L500 | May 21-24, 2015 |  "Race in Politics"

Leadership is not a title, it is an Action!
Either because of opportunity or necessity, someone takes charge and leads the way.
Effective leadership is a destination achieved through careful thought, consideration and action.


Roslyn M. Brock is Chairman of the National Board of Directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She made history in February 2010 when she was unanimously elected as its 14th Chairman. She is the youngest person and fourth woman to hold this position.
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Brock is currently employed as Vice President, Advocacy and Government Relations for Bon Secours Health System, Inc., in Marriottsville, Maryland. Prior to working at Bon Secours, Brock worked 10 years in health programs at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan. She graduated magna cum laude from Virginia Union University; earned a master's degree in health services administration from George Washington University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Master of Divinity degree from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. In May 2010, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Virginia Union University. Brock has been a servant leader with the NAACP for more than 27 years. She is a Diamond Life Member of NAACP and joined the Association as a freshman at Virginia Union University where she was elected President of the Youth and College Division from the Commonwealth of Virginia. One year later, she was elected as a Youth Board Member from Region 7 representing the District of Columbia, Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1988 as Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board Health Committee, her advocacy for quality, accessible and affordable health care for vulnerable and economically challenged communities resulted in the National Board's inclusion in its Constitution of a health committee as a standing committee.

An expert grant writer, Brock has secured millions of philanthropic support for the NAACP. From 1999-2010, Brock chaired the NAACP's National Convention Planning Committee. In this role, she led the Committee to institute fiscal policies that resulted in the Annual Convention becoming a profit center for the Association with average yearly net revenues of one million dollars.

For nine years (2001-2010) she served as Vice Chairman of the NAACP National Board. In 2005, Brock created the NAACP Leadership 500 Summit. The Summit's goal is to recruit, train and retain a new generation of civil rights leaders to the NAACP. Since its inception, Leadership 500 has contributed more than $1.5m to the NAACP to support its civil rights programs.

Brock is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Catholic Health Association of the United States of America and The George Washington University. She is a member of several professional and civic organizations including the American Public Health Association; American College of Health Services Executives; Association of Healthcare Philanthropy; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The LINKS, Inc.

A recipient of numerous health care, community service and leadership awards, Brock's leadership skills have been recognized by several national publications and organizations. In 2012, she was the convocation speaker at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and featured as the February 6, 2012 NBC Universal iVillage Woman of the Week. Brock was awarded the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award by The George Washington University; the September 2010 issue of Essence magazine listed her among the "40 Fierce and Fabulous Women Who Are Changing the World," Black Entertainment Television's (BET) 2010 "Black Girls Rock," honored her in its inaugural broadcast and she received the 2010 National Urban League's Women of Power Award. Brock participated in the 2008 U. S. Department of Defense's 75th Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) reserved for American leaders interested in expanding their knowledge of the military and national defense. She was a guest lecturer on "Alleviating Global Poverty" in Rome, Italy at the 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Conflict Resolution Conference. From 2003-2005, Brock was a Young Leaders Fellow with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations to build cross-cultural understanding and professional networks with young Chinese leaders.

Brock's goal in life is embodied in an African proverb, "Care more than others think is wise, Risk more than others think is safe, Dream more than others think is practical, and Expect more than others think is possible."
Avery * Sunshine has thunderous, gospel-bred pipes and heart-to-heart content, the singer-songwriter can't help spilling the truth in her music. She knows the best route sometimes is the direct one. No detours.
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With her thunderous, gospel-bred pipes and heart-to-heart content, the singer-songwriter can't help spilling the truth in her music. She knows the best route sometimes is the direct one. No detours. So listeners won't have to "get on her level." She's already on theirs. "I want people to get my music. I don't want them to have to decipher some code in order to understand where I'm coming from," says Avery. "I always talk about how much I love Joel Osteen-it's because he explains things in such a way that it's, not only easy to understand, but also, easy to communicate. When he preaches, I remember the whole sermon and can then go and share that same sermon with someone else. That's how we REALLY SHINE."

This candid philosophy fits perfectly in a social-media-driven world that's forced even the most secretive entertainers to open up. While much of it seems staged (is everyone that perfect?), Avery's always been frank-the girlfriend and single mother of two who'll offer not just real, but relevant talk. That breakup? She's been there. Stressful days? (See: "Today"). Give her self-titled debut a spin (it was released independently in June 2010 and licensed in the UK, Europe and South Africa) and you'll see. It's organic. Soulful. Therapeutic. Every Avery album will be.

The word "feel-good" gets thrown around often in music circles. For certain artists, it just works. In describing her own sound, though, Avery quickly catches herself when the cliché term slips out. "It's feel-good music," she says, and then pauses. "That's so trite!"

Or you could call it truth. After all, those feel-good tunes have helped plump her portfolio with accolades including a turn as choral director on the theatrical production of Dream Girls," featuring Jennifer Holliday. Her videos "All in My Head" and "Ugly" landed heavy rotation on Music Choice, VH1 Soul and Centric. And she's toured with Ledisi and shared the stage with Kem, Musiq Soulchild, Eric Benet, Rachelle Ferrell, and the legendary B.B. King, among others. "Ugly Part of Me" also graced the Top 15 on the Urban Adult Chart via Media Base.

As Avery's right-hand musical partner, Dana Johnson-a writer, producer and classically trained guitarist-explains, her sophomore album will offer even more relatable tales. "We've gone back to a really organic, honest way of songwriting: What are you thinking about right now? We cracked the surface, and now this is an opportunity to see even deeper into the world of Avery*Sunshine."

The Sunshine world has its origins, 9 miles south of Philly, in Chester, Penn., and like many of us, she has her parents to thank for her music fixation. At house-party jams, they'd drop the needle on records from Jimmy Smith to Nina Simone to Miles Davis. Those memories from as young as 5 years old remain lodged in Avery's brain. "We had a silver stereo, and we had The Whispers 8-track, an eggshell color," she recalls vividly. "I remember playing As The Beat Goes On in the morning before school and smelling the Thomas English muffins that my mom was toasting for me. I also remember that if the toast was too dark, I wouldn't eat it."

From there, young Avery, a quiet loner, added more achievement badges to her uniform-from playing piano at age 7 to songwriting. "My mom said, 'Look, if I buy that piano, you gon' practice everyday,' And she meant just that."

By 13, Avery had earned a gig as choir director at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church for $175/hour. Dreams of being a corporate lawyer turned into faded pictures when she realized music was tugging harder post-college (she was a piano major at Spelman College).

Since then, she's been putting in work. And the accolades have continued to pour in. In 2010, Avery won Best New Artist at the Reader's Choice Awards. The following year, JET Magazine named her one of their 5 rising Indie Artists. Flexing her theater and thespian skills, Avery starred in the musical drama, I Dream, directed by Jasmine Guy, in addition to appearing on BBC 2 Live with Jools Holland. Her song "Like This" was featured in the TBS series, Franklin & Bash. And she appears on Will Downing's latest release, Silver, on the duet "You Were Meant Just For Me."

With over 200-plus reviews and features, including VH1.com, Vibe.com, BET.com, JET, USA Today, The Washington Post and more, Avery has made her presence known. Expect an encore with her anticipated sophomore project, to be released in 2013. These days, with a divorce behind her and loads of life experience, Avery finds solace within the melodies. Listeners will draw inspiration and strength from her lyrical sermons.

"We really do look at it as a ministry. It's a simple ministry, though," says Dana. "On the debut record, there were a few songs that looked at what people might consider touchy or awkward and poked fun so people can say, 'I tcan relate to that.' It helps people connect to a very common, human element." That's where the SHINE begins.
Ed Gordon. Hard hitting, inspiring, intelligent, honest, and direct: these are some of the words used to describe the style and approach of Emmy-award winning broadcaster, Ed Gordon. Known for his stellar interaction with newsmakers from the worlds of politics, entertainment, and sports, his name is synonymous with the "big" interview. Gordon's knack for landing exclusives and his no-nonsense style make him one of television's most respected journalists.
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Gordon is host and executive producer of the nationally syndicated one-on-one program Conversations with Ed Gordon. The signature program allows Gordon to bring newsmakers and celebrities up-close and personal to viewers. Over the years guests have included: Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Kevin Hart, Steve Harvey, and Janet Jackson among many others.

Gordon continues to be on the forefront of news. He conducted one-on-one interviews with President Barack Obama during his historic presidency. Gordon also anchored BET's coverage of the important 2012 Presidential election, Obama's second inauguration, Nelson Mandela's funeral from South Africa, and the 50th Anniversary of the historic March on Washington.

Gordon also appears twice a week on The Steve Harvey Morning Show where he conducts interviews with top newsmakers of the day and gives his perspective on current national headlines. In addition, he is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program, WEEKend WITH ED GORDON. The 2-hour program is a mix of talk, information, entertainment, and music. It's been called "a fun, smart radio show for grown folks."

The list of impressive positions Gordon has held over the years includes contributing correspondent for the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes II and contributor for NBC's Today Show and Dateline. His diverse style also makes him one of the most versatile people in broadcasting. He also hosted News and Notes with Ed Gordon, which aired on National Public Radio and the nationally syndicated television program, Our World and Weekly with Ed Gordon, a fast-paced roundtable talk show that highlighted the week's most important stories from politics to pop culture on BET.

