Keynote Speakers 2019

Charmaine Brown

  • Sunday, May 19, 2019

Charmaine Brown, a diversity and inclusion leader with over 20 years of experience working in the mortgage industry, will share the perils and progress of her diversity and inclusion journey and the lessons she’s learned from other diversity and inclusion leaders. She will bring a fresh perspective to the topic of Unconscious Bias and share compelling examples of how awareness can lead to transformation and better outcomes.

Charmaine is a Director in Fannie Mae’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). She is accountable for developing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies that meet and exceed Section 1116 of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). Charmaine’s primary areas of focus are the development of programs and initiatives that expand the capabilities of minorities and women, leveraging Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to support business goals, and building the capacity of trusted advisors and community-based organizations to expand access to affordable credit for multicultural families.

Prior to joining the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Charmaine spent 15 years in Fannie Mae’s Housing and Community Development and Single Family Mortgage Business.

Charmaine holds a master’s degree from The John Hopkins University, completed the Diversity Management Program at Cornell’s ILR School, and is certified in the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a cross-cultural competency assessment tool where she is assessed at Adaptation, the highest level of competency on the five-point continuum.

She is a member of the American Association of Access, Equity, and Diversity, Women in Housing and Finance, The Conference Board Diversity Leadership Council, and the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Charmaine also sits on the Housing Advisory Board of HomeFree USA and is on the Board of the Northern Virginia Urban League


James and Deborah Fallows

  • Monday, May 20, 2019

 James and Deborah Fallows will provide lessons from their journey across America to understand the prospects of cities, towns, and places (many of which represented by GFOA members) who despite the paralysis of national politics are working to craft solutions and make things better. Their work, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into the Heart of America, is a collection of stories from their meetings with hundreds of civic leaders, workers, immigrants, educators, business people, artists, public servants, city planners, and entrepreneurs. They will provide perspective on topics that will help all finance officers confront challenges and work towards building strong communities. 

James has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic for more than thirty-five years, reporting from China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and across the United States. He is the author of eleven previous books. His work has also appeared in many other magazines and as public-radio commentaries since the 1980s. He has won a National Book Award and a National Magazine Award. For two years he was President Jimmy Carter’s chief speechwriter.

Deborah is a linguist and writer who holds a PhD in theoretical linguistics and is the author of two previous books. She has written for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, and The Washington Monthly, and has worked at the Pew Research Center, Oxygen Media, and Georgetown University.


Peter Bregman

  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019 

Peter Bregman will speak to GFOA delegates on how to handle difficult situations, maintain your ground in the face of uncertainty, respond productively to opposition, act powerfully and courageously, and build your leadership pressence. 

Peter is a Master Certified Coach, leadership expert, and the CEO of Bregman Partners. For over 30 years, he has coached CEOs and senior leaders to develop their leadership skills, build aligned, collaborative teams, and overcome obstacles to drive results for their organizations. Peter has a deep understanding of both organizations and people and has dedicated his entire career to finding solutions that bring the interests of both together. He has worked with CEOs and senior leaders in many of the world’s premier organization and is a sought-after speaker and thought leader in the areas of leadership development, organizational change, productivity and emotional courage. He is also a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and his articles and commentary appear frequently in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Psychology Today, Forbes, The Financial Times, PBS, ABC, CNN, NPR, and FOX Business News.

Peter is also the best-selling author, most recently, of Leading with Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, and Inspire Action on Your Most Important Work. His book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, winner of the Gold medal from the Axiom Business Book awards, named the best business book of the year by NPR, and selected by Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Post as a top-ten business book.  Peter earned his B.A. from Princeton University and his M.B.A. from Columbia University.