Guest Speakers

Darryl W. Thomas, Jr., affectionately known as Coach D, is more than a man—he’s a force of inspiration. A devoted Family Man, U.S. Marine, and Leadership Development Coach, Darryl’s journey is a testament to resilience and triumph. With two decades of experience, he’s not just a coach; he’s a beacon of hope for at-risk youth.

His bestselling book, TODAY… I WIN: When Tests Go Beyond the Classroom along with his latest book, Take The L, speaks volumes about his ethos. For Darryl, the “L-word” isn’t defeat—it’s leadership. He believes in nurturing leaders to solve problems and create a better world.

As the CEO of Committed 2 Win, Darryl’s mission is clear: ignite the leader within. Founded on Love, Leadership, and Legacy, his company transforms lives by empowering young adults to succeed in school, work, and beyond.

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Darryl fought in Kuwait and Iraq before dedicating his life to shaping futures. His unique blend of military discipline and lived experience makes him a sought-after asset for organizations worldwide.

But Darryl’s impact extends beyond boardrooms and classrooms. With transparency and conviction, he connects with students, educators, and parents alike, inspiring them to overcome obstacles and embrace their potential.

Yet, amidst his tireless dedication, Darryl remains grounded as a devoted family man. With his wife (of 23 years) and five children (two adults and three teens), the Thomas Tribe embodies love, laughter, and adventure.

To join Darryl’s journey of empowerment, visit and discover the power of leadership, one win at a time.

Shamika Bradshaw is a Waco Native where she graduated from Baylor University in 2014 with an undergraduate degree in Child and Family Studies and in 2018 with a Master degree from Baylor’s Garland School of Social Work. She has worked in several different settings such as nonprofit, school, hospital and residential. Shamika is very passionate about helping others thrive and heal from past traumas, educate people about emotions, and break generational cycles. Currently she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker where she co owns a therapy agency called Rooted in Resiliency. This agency provides therapy services that allows all individuals, especially the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) community, to build resiliency as many endure life’s challenges and difficult changes. In the future, she hopes to discuss and advocate for issues such as trauma within the church.

Vené Baggett, LMSW, is the Field Coordinator and Assistant Lecturer for the social work program at Texas A&M University- Central Texas in Killeen, Texas. Prior to joining the faculty, Vené worked in K12 education as a Student Services and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Liaison. She has a strong background in school social work and curriculum development for SEL and sexual health education.

Her community involvement includes the Healthy Women and Children’s Coalition, the McLennan County Fatherhood Coalition, the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Central Texas Homeless Coalition. She is on a mission to educate and equip individuals, families and communities with skills that enhance body, soul, and spirit.

Vené holds a Master of Social Work degree with an emphasis in Hispanic children and families from Our Lady of the Lake University. She also holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Texas A&M University – Central Texas.

Along with her service to her community, Vené is an honored wife, mother and first time Hunee (grandmother).

Brandon S. Lofton is a Master of Social Work graduate, Nurse, and Father. He has a diverse background working with families and youth. He has over six years of work in fatherhood research and fatherhood support services. Brandon joined the STARRY Fatherhood Program in 2020 as an intern before joining the STARRY family. He currently is a Fatherhood Support Specialist serving fathers, male caregivers, and families of Bell and McLennan Counties out of Waco, TX.