Dr. Kayla Nixon Marshall is a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. She grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and obtained an undergraduate degree in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, a historically black university and her parents’ alma mater. During medical school at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, she concurrently obtained a master’s degree in Art History from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, concentrating on the arts in health. She then completed an Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Mayo Clinic and AAGL Fellowship in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at Northwestern Medicine.
Dr. Nixon Marshall prides herself on providing high-quality, comprehensive care to women with complex benign gynecologic conditions, specifically uterine fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, severe endometriosis, adenomyosis, and chronic pelvic pain. This includes expertise in hysteroscopic, vaginal, laparoscopic, robotic, complex open and mini-laparotomy surgical techniques. In addition to clinical practice, her research interests revolve around surgical quality, arts/humanities in medicine, health disparities, and improving access to advanced techniques in gynecologic surgery for racially and socioeconomically disadvantaged minorities.
Tonnette Williams, affectionately known as Toni, is an Educator and Entrepreneur. Toni is a Native Chicagoan. She is committed to serving her community and is a Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Toni obtained a BS in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University. Additionally, Toni received a MS in Early Childhood from Chicago State University and a MEd from University of Illinois, Chicago, in Educational Administration and Leadership.
After her studies, Toni became a Chicago Public School Teacher for ten years. She then pursued her dream of entrepreneurship and ventured into the Child Care Business. She has operated Child Care Centers for 21 years. In addition to her love for empowering youth, Toni has enjoyed being a Licensed Real Estate Broker and Investor. She owns properties and has maintained her Brokers License for over 25 years.
Toni’s prudency, tenacity and love of entrepreneurship eventually lead her to an extensive training program at McDonald’s. She became a McDonald’s Owner Operator in 2019. Toni currently, owns and operates two locations in Chicago, at 47th and 64th Streets on Cicero Avenue.
Tina is an expert at leading highly talented project teams ensuring effective use of technologies and methodologies to deliver quality trainings and create innovative instructional materials. Her efforts, along with those of her dedicated staff and fellow service providers have propelled Instructional Design Training providing small- and large-scale companies with record-breaking improvements in academic achievement, complex systems, leadership, and development.
Always striving to exceed expectation, Tina is dedicated to continually building and fostering multifaceted, high-performing teams in alignment with the strategic and organizational direction of the McGarity Consulting Group. Under her leadership, McGarity has expanded to become a central voice for executive coaching, corporate learning, and development.
Tiffany Taylor is a community leader, and an educational and youth advocate. Born in Chicago and raised in the South Suburbs, Tiffany is a resident of Matteson with her husband of 23 years, Cliff, and their sons, Devon and Kevon.
Tiffany is an Executive Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools for Bremen High School District 228. She holds a Master of Business Administration, and serves as a Matteson Parks Commissioner, sits on the board of directors for the Gloria J. Taylor Foundation, and serves as an elected school board member for Rich Township High School District 227. She is a member of the Rich Township Democratic Organization and the co-founder and Vice-President of the Democratic Women of the Southland Region. She is also recognized by Diligent Corporation as a Modern Governance 100 Honoree, for demonstrating exceptional work with a consistent focus on communication, collaboration, and community. During the global pandemic, she spearheaded a vaccination event for over 1,000 community members.
Tiffany believes in doing what’s best for our youth and the community, and her commitment to theses causes are evident.
Te Dora Brown Scott is the mogul of entrepreneurship. Chief Executive Officer of Scottland Development Corporation, the umbrella organization for Scottland related businesses. President of OLG Financing Inc. a National online bank that provides second chances to those who are not graced with one. Founder of Women in Construction Corporation a company where women can learn to develop real estate, become an investor, contractor or develop a trade. As such, she is responsible for all operational and strategic leadership business development, negotiations, licensing, endorsements and asset acquisitions. Brown Scott has been instrumental in growing all Scottland businesses and brands. Under her leadership, the company’s portfolio has expanded tremendously.
Tavia Jordan is the President and CEO of The Chicago Byers Group LLC. assisting families with clean, safe, and affordable housing. She is also a licensed Life Insurance agent in multiple states. Tavia has been an entrepreneur over 25 years with several businesses including Bling-10: Brides and Bosses Leaving It in Good Hands, One of a Kind Baby and Sis Management. Prior to that she worked in the Banking Industry in both Residential and Commercial Real Estate.
Tavia is an advocate for Domestic Violence and has served on the Board of Directors for Family Rescue Inc. She spearheaded The Spirit To Be Free- Living Life Free from Domestic Violence event which raised funds for domestic violence shelters in the Chicagoland area.
A member of the Apostolic Church of God for over 25 years, with over 10 years served with the Hospitality Ministry. Tavia is close to her family and loves spending time with her daughter Ava. Tavia Jordan also known as Tavia FreeSpirit has a passion for serving others with Love.
Tannis is the Director of Sustainability and Equity for IAA, a leading global digital marketplace connecting vehicle buyers and sellers. She began her career in philanthropy, as a fundraiser for a civil rights organization based in Chicago. She continued to help other local and national nonprofits to raise funding and awareness on several issues such as breast cancer and education.
In 2010, Tannis and her husband left Chicago and moved to Luxembourg for his work. While in Luxembourg, she attended the University of Luxembourg, where she received a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. While studying, Tannis worked as a project manager for IMS (Inspiring More Sustainability) Luxembourg, which is Luxembourg’s leading business network organization on Corporate Social Responsibility.
