Emily is a published freelance writer, and a forgiveness coach, and the founder of the Forgiveness Academy. She is currently working on her first book, due out in August 2016 on the healing power of forgiveness. Her mission is to share the power and purpose of forgiveness with the world and help us all realize our true strength in the absence of fear. In addition to the book, Emily facilitates workshops on forgiveness, instructs companies on integrating forgiveness into their culture and values, provides group coaching online, and coaches individuals one-on-one. Prior to launching this latest project, Emily worked as freelance writer. She attended the University of Texas at Dallas for her MBA in Entrepreneurship and Tarleton State University for a BS in Geology, Environmental Sciences emphasis.
Donna Snyder is gratefully retired after a career as an attorney, state government executive and corporate officer. Donna began her career as a general trial lawyer with SBC Communications, eventually rising to manage the legal departments at SBC’s wireless subsidiary and three of its five telephone company subsidiaries. In 1997, Donna was elected an officer of SBC (now ATT), at which time she transferred out of the legal organization and became the Regional President of telephone operations in Oklahoma (with responsibility for network operations, sales, customer services, marketing, repair and network engineering and construction for all voice, data and video communications) and later the Regional President-Customer Services in Oklahoma and Arkansas. At the time of Donna’s retirement from SBC in 2000, she was the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Southwestern Bell Telephone, Pacific Bell Telephone and Nevada Bell.
Donna served as the first woman commissioner of the Texas Workers Compensation Commission (TWCC), having been appointed by the governor and approved by the Texas Senate. She was later elected by members of TWCC to be its member on the Workers Compensation Research Council.
Donna was active in the earliest efforts of the State Bar to address issues of women lawyers when she served on the President’s Committee on Effective Participation of Women in the Bar in 1979 and was a leader of the first Women and the Law Section of the State Bar, the San Antonio Women’s Bar Association and the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. Donna was instrumental in the formation of a mentoring organization for women executives at SBC.
Donna previously served on various community boards, including the Executive Women’s Roundtable of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Committee and Board of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and the boards of the YWCA Women’s Resource Center, Legal Services of North Texas, Big Brothers Big Sisters, St. Alcuin Montessori School and the Southwest Advisory Council of the American Arbitration Association. Donna also participated in Opportunity Dallas and Leadership Texas. She is a life fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.
Since retirement, Donna has been a court appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster children. She was on the Executive Committee and continues on the Board of Zach Theatre and was the Chair and Co-Chair of its $24M Topfer Theatre Campaign. She is on the Board and Executive Committee of the Board of Advisors of the McDonald Observatory and is on the Board and a volunteer Facilitator of Truth Be Told.
A native of Austin, Texas, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado, her J.D. from the University of Texas and a Certificate in Modern British Law at the London School of Economics. She and husband Richard Donahue, M.D. have two sons, Darren (a lawyer in the process of preparing to apply to medical school) and Ryan (a medical student at Texas Tech University).
Savannah Kumar has been deeply involved in Austin’s social sector for over 7 years, starting when she was in high school. She has served as a grant-writer, researcher, board member, and monitoring and evaluation consultant for a wide range of organizations. Locally, Savannah has worked with organizations including the Amala Foundation (a youth-centered peacebuilding organization) and the SAFE Alliance’s SafePlace (which provides safety to individuals and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault). In addition, Savannah has served as a fellow at the United Nations in Washington, D.C and has performed research in several disciplines, including philosophy and public policy.
Savannah studied in the Plan II Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin where she also received a degree in philosophy and a certificate in human rights and social justice. She graduated as a Dean’s Distinguished Graduate, one of the top graduates in her College. She is passionate about criminal justice reform, healing through storytelling, and community-based problem solving.