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If I Knew Then What I Know Now by Charlene Jones, MBA


7-Point Checklist for Building a Brand by TerDawn DeBoe


Black History 365: History Makers & History Shapers


Microaggressions: Racism That is Experienced Daily by Kathryn M. Hall, CDP

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The Environmental, Social and Governance Framework in Philanthropy: Going Beyond Grants to Achieve Impact by Terri Bradford Eason BPACF News: Board Spotlight: Ramona Lowery New Board Member Annoucement Black Professionals of the Year Engage! Event


Suicide in the Black Community by Angela Adams Ali, PhD


Can I Fight for Antiracist Schools from My Workplace? by Andratesha Fritzgerald


Three Real Estate Forecasts, Trends & Market Outlooks for 2022 by Tiffany Hollinger

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The Man That Makes the Mayor: An Intimate Look at Mayor Justin Bibb by Montrie Rucker Adams, APR Cover Photo by Alvin Smith Spring Trends by Charron Leeper Stress: A Two-Sided Equation + Straight Forward Solution by Andratesha Fritzgerald Ready to Get Out & Play? by La’Keisha James Keeping the Soul in Soul Food by Claude Booker The Real Black Friday Photos What is Cryptocurrency? by LaRese Purnell

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BPACF Scholars: Where Are They Now? Professional Profiles

The Black

Professional PUBLISHER

Meltrice D. Sharp, CPA PRESIDENT

Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF) EDITOR

Montrie Rucker Adams Visibility Marketing Inc. SENIOR EDITORIAL ADVISOR

Alexandria Johnson Boone GAP Communications Group CREATIVE DIRECTOR


Alvin Smith Black in Cleveland


Charron Leeper


Laurie Murphy, MBA, MPH, MS BPACF


Adrianne Sims BPACF


James Wade BPACF

Subscribe for free at: A quarterly publication of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF), 2930 Prospect Avenue E., Suite 126 Cleveland, OH 44115-2608 MAGAZINE PRODUCTION: Coy Lee Media, LLC 3 Severance Circle #18496 Cleveland, OH 44118 Short Stack Printing 4425 Renaissance Parkway Cleveland, OH 44128 Copyright © 2021-22. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be distributed electronically, reproduced or duplicated in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. 4 | SPRING 2022

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A New Year - A Fresh Start

We’ve just completed 2022’s first quarter and I’m happy to say it looks like we’re off to a fresh start. The days are getting longer, the COVID-19 cases are dropping, and our city is celebrating new leadership. Congratulations to Justin Bibb, our 58th Mayor. We’re excited to have him grace our first cover of 2022. He’s young, fresh and brings his years of community service experience to City Hall. Cleveland is ripe for his vision. We’re open and ready. Mayor Bibb is our highest public servant, but he cannot do his job alone. This issue celebrates public servants, the people who get up every morning to ensure the community’s needs are met. It’s not an easy job. We’re grateful to those who have made it their life’s work. On the heels of Black History Month, we recognize that our contributions are not relegated to 28 days. We do our society a disservice if we only take one month to educate, innovate, and celebrate the many contributions Black people have made. Therefore, in every issue we will present a history maker and someone making history now. The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr. (Black Professional of the Year, 1983), civil rights activist and former pastor of the internationally renowned Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and Shelly Cayette-Weston the Cleveland Cavalier’s newest executive vice president, chief commercial officer kick off our series. We are a service organization. After 40 years there are many shoulders on which the community stands. Look at our past Black Professionals of the Year. Understand why they were chosen and how you too can learn from their leadership, fearlessness, and tenacity. As always, if you like our magazine, please let us know. This is our fourth publication and there is room to grow. Lastly, we’re always looking for writers. If you’re a subject matter expert and would like to contribute, contact us. We’re open to all suggestions. Welcome to 2022! Meltrice D. Sharp, CPA President, Board of Trustees, BPACF

Follow BPACF on social:



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CONTRIBUTORS Angela Adams Ali, PhD Counselor, Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Therapist angela@angelaadamsaliphd. com

Chef Claude Booker Founder Soul Food Starters

TerDawn DeBoe Digital marketing expert Founder, Creative Thought Solutions

Terri Bradford Eason Senior Director, Advancement Equity Initiatives The Cleveland Foundation

Andratesha Fritzgerald Public School Educator Founder and Lead Consultant

Kathryn Hall Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion JACK Entertainment

Tiffany Hollinger Realtor, Investor & Financial Advisor #AskTiffanyH

La’Keisha James Owner Favored Destinations, LLC

Charron Leeper Fashion Entrepreneur Creative Director

LaRese Purnell, MBA Managing Partner, CLE Consulting Firm

Jennifer Wainwright Writer, fitness enthusiast

Building Blocks of Brilliance, LLC

Charlene Jones, MBA Student Success Officer Black Professionals Association Charitable Founmdation

Interested in writing for The Black Professional? Contact


Public Service Isn’t Always Public-A Servant’s Heart “Where are we going?” I asked my mother when she told me to get ready to leave the house. I always had to be “presentable” when I stepped out the door. “To see Aunt Grace.” Aunt Grace was my mother’s aunt, her mother’s sister. I never knew my grandmother. She passed away before I was born. Aunt Grace was the closest grandmother I had. We visited her often, sometimes twice a week. My mother made sure she did not want for anything. As her health began to decline, my mother was always there with me tagging along. I watched how she genuinely cared for her aunt, providing her with anything she and her granddaughter needed. I saw in my mother a servant’s heart. Aunt Grace wasn’t the only family member or person whom my mother served. Any time there was a need, and my mother could fill it, she was there. She was not unlike many people I knew. I began to understand that, at least in the Black community, a servant’s heart is cultural. Having endured and survived the evils of slavery, we know that the only way we are here today, reading this article in 2022, is that we cared for each other. We fed. We clothed. We gave. We prayed. We served.

It is evident in our communities. Individuals step up. Organizations are created and sustained to serve people. I see it every day. When we hear the slogan, “It’s in our DNA” it refers to something that is passed down from generation to generation. It is a long diary of human history, Black history, where our only means of survival is sharing what it takes to keep us standing and moving forward. Because of a servant’s heart we’re still standing. In this spring issue, we celebrate our public servants. Let’s not forget that our servant’s heart is cultural. The “service gene” has traveled through centuries of individuals and families, securing its place in future generations. Whenever there is a need in the Black community, someone always steps up, whether publicly or privately, to fill that void. There are no shortages of public servants, for the Black community is instilled with a servant’s heart.

Montrie Rucker Adams, APR, DTM, MBA Editor, The Black Professional and Chief Visibility Officer, Visibility Marketing Inc. NOTE:

We’re always looking for good writers. If interested, please contact me at | 7

If I Knew Then What I Know Now Charlene Jones, MBA BPACF Student Success Officer The newest staff member of The Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF) is passionate about guiding today’s youth. She is inspired by her parents, early mentors and role models who made a difference in her life. Jones has four pearls of wisdom for college students:


“Build your network of professionals during college (within and outside of your career field) so you have a set of people to call on for advice and assistance during your early career years. My initial network was small.”

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“Learn how to read people before entering the workforce or you will have to become a very quick study. Knowing who your supporters/allies are at work can be critical to how well you thrive within an organization.”


“Pick the right role models/mentors/friends (my parents/Dr. Wilson/ Dr. Mareyjoyce Green/Valerie Hinton Hannah/Ivana Yuko - all moved with integrity, may they rest in peace) in life so when your integrity is tested, you are prepared to make the right decision.” “Learn how to play golf. It is a great way to make new connections and increase your personal/professional network.”

Jones started with BPACF in January 2022 as the inaugural Student Success Officer. Her hiring was part of its strategy to increase capacity to serve and uplift the community–an integral part of its mission and vision. In this position, she leads the Emerging Professionals programming. Jones works in a myriad of ways: Coaching the BPACF Scholars in academic and career navigation; resume creation and interviewing skills; enhancing the College To Career workshop programming; leading the Career Connect Internship Program; and collaborating with Northeast Ohio employers to grow the college-to-career pipeline. Having a dedicated person at BPACF to continue to build this capacity “is a huge asset and advantage for a student of color’s support system and success, especially if they are an aspiring first-generation college student,” she said. Jones, a Cleveland native, is a double alum of Cleveland State University (CSU) with a Bachelor of Arts in math, (cum laude), and an MBA in Management and Labor Relations. Prior to joining BPACF, she was the coordinator of the LINK Program at CSU and was the recipient of many awards for excellence.

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For more information BPACF’s Emerging Professionals Programming contact her at

by TerDawn DeBoe

7-Point Checklist for Building a

In the past couple of years, businesses have experienced a sudden unexpected change. With the COVID-19 crisis still looking indeterminate, a lot is expected to happen in our markets and economy. As a digital marketer, I can attest that the current situation presents both a challenge and an opportunity in the business space. There has never been a better time to build your personal or business brand. Many continue to work from home, and they are spending most of their time on the Internet. This provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to serve their perfectly aligned audience. The best way to build your business is to take this time to build your brand so as the economy gets stronger, you’ll attract your perfectly aligned clients. Here is a 7 point checklist for any entrepreneur looking to build a personal brand in 2022. A brand’s name sways customers’ preferences. This is because customers prefer something credible and authentic. Past studies have shown that millennial trust in traditional brands is declining. Well, this is a perfect window for you to close in and build a personal brand that people will connect with even after the COVID-19 crisis. 1. RICH CONTENT

Content is the catalyst that attracts people to what you are offering. Having the right content on your site and blog post compels your target audience to keep coming back for more. Your content shouldn’t be too smart. Always aim at simplicity, clarity, and entertaining.

If you’re not sharing content, you’re missing a significant gap in your personal branding journey. So, get a blog and start writing blogs that connect with your target audience. Start posting valuable content on your Youtube, Instagram stories, and other social media platforms. Bottom line: Consistently share valuable and authentic content. 2. AUTHENTICITY

How authentic do you come across on your social media platforms? As much as it’s essential to share content, ensure that you come across as genuine. Otherwise, you will end up attracting the wrong kind of audience. How realistic and truthful are your products or services? Customers prefer something they can trust and rely on. One thing I emphasize with all my clients is, look at your presentation from a client’s view. If you are a new customer scrolling down a page and come across your referral or ad, will you click on it? Will it look genuine to you or oversell? Avoid over-promising and under-delivering. 3. SHARPEN YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS FACTOR.

Your creative genius factor is what separates you from the rest of the world. It’s the one value that you bring into the market that no one else in the world can provide. Some people might liken the creative genius factor to your ‘unique value proposition,’ but they are significantly different. Your unique value proposition is more objective and business-oriented, whereas your creative genius factor is | 9

more subjective and personal.


Here is a quick formula to help you identify your creative genius factor:

Stories are hypnotizing!

