Our Heroic Team
GEARup2LEAD Fall Conference
Our Conference Organizers
Adam Hartley, Ed.D., Executive Director
Dan Farrell, Director of Athletics
Morning Emcee: Jim Kitchen
Afternoon Emcee: Eric Woodyard
Eric Woodyard is an award-winning sports journalist working at MLive.com-The Flint Journal in Flint, Mich. He is currently responsible for covering local sporting events in Flint and reports on all levels including high school basketball, boxing, football, etc.
The 2006 Flint Southwestern Academy graduate produces many in-depth videos and feature stories plus writes about the current and ex-pro athletes from the area such as Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram, Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee, former Michigan State All-American Mateen Cleaves, NFL legend Andre Rison Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields and WBC world champion Anthony Dirrell to name a few.
Woodyard, 26, graduated from Western Michigan University in December 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism/Creative Writing. His accumulative grade point average was a 3.38.
He is an author of the book “Wasted” and released a documentary titled “Flint Made Me” to raise money for a scholarship in 2013.
Volunteer: Lisa Wismer
Volunteer: Sonya K. LaGore
Chief Operating Officer –OLV Investment Group
Sonya LaGore earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Rochester College, gained years of experience in management and marketing research, then went on to become a licensed financial representative. She understands the business world along with the ins and outs of the financial industry – and knows it takes moral ethics and strong character to be a hero in this environment. As a problem solver, Sonya holds others accountable while drawing upon personal strengths and bringing about a spirit of unity. While balancing all of the operational variables at OLV, she can organize the fine details providing a structured environment where tasks get done, projects accomplished and the staff brings out the best in each other.Her leadership skills carry over into the relationships she has with multiple organizations. She serves as a committee member on the Flushing Area Community Fund and concurrently as a board trustee on the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. In addition to working to improve the city of Flint and Genesee County as a whole, she helps area kids in need receive bedroom makeovers as a board trustee of Zoie Sky. Her newest endeavor is as a volunteer with GEARup2LEAD, promoting cross disciplinary heroism in today’s world - she is pleased to be part of this compelling conference!
Sonya raises her two daughters with husband Joel LaGore, balancing her family and work undergirded by her faith and her spirit of giving.
Photography Partner: Nick Gregory
Nick Gregory has been a Social Studies teacher at Fenton High School since 2000. He has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. Nick earned a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University in Human Resource Management and Social Studies Education with dual minors in political science and journalism. He is a photojournalist and his gallery exhibits related to Detroit, Mich. have earned recognition. Nick is a National Writing Project Teacher Consultant and he is an active leader in his school community. He is a proud member of the Michigan Educator Voice Fellowship and he is an advocate for students. Nick is passionate about preparing all students for college and career success. He has been married for ten years and has two young children.
Nick grew up in Ionia, Michigan and has been coaching high school sports for 14 years (basketball and baseball). He learned a lot about leadership while being an equipment manager for MSU athletic department.
K-3 Heroic Builder: Brenda Hartley
With over 28 years in Flint Community Schools, Brenda knows what it takes to build heroes in the classroom and beyond.
Brenda created and performs her 45 minute interactive session, A Hero to Be...That's Me!, that will get your students up and singing their way to becoming heroic leaders.
Interested in bringing Brenda to your school?
Contact GEARup2LEAD and we can make that happen!