Tannis is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice from Clark Atlanta University. Prior to receiving her Master’s degree from the University of Luxembourg, she also received a Master’s in Public Administration from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart School of Business.
Tangela Feemster Enyia is Director of External Affairs at ComEd, a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation providing to service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois. Tangela and her team are ComEd’s front-line liaisons to local government entities across the Chicago-Maywood Region, which covers the City of Chicago and 28 suburbs.
An active volunteer with several organizations across Chicago, Tangela and her family have spent time in service at the Pacific Garden Mission, The Chicago Food Depository, and Project H.O.O.D. She formerly served on The Harris Council, an alumni board of The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and currently serves on the board of the Chicago Loop Alliance and the Association House of Chicago.
Tangela holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. Born in Arkansas and raised outside of Dallas, Texas, Tangela is a true Southerner who is proud to call Chicago home.
Tammy R. Jackson is an accomplished real estate professional and the Owner of KM Realty Group. Tammy has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and a Master of Science in Counseling.
Tammy developed strong values of hard work, determination, and education. These values have been the driving force behind her success in the real estate industry and have led her to create KM Realty Group. Tammy provides exceptional service to her clients while working tirelessly to help them achieve their real estate goals.
Tammy’s dedication and passion for helping others, as well as her well-rounded real estate and financial skills, are some of the essential qualities that set her apart as a realtor.
KM Realty Group is certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). The company specializes in providing value-added residential sales, purchases, and property management services. KM Realty Group has become a respected name in the industry, known for its talented realtors and exceptional professional service.
One day Tamera wanted to make God laugh so , she told him her life plan. The plan was to leave a legacy as an advocate and educator of children. For over twenty years, she served as CEO to a chain of successful child care facilities in the Chicagoland area. Her degrees in English from Fisk University and graduate degree from National Louis University in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy, reflect her preparation for her plan. God responded to her, “I’m not through with you.” “Get ready, things are about to change.” Never in a million years did she think she would be in film, theater , or radio as anything other than a ticket holder.
After declining a movie role from her sorority sister/talent manager, Veryl, Tamera’s entire career plan was about to change. Veryl wouldn’t take no for an answer and her persistence was the major factor that shifted Tamera’s career course. Instead of watching her students create art in the classroom, she began to create her own path in front of the camera and on stage. She has had roles in several movies; But Deliver Us From Evil, Kismet, Traffic Safety School, Acts of Love, Fighting Injustice, Captive State and Watchdog. Several stage plays; Judgement Call, God Help Me Look to You, TV productions: Fatal Attraction (the series), Chiraq (the series), and a national Toyota commercial. She has now successfully produced an award winning film that was considered for a recent Oscar nomination which will soon be played on every major airline. Her upcoming film promises to be her breakout role in Kingdom Reign.
Tamera’s vivacious personality warms the hearts of her listening audiences around the globe on radio and the people attending the events she hosts. From Internet radio, to Crawford Broadcasting on 106.3 FM-a weekly show, (Darryl Cooke Live) to her present daily show on I Heart Radio, (The Brunch Bunch) Inspiration 1390 am, Tamera is carving her own niche in the industry. In her words, “I am a proud single mother and my best accomplishment to date, is being the mother to my wonderful daughter, Modi.” You will never catch Tamera ending a show without saying “I love you Modi.”
Syreeta Nuckolls is a proven entrepreneur with experience leading operations, marketing and finance for complex business models and special projects.
In 2018, as the co-owner of the Jackson Nuckolls Group, Syreeta led the purchase and operations of a 7,000 square foot restaurant and entertainment venue, cultivating $2.1 million in sales within the first year of business. Prior to the aforementioned acquisition, Syreeta built a successful track record as a restaurateur and entrepreneur, consulting other business owners on operations and best practices of running a successful company, including planning and strategy, data analysis, audits and compliance.
As a real estate investor, Syreeta has successfully developed a multimillion-dollar property portfolio including single family homes and multi-units. She owns and operates real estate investments including renovation, reselling, and management of properties in Illinois. She identifies, researches, and inspects target investment properties while determining optimum investment strategies for market conditions. Syreeta is adept at building project teams including attorneys, brokers, and contractors.
With an accomplished academic background, Syreeta holds an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree from Hampton University.
Mrs. Shelia Friday is a business owner, public relations strategist, and grant specialist with advanced degrees Health Care Administration and Public Administration.
She is one of only two credentialed African American grant professionals in the State of Illinois that holds the internationally recognized Grant Professional Certification, and the author of The Grant Writing Book: A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Grant Proposals.
Her company, Relativity Resources LLC, provides a variety of business growth strategies, and is the sole consulting firm responsible for the development and assessment of a major restorative justice initiative in Southern Cook County. She also owns South Suburban Tax Pros and provide free tax preparation services to senior citizens.
As Director of Communications for Elementary School District 159, her Public Relations Plan led to the passing of a referendum to build a state-of-the-art $10,000.000.00 Community STEM Center, the first of its kind in the Southland Region.
She is a charter member of the South Suburban Democratic Women Organization, member of several professional organizations and Sigma Gamma Rho Inc. Sorority. She has mentored many young women throughout her career.
Shaneka Fields, owner of Blossom Bakery, has been providing a variety of delicious homemade desserts to the community since 2017. Blossom Bakery’s specialty is custom pound and layer cakes.