• Identify three life-changing experiences that have impacted your life. • What are the three skills you possess that differentiate you from the crowd? • What’s the one thing that you want to be known for? • What are the three abilities that come naturally to you? • Which is the most significant transformation you provide for your audience?

Use this time to tell your audience about your back story. Give them a sneak preview of the behind the scenes so that they can connect with your brand at a personal level. Feel free to become vulnerable and share your struggles in the current situation. They’re going through the same challenges, and this will make your brand relatable.

Write down the answers to these questions and identify the areas where they overlap. That’s your creative genius factor. Once you identify it, build on it. Express it and impact others from that perspective.

A good story makes your customers identify with your brand at a personal level. For example, multi-billionaire Jeff Bezos’s story of how he started Amazon in his garage has unified his brand. Have a story that people will share while having their first cup of coffee when restaurants finally re-open.



Most famous brands are consistent across all platforms. For your brand to be impressionable, everything should be similar to avoid confusion. Make sure that your brand is consistent across your social media presence, your website, your logo, and all your communication channels.

Do not be ambiguous.

A good example is ensure that your logo matches the products or services you offer. Use the brand on all social networks. 5. VISIBILITY

Out of sight, out of mind! This is the best time to ensure that you are at the front mind of your target audience. Utilize your communication channels to connect with them. Write to your subscribers enquiring about how they are doing. This is the time to connect with them at a deeper level. For your brand to fully sprout, it must be visible. Continually promote your brand on social platforms and Google ads. With so many people glued to their phones during this crisis, ensure your name pops up on their screens at least once in a day. Remember that your efforts should be motivated by genuine concern for your targets wellbeing, not egocentric motives. 10 | SPRING 2022

If you want your brand to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. Narrowing down your messaging will help you to narrow down your target audience. This is one of the most critical steps in personal branding. Once you know who you’re targeting, you can optimize your messaging and your strategy to target your ideal clients. In conclusion, these are uncertain times for every entrepreneur and businessperson. How we adapt and readapt to the changing times will determine our future. Most successful people in history found the best way to offer solutions during a crisis. Therefore, above our efforts towards staying safe and ensuring that we protect ourselves and those around us, we should also make sure to look for solutions to add value to the world during this crisis. TerDawn is an Authority Marketing Strategist, Business Coach, Speaker, and Film Producer. She has been the CEO of Creative Thought Solutions for the last decade and is known for using effective and creative marketing strategies to help her clients build authority and trust that leads to more visibility, sales, and funding. For more branding, marketing, and proven tips to scale your business; visit

As much as suicide has been stigmatized and often not discussed, it has become more difficult to ignore the fact that it’s been a steadily increasing problem in the U.S., and an even more serious problem within the African American community.

Suicide in the Black Community by Angela Adams Ali, PhD, LCPC, MFT, BCC

The discussion around suicide inevitably does arise whenever high-profile Blacks are believed to have died by suicide. So far this year, Kevin Ward (44), Mayor of Hyattsville, Maryland, Ian Alexander, Jr. (26), son of actress/director Regina King, and Cheslie Kryst (30), Ms. USA 2019, all reportedly died by suicide. According to research published by the Journal of American Medical Association (May 2021), from 2014 - 2019, suicides among Black people in the U.S. increased significantly by 30 percent. This is cause for great concern as Black people have traditionally felt stigmatized when it comes to engaging in mental health treatment. That is the very thing that addresses the problem. Our youth have been especially affected by suicide, especially among Black girls, for whom suicide rates increased by 182 percent from 2001 - 2017. Self-reported suicide attempts rose to nearly 80 percent among Black adolescents from 1991-2019. The rates for Black adults have also increased over the last few years, especially Black men aged 15-24, for whom rates of suicide have increased over the course of the pandemic by 80 percent. White deaths by suicide still far outnumber those of Black people, but when you consider the number of suicides by Black youth under age 25 the statistics skyrocket to an overall higher rate than that of whites. What causes suicide? Well, whether it is an attempted suicide, or someone dies by suicide, it is simply a symptom of depression. When we say someone is suicidal, that can range from a person who may have passive thoughts about not wanting to be alive, to a person injuring themselves to the point of death with the intent to die. More often, these individuals may not want to end their life, but just want the pain to stop. They believe that suicide is their only way out. Due to a lack of information, many believe that suicide is a moral failing, personal weakness, or that the person is being selfish. Not only is this idea false, but it contributes to the problem of increasing

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poor mental health and suicides in our community by making it a taboo subject and creating “shame” about it. The kind of shame that can make a person feel less valuable or “weak” and will be a huge reason why so many children and adults will choose to suffer in silence, get worse, and avoid getting help.

Sometimes depression can be incapacitating, making it very difficult to get out of bed and function, let alone work and manage responsibilities. Even severe depression can be masked by those who are considered ‘high functioning.’ These individuals will function “normally” in front of others but will suffer in private.

Weakness has traditionally been something that our culture has avoided as a way of dealing with our negative experiences of oppression in this country. While that tactic may be helpful in certain situations, avoiding emotions makes things worse as mental illness is progressive.

How can we better support those who are suffering and may be contemplating suicide? Here are some tips for identifying changes in others and supporting them:

The shortage of culturally competent mental health professionals, a lack of adequate insurance, or the inability to afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with treatment, are all obstacles that often prevent quality care. However, individually, or collectively, we cannot begin to change what we fail to acknowledge. The most significant thing that we can do to help ourselves is to increase our awareness to practice prevention. Here are some things you can do immediately: • Get honest about the status of your own mental health. Mental health screenings are routine nowadays when you go to the doctor. Be sure to follow up on any recommendations to see a therapist or psychiatrist. • Be intentional about educating yourself about mental health. Allow Google to be your friend. • Talk about mental health so that we can normalize it and decrease the stigma around it. Insist that your church, schools, and community programs provide mental health awareness training. • If you’re willing, share with others your own positive experiences of therapy. Research shows that Black people are more willing to break through stigma and find a therapist when others they know share experiences about how much it helped them. When someone commits suicide, people will often say “But I just saw them and they were happy,” or “They’d just bought a new car and had everything going for them.” Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe. Angela Adams Ali, PhD is a Counselor, Psychologist, and Angela Adams Ali...

Licensed Clinical Therapist. You can reach her at angela@

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• If a person shows signs of significant sadness, agitation, anxiousness, increased drug/alcohol use, shifting moods, or isolation, inquire about how they’re feeling. If they don’t want to talk, let them know that you are there for them. • Be present and ‘listen.’ Refrain from dismissing or trivializing their situation. Allow them to express themselves without interruption. Don’t judge or impose your thoughts on to them. • Do encourage them to get treatment, but do not try to force anyone to get professional help if they are not ready. • Provide them with the Suicide Prevention Hotline number they can call at 1.800.273.8255, or the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Assure them that they are trained to help and will keep their information confidential. If you know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255, or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

Can I Fight for Antiracist Schools from My Workplace? By Andratesha Fritzgerald Schools have been dangerous for Black learners for centuries. The need for antiracism is easy to see when we remember the horrors of slavery or look back at the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. It is more difficult to see the strongholds of racism that are embedded into school systems as tradition or practices that have been the bedrock of schooling for as long as any of us can remember. But evidence of why we need antiracism in educational settings is all around us. Black students are suspended at a rate three times higher than their white counterparts (Cook, 2015). Black students are either overidentified for special education services or underserved for fear of overidentification. Black and Brown students are systematically denied access to gifted and advanced placement courses (Hing, 2015). The list could go on. Whether our role as Black professionals is in education or in another sector, each of us must pick up the mantle of activist for antiracism in education. Antiracism requires an awareness of racism and its consequences coupled with action to expose, tear down, and abolish racism wherever it exists. Antiracism is ACTION. What actions can we take, no matter what sector our work is in, to push schools to become more supportive, welcoming and inclusive for Black students? Here are three strategies you can take to lean into activism to push for antiracist learning environments for every learner. 1. Serve As a Mentor Black excellence creates a blueprint for inspiring the next generation to accomplish the same. Mentoring is an act of antiracism in the educational

arena because we get to share a story of overcoming that carves out a pathway for those in the struggle to overcome. As long as we have racism in this world, one of the most effective strategies to combat it are voices of victory willing to share their successes, failures and everything in between. So, even if your schedule is tight, work with local schools, colleges and universities to give your time and share your story with the next generation. Mentoring also gives you an opportunity to listen and be invigorated by our youth. How will you activate antiracism by spending time in our schools or with youth? Reflect and act! 2. Conversational Activism You become an activist against racism when you seek out the conversations from which others run. We underestimate the power of having conversations with our circle of influence. When the conversations come up about inner city schools, or the test scores or teachers – you get to be the voice of activism. Speak up when there are assumptions about children based on race or rooted in racist ideology. Challenge your company’s leadership to offer internships, shadowing opportunities and even short visits for Black students. The crushing of the opportunity gap begins when you use your influence to widen the circle. Invite leaders in your organization to donate time and talent to schools where Black children are educated. Challenge racism in conversations about education in your workplace, then push for organizational commitment that will bring about change. How will you activate antiracism in conversation in your professional organization? Reflect and act!

3. Personalize the Protest and Process After the murder of George Floyd, my grandmother explained to me that not every activist is called to marching the streets. There are activists in philanthropy, the arts, and every lane where there are humans. When the protest becomes personal, then the results become tangible. Offer a young person the chance to see how your protest is personal. Push for organizations like Facing History and Ourselves to be a part of every school so that young people can find their voices as activists. Maybe they won’t shape their protest in the same way as we have in the past, but we have a responsibility to fortify their paths with encouragement and support. How will you partner with schools to raise young activists? Reflect and act! As you consider these three ways to ignite antiracism as a Black professional, I encourage you to lean into joy. Audre Lord, a poet and activist, said, “Joy can be considered resistance because it’s a form of ‘energy for change.’” Reaching our youth and helping them develop their own voice for change is a practice that will inject the hope we need to keep fighting against racism. Every professional has a role and a responsibility to help actualize change in schools through our actions and activism. Andratesha Fritzgerald is the founder and lead consultant of Building Blocks of Brilliance, LLC, public school educator and the author of Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning (CAST, 2020).


Cook, L. (2015). U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal. Hing, J. (2015, April 18). Black Students Most Underrepresented Among AP Test Takers. Colorlines. Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connections to the School-to-Prision Pipeline for Students of Color with Disabilities. (2019, July 23).