Gordon distinguished himself during two stints at BET. He's had many roles at the network including host of BET Tonight, anchor of BET News, and creator of his signature one-on-one series Conversation with Ed Gordon. Over the years, Gordon has covered many of the world's most defining events. From the historic 2008 United States Presidential election, to the freedom of South Africa's Nelson Mandela, to the beating of Rodney King, to upheaval in Haiti and Cuba. He's also provided comprehensive coverage and up-to-the-minute reports on many other domestic and international affairs, including the tragic September 11thattack on America.

Some of Gordon's other notable works that have garnered the admiration and respect of viewers and colleagues include:
• The infamous O.J. Simpson interview

• An exclusive interview with pop superstar Janet Jackson about her secret marriage and painful divorce

• No holds barred, headline-making interviews with controversial Senator Trent Lott and embattled singer R. Kelly

Gordon's impressive portfolio also includes conversations with newsmakers the likes of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, television mogul Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce', Academy Award winners Jamie Foxx and Halle Berry, as well as Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, actor Idris Elba and The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, among others.

His thee-year period at NBC was just as impressive. A contributor to the Today Show and Dateline NBC, Gordon brought viewers face-to-face with many controversial figures, bringing their stories to light. Most notably was his exclusive interview with Autumn Jackson who unsuccessfully waged an explosive patrimony suit against comedian Bill Cosby.

Gordon also covered many of the day's top stories at NBC's sister cable network MSNBC. He won praise for his coverage of breaking news events including the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal and the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111. Gordon started his broadcasting career in the early 1980's at the PBS affiliate in Detroit.

Gordon is the creator of "Daddy's Promise" an initiative that encourages fathers to become deeply involved in the lives of their daughters. The project was born after he wrote a story for Essence magazine (December 2006) describing the close relationship he shares with his daughter, Taylor. The article was so popular it moved the journalist to create this national movement. Gordon and the initiative have been included in fatherhood White House summits with President Obama. In addition to an Emmy, Gordon is the recipient of many other awards recognizing his talent and professionalism. His awards include the NAACP Image Award, as well as the prestigious Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. He has also been featured in many national newspapers and periodicals. The Los Angeles Times described Mr. Gordon and his interviewing style, as "forthright and commanding". Gordon is an alumnus of a special list, PEOPLE magazine named him one of its 50 most beautiful people.

Gordon is also president of Ed Gordon Media, a multi-service production company. The Detroit-born Gordon earned his bachelor's degree in Communications and Political Science from Western Michigan University.
Roland S. Martin is the host and managing editor of TV One's NewsOne Now, the first daily morning news program in history to focus on news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports, and culture from an explicitly African American perspective. NewsOne Now starts weekdays via its radio platform at 7AM/ET, airing on Radio One network stations in select U.S. Markets and then transitions to TV One at 9AM/ET.
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Martin is a nationally syndicated columnist with Creators Syndicate, and is senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, where his daily segment is heard on more than 100 stations and 8 million people daily.

He is the author of three books: Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith; Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America; and The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House as originally reported by Roland S. Martin.

He has contributed to several others, including Paradox of Loyalty: An African American Response to the War on Terrorism by Julianne Malveaux; Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama by Sophia Nelson; Faivish Pewzner New York and Fatherhood: Rising to the Ultimate Challenge by Etan Thomas and Nick Chiles.

When Jet Magazine readers voted in 2012 for who is "King of the Hill" in terms of who they turn to on issues of concern to African Americans, Martin came on top, ahead of the likes of the Rev. Al Sharpton and Donna Brazile.

NewsOne.com named as the number one Black pundit in the country; and he has been named several times to The Root 100, their annual list of influential African Americans.

In his career, Martin has been showered with more than 30 awards for journalistic excellence, including being named the Journalist of the Year in 2013 by the National Association of Black Journalists for his extensive focus on voter suppression and other issues of concern to African Americans during the 2012 election.

Martin was also awarded the 2008 President's Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for his work in multiple media platforms. In 2008, he was also inducted into the Texas A&M University Journalism Hall of Honor.

He is a two-time NAACP Image Award winner; and has been named by Ebony Magazine on three occasions as one of the 150 Most Influential African Americans in the United States.

Martin spent six years as a contributor for CNN, appearing on numerous shows and earning accolades near and far for his no-holds honesty, conviction and perspective on various issues. In 2009, CNN was awarded the Peabody Award for its outstanding 2008 election coverage, of which Martin was a member of the Best Political Team on Television.

Martin has been named one of the top 50 political pundits by the Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom, and has appeared numerous times on a variety of American networks, as well as media outlets in Canada, Columbia, Italy, Australia and South Africa.

From October 2005 to October 2008, he served as a radio talk show for WVON-AM in Chicago, first as mid-day host and later as morning drive host.

He is the former executive editor/general manager of the Chicago Defender, the nation's most historic Black newspaper. He is the former founding news editor for Savoy Magazine under the team of New York-based Vanguarde Media, and the former founding editor of BlackAmericaWeb.com.

He previously served as owner/publisher of Dallas-Fort Worth Heritage, a Christian monthly newspaper. He also has worked as managing editor of the Houston Defender and the Dallas Weekly, which he led to a number of local, state and national journalism awards. Mr. Martin has worked as morning drive reporter for KRLD/1080 AM; news director and morning anchor at KKDA-AM in Dallas; city hall reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram; and county government and neighbors reporter for the Austin American-Statesman. He has also written pieces for Ebony and Essence magazines.

Mr. Martin is a life member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc..

He is a 1987 graduate of Jack Yates High School-Magnet School of Communications, and a 1991 graduate of Texas A&M University, where he earned a bachelor's of science degree in journalism. In May 2008, Martin received a master's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University.

He has been awarded honorary degrees from Florida Memorial University, University of Maryland-University College and Lemoyne-Owen College.

He is married to the Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin, author of Fulfilled! The Art and Joy of Balanced Living. They reside in Washington, D.C.

Honorable Ras J. Baraka was elected Mayor of the City of Newark in May 2014, becoming Newark's 40th Chief Executive since the City's incorporation in 1836.
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A native of Newark, whose family has lived in the City for more than 70 years, Mayor Baraka was educated in the Newark Public schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a Master's Degree in Education Supervisions from St. Peter's University in Jersey City.

An accomplished legislator and administrator, he has spent more than two decades tackling issues that affect the quality of life for Newark residents, including public safety, employment, health, economic development, and civic engagement. Specific highlights include legislation to acknowledge and address violence as a public health issue, to address complaints on late- night loitering, and to address abandoned properties and blight.

He was elected to the Newark Municipal Council to represent the South Ward in May 2010. Mayor Baraka taught elementary school for 10 years and coached girls' basketball before becoming the highly transformative principal of Central High School in 2007, serving in that position until 2014.

In 1994, at age 24, he ran for Mayor of Newark, and in early 2002, for Council Member-at-Large. In September of that year, he became a Deputy Mayor under former Mayor Sharpe James, serving in that role until November 2005. That same year, he was appointed to complete the Municipal Council vacancy created by the death of Councilmember-at-Large Donald K. Tucker. He returned to the Municipal Council in the 2010 Municipal Election, gaining election as South Ward Council Member.

Mayor Baraka has established various anti-crime initiatives, which include Newark's Committee on Violence, the opening of a mini-precinct in partnership with the Newark Police Department, securing additional patrols by collaborating with county officials and creating the annual "24 Hours of Peace Cultural Event," where Mayor Baraka joined local and nationally recognized talent to advocate for peace and gun control, aimed at ensuring 24 hours of non-violence.

An advocate for gang intervention and prevention, Mayor Baraka served as one of the key organizers and mediators of the Newark Cease Fire/Peace Initiative that took place in May 2004. He was also a founding member and served as the chairman for the historic First National Hip-Hop Political Conven- tion, held in Newark in 2004. Mayor Baraka is also very instrumental in leveling the disparity between low and moderate-income and market- rate housing as well as bringing affordable housing to urban areas.

His father, the late Amiri Baraka, was one of the nation's legendary poets and playwrights of the 1950s and 1960s, and author of numerous works of poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction. His mother is Amina Baraka, herself a noted writer. Mayor Baraka inherited his artistic excellence and sense of community activism from these artistic and community-committed parents. The father of three daughters, Mayor Baraka is also a published author. His latest work, "Black Girls Learn Love Hard," is dedicated to the life of his late sister, Shani Baraka.
Amber Payne is the Managing Editor of NBCBLK, a section of NBCNews.com dedicated to telling stories for and about the black community. 'BLK' elevates America's conversation about black identity, social issues, and culture.
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The vertical launched in January of 2015. Before taking on this role, Amber was an award-winning producer at NBC Nightly News where she produced breaking news and feature stories.

Amber has covered stories throughout the U.S. and the UK, Ecuador and parts of West Africa and South Africa. She was a Nightly News field producer for Special Reports including the 70th Anniversary D-Day in Normandy, the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and she covered the Joplin, Missouri tornado, The Royal Wedding, the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the Aurora Shootings, Hurricane Irene, and Hurricane Katrina recovery.

Amber is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she earned a degree in Studio Art and Media Studies.
Stacey Y. Abrams is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia General Assembly and State Representative for the 89th House District. She is the first woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly and is the first African-American to lead in the House of Representatives.
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Stacey serves on the Appropriations, Ethics, Judiciary Non-Civil, Rules, and Ways & Means committees.

