Speaker Date Topic
Tommy Wells Jan 23, 2019
Director, DC Department of Energy and the Environment
Director, DC Department of Energy and the Environment

Tommy Wells is the Director of the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE). Appointed January 2015, he is chiefly responsible for protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources of the District of Columbia. Tommy’s team is comprised of approximately 300 environmental professionals collectively working to improve the quality of life for residents and the natural inhabitants of the Nation’s Capital.

Tommy is a Ward 6 resident. He earned a Juris Doctor from the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University in 1991 and a Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 1983.

Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes Jan 30, 2019
Director, DC Department of Employment Services
Director, DC Department of Employment Services

Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes is the Director of The Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES).  In her role as State Labor Commissioner, she is directly responsible for more than $150M in local, federal and specific-purpose funds administered by the District of Columbia and the federal government for workforce development programs and training, unemployment compensation, universal paid leave administration and labor standards enforcement along with more than $80M in active capital projects. 

Previously, Dr. Morris-Hughes was the Chief Strategy Officer for DOES. Dr. Morris-Hughes was also OSSE’s Chief Operating Officer, leading numerous management functions in support of the agency’s mission, including a $270 million education grant portfolio and $600 million in student-per-pupil funding. She also provided oversight of several departmental units, namely Grants Management, Facilities, Operations, Contracting and Procurement and Student Enrollment, Funding and Residency. In addition, Dr. Morris-Hughes served as OSSE’s acting Assistant Superintendent of Wellness and Nutrition. 

Dr. Morris-Hughes’ career spans for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She has several years of experience in education, program development, evaluation and compliance. She previously served as Assistant Head of School at Septima Clark Public Charter School, the District’s first all-boys charter school. Her other appointments include: Center Director for the District of Columbia Public Schools; District Director of Programs for Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area; Coordinator of Public Policy for Amazon.com; and Adjunct Professor at Trinity University and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Graduate School.

Dr. Morris-Hughes is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the Textbook and Academic Authors Association of America, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, National Black MBA Association, and the International Leadership Association. She obtained a PhD from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, an MBA from Trinity University, and a BA in English from Johnson C. Smith University.

Bob Cusack Feb 06, 2019
Editor in Chief, The Hill
Editor in Chief, The Hill

Bob Cusack has been reporting on policy and politics in the nation’s capital since 1995. He joined The Hill as Business and Lobbying editor in 2003 and became the newspaper’s managing editor a year later. He became the editor in chief in 2014. Cusack has won five awards from the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative articles on a range of issues, including national security, healthcare and 2008 presidential politics surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
 
Cusack regularly appears on MSNBC, Fox, ABC and CNN as a political analyst. Before joining The Hill, Cusack was a chief editor at Inside Washington Publishers. A native of New York City, Cusack received his B.A. in journalism from Loyola College in Maryland. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in commercials, television shows and feature films.

David Searby Feb 13, 2019
Founder, BeachCorps
Founder, BeachCorps

David Searby, a native of the Washington, DC area, is the founder of BeachCorps (http://beachcorps.com), a new kind of volunteer vacation company based in the Dominican Republic that combines the best of a great beach vacation with fun, simple volunteer activities near your hotel. David started BeachCorps after serving 27 years as a Foreign Service public affairs and economic officer. David is a published writer, fluent in Spanish and Italian, and an expert in Latin America. Over his career in the Foreign Service, David has developed skills in international negotiations and promoting non-governmental organizations and public private-partnerships and corporate social responsibility programs. He has experience developing complex projects with wide arrays of stakeholders including civil society, private sector, donors, government system organizations and international organizations, such as his successful Super Chef Panama (@SuperChefPanama) reality TV cooking show where underserved Panamanian youth compete in a “Top Chef” setting for a scholarship in Panama’s finest culinary institute. David also has ample experience on Capitol Hill, both as a staff aide and in advancing State Department interests. BeachCorps seeks to tap into the growing demand for "Voluntourism," including among millennials. The BeachCorps model incorporates quality hotels/food, an emphasis on traditional vacation fun, and a new, wider, more creative vision of "Empowerment thru Engagement” volunteer activities to include playing baseball, putting on talent shows, and cooking and serving meals.

Manny Mandel Feb 20, 2019
Holocaust Survivor
Holocaust Survivor

Emanuel "Manny" Mandel was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1936, the year in which his parents returned to their native Hungary. Manny's father had been selected to become one of the Chief Cantors of the Budapest. As a five year old child Manny witnessed his first Holocaust experience, the Novi Sad Razia in the winter of 1941, while on vacation at his Mother's home town. Although he understood little at that time,  he has remarkable recall of the events of the day when 1,250 Jews, among some 4,000 people, were shot and cast into the frozen Danube .The Numerus Clausus were developed in Hungary in the 1920's. In the late 1930's the Hungarian version of the Nuremberg laws of 1933 were applied with ferocity. Manny's Father's conscription into the forced labor camp battalions, the nightly air raids and bombings, the yellow star and other depravities made a significant impact on him. When Adolf Eichmann arrived in Budapest in March, 1944, deportations in Hungary, the last country to be made Judenrein began at the rate of  12.000 per day.  The Blut fur Ware barter proposal between Eichmann and Reszo Kasztner culminated in the transport of about 1,700  Jews , including Manny and his Mother to what they though was freedom in Palestine. The transport brought them to Bergen Belsen, delaying their freedom for almost half a year. Nevertheless, the  barter  arrangement, one of several, was consummated and Manny and his Mother were taken to Switzerland. They spent a year in a displaced children's home in Heiden and then finally were able to travel to their original destination. One year in a kibbutz and three years in Haifa reunited Manny with his Mother and Father. Manny emigrated to the U.S. in 1949.
High School, Gratz College, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Work, all in Philadelphia, prepared Manny for the human services field. He  has practiced psychotherapy for over 30 years.A Governor's appointment placed him on the Board of Social Work Examiners, the State Licensing Agency, where he served for eight years including two years as Chair. Adjunct appointments were held at Gallaudet, Michigan, Maryland and Penn.
Manny lives in Montgomery county with his wife Adrienne, a former three term State Legislator,. They have a daughter, a son and three grandchildren.