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Three Real Estate Forecasts,

Trends & Market Outlooks for 2022 by Tiffany Hollinger

Housing was one of the strongest sectors of the economy for 2021, but rising interest rates and out-of-control inflation are causing many to wonder if strong sales and higher prices will continue. What’s the outlook for housing in 2022? Home prices will continue to rise. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS, believes the number of home sales will decline in 2022 but will still outpace pre-pandemic level, based on strong demand from homebuyers. This does not mean house prices will fall, just the volume of transactions will decrease. Economists disagree on how much housing prices will rise this year. Goldman Sachs economists predict that home prices will climb another 16 percent in 2022, reports Yet, Corelogic has lowered its forecast from 2.2 percent to 1.9 percent, according to The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) offers a mixed take for 2022 – that the median price of existing homes will post a 15.3 percent year-over-year gain to $362,000 in the first quarter of 2022, but that prices will fall as the year progresses. So, it’s a mix bag on how much prices will increase, if at all, but one thing is for sure there is not a housing bust in the near future. Thus it’s critical to not continue to sit on the sideline. If you are not a current home owner, now is the time. Homebuilding will continue to underperform. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University found that over 10.9 million renters, (one in four) spent more than 50 percent of their income on housing in 2018. This is largely due to market trends in construction skewed toward luxury and amenity-rich apartments which has reduced low-cost rentals to only 25 percent of available stock. Additionally, homeowners during the pandemic became less willing to sell, and housing inventories dropped 20 percent by April 2021. 14 | SPRING 2022

A decade-long underperforming new home market means that the U.S. is already roughly 5.2 million single-family homes short. With more pressure to make up housing shortfalls, the homebuilding industry is unable to meet demand, handicapped by supply-side building materials and appliances shortages. Robert Dietz, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders says that raw materials are up about 19 percent year-over-year, in part because tariffs have been doubled on Canadian lumber. Shortages of skilled labor persists with approximately 400,000 jobs remaining open. The NAHB estimates the industry needs to add 740,000 workers a year to make up for retirements and the industry’s growth. Because of these problems, singlefamily home starts in 2022 will be just over 1.1 million, representing a meager 1 percent growth, compared to 13 percent in 2020 and 9 percent in 2021. Interest rate increases will be used to curb inflation. Record low interest rates have also fueled housing until now. Fannie Mae is predicting that mortgage rates will rise to an average of 3.4 percent next year, while the MBA believes rates will rise to 4 percent because of rising inflation. points out that the Federal Reserve predicted 1.8 percent inflation for 2021, but the real number is closer to 6.2 percent set by October – the highest rate since 1990. In real numbers, if a buyer put 20 percent down on a $500,000 home, they would have a monthly payment of $1,682 at 2.98 percent. At 4 percent, the monthly payment would be $1,910. This is important to first time home buyers. Don’t continue to wait! Waiting will cost you more to buy a home in the future. There’s no indication of house prices dropping. This is also for families looking to upsize, don’t’ wait. Call your local Realtor today! Tiffany L. Hollinger is a realtor, investor and financial advisor. #AskTiffanyH

BLACK HISTORY 365 History Makers & History Shapers

At the BPACF, we recognize that our contributions are not relegated to just the 28 days in February. We do our society a disservice if we only take one month to educate, innovate, and celebrate the many contributions Black people have made. Beginning in this issue we will present a history maker and history shaper, someone making history now. The Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., civil rights activist and pastor emeritus of the internationally renowned Olivet Institutional Baptist Church and Shelly Cayette-Weston, the Cleveland Cavalier’s newest executive vice president, chief commercial officer kick off our on-going efforts to celebrate Black voices.

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland Ohio following 33 years of distinguished service. He began his career as co-pastor with Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA.

He served as board member and regional director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) during HISTORY MAKER Dr. King’s tenure as founding president. Rev. Dr. Otis Moss. Jr. He also served on the boards of the Pastor Emeritus Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for NonOlivet Institutional Baptist Church 1983 BPA Black Professional of the Year violent Social Change, and Morehouse College. Reverend Dr. Moss is one of America’s most influential leaders. He has been He served as an advisor to President actively involved in advocating for the Carter at Camp David and was the achievement of education, civil and hu- guest of President Clinton at the Peace man rights, and social justice issues for Treaty signing between Israel and Jorthe majority of his adult life. After being dan. He served on President Obama’s orphaned at the age of 16, he went on White House Office of Faith-Based and to earn a bachelor’s degree from More- Neighborhood Partnership Council. house College, Master of Divinity de- In 2004, Dr. Moss was bestowed the Lygree from Morehouse, and Doctor of man Beecher Lectureship on Preaching Ministry degree from the United Theo- from Yale University. He was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk logical Seminary. of Fame in 2007, and the Ohio Civil In 2008, Reverend Moss retired from Rights Hall of Fame in 2012. continued... | 15

BLACK HISTORY 365 History Makers & History Shapers

His service to Ohio and the United States has been recognized by Governors of Ohio, the Ohio House of Representatives, Ebony Magazine, the Cleveland Press, the Call and Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Black Professionals Association of Cleveland, the American Red Cross of Greater Cleveland, Project Love: Remember the Children Foundation, The Cleveland Jewish Committee and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Reverend Moss is married to Mrs. Edwina Hudson Moss and is the father of Kevin Moss, Daphne Moss (deceased) and Otis Moss, III. Together they are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

HISTORY SHAPER Shelly Cayette-Weston Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Cleveland Cavaliers Shelly Cayette-Weston has a history of working in the sports industry and growing various corporate brands. Her focus has been learning about brands and how the Cleveland Cavaliers can be strategic partners. Cayette-Weston is a marketing professional skilled in Brand Management, Sponsorship Sales, and Sports Marketing. However, in January 2022 this already dynamic Black woman, mother, wife, former collegiate and professional athlete was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer, the first Black woman in the NBA to hold this position. She joined the organization in 2012 and was previously the Executive Vice President of Global Partnerships, which was also a first for the organization. In 2021, her professional contributions earned a place in Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 list. As the Chief Commercial Officer, Cayette-Weston will be responsible for corporate partnerships, corporate and ticket sales revenue and strategy, youth sports programs, and membership sales and service.

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Her duties will extend beyond the Cavaliers, as she will also have oversight of the Cavs’ NBA G League affiliate, the Cleveland Charge, and their NBA 2K League franchise and the Cavs Legion Gaming Club (GC).

Microaggressions: Racism that is Experienced Daily Microaggressions are defined as every day, subtle intentional or unintentional interactions or behaviors that communicate some sort of bias toward historically marginalized groups. Some have referred to them as death by a thousand cuts. They are the slow, painful, demise caused by the cumulative damage of one too many ‘seemingly’ minuscule incidents. Over time these comments or actions have resulted in destroying an individual’s confidence and reinforces their belief that they do not belong in a certain setting or are not welcome in a particular workplace. Imagine being subjected daily to verbal, behavioral slights that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attributes. Slips of the tongue, unwitting favoritism, and stereotyped assumptions are just some examples of microaggressions. Nearly all of us commit microaggressions at some point, even if it’s unintended. Yet, over time, a pattern of microaggression can cause considerable harm by reminding members of marginalized groups of their precarious positions. To mitigate this behavior, it is important for each of us to be mindful of our words and our behavior because both can cause irreputable harm to others. It will also require the courage to call people out when you experience or witness microaggressions. Emphasize why the actions or comments are inappropriate, but more importantly, share how they made you feel personally. Having honest conversations about microaggressions is a great way to eliminate a form of daily discrimination. The more we can engage in nonthreatening dialogue about uncomfortable topics, the more likely we are to make head way towards equity and inclusion.

Some common microaggressions include: Color Blindness: “When I see Karen Syndrome: Calling the poyou, I don’t see your color.” Insin- lice on people of color when they uates that the person’s cultural/ are participating in normal beethnic history is of no signifihavior in a neighborhood where cance. In fact, one’s racial and you don’t think they should be. ethnic history makes them the Emphasizing the person’s race in person that they are and adds to the call. Not calling the police if a their abilities. majority person is doing the same thing. Alien in your own land: Asian Americans, Latino Americans Weaponizing Race: Calling the and others who look differentpolice on a person of color and ly or are named differently are insinuating that you are in fear assumed to be born in another for your life. Making the call country. knowing that if you mention race the police are likely to come and “Where are you from?” “Where there can be detrimental consewere you born?” “You speak per- quences for the accused. fect English.” Defines you as not being a true American. Denial of Individual Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism: “I Ascription of Intelligence: Asam not racist because…” I have signing intelligence to a person of friends or acquaintances who are color or female because of their Black, Latino, or gay. race or gender. Not believing a person’s expe“You are a credit to your race.” rience because you were not Saying to an Asian individual that subjected to it as a majority they are good at math or inforindividual. mation technology (IT). “As a female I can relate to how it Assuming that a particular race must feel to be a person of color.” cannot be skilled in STEM fields. The Myth of Mediocracy: StateAssumption of Criminal Status: ments that assert that race or A person of color is presumed to gender does not play a role in life be a criminal or someone who successes. will exhibit deviant behavior. “Everyone can succeed in AmerClutching your purse or locking ica if they work hard enough and your car door only when around play by the rules.” people of color. Following Black or Latino customers around the store as they shop.

by Kathryn M. Hall, CDP, MA, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, JACK Entertainment | 17

The Environmental, Social and Governance Framework in Philanthropy: Going Beyond Grants to Achieve Impact by Terri Bradford Eason

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Increasingly, Americans are centering social responsibility in decisions around where to spend and invest their dollars. Seventy percent of Americans believe that it’s either “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place – and business leaders are paying attention. In 2019, an estimated 90 percent of companies on the S&P 500 index published a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, up from just 20 percent in 2011. Today, many companies are going beyond CSR to implement Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices, where sustainability and social responsibility are baked into the business model as a competitive advantage. It’s a strategy that can pay off. McKinsey notes that paying attention to ESG concerns can help companies increase top-line growth, reduce costs, avoid regulatory and legal burdens, lift productivity and enhance investment returns. Investors are taking note too, leading a steep rise in ESG-oriented investing. In 2020, global sustainable investment topped $30 trillion, a 68 percent increase since 2014 and a tenfold increase since 2004.

