This year’s Induction Ceremony Honors Exemplary Black Men in the Chicagoland Community at the Tinley Park Convention Center on June 17, 2022.

Each year, the Chicago Defender takes extraordinary pride in recognizing African American men in our community who inspire others through excellence, vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and a commitment to empowerment in multiple ways. We are proud of the accomplishments of these men who are doing amazing things across broad spectrums of society.

On this 15th anniversary year and with over 700 past Men of Excellence recipients, we are honored to continue to salute men of valor who are not only doing remarkable work in their careers: but, equally, as important, they’re making a difference in their communities. Men of Excellence continuously set the example and raise the bar.” – Dyanna Knight Lewis, Publisher-Chicago Defender.

 The Men of Excellence awards honor admirable men and creates a strong network of like-minded men in the Chicagoland area. This year’s honorees include:

Jarrett M. Adams, Esq. Attorney The Law Offices of Jarrett Adams
Tarik Al-Amin Vice President, Operations and Safety Al-Amin Brothers Transportation, LLC
Benford Ammons Jr. Founder & CEO Ammons Transportation
Ronald W.H. Banner Director of External Affairs ComEd
George Barrett Director of Food and Beverage Sophy Hotel / Mesler Restaurant
Alan O. Belin CEO/Owner The Chicago Food Project/Apex Limo Services
Robert Blackwell Jr. CEO EKI-Digital
Troy Boyd Jr. Chief Operating Officer Urban Prep Academies
Kerri D. Brown, Esq. Chief Executive Officer Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
Rodney D. Brown CEO New Covenant CDC
Jason Coleman Executive Director Project SYNCERE
William J. Collins Chief Advancement Officer Surge Institute
Javon Coney Director of Strategic Partnerships FanDuel
Carlos W Cubia SVP, Global Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Walgreens Boots Alliance
Larry Daniels CEO Hoop Hard or Get Off the Court
Derek R.B. Douglas Vice President of Civic Engagement and External Affairs University of Chicago
Norman P. Fleming Author, Founder & President The Sphinx Club, Fleming Consulting LLC
Brinton W. Flowers Director of Marketing and Business Development Flowers Communications Group
Durant T. Freeman Director, Adult Education Safer Foundation/PACE Institute
Richard Gallion CEO Richard Gallion Entertainment
Dr. Tony Hampton Regional Medical Director Trinity Service Area Advocate Aurora Healthcare
Kanu Iheukumere Director of Operations Metropolitan Family Services
Louis E. James President & CEO MCL Jasco
Lovise Jiles Owner MNK Realty Professionals LLC
Marco Johnson Sr. President Chicago Police Athletic League
Will Jones Race & Culture Reporter ABC 7 Chicago
Commissioner Bill Lowry, Esq. Cook County Commissioner Cook County Government
Jamal Malone Chief Executive Officer Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc.
Rod Martin CEO Agile Technologies Group
Ray McElroy Founder/CEO A Ray of Hope on Earth
Dr. Jonathan McKenzie Chief Executive Officer Family Centered Educational Agency
Christopher A. Nolen Director/Producer Nferno Media Entertainment and Black and Gold Films
Al Orendorff Chief Communications Officer Zurich North America
Steven Perkins Director of Field Instruction Metropolitan Family Services
Honorable LaDon A. Reynolds United States Marshal Northern District of Illinois
Darryl E. Robinson, Esq. Owner Darryl E. Robinson & Associates, LLC
Dr. Derek J Robinson, MBA Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Devon Robinson Special Event Manager Chicago Park District
John Scott Vice -President of Business Development and Government Relations ChanceLight Education
Andrew Stroth Managing Partner Action Injury Law Group LLC
Corey Taliaferro   Aetna
Rev. Jasper Paul Taylor I Executive Director The Calahan Foundation, NFP
Cory L. Thames Chief Engagement Officer Business Leadership Council
Bryant F. Thompson CEO Red Level Entertainment
Uduimoh Umolu Co-Founder Jon Basil Tequila
Dr Harry Wilkins CEO Gift of Hope
Vincent R. Williams President VRW & Associates
“This year’s honorees continue to break stereotypes about who Black men are and what they do. They show the world that the negative images and narratives that often describe Black men are false. These men are powerhouses in our communities, and we are proud to honor them” – Danielle Sanders, Managing Editor-Chicago Defender.

 This year the Chicago Defender will also honor previous Men of Excellence honorees with special distinctions. Les Coney and Leon Walker will receive the Vanguard Award. Secretary of State, Jesse White, Jr. will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Keynote Speaker, Emanuel “Chris” Welch will receive the Man of the Year Award.

The Men of Excellence Red Carpet Awards Presentation Reception will take place on Friday, June 17, 2022, at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477 at 6 pm. ComEd, as presenting sponsor, and Samantha Thomas, WVON Radio Host as emcee.

For Tickets and Tables, please visit


About the Chicago Defender

The Chicago Defender is a multi-media content provider of news and information. The Chicago Defender offers marketing solution services, strategic partnerships, and custom events that cover the African American Market. Our platform equips us to leverage audience influence to reach, connect, and impact Black Community with culturally relevant content, not often serviced by mainstream media.


Founded in 1905, The Chicago Defender celebrated its 116th Anniversary in 2021, and was recognized nationally as the second most widely read and best African American Newspaper by Nielson and Essence Survey 2014. In July 2019, the Chicago Defender transitioned from a printed newspaper into a digitally focused, high traffic, content platform dedicated to online editorial, premiere events, sponsored advertising, custom publishing, and archival merchandising. We distribute relevant and engaging news and information via multiple platforms daily.


Leaders and readers nationwide look to the Chicago Defender to stay informed about issues that impact their lives. As the voice of the community for more than eleven decades, we take extraordinary pride in having access to the grassroots community connections and established relationships with influencers and opinion leaders. We stay abreast of the pulse of the neighborhoods. Our readers trust us. They trust The Chicago Defender will portray the news authentically.



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