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CONTENTS WINTER 2022 • VOL. 1 • ISSUE 3
PART II: Now You See
Me, Now You Don’t: Navigating Invisibility and Hypervisibility by Erica Merritt
The Power of Being Present and the Key to More Joy: Plus 4 Ways to Cultivate Both by Jennifer Wainwright
Reset, Refocus, Reposition by LaRese Purnell, MBA
Did You Say Real Estate? Yes, Now is the Time! by Tiffany L. Hollinger
Traveling in the New Year by Kareem George Common Threads of Philanthropy: A Love of Humanity That Transcends Generations by Terri Bradford Eason
Who is Your Business Talking to? by Jermel Carr
BPACF Board Spotlight: Paul Farrington
Fostering a New Vision of Success (Reframing Distress) by Dennis Bunkley
COVER STORY Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 2022: The Year of Accountability by Montrie Rucker Adams, APR, DTM, MBA
PART II: Surviving and Thriving While Black
by Angela Adams Ali, PhD BPACF Scholars
Darrell McNair Gala Photos
Meltrice D. Sharp, CPA PRESIDENT
Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF) EDITOR
Montrie Rucker Adams Visibility Marketing, Inc. SENIOR ADVISOR
Alexandria Johnson Boone GAP Communications Group CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Jennifer Coiley Dial Coy Lee Media, LLC EXECUTIVE PHOTOGRAPHER / PHOTO EDITOR
Alvin Smith Black in Cleveland
ADVERTISING / SALES MANAGER
Jermel Carr Project FORWARD Marketing Solns. OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR
Adrianne Sims BPACF
MEDIA RELATIONS COORDINATOR
James Wade BPACF
Subscribe for free at: https://forms.office.com/r/YTfh727fst A Quarterly Publication of the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation (BPACF), 2930 Prospect Avenue E., Suite 126 Cleveland, OH 44115-2608 MAGAZINE PRODUCTION: GAP Communications Group 16781 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 508 Shaker Hts., OH 44120 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.
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PUBLISHER LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER
2021 - The Year of Accountability For more than four decades, BPACF has elevated and celebrated professional development, career achievement and Black excellence. I am happy we celebrated 40 years with an introduction to our new magazine. The past year has not been kind to our Black community. The coronavirus, economic instability and the global push for racial justice has taken its toll. America had received a reality check. Through all of this, we’ve had to learn the importance of accountability. How are we accountable to each other? COVID-19 (and now the new variants), job losses and racism has shown us that we must look out for each other. We must keep our community safe, fed and whole. We are our brother’s keeper…even if we don’t choose to be. We learned that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are far more than boxes that need to be checked. DEI is in fact the only path forward for our communities and our country to thrive and build back better. That’s why in this issue, we want to see where six Cleveland organizations are with their DEI initiatives. What are their goals? How are they measured? How are they held accountable? We want you to read what those who are charged with DEI at MetroHealth, Jack Entertainment, The Cavs, Avery Dennison, Dominion Energy and Ohio GuideStone have to say about how they are improving the Black community with their
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DEI efforts, especially within their organizations. We learned the importance of investing in our young people. That’s why we’re excited to bring you two of our brightest stars, Imani Young and Nikia Beal, who were beneficiaries of our financial and educational contributions. Read how BPACF has helped them along their journey and gave them the motivation to succeed. They are truly rising processionals and continue to make their BPACF family proud. Forty years ago, our organization was founded to prepare, support and empower Black professionals as they navigated their often-stressful work environments. To celebrate this momentous milestone, we proudly profiled a total of forty community heroes and sheroes in our community. Forty diligent and purposeful professionals whose work we are proud to share. Be sure to read each issue to get a glimpse into the wonderful contributions of our forty leaders. If you like our magazine, please let us know. This is our third publication and there’s always room to grow. Lastly, we are always looking for writers. If you’re a subject matter expert and would like to contribute, contact us. We’re open to all suggestions. Happy Holidays from your BPACF Family! Sincerely,
Meltrice D. Sharp, CPA President, Board of Trustees, BPACF
@bpacf1985 bpacf.org | 5
CONTRIBUTORS Angela Adams Ali, PhD Counselor, Psychologist, Licensed Clinical Therapist firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Bunkley Director of Systemic Integration and Alignment East Cleveland City Schools 216-353-2273
Jermel Carr BPACF Board Member Founder, Project FORWARD Marketing Solutions projects4ward.com
Terri Bradford Eason Senior Director, Advancement Equity Initiatives The Cleveland Foundation email@example.com
Kareem George Founder & Principal Culture Traveler, LLC firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiffany Hollinger Realtor, Investor & Financial Advisor #AskTiffanyH
Erica Merritt Founder & Principal Consultant, Equius Group equiusgroup.biz
LaRese Purnell, MBA Managing Partner, CLE Consulting Firm cleconsultingfirm.com
Jennifer Wainwright Writer, fitness enthusiast jenniferwainwright.com
Interested in writing for The Black Professional? Contact email@example.com
