LeRoy F.Jones Jr., born July 6, 1963, the youngest of six children raised by my aunt and uncle the late Donald and Sarah Jones. He formed my work ethic and she nurtured me and crafted the man I am today.I watched how they helped neighbors and the community and this would be my blueprint for life
On November 1, 1986 my journey as a member of the Chicago Fire Department started. This would allow me to devote more time to my community.
I was honored at Beethoven Elementary School in a ceremony with a little known gentleman who would later become the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama. I was also on hand in 2008 working with the Secret Service to secure the Hyatt Regency on election night for our first African American President. In 2012 I assisted the Secret Service for the NATO Summit
I’m married to my wife of 21years Anita M Jones ( and I also have three children .
I retired from CFD after 32 years of service and now currently a operations/aic agent for delta airlines. I knew the assignment early for my life and the best is yet to come.
Brian Flippin is a highly motivated business professional and entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in the fields of sales, marketing, property management, I.T., customer service, training, auditing, counseling and catering. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems and is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
He is the co-owner and founder of Flippin Flavors with his wife Linda, a startup business in Beverly Chicago serving fresh salads, turkey hoagies and philly sandwiches. Brian’s business acumen is unmatched; he is praised as an exemplary leader with unparalleled industry knowledge, financial savvy, customer service prowess and organizational insights. His dedication, passion and commitment to excellence have been part of Flippin Flavors’ rapid growth and success since its inception in 2017. Just recently, Flippin Flavors won the Chicago Tribune Best New Restaurant for 2023.
Brian’s ultimate goal is to continue expanding the reach of Flippin Flavors, providing delicious fresh food and excellent customer service to more people. He is committed to working hard and creating an empire and legacy that he can pass down to his children, Lindsay and Brian Jr.
Chief Master Sergeant Willie L. Curry is the reserve functional manager of the Headquarters Air Force Education and Training Command Security Forces division at Joint Base San Antonio Texas, Randolph Air Force Base. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and has been serving in the United States Air Force nearly 30 years active and reserve. As the Major Command Chief, he represents the highest level of enlisted leadership for the Security Forces command, executing strategic planning, policies, and mission. Upon honorable discharge from active duty, Will transitioned into State employment where he has been serving for over 23 years. He currently works for the Illinois Gaming Board as the Gaming Unit Supervisor. As the casino field office supervisor, he oversees all gaming operations at the new Temporary American Place Casino in Waukegan. He is a faith centered family man who believes in people first, mission always. He currently serves as a Deacon at United Christian Church. An avid writer, volunteer and mentor who leads by example and currently pursuing his doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership at Governors State University.
Bill Jones passion for cooking started early in adulthood, he was certified and endorsed by American Culinary Federation as a chef. The skills gained gave him many opportunities as a head Chef as well as worked alongside some of the most renowned chefs internationally. He has curated some of the best dishes in award winning kitchens and private clubs. Chef created a premier experience with his catering company Off the Plate Catering; he strives to provide amazing bites with a unique menu. Chef finds creative ways to incorporate bursting unexpected flavors in an innovative way to reconstruct the most simple or complex dishes. Amid Chef’s business endeavors, he spends free time mentoring and assisting future chefs.In late 2023 he is releasing a cookbook of favorite recipes, cookware, a chef attire line, and travel food review show. Chef has been humbled by his experiences and values not only providing excellent tasting recipes, but is driven by the creativity and presentation he is able to provide. Chef believes cooking for others brings about immense joy!
With love from the Westside of Chicago! William Barnard, The youngest of three, never allowed his birthplace or the color of skin to define who he was or where he was heading. His mother taught him he could do anything he put his mind to. All he had to do was lean on his faith and integrity.
Graduating from The Academy of Design where he completed his BA in Fashion Marketing Management, William began working for Adidas as a Field Representative/Manager. He thought this was his dream job, but quickly realized his purpose in life outweighed his passion. William spent the next few years working in the non-for-profit sector with the focus of youth development.
William married the love of his life Nadia in 2018. Participating in every community initiative alongside each other, the Barnard’s are building a legacy of love and service. The two reside in the West Suburbs with their son Avrey and doggy daughter Addison.
William’s love for cooking can be compared to the southern delight; gumbo. Ingredients can look chaotic and unorganized, but all the flavors work together for a greater purpose.
Stephen Harris is president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), responsible for the growth and financial stability of the business and ensuring affordable, accessible, and quality health care for the largest member-owned health insurer in the U.S. Under his leadership, BCBSIL was named #1 in Member Satisfaction with Commercial Health Plans in IL/IN by J.D. Power in 2022.
Stephen has been in leadership roles for more than two decades, working to improve the value of health care and making the system easier to use. He is focused on addressing social determinants of health and building alliances that improve the member experience.
