2013 Speakers


Heather Layton and Brian Bailey, Ph.D., collaborate on multidisciplinary art projects that cross the borders of race, religion, class, gender, and nationality. In 2012, they were named Citizen Diplomats by the United States government for their work in the emerging field of Art Diplomacy. They have exhibited and presented their work in countries including Pakistan, Slovakia, India, Hungary, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Bailey is a professor of adolescence education at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, and the co-founder of the Rochester Teen Film Festival and Teen Film Camp. Layton is a senior lecturer of art at the University of Rochester, where she teaches courses in painting and social intervention.



Bruce Peters is a serial entrepreneur, executive coach, award winning facilitator, former attorney, and Biz Talk Radio Host on WCEOhq Radio. WCEOhq Radio is a revolutionary series of radio programs designed by and for the Upstate New York business community. Bruce hosts the CEO Hour radio show totally dedicated to topics CEOs and business owners need to know about growing their business in the current economy. Bruce’s formula for success combines his business experience, his people skills, a passion for his work and a strong of personal commitment to his clients. He applies this formula to every project he undertakes.



Chris Pallace is a father, husband, writer, game designer, professional artist, amateur cook, and intermediate juggler.  His own father observed- there’s the Easy Way, the Hard Way, and the Chris Way.  The Chris Way intends to be easier than the Easy Way, but is almost always harder than the Hard Way.  While admitting that that is true, Chris would like to point out that it is the journey he enjoys.
Chris co-owns Bent Castle Workshops which produces top-notch games and playing cards, and is currently writing and illustrating Joey and Johnny the Ninjas for Harper Collins.



Dr. A. Gidget Hopf is President and CEO of Goodwill of the Finger Lakes and its affiliate The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Dr. Hopf currently serves as Chair of the Board of Goodwill Industries International. She also serves on the Boards of the NY State Vision Rehabilitation Association, and the National Association for the Employment of People who are Blind.Dr. Hopf earned her undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from SUNY Geneseo, an M.A. in Audiology and Communication Science from Kean College and an Ed.D degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from George Washington University.



Howard Decker is an architect, urbanist and author. With partners he built a practice in Chicago, acted as Chief Curator of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and returned to practice with the New York-based firm of Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn. He is a lifelong historic preservationist, and a specialist in transportation and urban infrastructure. His extensive experience in television and film was displayed most recently in a PBS special on Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.
Since his arrival here, he has been a founding member of Reconnect Rochester, and is on the Boards of the Rochester Regional Community Design Center and Friends of the GardenAerial.



Larry Moss began his career in 1985 as a NYC street performer, but has gone on to display amazing air-filled art around the world. His achievements have been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, CNN Headline, PBS, Smithsonian Magazine and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Moss has appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, NBC’s “Today” and at the White House, and has held a Guinness World Record. The author of many ballooning books, Larry has a degree in applied math and computer science, as well as a master’s in elementary education. Building community through his large-scale art creations is of particular interest to Larry, and was the focus of his 2009 TEDxRochester talk.



Mary Adelaide Scipioni is a NYS Registered Landscape Architect and Associate Adjunct Professor at RIT’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability, where she teaches site design to graduate architecture students. Originally from and currently orbiting Rochester NY, she has worked in New York City, New England, and Italy, where she lived for eighteen years. Mary loves designing landscapes, teaching, and writing. Fortunately, she met another ex-pat and they are happily herding their respective children through school before going on to their next adventure. Mary’s design consultancy is called pebble-stream.



Mr. Hughson graduated from Harvard with a BA in physics in 1980.  His MA was earned at the University of Texas in 1983. Transferring to Columbia University in 1988 he earned a Masters in Astrophysics in 1989, and a PhD in astrophysics in 1991. He observed at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where he collaborated on establishing Type la Supernova as standard candles which led to the improved measurement of the Hubble Constant and discovery of dark energy in 1998. His diligent efforts have led to a close association with Neil deGrasse Tyson at the Haydin Planetarium in NYC.



Scott Fearing is currently the Acting Executive Director for the Gay Alliance. He joined The Gay Alliance as the Education Director in 2007 and has been responsible for growing the Education and Training Program.He moved to Rochester in 2006 when his partner decided to pursue a career change and enrolled as a student in the School of American Arts and Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology.He is a native Minnesotan and a graduate of St Cloud State University with a program focus on Inter-cultural Communications and adult education.  Since 1993 Fearing has been providing consultation and training to public and private sector organizations around the country.



Dr. Gregory Tobin grew up in the nearby Canal village of Medina, NY where he enjoyed school, sports, music, and the outdoors.  Greg earned his undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Virginia and doctorate in Medical Sciences from the University of Florida School of Medicine.  Greg worked in the fields of HIV and cancer at the National Cancer Institute and is the Chief Scientific Officer at Biological Mimetics, Inc., a vaccine design and discovery company in Frederick, Maryland.  BMI scientists are the inventors of the Immune Refocusing Technology for designing improved vaccines.  Greg lives in Maryland with his wife Betsy and sons John and Andy.



Kathy Turiano founded Joe Bean Coffee Roasters in 2004 as a community coffee shop in Webster. After 3 years, she closed the doors to radically re-work the business model. In 2010 the new Joe Bean emerged in the city of Rochester. Joe Bean is Rochester’s first coffee roaster to utilize the “profile roasting” technique; and their coffee bar introduced the region to artisan-brewed coffee and hands-on coffee classes. Prior to coffee time, Kathy worked as a systems programmer at Citibank and later joined her husband in the family advertising business. Concurrently, she spent 15 years volunteering as a youth pastor for her congregation where she focused on raising up next-generation leaders.



Ann Johnson, has been engaging the community as her central goal over the past four years as Director of ACT Rochester, which is the community indicators provider for the nine-county Upstate New York Finger Lakes region.  While the website serves as a “one stop shop” for data, analysis and links to more than 300 community initiatives and resources, it is Ann’s experience in business and government and her personal commitment that helps drive the program’s success.


One Response to “2013 Speakers”

  1. Mary Myers October 24, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Bravo! Can’t wait and thank you for the hard work done by the planning people.

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