EDITOR LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
There Is No Change Without Action “My Daddy Changed the World!” These four poignant words spoken by six-year-old Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter, have proven to be prophetic. While millions around the world felt anger and disbelief when they saw footage of George Floyd’s murder by then police officer Derrick Chauvin, just feeling uncomfortable and recognizing the inequities was not enough. There must be action. There is no change without action. Thinking about, wishing, hoping, taking classes, and reading books are behaviors that people fall back on and experience, when they are confronted with information that is uncomfortable. These are not actions that move the needle towards change. I was recently honored with the Lighthouse Award from the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Cleveland Chapter. It recognizes the career accomplishments and community service of a public relations professional and chapter member. Nationally, the public relations industry is 85 percent white (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). What I emphasized in my acceptance speech is that there must be change and it must be intentional. We need a deliberate and purposeful focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). There are people who want things to remain status quo. From my experience, having to navigate spaces where I am the only Black person in many rooms, for this to change, we must do the following, now: Listen to and respect all voices and perspectives • Come together and develop a plan • Operate with intention and authenticity •
Identify opportunities to level the playing field Practice Teamwork • Make DEI training available to our leadership and membership • Encourage buy-in from all leadership • Demonstrate genuine commitment and support change efforts • Commit to implementing sustainable practices • •
Since Gianna spoke those words, many organizations “woke up” and conducted inventory on their DEI practices (or non-practices). Many put into place new initiatives to meet their deficits and/or perfect their goals. Our cover story highlights five organizations and those responsible for DEI initiatives. Alan Nevel, Metrohealth; Kathryn Hall, Jack Entertainment; Tyson Mitchell, OhioGuidestone; Heather Clayton Terry, Dominion Energy and Tonya Horn, Avery Dennison, discuss how they are accountable to DEI goals as they lead their organization’s commitment to change. Congratulations to Justin Bibb, Cleveland’s 58th mayor. We look forward to the “bold, new, dynamic, visionary leadership,” promised for Cleveland. As we step into 2022, we all must look within and ask ourselves, how we are making life better? Are we helping the next generation? How are we contributing to creating a more diverse and equitable work environment? How are we opposing the status quo? Yes, Gianna, your daddy changed the world, but there is still so much more work to do!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. bpacf.org | 7
Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Navigating Invisibility and Hypervisibility
by Erica Merritt
Click here to read Part I of “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”
As you can imagine, some of the participants were not interested in having the reporter listen in on our session or in being interviewed. When I relayed this message, the women literally had a temper tantrum right there in the middle of the local library. She couldn’t fathom not getting her way. I stood there in disbelief, stuck in my anger. I wanted to give her a piece of my mind and I was painfully aware that an outburst on my part was likely to cost me more than that tantrum would ever cost her. She eventually stormed out of the library. My client, who had been present for the whole ordeal, began frantically apologizing unsure what else to do. I wanted to yell into the void, to put my anger and frustration somewhere. Instead, I put on my game face and headed downstairs to facilitate my final session with the group. I was shaken and out of sorts. That experience stayed with me, as I write this, I am there in that lobby reliving the moment. Those of us who hold identities that have been marginalized are caught between being rendered invisible when it comes to opportunities like promotions and stretch assignments at work and being hypervisible when an issue arises. Black workers are often concentrated at the lowest levels of the organizational 8 | WINTER 2022
structure. Hypervisibility can also play out as tokenization. I was the poster child for a number of college initiatives during my time as a student at a predominantly white institution. My 3.8 GPA and leadership roles in a number of student groups made me an ideal “spokesperson.” No matter what one’s background is, we have felt invisible one moment and as if we stuck out like a sore thumb another moment. However, these dynamics are especially challenging when status around race, gender, sexuality, or other identities are at play. Those who can’t see us and those who can’t miss us can both share our identities and hold different ones. I want to be visible for the right reasons. I want to stand out because of my skill not just because of my skin. Many of us are claiming our own spaces. As a Bison, I cheered when Nikole Hannah Jones decided to take her brilliance to the Mecca – Howard University. That’s the kind of Black Girl Magic we all want to see! We must seek spaces and people that affirm and value us because of who we are, not in spite of it. Erica Merritt is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Equius Group.
