MOCHA and WOCHA 2019 Conference

Men and Women of Color, Honor and Ambition (MOCHA and WOCHA) 2019 Conference will be held Friday, May 3, at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Columbia, Mo.

Cover image of students in the background with Conference text in the front. Support for the leaders of tomorrow. Friday, May 3. University of Missouri-Columbia.

Welcome to the 2019 MOCHA and WOCHA Conference! Attendance is open to not only collegiate students but also public school attendees and the general public, and there is no cost to attend.

Registration is now closed for the conference due to reaching capacity.

Please see below for the mission, contact information, agenda, keynote speakers and presenters.

MOCHA and WOCHA Mission

MOCHA and WOCHA exist to provide personal, academic, cultural, social, professional and leadership development to high school and undergraduate men and women in an effort to positively impact academic success, increase retention and develop successful leaders of tomorrow, today.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the conference, please feel free to reach out to these representatives for further guidance and support:

Conference Agenda

  • 9 a.m. Registration
  • 9:45 a.m. Welcome from Dr. Kevin McDonald
  • 10 a.m. Morning Keynote from Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt
  • 11:15 a.m. Morning Breakout Sessions with Dr. Sharon-Fries-Britt, Melisza Campos and Cuonzo Martin
  • 12:30 p.m. Lunch Keynote from Melisza Campos
  • 1:45 p.m. Afternoon Breakout Sessions with Bren Herrera, Dr. Ashley Woodson and Michael McMillan
  • 3 p.m. Afternoon Keynote from Dr. Steve Perry
  • 4 p.m. Closing Remarks from Dr. Kevin McDonald
  • 4:15 p.m. Networking Reception

Keynote Speakers

Headshot of Melisza Campos

Melisza Campos
Carnegie Master, Dale Carnegie Training and Marketing, Wegmans Food Markets
Keynote: Accelerate Your Greatness

Melisza Campos works in marketing for one of the best food retailers in the world and is a former elected official. She is a tireless maximizer at heart who led an award-winning delivery team with Dale Carnegie and is a master facilitator in leadership, relationships, situational awareness and communication. She leads with love, boldness and excellence to empower herself, her family & others to make the world a better place.

As a realistic optimist, she drives out her inner self-critic and to take on new challenges with fierce ambition, fun and focus.

Headshot of Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt

Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt
Professor, University of Maryland, College Park
Keynote: Building Success from the Inside Out

Sharon Fries-Britt is a professor at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education (CHSE). Her research examines the experiences of high-achieving Blacks in higher education and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in STEM fields. Dr. Fries-Britt has been widely published within peer-reviewed journals and has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of College Student Development, The Journal of Diversity in Higher Education and the College Student Affairs Journal. Her research has been funded and supported by the Lumina Foundation, the National Society of Black Physicists and the National Science Foundation. She is a member of the American Institutes of Physics (AIP) National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation (TEAM-UP).

Her recent work examines the group experiences of native and non-native Blacks in higher education. Dr. Fries-Britt is one of the faculty co-leads and authors of the recently published ACE report Speaking Truth and Acting With Integrity Confronting Challenges of Campus Racial Climate based on a collaboration with the University of Missouri and the American Council on Education to study campus racial climate. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Fries-Britt served as a senior level administrator in higher education. She has consulted extensively with colleges and universities, foundations, governmental agencies, national organizations and private industry on issues of race, equity, diversity and leadership. With over 38 years of professional experience in the field of higher education, she brings a wealth of knowledge, insight and experience to both research and practice. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Outstanding Faculty Award, Office of Multiethnic Student Education (2016), the Faculty Achievement Award, President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues (2012) and she was the (2011) recipient of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Mentoring Award.

Headshot of Dr. Steve Perry

Dr. Steve Perry
Educational Speaker, Author and Daytime TV Host
Keynote: Don’t Talk About It, Be About It

Steve Perry is one of the most sought after speakers in education and advocacy in America. Widely respected by grassroots community members and internationally renowned leaders, Dr. Perry’s charismatic and compelling voice is an inspiration. He is the educator upon whom Oprah Winfrey, Sean “P-Diddy” Combes, Bishop T. D. Jakes, and Steve Harvey call to offer insight to parents and children. A diverse array of politicians and groups, from the National Urban League to ALEC, have reached out to Dr. Perry to better understand what matters to parents.

Within the past twelve months, Dr. Perry has: opened his third school; assisted Steve Harvey in penning his new book, Jump; spoken in over 79 communities; and completed his sixth book, Transparenting. His impact is profound and varied and displays no signs of slowing down. The word the most often used to describe Dr. Perry is “passionate”. His authenticity is a welcomed addition to any discussion rooted in improving the lives of children and the community. His skills are hard-fought and have been bestowed by his difficult childhood all the way through his Ivy League school graduation. There is a richness in his concepts that foster an intriguing point of view on the modern American family.

Dr. Perry’s unique and powerful voice is respected and has been featured on multiple networks, including: MSNBC, Fox, CNN, Al Jazeera, TV One, BET and NBC as well as the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). His courage and piercing insights provide a fascinating perspective that is seldom found in public discourse. Too often race, class, gender and political affiliation mute others’ voices. Dr. Perry fearlessly speaks from the heart, which births unpredictability.

Dr. Perry is the voice of a generation, a people’s champion who has been fighting for disadvantaged children and families for thirty years. Passionate and surprisingly funny, Dr. Steve Perry is a man who is worthy of a listen.