Stephen serves on the board of directors for Solera Health and is the chairperson for the American Heart Association’s Heart of Chicago Campaign. He is a member of The Economic Club of Chicago and was recognized by Crain’s as a Notable Leader in Health Care and Chicago United as a Business Leader of Color. He earned a BA from Michigan State University and MBA from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Sidney J Martin Jr. is a highly experienced and accomplished real estate professional who has gained a reputation for his focus on veterans and first time homebuyers. He previously enjoyed a successful career as a corporate trainer and served in the United States Marine Corps for eight years.
Throughout his career, Martin has remained committed to making a positive impact in under resourced communities. As the National Association of Real Estate Brokers Regional Vice President for Region IV, which covers Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, he has played a key role in forming new local board chapters in Evanston, IL, and Milwaukee, WI. He also serves as a committee chair overseeing NAREB’s board member educational budget.
Martin is currently the Region IX RVP and immediate past officer for the local board in Chicago, the Dearborn Realtist Board. Alongside his real estate work, Martin is the owner/operator of Sid The Locksmith and the Principal of Lyfeguard Executive Protection, which offers free protection services to victims of domestic violence. Martin’s commitment to advocacy and education in African American communities is demonstrated through his work providing homebuyer education and speaking engagements.
Ryan believes that success means nothing unless you bring others along the way. That’s part of the reason why he has and continues to mentor and give back as often as possible.
Ryan is the Chief Solutions Architect at Mr. SharePoint, a consulting firm he founded that’s responsible for building some of the world’s most beautiful and effective corporate intranet portals, leveraging SharePoint and Microsoft 365. Ryan is also the CTO and co-founder of Ticket Falcon, a black-owned event management and ticketing platform he started with his twin brother that provides instant payouts for in-person, virtual, and hybrid events.
Ryan earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy with a Minor in Technology and Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also earned an MBA from the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University. Ryan is a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and a member of the 100 Black Men of Chicago where he helps improve the quality of life and enhance the educational opportunities of African American males throughout the Greater Chicago area.
Ryan Christopher Green is a seasoned executive, strategist, and legal advisor with more than 17 years’ experience counseling various types of clients including, institutional investors, large companies, real estate developers, universities, and government agencies. Ryan has successfully advised clients on commercial transactions worth more than $20 billion.
Ryan’s civic engagement includes serving as a Board Member of Impact for Equity, Friends of the Chicago River, and Center on Halsted’s Youth Housing Task Force. In 2023, Ryan was inducted into the 37th Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Sponsors at Morehouse College. In 2021, Ryan was appointed by Illinois Governor Pritzker to serve as a member of the BEP Council. Ryan is a 2022 Leadership Greater Chicago Signature Fellow and 2015 Fellow of the Chicago Urban League’s IMPACT Leadership Development Program. Ryan has been recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a 2019 Notable LGBTQ Executive and a 2022 Notable Executive of Color in Commercial Real Estate.
Ryan earned his JD from the University of Chicago Law School and a BA in Political Science and Economics, with highest honors, from Emory University.
Ron is currently the Head of Culture, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Kemper Corporation where he is responsible for building and advancing Kemper’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. This includes ensuring Kemper achieves a competitive advantage in the marketplace by integrating diversity across recruitment, talent management, philanthropy, procurement, and marketing & communications.
With over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, Ron has led transformative efforts at Aon Corporation, Marsh McLennan, JP Morgan Chase, and State Farm Insurance. During his 14 years at JPMorgan Chase, he spent time as Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, where he provided over $10MM annually in philanthropic support to underserved communities throughout Illinois and Wisconsin on behalf of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
Ron is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University. He serves on the Homewood School District 153 school board and serves on the Finance and Property committee. Ron recently helped lead a voter approved tax referendum effort that will provide increased school funding for the district. Ron is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He currently resides in the Chicago area with his wife and three daughters.
As an Innovation Scientist, Roger brings Blue Cross Blue Shield into the future faster by working on the Health Equity Steering Committee and emerging technologies like quantum computing and blockchain networks. Beyond his technology skills, Roger has activated analytical and visionary gifts in over a decade of both real estate investing and event organizing. Civically Roger stepped away from Corporate America and coached high school wrestling for 4 years at Simeon Career Academy making it the best in Chicago and Illinois sending many students to college on full scholarships. Broadening his impact on the African American community he turned to sculpting and script-writing, then government policy. Roger was the first person appointed by Governor Pritzker to the African Descent-Citizens Reparations Commission bringing his civic, academic, and professional aptitudes to bear for the purpose of detailing the plight of African Americans for the purpose of developing reparations proposals. Roger credits God, his family, the church, and ancestors who have paved the way for everything that he has accomplished and hopes to carry their legacy forward into unprecedented collective progress.
The Reverend Reginald Wayne Sharpe Jr. serves as Senior Pastor of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois.
Sharpe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia (2013), a Master of Theological Studies degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee (2016), and a Master of Theology degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (2018). Currently, Sharpe is pursuing a PhD in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Among his many distinctions, Reverend Sharpe is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.