Health + Wellness
The Power of Being Present and the Key to More Joy: Plus 4 Ways to Cultivate Both
By Jennifer Wainwright
“The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.” –Eckhart Tolle In a culture where we’re blitzed with messages that orient us toward the future, it can be hard to attune ourselves to the present. Often, when we’re looking ahead, it’s because we hope that it will be better than what we have right now. We fantasize about how one day we’re going to have that home, that relationship, that bestseller, business, or body, anticipating the joy we’ll experience at some unknowable time and space in our future. To be sure, we should consider the future. In fact, we should more than just consider it, we should have a dynamic vision for our lives, well thought out and written out that captures our deepest dreams and biggest desires, one that inspires and energizes us every time we look at it. It’s also
important that we master the skill of controlling our impulses, delaying what we want right now for what we really want. But if it’s joy that we’re after, the secret to securing the bag is in sourcing it from the present. Solomon, the Old Testament biblical king of Israel, who also owns the title of wisest and wealthiest person in human history, says this: After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out bpacf.org | 9
joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live. - Ecclesiastes 5:18-20, MSG (emphasis, mine) What if we’re missing out on opportunities to feel more wholehearted joy because we’re failing to be present? Here are four ways to seize the present while keeping the future in sight. Number one: Identify what’s worthy of your time and attention, in the long and short-term. This could be your partner, kids, career, avocation, an event, or project you committed to, or an aspiration. Keep a current list somewhere visible, your desk, your purse, the bathroom mirror, then, prioritize your time and tasks around the things and people you’ve identified. We all have limited energy and capacity to engage. We make space for what matters by sacrificing what doesn’t. Be ruthless about figuring out where the distractions and diversions are in your life, so you can allocate your time to what you value most. Number two: Set an intention and remind yourself of this new habit of being present before you get into anything - a planned conversation, a meeting, event, workout, or just chilling at home by your lonesome. Make it a mantra or an affirmation that you repeat aloud daily. Here’s an example I use that you can adapt. “I, *your name,* bring my whole self to this task—my energy, effort, attention, and heart. I am fully present and execute everything I do with excellence.” With your intent of how you’ll show up at the fore, your consciousness will bring you right into 10 | WINTER 2022
the fullness of an experience where there’s opportunity for learning, growth, and awe. As a bonus, the vibrancy you’ll feel from being connected to a stated purpose will light you up immediately and level you up over time. Be intentional about your execution or engagement in whatever you do. Number three: Do your best to minimize distractions when you’re about to do something that requires any degree of your attention. Put your phone on DND for a short time. When you recognize that you’ve drifted off from whatever is supposed to have your attention, gently bring yourself back into the moment by reminding yourself of why you’re there. This awareness will anchor you in whatever activity you’re in and refine your focus. The integrity of intent is its own reward, but those touched by your work or presence will appreciate your diligence. If they don’t, see number one. Number four: Build a morning ritual to set the tone and govern your day. Rituals are critical to cultivating presence because they prioritize our time, allow us to see what’s in front of us, and generally give us a greater sense of control and focus, especially when we start our days first making time for ourselves. This sense of command over how we choose to spend our time, especially in the morning, connects us to the moment that we’re in. That is the definition of presence. 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.