The Chicago native found her love of baking as a young girl watching her grandmother use the simplest ingredients to make beautiful masterpieces and then witnessing friends and family rave about her baking.
It’s only fitting that Shaneka’s entrance to professional baking started as a hobby for friends and family and then morphed into a tiny custom order business. In 2020, during the pandemic, Blossom Bakery was formed and began satisfying the sweet tooth of the most discerning taste buds at Chicago restaurants, businesses, and catered events.
The soul food desserts at Blossom Bakery are made from scratch, with love, and the freshest ingredients so that everyone’s dessert craving can be satisfied, and life made a little sweeter!
Shaakira has over 20 years of experience in financial services and has successfully advanced through every line of business in banking up to her current position as Executive Director, Market Director of Wealth with J.P. Morgan. During her time at J.P. Morgan, she has led her team to the Top Tier of performance, has gained national recognition during leadership off-site meetings, implemented national change for the client experience and tripled team revenue year over year. She also established mentoring circles for transferable skills and championed Diversity and Inclusion ambassador for J.P. Morgan Wealth Management. Shaakira has led her team in Northwest Indiana to be extremely cohesive and though they are all independently responsible, they operate in a team environment where they know to utilize each other as resources in their pursuit of success.
Shaakira’s educational accomplishments include undergraduate degrees in Finance and Sociology from Roosevelt University and an MBA also from Roosevelt. She holds securities licenses in Series 7, 66, 9, and 10. Shaakira’s greatest achievements are being and wife to Dion and mother to Dion Jr.
Emmy award-winning journalist Samantha Chatman is a Weekend Morning Anchor for ABC 7 Chicago. She is also a Consumer Investigative Reporter and a member of our prestigious I-Team, alerting the public about the latest scams and helping viewers make good financial decisions.
Chatman, who grew up in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood on the South Side, joined Chicago’s #1 news station in September 2019. Chatman says ABC 7 inspired her to pursue a career in broadcast journalism.
According to ABC 7’s Vice President of News, Jennifer Graves, “We’re thrilled that Samantha Chatman, a Chicago original who grew up watching ABC7 Eyewitness News has been promoted to this important role on our anchor desk.”
In 2022, Chatman published her first children’s book, “Mia Gets Sick, But Doesn’t Quit,” a story that was developed during the pandemic inspiring kids never to give up.
She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Chatman is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the National Association of Black Journalists. Chatman also serves as an Associate Board member for Make-A-Wish Illinois and After School Matters.
Rolonde Sanders serves as project manager at Wyn-Win Communications, Inc., a communications firm with a presence throughout Chicagoland. As Project Manager, Rolonde has utilized her 15 years’ experience in leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring. From database management, federal and state grant monitoring, to mentoring and project management, Rolonde leverages a straightforward approach to maximize business growth and potential.
Sanders has worked in both not-for-profit and educational sectors. Her entrepreneurial skills have been demonstrated in her creation of Passion by RDS Inc., a lifestyle brand for her handmade jewelry, but also includes business mentoring, and administrative services for young and/or fledgling business persons. Operating her own company gives her the wherewithal to efficiently assist managers on a larger scale using her acquired business acumen.
In her current position at Wyn-Win Communications, Rolonde demonstrates this same drive taking on and tackling many projects. As project manager, Sanders blends her passion for helping others with sound knowledge and broad experience, thereby building relationships and assisting them at achieving their overall goal. Rolonde applies herself to community projects from its outset to its completion.
Dr. Ramona E. James, Ed.D. was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. She received her early education from Chicago Public Schools and attended Kenwood Academy. Dr. James has Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Loyola and Clark Atlanta Universities and an earned doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University.
Dr. James has worked in non-profit organizations and higher education for nearly 30 years. She is adjunct faculty and a faculty mentor at Purdue University Global. She owns Accents Events and Consulting, which provides event coordination and rentals, business consultation, grant writing, and securing 501c3 designations. Her community reach includes partnerships with other academic institutions of higher learning, various health profession entities, community organizations, and political officials.
She has been a member of NCNW Chicago Central for ten years and has held various leadership positions in the section. She is actively involved in many organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Top Ladies of Distinction, First Corinthians MBC, and other organizations. Dr. James considers her most outstanding achievement her sons, Ramon and Malik..
Monica Moss is a member of the Chicago faith community where she is actively engaged in service and ministry. At Trinity United Church of Christ where her husband is Senior Pastor, Monica provides leadership for food justice initiatives including healthy food education, a community farmers market and organic garden and advocacy for access to healthy food. Monica provides leadership for Trinity’s Women’s Conference and other health and wellness initiatives with special emphasis on the needs of the Black family and in particular Black women.
Monica is a proud graduate of Spelman College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Chicago Food Depository where she is the Immediate Past Chair and McCormick Theological Seminary. She holds leadership with The First Ladies Health Initiative.
She enjoys living in Chicago and being the parent of two amazing young adults, Eli and MK.
Dr. Michelle R. Willis is the proud principal of Gillespie Technology Magnet Cluster School, an award-winning Chicago Public School recognized for academic achievement, technology, and arts integration.