The 2022 African American Philanthropy Summit presented by the Cleveland Foundation will take place on April 30 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as a hybrid event with in-person activations at Corporate College East and virtual tracks for attendees on Zoom. The idea that businesses and organizations have a responsibility to “do well and do good” isn’t new to the philanthropic sector – we have long been in the business of financial stewardship for social benefit. Traditionally, philanthropy has focused on grantmaking as the primary tool for social impact. Now, foundations and donor-advised fund holders alike are going beyond grantmaking to explore ESGfocused impact investing strategies to advance their charitable goals and do more with their philanthropic dollars. Merging investment and impact efforts can streamline strategy, allowing philanthropists and donors greater freedom and flexibility to test innovative ways to achieve a financial return as they seek impact. At the Cleveland Foundation, we have a long history of partnering with social impact leaders. We made our first social impact investment in 1982, and today we have allocated $185 million in our social impact investing program. Established in 2002, the foundation’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Pool uses a customized ESG framework to invest in stocks that are fossil fuel reserves-free and screened for social and environmental responsibility, gender diversity, and a place-based emphasis on Greater Cleveland. The pool excludes private prisons and civilian firearms stocks. In addition to our SRI pool, we have a Racial Equity Investment (REI) Pool, which is the first of its kind among the largest U.S. community foundations. The REI Pool is complementary to the SRI Pool and offers some of the same socially conscious elements while also giving donors a more focused, mission-driven investment option for racial equity. Differing slightly from an ESG framework, the pool is focused on investing in U.S. public companies that are inclusive of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) representation on their boards (targeting

50 percent more representation than the Russell 3000 Index); have a history of fostering an inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace culture; and have a stated commitment to racial equity. Outside the U.S., the pool invests with BIPOC-owned investment firms to help equalize the diversity imbalance in investment management. In addition to these criteria, the pool excludes tear gas manufacturers, some companies linked to child migrant detention on the Mexican border, and companies that deny access to capital to all individuals – including financial institutions that have a record of discriminatory lending practices. The foundation’s SRI and REI pools demonstrate that competitive market return and social good are not mutually exclusive. The growth of ESG in philanthropy is one of the topics of focus at the 2022 African American Philanthropy Summit presented by the Cleveland Foundation. The summit is the signature biennial event of the Cleveland Foundation’s African American Philanthropy Committee, which was created in 1993 to promote awareness and education about the benefits of wealth and community preservation through philanthropy. This year’s summit will take place on April 30 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as a hybrid event with in-person activations at Corporate College East and virtual tracks for attendees on Zoom. United by the summit’s theme – Philanthropic Equity: Making an Impact – featured speakers and breakout sessions throughout the day will focus on timely topics in the field of philanthropy – equity, inclusion, sustainability, engagement, transformation and more. The African American Philanthropy Summit is open to the public, but tickets are required. To register, visit We invite you to join the conversation on social media by following #GivingHasNoColor.

Terri Bradford Eason is Senior Director of Advancement Equity Initiatives at the Cleveland Foundation. | 19

Each issue we will introduce a member of the BPACF’s Board of Directors. Each of our directors volunteer their time to ensure the organization meets its goals and objectives to serve Black professionals and students of color.

Board Spotlight: Ramona Lowery BPACF Vice President & Scholarship Committee Chair Ramona Lowery has over 25 years of public service experience. She serves as the Commissioner for Water Pollution Control (WPC), the sewer maintenance division of the City of Cleveland’s Department of Public Utilities. In her executive leadership position with WPC, Lowery manages strategic planning and processes and procedures implementation for all units, comprising a workforce of more than 180 employees. Her priority is to ensure WPC delivers reliable and efficient service, sustains Cleveland’s sewer infrastructure, and thrives as the city’s official Stormwater Manager. Prior to joining WPC in 2015, Lowery served as Manager of Operations & Maintenance for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District. Before that, she was Sewer Superintendent/ Project Manager for the City of Shaker Heights. In 1996, Lowery started her career at WPC as the first female and first Black engineer. Her goal has been to leave each organization better than when she arrived by focusing on teamwork, saving money without sacrificing service, and by improving overall efficiency. Among her many accomplishments at WPC, Lowery has aided the procurement of $35 million bond funds for capital projects, closed a three-year backlog of work orders and outstanding vendor payments in her first year, and implemented an in-house Commercial Driver License (CDL) training class that resulted in several employee promotions. She also implemented catch basin inspection metrics that resulted in exceeding Mayor Frank Jackson’s annual goal by 25 percent. WPC saved more than $100,000 annually, when Lowery planned the procurement of equipment the division had previously rented. She championed moving the Sewer Maintenance section to 10-hour workday shifts, resulting in increased productivity and cost savings. Having a passion for helping youth succeed, Lowery volunteers for the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) 20 | SPRING 2022

high school chapter, the City of Cleveland’s Student Technical Enrichment Program for middle school students and the youth ministry at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church. Lowery also serves as a mentor for the Cleveland State University LINK Program and Chairperson of the Scholarship Committee for the Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation. At WPC, Lowery manages Mayor Jackson’s Summer Youth Employment Program with Youth Opportunities Unlimited. In 2017, she received the “Cleveland Hometown Heroes, Poverty to Power” Black History award for her community leadership. In 2015, she received the Nsoroma (shining star) Award from the National Technical Association and was featured on the local CBS affiliate’s Romona’s Kids program, highlighting her youth outreach efforts with the Architectural, Construction & Engineering (ACE) and NSBE Jr. programs. Additionally, she was featured twice in the Who’s Who in Black Cleveland book, in 2015 as an Emerging Leader and in 2019 as a Guiding Light preparing the Next Generation of Engineers. Lowery received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University in 1996 and a dual Masters in Business Administration/Public Administration from the University of Phoenix in 2009. She is the wife of Kevin Lowery, J.D., and proud mother of two, Kayla and Kevin. What does serving on the BPACF Board mean to you? Serving on the board, as a first-generation college student, allows me to help with the mission and ensure that our students are aware of the opportunities that exists, with scholarships and internships. Additionally, it allows me to work hands-on with the students to make sure that they receive exemplary leadership and career development skills. How does your BPACF Board service help the community? My board service helps establish the pipeline for future leaders in the Greater Cleveland area. The connections that we make for students as a BPACF Trustee, serves as a vital conduit of resources to serve the citizens of Cleveland.

New Board Member Announcement


BPACF is pleased to announce three new Board of Trustee Members as of March 15, 2022. Bringing diverse and extensive experience from the public, non-profit and corporate sector, the new Trustees share in BPACF’s mission of creating opportunities for African American professionals by providing scholarship, and leadership and career development. They are paying it forward by bringing their time, talent, and treasure to contribute to the BPACF vision to be a catalyst that develops emerging professionals, celebrates distinguished leaders, and elevates our community. Veranda Rodgers Executive Director Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center


Keesha M. Salters Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion LBrands Victoria’s Secret Meredith M. Turner Councilwoman, District 9 Cuyahoga County Council

Welcome Aboard! Turner | 21

Black Professionals of the Year Darrell McNair (2021) Vanessa L. Whiting, Esq. (2019) Robyn Minter Smyers, Esq. (2018) Erskine Cade (2017) Dr. Alex Johnson (2016) Dr. Charles Modlin (2015) Leon Bibb (2014) Dr. R.A. Vernon (2013) The Honorable Frank G. Jackson (2012) Randell McShepard (2011) Louise Gissendaner (2009) Frederick R. Nance, Esq. (2008) Arnold Pinkney (2007) Margot James Copeland (2006) David Whitehead (2005) Rev. Hilton Smith (2004) Danny Cameron (2003) Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett (2002) Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle (2001) 22 | SPRING 2022

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton (1999) Wayne Embry (1998) Steve D. Bullock (1997) Claire Freeman, Esq. (1996) The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1995) Alexandria Johnson Boone (1994) The Honorable Michael R. White (1993) Dr. George Fraser (1992) The Honorable Louis Stokes, Esq. (1991) Gloria Pace King (1990) Dr. Charles E. Taylor (1989) Dr. Nolen M. Ellison (1988) George Forbes, Esq. (1987) Carole F. Hoover (1986) Steven Minter (1985) John H. Bustamante, Esq. (1984) Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. (1983) Cheryle A. Wills (1982) Betram E. Gardner (1981)

Join Us April 28, 2022 Engage! Professional Night Out Follow us on Instagram for more information

March 12th Professional Headshot Event at Current Cleveland Thanks for your support!

“It’s [a] great opportunity to receive a headshot and network with other professionals in the area.” —L.L.

“I would like to network with more Black professional organizations. I am currently in my last semester of my graduate program, and I will be seeking employment soon.” —S.D. | 23

Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be One.” –Marcus Aurelius Photo by Alvin Smith

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The Man That Makes the Mayor

An Intimate Look at

Mayor Justin Bibb by Montrie Rucker Adams, APR A little over a year ago when Mayor Justin Bibb declared his candidacy, the naysayers made sure their voices were loud and clear. “They said I was too young. I needed to wait my turn. Some thought I was crazy,” said Bibb. “I used it as fuel every day.” That fuel propelled him into the 58th spot as Cleveland’s Mayor. He is the city’s fourth African American (Mayors Stokes, White and Jackson preceded him) and its second youngest to former Mayor Kucinich. “I wanted to do everything in my power to give back to the city I love so much,” answered Bibb when asked why he decided to serve as the city’s chief executive. As with most public servants who want to make things better, add value and provide new and improved services and opportunities for their constituents, the same is true for Mayor Bibb. On his website he stated, “I’m not a politician. I am an experienced businessperson, nonprofit executive, and civic leader. I’m running for Mayor because the old ways must change.”

campaign. I listened a whole lot and asked good questions.” He Has an Impeccable Sense of Style When you see Mayor Bibb, his presentation is immediately evident. His style is unmatched by most men and definitely other Cleveland mayors before him. “Growing up in Cleveland, we had the Steve Harvey suits, with four or five buttons. We wore “gators,” shopped at Diamonds, K&G and Mr. Alberts. That was the style back then. When I got to American University in DC, I recognized the DC style is different from Cleveland’s. I also spent a year in London and fell in love with Savile Row, British fashion, and British culture,” offers Bibb. He Loves Barbecue If you catch him on the right day, you will find Bibb at his favorite place to grab a good meal and shoot the breeze with the guests, Mt. Pleasant Bar-B-Q. His preferred meal, or “comfort food,” is a short rib dinner with French fries, cole slaw, extra sauce and a slice of lemon pound cake.

Who is the man who felt compelled to jump in the deep waters of Cleveland politics when he hadn’t ever dipped in his big toe? Who is this person who felt Cleveland was in dire need of new leadership, new ways of thinking, and a new vision that will propel it into one of the country’s top cities?

Public Service is Rooted in His DNA Bibb’s father, Donald Bibb, who passed away in 2016, was one of Cleveland Heights’ first Black first responders and worked as the city’s fireman and police officer for over 30 years. “He loved serving the public,” said Bibb. “He had the most amazing work ethic I’ve ever seen. I think I get my work ethic and hustle from my Pops.”