Reset Refocus Reposition by LaRese Purnell, MBA
Kick Off the New Year in the Right Order Using These 5 Tips! The year 2022 is here and many of us have made resolutions for how we’re going to make this coming year better than ever. For so many Americans, financial resolutions are typically at the top of the list. Changing our financial landscape can sometimes seem insurmountable. With debt looming, student loans out of control, and daily online spending habits unaccounted for, we may not know where to start. Morgan Stanley has conducted research that reveals Americans will pay much less in 2021, because of the tax reform bill passed by the GOP. Taxpayers are only just starting to reap the benefits. The research conducted by Morgan Stanley also reveals that Americans are withholding too much from their paychecks and the bank predicts that refunds in 2022 will be 26 percent greater in value than they were in 2021. So, how will you reset financially and reposition your overall financial strategy? This list will help to jump start your money makeover for the New Year. The deadline for filing 2022 taxes is Monday, April 18th. I suggest that you meet with your tax accountant or professional to discuss and figure out any year-end tax strategies that may allow you to decrease your tax liability, helping to increase your after-tax wealth. If you are one of the estimated 65 percent of taxpayers receiving a tax refund, spend that money wisely. With an average refund amount of up to $2,860 in 2021, the possibilities may be abundant when you imagine all that you need to do with the funds. However, almost $3,000 can go just as quickly as it arrives.
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1. The first thing you must do this year to make your tax refund work for you, is prioritize! Make a list of ways in which that money will best be used for your personal life. No one knows your finances or your budget, but you. So, think smart when prioritizing your financial needs. Understand the difference between needs and wants and start the journey to make your money work. Let’s try it again with creating your budget utilizing www.mint.com. 2. As you are creating this list of financial needs, determine what on the list will impact your financial situation most in the long-term. Which means you should also pull your full credit report. This will help you in your decision to stand firm! Avoid financial decisions that feel good for the moment but have no impact on your credit, savings, or debt cancellation. 3. Pay yourself! Don’t look back at the refund in 30 to 60 days and have no emergency fund to show for it. Kickstart your savings or add to an already thriving savings account. If you have no savings, $1000 is a great amount to hold you firm in an emergency. If you’re adding to an already established savings account, visit your local financial institution, and make sure you’re earning the most for and on your money. Consider speaking with a financial advisor or an investment banker about opening a brokerage account or and IRA account. The power in compound interest is real and inflation can be a silent killer. 4. Knock out smaller debts that have been holding you back and hanging over your head. I’m sure you’ve received enough phone calls asking for payments with money you don’t have. Well, now is the time to get those debts paid off. If they’ve been lingering for a while, they’ve probably been charged off. Especially if some of the debt is credit card related. So, don’t just call and pay the full amount. Negotiate a settlement. Get the most bang for your buck. Note any medical bills or other miscellaneous debt that may be pulling down your credit score and get it knocked out. Keep in mind to start with the highest interest rate first to allow more to go towards your principal amount. 5. This may sound contradictory to the other four points previously made, but I mean it when I say treat yourself! Don’t go crazy. Do not put yourself further in debt. But you’ve worked all year and sacrificed to provide for yourself and your family. You owe it to yourself. It doesn’t need to be big or extravagant. It could be as simple as a day at the spa...but for many it may be the first time in a while to give something to you for all the hard work you do. Just keep the 60/20/20 rule in mind: 60 percent pays for your needs, 20 percent your wants and the remaining 20 percent for your savings and investing. If your debt is out of control, then just lessen or eliminate the wants category for now. That will be your reward down the road. For more financial information follow me @laresepurnell on Instagram or call CLE Consulting Firm at 216-800-9021 to have your taxes prepared. LaRese Purnell, MBA is a Managing Partner at CLE Consulting Firm providing accounting, tax, payroll and professional services. 12 | WINTER 2022