One of six children, Stacey grew up in Mississippi with working-class parents who taught them the value of public service and civic engagement at a young age. The family moved to Georgia in 1989, when her parents attended Emory University, where they both graduated with Masters of Divinity and became United Methodist ministers. Stacey attended Spelman College, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Political Science, Economics and Sociology) and was named a Harry S. Truman Scholar. She received a Masters from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

Stacey returned to Atlanta as a tax attorney at the Sutherland law firm, with a focus on tax-exempt organizations, healthcare and public finance. At the age of 29, Stacey was appointed as the Deputy City Attorney for the City of Atlanta, where she led the legal and policy analysis for several major economic development, transportation and transit projects and managed a multi-million dollar budget and a team of more than 20 attorneys and paralegals.

Fiercely independent and entrepreneurial, Stacey has also founded a number of businesses, including an infrastructure consulting firm, a technology company and a beverage company for infants and toddlers. Most recently, she co-founded and serves as Senior Vice President at NOW Corporation, a financial services firm that specializes in providing access to capital for small businesses.

First elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 2006, Stacey quickly became known for her expertise and ability to explain complicated tax and legal questions, and she earned a reputation for working across party lines to pass legislation. In 2010, Stacey became House Minority Leader and has led the caucus to promote and pass legislation to increase educational opportunity, promote economic security, and improve the quality of life for all Georgians.

In 2012, Stacey received the prestigious John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award, which honors an elected official under 40 whose work demonstrates the impact of elective public services as a way to address public challenges. Stacey has been recognized nationally as one of the 2014 Public Officials of the Year by Governing magazine. She has received the Friend of Labor Award from the Georgia AFL-CIO and A-ratings from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. In April 2014, Stacey received the inaugural Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award from EMILY's List and was named to The Root 100. Stacey is also a 2014 Aspen Rodel Fellow and a 2014 Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellow.

Stacey has published articles on issues of public policy, taxation, and nonprofit organizations, including pieces with The Christian Science Monitor, Yale Law and Policy Review, U.S. News and World Reports, and The Huffington Post. She is also the award-winning author of several romantic suspense novels, writing under the pen name Selena Montgomery.

Stacey serves on the Boards of Trustees for Agnes Scott College and Atlanta Metropolitan State College Foundation, the Board of Directors for the Gateway Center for the Homeless, the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, the Board of Visitors for the University of Georgia, and the Advisory Boards for Literacy Action, Project GRAD and HSTAT – Health Students Taking Action Together. Stacey lives in Atlanta.
Karen Boykin-Towns has built a reputation as a visionary and strategic results-driver in complex business and government environments based on demonstrated success impacting healthcare policy research, advocacy, communication, and proactive change management.
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Ms. Towns' career at Pfizer, Inc. spans 18 years where she advanced quickly into executive management roles. She was recruited as a Senior Legislative Analyst based on her reputation for success in state government, and held key leadership roles in public affairs, government relations, business unit affairs, and global policy. Based on her positive impact driving change across the organization, she was hand-picked to be Pfizer's first Chief Diversity Officer. In January 2014, she was promoted to Vice President Business Unit Public Affairs.

Karen is credited with numerous contributions at Pfizer that were instrumental in maintaining Pfizer's brand integrity and ensuring the company's global expansion during periods of industry consolidation, economic instability, and dynamic organizational restructuring. One of her key accomplishments involved preserving Pfizer's brand reputation in spite of a controversial corporate decision to close the company's headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, a historic landmark and cornerstone for the company and the community. Karen was also sought out to provide public affairs advocacy in response to proposed government legislation that threatened continued use of a multi-million dollar drug providing significant healthcare benefits.

Consistently sought out as a valued resource at Pfizer, Karen has spearheaded innovative communication tools and led policy initiatives to support corporate campaigns related to preserving the value of medicines across a broad range of therapeutic areas. In addition to her notable contributions in public affairs, Karen Boykin-Towns was hand-selected to become Pfizer's first Chief Diversity Officer. In this role, she was instrumental in establishing policy and media press that recognized Pfizer's advances in the area of diversity and inclusion, both domestically and at Pfizer's global locations in emerging markets.

Embracing her passion for politics, Karen's early career involved serving as policy advisor to high-profile members of the New York State Senate, including the Deputy Director of the Senate Minority Committee, as well as the Chief of Staff and Legislative Director of the New York State Senate, David Paterson, who later became the Governor of New York. In this role, she led strategy and execution of legislative efforts related to civil and human rights, community development, and environmental issues.

Ms. Boykin-Towns leverages her talent as a coalition-builder and results-driver through active participation on executive boards in her community. Her tenure includes eight years of service for the NAACP, including leadership roles on the National Board of Directors, Health Committee Chair, and Executive Committee. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Friends of Thirteen Public Television since 2009. Other active leadership posts include serving on the Business Council of New York State, the Business Advisory Council for the College of Mount Saint Vincent, and the Democratic National Convention where she has been a delegate every session since 2004. Karen holds an MBA degree from Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY), as well as a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the College of Mount Saint Vincent where she graduated cum laude. A mother of two girls Jasmine and Trinity, Karen is married to former State Assemblyman Darryl C. Towns, who was appointed in 2011 by Governor Andrew Cuomo to serve as Commissioner/CEO of Homes and Community Renewal, which includes all of New York State's major housing and community renewal agencies and programs.
Charles Belk is a Producer and President of I Will Make You A Star Productions, a Los Angeles based, social / digital marketing and production company. He is also the Founder and Interim Executive Director of Fitting The Description.
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He became the face of international media coverage surrounding his August 2014 wrongful arrest by a local law enforcement agency, where he was photographed (his mug shots were taken), fingerprinted, not allowed a phone call, denied immediate access to his attorney, and held under a $100,000 bail for felony armed bank robbery.

Belk has been able to turn the time he spent handcuffed on a curb, into helping to be a voice for the voiceless – spearheading a national petition to institute new local and statewide law enforcement process improvements and advocating for legislative changes on both the state and federal levels. He has successfully enlisted six state legislators to introduce #AutoErase legislation in their respective states (Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, North Carolina and South Carolina) and eight others to consider beginning the process of drafting legislation to introduce in their respective states (California, Ohio, Tennessee, New Jersey, Alabama, Florida, Minnesota and Colorado). The #AutoErase legislation puts the responsibility of a wrongful arrest record back on the arresting agency, alleviating the undue burden that is placed on an innocent individual that has been wrongfully arrested due to mistaken identity.

He launched Fitting The Description, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to help build awareness of the countless number of individuals who are wrongfully detained and/or arrested each day because they "fit the description." The organization also provides educational services to those most targeted, and cultural sensitivity training law enforcement.

Charles Belk has served as VP of Marketing for a mobile and internet social media application company, VP of Interactive Promotions for a marketing agency, Deputy Director of Olympic Village Operations for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and ran Community Affairs for an NBA basketball franchise. Belk did his undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, graduate studies in Business at Indiana University, and Executive Leadership at Harvard Business School.
Shavon Arline-Bradley is the national director of health program for the NAACP where she is responsible for coordinating and planning the Association's health agenda and program implementation efforts.
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Ms. Arline's has over 11 years of public health experience in the areas of health disparities, federal and state government health program management, and community and stakeholder collaborative relationship building. The New Jersey native is a public health advocate and former track and field athlete and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology and Masters of Public Health degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ms. Arline is currently serving on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Childhood Obesity advisory board and was asked to serve on the expert advisory panel for the CDC's Division of Physical Activity and Nutrition to address health disparities. Ms. Arline is also a member of the AIDSVu national advisory committee.

Ms. Arline is a sought after public speaker and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Caribbean. She has been invited to national and regional conferences to present on disease prevention, exercise physiology, minority and women's health issues as well as social justice. She also ministers to congregations as an advocate for faith based health, social justice initiatives and spiritual development.

Ms. Arline was awarded Young Leadership and Excellence honors and co authored "The Queens Legacy" in 2009. Shavon is a member of the Columbia (MD) Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and serves as the co-chair physical and mental health subcommittee of the national program planning and development committee. She is also a member of the Columbia (MD) chapter of the Links Inc. Shavon is also the former health committee chair for the Washington DC branch of the NAACP.

Prior to joining the NAACP, Ms. Arline served as the Health Programs Coordinator of REACH 2010 @ the Heart of New Orleans focusing on the heart health of over 1,300 African American women. At the Crater Health District (VA) she was the Community Health and Prevention Supervisor and public information officer and coordinated community health education and outreach programs, administrated grant funding and contractors, and served as the community liaison to the health district.

Ms. Arline served as Health Program Manager with the Black Women's Health Imperative overseeing community outreach and program implementation for African American women and their families. She was also the Health and Wellness Manager for the National Recreation and Park Association in Ashburn, Virginia where she managed the Action Communities for Health Innovation and Environmental Change (ACHIEVE) program funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

She is married to Andrew Bradley and resides in Laurel, MD.
Dr. Karen Adderly Clark graduated from Grambling State University (formerly Grambling College) in Grambling, Louisiana with a B. S. in Music Education with double major in Piano and Voice.
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She received a fellowship from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida and earned the Master of Arts in Voice from the College of Education and the College of Fine Arts. She received the Doctor of Education from Nova Southeastern University in Educational and Organizational Leadership. Her dissertation was "The Examination of an In-School Suspension Program."

Dr. Clark is employed by Orange County Public Schools and she has had much success as a classroom teacher and Administrative Dean. Karen is most proud of being selected Teacher of the Year at the elementary and middle school level. In addition, she has provided access to programs and resources for at-risk children and families.