Since December 31, 2019, Reverend Sharpe has faithfully served as the Senior Pastor of the historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Sharpe is honored to follow in the pastoral lineage of the late Reverend Clay Evans and Pastor Charles Jenkins.
In December 2015, Reverend Sharpe married the gifted and talented, Brianna Sullivan Sharpe. Together they serve in ministry and currently live in Chicago, Illinois.
Mike McCreary received his bachelor and master degrees from Depaul and Lewis Universities respectively. He began his career at Sims Metal Management, where he remained for 26 years as a Senior Trader overseeing purchases, sales, and operations for their Chicago location. In 2016, Mike took his talents to ELG Metals, Inc. In 2019, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations for America and Canada where he managed 8 locations.
Mike is currently the Chief Operating Officer at ELG Metals, Inc. where he not only overseeing territories in America and Canada, but also focuses on developing relationship with their Europe, Australia, Spain, and Asia locations. Mike sits on the Board of Directors for the company as well.
Mike believes that he was placed on this earth to motivate, educate, inspire, and mentor our youth to be successful in whatever career path they choose to explore. He is a member of the Theta Mu Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, the Chicago Assembly and is a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo
Mike resides in the southern suburbs with his wife of 27 years, Tashra and their 2 sons, Elijah and Ethan.
Michael is a Founder of 127 Wall an investment platform dedicated to allocating capital to underinvested communities. 127 Wall’s portfolio company, Yellow Banana, is a retail grocery platform with over 35 groceries stores operating in Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Jacksonville metropolitan areas. Yellow Banana employs over 400 employees. At Yellow Banana, Michael led the strategic partnership with the City of Chicago, leveraging $13.5 million in City grant awards with another $12 million in New Market Tax Credits and other financing to provide funding to rehabilitate and reposition six grocery stores on the South and West Sides of Chicago, ensuring stores remain open, and provide a dignified shopping experience with nutritious and affordable food options.
Michael is also a partner at Chicago-based law firm Bartlit Beck where he represents clients in high-stakes trials. He previously worked as a litigator at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. Michael served as a law clerk to the Honorable Raymond J. Lohier on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and the Honorable Edgardo Ramos on the Southern District of New York.
Marseil “Action” Jackson is a community activist, entrepreneur, business consultant, and radio host from Chicago, Illinois. He founded his first business at the age of 15 and has since dedicated himself to serving and empowering others. Marseil has volunteered for several organizations, including United for Better Living, Chicago Reach, and Building Brighter Futures, and also has his own Not for Profit Organization the Jackson Action Coalition. He has made extensive contributions to his community through outreach, services and events. Marseil is the founder of the Dream Center Co-Working & Business Support Services, which has two co-working spaces in Chicago’s Soul City Corridor in the Austin neighborhood, aimed at fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth for local businesses and entrepreneurs.
Marseil has received numerous awards for his dedication to community service and entrepreneurship and serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations. As one of the hosts of The Brunch Bunch on Inspiration 1390AM, Marseil continues his commitment to community engagement while making a positive impact on the lives of individuals in his community and beyond.
Malki Brown is the Vice President of Milhouse Services, a subsidiary of Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc. As leader of the Milhouse Services organization, Malki is responsible for managing and maintaining all diverse supplier selection, day-to-day logistics and operations, as well as all local and nationwide business development. His mission for Milhouse Services is to exceed customer’s expectations by providing quick, outstanding service with safe and cost effective solutions for all of their ice, snow and professional grounds management needs.
Malki has been with the Milhouse family of companies since 2013. Prior to Milhouse, Malki worked in real estate sales and property management for 12 years. He holds a BA from the University of Illinois Chicago and is a current MBA student at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana.
While at Lewis University had a love for African American history, politics. College mentor, Dr. Charles Kennedy, introduced him to key figures in the African American community.
In 1982, when Harold Washington became Mayor of Chicago he started working for the City of Chicago as a summer intern (1982-1988). In the fall of 1988, with a full-time position with the City of Chicago, in the Bureau of Forestry in the Department of Streets and Sanitation. This brought memberships in: International Society of Arboriculture. In the 38 years, he has moved up the ranks from Senior Payroll Clerk (summer intern), Tree Trimmer, Superintendent of Forestry, to Deputy Commissioner of Forestry.
Malcolm is a 38-year, life member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Immediate Past President of the NPHC of Chicago, President of the Community Awareness Foundation, and is currently on the National Board of Directors for the NPHC. President of the new Mt. Carmel HS (64ten Black Alumni)
Malcolm lives in Chicago, IL with his wife Monica has two daughters Jasmine, Jade and three sons Marques, Victor, Tyler and four grandchildren.
Lawrence E. Lyles is a life-long Chicagoan, born and raised on the city’s South Side. He attended Lindblom Technical H.S., graduating in 1981‚ before going to Bradley University in Peoria, IL.
It was there he became a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated‚ Epsilon Chapter.
As a 1985 graduate majoring in both Radio/TV Production & Broadcast Journalism, he returned home to begin a 20-year career in Chicago TV news‚ the nation’s 2nd largest TV market.