His Superpower Is Bringing People Together When asked what his secret sauce is, what he believes is his superpower, that “thing” that helped him win the campaign, Bibb said it’s his ability to bring people together. “I do that by listening. I listen well. That’s how I won the

His mother Charlene Nichols-Bibb is a lifelong social worker who spent her career fighting to support HIV AIDS victims and individuals dealing with drug abuse. She now works to support seniors across Cuyahoga County. “My grandmother, who I talked about a lot throughout

Ever Since Justin was 16, I knew that he would be here.” –Charlene Nichols-Bibb | 25

I’m a big believer in Stoic philosophy.” –Mayor Justin Bibb

the campaign as I was running last year, was the President of my neighborhood Watch Club. I remember being in the living room, sitting on our couch covered in plastic. I would serve tea and coffee and cookies to the guests. The Councilman would be there with the Police Commander discussing public safety and crime and how to keep the block safe. These early examples really fueled my early interest in public service,” he shares. He Has a Love for Basketball Bibb said his route to the city’s top office “wasn’t a linear journey.” “My first love, as is many young Black boys growing up in the city, was basketball. I wanted to play basketball at Duke University, then go on to play in the NBA. I thought that was going to be my pathway off the block.” In his sophomore year of high school, Bibb tore his meniscus. “My Mom said, ‘Look boy, you are not the next LeBron James. Get in these books. You should try politics. You’re good at public speaking,’” he remembers. “The rest is history. Now I’m the mayor.” He Cultivates Healthy Habits Anyone with a heavy schedule, like that of Bibb’s, must take their physical, mental and emotional health seriously.

The Mayor is no exception. “I work out as much as I possibly can. I love spinning and I still love playing pickup basketball. It’s a stress reducer and probably helps with my metabolism,” said Bibb. “If I don’t work out at night,” he continues, “I will at least try to do a workout in the morning... at least forty-five minutes. Then I hit the streets to head to City Hall.” He Sticks to a Daily Routine After getting five hours of sleep, Bibb starts off his day with a fresh cup of coffee, the news shows Morning Joe and CNBC so that he can see what’s going on in global politics and the financial markets. “There are two things I read every morning,” he shares. “This amazing book given to me from Paul Clark, a dear mentor and friend called, The President’s Devotional by Joshua DuBois, Obama’s former White House Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.” Every morning DuBois would send President Obama a daily devotional. The book is a collection of the best of all devotionals throughout President Obama’s time as president. “I’m a big believer in Stoic philosophy, so I read The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, to center my thoughts and recalibrate how I think every day as a leader about myself and the world,” he continues. Bibb explains that Stoic philosophy is rooted in early Greek philosophy. Its tenets espouse having a mindset of resilience, happiness, and wisdom. According to the website Holstee, it is a philosophy of life that maximizes

Above and at right: Mayor Bibb visits the Cleveland Municipal School District’s art show at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

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positive emotions, reduces negative emotions, and helps individuals to hone their virtues of character. World renowned leaders who were heavily influenced by Stoic philosophy include former Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. His Biggest Challenge Is “Me Time” Maintaining time for family and friends is Bibb’s biggest challenge since running for and taking office. “Being Mayor of a major American city is a 24-7 job,” he said. “Setting boundaries and finding the time for myself has been a challenge. Discovering opportunities to slow down so I can think clearly and be very focused is always challenging. That’s why having routines is so important.” When he can find that “me time,” Bibb may cook his favorite “go to” meal: Blackened salmon with asparagus and couscous. He has two new cookbooks. One is Soul: A Chef ’s Culinary Evolution in 150 Recipes by Chef Todd Richards.

What’s he reading? The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Kaytranada and Alex Isley, daughter of Ernie Isley of the famed Isley Brothers, is who’s in Bibb’s ear right now. He Wants Cleveland to Be a Global City When asked what his higher political aspirations are, Bibb answered, “To be one of the best Mayor’s Cleveland has ever seen. After that we’ll see where the Lord takes me. For me, being Mayor is the best job I can ever have in politics. I really want to set the tone, stage, and the foundation for Cleveland to be a global city,” he said adamantly. “When you think of global cities, you think of Chicago, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. I want Cleveland to be on that list one day. If I can set the foundation for that reality, I think that will be a great legacy,” he adds. His Advice for Aspiring Public Servants For those who want the rewards that comes with public service, Bibb has three things to offer: Take risks, always be authentically you, and use the naysayers to fuel your passion. “Those days when it was hard to make the fundraising calls, or knock on one more door, or go to one more community meeting, I thought about the alternative - If I wasn’t mayor, where would the city go?” “That’s why I kept going. Not because I thought it was me, but the city deserved a different brand and type of leadership, especially in this moment coming out of the pandemic and after George Floyd’s murder. We deserved better,” he said emphatically.

At left: Mayor Bibb at Tower City’s NBA Ice Bucket Court after a press conference a few weeks before NBA All-Star Weekend. Above: Visiting the Cleveland Fire Department’s Station 1 | 27

Spring by Charron Leeper


Spring 2022 fashion can be summed up as bold and returning to structure, but not in the way you think! The most prolific designers showcased collections that demonstrate that this pandemic has made us all crave the essences of business attire since we’ve been cooped up for way to long! Gone are the days of having to come into the office 100 percent of the time. With most of us living 90 percent of our lives from home on our laptops, in addition to taking on unconventional careers, we in fashion birthed looks that met us in the middle. I will call it suiting gone rogue. Runways have been flooded with play structured business attire. Playful lengths, colors, prints and fabrics were seen from brands like Dolce & Gabanna, Fendi and LaQuan Smith. These brands sailed down runways showcasing beautiful suiting paired with bralettes and decadent crop tops. So, I hope your quarantine weight has fallen off and you have been hitting those “at home” workouts, because this spring into summer is also about the crop to show off those abs. However, don’t despair if you are still a bit fluffier than anticipated. Oversized structured coats, blazers and pants also made a large statement on runways showcasing spring fashions. Designers like Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Philip Lin showed that more can be more and there is nothing wrong with that.

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With that said, glide through this spring flowing in your favorite oversized, high waisted slouchy trousers, blouses or pea coats. Add some layers to give your looks more dimension, and tie it all together by cinching your waist with your favorite belt to create your favorite silhouette. This tension of structure and casual comes through in collections from Tom Ford, Max Mara and Brandon Maxwell. Pairing beautifully structured blazers, trench jackets, vests, and the like, with tailored shorts made with fabrics ranging from denim to satin, send the message of business on top, legs for days on the bottom.

Additionally, colors are not exempt when it comes to this theme. Runways were flooded with classic black and white patterns mixed with a vibrant pop of color. Brands like Balenciaga, Comme dés Garçon and Missoni played with this tension introducing then radiant colors against the backdrop of classic polka dots, stripes and checkered patterns. However, for my Plain Janes and Jims out there, don’t despair. The color white is the color for Spring 2022, adding an air of renewal and freshness to honor the change of seasons. You can create a timeless outfit with various shades of white, incorporating the color into any silhouette or garments that tickles your fancy. Also, the year is the year of the “bride,” so ladies take this spring to live out your wedding fantasy when invited to your first dinner party with your favorite all-white gown. Lastly, this spring you will never go wrong wearing the classic colors and prints like pastels and florals. However, if you’re feeling spicy, now is the time to integrate 70s inspired textures, fringe and psychedelic prints into your wardrobe. Make sure to do it from head to toe! Designers like Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and Ferragamo let the colors and textures sign for spring. My favorite designer, Roberto Cavalli, along with others like Saint Laurent, displayed their love for these prints on the runway by presenting them in sexy catsuits. There are so many ways to incorporate all these trends into your wardrobe. The key is to find one that feels authentic to you and run with it. Check your existing wardrobe to see what garments still fit you well and tend to always come back around into season. Keep those. Then incorporate new trendy pieces that speak to you and work well with your existing garments. In the spirit of spring cleaning, purge what you haven’t worn in a year or more to make room for garments that speak to the freshness of the season! You deserve it. Charron Leeper is the Founder and CEO of Perfect Pineapple, Creative Director and Wardrobe Stylist. | 29


A Two-Sided Equation + A Straightforward Solution by Jennifer Wainwright

As a normal somatic and psychological response to situations and circumstances we experience, we know that some stress is completely unavoidable. The death of a loved one, a life-changing medical diagnosis, or a global pandemic that upends meaningful social customs are all examples of stressors that can lead to elevated anxiety, feelings of loneliness, and depression. Thankfully, there are other kinds of stress that have the exact opposite effect. Consider the rush of adrenaline you get when you’re about to descend the hill of a rollercoaster, or the eustress you feel when you’re about to engage in a project that solicits your creative intelligence. These kinds of stressors yield strong, positive physiological outcomes including excitement, meaning, and personal fulfillment. Thank you. More please. But there are also more subtle and sinister forms of stress, ones that reside in our subconscious where we may not recognize them as the culprit to our mental and emotional health woes. For example, doing highly taxing work for extended periods of time, being in a relationship characterized by repeated conflict, and even daily subjection to rush-hour traffic. Hard pass, full stop.

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After all, prolonged exposure to any stressful condition may deceive us into thinking that what we’re experiencing is functional because it has become our normal. This is far from the truth, of course, which is why we must care for ourselves enough to prevent situations that we know are stressful, but when prevention isn’t possible, do our best to improve ourselves in the situations. So, how do we do that? You’re probably familiar with the typical ways to deal with stress, journaling, meditation, exercise, deep breathing. And I recommend all of these to not only deal with stress, but also to fortify your mental stamina in the absence of stress, so that when it appears, you’ve done the work to put up a worthy fight. The challenge with only doing these things, however, is that they only address one part of the equation, coping. If you really want to work through your stress effectively, you’ve got to address the other part—cause. When you feel tension in any area of your body or find yourself easily annoyed, irritable, or temperamental, take a beat and try to identify what’s troubling you. Get as granular as you need to until you’ve exposed it—the root, the source, the cause—to your conscious mind. Once you do, challenge and empower yourself to tend to the issue thoughtfully and resourcefully. Once you discover what the stressor is, you may be averse to dealing with it head on, particularly if doing so is going to cause a major disruption in your current reality. But ignoring the source of your stress only gives it room to metastasize. This is your life, and it’s the only one you get. If your present is riddled by stress, take charge of your future by making deliberate decisions to minimize situations that rob you of your peace. Make it a point to make things better, for yourself, and when applicable, others around you.