Karen is also a Florida State Certified Domestic Violence Advocate and volunteers with Harbor House Emergency Shelter and as a Courtroom Advocate. As a member of The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist she is involved with the Vestry, Choir, The Order of the Daughters of the King, Union of Black Episcopalians, New Clergy Transition Committee, King's Kids-Teen Group; and, Lay Eucharistic Visitor. She is an active member of Phi Gamma Sigma Educational Society; Orange County Branch, NAACP; member of the Orange County Branch NAACP Freedom Fund and Awards Committee; and, Delta Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Aristide J. Collins, Jr. is vice president for development and alumni relations at the George Washington University. He is charged with overseeing the university's comprehensive philanthropic campaign and also has a faculty appointment as a lecturer in higher education administration.
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To date, Making History: The Campaign for GW has raised over $730 million. In addition, he manages the business affairs, governance, recruitment, communication, and special events of the university's board of trustees. He also maintains all official records of the board of trustees and the seal of the university. Collins has 20 years of leadership experience in public and private higher education administration, primarily in managing board relations, corporate relations, crisis and strategic communications, fundraising, and external relations. He holds degrees from Pepperdine University; California State University, Long Beach; and California State University, Hayward (East Bay).
Sammie J. Dow is an energetic and passionate community activist. His expertise in youth organizing, strategic fundraising and program management affords him the opportunity to create positive impact within his community.
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He has spent his career in the nonprofit and social services sector serving families and communities often disenfranchised by systemic barriers and inequalities. His mission in life is to leave every person he encounters better equipped to handle life and to reach their maximum potential.

A native of High Point, North Carolina, Sammie is no stranger to student activism and organizing. As a teenager, he was instrumental in galvanizing youth in his community around civic engagement and faith-based initiatives. In 2000, the High Point unit of the NAACP honored him with their annual youth leadership award for his commitment to community service.

As an undergraduate student, he was actively involved in student government on the local, state and national levels. He served as student government chief of staff at North Carolina A&T State University and Vice President for Development for the University of North Carolina state-wide student association. While at A&T, Sammie was also a critical voice in helping the university shape student programs and policies. He also served as the Grassroots Legislative Liaison on United States Student Association's national board of directors.

Sammie currently serves as National Youth and College Division Director for the NAACP – the nation's largest army of civil rights youth leaders with more than 25,000 young people across 600 active youth councils and college chapters throughout the country. Through a targeted membership campaign, 5,000 youth joined the NAACP within the first few months of his arrival. The Youth and College Division is currently leading a national grassroots organizing strategy to engage youth, college students and young professionals in a comprehensive gun violence advocacy campaign. This initiative will train thousands of young people to advocate for increased resources to promote community solutions for safer and stronger neighborhoods.

Prior to joining the NAACP, Sammie was the Foundation and Corporate Development Manager for Family Resources, a $10 million dollar human services agency in southwestern Pennsylvania, focusing on the prevention and treatment of child abuse. He successfully led the effort to implement a comprehensive fiscal and grant management process for more than $500,000 in revenue. He also expanded program revenue by increasing giving from current supporters and leveraging new relationships with corporate and foundation partners.

While in Pittsburgh, Sammie was a key player in expanding youth workforce development programs. Through this work, he developed relationships with the local business community to create a pipeline of experiences that exposed young people to possibilities for their future. He also organized parents and students around quality teaching, equity and education reform within the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

Sammie is deeply involved in public service and serves on a number of boards of directors and community advisory boards, including WQED Multimedia and the Collegiate Branch YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated and a 2004 recipient of the Young Humanitarian Award by the High Point Human Relations Commission.

Sammie holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from North Carolina A&T State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh.
Marsha Ellison is President of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch NAACP. When elected in 2004, she became only the second woman to hold that position in the Branch's sixty year history.
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Ms. Ellison is also an elected member of the Florida State Conference NAACP, where she serves as Treasurer and Chairperson of the Florida State Conference NAACP Health Committee. She Serves as Chair of Circuit 17 Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, and serves on Broward County School Elimination of the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Committee, the Broward County School District Code of Conduct Committee, the Broward County School District Disciplinary Matrix Committee and is a former board member of National Organization for Women.

Ms. Ellison is a respected civil rights and family & children's advocate who is also well known for her extensive social and political involvement and her strong advocacy for equality in education. The NAACP and community has benefited from her creative program development including car seat give-aways, safety awareness program, "Right to Vote" awareness program, The Civil Rights Restoration Center, Back-to-School/Stay-in School Program, NAACP and the Black Church and NAACP Diversion Programs. Ms. Ellison is the Executive Director for the Alternative Sentencing Adolescent Program (ASAP). This Civil Citation program works to channel hundreds of youth out of the Juvenile Justice system without the stigma of arrest and/or conviction on their records.

Under Ellison's leadership the State of Florida's first NAACP High School Chapter was chartered. She remains active in election reform, voter empowerment, and economic development. As President of the NAACP Fort Lauderdale/Broward Branch, Ellison brokered the Elimination of the Broward School to Prison Pipeline agreement with Broward County School District.

She has been recognized by numerous organizations for her fierce commitment to civil rights including recognition by the National NAACP for Fair Share and Financial Empowerment Development, numerous Florida State Conference NAACP President's Awards, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. Citizen of the Year Award, The Mental Health Association of Broward County EPIC Award, Gay and Lesbian Community Center Award, and The Negro Chamber of Commerence for her stand on civil rights for all citizens. Ms. Ellison opened the NAACP Eula Johnson Welcome Center on July 4th 2011. This historic center honors former Fort Lauderdale NAACP President Eula Johnson and preserves the rich history of the NAACP here in Broward County. Broward County Civil Rights Movement was planned at the Center's site. The home was preserved as a tribute to the Mrs. Johnson and the NAACP.

Pastor John R. Faison, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Watson Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, affectionately known as "The Grove," where they endeavor to be "A GROWING church for GROWING people whom Christ will use in GROWING His Kingdom."
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A native of Boykins, Virginia, Pastor Faison earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Virginia State University and a Master of Arts in Practical Theology from Regent University. Upon completion of undergraduate studies, he was commissioned an officer in the US Army. Pastor Faison served in the Field Artillery and Military Intelligence branches, including tours in South Korea and Iraq. Sensing a new call upon his life, Pastor Faison resigned from a bright career as a Captain in 2008 in order to pursue God's call in full-time ministry. That step of faith took him to Good Shepherd Baptist Church in Petersburg, VA, where he served as Pastor of Youth & Young Adults until his call to the pastorate at The Grove.

Under Pastor Faison's leadership, God is using The Grove to impact the city of Nashville and beyond with tremendous effectiveness. Since his arrival in March 2012, the congregation has quadrupled to over 1200 members. Pastor Faison led the completion of several physical, logistical and technological upgrades, as well as the hiring of additional staff, in order to minister to this growing congregation. Additionally, several innovative ministry initiatives have launched and powerfully impacted the community, making Pastor Faison a "go-to" resource for a city seeking to respond to its own unprecedented growth.

Pastor Faison is a highly sought-after communicator of the Gospel. Young and seasoned alike have been blessed by his message of allegiance and authenticity, as well as his willingness to deal with relevant issues. Pastor Faison is a frequent guest lecturer/preacher at conferences throughout the country, and his work has been published in The African American Lectionary and The Grio.com. Furthermore, he is a passionate advocate for community transformation and development, as seen in his work as an HIV/AIDS National Ambassador with the NAACP, mentor in public school districts, advisor to several community organizations, and member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. Pastor Faison currently serves as a board member of the Dismas House, as well as a founding director of the South Nashville Fellowship Community Development Corporation.

Pastor Faison is married to his lovely partner in life and ministry, Min. Alethia Faison. They are the proud parents of three amazing children: John Ryan, Jr., Ajah Jeanette, and Jaden Reshard.

Stacy Franklin is owner of Thriveworks Peachtree City Counseling and Coaching, and is a nationally certified, clinical mental health therapist. Stacy received her Master's of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Mercer University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, focusing on race and urban relations, from Georgia State University. She earned her graduate certification as a Certified Diversity Professional and Advanced Practitioner (CDP/AP) from Cornell University and holds a Strategic Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) certification.
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As an HR and mental health professional, Stacy is known for her open, direct and empathetic approach to counseling. She uses an integrated approach to therapy, utilizing a variety of orientations and therapies, which are based on the client's individual needs. Primarily working with teens and adults, she partners with clients to address life stressors. Stacy also provides career and leadership coaching for individuals who are seeking to advance or change careers.

Prior to starting her career as a therapist, Stacy was Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Diversity, Inclusion and Workforce Performance at Harland Clarke Holdings Corp., a fortune 1000 company and leading provider of payment solutions, marketing services and Scantron testing and assessment solutions. In that position she was responsible for developing and executing strategic human resource and diversity management plans, community giving strategies and the company's learning and development strategy. With a prior background in corporate marketing, she previously served as Director of Marketing for licensed products, community segments and new product development, where she leveraged more than 15 years of corporate and financial services marketing experience from her tenure with major financial services companies, to support the growth strategies of Harland Clarke and their clients.

Stacy works as a volunteer staff member and therapist at Odyssey III, a transitional housing program for women who are battling homelessness and addiction. As a one year survivor of breast cancer, she also provides free counseling support and therapy to cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers.

