Archives for June 2017

2017 Keynote Luncheon Speaker

Posted June 14, 2017 at 12:17 PM

June 13, 2017

ROANOKE, VA (June 13, 2017) – The Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference, Inc. is pleased to announce that Afira DeVries will be the 2017 Keynote Luncheon Speaker for the 2017 Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference. She will speak on Friday, September 22, 2017.

Afira DeVries

Afira DeVries serves as President & CEO for United Way of Roanoke Valley. Her visionary style and extensive development experience contribute to the strategic direction and credibility of the organization, having generated more than a quarter billion dollars in support of social innovation over the course of her career. Afira’s education is in public policy and political theory and, after a short lived pursuit of a political career, she realized that her idealistic nature was better suited to the not-for-profit sector. Afira joined United Way Central Massachusetts as a Development Officer in 1998 and has since assumed advancing positions with United Way’s of Greater Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, United Way Suncoast in Tampa Bay and her current organization. Afira serves as an engaged leader within the United Way system and is viewed as an expert resource and mentor to fundraisers across the country. She is a product development trainer for United Way Worldwide, serves on the Executive Resource Development Committee and provides consultative sales trainings for United Way’s seeking to evolve to a more relational fundraising model.

Afira is frequently called upon to serve as a presenter and guest speaker on a wide variety of subjects both locally and nationally, within and beyond the United Way system. She has been featured in San Jose Magazine and was recognized as one of Tampa Bay’s Under 40 “Up and Comer’s” award recipients by the Tampa Bay Business Journal in 2011. Additionally, Afira was honored by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a “Business Woman of the Year” finalist in 2014. She earned her educational credentials at Averett University in Danville, VA and Cornell University.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Afira serves on the Board of Directors of Local Colors, and the Steering Committee of the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley, and is a founding member of the Roanoke Valley Unites initiative. Afira and her husband Jason live with their two daughters, Ava and Amora, and their dogs Vito and Luca in Roanoke.

2017 Networking Breakfast Keynote Speaker

Posted June 15, 2017 at 3:48 PM

June 13, 2017

ROANOKE, VA (June 13, 2017) – The Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference, Inc. is pleased to announce that Michelle Simpson will be the Networking Breakfast Keynote Speaker for the 2017 Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference being held in Glen Allen, VA on September 22 - 23, 2017. She will speak on Saturday, September 23rd.

Michelle Simpson

Michelle Simpson is a native of Virginia, raised in Bowie, Maryland since the age of 5, and has been a resident of Hampton since 1985. Michelle has been married to retired U.S. Air Force Master SGT, and Pastor of Spirit of Life Ministries, COGIC, Pastor Thomas Simpson III for 31 years. She is the proud mother of three dynamic children, Carnai 30, Sharnell 28, and Thomas Micah 25.

Her education began as an Elementary Education/Dance major at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). After working for Federal Express for 13 years, she resigned as an Operations Manager, and began to fulfill her assignment, making a positive difference in the minds of our youth. She founded Inspiring Minds Youth Development Center in Hampton, Virginia which was created to instill in the minds of our youth that impossibility is not an option. Our goal is to save a child one mind at a time motivating students to Be, Do, and Have, whatsoever they desire if they Believe!

In addition to creating Inspiring Minds, other accomplishments are as follows: licensed Evangelist (COGIC); President and Founder of LAF Ministries Inc. (Ladies Activate your Faith); President of WOL (Women of Life Ministries); Founder of Women’s Christian Networking Ministries; Former City of Hampton Neighborhood Commissioner for Non-Profits; Co-Author and contributor of 101 Words of Wisdom for Women; Featured in “Heart and Soul Magazine”; Colonial Acres Neighborhood Association Events Coordinator; Previous City of Hampton Co-Chair for Neighborhood Month; 40 Developmental Assets Core Team member; Owner of Brielle’s Travel; former board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Peninsula, to name a few.

She is the recipient of numerous service awards and recognitions to include the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Community Service Award, Girl’s Incorporated Community Star award, Brandon Developmental Assets award, and the National NUSA Notable Award, in recognition of neighborhood contributions. She is a woman of faith who believes that with God all things are possible.

The 2017 Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference will be in Glen Allen, Virginia at the Richmond Marriott Short Pump Hotel from September 22 - 23, 2017. For additional information visit the conference website at