Did You Say Real Estate? Yes, Now is the Time! by Tiffany L. Hollinger Real estate is the most wealth building asset of any of the investment classes! While yes, we should also invest in stocks, bonds and mutual funds, real estate provides the most leverage and potential for generational wealth than all of the other investment types. The majority of the wealthiest Americans have built their wealth utilizing real estate, so can you! When we talk about the wealth gap between Black and white Americans in the United States, we have to take a moment to peel back the layers to discover the sources or reasons. Overall, the top 20 percent of Americans own 86 percent of the country’s wealth (thus the bottom 20 percent only has the other 14 percent). When we take a look at the causes, there are a few factors that drives the wealth gap. Interesting enough the most critical factor is not the income gap (17 percent) but it’s home ownership (28 percent). African Americans represent the smallest percentage of homeownership of all Americans at 44.7 percent.1 Yes, there are historical reasons of red lining, bank lending practices, credit reporting/income disparities, etc. Yet with all of the past challenges, we must refocus our priorities on homeownership. Having a piece of the “American Pie” is one of the most critical ways to build wealth and provide a generational legacy. Living in Northeast Ohio, now is the best and most valuable time. 1
In Northeast Ohio, It is less expensive to own a home than it is to rent one. If someone is currently renting a house, there’s a potential $200-400 a month savings when owning compared to renting. For example in a suburb like Bedford Hts. a (3 bedroom 2 bathroom) house can rent for $1300-$1600 a month. To purchase that same house, today is listed around $175,000. With today’s rates (at historic lows, around 3.5 percent) the monthly mortgage payment is approximately $1,100, around a $200500 a month savings. Now, as time goes on, that house appreciates and builds equity that can be leveraged sometime in the future to build additional wealth or be passed on to the next generation. If you are already a homeowner, great! Now is a great opportunity to look at investing in real estate. Imagine you are the landlord of the example above. You have a property that you can collect $1,600 a month on and only have a financial obligation of $1,100 a month. That’s $500 a month of positive cash flow. Not to mention the value of the property increases and the tenant is paying down the debt obligation. Creating a win-win financial position for you! No matter how you look at it, now is the time to purchase and invest in real estate!
Tiffany L. Hollinger is a realtor, investor and financial advisor. #AskTiffanyH
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Traveling in the New Year by Kareem George Though 2021 has been an abbreviated travel year, it has been highlighted by many countries reopening borders and the introduction of a variety of entry protocols. In short, most destinations require proof of vaccination and/or proof of a negative COVID test. To re-enter the United States, proof of a negative PCR or antigen test is mandatory. Those who have ventured abroad have enjoyed more personalized services and an experience of greater calm in destinations that are typically stressed by extremely high numbers of tourists. I am fortunate to have traveled within three continents (Africa, Europe, North America) already this year an had an extreme visit to South America in December. In all instances I have been warmly welcomed, have felt safe due to thoughtful and thorough COVID protocols. What will 2022 hold? What will it be like and feel like to travel in the New Year? Of course, there is no definitive answer to the preceding question. However, I anticipate the majority of the world having “reopened,” travel 14 | WINTER 2022
demand reaching new heights, and availability for flights, vehicles and accommodations becoming more challenging than ever. Our travelers are advised to book now (if they have not already) for 2022 and to begin their planning for 2023. If you are seeking travel inspiration, here are some ideas… The Favorites Quarter 1 and Quarter 2 are perfect opportunities to visit some of the most popular international destinations before the crowds return. Yes, this will likely be off season, and yes, the weather may not be ideal, however you will be rewarded by the quality of the experience – higher levels of service and greater comfort in navigation. So, think about Barcelona, Berlin, Florence, London, Madrid, Munich, Nice, Paris, Rome, Venice. Or perhaps turn your sights to the southern hemisphere for what would be their summer and fall iconic destinations such as Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Patagonia and southern Africa.
Incredible values and itineraries continue to abound in the world of cruising. Most cruise lines have relaunched successfully due to the extensive health and safety protocols that have been implemented. One of my travel highlights has been a small yacht cruise along the Adriatic coast of Croatia. I look forward to setting sail on the new Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady in November as well as a December/January holiday sailing from Peru to Buenos Aires on Oceania Cruises’ Marina.
The New Year could be the time to finally make progress on your bucket list. Why not? We have all certainly learned that travel is a true privilege and not to be taken for granted. Despite many challenges, our world remains a beautiful place with no shortage of awe-inspiring destinations and experiences: Egypt, the Nile River and the Great Pyramids, an African Safari, visiting the Holy Lands, World Expo Dubai (through March 31, 2022), exploring the lands down under of Australia and New Zealand, indulging in a world cruise or private jet journey around the world. I am already counting down the days until my bucket list trip of 2022 … an expedition to Antarctica in February!