This journey began as a news writing intern (making minimum wage at WGN) and ended as the producer for Fox 32’s morning news‚ as one of only 3 BLACK TV news producers in Chicago at that time.
In 2002, he reinvented himself, leaving TV news and becoming his own boss by founding Midwest Appraisals. For 20 years and counting, he’s proudly serving Chicagoland and especially our BLACK communities on the south & west sides‚ having produced over 6,000 appraisals.
And this, in turn, has helped our community grow generational wealth through home ownership.
Kendal Parker is the Senior Director of Inclusive Engagement for UIC Advancement at the University of Illinois Chicago. He works with internal and external constituencies to maximize philanthropic capacity and support for the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and student success priorities.
Kendal previously served as the Director of the UIC CHANCE Program and has more than 20 years of experience developing and cultivating stakeholder relationships, resulting in initiatives that help to advance equitable outcomes in academic and community settings.
Kendal is a Chicago native, respected educator and mentor, consistently growing and fostering relationships with community leaders, legislators, grass-roots organizations, and corporate leaders looking to provide resources and opportunities for the next generation of leaders.
Kendal received his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Illinois State University, and a Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership: Educational Studies from the University of Illinois. He serves on the board of directors for the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce – Emerging Leaders, and the Executives Club of Chicago.
Juan R. Thomas is Of Counsel to Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., and founder of The Thomas Law Group. Mr. Thomas’ practice includes the following specialties: real estate/estate planning, labor and employment, and family law. Mr. Thomas is the current Chair of the American Bar Association’s Civil Rights & Social Justice Section.
In December 2020, Mr. Thomas was elected by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) to be an At-Large Delegate in the ABA House of Delegates becoming the second African American to serve in this role. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation, the American Constitution Society (Chicago Chapter), the Cook County Bar Association, and 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc.
Mr. Thomas received his Juris Doctor and masters degree from the University of Illinois in Campaign-Urbana. An ordained Baptist minister, he also holds a Master of Arts in Religious Studies. He is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Ministry Degree at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Angela, are proud members of St. John AME Church in Aurora, IL where he serves as the Minister for Social Justice.
Pastor John F. Harrell was born April 11, 1971 and raised in Chicago. He is the proud son of Francine and Jerry Harrell Sr. He Graduated from John Marshall Metro H.S. as well as Lakeland College, a Bachelors of Biblical Studies, a Masters in Pastoral Counseling, and a Doctorate in Divinity from Kingdom Theology Institute.
He is married to Rahshedah Harrell. Pastor Harrell loves basketball, and spending time with his family. Has had a Servants heart at a young age, where he has dedicated his life towards serving people and being a Blessing to others. Pastor felt an urge and hunger to return to his roots on the Westside of Chicago so April 11, 2020 Pastor Harrell along with 3 others Co- Founded the Black Men United Foundation with 37 Chapters in 37 states Approaching Urban Communities thru Violence Reduction, Food Insecurities, and Work Force Development opportunities, from March of 2020 until the present BMU has 37 chapters in 37 states. Locally 487,000 plus with in the Chicago land area giving back over $10 million in supplies to Chicago’s communities.
Jeremy Asiedu, a Ghanaian American, is a successful Customer Success Leader at Glassdoor, known for his ability to lead and inspire high-performing teams to produce impressive results. At the young age of 29, Jeremy has already accomplished so much in his personal and professional life. He holds a degree in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a Masters in Business Administration, and has worked for some of the world’s top companies, including United Airlines and LinkedIn.
In addition to his corporate job, Jeremy also created an independent talk show called “The Jeremy Kofi Convo” through his company, Jeremy Kofi Enterprises, LLC. The show serves as a platform for open and honest discussions about life, success, and personal development, through which Jeremy hopes to motivate others to pursue their dreams and live an intentional life.
Despite his success, Jeremy remains grounded and dedicated to giving back to his community. He actively mentors young people and participates in various community service projects and is a dedicated member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Jeremy Asiedu’s story is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and a positive attitude. He is an inspiration to many, and his life serves as an example that anything is possible with passion and perseverance.
For more than three decades, native Ohioan, Jay Drummond has worked tirelessly to bring about positive change and vision to youth in Chicago and surrounding areas where he chose to call home. With a career heavily rooted in retail management for 30 years, Jay remains focused on empowering young men in marginalized communities by using his experiences and platform to create opportunities for inner city youth. Within the past thirty years, Jay has managed various Target and Value City locations. Currently, he is a K & G Fashion Superstore Store Manager and Brand Ambassador, where he has been for 15 years. This career path has given him the opportunity to partner with or sponsor various organizations and programs to empower youth in leadership and how to dress for success like K & G High School Prom Initiative, Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp, and Rev. T.L. Barrett’s K.L.E.O. Center. Jay has also been an avid fundraiser and supporter of the South Suburban Black Mayors and the Chicago Urban League Galas. His motto is to “Lead with a purpose from within while dressed for success.”
