Cortina Jenelle (Caldwell) is a queer, Two-Spirit woman of Southern, West African and Iberian descent. Originally born/raised in rural Morganton, NC, she is rooted back in the Appalachias where she calls Earthaven Ecovillage – an intentional community – home. Cortina is an authentic leader, systemic communication architect, egalitarian and highly sought facilitator for personal, organizational and community transformation. Cortina currently serves as the Founder of SOLEIL (School of Leadership, Equality and Innovative Learning) an
Cortina Jenelle (Caldwell) is a queer, Two-Spirit woman of Southern, West African and Iberian descent. Originally born/raised in rural Morganton, NC, she is rooted back in the Appalachias where she calls Earthaven Ecovillage – an intentional community – home. Cortina is an authentic leader, systemic communication architect, egalitarian and highly sought facilitator for personal, organizational and community transformation. Cortina currently serves as the Founder of SOLEIL (School of Leadership, Equality and Innovative Learning) and the Community Relations Director for LEAF Community Arts. Prior to these roles, Cortina served as the Founder & Managing Director of Visit & Venture (2011); and Co-Founder of the Authentic Communities Summit (2015).
Since 2007, Cortina has facilitated dozens workshops and led keynote addresses on authenticity, innovation, entrepreneurship and creative community building across the Southeast United States with leading organizations such University of NC at Pembroke; University of NC at Greensboro; Guilford College; East Carolina University; Appalachia Funders Network; Mountain BizWorks; Appalachian State University; Handmade in America; Mycelium School; Haywood Community College; Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute; Asheville Area Arts Council and numerous others. In the recent past, Cortina has been recognized as the WNC Minority Enterprise Development’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year (2012); 40 Under Forty: Asheville (2013); and an inductee to Leadership Asheville (2014). Her work in education, hospitality, non-profit management, sales, leadership, entrepreneurial development, communications and branding creates a cross-pollinated container for dynamic leadership, facilitation and development for any client she works with.
Cortina holds a Masters Degree of Arts in Management & Leadership; a Bachelors of Science in Business, Education & Social Science; is a graduate of the Mycelium School Winter Learning Journey; and is a Certified Facilitator according to the PYE Global methodology. Cortina considers herself a seeker of higher knowledge on a quest to get to the root of happiness in life and is therefore continuously pursuing training and learning opportunities around village building; nature-based education; leadership; activism; herbalism; alternative wellness and equality and human rights for the LGBTQ community.
Thank you for joining us to make this conference such a huge success! I so enjoyed your Ideate talk and appreciated the confidence and perspective you brought to the stage. You are working on amazing things for our community – Asheville is lucky to have you!Sara Levine, PHR, SHRM-CP Director of Human Resources / Assistant FSO – Epsilon, Inc
You are a positive force among your generation and you brought the perfect message to our Ideate session.Blake Butler, Adapt Public Relations
“…Ms. Caldwell presented a workshop focused on creative means to boost hospitality and tourism during the winter months in High Country, North Carolina. The evaluations submitted that her presentation style and knowledge of the industry were outstanding. The evaluations for her presentation indicated that all in attendance valued her presentation style and her knowledge of the industry. I have highly recommended her to my colleagues in the 58-member Small Business Center Network of the North Carolina Community College System.”Evelyn Asher, Business Coach | Strategy Expert | Wordsmith | Former Director, Small Business Center – CCC&TI
Thank you very much for visiting my class on Tuesday, especially considering the long travel. As students go into some types of business after graduation, the information you presented about authenticity, community, and new consumers are valuable.Etsuko Kinefuchi, Ph.D., Associate Professor – Department of Communication Studies, UNC-Greensboro
Thank you all for your wise words of guidance at the Graduate Education Summit last week. To have a panel willing to discuss and speak on essential skills that have lost their way of being taught in classrooms and in society is a true gift. I appreciate your time, and words spoken that have reignited my motivation.Katie Patterson, Graduate Student – Western Carolina University
From the first inquiry through completion of the workshop, Cortina was extremely professional, engaging, timely, and prepared. Her design of “The Collective Story of LEAF” was created to be a workshop that continues inspiring and informing the staff even after the workshop was completed. Her style is ingenious and fully interactive in a fresh energizing style. In one workshop, she brought forward immense depth from each participant, and then weaves us all together at the same time connecting us to the organization.”Jennifer Pickering, Founder & Executive Director, LEAF
Cortina participated in a 14 day intensive facilitation training with me in 2015. In that time I saw how she is able to stand her own ground with quiet yet potent conviction, how willing she is to face her own fears, and most of all how she can hold space for a group with a deep connection to both her own creativity and the needs of each individual. If you are looking to deepen your authenticity, self-reflection and sense of purpose I believe Cortina can help you.Nadia Chaney, Author & Facilitator, PYE Global
Cortina Caldwell is a dynamic community leader, expert facilitator and overall wunderkind. She can be counted on to provide leadership on a project, curriculum development for a program, or facilitation for group.Timothy Sadler, Fund Developer, Vets2Vets
Cortina has brought unique and necessary wisdom to our work at Mycelium. She has engaged with us as a facilitator, a branding consultant and a creative strategist. She offers a powerful blend of experience, knowledge and intuition that is rare and deeply appreciated. The more we get to work with Cortina, the more excited we are about finding other projects to collaborate on.Matthew Abrams, Co-Founder, Mycelium School
“…a nice reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Needless to say, very appreciative of her (Cortina’s) work so far and look forward to the future for the community there in Asheville.”Andy Fyfe, Fund Developer, B Labs
It was a pleasure to hear you speak at the HandMade in America…I do apologize that I didn’t get the chance to introduce myself, but I would like to schedule an opportunity to formally introduce myself and see how we may work together in the future. You are a breath of fresh air and well versed in your field…I love it!Katy M. Gould, Small Business Director – Haywood Community College
Book Cortina to Speak!
• Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference (LEAD Differently)
• Southern Leadership Jam
• Appalachian State University
• Creative Sector Summit
• Haywood Community College
• Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute
• UNC – Greensboro, Master of Ceremonies – Undergraduate Commencement
• UNC – Pembroke
• University of Tennessee – Knoxville
• Mycelium School
• Appalachia Funders Network
• LEAF Community Arts
• Kinnection Campout
• Authentic Communities Summit
• Mountain BizWorks
• New Mountain AVL
• Sirens on the Mountain Music Festival
• The Arts Council of Henderson County
• Small Towns Summit
• AB-Tech Community College
• Asheville Area Arts Council
• Venture Local Fair
• UNC-Greensboro – Entrepreneur Day
• Western Carolina University – Graduate Education Summit
• Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC
• Caldwell County Arts Council
• Bonfire Gathering
• Earthaven Ecovillage
• Folk Alliance International Conference
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