Speakers

Barbara Barrington Jones  |  Saturday Evening Speaker

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A renowned author, motivational speaker, fashion designer and image consultant, Barbara Barrington Jones is dedicated to helping young adults throughout the world realize their potential and lead more fulfilling and productive lives.

For the past 30 years, Barbara’s philanthropic efforts have helped young adults improve their situations and have hope for their future. Her desire to help stems from surviving a 12-year abusive marriage, being a single mother for two years and then being blessed with a wonderful second marriage. A woman of abiding faith, her philosophy is, “there is no earthly force greater than the divine power within a woman determined to rise.”

Each year, the Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation sponsors a self-esteem camp for teenage girls, a women’s retreat and a student-mentoring program. The foundation has also funded many scholarships for organizations around the world. The author of five books and participating author in ten others, Barbara, who is fluent in Spanish, has lectured in 15 countries and 30 states.

Barbara supports four preschools in Africa, provides assistance for Chinese and Cambodian orphanages and has contributed to the South Africa Homeless Peoples Federation. She also supports WELL Africa, which is currently building two schools and housing for teachers in a village in the Ivory Coast.

In 2015, Barbara began a new endeavor, called “Woman to Woman” – raising money to build a Mother-Child Maternity Health Care Unit in Basra, Iraq.  Women will have access to pre and post-natal care, to ensure the health and welfare of themselves and their child; something they would have never even dreamt about.

Barbara was a professional classical ballet dancer, and danced in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Montreal. She was a demi-soloist with the Atlanta Ballet Company, and a soloist and the assistant artistic director of the ballet company at the University of Texas. Recently, Barbara has formed a wonderful association with Utah’s Ballet West. In fact, she just performed as the Queen in Ballet West’s Swan Lake. Her foundation also supports the I CAN DO program, which gives children the opportunity to experience dance first-hand.  Last August, Barbara opened the Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point, which gives dancers in Utah Valley the opportunity to experience world-class training locally.

In 2013, Barbara continued her support of women by donating a major gift for the expansion of UVU’s Wee Care Center, which provides reliable childcare for UVU students with children.  In January 2014 she established the Barbara Barrington Jones Professorship in Ballroom Dance, the first Professorship to be established in the UVU School of the Arts.  Utah Valley University recently awarded Barbara Barrington Jones with an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts and Humanities.  Barbara has also donated to the construction of the Museum of Natural Curiosity and the Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point. Last year Barbara was named Woman Making a Difference by the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce, and was honored with the Utah Philanthropic Leadership Award of 2014.

Barbara continues to help all she meets, and touches the hearts of many.  Through the stages of her life, she has learned that “Life is not just getting through the storms, it’s learning to dance in the rain.”

Jessie Clark Funk  |  Friday Evening

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Jessie Funk holds a leadership certification from the University of Notre Dame along with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She has also been a professional youth speaker for twelve years, speaking for high schools and leadership conferences internationally. She is a “7-habits” facilitator for Franklin Covey, the most prestigious leadership training company in the world. She is a published author of two books for teens and she is also the Director of Education for the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition. Her passion for empowering teenagers led her to start an international non-profit organization called “The Ivy Girl Academy,” a confidence and leadership.

As a professional vocalist she has released five solo albums, has toured 36 states with the Broadway musical “Footloose,” has also been hired for hundreds of recording sessions as a studio vocalist including songs heard on TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” ESPN and “The Biggest Loser.” Jessie has walked away from three record deals unwilling to sell her soul for fame. She chooses to use her voice to lift and inspire in positive ways.

Jessie’s favorite role in life is that of adored wife and mother to two.

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