Welcome & Keynote: 2021 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Keynote address presented by Dr. Shanita Williams, Associate Vice President of Talent Engagement & Inclusion, Southern New Hampshire University

Other speakers:

  • Governor Chris Sununu
  • Gretchen Stallings, Executive Director, Volunteer NH
  • Katie Pazienza, Event Chair, Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Gretchen Stallings, Executive Director of Volunteer NH, kicked things off by welcoming attendees to the 2021 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism.

Governor Sununu made a special guest appearance to announce the 2021 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year: Kathleen Stuart, Program Coordinator for the NH Senior Companion Program. Watch the video to see Kathleen be surprised with the award, presented live by the Governor.

The keynote address, “Community Building: How to Foster Inclusive & Connected Spaces,” was delivered by Dr. Shanita Williams of Southern New Hampshire University.

Keynote Description:

There’s no denying that 2020 presented us with an opportunity to pause, reflect, unlearn, and relearn at an accelerated pace. In a year that was marked by isolation and division, it became the lesson that helped us to understand the importance of community and belonging.

As we reflect on our past and look to the future, this moment calls for us to come together, to learn together, and move forward together. As a collective, we have the potential to create change, but it requires that we take intentional steps towards building a sense of community in every space that we occupy – so that everyone feels like they belong and can be a part of the change.

Session Goals:

By the end of this session, participants will have learned how to:

  • explore the power of community and belonging on human relationships and performance
  • discuss tips that help foster inclusive and connected spaces that strengthen relationships and a stronger sense of community at all levels in the organization



Dr. Shanita Williams is a TEDx Speaker, coach, author and the Associate Vice President of Talent Engagement and Inclusion at Southern New Hampshire University. For the last 15 year, Dr. Williams has helped organizations think about how to cultivate engaged and inclusive cultures that empower employees to reach their highest potential. As a leader in HR, she partners with Senior Leaders and Executives to understand employee engagement trends and develop strategies that help the organization recruit, retain, empower and develop world class talent.

Dr. Williams is passionate about building community spaces that foster connection and a sense of belonging. She is responsible for the design and implementation of SNHU’s first Employee Resource Group and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Communities of Practice. She works with business leaders, HR leaders and the Office of Diversity to create initiatives that foster a culture of belonging and ensure that engagement and inclusion are embedded in all talent strategies, activities, and programs.