Nisha Blackwell is the Founder/CEO of Knotzland, a start-up committed to sourcing and rescuing high-quality fabric and textile waste, and constructing them into stylish upcycled accessories. The uniqueness of her company lies in its commitment to crafting an ecosystem that brings artists, designers, organizations and customers into the sustainable fashion conversation. Nisha serves the Maker community through her facilitation of various hands-on classes as well as branding and social responsibility consulting for Makers and Artist of all mediums leading her to earn both Community Engagement Award for Homewood as well as Style Week Pittsburgh’s Designer of the year 2016.
We’ve got Njaimeh Njie coming to be a part of Makes Cents 2017!
Njaimeh Njie is a Pittsburgh based Multimedia Producer. Working across photo, video, writing, and curating, her work is rooted in social justice and cultural enrichment. Njaimeh is the Founder/Lead Producer of Eleven Stanley Productions—a multimedia production company dedicated to elevating the narratives of people of color, youth, women, and other traditionally marginalized voices. Her work has earned coverage from outlets such as the Huffington Post, Blavity, and the Carnegie Museum of Art blog. Beyond her creative work Njaimeh is an experienced educator and an avid traveler. A Pittsburgh native, Njaimeh earned a B.A. in Film and Media Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and an M.Ed in Secondary Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Jason Jones will be participating in the Get Money panel at Makes Cents 2017!
Jason has a strong background in management of people and systems. He has managed the SBA Micro-loan Program Technical Assistance grant funds and other financial resources effectively to connect current and potential borrowers with education opportunities. He has worked with third-party business education providers to plan and implement specialized workshops and seminars. Managed 13 consultants and 4 employees to help with specialized consulting for borrowers at one time. While project managing for 40 borrowers simultaneously. He is also proficient with measuring and reporting results needed to make important strategic decisions for organizations to better plan for the future.
Jason has more than 13 years of experience in the Banking and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) industry, most recently at Woodforest National Bank as Community Development Relationship Manager where he over sees 40 branches in Pennsylvania and 16 in New York for their Community Reinvestment Act requirements. He also is a Regional Manager and Assistant Vice President who manages 12 Community Development Relationship managers in 6 states (Illinoi, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky). He is charged with overseeing that each branch has reached the required amount of service and financial literacy hours for all Assessment Areas, while educating the retail team on what is happening in their community for opportunities to partner with community organizations. He is also responsible for meeting the lending goals in each MSA Assessment Area.
Prior to working with Woodforest National Bank, Jason worked at few CDFI’s Bridgeway Capital and Christian Evangelistic Economic Development (CEED) at a couple of different capacities. He managed the Urban Entrepreneur program that gave access to working capital in the hands of underserved, underbanked, and smaller businesses to help get them to the next level. He was promoted to the Business Education Director where he was responsible for managing Consultants, employees, and borrowers through the Technical Assistance (TA) process. Jason was responsible for creating a comprehensive plan for Micro-lender (Businesses that borrowed fifty thousand dollars and less) to educate them on marketing, financials, and business and strategic plans.
Jason has also worked in personal banking, customer service, and in the development of bank literacy programs for various organizations. In addition, he has worked with families and children as a Case Manager for Small Seeds, an organization that serves as a liaison between Children, Youth and Families services and families. He also volunteered for Operation Hope, an organization that pairs professionals and youths to be mentored in financial education. He received his B.S. in Organizational Leadership and his Master of Science in Strategic Leadership from Mountain State University. Jason has been to numerous conferences to keep his skills sharp such as Opportunity Finance Network, The San Francisco Federal Conference, and AEO conference in D.C. He is a published writer, most recently in Talk Magazine Winter 2015 issue (Are Predatory Business Loans the Next Credit Crisis?). Lastly, he is a small business owner of the Diva Den (www.divadenpgh.com), popular hair salon that helps with outer and inner beauty along with giving back to the community.
We’ve got an exciting moderator lined up to lead the Get Money panel at Makes Cents 2017!
D.S. Kinsel is an award winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting, installation, curating, and #HASHTAGS. Kinsel’s Work Puts Focus On Themes Of Space Keeping, Urban Tradition, Hip-hop, Informalism And Cultural Re-Appropriation. D.S. Has Served Creative Residencies at Most Wanted Fine Art, Artist Image Resource, The Homewood Residency Program, Kelly Strayhorn Theater/Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer Dreamers Academy, Carnegie Mellon University Digital Arts Studio, The Museum of Human Achievement, AS220 and the Sedona Summer Artist Colony. He is the curator of #ACTIVISTprint, a collaborative public art program of The Andy Warhol Museum. D.S. is the co-founder Of Boom Concepts, A Creative Hub dedicated to the advancement of black and brown artists representing marginalized communities. BOOM Concepts is located in Pittsburgh and is funded by The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation. BOOM Concepts focuses on youth, Community Artists, neighborhood partners to identify contemporary expressions Of social justice through drama, dance, music, visual art, and technology. D.S is a board member of Pittsburgh Center for Creative REuse, And serves On the advisory board For The Heinz Endowments Transformative Arts Process. A former AmeriCorps Public Ally member, D.S. Has Also Been Recognized As An Awardee of the Pittsburgh Courier Fab 40, Pittsburgh Magazine PUMP 40 Under 40, Pgh Tech Council Creative of The Year, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s “Top Ten People To Meet in 2016.”
Nisha Blackwell is the founder and reclaim specialist of Knotzland. She’s coming to the Makes Cents event to engage students in an exciting panel on how to think big and start something exciting. You won’t want to miss this one!