships while building new ones in helping the Metro DC ATD chapter thrive and grow. 

Please direct any elections related questions to elections@dcatd.org

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software