James was born on the west side of Chicago and raised in the south suburban town of Harvey, Illinois, attending Ascension St. Susanna for grammar school. He graduated from Thornton Township High School, attending Western Illinois University, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science, and received a military commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps. He went on to obtain his Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Development from Olivet Nazarene University.
James has worked as a servant-leader within the Information Technology field across various industries ranging from Credit Finance, Policy/Compliance and Higher Learning. More recently, he has transitioned to the Supply Chain industry, and is responsible for leading the delivery of global projects and initiatives for his company. James serves on the board of several not-for-profit organizations, which allow him to support the educational aspirations of young African American youth, through creating and executing fundraising events for scholarships.
Lastly, James also mentors in the south suburbs, sharing time, experience, guidance and resources with young boys and girls. James resides in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago with his wife and has 1 adult son.
Fred McClure, Co-Founder/ Director of Marketing for The Shortti Tie Brand. Since launching The Shortti at the 2013 Academy Awards through 2023 New York Fashion weeks favorite runway look. Fred and his partner continue to change the fashion world, ‚”One Neck At A Time.”
Fred jokingly known as “everybody’s favorite nobody”, has over 25 years of community service & outreach founding such programs as Operation Outreach & Young Black Entrepreneurs. He has also been a proud member and director of various mentorship organizations.
Fred’s career path as a decorated retired Army National Guard warrant officer, retired bus engineer manager for the Chicago Transit Authority & former managing partner of Dolton Bowl, has allowed him to lead and develop many individuals from a multitude of cultural backgrounds. As business agent for Local 241, Fred co-authored the state legislated Second Chance Program.
As a Landmark Forum graduate and Forum Leader, Fred is known for his great communication & oratory skills and has appeared on an array of panels & talk shows. These talents proved paramount when landing the love his life Tamara who is always by his side.
Dr. Ephraim M. Martin, the Jamaican-born President of Martin’s International, and the Black Heroes Matter (BHM)
Coalition, producer of the annual Chicago Music Awards, the International Reggae and World Music Awards
(IRAWMA), the African/Caribbean International Festival of Life, the JSVFest, and who led the BHM Coalition campaign to rename Lake Shore Drive as DuSable Lake Shore Drive, is a 2022 recipient of a Jamaica National Badge of Honor, given under the auspices of British Royal, the late Queen Elizabeth, for Meritorious Service, recommended by the Prime Minister and bestowed by the Governor General of Jamaica.
Prior to receiving this National Honor, Dr. Martin, over the last 40 years has been the recipient and nominee of more than fifty honors throughout the United States and the globe.
Since 1982, Ephraim Martin has been a pillar for the branding and promotion of African and Caribbean Diasporas lifestyle, music, arts culture, and social justice. In 2016, he made history and set records as the only known person alive to have in 35 years produced one hundred Annual (Calendar) Special Events – Awards and Festivals in America or in the World. He has given nominations to over 15,000 reggae, world music, and others in the entertainment industry globally; including, over three thousand winners and special honorees.
In his work to End Systemic Racism, on June 25, 2021, he won one of the biggest social justice campaigns in history for
Chicago’s founding Father, the Black man from the Caribbean country of Haiti, when the Chicago City Council renamed the iconic LSD to Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable Lake Shore Drive. For more visit www.martinsinternational.com.
Dorvel Offord is currently the Director of Electric Operation at ComEd where he has been working for 23 years and has held several key positions within the company. Since working at ComEd, Dorvel not only has taken on multiple large projects that have greatly benefitted the company, but he also has taken on several volunteer projects helping the community. Dorvel has been a mentor with Life Coaches for Young Men‚ a volunteer group from Comed, which mentor’s young men between the ages of 14 and 18 at Rowe-Clark Academy in Chicago. Life Coaches teach the young men how to answer the question “How can I make my tomorrows better than my yesterdays?” Dorvel dedicates his time to assisting young men address some of the challenges that life will demand of them. Dorvel provides guidance and support to young men to encourage them to choose the hard right over the easy wrong as they express themselves and plan their future!
Dorvel has a Bachelor of Science degree and an MBA from Keller Graduate School of Business.
Mr. Pepper is the Senior Director of Government Relations and Civic Engagement for Walgreens. Currently he oversees local and state government affairs in several states across the U.S., and Chicago, New York City and the District of Columbia. In addition, he oversees and manages the corporation’s relationships with national municipal groups like the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities.
Mr. Pepper currently serves as the Chairman of the Civic Federation and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee, and serves on the boards of the Magnificent Mile Association, Chicago-Cook Workforce Partnership, Lake County Partners and the HFS Chicago Scholars Program. He is the Past Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Retail Association; and is a member of the City Club of Chicago and Chicago Area Public Affairs Group.
Mr. Pepper is the past Co-Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s Business Council and past board member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association. He has been recognized and honored by President Obama and the Corporation for National Public Service, the University of Illinois Alumni Association, the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, and was inducted into the Samuel K. Gove Hall of Fame in 2015, and the Triton College Hall of Fame in 2018.