She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, two Master’s Degrees in Education from Chicago State University and a Doctorate of Education Degree from Loyola University Chicago. She became a principal in 2004, is a CPS Principal Fellow, a Cahn Distinguished Principal Fellow and obtained leadership certifications through Northwestern and Harvard Universities. She’s received numerous awards that demonstrate her professional accomplishments. Including 2017 Illinois Elementary School Principal of the Year and National Distinguished Principal.
A Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, she’s held leadership positions at the International and Regional levels. She served as President of Xi Nu Omega Chapter and the Monarch Awards Foundation, Incorporated, its philanthropic arm.
Dr. Willis is a member of The Links, Inc.- South Suburban Chicago Chapter, the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center Women’s Board, Girl’s Inc.- Chicago Associate Board, and is the Illinois Principals Association, West Cook Regional Director-Elect.
Marisa C. Lewis Green, Project Director-Site Acquisition, Concordia Wireless, Inc., has been working in the wireless communications industry since 1994. Marisa immediately imbedded herself in the wireless communications industry, building strong foundations and creating teams servicing Ameritech Cellular Services Cellular and Paging Networks, now Verizon Wireless.
In 2017, Marisa joined Concordia Wireless, Inc. and its construction companies, Triad Associates, Ltd. and Impirium Group to build a team that provides site acquisition, engineering and construction services to major wireless communications companies, such as Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, DISH Network LLC. and AT&T. Marisa partnered with Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, COMED, Cook County Department of Traffic and Highways and Illinois Department of Transportation for the implementation of carrier wireless communication facilities. Marisa established differentiators in the wireless communications industry and has developed strong relationships with compliance agencies such as State Historical Preservation Offices, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.
Lisa L. Cooper is a Corporate Responsibility Analyst in Illinois for State Farm Insurance Companies. She began her career in the insurance industry 27 years ago. After completing a double major in Political Science and Spanish at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain in June 1995, she joined State Farm Insurance Companies as an auto claim representative. She has held various positions in auto claims prior to joining the Public Affairs Department in 2001.
Lisa is very active professionally in the Chicagoland area as well as in her own south side community. She has received many awards and acknowledgements from several community organizations like: Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, True Star Foundation, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the Mannequin Society, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated.
Lisa has produced several events, corporate and social, in a variety of venues. She began working with Karen Dilligard and Exquisite Affaires in 1999. Lisa currently serves as the financial secretary for Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated’s Central Region.
Lisa R. Floyd has a life-long commitment to public service. She brings more than 20 years of professional experience with the Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) in her current role as Operations Manager. She believes fiercely in the power of education.
Prior to joining the CBOE, Lisa served as Executive Director of Operations for PepsiCo Corporation. Here, she focused on Finance and Corporate structures. This experience provided her with a platform to design for equity, diversity and inclusion. Lisa’s fiscal roles include the budgetary management of more than 300 million dollars across several schools within the CBOE. Throughout her career, she has also served as the contributing author of multiple grants. Lisa has helped to promote sound school business practices to the Illinois State Board of Education Legislature to improve positive outcomes for students.
Lisa is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She possesses a special affinity for the youth and is family-oriented. Lisa has served as an avid volunteer for various organizations to address the holistic needs of families, making a difference in the lives of others.
Lana McCarroll, along with her husband Armand of 25 years, have raised three wonderful, independent, adult children – Lauren, Bradley, and Braxton.
Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics, Lana started her career at IBM providing business solutions as a systems engineer for Fortune 500 companies in the Chicagoland area. Twenty years later, Lana became the Assistant Executive Director for the Chatham Business Association. Through the development and implementation of marketing programs and technical literacy workshops, Lana was able to provide significant growth for the chambers’ businesses and non-for-profit organizations. Later, she transitioned into the banking industry with what is now Providence Bank and Trust. She has continued to excel and advance her career in banking and now as a Credit Administrator provides a support role in the granting of millions of dollars in commercial loans for business in the Chicagoland and Indiana areas.
Lana enjoys spending time with her family and friends, utilizing her creativity in planning events, vacationing in tropical places, and devoting her time as an active member and committee chairman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Dr. Kisha E. McCaskill is often recognized in the top tier of outstanding individuals- personally and professionally. Her academic achievements and professional experience have made her a formidable mentor, advocate, and force in executive leadership.
Dr. McCaskill is known for delivering big results for organizations and individuals despite their challenges. She believes, “comfort is found in the uncomfortable, “. With this mantra she has successfully mentored youth to professionals, professionals to executives/business owners, and ordinary citizens to effective leaders.
Prior to becoming an independent consultant, Kisha was a trailblazer in government services. From the Statewide Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) to Illinois’ Job Link (IJL) and the legislation known as “Ban the Box,” her footprint is embroidered at the inception of some of Illinois’ greatest resources.
In her current role, Executive Director of the Harvey Park District, McCaskill fights to improve the quality of life by developing innovative programs to enhance social-emotional health; and coaches and empowers those who seek to start/expand community focused businesses. Give Dr. McCaskill your idea and she will give you the strategy to achieve it.
Growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Kimberly Moore was lovingly known as “Ms. Fix It.” Even at a young age, she focused on creative solutions.
Moore received her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Master’s from Northern Illinois University, where she played D1 basketball.
In 2012, Moore opened KDM Engineering, which has grown to over 100 employees. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in the Midwest and East Coast, KDM provides engineering and related services in the power utility, telecom, and natural gas industries. A fierce supporter of women and minorities in STEM, Moore also created Calculated Genius, a nonprofit helping underrepresented youth connect to engineering.
