On Thursday July 23 from 9:00 – 11:00am, Leadership Seacoast will host its first virtual Grad School event!
Join fellow alumni, members of the class of 2020, and our friends and neighbors in the Seacoast Community for a conversation about racial and gender equity with a panel of local experts.
Registration is required for this FREE event.
Please consider making a donation to support Leadership Seacoast during this time:
A New Hampshire native, Joanna Kelley grew up on the seacoast and currently lives in Portsmouth. Joanna is the proprietor of Cup of Joe which is located in the heart of Portsmouth on Market Street.
Kelley, a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Person of Color), grew up in and out of the foster care system, which had a profound impact on who she is today. Feelings of loneliness and disconnection were familiar to her in her younger days, however with perseverance and the mentorship of her ‘big sister’ Stephanie through Big Brothers Big Sisters of NH, Joanna saw her own potential and began creating a life better than what she though possible.
In addition to owning her own business, she is a Big Sister (recognized as “Big Sister of the Year” in 2017) as well as a Big Brothers Big Sisters board member.
In early 2020, she joined the board of the Seacoast African American Cultural Center with the goal to help expand the conversations about the BIPOC community and work on acknowledging systemic racism problems in New Hampshire.
She ran for Portsmouth City Council in 2019 because she wants to help the city evolve responsibly by continuing conversations that promote inclusiveness, particularly to the younger BIPOC audience.
Born and raised in New Hampshire’s smallest city, Emmett Soldati is an entrepreneur, activist, and local provocateur.
He attended Emerson College and graduated from York University (summa cum laude) with a degree in Film and Visual Anthropology before receiving his Masters in Cultural Studies from London School of Economics and Political Science.
After an unexpected house fire and subsequent decision to get sober, Emmett left London and returned to his sleepy hometown in search of connection he couldn’t find in the fast and anonymous metropolis.
After losing a city council race in Somersworth NH at the age of 22, Soldati opened a café, Teatotaller, to create vibrancy in his one-road downtown. His café blossomed into a hub of LGBTQ+ activity and community. He graced the cover of the Huffington Post for erecting a 25-foot billboard of a non-binary teenager and recently hosted almost every 2020 presidential candidate over bubble tea.
Crystal Paradis is a City Councilor in Somersworth, New Hampshire, and an activist, organizer and communications professional.
She quit her last corporate marketing job the day after the Orlando shooting, due to her agency’s work with the NH-based gun manufacturer Sig Sauer, and has since worked exclusively with values-aligned organizations and campaigns (including coordinating Portsmouth PRIDE in 2017 and 2019 with Seacoast Outright).
She worked as a community organizer in the 2016 election, for Hillary Clinton and the NH Coordinated Campaign to elect Democrats all the way down the ballot.
She founded Feminist Oasis in 2018 to explore intersectional feminist values in action, through creative, fun and thoughtful events for all genders. She is the Vice Chair of the Somersworth Democratic Committee and was named NH Young Democrats’ Progressive of the Year in 2019. She currently freelances with clients including the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, where she recently wrapped a month-long Women Run! series that saw 35+ grads file to be on 2020 ballots.
As a City Councilor, she is Chair of the Election Review Planning Commission, and sits on 6 other committees, including Public Safety, where she is working on using her position to catalyze tangible transformative and anti-racist approaches to public safety in Somersworth.
Najee A. Brown
Najee A. Brown can be described as nothing else than a young entrepreneur. After starting his media company, Mindlezz Thoughtz in 2011, they have helped provide the proper resources to aspiring artists. In addition to running his own media and arts company, Najee Brown also produces his own music, he writes, directs and has danced on every stage from the Apollo to Carnegie Hall. Most recently Najee wrote and produced his play The Bus Stop, which sold out six times in New York City. Co-wrote and directed the musical Glimmerings Of Hope which premiered in New York City and toured Michigan, Spring of 2019 and Directed and Choreographed the award-winning musical Henry Box Brown A Musical Journey, in Edinburgh Scotland last summer.