Literally ask yourself, “How can I make this situation better?” Armed with that answer, do what you must do. If you can’t come up with anything and are unsure of how to find a way forward, seek help. As a final thought, while you’re actively processing, meditating, journaling, exercising, breathing, and working your way through to the place where stress ebbs and peace flows, I’ve got another lighthearted but highly effective solution for you to try out in the meantime. Watch, read, or listen to something funny. A life filled with laughter is one that is healthier and happier. According to a Mayo Clinic online article from July 2021, laughter stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Either on paper or some digital device, capture your favorite movies, books, jokes, memes, podcasts, TV series, or images that bring a smile to your face whenever you think of them. My list includes The Office. That’s it. Even if I’m not in a position to watch an episode, just knowing that I’m going to get to crack up at Michael Scott and his Dunder Mifflin shenanigans at some point later is enough for me to get through the moment. I used to have other things on my list, but I found myself repeatedly going back to Seasons 1, so I “downsized.” (If you know, you know.) One last thing. Make sure you save or store your list in a location that is easy for you to remember, so that when you are feeling stressed, this go-to remedy is available for easy retrieval and immediate, stress-obliterating comic relief. Jennifer Wainwright is a writer who is passionate about storytelling, finding the joy in every experience, and encouraging others to do the work to become the best version of themselves. | 31

Ready to get out and play? by La’Keisha James

Feeling like you’ve got cabin fever and need to get away? Now that COVID-19 numbers are declining and appear to be steadier in our area, like many of us you’re probably starting to ease up a bit with all the restrictions of mask wearing and social distancing. You’re beginning to dream of more normal times in sunnier climates outside of Cleveland. From being isolated primarily to your own family, sitting in your work pajamas while remote working and hundreds of Zoom calls from home, maybe it’s time to once again, “fly the friendly skies.” Even if you haven’t actually pulled the trigger on traveling, chances are you’ve at least thought about it. Domestic Travel Throughout the pandemic and still today, places like Atlanta, Myrtle Beach and Miami are hot spots for residents of the Greater Cleveland area. With minimal costs, and just a short two-three-hour flight, you could literally be in warmer climates, walking along a beautiful beach, enjoying the nightlife scene and in a totally different vibe of people (who may or may not be as diligent about preventing the spread of the “C-word” as Ohioans have been required to be). Places like Houston and Las Vegas have also been frequented to break away from the norm, but with a bit of a longer travel time. International All-Inclusive Resorts Most of the facilities that I’ve had the pleasure of staying during the pandemic are nice to visit without the worry of overcrowding since they are only operating at around 60-70 percent capacity. Depending on where you go, these locations are large and have a plethora of options from which to choose. For example, if you look at the beautiful Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, Jamaica, there are seven pools, 19 restaurants and bars, multiple entertainment options - and that doesn’t even include the off-site excursions that are available. The Riu Palace Costa Mujeres in Quintana Roo, (Cancun) has a very similar setup, only it’s in Mexico. With vaccination rates going up, transmission numbers steadily declining and the rate in which flights are being booked, it is safe to assume that many Clevelanders perceive the emotional, psychological and social benefit of traveling much greater than the risk of not doing it. Whatever your personal choice is about traveling, make it one that is appropriate for you and your loved ones. After all, we all bear the responsibility of keeping ourselves and each other safe in these times. La’Keisha James is the owner of Owner of Favored Destinations, LLC 32 | SPRING 2022

Keeping the


in Soul Food

As a Southerner and foodie, it saddens me a bit to see our wonderful culinary heritage demonized and close to being abandoned. I am speaking of Soul Food. One bright spot is that I am happy to see that our white brothers and sisters are really embracing this wonderful cuisine. If you don’t believe they are embracing Soul Food, just look at the popularity of Hot Chicken (Nashville). There are multiple Hot Chicken restaurants opening all around the country and they are supporting it with mac & cheese, fried okra, cornbread, and collard greens. The fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken even got in on the soul. Soul Food gentrification? I don’t think so. I believe it is our non-southern white brothers and sisters’ late discovery of what we have always known - that Soul Food is delicious! I can’t imagine my Thanksgiving, Christmas, or other holiday meals without it. My white brothers and sisters even love oxtails. So much so that the average retail grocery price of oxtails is $16 dollars a pound. That is the cost of a perfectly aged prime steak. White tablecloth restaurants are charging five times the cost of what we are accustomed to paying for the same items in our Black-owned neighborhood restaurants. So where am I going with this? I am asking that we as African Americans not demonize and abandon Soul Food. Rather, understand its historical importance, celebrate its rich history, and enjoy it. History tends to repeat itself. A great example of this is how we, in the late 70s and early 80s, abandoned the wonderful genre of Blues music. Who can deny that the Blues is the foundation of rap and R&B? No one. I love the Blues and even play the harmonica, but I rarely see African Americans at Blues concerts anymore. We are now in the minority at these concerts, and it is safe to say that we have lost that genre. Soul Food is the familiar name given to the culinary traditions of foods prepared in the African American traditions. Some people consider southern cooking to be synonymous with Soul Food. They are similar but slightly different. Inside the south those lines are blurred because of the common heritage of white and Black people.

by Chef Claude Booker

Outside the south the difference of Soul Food shines and the wonderful seasoning really showcases itself. The Europeans who settled in what is now the American South brought with them livestock (cattle and pigs), potatoes and other vegetables which have remained central to Southern cooking. These settlers also brought African slaves to America to cultivate the land. While slavery will forever be a source of profound shame for the U.S., along with other major benefits to society, the slave’s contribution to the American culinary traditions is something to elevate and celebrate! I also am baffled with the lack of historical culinary knowledge of Soul Food as it relates to the cuisine being perceived as unhealthy. If you look at the roots of Soul Food in the antebellum South, it was a cuisine primarily based on seasonal vegetables, and very little meats. The diet was closer to what we today align with being a vegetarian. Most often dieticians and nutritionists encourage us to eat dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes, legumes, lean meats, and fish, which are all key components of Soul Food. The truth is just like other cuisines, Soul Food’s unhealthy reputation can be tied to portion size, frequency eaten, and access to healthier ingredients. The unhealthy perception grew even more as we became more prosperous and less active. Too often once the majority community discovers the wonders of many things that we create they make millions off it. They become creators and we, once again, lose out and become the greatest consumers - just like the aforementioned Blues genre. Look at the black hair care industry. It is primarily Asian made, distributed, and controlled. Where we used to be primary makers and providers, we are now just the major consumer. I am committed to helping prevent this from happening with Soul Food. My mission to preserve the cuisine can be seen through my newly launched brand and product line, Booker’s Soul Food Starters. It is my way of saying, let’s take what is in our heritage and soul and be creators and not just consumers. Chef Claude Booker is President of Booker’s Soul Food Starters. | 33

The Real Black Friday 7th Annual Black Business Expo Cleveland was on fire during the NBA AllStar Weekend February 18 -20, 2022, when The Real Black Friday’s Black Business Expo (TRBF – BLK BIZ EXPO) shared the same weekend. The free event, hosted in Downtown Cleveland’s Tower City Center, had something for the entire family: A kids’ zone, live entertainment, marching bands, fashion show, 150-person TRBF All-Star City Choir and more. Downtown Cleveland Alliance reported over 56,000 Tower City Center visitors that weekend. TRBF set a financial goal encouraging the community to intentionally spend $500,000 with Blackowned businesses. That goal was exceeded by $133,000. TRBF was created seven years ago to help bring awareness and provide access to places, events and organizations that create educational and networking opportunities for Black-owned businesses in Northeast Ohio. Mark your calendars for the next TRBF BLK BIZ EXPO Sunday, August 14, 2022 from 12-8 pm in downtown Cleveland. More info:

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BPACF Scholars

Where Are They Now? It’s always uplifting to see the outcomes of your labor. When positive and encouraging seeds are sown into the community, what germinates and grows is worth the hard work and energy. The BPACF is dedicated to supporting, mentoring, and retaining minority youth in the Greater Cleveland area. By providing scholarships and internships and creating opportunities for career development, students who genuinely engage in the Scholarships Program substantially benefit. The goal is to ensure that our youth can realize their potential in higher education, and eventually become some of our region’s amazing leaders.


Whitney Felder and Clarence Tate are examples of our Alumni Scholars who not only benefited from BPACF’s youth leadership programs, but are now paying it forward in the Greater Cleveland community. Whitney Felder BPACF Alumni Scholar Clevelander Whitney Felder is a 2016 graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies. Her major was Interactive Media Studies. She later attended Michigan State University matriculating with a Master of Arts in Media and Information Management.


Felder is the Communications Coordinator at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She was attracted to the position due to her interest in learning more about internal communications. Most of her previous positions were marketing based. “I figured this role would be a nice compliment to a marketing skillset,” said Felder. Her previous positions include working as the Media and Marketing Technician for Bedford City Schools where she headed their website relaunch. She also worked as a Marketing Project Manager for Things Remembered, where she led all print/direct marketing projects for the brand. Felder’s favorite part of her job is helping people create and craft their messages. “Usually, people know what they want to communicate, they just need help crafting the message and finding engaging ways to share the message!” she said. Whitney was a BPACF Scholar for four years, delving into every opportunity afforded her.

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What advice would you give to current BPACF scholars? My best advice would be to explore everything! While you may think you know what you want to do, still explore other industries and fields because you never know what you might discover. I would also tell BPACF scholars, to embrace the concept of continued learning. With the world and society changing so quickly, the best thing you can do to stay competitive is to continue to learn. Get the degrees, do the programs, get the certificates! Clarence Tate BPACF Alumni Scholar Clarence Tate received a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University in 2018. He was a BPACF scholar for two years. For the past four years he has served as an Associate Engineer at The City of Cleveland’s Water Pollution Control. Working for a city that he grew up in and where he could help improve and benefit the daily lives of the residents,

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great benefits and growth opportunities are what attracted Tate to the position. “Helping to improve and maintain the infrastructure of Cleveland,” is also what he said attracted him to the job. His favorite part of the position is, “Being able to provide and assist the residents of Cleveland with excellent storm and wastewater management,” he said. Tate lives in Euclid, Ohio with his wife and two sons. He plays lead piano for his church and competes in powerlifting. What advice would you give to current BPACF scholars? Try to find an internship while attending school. Internships give you real life work experience and could help guide you on your career path. They could also build your network of professionals within your field. Get to know your professors. Just being able to put a face to a name could possibly help your class grade.

WE’RE HIRING Looking for talented professionals with accounting experience to join our fun, experienced team.

We Make QuickBooks Work for You! 3558 Lee Rd. | Shaker Heights, OH 44120 | (216) 333-1303 | | 37

What is

Cryptocurrency? by LaRese Purnell

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is secured by cryptography, which makes it nearly impossible to counterfeit or double-spend. Many cryptocurrencies are decentralized networks based on blockchain technology—a distributed ledger enforced by a disparate network of computers. A defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that they are generally not issued by any central authority, rendering them theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation. KEY TAKEAWAYS

• A cryptocurrency is a form of digital asset based on a network that is distributed across many computers. This decentralized structure allows them to exist outside the control of governments and central authorities. • Experts believe that blockchain and related technology will disrupt many industries, including finance and law. • The advantages of cryptocurrencies include cheaper and faster money transfers and decentralized systems that do not collapse at a single point of failure. • The disadvantages of cryptocurrencies include their price volatility, high energy consumption for mining activities, and use in criminal activities. Cryptocurrency for Newbies! Simply stated, a cryptocurrency is a new form of digital money. You can transfer your traditional, noncryptocurrency money like the U.S. dollar digitally, but that’s not quite the same as how cryptocurrencies work. When cryptocurrencies become mainstream, you may 38 | SPRING 2022

be able to use them to pay for stuff electronically, just like you do with traditional currencies. However, what sets cryptocurrencies apart is the technology behind them. You may say, “Who cares about the technology behind my money? I only care about how much of it there is in my wallet!” The issue is that the world’s current money systems have a bunch of problems. Here are some examples: Payment systems such as credit cards and wire transfers are outdated. In most cases, a bunch of middlemen like banks and brokers take a cut in the process, making transactions expensive and slow. Financial inequality is growing around the globe. Around 3 billion unbanked or underbanked people can’t access financial services. That’s approximately half the population on the planet! Cryptocurrencies aim to solve some of these problems, if not more. Cryptocurrency versus Bitcoin Bitcoin is a first-ever cryptocurrency that was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. It was started as opensource software to transfer money. Bitcoin is a digital currency that can also be called a cryptocurrency which was mainly created to speed up

the cross-border transactions, reduce the government’s control over the transaction and simplify the whole process without having third-party intermediaries. Not having intermediaries has brought down the transaction costs significantly.