Moore sits on multiple boards such as the NIU Alumni Association Board, City of Chicago Affirmative Action Advisory Board, and the First Women’s Bank board. Her awards include:
• Society of Women Engineers’ Entrepreneur Award, 2021
• The National Association of Women Business Owners’ Woman Business Owner of the Year, 2021
• EY Entrepreneur of the Year Midwest, 2020
• U.S. Small Business Administration’s Illinois Rising Star Small Business of the Year, 2020
• Crain’s 40 Under 40, 2019
Kimberly Hobson-Gary is a woman of faith and married to Rev. Dwayne Gary. They are blessed to have four adult children and three grandchildren. She currently serves as CEO of the South Side Healthy Community Organization (SSHCO). In this role, she holds responsibility for implementing the Healthy Community Model which aims to better connect health organizations, increase access to care, address challenging health issues, and ultimately, build health equity and ensure stronger, healthier communities. Kimberly is passionate about transforming health on the south side of Chicago.
With a healthcare background of over 25 years, Kimberly has established a strong leadership presence. In addition to the SSHCO, she served as CEO of JourneyCare and held leadership roles at University of Chicago, Advocate Health, Mercy Hospital and Humana Health Plan. She has a proven record of successfully developing strategic partnerships, leading clinical expansions, program development and implementation, ensuring operational excellence, and achieving financial growth.
Kimberly earned an MBA from Purdue University, a BA Degree from U of I Chicago and
completed the Chicago Management Institute at U of C’s Booth School of Business.
Kimberly Dew serves as Supervisory Medical Examiner of National Disability Operations for the US Department of Labor. Kimberly functions as a member of the Adjudicatory and District Office directing regulatory guidance and controversial interpretation of both law and peculiar medical phenomena.
Kimberly also served as Medical Benefits Examiner for the US Department of Labor and managed independent examination of opioid fraud, adjudication of medical requests, consultation with members of Congress, health care professionals and claimants. Thus, resulting in millions of dollars in recovery and national policy impact.
Kimberly holds a BS and MHA in Healthcare Administration.
Her leadership acumen manifests in roles including Vice President of the National Woman’s Affairs Advisory Council, Vice-Chair of the Joint National Leadership Advisory Council, Social Security Administration Diversity Committee Chair, Combined Federal Contribution Fundraising Key and Will County Women’s Legislative Council Member.
In 2022, COVID-19 response team impact earned Kimberly the Secretary of Labor Honor Award.
Kimberly is the owner and founder of Kalisa Travels and married to Donald Dew. She is a loving mother of six in this beautiful, blended family and grandmother of two.
Currently, Kendra serves as the Chief Administration and Finance Officer at the Office of the City Clerk. In this role, Kendra guides the financial planning, hiring and workplace culture initiatives for the office.
Previously, as the Director of the CityKey Program, Kendra’s role ensured that all Chicago residents had access to government-issued IDs regardless of age, gender, immigrations status or housing status.
Prior to the Office of the City Clerk, Kendra served as the Business Resource Manager at World Business Chicago for ChiBizHub. Within this role, Kendra educated, encouraged, and empowered entrepreneurs and business owners across Illinois by connecting them to vital resources.
Kendra has also volunteered her time serving as a Young Professional Mentor for the inaugural Global Youth Ambassadors Leadership Program with World Business Chicago in 2019. Most recently, Kendra was inducted as a 40 under 40 Honoree in 2022 by the Black Women Professional’s League.
Kendra resides on the Near North Side of Chicago. She holds a MA in Human Resource Management from the Keller Graduate School of Management and a BA in Sociology from DePaul University.
Karyn Beard is the CEO of Khamryn B, a high fashion boutique located in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Historically known as a neighborhood plagued with crime and poverty, Karyn’s dedication and drive has been bringing positive impact and change to this community since 2005. Through her love and passion for high fashion, Karyn sought to fulfill a need that working class, up and coming communities such as Aurbun Gresham also deserved quality goods and superior service. Karyn has since partnered with local high schools and community organizations to provide programs that provide life-skills and mentorship throughout the fashion industry. From internships, entrepreneur programming, merchandising and design to marketing, networking and sales, Khamryn B has been the “go to” for young fashion entrepreneurs across the city.
In 2021, Karyn curated the annual “VIP Fashion Experience”, a night where hundreds of Chicagoans celebrate fashion, and the contributions African-Americans have made within the industry over the years. Through this experience, one can expect unique opportunities to engage and appreciate design, styling, art, and all things fashion.
For more than 20 years, Hilary has dedicated her career to the philanthropic sector working in grantmaking, fundraising and community outreach. Currently, she is the Global Director of Community Impact & Philanthropy for McDonald’s Corporation, overseeing the brand’s Community Impact Strategy, which includes community engagement, financial and in-kind contributions, and volunteer activities in communities around the globe.
Previously she served as Director of Development for Ronald McDonald House Charities, Inc., where she led the fundraising and corporate engagement strategy helping to raise nearly $60M in revenue. Hilary also held various development and grantmaking leadership roles with organizations including YMCA of the U.S.A., Chicago Urban League and Chicago Foundation for Women and has provided consulting services to small and emerging nonprofits.
Hilary is a passionate and dedicated leader in her community. She is an alum of the Council on Foundations Career Pathways Diversity Leadership Program (2021), serves on the board of directors for Chicago Women in Philanthropy and regularly volunteers in her community.
