Speaker Date Topic
Orrin Mahoney, District 5170 Foundation Chair Dec 01, 2021
The Rotary Foundation - Annual Fund
Vanessa Russell, Love Never Fails Dec 08, 2021
2021 Community Grant Recipient - restoring, educating, and protecting survivors of human trafficking

Vanessa Russell Vanessa Russell has developed children in the area of dance, teaching hundreds, ages 3-25, lyrical, flags, hip hop, mime, since 2000. In 2010 one of her 15 year old dance students was sold into human trafficking. Although she was eventually located and is now being restored, Vanessa encountered many others who, like her student, were US born women, men and children trapped in modern day slavery.

Her response was to launch Love Never Fails, a non-profit dedicated to the restoration, education and protection of those involved or at risk of becoming involved in domestic human trafficking. Love Never Fails has educated thousands of children and community members on the issue of human trafficking, opened four homes that provide long-term safe housing and restorative services for over 176+ women, men, youth and children impacted by human trafficking and launched an IT Academy connecting under-served community members with financially sustainable careers. Vanessa believes that the issue of human trafficking can be solved through love expressed in prayer, safe housing, mentoring, job training, outreach, and education.

Vanessa also worked 23 years in the IT industry leading technology and sales organizations. She retired from Cisco Systems in January 2019 to lead Love Never Fails full-time. Her professional hope is to inspire and motivate people to develop business and themselves.  She and her husband, Pastor Timothy Russell, are blessed to have a seven children and four grandchildren.

Vanessa graduated from the University of San Francisco with a B.S. in Information Systems Management. She is a sought-out keynote speaker, a Professor of Computer Science and Information Systems for Peralta Colleges, a Vistage Worldwide Professional Speaker and published author of the Fight For Love workbook. The recipient of the 2013 Jefferson Award, the 2015 Jesse Curtis Homeless Advocacy in Action Award, the 2015 Hayward Heart Award, 2015 Top 20 Dynamic Women-Owned Nonprofits and numerous other awards. 

Love Never Fails is a 2021 Classy Awards Finalist and a 2021 East Bay Innovations Finalist.  

Melissa Espinoza, Youth Svc Prg Mgr, SAVE Dec 15, 2021
2021 Community Grant Recipient - Safe Alternatives to Violent Environments (SAVE) supporting schools