La-Verna Fountain is the Founder and President of Meaningful Communications Matter, LLC., a consulting and training firm specializing in helping individuals and corporations develop compassionate, empowering and supportive internal and external communication strategies for the betterment of self and the larger community.  She also serves as an instructor at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies. Prior to starting her company, she served as the Vice President for Strategic Communications and Construction Business Initiatives at Columbia University and taught Introduction to Negotiations.

La-Verna is a published author of two books, The Gold Coins: A Supernatural Adventure Inspired by True Events (published under her pen name Sa’lia Friend) and The Alphabets of Life: A Simple Guide to Simply Living.  She currently writes a monthly column for Harlem News and enjoys writing academic, fiction and non-fiction materials. Throughout her career, La-Verna has developed numerous workbooks and guides including the Web of Support Guidebook for Save the Children where she served as Senior Advisor for U.S. Programs.

As a Vice President at Columbia, La-Verna led the internal and external communications for a 2,000-person department, the largest administration department at Columbia.  She designed programs and products to enhance minority and women businesses doing business with the University.  La-Verna organized numerous initiatives to highlight University women leaders including Columbia’s first-ever “Our Voices” panel of senior-level women who shared stories of their journey to the top.

While with the University, La-Verna helped lead the New York City/Columbia University joint Certificate Mentorship program for Minority, Women and Locally-owned construction trades businesses.  She served as part of the University’s negotiation team on two of the University’s top construction initiatives, the now opened Manhattanville Campus and the Bakerfield/Boathouse Marsh project at the Campbell Athletics Complex in Northern Manhattan.  She worked closely with the media, government officials and community members.

For the past 30 years, La-Verna provided motivational speeches, training and facilitation on conflict resolution, cultural diversity/human awareness, nonviolence as a way of life, working with teenagers, spirituality in the workplace, staff development and organizational development.  She has received numerous local, state and national awards in communications, community relations and business development.  She is married to an extremely supportive husband and is a proud U.S. Army Veteran.

In La-Verna’s words, “I am just like you; always a student and always a teacher.  I have multiple sclerosis and deal with the impact of that disease which appears in ever changing ways.  I’ve had Lyme disease and don’t appreciate its lasting impact.  I’ve lost 80 pounds and fight daily to maintain my current weight or lose 5 more pounds. I struggle to understand the madness I witness and decide where I might make a difference.  I look for the good and avoid as much negative energy as possible. I work every day to balance my life.  I thought I’d add a personal note to the professional because guess what, wherever I go, I bring myself.”