She holds a M.A in Organizational Leadership from Judson University and a B.A in English from DePaul University.
Gwendolene Newton, a Managing Real Estate Broker at C21 SGR, community real estate activist & President of the Dearborn Realtist Board. Newton grew up on the southside of Chicago in the Bronzeville community. Newton studied at Howard University & Roosevelt University. After graduating with a BS in Business Administration, Newton accepted a corporate job where she embarked on an 11 year career path in marketing, market research and finance.
In 2001, Newton was blessed to become a mother of an amazing daughter which changed her outlook & her priorities in life. In 2004, she decided to pursue a career in real estate. Over the last 19 years, Newton has coached over 1000 real estate brokers, managed 2 real estate offices, managed and sold over $150 millions dollars of real estate inventory & fueled her passion to educate African American communities around building generation wealth through real estate. “Education is the foundation to make change” says Newton.
Currently as President of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers local chapter, DRB, she works alongside the board, members & community stake holders to impact African American Communities in Real Estate.
Fershawnda Green, Founder and President of Poppin Plates LLC, has over two decades of food service experience. She is a graduate of the legendary Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute and has served as general manager of several local food service establishments. Most enjoyably, Fershawnda held the position of chef on the award-winning Norwegian Cruise Lines. This experience afforded her the opportunity to cook in various parts of the world, including Hawaii, Mexico and Germany.
In 2000, Chef Green started her first catering company, Plates Up Catering. Her experience in the culinary industry has secured her contracts with the NBA All-Stars, PGA, NFL, United and Delta Airlines to name a few. In 2018, Chef Green’s brand evolved into Poppin Plates, now including a food & beverage consulting firm that focuses on emerging entrepreneurs entering the food service industry. She owns her own event venue and is the sole minority, woman-owned culinary incubator in the South Suburbs. Located in Park Forest, Illinois, Poppin Plates Culinary Incubator has since opened its doors to over thirty-five new start-up food service brands.
Poet Audre Lorde wrote, “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Felicia Houston truly believes in this statement; her passion is inspiring and empowering people to make self-care a priority. Through dynamic workshops and presentations, Felicia educates her audiences about mental health, wellness, self-care and Stress Less Living.
She has more than 22 years of experience in the mental health field, a BA in Psychology and a MA in Human Development Counseling from Bradley University in Peoria Illinois. Felicia serves as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Speaker, a Mental Health Consultant, & a Master Trainer with Advocate Aurora Health.
An arts and community advocate, Erica S. Hubbard, is the current Director of Chicago Programs at the Obama Foundation. In this role, Erica is helping to lay the groundwork for the future Obama Presidential Center. She is also a nationally recognized advisor on fine and contemporary art, culture and race who is known for opening the art world to new audiences and driving conversations about equity and inclusion in arts and cultural spaces.
As the former Associate Director of Civic Relations & Partnerships at the Art Institute of Chicago, she connected the world-famous museum’s programming, events and key civic messages to historically underrepresented areas of Chicago, focused on the Black and Brown communities of the city’s South and West Sides.
Erica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Print Journalism from Howard University and serves as an advisory collector in her spare time. She is on the board of the Night Ministry, which conducts outreach and provides social services to Chicagoans struggling with homelessness, and 3Arts, a nonprofit organization that supports and advocates for Chicago’s artists from underrepresented backgrounds.
Writer, Director, Playwright, Internet TV Host, Mother of 2 future Women of Excellence (Taylor and Maya) and Co-host of The Good news with Elder Miller on WVTC gospel radio.com. Dorian H Nash is a force that embodies you can do anything you set your intention on. A lover of Art, Connection and Community involvement, Dorian is the firepower that leads the Public Practice department at The Smart Museum of Art. She believes in the transformational power of creativity and art on the lives of everyday people.
Donna Bingham has served as CEO and Chief Marketing Officer for some of today’s leading companies. As an internationally renowned thought leader and business expert, Donna throughout her career has been on the cutting edge of innovation and change management. She is a high-powered creative visionary in the development of high-performance growth and leadership.
Donna reveals winning ways to unleash innovation in organizations by working to Improve Executive presence, Cultivate Teamwork, and Inspire Innovation so that everyone works at their highest potential.
That is why she circles the globe as a strategist, executive coach, leadership consultant, and keynote speaker sharing her perspectives, delivering solutions, and is committed to changing lives. So that more can access her talents and experience Donna established DonnaBingham.com.
Donna has a CME Counselor and Trainer credential, from Perelman School of Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania, she holds a Master of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Psychology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and a Master Degree in International Business from TIAS School for Business and Society University, Tilburg, Netherlands.
Domineca’s professional experience consists of both corporate and business ownership perfected by multi-disciplinary learnings in accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Most recently, Domineca served as COO at Union Heritage Capital where she was responsible for overall operations and finance.
Currently, Domineca manages a start-up tax and accounting services firm. Additionally, she sources and evaluates private investments focused on diverse and women entrepreneurs through Angel, Venture, and Multi-family Real Estate vehicles. She leverages her experience and optimizes her impact by coaching and advising women and diverse Founders or those providing products/services to comparable communities.