Headshot of Bren Herrera

Bren Herrera
TV Personality, Author/Speaker, Multi-Media Consultant + Activist

Bren Herrera is a multi-lingual lifestyle expert, on-air personalty, TV spokesperson, speaker, author and entrepreneur who has spent the last decade building a solid and identifiable lifestyle brand. For over a decade, Herrera has brought awareness to her Afro-Cuban roots and culture on her award-winning blog, House of Bren. Her work has been featured in respected print and online outlets, and her culinary efforts have had her working alongside world-renowned chefs. Her cuisine has been featured on the menu at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Herrera is a spokeswoman for top-level lifestyle brands. As an entrepreneur, she recently founded The Beehive Collective, a consulting and media agency which provides training and consultancy to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Through the Collective, Herrera is hoping to empower women to take ownership of their assets and wealth by establishing their brand presence.

When not cooking, traveling or building her multi-media empire, Herrera can be seen advocating for human and civil rights. Her enthusiastic opinions have landed her on national networks to discuss important issues. She is a regular contributor for FOX 5 in Washington, D.C. and continues to appear on other networks. She address women’s, immigrant, children’s and food equity rights. Learn more at and

Headshot of coach Cuonzo Martin

Coach Cuonzo Martin
Head Coach, Mizzou Men’s Basketball

A new era in Mizzou Men’s Basketball began in 2017 when Cuonzo Martin was introduced as the 19th head coach of the Tigers program. Martin, who enters his second season at Mizzou after spending three seasons at the University of California, has averaged 20.6 wins in 10 seasons with eight postseason appearances over the last nine years.

Martin owns a 10-year head coaching record of 206-134 (.606). He is coming off his seventh 20-win campaign in 10 seasons, becoming the second first-year head coach in Mizzou history to lead the Tigers to 20 wins.

Martin steered Mizzou to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012-13 this past season, becoming the 59th head coach in NCAA history to lead three different programs to the Big Dance (Tennessee, Cal and Missouri). He capped his first year at Missouri with his eighth NBA Draft selection in the last five years as Michael Porter Jr. was selected 14th overall by the Denver Nuggets.

The 45-year-old Martin has served the game of basketball for more than two decades, beginning with a standout four-year playing career at Purdue. He has played and coached alongside some of the game’s most highly-regarded mentors. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in restaurant, hotel, institutional and tourism management from Purdue. He and his wife, Roberta, have two sons, Joshua and Chase, and a daughter, Addison.

Headshot of Michael McMillian

Michael McMillan
President and Chief Executive Officer, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis

Since, 2013, Michael McMillan has served as President and CEO of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc., which works to help African Americans and other residents throughout the St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Clair County, IL., region secure economic self-reliance, social equality and civil rights through a series of advocacy and educational programs. In response to the crisis in Ferguson, McMillan also developed a new program called Save Our Sons, which has hosted the Urban League’s biggest job fair and helped over 600 African-American men find jobs. Save Our Sons also hosted the Urban League’s largest national conference, with nearly 25,000 in attendance. To house Save Our Sons and social service partners, McMillan charted the building of the Urban League Community Empowerment Center of Ferguson.

Prior to his appointment to President & CEO, McMillan served as 19th Ward Alderman of the City of St. Louis and was then elected the License Collector of the City of St. Louis. He holds the records for being the youngest person elected as an Alderman and License Collector in the history of the City of St. Louis. McMillan is credited for building collaborations to generate $1.25 Billion Dollars in economic development initiatives in housing, schools and businesses for one of St. Louis’ most depressed urban communities. He has received hundreds of awards and commendations from various organizations and was recently inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, GA, as its youngest member and as one of the Ebony Power 100 Most Influential African Americans in the United States.

McMillan is a graduate of Saint Louis University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in African American studies and a minor in political science with an emphasis in finance. He has also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Webster University. McMillan is an Eisenhower Fellow, American Council of Young Political Leaders Alumnus and member of Eta Boule Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc., 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis and St. Alphonsus “Rock” Church.

Headshot of Dr. Ashley Woodson

Ashley Woodson
Assistant Professor, MU College of Education
Session: You’re Famous!: Creating Your Plan to Change the World

Ashley N. Woodson is a mom, researcher and educator. She is also the William A. and Jean S. Stauffer Faculty Fellow in Education and a Faculty Fellow in the Division of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity.

Inspired by principles of critical race theory, Woodson researches the possibilities of and constraints on black adolescents’ civic imaginations. She is also interested in sexual identities, health education and policies for sexual safety in urban communities. Woodson’s scholarship and activism supports kids of color in articulating and achieving their dreams of a better world. Her forthcoming co-edited book is titled, The Future is Black: Radical Hope and Afropessimism in Education (Routledge, 2019).

Headshot of Dr. Kevin McDonald

Dr. Kevin McDonald
UM System Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and MU Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

Dr. Kevin McDonald is the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the University of Missouri System and the vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity for the University of Missouri-Columbia.

As a diversity and inclusion professional, McDonald has developed a significant track re- cord of transformational contributions toward organizational equity, diversity, and inclusion goals. From access and success, to education and scholarship and institutional infrastruc- tures, McDonald has worked collaboratively to create initiatives that positively impact poli- cies, practices, processes, and people.

Prior to coming to the University, McDonald was vice president and associate provost for
Diversity and Inclusion at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He has also served as
vice president for Equity and Inclusion at Virginia Tech from 2005 until 2010, as associate director of Compliance and Conflict Resolution for Johns Hopkins University from 2001-2005, and as campus compliance officer at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to his work in higher education, McDonald worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and for Network Solutions, Inc.

McDonald received a doctorate in higher education leadership from the University of Rochester, and holds a juris doctorate from The Ohio State University as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. McDonald holds certifications with the Cornell Diversity & Inclusion Studies Program and is a certified mediator in three primary mediation models.