Dirrick Butler is the Founder and Executive Director of Project OneTen, a leadership and academic development organization that believes in and affirms the genius and identities of boys of color during the transition from eighth grade to high school. He brings a wealth of experience in education innovation and program development to the organization.
Rooted in his experiences as a public-school student and teacher, Dirrick has witnessed first-hand the inequities that exist in the urban education ecosystem, specifically for students of color. He has dedicated his career to radically reimagining how we educate and support boys of color in and outside of the traditional school space. In addition to his work at Project OneTen, Dirrick challenges future educators to think differently about how we view education and school as a professor at his alma mater, Loyola University Chicago.
Dirrick received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University and a Master of Education in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago. He is an alum of the Surge Institute Fellowship program, the inaugural class of the Obama Community Leadership Corps, and serves on the Action Team for the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.
David, a Chicagoan with an inviting, ‘Carpe Diem’ personality, graduated from Lindblom, IIT (BS) and University of Arkansas (MS). His life work as an engineer allowed the opportunity to pursue his passion…SERVICE.
A visionary, rebuking expectations of social norms, David underwent rigorous U.S. Coast Guard testing, achieving a 100-ton Master Merchant Marine Captain license.
Proudest moments include working with Mayor Harold Washington, bringing Freedom Schooner Amistad to Chicago in 2003 and being one of several hundred Founding Members of the Department of Homeland Security.
Deeply skilled with a remarkable 25-year career captaining vessels and crews in the Great Lakes, Atlantic, and Virgin Islands, he advocates for boat safety.
Captain David, a former Chicago Yacht Club Dock Master, built a legacy and continues to service the boating community through Chicago Blvckscene, Concierge Luxury Services, Pinnacle and Meridian Yachts.
Committed to education, excellence, and volunteerism, he gives back to his community via work on the Boards of Flossmoor SD 161, Surge for Water, CAAEL and AARP (lobbyist).
This consummate leader is a husband, father, small business owner and member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
David was born on October 25, 1985, in Kingston Jamaica, and moved with his family to Chicago in the winter of 1989. He graduated from Providence St. Mel High School while living on the west side of Chicago. As a child of immigrants, hard work was instilled. In 2008 David received his Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Starting in September 2008 David worked for the late 2nd District Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele for a little over nine years as a Research Assistant and is currently with Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer as the Deputy Chief of Staff. David has been a part of a number of initiatives, including creating the first restorative justice community court in the City of Chicago, the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Community Court. With these accomplishments, David looks forward to continuing to engage and uplift underserved Communities around Chicago, and more importantly, being a great husband and a father to his four children.
Darryl Pugh is a Locomotive Engineer with Metropolitan Railroad of Chicago for the past 35 years. He has resided in the South Suburbs for most of his life and has always been an active community member. He served as the Head Coach for a local youth football team for 13 years, winning three championships. He was selected to be a board member of the Chicagoland Catholic Grade School Conference, overseeing several youth athletic programs. He also served as a Head Coach for the Chicago Heights Hawks AAU Basketball program mentoring young men for many years. His heart’s desire is to serve as an example for young people of hard work, dedication, and lifetime service.
Darryl is a beloved husband and father, as well as “Pa Pa” to five beautiful grandchildren.
Darron Ramsey is an appointed Vice President of Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI) and currently leads their Software Deployment and Video Integration organization. Before his current role, Darron served as a Regional Director overseeing land mobile radio and software deployments. He has worked for MSI for 28 years spanning multiple areas of the business, including finance, project management, and customer service.
Darron enjoys volunteering his time mentoring youth and serves on the board of directors for New Faith M. B. Church (Chicago). He is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and serves on the board of directors for his local chapter. Darron is also a founding member of IAM78 Investments, LLC and sits on their executive board of directors.
Darron earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration with a minor in Finance from Lewis University in Romeoville, IL, a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University, and is a Project Management Professional (PMP).
Darron resides in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and is married to his wife, Faye. They have two kids, Christopher and Lauren.
Dar’tavous Dorsey is a lifelong Chicagoan whose deepest passion is ensuring all youth, particularly young Black men, have the safety, structure, love and support they need to thrive and achieve their most ambitious dreams. Passion has fueled Mr. Dorsey’s 18-year career; leading him to create and implement numerous youth development programs and initiatives. Highlights of his work include serving as the Associate Director at the University of Chicago – Crime and Education Labs and the West Region Supervisor at Youth Guidance’s Becoming A Man program. In 2019, Mr. Dorsey founded a mentoring and housing nonprofit E.Y.E. Lead Foundation to better support young men of color who experience conjoined barriers to achieving their post-secondary goals. Through his work, Mr. Dorsey is proud to have mentored more than 500 young men, modeling Black excellence and providing social emotional, academic, and post-secondary guidance. Mr. Dorsey is a proud servant in the community, serving on numerous Boards and was recently appointed by Governor JB Pritzker, to the State of Illinois Children and Family Service Advisory Council.”