If you have never cruised before, 2022 may offer the perfect opportunity to explore this very efficient (unpack only once) and inclusive (meals, drinks and activities are often included) mode of travel. And let’s not forget the intimate, immersive experience of river cruising. These sleek vessels average only 150-200 guests and are often referred to as floating boutique hotels. Itineraries range from castles on the Rhine (Germany, Holland, Switzerland) and the beautiful blue Danube (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia) to the more exotic Amazon (Brazil, Colombia, Peru) and Zambezi (Zambia, Zimbabwe) rivers.
Kareem George is the Founder and Principal of Culture Traveler, LLC, a boutique luxury travel company focused on unique experiences centered around arts, culture, and cuisine.
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Common Threads of Philanthropy:
A Love of Humanity That Transcends Generations by Terri Bradford Eason Philanthropy is an intimidating concept for many people. Most people are reluctant to label themselves as philanthropists, but it’s a myth that philanthropy is something that’s embraced and practiced by only a select, chosen few. In fact, philanthropists can be found in all age groups, demographics, and even economic classes. Importantly, the Black community is among the most philanthropic of communities in our country. The following Q&A’s will dispel many myths about philanthropy and challenge you to see yourself as a philanthropist. What is philanthropy? Who is a philanthropist?
Your answers to these questions will likely evolve over the years and may very well depend on the generation to which you belong. The word “philanthropy,” as derived from Greek language roots, literally means “love of humankind.” This common thread of love and concern for one’s neighbor is central to all definitions of philanthropy. However, in my experience, there are generational differences in understanding and practicing philanthropy. Mature generations, including Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964), tend to give to causes that inspire them personally, such as medical research and innovation. This age group seeks to align with the organization’s mission, so they feel gratification through each charitable gift. Middle generations like Generation X (born 1965–1980) are more likely to view philanthropy as an opportunity to identify their personal mission and develop a charitable giving strategic plan. The Gen X population strives to be knowledgeable and thoughtful in their giving. Their level of support is directly linked with the value proposition and ROI (return on investment) or ROIP (return on intended purpose). In contrast, there is a noticeable shift by Millennials (born 1980– 1994) and Gen Z (born 1995–2010) from traditional 16 | WINTER 2022
organizations and purposes to newer and grassroots. For example, younger donors tend to direct their donations to specific programs that make an immediate impact. One thing is for certain: Philanthropists can be found in every generation. What is unique about Black philanthropy?
Charitable giving within the Black community is not a new concept. Generations of individuals and families have created and left a legacy of supporting those in need within their community. Uplifting one’s neighbor is a commandment birthed at home and carried out through a variety of charitable gifts, ranging from providing food and clothing to those in need, to making monetary donations, to committing to the benevolent offering or church-building fund. As noted in an article published by the Ford Foundation, Black donors give a larger portion of their income to charity than any other racial group. A noticeable distinction is that Black donors are more likely than other groups to make informal charitable contributions to faith-based and traditional human services organizations. Supporting those in need by donating resources to others is a priority and common practice among Black donors, though many of those givers tend to remain anonymous. For such givers, the intrinsic value of giving back is their reward, as they forego the desire to be recognized publicly for their generosity. How might your role as a philanthropist evolve over the years, given your stage in life?
Many within the Black community find themselves navigating through the “Four Phases of Philanthropy” to determine where they are now and where they want to be. The first phase begins with emergence, where individuals feel a desire to give back and support causes and are willing to investigate charitable
options. Next, they transition into the growth phase in which they make charitable donations, and donors express an interest to increase their philanthropy though time, talent, and treasure to make a significant impact. The third stage opens the door for givers to transition into the preservation phase. It is here where donors begin making donations at higher levels and for multiple causes across the nonprofit landscape to reinforce their personal involvement, support, and commitment. The fourth and final phase is transfer. In this stage, donors want to establish and document their legacy. It is usually the matriarchs and patriarchs who want to inspire, motivate and energize family and friends to become more philanthropic. The transfer phase is also where donors conduct deliberate conversations about their philanthropic intent and personal mission. Donors will have demonstrated some type of philanthropic interest before they begin this navigation process. What’s a key step in deciding what causes you support — and how you support them?