Stacy is a lifetime member of the NAACP, an active member of The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., The Conference Board's Diversity and Inclusion Council, The Atlanta Diversity Manager's Affinity Group, The Society of Human Resource Management, The Youth Advisory Committee of Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church, The Jewish Family and Career Services Family Advisory Board, SCM Board of Directors, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Advisory Board, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, and previous Advisory Board Member for The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. Stacy is married to Reverend Lee C. Franklin, Jr. and is the mother of three adult children, Shayla, Shannon and Brandon. Stacy is also the proud grandmother of Kingston, Brooklyn Skye and Isaiah.

Tamekia Flowers, a Brooklyn, New York native, began her walk along her winding career path the day she entered Syracuse University. Entering as a pre-law student, it didn't take long for her to realize she had a passion for music, entertainment, youth empowerment, and serving others.
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Since graduating from Syracuse University with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing, Tamekia Flowers amassed over 15 years experience in event planning, marketing, talent relations, youth culture and youth empowerment. Despite possessing a busy work lifestyle, Ms. Flowers always dedicated time to her personal health and wellness.

In 2002, following years of suffering from back and stress issues, Ms. Flowers began practicing Yoga. After 10 years of a dedicated practice and experiencing the benefits of Yoga, Tamekia Flowers decided to enroll in teacher training at OM Yoga so she could introduce to others a practice that helped her so greatly. After completing teacher training, and having served as a teacher for over three years, Ms. Flowers created Rhythm & Flow Yoga, a Vinyasa Yoga practice that was founded on the principals of mindfulness, compassion, proper alignment, personalized attention, and acceptance. Ms. Flowers implemented Rhythm & Flow Yoga as the primary wellness program for Epiphany Blue, a full service lifestyle and wellness event planning agency of which she is the Founder and Principal Event Specialist. In addition to serving as a Certified Yoga Instructor and operating Epiphany Blue, Tamekia Flowers is the Founder/Executive Director of Hip Hop 4 Life, a 501c3 youth empowerment organization committed to providing interactive life skills and health awareness programs designed to engage, educate, and empower young people to lead extraordinary lives. Since it's inception, Hip Hop 4 Life served over 12,500 youth and parents throughout the country.

Tamekia Flowers was able to turn her passions into fruitful careers and she has been committed to inspiring others to do the same. "I am a firm believer that discovering your passions and your purpose is the true path to happiness," says Ms. Flowers. "I have been fortunate to discover these passions and realize my purpose early in my adulthood, and as a result I now have careers that I love."

Tamekia Flowers is a profound youth motivational speaker, wellness advocate and life skills trainer who has been recruited by organizations and schools across the nation to empower youth and adults.

Below is a brief list of schools and organizations:
• NAACP Leadership500 Summit
• Paul Pierce NBA All-Star Weekend Well- ness Fair
• Alonzo Mourning Charities/Zo's Summer Groove Youth Summit
• Dwyane Wade/Wade's World Foundation Youth Conference
• Coca-Cola Apollo Theatre Academy
• Boost Mobile Summerscope program
• Challengers Boys & Girls Club
• City of San Antonio/MLK Jr. Summit
• FBR Boys & Girls Club
• Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club
• Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention
• Girls Inc. of New York
• Holthouse Boys & Girls Club
• Syracuse University
• Whitehead Boys & Girls Club, Atlanta
• Youth Empowerment Mission

David Girton. Born in Indianapolis (Naptown!) David is a long-time resident of Maryland and Founder and Lead Coach at LiveNow Fitness, LLC. A nationally televised fitness expert and coach to organizations such as the NAACP's Leadership 500 Conference, David is also the thought leader and creator of the successful Facebook group, WE Dig Green, a community of eaT smarT enthusiasts and those on the path to better eating habits, including green juices, smoothies and reaL fooD.
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David espouses and practices the benefits of total body conditioning and functional training -- movements and exercises that mirror human biology. An avid mud and obstacle racer, David has utilized his fitness expertise and enthusiasm to create the SOULdier workouts; workouts designed to prepare athletes to take on the rigors of mud and obstacle courses such as the Spartan Trifecta and Tough Mudder events, in which he's participated. David's strengthening and conditioning workouts, in The LaB at LiveNow Fitness, drive his multi-sport athletes (triathlon, aqua bike and duathlon) to STRONGER. results.

Living a passionate life and inspiring others to wellness, and their best health ever. is David's life's purpose. David believes that a holistic approach founded on mastering the fundamentals - good form, good eating habits, good rest and recovery - lead to a lifetime of good habits that can be passed on and impact generations to come.

David is a devoted son to his mother, Natalie, and in his downtime, enjoys reading, hip-hop music, the arts and more!

David Emmanuel Goatley is the chief executive officer of Lott Carey, a global Christian missional community founded in 1897, which extends the Christian witness throughout the world.
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Lott Carey shares prayer partnership, financial support, and technical assistance with communities engaged in ministries of evangelism, compassion, empowerment, and advocacy. As Lott Carey's executive secretary-treasurer, Mr. Goatley cultivates vision, oversees administration, and leads development efforts to invest in indigenous leaders and programs in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America. An ordained Baptist minister who has been an urban missionary, pastor, and professor, Rev. Goatley earned degrees from the University of Louisville (AAS, BS) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). A global strategist, leadership mentor, and thought leader, Dr. Goatley serves on the Baylor University Board of Advocates, United to End Genocide Board of Directors, and the NAACP National Board of Directors. He is an author and publisher who resides in Metropolitan Washington, DC with his family.

Victor L. Goode Assistant General Counsel at NAACP
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Kevin Hicks is a Partner with Blackman and Associates; a franchise consulting firm, which provides franchise advisory and acquisition services for individuals and companies.

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Blackman and Associates identifies the most viable and lucrative franchise opportunities for its clients, with both start-up and existing businesses. The firm provides market research; marketing strategies; business plan development; franchise management recruitment; deal searches; acquisition of both debt and equity financing; and strategic franchise growth planning.

For the last fifteen years, Mr. Hicks has been a leading advocate for minority franchising. He has worked with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, U.S. Senate Committee On Small Business and Entrepreneurship, National Federation of Independent Business, The National Small Business Advocate; U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, and the International Franchise Association (IFA), the largest trade association in franchise industry, to increase the number of African American, Latino, and women entrepreneurs through franchising. He has participated in IFA and leading franchise industry panel discussions, forums, and conferences on start-up franchises, multi-unit franchises, and the raising of capital for minorities to purchase franchise businesses. Mr. Hicks and his partners are responsible for increased minority ownership of many leading national franchises to include; Popeye's Fried Chicken; Subway; Papa John's Pizza; The UPS Store; General Nutrition Center (GNC); The International House of Pancakes (IHOP); Burger King; ExxonMobil; The Coffee Beanery; Firehouse Subs; FastSigns; Midas Muffler Shop; KFC; The Athlete's Foot; Quiznos ;Church's Chicken; Dunkin Donut ;Baskin Robbins; Marriott Hotels; Golden Corral Buffet and Grill; T.G.I. Fridays; ServiceMaster, and Coverall Cleaning Concepts…to name a few. Mr. Hicks was part of an ownership group which operated sixteen (16) Church's Chicken restaurants in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, which when they were sold at a substantial profit, employed over three hundred (300) people and had sales of $Eleven (11) Million Dollars annually. He is currently part of a group that owns several Subway restaurants and another group that owns a Marriott hotel.

As a much sought after speaker on the subjects of franchising and business development, Mr. Hicks been appeared on radio stations across the nation, and on television programs on CNBC, CBS, and TV One. He has also been featured in newspapers and magazines across the country, including Black Enterprise and Forbes. Mr. Hicks has partnered with various organizations, colleges, and business publications to promote increased minority entrepreneurship as a solution to closing the wealth gap and reducing high unemployment. He recently was part of an elite group of experts who were part of a special report for the U.S. Senate Committee On Small Business and Entrepreneurship on increasing minority employment and closing the wealth gap.

Mr. Hicks is an active participant in all the communities where he conducts business. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for community service from various groups, and advised the administrations of Cincinnati, Buffalo, Oakland, New York City, and Atlantic City on franchise development as a wealth and job creation vehicle. Mr. Hicks has presented to many prominent organizations, including the National Urban League; National Baptist Convention; RainbowPush; American Marketing Association; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; U.S. Black Chambers Inc.; National Black MBA; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; Professional Athlete's Franchise Initiative; National Basketball Association Retired Players Association; The Franchise Times; Georgia State University; Alabama State University; National Football League; New York University; Columbia University Business School; The Black Enterprise Magazine Entrepreneur's Conference, The Angel Capital Association The Capital Roundtable; National Association Of Investment Companies/Marathon Club; and the National Sales Network. He has served on the Board of Directors for the National Small Business Institute; American Red Cross; and 100 Black Men Inc., a professional men's organization committed to economic development, providing college scholarships, promoting education, and mentoring young people.
D. John Jackson serves as Vice President of FedEx Tech Connect Strategy, Planning, Engineering, Innovation & Customer Identity responsible for Global customer services strategic/tactical planning at FedEx.
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His role entails implementing corporate strategies that focus on customer satisfaction across the FedEx enterprise and leveraging technological breakthroughs occurring in the marketplace to improve customer experience. Additionally, his Customer Identity team plays a major role in Corporate acquisitions with the conversion of customer data. FedEx serves more than 220 countries and territories, including every address in the United States. More than 300,000 FedEx team members worldwide handle over seven million shipments for customers each business day.