Christopher Crater is a native of the West Side of Chicago. He currently serves as the Manager for My Brother’s Keeper Chicago at the Obama Foundation. Christopher is responsible for designing and managing the Foundation’s efforts to increase access to evidence-based interventions for boys and young men of color. His primary responsibilities function to mobilize local civic, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to help build outcomes in Chicago communities, with a specific focus on expanding opportunity for black and brown young men.
Prior to joining the Obama Foundation, Christopher served as Director of Community Programs for a Network of All Boys Public Charter High Schools on Chicago’s Southside. When Christopher is not working on behalf of The Foundation, he volunteers his time and energy serving as the Youth Ambassador for the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Board of Directors for College Mentoring Experience and Strides for Peace.
Christopher earned his Bachelor of Arts in Radio Television from Mississippi Valley State University and his Masters in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University.
Charles Quincy Myers is a twenty-four year old leader whose personal values are Faith, Family, and Focus. He attended Bradley University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a minor in Management Leadership. He served in many leadership roles within his four years of college, and now extends himself in many different directions spreading: encouragement, loving words, and positivity wherever he goes. He is currently the School Culture Coordinator at Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School, from which he graduated in 2013. Charles chartered a program called Circle of Brotherhood for 7th and 8th grade young men at Catalyst Circle Rock in 2021.This program was inspired by a program that he participated in at Bradley, which provides a space for young men to discuss pertinent issues pertaining to men of color.
When he’s not at Catalyst, he’s working on his talk show ‚Charles Quincy’s Love Chicago‚ which highlights Chicagoans that are pursuing their life’s purpose. Charles is passionate about seeing others reach their fullest God-given potential, and uses his platforms to encourage, highlight, and inspire people.
Charles Mayfield is a lifelong civil/ public servant, serving our country and the City of Chicago. Charles is a US Air Force veteran of 24 years, where he traveled to over 30 countries and participated in multiple combat missions impacting global policy and homeland security. Locally, Charles was a proven leader with the Chicago Housing Authority where he supported housing and job placement for new and existing residents. Charles transitioned to Chicago Public Schools as the Chief Procurement Officer to build strategic partnerships with Fortune 500 companies to develop students in technology, trades and more—while significantly increasing minority/woman-owned business participation to help drive the economic engine for these organizations and the City of Chicago. Currently, Charles serves as the Interim Chief Operating Officer of CPS leading the oversight of over 800 buildings, 40k employees and 320K students. He leads several critical divisions that provide conducive learning environments and equitable supports for our youth. Charles continues to go above and beyond by serving on the Board for the Illinois Association of Public Procurement Officials, and volunteering his time to support families through Chicago Youth Centers and the Kindness Campaign.
Since 2003, Carlos Nelson has served as CEO of the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC) and has grown the organization from a one-person operation to a staff of nearly fifty. GAGDC fosters and promotes revitalization of the low-to-moderate income communities in Chicago and the South Suburbs, utilizing comprehensive community development strategies and initiatives to maintain healthy, safe and sustainable neighborhoods. GAGDC is the recipient of the highly competitive 2020 Pritzker-Traubert Foundation’s $10M Chicago Prize.
Carlos holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.
Carlos serves on or has served on the University of Illinois at Chicago’s African-American Advisory Council, Local School Council for Richard J. Oglesby Elementary School, Advisory Board of the Chicago Development Fund, board of directors for Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity, board of directors of MAPSCorps, Inc., board of directors of New Pisgah Community Service Organization and the board of directors for Greater Chatham Initiative. Carlos also co-chairs the 006th Police District’s Business Subcommittee and is a past recipient of the Norm Bobbins Emerging Leaders Award.
Byron Irvin is a former Professional Basketball Player. Currently, Byron Irvin is a Sports Agent and an elite member of the Julian High School Hall of Fame, Chicago Basketball Hall of Fame and Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame. Irvin has been honored for his basketball resume, and was a standout at University of Arkansas and University of Missouri. Irvin was selected by the Portland Trailblazers First Round as the No. 22 pick in the 1989 NBA draft. Irvin also played for Sacramento, Washington and several teams in Europe.
Irvin, an AAU Basketball Team Operator, coached basketball and worked at the Chicago Board of Trade. A Sports Agent since 2001, Irvin joined Relativity Sports as Vice President of Basketball. Irvin was one of the nation’s first Former NBA Players to become a Basketball Sports Agent.
Irvin is heir of one of the first AAU basketball leagues in the country, the Mac Irvin Fire. Irvin is a key partner and board member of the Non-profit Foundation, Forever Fire. The foundation’s mission is community outreach, mentorship, training, development and college and career planning.