Previous experiences include VP Franchising / Operations Officer with a global restaurant chain overseeing development and execution of strategic plans for a $2B multi-state business unit, Owner Operator of 3 businesses, leader of brand management and marketing teams in the consumer package goods industry, and practicing as a CPA for a top accounting firm.
Domineca has a B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University, a MBA from The University of Michigan and is a CPA. She enjoys biking, reading, traveling and hopes to resume flight lessons one day soon
Diane’s career in the Senior Housing Industry began in 1991. She has held many positions to include Marketing Assistant, Home Heath Supervisor, Marketing Director, Marketing & Sales Manager, and Resident Service Coordinator. Her positions have been in various Senior Housing Communities to include, Chicago’s Hyde Park, West Side including South Suburbs and Glen Ellyn. Diane’s motto is Love Service Compassion (LSC) “Just Comes Naturally.”
She is a Community Partner with the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce and has worked on various projects honoring Men of Virtue, Christmas on 55th and CAPS meetings with Chicago Police Department’s 2nd District and others. She is also a Community Partner with the University of Chicago SHARE Network and Senior Adults Matter (SAM). As a member of the American Association of Service Coordinators, Diane has participated in many national conferences in many cities across the U.S.
Diane’s superpower is giving! She is loyal to her sister tribe and is always generous of her time and life experiences. She has a passion for interior decorating and attended Harrington College of Design. She is a loyal daughter, mother and grandmother.
Dee Atkins is a Certified Diversity Professional whose career reflects a commitment to civil rights and racial equity. She has more than 20 years of combined experience in corporate leadership, community outreach, and nonprofit development.
As the Chief of Community Engagement and Equity at Thresholds, one of Illinois’ largest providers of mental health and substance use treatment services, Dee partners in the organization’s strategic efforts for social justice by conceptualizing and facilitating discussions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The work she performs internally is dedicated to creating a sustainable, inclusive organizational culture.
She is an active member of Chicago’s civic community including: The City of Chicago Mayor’s Equity Advisory Council; Community Liaison for the Healthy Chicago Equity Zones initiative; Community Advisory Council for West Side United; and Community Engagement Council at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Dee has earned a Master of Science in Journalism and Integrated Marketing; and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. This West Side native, turned Beverly resident, is the wife of Joseph Sr. and mom to their son, Noah and bonus son, Joseph Jr.
Dawn Hasbrouck anchors FOX 32 News at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. Born and raised in the city of Chicago, Hasbrouck is happy to be home, covering news where she grew up. She has received an Associated Press award for Best Hard News Feature… and an Emmy nomination for her reporting.
Prior to joining FOX 32, she spent three years as an Emmy-nominated anchor and reporter for WBZ-TV (CBS) in Boston, Massachusetts. While in Boston, Hasbrouck was honored by the Boston Business Journal and named to its “Top 40 under 40” list. The award is designed to recognize Greater Boston’s next generation of successful leaders who are under 40 years old. Honorees are chosen based on their career accomplishments and their involvement in the community.
Previously, Hasbrouck was the morning and noon anchor for WFSB-TV (CBS) in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was also the medical reporter. Before that, she held anchor positions at WITI-TV (FOX) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and WTGS/WJCL-TV (FOX/ABC) in Savannah, Georgia. She also reported for WKYT-TV (CBS) in Lexington, Kentucky and WHO Newsradio in Des Moines, Iowa through the Medill News Service at Northwestern.
Hasbrouck is a graduate of Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and a certificate in Film and Video Production. While at Duke, she studied at the Cinema Television School at the University of Southern California. She received her Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She was inducted into Northwestern University’s Council of 100; a group of the institution’s top female graduates.
Hasbrouck is also a graduate of St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago, where she was on the tennis and track teams, and active in musical theater and captain of the cheerleading team. She was also a young voice student at Merit School of Music and Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
Hasbrouck is an accomplished performer, having studied opera for nine years, and she enjoys fine arts almost as much as she enjoys community service. Hasbrouck has two young sons and lives in Chicago.
Caryn Riley is a wife, mother of three, and entrepreneur. Along with her husband of 23 years Antonio Riley they created and own Riley’s Ribz LLC. Their family business of homemade sauces and seasonings are sold at Jewel and shipped worldwide. She has a master’s degree in Social Work and a passion for service. Caryn has worked in healthcare for 20 years at the University of Illinois Chicago Medical Center and is currently the Associate Director of Clinical Revenue for the Department of Medicine. In 2021 she was elected as a UIC representative for the State University Employee Advisory Council (EAC) which advocates, represents, and serves all Illinois State University Civil Service employees across 11 campuses. Caryn is also a proud member of the illustrious Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Awards and Recognition
My name is Bridgette Flagg and I’m the owner of Soule Chicago and self-proclaimed Head Chef.
Born with an entrepreneurial spirit as a professional hairstylist and tax- preparer, my passion was always cooking. My passion for cooking started with watching my grandmother and mother cooking for family and friends growing up on the westside of Chicago. Watching them over the years, showed me how food had the power to bring people together and spread love. I wanted to continue to spread that feeling; not just with my family and friends, but also with my community.
In 2015, with just my family recipes and no formal training, I started selling dinners via Instagram, which would later set the foundation and popularity for my first restaurant called Soule Chicago.
Soule Chicago is a creole-infused soul food restaurant established in 2017. Since 2017, Soule Chicago has gained notoriety nationwide and was awarded the top 30 Black owned restaurants in the United States by online food website Thrillist and mentioned in the Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand list in 2021.