As a visionary leader in a global environment, Jackson has provided direction on initiatives resulting in more than $170 million in incremental international business revenue. Additionally, under his leadership, global systems designed to improve customer experience and shipping processes have been successfully implemented. With more than 28 years of engineering and international business experience, he is frequently called upon to share his expertise with FedEx operating groups and customers, as well as external business, educational and community organizations. Jackson is a distinguished lecturer and motivational speaker on a broad range of topics from the Global Economy and Technology to Leadership and Teamwork.

Jackson's leadership accomplishments and strong business acumen have also earned him numerous awards and honors, including six (6) FedEx Five Star Awards -- the Corporation's most prestigious recognition for superior performance; and a listing in Dollars and Sense magazine as one of the "Best and Brightest in Corporate America."

Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration in Finance and International business.

Keenan Keller is Senior Democratic Counsel for the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives. In this capacity, he drafts and analyzes legislation on range of issues, including civil rights, criminal and constitutional law questions.
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Prior to joining the Committee staff, he was associated with the law firms of Latham & Watkins in Washington, DC, and Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, where he was a litigation and health care law specialist. He is a graduate of Brown University, with a B.A., magna cum laude, and the Yale Law School. Following law school, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Myron Thompson, United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

While immersed in his legal career, Keenan has been active in the community, serving on numerous church and community boards in the Washington area. He was elected to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the Mount Pleasant community in the District of Columbia and, in 2000, was elected to the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee, where he served on the Executive Committee. He has served on the board of the D.C. Urban Forest Council, the Healthy D.C. Foundation and the Board of Trustees for the National Child Research Center. In 2001, he was appointed by the Mayor to the D.C. Police Standards and Training Board and served as Chairman of the United Planning Organization Board of Directors. A strong advocate of public education, Keenan has also served on the Board of DC Educare and Chair of the both the Bancroft Elementary School and Hardy Middle School LSRT.

Dr. Toni L. Lewis
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Sandy McDonald has been the Director of the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) since June 2013.
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Mr. McDonald has an expansive vision of economic development for all of Broward County, centered on an entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to small business success, as well as a renewed sense of partnership with the County's 31 municipalities and its Municipal Services District. Mr. McDonald's leadership of OESBD has capitalized on an understanding of the competitiveness of the business market, the realities facing businesses, and the potential that exists in the County's business community – to innovate, grow new employment opportunities, and invest in our communities, improving quality of life for all residents.

OESBD has as its core functions economic development for the County as a whole, and the oversight of local and Federal implementation of small business programs, including fostering of small business growth through new initiatives. Mr. McDonald serves as Broward's designated Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liaison Officer (DBELO) and works to support the County's commitment to the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) programs that OESBD administers, in addition to the County's local County Business Enterprise (CBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) programs. In coordination with other County partners and officials statewide, Mr. McDonald champions opportunities for small businesses through developing, implementing and monitoring these programs. OESBD has endeavored to provide a more robust small business development program and is committed to continuous examination of the parity of County procurement and reduction of barriers to small business success. OESBD provides resources to position businesses in growing beyond Broward County with an emphasis on creating capacity and encouraging international trade. With programs like a new mentor-protégé initiative, and an enhanced effort to work directly with city-level economic development efforts, OESBD and the County are poised to continue improvements seen of late in economic development. Mr. McDonald has sought to make the exceptional product that Broward County offers to the businesses – from location to talent to quality of life – known to all, within Broward and beyond.

Prior to joining Broward County, Mr. McDonald worked for 13 years in Community and Economic Development on both local and federal programs. His expertise includes initiating tax increment finance programs, brownfield redevelopment, small business development and disadvantaged business enterprise opportunities. Mr. McDonald has coordinated projects for multiple cities in the State of Michigan and served as chair of the Great Lake State Governor's Cities of Promise initiative from 2006-2010. Working with multiple partners – including community organizers, private investors, non-profits, financial institutions and the County of Oakland, MI – Mr. McDonald collaborated on an endeavor resulting in more than $25 million in projects and technical assistance for the City of Pontiac.


Greg Mathis Jr. is Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Gary Peters

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Greg has had a strong passion for public service long before moving to Washington, D.C. During high school, Greg was actively involved in the NAACP and served as President of his local NAACP Youth Council. While attending the University of Michigan, Greg travelled to Detroit during the school year and summers to work with Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson. In addition, Greg interned for former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.

In January 2012, Greg moved to Washington D.C. where he worked as a Staff Assistant and later a Legislative Correspondent for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. In the Summer of 2012 Greg took leave from the Congressman's office to work on the Obama 2012 reelection campaign in Dayton, Ohio.

Greg returned to Washington after the election and joined then Congressman Gary C. Peter's staff as a Legislative Correspondent and later a Legislative Assistant. In November 2014, Congressman Gary Peters was elected to the United States Senate. Greg was appointed to serve on the United States Senate staff in January 2015 and now handles health care, labor and housing policy for the Senator.
David Mensah

David Mensah are the principal partners at DKBWAVE Training and Consulting. Before launching the company in 2007, Debra and David held significant leadership positions where they developed their passion for leadership development.

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David Mensah are the principal partners at DKBWAVE Training and Consulting. Before launching the company in 2007, Debra and David held significant leadership positions where they developed their passion for leadership development. Debra has over 20 years of leadership experience in the financial services industry; her last position was at JPMorgan Chase, where she managed a $100 million business unit with a staff of 80. Since co-founding DKBWAVE, Debra has developed or co-developed over 10 leadership programs and coached over 100 leaders.

David Mensah offers more than 20 years of non-profit leadership experience. He has served as the Executive Director of two separate human services organizations: one that provides housing and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and another that delivers after-school services for LGBTQ youth living in New York City. David has also worked as a marriage and family therapist and taught counseling and management graduate students at three universities. He currently holds an adjunct faculty position at Baruch University in New York City, teaching Leadership Development to Masters and Executive Masters students interested in Breakthrough Action® Leadership.

Content or Pre-Session Homework Questions: Please contact David Mensah at 917-209-9263 or david@dkbwave.com

Please learn more about us at www.dkbwave.com

Brendien Mitchell is a Rising Senior, Political Science and Economics double major at Howard University in Washington, DC. A native of Ocala, FL, he has been an active member of the NAACP since the age of 10, traveling the country advocating for civil rights.

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He has addressed thousands from the steps of the United States Supreme Court in favor of the Voting Rights Act to the platforms of the Sanford Police Department for Justice for Trayvon Martin. Brendien is currently the Executive President of the Howard University Student Association, a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, President of the Florida State Conference NAACP Youth and College Division, and an alumni of the Young People for the American Way fellowship. Brendien has also worked for the Andrew Goodman Foundation, served as a legislative intern in the office of United States Senator Bill Nelson, and currently interns for the Energy and Social Justice Project. As the new leader of the 11,000 person student body on one of the nation's most historic and active campuses, he hopes to combine his talents in grassroots organizing with his experiences in student leadership to be an advocate for equality and opportunity.

Benny N. Napoleon was educated in the Detroit Public School system and graduated from Cass Technical High School. He joined the Detroit Police Department in 1975 as a trainee police officer and was admitted to the Detroit Police Academy in June of 1975.

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He served the Detroit Police Department in many patrol, investigative, undercover and administrative capacities. He began his career walking a beat in the Second (Vernor) Precinct. He quickly rose through the ranks of the police department, being promoted to sergeant in 1983; to lieutenant in 1985; to inspector in 1987; to commander in 1993; to deputy chief in 1994; to assistant chief in 1995; and was appointed Chief of Police by the Honorable Mayor Dennis W. Archer in 1998.

After more than 26 years of distinguished service, Chief Napoleon retired from the Detroit Police Department in 2001. In 2004, Napoleon was named Assistant Wayne County Executive to help facilitate the administration of the nation's 13th largest county. Napoleon served in that role until his appointment as Wayne County Sheriff in July 2009. He won re-election by 74 percent margin in 2012 to solidify his four-year term.

Some of the highlights of his law enforcement career include supervising the investigation that led to the successful apprehension and prosecution of the parties responsible for the felonious assault on international figure skating champion, Nancy Kerrigan; supervising the investigation that led to the swift apprehension of ten (10) escapees from the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit; and drafting and implementing a crime reduction plan which led to an unprecedented thirty percent (30%) reduction in violent crime in the City of Detroit during his three (3) year tenure as Chief of Police.

Napoleon earned his Associate's Degree in Law Enforcement, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1980; his B.A. in Criminal Justice, Cum Laude, from Mercy College of Detroit in 1982; and his Juris Doctor Degree from Michigan State University College of Law in 1986. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy; the United States Secret Service Dignitary Protection School; the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command; the Aresty Institute of Executive Development at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education in which he was awarded a certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program, July 2011. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan and has been licensed to practice law since 1987.

The Sheriff has also served the community as a baseball coach for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Michigan; a basketball coach for the Detroit Police Athletic League; a student mentor for the Detroit Public Schools; Chaired the Michigan Civil Rights Commission; and is a life member of the NAACP. He is also an attorney with a private legal practice, 33rd Degree Mason, Prince Hall Affiliate and serves as an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix (Detroit Campus). Benny Napoleon's awards and honors are too numerous to list.
Joyce Odongo

Joyce Odongo is the Senior Community Development Officer for Central Florida. She represents the company in community and economic development activities.

