Marissa Saunders is originally from Berkeley, Ca where she began her career with IBM as the Northern Ca. Region Event Coordinator; went on to work at MCI Telecommunications and Atlanta Gas Light in leadership roles. In 2008, she completed the National Equity Project’s Diversity Leadership Training and is a member of the United in Action organization that works towards equity and social justice. In 2010, Ms. Saunders moved to Syracuse, NY where she developed a support program for incarcerated & formerly incarcerated individuals. In 2014, she began working at the Center for Community Alternatives (CCA)as a Program Director and became the Director of Community Engagement & Justice Strategies Associate for their three NY state offices. In March 2020, Ms. Saunders left CCA and founded Essential Conceptions Consulting providing Inclusive Leadership Development, Board Development, Grant Writing, HR Support, Capacity Building, Restorative Justice Circles and Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) workplace strategies to companies and non-profit organizations. In 2018, Ms Saunders was trained as a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Developmental Inventory; 2020 became certified as a Trauma Informed Coach from 4 Foundations; 2021 was trained in the NonProfit Lifecycles which assists non-profits in their capacity building efforts and received a Certificate of Completion for Christian Leadership from the Christian Leaders Institute. Ms. Saunders is an Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator; is the former President for Vera House Inc Board of Directors and is a Ruling Elder and Board President for Park Central Presbyterian Church in Syracuse, NY. In 2019 she was awarded Syracuse University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Hero Award; recognized as a CenterState CEO 2021 and 2022 Economic Champion and is the recipient of Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter’s 2022 Exceptional Women of CNY for Community Empowerment Award. Additionally, since 2019, Ms Saunders has traveled to Africa to minister to men, women and youth who are victims/survivors of abuse and provides leadership trainings in the various villages and churches she visits.
Consultant at Essential Conceptions Consulting