3. Add value to your account

Depending on how you choose to pay, you may have to fund your account before purchasing any crypto. If you’re using fiat currency, most exchanges allow debit and bank transfers. Some also allow you to fund Bitcoin is not a formally accepted medium of payment a purchase with your credit card, though this can be in all countries but people around the world use it for a risky move with a volatile asset like cryptocurrency various kinds of transactions. Since it is not physically because interest costs can deepen your losses if your present, it should be very safe and secure and one of the investments decline in value. best ways to do that is by using Blockchain. If you already own cryptocurrency, you can transfer Buying cryptocurrencies involves four basic steps: it into your account from a digital wallet or another platform, then use it to trade. Just be sure to verify 1. Decide where to buy it that your crypto exchange allows trading between the There are many ways to buy cryptocurrency, though assets you’re looking at. Not all cryptocurrencies can the most accessible method for beginners is likely to be directly traded for one another, and some platforms be a centralized exchange. Centralized exchanges act as have more trading pairs than others.

a third-party overseeing transaction to give customers confidence that they are getting what they pay for. These 4. Select a cryptocurrency exchanges typically sell crypto at market rates, and they There are many options for cryptocurrency investors, make money on fees for their services. though there are none that are likely to be right for If you’re more accustomed to traditional brokerage everyone. Before you buy, ask yourself what your goals accounts, there are a few online brokers that offer are for this investment. Are you hoping it will increase access to cryptocurrencies as well as stocks. Of the in value? Are you interested in carrying out transactions online brokers reviewed by NerdWallet, these include using cryptocurrency? Are you interested in using the Robinhood, Webull, SoFi Active Investing and underlying technology via decentralized apps? These TradeStation. If you’re looking for an exchange that may help you make your decision. operates solely within the cryptocurrency world, look for pure-play crypto exchanges. These platforms, such as Coinbase, Gemini and Kraken, won’t give you access to core assets like stocks and bonds, but they typically have a much better selection of cryptocurrencies, and more on-platform crypto storage options.

NerdWallet has created guides to some widely circulated cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and some Bitcoin alternatives:

• Bitcoin is the first and most valuable cryptocurrency. • Ethereum is commonly used to carry out financial transactions more complex than those supported by Bitcoin. 2. Choose how you’ll pay • Cardano is a competitor to Ethereum led by one of its While there are thousands of cryptocurrencies being co-founders. traded around the world, you’ll find that the most • Solana is another competitor to Ethereum that popular options are widely available for purchase in fiat emphasizes speed and cost-effectiveness. currencies such as the U.S. dollar. If you’re a first-time • Dogecoin began as a joke but has grown to be among buyer, you’ll very likely have to use regular money to the most valuable cryptocurrencies. buy cryptocurrency. • Stablecoins are a class of cryptocurrencies whose If you’re a more experienced investor, you may want to values are designed to stay stable relative to real-world trade some of your existing crypto holdings for another assets such as the dollar. type of cryptocurrency — for instance Bitcoin for LaRese Purnell, MBA is a Managing Partner at CLE Consulting Ethereum. Firm. | 39

BPACF PROFESSIONAL PROFILES The Black Professionals Association (BPA) was founded in 1977 as an organization dedicated to networking, professional growth, and the career development of Greater Cleveland Black professionals.

BPA – leadership, professional development, and excellence. Many professionals work diligently behind the scenes, honing their professional development skills, exhibiting excellence, and paying it forward to the next generation.

To celebrate over 40 years of professional excellence, The Black Professional Magazine highlights professionals In our Spring issue, we profile 12 professionals who who embody the tenets of the Black Professional have dedicated their careers to public service. Charitable Foundation (BPACF), an outgrowth of

Erika L. Anthony Co-Founder and Executive Director, Cleveland VOTES

Erika L. Anthony, a native New Yorker, is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Cleveland VOTES. It is a nonpartisan democracy building and mobilization entity that aims to strengthen civic muscle and power to ensure a more informed, participatory, and cohesive community. Prior to Cleveland VOTES, Anthony served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Transformation Fund (OTF), a statewide funding collaborative developed to focus on advocating for more fair and just policies and solutions to address the harms imposed by the criminal legal system. In the fall of 2021, Anthony was selected to serve as a Co-Chair for then Mayor-Elect Justin Bibb’s Transition Team. She has served as an Adjunct Professor for a policy class at Case Western Reserve University, Mandel School of Applied Sciences. Anthony holds a B.S. in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxine G. Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. She and her husband Brian reside in Cleveland; they enjoy travelling, biking and spending time with family and friends. What is your Superpower? Tenacity.

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Why did you choose to serve the community?

I truly believe that the act of service is deeply embedded in my DNA. I have early memories of observing my parents and siblings showing up for/with community. These seeds were planted early in my life and they became the foundation from which I have drawn from and aspire to emulate. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? My husband, parents and siblings, extended family and my village of comrades. I’ve been blessed with and surrounded by those that affirm me, keep me accountable, lead by example and compel me to always strive for a better version of myself. While there are many historical and current leaders/role models I look to, I deeply value relationships and trust as a bedrock for inspiration. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I strive to lead by example and demonstrate radical transparency of servant leadership. I pay it forward by listening and soaking up the wisdom of the next generation of public servants. I have done my best to coach, mentor and support the next generation of leaders that I work with directly, as well as make myself available to those that may need a sounding board or insights on navigating their sector/work.

Ifeolu A. C. Claytor Ohio Campaign Manager The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Ifeolu A.C. Claytor is the Ohio Campaign Manager for All Voting is Local, a state-wide voter protection campaign under The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. He works to protect and expand the right to vote and ballot access for all Ohioans. Claytor was recently elected and sworn in to Shaker Heights City Council, likely serving as the youngest councilmember in the city’s history. Previously Claytor served as the Ohio Campus Organizer for the Warren for President Campaign. Claytor also served as the Cleveland Regional Field Director for the Safe & Healthy Ohio Campaign, and has also worked with the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. Before that, he was a Program Associate with the ACLU of Ohio. Claytor earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science & Social Justice Studies from Miami University. What is your Superpower? My Superpower is connectivity. Growing up in Shaker Heights, attending local schools and interacting with people from various backgrounds, then studying at Miami University, which is comparatively conservative and homogenous, has allowed me to connect with almost everyone. Terrell Cole currently serves as the Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Water Pollution Control for the City of Cleveland. Cole’s 20-plus-year extensive municipal experience includes operations, information technology management, capital improvements, facilities construction and maintenance, budgeting, project management and organizational development.

Terrell Cole Deputy Commissioner, Division of Water Pollution Control City of Cleveland

What is your Superpower? Activating people to try new approaches to solve big issues.

Why did you choose to serve the community? I grew up recognizing the advantages I had been given by my family, education, and community. In recognizing this, I felt a deep-seeded commitment to serve others who may not have had the same advantages that I have. I hope to make our world more equitable so that everyone, regardless of background, can reach their highest potential and achieve their dreams. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? I was inspired to serve by my paternal grandparents because I grew up watching them serve the church. As an elected official, I look up to lifelong mentor Peter Lawson Jones, and seek to follow the examples set by Cleveland legends like the Stokes brothers. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? By serving as authentically as I can. It’s not always easy for young people to get involved in public service and still feel true to themselves. I hope that my service will set an example that others want to follow, knowing that they can serve as their full selves, and do so in their way. I also try to mentor younger, aspiring public servants wherever I can. Why did you choose to serve the community? To help as many people as possible to make my world better. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? My parents How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I volunteer and mentor through Cleveland State University and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. | 41

Brittany J. Harris Program Specialist Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Brittany Harris is a Program Specialist for the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She has had responsibilities in external outreach, operations, employee engagement, public programs and coordinated various projects across the organization. She concurrently served as Deputy Secretary for the Federal Advisory Council. She is a proud Cleveland native and graduate of Cleveland Municipal School District’s Whitney M. Young Middle School. In 2018, she received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from her alma mater, The College of Wooster, and was appointed as a member of their Board of Trustees where she served through 2021. What is your Superpower? My superpower is making connections. While I can make the most out of a good networking event, I thrive on meeting people one-on-one and finding ways to connect them to others to support both their personal and professional development goals.

Tiffany Johnson Commissioner, Division of Purchases and Supplies City of Cleveland

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Tiffany Johnson, Commissioner, Division of Purchases and Supplies, City of Cleveland, Ohio has more than 20 years of public sector fiscal management experience. In her role, she is responsible for competitively procuring over $223 million dollars of goods and services for the City of Cleveland in compliance with all Codified Ordnances. Johnson holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance. She is certified as a Professional Public Buyer. She successfully completed the Cleveland Leadership Academy, Class of 27. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. When she is not serving the City of Cleveland, Johnson enjoys spending time with her husband Damien and two sons.

Why did you choose to serve the community? I support some great work in financial education and community development. I point people to the resources the Federal Reserve of Cleveland has in helping teach communities how to manage budgets, promote economic inclusion, and increase the opportunity in STEM fields for minorities. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? My mom, A Glenville graduate and first-generation college student, she taught me to see the intersection of community, experience, and education. When she would do anything, from growing a garden to starting a business, she would consider how she could support the needs of those who lived around us. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? To see change, you must be a part of the process. When opportunities are presented, I think about the next person that could best use the experience.

What is your Superpower? My superpower is my ability to work with anyone to get things done. They can be from any walk of life or any side of the table. Why did you choose to serve the community? My initial purpose for taking my position at the City of Cleveland was to obtain real work experience after college. However, I quickly realized that I have a passion for serving the community. I am honored to be a public servant. It is an awesome, indescribable feeling to see projects in its infancy come to fruition. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? Growing up, serving the community

has always been a part of my family structure, from my grandparents feeding anyone in need, to my parents insisting my sisters and I participate in community service projects. My role models are those fierce African Americans who are not afraid to be themselves and speak their truth. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants?