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In her role, she establishes and maintains relationships with community organizations, such as activist groups, community agencies, nonprofits and minority organizations.

She is a Community Development executive with over 10 years' experience both in the Corporate and Not for Profit Industry. She has been instrumental in developing key relationships within the community, managing philanthropic efforts, addressing the needs of the low and moderate income families and providing financial education seminars.

Prior to her career at Wells Fargo, she spent several years at Fifth Third Bank as Vice President for Community Affairs. She also worked in the not for profit industry as a community advocate for affordable housing, seniors, small business and neighborhood revitalization efforts. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Corporate Finance, from Wayne State University and a Master's degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

She currently serves on the following boards: Bethune Cookman University Board of Trustees, the City of Orlando Affordable Housing Advisory Commission, the African American Chamber of Commerce, UNCF Local Advisory Board, and the Florida Prosperity Partnership Board of Directors.

Her passion is working with not for profit organizations and providing financial education to empower others to obtain financial stability.

Spencer Overton is the President of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank that focuses on innovative officials that serve communities of color.  He is also a tenured Professor of Law at GW and the author of the book Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression. 

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Spencer served as Government Reform Policy Chair for the 2008 Obama campaign and as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, and worked with White House officials to lead the Administration's efforts on democracy and government reform.

As a commissioner on the Jimmy Carter-James Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform, Spencer's 2005 dissent on photo ID and subsequent Michigan Law Review article "Voter Identification" shaped the contours of the modern debate on photo identification at the polls. As a member of the Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling, he led the effort that resulted in Iowa's governor restoring voting rights to 98,000 former offenders who had served their time.

Spencer currently serves on the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African-Americans, and as the national chair of public policy for the nation's oldest African-American fraternity, Sigma Pi Phi (the Boulé).  Spencer is an honors graduate of both Hampton University and Harvard Law School, and clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon J. Keith. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.  

Michael E. Parker is founder and CEO of You Are a CEO, an online community that promotes self-improvement through gamification, and has dedicated his life to serving as a change agent.

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Michael has more than two decades of professional experience, having successfully launched 10 companies in four states with more than 200 employees. Today he is bringing his expertise in entrepreneurship and Value-Centered Management™ to instruct and inspire others.

Michael first began his theories about Value-Centered Management when he trained with Toyota in Japan in the latest lean management strategies. In brief, Value-Centered Management is a business philosophy that focuses all of an organization's efforts in seamlessly delivering customer value through efficient, smooth functioning operations and a unified business culture. In 2008, Michael explained this management philosophy in a book entitled, "Who Said So? The Questions Revolutionary Businesses Ask that Make Them Successful." Since then, he has become a sought-after speaker and consultant in Value-Centered Management strategies and achieving professional and personal excellence, working with Fortune 500 companies such as Chevron, Comcast, Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway, and Wells Fargo, among others. He also speaks regularly to audiences about entrepreneurship and personal achievement: "You Are a CEO: You Run the Business of You!"

As founder of You Are A CEO, Michael has encapsulated his entrepreneurial philosophy in an online community that helps members achieve their personal goals. You Are A CEO inspires personal achievement through gamification in a social media setting, allowing members to set personal objectives and gather insight and encouragement from the online community as they reach each milestone. You Are A CEO encourages members to take charge of their life goals, whether those goals are personal, professional, or financial. The site is designed to help everyday people achieve, share, and celebrate their achievements.

In addition to founding You Are A CEO, Michael is CEO and Founder of Value-Centered Solutions, and Chairman and Founder of Jovance Salon & Barbering. Michael also is an instructor at California State University at Hayward. He holds an MBA and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Cal State, Hayward. For more information about Michael, visit http://michaeleparker.com.

The Right Reverend (Bishop) Dennis Vernon Proctor is a native of Buffalo, New York, and a graduate of the Syracuse, New York public school system, he received his Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude) from Livingstone College, Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary, a Clinical Pastoral Experience Diploma from Western Reserve Psychiatric Habilitation Center, a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University College of Law, and a Doctor of Ministry (Samuel D. Proctor/Otis Moss Fellow) from the United Theological Seminary.

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He was inducted into Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia. He was honored by his Alma Mater to receive the Doctor of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary and Livingstone College. He was a featured lecturer at the prestigious Hampton University, Hampton Minister's Conference. He was appointed by the University to be the Conference Historian, becoming the first Methodist to serve as an officer in the organization's history. In addition, one ofhis sermons is published in the book of "Outstanding Black Sermons Volume 4" Judson Press, and a contributing author in "Doing Church Vol.2" New Seasons Press.

He has served as a Fellow to Study the Presidency ofthe United States, a North Carolina Legislative Intern, North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership Fellow, Clerk for the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Lt. Governor of American Bar Association Law Student Division, President of The Ohio State University Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus.

He is the Founding President of the Congress of National Black Churches, Baltimore Affiliate. He served on his denomination's Connectional Budget Board, Overseas Missions Board and co- authored Christians Under Construction.

Bishop Proctor has held three pastorates: St. James A.M.E. Zion Church in Massillon, Ohio, where he led the congregation in the building of a new church and purchased a parsonage. His second pastorate was the St. Luke A.M.E. Zion Church of Wilmington, North Carolina. There he led the congregation in remodeling the church, purchasing a new parsonage and commissioning a life size mural. His last pastorate was the historic Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Remodeling the facility, acquiring additional property, creating a full-time ministerial staff and implementing over twenty ministry areas are among his many accomplishments there. Each of his pastoral appointments accepted the challenge of technological development and biblical stewardship as a means of financing the work of Kingdom building.

In Atlanta, Georgia, during the 48th Quadrennial Session of the A.M.E. Zion General Conference, the Rev. Dr. Dennis V. Proctor was elected by the world church and consecrated the 97th Bishop in succession of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and assigned to the Western Episcopal District. At the 49th Quadrennial Session of the A.M.E. Zion Church's General Conference he was assigned to the Alabama- Florida Episcopal District and serves as the Presiding Bishop. With the passing of Bishop Roy A. Holmes the Board of Bishops assigned him to to preside over New York, Western New York, and the United Kingdom.

 He is a fifth generation preacher and the son of the late Rev. Emory C. and Rosie T. Proctor. He is married to the former Deborah Diane Wilson and the father of four adult children. They reside in Montgomery, Alabama.

Robert W. Runcie. As superintendent of the nation's sixth largest school district – with over 260,000 students in 315 schools and approximately 30,000 employees – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie is committed to Educating Today's Students to Succeed in Tomorrow's World.

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"The battle for quality education is the social justice cause of our time. If you believe that every child has the right to a quality education, then there is no more important work than providing the right leadership to dramatically transform public education in this country. I have found my passion and purpose in life – to improve the human condition by giving every child an equal chance to excel and achieve happiness. It all starts at the top with one of the most challenging and important jobs in America – the urban school superintendent." Robert W. Runcie

As superintendent of the nation's sixth largest school district – with over 260,000 students in 315 schools and approximately 30,000 employees – Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert W. Runcie is committed to Educating Today's Students to Succeed in Tomorrow's World. Superintendent Runcie knows first-hand how a high-quality education can transform a person's life. Born in Jamaica, he moved to the United States as a young boy and became the first member of his family to attend college, graduating from Harvard University and earning an MBA from Northwestern University. He later founded a management and technology consulting company and held several strategic leadership positions with Chicago Public Schools.

Superintendent Runcie proudly joined Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) in 2011. With the support of a dynamic School Board, Mr. Runcie developed a strategic plan for the District focusing on three key areas: high-quality instruction, continuous improvement and more effective communications. Under his leadership, the District has increased its focus on ensuring students are college and career ready, and has implemented operational efficiencies that have allowed the District to reinvest millions of dollars back into classrooms to support student learning. His commitment to collaborating with stakeholders and creating partnerships has earned Superintendent Runcie state and national recognition, including being selected as Florida Virtual School Superintendent of the Year, Consortium of Florida Education Foundations Superintendent of the Year, Champion District Superintendent of the Year for Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, the Florida Department of Education's District Data Leader of the Year Finalist, and a 2014 Leader to Learn From by Education Week.

Superintendent Runcie is actively involved in the community and serves on the board of various local and national organizations. Runcie credits the District's success to the support of the School Board and a talented leadership team that shares his philosophy that "the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own."
ashley serpa

Ashley Serpa, age 15-Sophomore at East Boston High School. She was born in Boston Massachusetts to parents Mirna and Marcos both originally from El Salvador resides in East Boston with her two siblings Christian (20) and Kevin (6).

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Ashley is a life long resident of East Boston where she has gone through the Boston Public Schools as an Honor Roll student, from the Dante Alighieri Elementary, Maria Umana Academy Junior High to East Boston High strives to be the best student possible. Ashley is one of the original members of the East Boston High NAACP chapter since it's charter February 2014. Ashley joined the NAACP Chapter because of her natural ability to want to bring about change. As the daughter to two immigrant parents, Ashley believes in the equality and need for social movement but also recognizes that she cannot just sit around and wait for it to happen. Ashley motivates her peers to advocate for themselves because one day, there might not be anyone there to do it for them. She also is aware that her voice is just as strong and powerful as any other person regardless of age, and is extremely proud that she is able to use it in a positive light. Ashley volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club of East Boston, where she tutors young elementary students as well as engage in activities with them. Ashley is also a member of the East Boston Key Club-a community service based group that has to complete 250 hours of service throughout the academic school year. Ashley was also picked by her teachers and nominated for the National Honor Society to be done her junior year of high school. Ashley see's all of this as a starting foundation for her future where she hopes to become a pediatrician.

