Women of Heritage Breakfast Speakers

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2015 Women of Heritage Breakfast is an interactive discussion “The Talent Behind The Brand” Don’t miss this dynamic business networking event.

Renee Holloman

Director, Organizational Development

Renee Holloman has been with Hershey® Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) for over 14 years. During her time with the company, Holloman has held numerous leadership positions including: Director of Catering/Convention Services at The Hotel Hershey, General Manager of the Hershey Country Club, Managing Director of Hershey Destination Services, and Director of Workforce Development & Retention.

In 2014 Holloman transitioned into her current role as Director, Organizational Development. In this role she oversees the development of educational activities for the company’s employee partners, which is critical to HE&R’s core purpose, culture, values, and strategic priorities.

This new position leverages Holloman’s diverse background in hospitality operations as she further enhances and develops initiatives in the areas of recruitment, training/development, and retention across the HE&R destination.

Currently Holloman chairs and advises on multiple HE&R committees including: Success-Abilities, Workforce Inclusion, and Women in Leadership.


Jennifer Smallwood

President, Harrisburg School Board

Jennifer Smallwood is the REO FHA Manager for the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, employed with the Agency for over 24 years. She also holds a public office, serving on the Board of School Directors for the Harrisburg School District. Elected in 2011, she has been chosen by her colleagues to serve as Board President during her entire tenure. “I have been extremely lucky to work with board members who share the same goals that I do. We recognize that for every negative story being told about the District, there are hundreds of positive stories being lived out in each and every school, every day. My mission, as well as the mission of the other board members and the administration, is to make sure that those stories get heard.” Jennifer is also an appointed board member for the City of Harrisburg’s Parking Authority, seated in 2008 and serving as its Secretary and Assistant Treasurer. A graduate of Duquesne University, Jennifer obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications and Organizational Behavior. Most importantly, she is the mother to her beautiful daughter Airis, and mom to an awesome Pitbull named Jade.


Vera Cornish

Publisher, Urban Connection

Vera Cornish is a Thought Leader. From the moment she takes the platform she has an amazing ability to immediately engage the audience, gain their trust and create a mindset of possibilities. Every presentation is a powerful call to action. Vera’s presentations are high energy, high impact, interactive and results based! She believes that every thought we think leads to the words we speak, which then leads to the actions we take. Vera’s goal is to shift the paradigm.


Amma Johnson

Singer, Entrepreneur and Women’s Advocate

Amma Johnson (aka AMMA JO) is a singer, entrepreneur and women’s advocate. AMMA JO is passionate about seeing all women rise up to their true calling and identity. She truly believes that ‘When a woman discovers who she is, she becomes unstoppable.” AMMA JO is based in Harrisburg, PA and runs her own marketing company as well as her own independent music and fashion career under the AMMA JO brand- a brand that stands for making dreams come true. Amma has also been appointed by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce as Central PA’s regional leader. In that capacity, she will be advocating for women in business in a number of areas including access to more contracting opportunities, capital, female-friendly workplaces and supporting the advancement of women in the corporate world. Learn more at


Tina L. Nixon

Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Greater Harrisburg

Tina joined the YWCA Greater Harrisburg in 2000 as Director of Resource Development, responsible for raising over $500,000 in the four years she held the position. Tina became CEO in June 2004. The YWCA Greater Harrisburg is a not-for-profit agency, with an operating budget of over $6.5 million. The YWCA employs 110 staff and offers a multitude of services, including housing and homelessness programs, domestic and sexual violence services, child development programs, employment, racial justice, community and veteran services.

Tina serves on various boards throughout the Capitol Region. She is a native of Harrisburg and a graduate of East Stroudsburg University, with a B.S. in political science and sociology. Her career started in the Pennsylvania State Legislature working for former Speaker of the House K. Leroy Irvis. She has worked in the human service field for over 22 years, collaborating on issues pertaining to hunger, homelessness, the welfare-to-work program, healthcare, domestic violence, sexual assault and childcare, and is compelled to make sure those less fortunate have a voice.

Although Tina’s career has allowed her to travel and work around the country, she is happy to be living in Harrisburg with her husband, James Nixon, and their 17 year-old twins.


Joelle F. Bailey

Chef, Caterer Extraordinaire, Restaurateur and Author

Joelle Bailey has over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry. The oldest sibling in a family of three children, Joelle’s domestic responsibilities lay with meal preparation where she discovered a love for the field of cuisine.

Food and beverage, event planning, hotel, and restaurant business. Little did she know that a position at Essence Magazine would serve as the impetus for her to enter the food and hospitality industry.

Joelle has learned from some of the best, working various positions at the Vista Hilton Hotel, Marriott Hotels, The Plaza Hotel, LSG Sky Chefs, Aramark, John Hopkins, Technology Council of Central Pa, and Thompson Hospitality. She received her formal training in Food and Beverage at the French Culinary Institute and at Sky Chefs.

By 1994, Joelle opened Classic Catering/Special Events in Jamaica Estates, New York. Classic Catering is a full-service event planning and catering business that eventually caught the attention of the NY Times, Daily News and MTV.

Some of Joelle’s most memorable clientele include such corporations and personalities as: The Technology Gala in PA, PA Society, Billy Joel, Prince, United Nations, New York Cancer Society, Lincoln Center, Mayor Bloomberg, Diana Ross, Mount Sinai Hospital, Russell Simmons, The United Way, Bill Cosby, Children’s Television Network, New York Bar Association, Columbia University, New York University and much more. She has catered many corporate holiday parties, and done on-site catering for hundreds of weddings. Joelle’s “brides” are often featured in the New York Times Society page.

Joelle has recently added another facet to her busy lifestyle. She is now sharing her love for young people by hosting classes in the art of etiquette called Etiquette Divas. These comprehensive classes cover table manners, sophistication, food and nutrition and basic cooking techniques. Joelle, in her quest to make a valuable contribution to the community, teaches the classes at various schools throughout the country and even sometimes in her home. Each event is sponsored from her personal finances. While the classes are mostly geared toward young people between the ages 4 and 18, adults are also welcome. It is not uncommon to see some classes with both parents and their children. Classes are divided according to age group with each class tailored to its specific audience.

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