Kerrie D. Howard Director – Department of Public Safety City of Cleveland

Kerrie D. Howard is an attorney whose career spans more than a decade. Since 2020, he has served as Director for the City of Cleveland Department of Public Safety. Prior to this role, he served as the department’s Assistant Director of Safety Operations. Howard formally served as the City of Cleveland’s Chief Prosecuting Attorney. He possesses a myriad of experiences in both public and private sector. Howard holds a Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and certificates in Leadership and Human Resources Management from the University of Maryland University College. What is your Superpower? Being a change agent is my superpower. My service in the military, as a Marine Corps veteran now a commissioned officer in the Air Force Reserves, has given me the ability to evaluate systems and recognize how to make them better for people and outcomes. Why did you choose to serve the community? I believe it takes people putting forth genuine effort to make communities better on micro (neighborhood and community) and macro (state and national) levels. Without these genuine people, our communities will fall apart, and the common man, woman and child will be neglected and victimized.

In the past, government procurement was not always a chosen career path for students. However, with globalization, e-procurement and supply chain management, government procurement is quickly emerging as a chosen career path which is best learned from hands-on experience. As the Commissioner of Purchases and Supplies, my responsibility is to offer mentorship and learning opportunities for our intern(s). This is what we have seen. I want to be part of the solution, making our world what we need it to be. As a member of the 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, I want live our ethos of “Be the Change, You Want to See.” Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? I was inspired to serve by three: My grandmother, grandfather and mother. My grandmother taught me the value of faith and education. My grandfather, an Air Force veteran, inspired me to serve and taught me personal responsibility. My mother taught me the value of hard work. Malcolm X is a role model of mine. A man of principle, he displayed the ability to stand up in the face of oppression, corruption, and righting wrongs. I know he is a controversial figure, but that is because of significant misunderstanding and the fear that some have regarding unity. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I am paying it forward by being an example to the public who needs to have confidence in their public servants, and to those in public service now who aspire to be leaders and have a need for mentorship. Everyone needs to know and see that good public servants carry out their duties with principles and a mindset of service before self. | 43

Jennifer L. Lumpkin My Grow Connect

Jennifer L. Lumpkin is a Catalytic Strategist and Community Organizer with past and present campaigns and groups including the Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition, Black Environmental Leaders, Concerned Citizens Organized Against Lead, Black Lives Matter Cleveland, Cuyahoga Food Policy Council and Participatory Budgeting Cleveland. Her organizing and partnership practice, My Grow Connect, is rooted in supporting the development of sustainable communities through creative What is your Superpower? My Superpower is my fortitude inherited from my ancestors, and my ability to see assets, gifts, and opportunities to grow and development my community in ways which produce unique and lasting impact. Why did you choose to serve the community? I chose to serve my community because my community has served me. I believe that we are the summation of

Natoya Walker Minor Deputy General Manager of Administration and External Affairs, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

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Natoya Walker Minor is an executive leader with a proven track record of leading through change, ideation, execution of innovative strategies, and is a thought leader on community-wide collaborations. During her career, she has established a track record of leading public/ private philanthropic partnerships inclusive of corporate and senior-level executives, union leadership, nonprofit, and community members for social impact. She is politically savvy with the ability to fundraise, influence, and build relationships with C-Suite executives, the philanthropic community, and other internal and external stakeholders. Minor is an advocate for lifelong learning. She has earned executive leadership certificates from Georgetown University in Non-Profit Man-

the collective investments made in the past, present and as stewards of our future. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? My grandmother, Amie Lumpkin inspired and planted the seeds within me to continue growing and nurturing life through gardening and nursing plant life. Uncle Yao Afantchao and Jacqui Gillon nurtured my love for agriculture into a creative enterprise to grow and cultivate our community of Black Environmentalists and earth workers. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I am paying it forward by leading with healing, opportunity, and education in my practice of social sustainability. I do so through grassroots organizing, mentorship and seeding the knowledge and practice of Black land ownership and stewardship of the land in community with and for solidarity across the diaspora. agement, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government. She is an alumnus of the American Marshall Memorial Fellow, serves on numerous boards, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, The Order of Eastern Star, and is a proud graduate of Cleveland Public Schools. She has excellent communication and public speaking skills, holding a Bachelor’s degree in political science, a Master of Public Administration, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree. What is your Superpower? Seeking purpose. Why did you choose to serve the community? I am passionate about building the

social economics of a community and strong families. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? Shirley Chisholm said, “If there is not a seat at the table, take your own chair.”

Isaiah L. Orr Associate Compliance Examiner Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Isaiah L. Orr graduated from MC2STEM High School in 2015. Orr attended Cleveland State University where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with minor concentrations in marketing and management. During his time at Cleveland State, Orr was active functioning as a LINK and Key Bank scholar. While in high school and college he successfully wrote grants for projects aimed at addressing issues within the Cleveland area such as homelessness, youth mental health, and minority access to healthcare. Orr interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in 2018. At the completion, he accepted a full-time position where he currently operates as an Associate Compliance Examiner. What is your Superpower? Being a resource to others. I am a firm believer in aiding others and helping them succeed. When one is in need and we are in position to meet that need, it is our duty to assist them. Why did you choose to serve the community? While in high school I took a grant writing class. I was enlightened on the social and financial services and grant funds available to help others- but a large percentage of individuals are not aware of this. I’ve aimed to serve my community by creating platforms and opportunities for individuals to be informed of and connected to these resources.

How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? Through mentoring and creating the space for leadership development in young leaders.

Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? A high school teacher, Mrs. Anita Johnson, inspired me to serve. During senior year, students had to take a grant writing class to receive credits to graduate. Mrs. Johnson’s passion for creating opportunities for others and helping the less fortunate left an imprint on my heart. I’ve seen her be selfless and personally give time and money to her students to ensure their success. She has always encouraged me and other students to help those behind you when you “make it.” It is because of Mrs. Johnson that I’ve decided to serve others. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? By being a helping hand and a bridge to the younger generation. I know that I am in a unique position as a 25-yearold African American male in Cleveland, Ohio. I realize the unfortunate circumstances and hurdles my peers and people like me are faced with. I seek to use the information that I have gained (from college and my career field) and my network to make the road easier for them. For example, in my local church, I love to assist high school seniors prepare for college. I try to educate them on the financial services and supports available to them to finance their college journey. It is my hope to later open a nonprofit centered around financially educating minority youth. | 45

Angela Shute-Woodson Senior Advisor to Mayor Bibb on Community and Government Affairs, City of Cleveland

Angela Shute-Woodson is the Senior Advisor to Mayor Justin M. Bibb on Community and Government Affairs. With an entrepreneur’s spirit, Shute-Woodson founded of GELIC GROUP consulting firm and GROUND UP Strategy LLC. Going back to her roots in Mt. Pleasant and worked as Director of Community Engagement and Outreach. Formerly the Director of Outreach for the Ohio Governor’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives, she has been a professional in state and county government for nearly 20 years. In addition, she has been a grassroots organizer while continuing to advise/facilitate many organizations with their visions for justice. What is your Superpower? Organizer-I have a way of convening groups and bringing people together. Why did you choose to serve the community? Since I was raised by a village, I’ve learned from the best and they poured into me how important it is to give and pour back.

David L. Taylor Assistant Vice President, Chief of Staff - Treasury Services Dept. Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

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David L. Taylor’s responsibilities at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland include advising and supporting senior leadership on department strategy, executive communication, cross-functional team alignment, and stakeholder management. Taylor joined the organization in 2012 as a business systems analyst. In his most recent role, he led the Transition Management Team for the Cash Product Office’s National Cash Automation business group. He also played a key role in Federal Reserve System initiatives. He participates in the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Executive Sponsorship Program, the Bank’s Connected Leadership Experience (CLE) Program, and is a member of the Strengthening Talented African Amer-

Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? Oh, there are many both locally and all over. But three who stand out are the late Congressman Louis Stokes, Councilwoman Odelia Robinson and Attorney Russell Adrine. They guided a lot of my thinking but most of all they poured back into the community, and showed me how to bring “all” people together for the greater good. Most of my role models give of themselves to help better the community. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? That is easy. When you look at our Mayor Justin Bibb who I have known since he was in high school, I am inspired by his political mind to help keep him active in the arena and giving back to the community. The many young leaders of the NAACP Board, many I have cheered, supported, and given advice. It is about, while I still have energy, passing on my knowledge to the next generation and even younger to build upon, and build up our community for the success and greater good. ican Resources (STAAR) resource network group. Taylor holds a BS in computer science with a minor in mathematics from Morehouse College. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and project management professional (PMP). What is your Superpower? “Adaptable collaboration.” My personality and diverse background of experiences allows me to quickly analyze and adapt to different audiences and create environments where collaboration can flourish. Why did you choose to serve the community? I’ve been surrounded by examples of strength and success built from community. From my family, my childhood

neighborhood, my fraternity (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc.), and my college, contributing to my community allowed me to represent something larger than myself and see the immediate positive impacts. It felt appropriate to continue that contribution in my career. Working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland allows me to positively impact both the nation and the world. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? My mother continues to be my biggest

Meredith M. Turner Councilwoman - Cuyahoga County District Nine Cuyahoga County Office: (216) 698-2023

Cuyahoga County District Nine Councilwoman Meredith M. Turner is a graduate of Shaker Heights High School. She is a former educator and coach in the Cleveland Metropolitan and Shaker Heights City School Districts, a U. S. Senate Alumna having served 10+ years. Before joining the council, Meredith worked as a Supervisor at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in the Ballot & Tabulation Department. Councilwoman Turner has always been committed to empowering her community through civic engagement and has been active in electoral politics at federal, state, county, and local levels by volunteering for candidate and issues-based campaigns. She holds an Associate degree from Cuyahoga Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Chicago State University and a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University. What is your Superpower? Nikki Giovanni once said that the most radical thing Black people can do is love each other, and it’s true. It’s how we’ve survived slavery, Jim Crow, police brutality and why we’ll always

inspiration and role model. She remains dedicated to all communities she’s a part of by encouraging constant connection and support of one another. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I actively look for and remain open to opportunities to mentor others both professionally and personally. In building these relationships, I offer my experience (and advice as appropriate) while diversifying my own thoughts as I hear theirs. rise. We consistently band together in community, protect one another, advocate on our community’s behalf, and it’s all a form of love. My Superpower is Community. My contribution to our survival is public service. Why did you choose to serve the community? Even a child can identify inequity and unfairness. At a very early age, I wanted to participate in the eradication of poverty, trauma and identity confusion inflicted by white supremacy and racism. I choose to serve the community because I love my Blackness and yours. Who inspired you to serve? Who are your role models? Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones inspired me to service. My role models were my grandmother a domestic worker, and my mother, a union electrician and steelworker. These strong women nurtured me, built the foundation of my character and taught me about the dignity of work. How are you paying it forward to the next generation of public servants? I’m paying it forward to future generations by claiming my seat at the table. If you can see it, you can be it.

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