A great first step is asking yourself what you are passionate about. Perhaps you could develop a personal mission statement that describes your charitable giving philosophy. Often, the answer is found in the number of contributions you have made to specific organizations, programs or causes. You may discover that you have compiled a long list of interests to choose from. If that’s the case, your next task is to prioritize your charitable gifts to align with your personal mission statement and philosophy to ensure you are fulfilling your donor intent. How do the so-called philanthropic “rules of engagement” differ among the generations?
From both a donor’s and a nonprofit organization’s perspective, establishing rapport to earn trust and develop a philanthropic relationship and partnership is essential. Equally important is understanding the preferred way Black donors want to be engaged. This may vary depending on the generation. Some favor communicating through personal notes, letters and direct phone calls. Others are interested in gathering data via email or other methods (e.g. DropBox, Google Docs), so they can make knowledgeable decisions beforehand and facilitate their philanthropy efficiently. Additionally, there are
those who have embraced today’s virtual world and choose to advance philanthropy electronically through “give now” links and portals. Regardless of the specific generation group, “rules of engagement” must be identified and match cultivation efforts to be effective and successful. Donors who engage with nonprofits should certainly voice their preferences with the organization’s representatives to help ensure their needs are met. How can you empower yourself to become an effective philanthropist as you show your “love of humanity”?
Establishing a charitable giving strategic plan is a great way to spark your philanthropic interest and approach. You can create a plan by becoming better informed and educated about nonprofits and philanthropic causes as well as by actively engaging with organizations and your community. Some donors consider themselves to be philanthropic when they perform individual acts of giving that are not tied to a larger planned effort. However, those same donors come to see themselves as effective philanthropists when they take a consistent long-term, strategic, and intentional method to giving. Without a doubt, the tradition of charitable giving is an established, solid foundation of philanthropy within the Black community. The legacy of providing resources to support those in need is a common thread among all generations of givers. However, Black donors seldom consider their kind acts of generosity as philanthropy or see themselves as philanthropists. So, where do we go from here? The key takeaway is anyone — even you — can become a philanthropist. I invite you to take a moment and define what philanthropy means to you. Next, determine the steps you need to become a more effective philanthropist through time, talent, and treasure! For more information about how to develop a personal mission statement, establish a charitable giving strategic plan and navigate through your philanthropic journey, please feel free to contact me: email@example.com. Terri Bradford Eason is the Senior Director of Advancement Equity Initiatives for The Cleveland Foundation.
Source: The Legacy of Black Giving; 21, August 2020; Ford Foundation
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Who is Your Business
Talking to? by Jermel Carr
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Do you remember when you would say something smart or under your breath to your parent and they would quickly snap back with, “Who are you talking to?” and you would mumble and say, “Nobody?” As a marketing professional, I am routinely reminded of this when I ask an entrepreneur or small business owner who is their target audience? The answer is almost always the same. “My target audience is everybody,” they say with a smile. “Everyone will like my [insert product or service here], because it’s great; there’s nothing else like it out there.” Oftentimes, they are right. They do provide a high-quality item or service that is unique from others, capable of resonating with consumers and worthy of launching a business. There is just one problem: If you try to reach everyone, then there is a good chance that you will reach no one, which is why in my head I always hear the question, “Who are you talking to? and the answer is usually, “Nobody.”