Ashley's hobbies and passion besides being a young civil rights activist includes her love for the arts. Ashley loves to dance and feels as if it is a liberating way for individuals to express themselves. Her love for the arts developed when she was a young girl and watched the performance of the Nut Cracker at the Boston Theatre, was moved by how a story could be told just through movement. Ashley has danced most of her life and was extremely grateful for the dance scholarship she received-considering she was picked out of 25 other female dance performers. Unfortunately due to circumstances, Ashley was not able to accept the scholarship but humbled enough to show her appreciation for the opportunity.
eugene venable

Eugene Venable started his career with the Newark Police Department in July 1996. Upon completion of the Newark Police Academy, he was assigned to the West District where he quickly gained the respect of his co-workers and constituents, becoming known as a hardworking, professional police officer.

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In 2002, Director Venable was promoted to Sergeant. He continued his career in the West district as a patrol supervisor until February 2003 when he was transferred the Inspections Unit of the Office of the Police Director. After several months with the inspections unit, then-Sergeant Venable was moved to the FBI Drug and Gang Task Force. In 2004, he was offered a position as an investigator in Internal Affairs where he remained until becoming the Operations Sergeant in the 5th Precinct.

As a Sergeant, Director Venable held several other positions throughout the Police Department before being promoted to Lieutenant in 2006.

Newly promoted Lieutenant Venable was assigned to the Advocate Section for a short stint before becoming Executive Officer, once again in the 5th Precinct. As the second in command, he assisted the Precinct Captain in the day-to-day operations of the precinct. He ultimately held positions in the Office of the Director of Police, was transferred to the CompStat Unit as its commander and finally, in 2010, to the Finance Section before his promotion to Captain.

In May 2011, Captain Venable became the Commander of the 5th Precinct. During his tenure, from 2011 to 2013, until being named Director of Police, crime dropped in the South Ward three years consecutively. Complaints by citizens decreased as well as complaints by officers to the union by 50%. Captain Venable was awarded the Chief of Police's Commander's Award in 2013.

Director Venable holds an Associate's Degree from Essex County College. He continued his education at the New Jersey City University receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting. Thereafter he attended Fairleigh Dickerson University where he received his Master's Degree in Government and Non-Profit Administration. The Director also attended the University of Virginia and trained at FBI National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police.

Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, FAAFP, is the incoming Executive Dean of the College of Health Sciences. She is a professor, public health practitioner and family physician. She previously served as the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health and as Director of Minority Health for the Florida Department of Health.

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Dr. Wathington has also served as the Associate Dean for Academic Enrichment at the USF College of Medicine where she provided instruction across all four years of the curriculum and maintained a busy family practice.

Dr. Wathington earned her doctorate of medicine from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – New Jersey Medical School (now known as Rutgers University – New Jersey Medical School), MPH from Temple University, and baccalaureate in zoology from Rutgers University. She completed residency training in Family Medicine at JFK Medical Center, NJ and Bayfront Medical Center, FL. Dr. Wathington is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Dr. Wathington's research interests include health equity, healthcare disparities, community health, women's health and diversity in the health professions. She has served as Principal Investigator and Co-investigator on federal and foundation grants. Her scholarly work includes peer-reviewed articles, abstracts, book chapters and panel reports.

State Representative Alan Williams' roots run deep in the Big Bend area of Florida. He is recognized as one of the nation's rising political leaders and consistently uses that platform to be a voice for the voiceless.

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Rep. Williams has been successful in striking a balance for fighting for civil rights and a proponent for job creation and economic development. Alan B. Williams is a fifth generation Floridian, an unabashed servant of the people, a proud family man, small business owner and a trailblazer in his own right. He has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Huffington Post, Politico and Ebony Magazine. In February 2003, he was featured in Ebony Magazine as a Young Leader of the Future. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, FOX and other Florida news outlets speaking on varies political issues impacting the State of Florida and the nation as a whole. In 2013, Rep. Williams was invited to the White House by President Barack Obama to meet with him and other civil rights leaders and elected officials to discuss the reauthorization of the voting rights act. He has served on several statewide and national policy panel sessions on education, voting rights, stand your ground laws, and affordable healthcare.

While in college, he found his passion for public service. Alan served as a Student Senator where he along with other student senators and members of the Florida Legislature, worked tirelessly to re-establish FAMU's College of Law. He also led a major campus initiative that resulted in the establishment of FAMU Campus Venom Express (the University's first intercampus transportation system). During this time, he also served as President of the Alpha Xi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

After college, Alan worked in the private sector until Tallahassee Mayor John Marks recruited him as an Aide serving as liaison between the community and the Office of the Mayor. In 2006, he founded MW Land & Investments, a Florida based property management and business development firm. As President and CEO, Alan promotes business ownership and drives business back into the local community. MW Land & Investments also actively recruits local youth and young professionals to provide them with hand on experience to teach them the importance of business, property, and stock ownership, helping them to gain financial independence and create generational wealth.

Never forgetting the monumental impact that service and leadership made on the lives of those around him, Alan ran for the Florida House of Representatives to represent District 8 (Leon and Gadsden) and was elected in November 2008. He has a record of championing legislation relating to green jobs, economic development, and ethics and elections.

A leader amongst his colleagues, Williams also served as Democratic Whip (2012-2014), a pivotal position that ensures the Democratic Caucus agenda is enforced and protected. Williams is the Past Chairman of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. Additionally, Rep. Williams's committee membership includes: Appropriations, Economic Affairs as the Democratic Ranking Member, Choice & Innovation, Education, Energy & Utilities Committee, Ethics & Election Subcommittee, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, Joint Legislative Budget Commission, Senate Redistricting Subcommittee, Regulatory Affairs, State Affairs Committee, and Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee.

His tireless efforts has resulted in Alan successfully passing legislation creating the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame that recognizes and honor those persons who have made significant contributions to the ever expanding struggle for civil rights in the State of Florida.

Over the years, Alan has been recognized for his legislative contributions. He was honored with the 2014 National Black Caucus of State Legislators, Thomas S. Boyland Legislator of the Year Award, 2014 Florida Association of Counties Champion Award, 2012 Henry Toll Fellows, 2012 Florida Dental Association Legislator of the Year, 2011 Northwest Florida League of Cities Legislator of the Year and has also received the American Cancer Society- Legislative Award (2014 & 2009), Ernestine Butler Social Action Award (2009), and Florida A&M Distinguished Alumni Award, 40 under 40 award (2010). Recently, Rep. Williams was inducted in the 2nd class of the Rickards High School Alumni Hall of Fame.

Alan is a citizen legislator. Dedicated to the success of Tallahassee's youth, Alan chairs the Alan 4 Youth (A4Y) Initiative annually to encourage, empower and expand the horizons of young people. To date, this initiative has served over 500 youth in our area. Alan is committed to making the State of Florida a better place. He serves on the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council, the Florida Council on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Executive Board, the Board of Directors for Second Harvest of the Big Bend, Gadsden Arts Center and Guardian Ad Litem.

Alan is a third generation FAMUAN and is the youngest in a family of three children. Rep. Williams is a recipient of both a B.S. and M.B.A. from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, prestigious School of Business and Industry. Just as family was a great influence in the beginning of his life, it continues to impact him now with his own family. Alan is married to Attorney Opal McKinney-Williams and they work together to instill those same characteristics in their two children, Adrianna and Alan-Louis. Alan is committed to the people he serves and his life affirms Dr. Martin Luther King's powerful conviction that, "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve."

Chief Anthony C. Williams is a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is a graduate of Dillard High School. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the United States Army and served for 6 years. During his enlistment, he advanced to the rank of E-6/Staff Sergeant, and received numerous awards and citations.

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In 1992, Chief Williams was hired as a Federal Corrections Officer at the Federal Corrections Institute in Tallahassee, Florida. After a short stint in the corrections field, he returned home again and joined the Fort Lauderdale Police Department where he served from 1993 through August 15, 2014.

During his employment with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, he served in the Patrol Division, Community Policing Initiative Unit, Criminal Investigations Division, Community Support Division, Office of the Chief, Operations Shift Commander, Executive Officer in the Patrol Division, Major/District Commander of Police District 2 and he retired as the Assistant Chief of Operations. He received 12 Departmental commendations and 35 public commendations for his commitment to making a difference in the community.

On August 18th, 2014, he was appointed as the Chief of Police for the Broward District Schools Police Department.

He is a graduate of several prestigious trainings such as the 250th National FBI Academy, 55th Southern Police Institute (SPI) Command Officers Development Course, and the Center for Advanced Criminal Justice Studies as well as Florida Atlantic University Criminal Justice Executive Leadership Program,

Chief Williams holds a Master's Degree in Emergency Planning Administration, a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.

He is the Immediate Past President of the Zeta Chi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Past President of the Fort Lauderdale Black Police Officer's Association, the Past Worshipful Master of McBride Masonic Lodge #390, (Prince Hall Masons). Chief Williams is also an Adjunct Professor at Florida Memorial University.

Chief Williams is married to Gail Williams. They have two children. He enjoys fishing, working out, reading, riding his motorcycle and family time.

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