Brian Bragg, Vice President of Health Equity at Access Community Health Network (ACCESS), is a seasoned health care leader, with over 20 years of progressive leadership experience in the fields of public health and health promotion, with specific expertise in the areas of community and population health, and health systems integration. During his tenure at ACCESS, Brian has advanced a variety of critical programs in primary care, behavioral health, and infectious disease with a keen focus on health equity and addressing health disparities. As the Vice President of Health Equity, his portfolio now includes the development and implementation of strategies and solutions to advance health equity for ACCESS’ patients, workforce, and the communities served across Cook and DuPage counties.
About Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)
Founded in 1991 to provide primary and preventive care services in targeted areas on Chicago’s South and West sides with high levels of poverty and poor health outcomes, ACCESS has grown into a diverse network of 35 health centers that serves nearly 180,000 patients each year across Chicago and suburban Cook and DuPage counties. As a leader in community health, we believe that everyone deserves the right to quality primary and behavioral health care services and programs to support their total health needs.
Bobby Wright’s commitment to family and hard work was instilled by his paternal grandmother, Lucy Wright, with whom he was sent to live when he was seven years old. In the two years that he lived with her in Darling, Mississippi, he learned the value of rising early, how to cook, clean, wash clothes and sew—lessons that would stand him in good stead as he grew older.
Bobby began his working career in Chicago at age 9. Over the next seven decades he would serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, work in a factory, and become a U.S. postal worker. He supplemented his postal income by obtaining real estate and insurance licenses and doing taxes for H&R Block part time. At age 49 he completed training as a policeman and joined the Cook County Sheriff’s department as a chief sergeant.
He counts as his greatest accomplishment the family he created with his wife of more than 30 years, Lucy; together they have raised four children and now share the adoration of five grand and two great-grandchildren.
Bobby recently assumed two new roles: one as Lucy’s “super spouse” caregiver, the other as president of the newly-created Dear Me Community of Care Circle.
Apostle Joseph C. Kyles is the Visionary and Church Planting Pastor of the Promise Church of Chicago also known as the Heirs of the Promise Ministry. Apostle Kyles is a six-year military veteran and an entrepreneur. He has been the President/CEO of the 37th ward Pastors Alliance where he worked with the (Honorable Emma Mitts) to assure the involvement of pastors in the economic development of the community. Of late, the Alliance was noted across the nation for being instrumental in bringing the nation’s first Wal-Mart to an urban city. It was the only Wal-Mart store in an urban city anywhere in the World at the time. It is also the only store with a number of first. .
Apostle Kyles and his wife birthed a private Christian school for early learners, ages 3-7. The plan is to educate our children with the rich history of African Americans as well as teaching some morality and introducing Jesus to families who would not otherwise be ministered to. Hope Excel Reaching The World Academy is celebrating 10 years and the Promise Church of Chicago is celebrating 25 years.
Most recently, the Kyles have launched a new charitable not-for-profit organization called Excel Community Development Corporation. Many may remember his uncle Rev Billy Kyles, who stood with Dr. King on the balcony the day he was assassinated. The Kyles family has always fought for justice. After years of being challenged by the disease (IPF)interstitial pulmonary fibrosis (hardening of the lung tissue), Apostle Kyles was recommended for a lung transplant. The journey for preparation for transplant lasted approximately two years. Never allowing the challenges or discouragement to make them change course, the Kyles’ persevered and on February 6, 2016 Apostle received a double lung transplant after being listed for just eight days. The recovery process was so phenomenal that he returned to preach his returning message on Resurrection Sunday just seven weeks later.
Anthony Powell grew up on Chicago’s southside in the Englewood community. He was raised by a single mom and has two siblings including a twin sister. Anthony attended Wentworth Elementary and Lindblom High School.
In 1990, Anthony joined the Chicago Police Department eventually becoming a homicide detective. After twenty two years, he retired and joined the Chicago Housing Authority becoming the Director of Safety and Security. After retiring from the CHA, Anthony and a business partner opened Windy City Cigar Lounge. Windy City Cigar Lounge is the largest black owned cigar lounge in the Chicago area. Anthony realized early in life that he had been blessed. He understood the phrase “I am my brother’s keeper.” and continues to help others, Windy City Cigar Lounge has provided food for the less fortunate in the community, as well as gifts to the local school children at Christmas.
Algenoy LaVandis Alexander is motivational speaker, trainer, and peak performance consultant, who has made it his life’s work to build the capacity of communities and organizations to create and sustain cultures that embrace diversity, build trusting relationships and maximize performance through implementing restorative practices.
Algenoy attended Northern Illinois University where he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He is a Trainer and Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Time Line Therapy and NLP Coaching.
With over two decades of experience in leadership, Algenoy has successfully inspired over 200,000 students and trained educators on strategies to achieve academic excellence, and organizational success. In his role as Assistant Director of an alternative High School serving at-risk youth, Algenoy empowered this population by helping them take ownership of their decisions.
Algenoy’s diverse background as an author, poet, and proud father of 2 has given him a unique perspective that he incorporates into his presentations. His messages are thought-provoking, and delivery passionate, making him a sought-after speaker for those seeking to create positive change within themselves and their communities.