With much success, in 2020, we broke ground for our 2nd location and returned to our roots in North Lawndale; where the Soule’s dream first started in my grandmother and mother’s kitchen.
The opening of the Chicago’s Westside location in North Lawndale, a predominantly Black community, gives us the opportunity to rebuild our community by providing healthy food & a safe social environment for local residents, employment opportunities to local residents, and the ability to help jump start the revitalization of Roosevelt Road’s business district.- an area that was heavily impacted by the Martin Luther King assassination riots in the 60s.
On Jan.1, 2023 we celebrated our Grand Opening of our 2nd location in the heart of Chicago’s Westside- North Lawndale. The first sit-in fine dining restaurant in over 50yrs.
Arlene M. “Sugar” Al-Amin is a wife, mother, grandmother, and a 20+ year resident of Southland. Sugar serves as the Clerk of Rich Township and a Commissioner on the Community Relations Commission for the Village of Flossmoor. She champions diversity and is a conduit between the citizens, neighborhoods, and governmental agencies to ensure broad inclusivity.
Sugar is a versatile entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience in cosmetology, owning multiple salons across Chicago’s Southeast Side. Passionate about empowering the next generation, Sugar received her certification as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Counselor through the National Council for Behavioral Health. With this knowledge, Sugar supports young people experiencing depression, anxiety, psychosis, and substance abuse disorders.
Sugar currently serves as Secretary of Rich Township Democratic Organization; Past-President of the Flossmoor Service League; Member of the Democratic Women of the Southland Region, and sits on the Board of Directors of the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment.
Dr. Arlene Richardson is the President of the Medical Staff and Chair of the Department of Radiology at Jackson Park Hospital. She received her medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine followed by radiology residency at Eastern Virginia Medical School and a fellowship in musculoskeletal imaging at the University of Chicago.
In her efforts to help address healthcare disparities on Chicago’s south side, Dr. Richardson was instrumental in bringing RAD-AID USA Women’s Health Access Initiative to Jackson Park Hospital. This collaborative effort aims to improve breast and cervical cancer outcomes in underserved women by improving access to screening and diagnostic services. A key component of this program also includes the establishment of patient navigation support services.
Dr. Richardson also supports efforts to address healthcare disparities across the world and serves as Director of the Tanzania program for RAD-AID International, a nonprofit organization with the mission of increasing and improving radiology and medical imaging for medically underserved regions across the world, with programs in over 35 countries.
Amy Stevenson has been Vice President of Spotlight Cleaning Service for 16 years and President of Spotlight Cleaning Supply Inc. for 2 years. She graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 business program where her classmates named her “Most Inspirational”. She has served as Marketing Chair and Secretary for Black Contractors Owners Executives (BCOE) and was presented the “Amazing Member” award in 2020.
In her spare time, she is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (JASSAC) where she participates on the Chaplain Council. Also, Amy is a member of Victory Apostolic Church in Matteson where she enjoys inspiring others through dance by being on the Praise Dance team.
Amy is a 3 year breast cancer survivor and has co-authored a book with her “Pink Sisters from the Tatisa C. Joiner Foundation called, “The Breast is Yet to Come”.
She has been married to her wonderful husband, Kelvin Stevenson for 13 years and they have a beautiful 12- year old daughter, Christina.
Her life verse is: What we are is God’s gift, what we become is our gift to God.
Alexandra “Alex” Sims believes that one’s birthplace and economic status should not disproportionately determine one’s life journey. She came to Chicago by way of Metro Detroit, to attend Northwestern University majoring in Social Policy. Motivated by President Barack Obama’s social policies, Alex was appointed to head his 2012 Presidential Campaign for Missouri. Following President Obama’s historic victory, Alex continued as a State Coordinator with Organizing for Action, and relocated to the Chicago headquarters. As the Campaign Manager for Kurt Summers race for City Treasurer, she directed Treasurer Summers impactful 77in77 platform.
After her time in the Treasurer’s office, Alex founded APS & Associates. Today, APS and Associates is a highly coveted firm that provides applied techniques and expert consultation across the public affairs sector that include private, governmental, political, philanthropic, community organizing and social activism. Alex has received well-earned plaudits for her meteoric rise and the extraordinary range of clients that include Governor JB Pritzker, Cook County State Attorney General Kim Foxx, Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus, Attorney and Cook County Commissioner Bill Lowry, The Obama Foundation, Bally’s Casino, and more.
Alethia Jackson is Senior Vice President, ESG and Chief DEI Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance. In this role, Alethia leads a combined team of U.S. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility, including health equity, environmental and product sustainability and community giving.
Alethia is a highly experienced Government Relations executive with 20 years of success with Walgreens, America’s Health Insurance Plans and National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Throughout her career, Alethia has been recognized for her ability to develop high-impact strategies, structures and partnerships that have shaped public policy, elevated brand identity and advanced corporate and industry policy objectives.
As Vice President, Federal Government Affairs and Head of Advocacy at Walgreens, Alethia led efforts to expand patient access to pharmacy services, advance the role of pharmacy within healthcare and support retail growth and value creation.
Alethia is passionate about empowering young women through leadership development and is a member of the board of Running Start, Inc. a nonpartisan nonprofit that trains young women to run for public office. She holds a JD from Syracuse University School of Law and a BA from State University of New York at Albany.