Laurie Moline is a communications professional, wife of a Fortune 500 executive and founder of a career-based mentoring program in Canton, Ohio. Kris Carter is an innercity kid with big goals and dreams, but also fighting the trap of "street thinking" that helped him survive his childhood and adolescence. Through their four-year mentoring relationship, Laurie has helped Kris build his path out of poverty by providing opportunities,connections, love and support. Kris has provided Laurie with insight into his world and access to people who she has built life-changing friendships with that are helping transform the Canton community. As a 21year old father parenting and paying child support for two daughters, Kris's journey is not easy. Over the course of their mentoring relationship, Laurie and Kris have dealt with college struggles, paternity issues, substance abuse, racial biases, family instability, mental health issues, and homelessness. Their relationship went through periods of fracture and then repair. But each experience has led to greater understanding of what mentors, schools and communities need to do to help young adults climb the ladder out of poverty. Through honest conversation and personal stories, Laurie and Kris will share their inspiring advice on how to build bridges between worlds in order to create more connected communities.
About Laurie Moline
A graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Laurie Moline started her career as a business communications specialist and has worked as a producer, writer, corporate communications manager, and business owner. Shortly after moving to Canton in 1986, she began a working as a producer for Aultman Hospital and subsequently advancing to director of marketing and public relations. In 1997, she left Aultman to work as a freelance communication specialist, serving large and small businesses and local non-profits.It was through those relationships that she began to develop an interest in the intersection of business and social issues. In 2004, when the Moline family returned from an expat assignment in the United Kingdom, she joined the newly formed Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Greater Stark County, becoming a member of the Steering Committee, then chairing the Service Committee, and eventually taking over the role of chairman. Her involvement with the WLC led her to working closely with Canton City Schools, where she began to realize the untapped potential that existed in inner city students and how it could help meet local workforce needs. After returning to work at Aultman in 2009, she leveraged her roles with United Way and Aultman to create a program called Get Connected, geared at giving disadvantaged high school students an opportunity to visit business environments and form connections with area professionals. As the program grew and she became closer with the students who participated in it, Laurie began recognizing the potential for it to lead to mentoring relationships for what she had come to think of as “her kids”. So, five years ago, she began taking her own deep dive into mentoring in order to understand the issues and challenges faced by inner city students as they try to escape lives of poverty. This was the start of Laurie and Kris's journey together and the beginning of Laurie's understanding of the neuroscience of poverty-associated trauma and how forming strong community connections can bolster resilience. The Get Connected program is now being funded by an Ohio Department of Education Community Connectors grant. More than 400 students and more than a dozen businesses have participated in Get Connected activities, with many students forming mentoring relationships with the professionals they meet through the program. Students are now becoming employed at partner companies, fulfilling Laurie's dream of building Get Connected into a talent pipeline that also helps break family cycles of generational poverty. Laurie mentors more than twenty students, and has close connections with many more. They call her Miss Laurie. Laurie is currently working on a book about mentoring young adults.
About Kristopher Carter
Kris is the third of eight children, born to a mother who lost her own mother at the age of 3. He attended nine different schools in his K-12 years and his life was filled with instability which included violence, parental incarceration, substance abuse, physical and emotional abuse, and other adverse childhood events. Despite this, Kris excelled academically and in sports, earning a partial scholarship to play football at Malone University. However, the trauma of his childhood, along with the responsibility of being a father to two daughters, impacted his ability to be successful at college, and presented a challenge that he confronted on a daily basis as he worked to escape the street mentality he grew up with and learned to create the life he wanted for himself and his daughters. Now, at the age of 21, Kris has turned the corner and is employed with a Get Connected business partner. He is learning to control his thinking and manage his finances (including child support for two daughters) so he can focus on building a life of "living" vs. "surviving". Through his Get Connected opportunities and his relationship with Miss Laurie (who he calls Ma), Kris has learned the power of vulnerability and how sharing his story and struggles aids in his own personal healing. With his heartwarming smile and incredible honesty, Kris easily connects with audiences as he reflects on how his role in a mentoring partnership has impacted his life and his community.