Survey people that use your product or service to ask what other interests they have Every business owner should have a target audience with whom their product or service resonates and that they are trying to engage. Identifying the people in this ideal group allows you to focus your efforts, honing in on what to say to attract them, how and when to say it, and what changes to your product or service could be made to better meet their needs. Identifying this target audience is critical regardless of which communication vehicle you are using to spread the word about your product or business. This includes social media as well as the traditional media outlets of television, radio, and print. So, the question remains, “Who are you talking to? Here are three noteworthy elements to help define your target audience: • Demographics. This includes gender, age, ethnicity, income, and education. For example, a burger place may tailor their advertising specifically to reach men, 18 to 24 years old, who are high school graduates and who make roughly $30,000 a year. Small businesses can use data from competitors or similar products, as well as the desired price of their product or service, to determine which demographic is best for them. • Psychographics. Do not let this term intimidate you. You do not have to be a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine key psychographics for your audience. This just refers to delving deep to get a better understanding of your demographic, examining elements such as attitudes, values, aspirations, and interests. You do not have to spend huge money to identify this. You can survey people that you know use your product or service to ask what other interests they have or perform social listening (monitoring social media channels) to understand what is important to them. An example of this would
be if I had a client that made high end frozen hors d’oeuvres. Some of the psychographics for their audience may be people that like to cook but do not have time, like to entertain at home, and want to make a good impression on people. • Key Nugget of Information. Even with demographic and psychographic details, you still need a key piece of knowledge that offers insight into your target customers’ lives that separates you from the competition. This primarily comes from qualitative research and effectively having two-way dialogue with your customers to uncover something that they may not easily offer up or would not feel is important. I remember working on the Lean Cuisine brand and after repeated conversations with customers in focus groups and one-one interviews, we learned that they did not like the word “diet.” Therefore, this was something that we knew we did not want to say in advertising or other key communications. Not only did we not want to say it, we didn’t want to make them feel as though they were dieting, but rather making good eating choices. It is important that you recognize the shared characteristics of those who patronize you, or that you want to patronize your business the most to really uncover how your business fits into their life. Pinpointing this target audience and communicating with them effectively is the best way to increase your sales – and keep your business on target. And when someone asks the question, “Who are you talking to?” your business will be able to answer it loud and clear. Jermel Carr, MBA, is a BPACF Board Member and founder of Project FORWARD Marketing Solutions, a marketing consulting firm. www.projects4ward.com
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Board Spotlight: Paul Farrington 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 objective to serve Black professionals and students of color. Meet Paul Farrington our Board treasurer. Paul Farrington is a manufacturing finance professional, with an operational and logistics background. He serves as a Senior Manufacturing Financial Analyst at Pentair. Guidance, accountability, and teamwork are some of his key attributes. Originally from Miami, Florida and has lived in Northeast Ohio for over 20 years. Volunteering, world traveling, reading, food tasting, and exercising are a few of his hobbies. Farrington and his wife, Monique, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They are the proud parents of a daughter who is a college freshman. Board Responsibilities Farrington serves as treasurer, is on the following committees: Executive, Logistics, and the Scholarship Program. What does serving on the BPACF Board mean to you? It provides me with the opportunity to be engaged with people who share the vision of helping our community, providing avenues, connections, and scholarships to further assist the current and future generations. How does your BPACF Board service help the community? I am a part of a working board that advocates for the community, assists with raising funds that has provided millions of dollars to students. I insert myself to help with developmental opportunities for students, other professionals, and the community at large. 20 | WINTER 2022
In Remembrance Stanley R. Miller, Sr. June 5, 1948 – September 9, 2021
Shelton Moore November 23, 1950 – August 9, 2021
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Fostering a New Vision of Success
(Reframing Distress) by Dennis Bunkley
The American education domain is slowly but surely becoming more inclusive in both planning and implementing restorative strategies. Again, slowly but surely the hidden curriculum is systematically being exposed in a manner that entertains the needs of the urban population in a more inclusive manner. In accord with the second principle of Kwanzaa (Kujichagulia - self-determination) which refers to defining, naming, creating, and speaking for oneself, we have a new class of urban educators that are not seeking permission to participate, but are defining and determining the parameters of what “bootstrap” work is. This is
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done from a homogeneous perspective that is both critical and analytical. For example, the work done by Dr. Henry Pettiegrew, CEO/Superintendent of the East Cleveland City Schools, towards restructuring the overall understanding of what “urban” education represents, has proven to be transformational. After becoming the Chief Operating Officer appointed by the East Cleveland Academic Distress Commission (ECADC) in February of 2019, he quickly began working to change the dialogue and reframe the understanding of what defines a District considered to be in distress. Dr. Pettiegrew has spearheaded a well-researched grassroots movement towards the revitalization of an urban district that is student focused, data driven and community/environment aware. With a focus on the design, Dr. Pettiegrew is attempting to establish sustainable educational structures that are responsive to the needs of children regardless of interruption (COVID-19) or circumstances. This approach is proving to be respectful of the overall urban experience while maintaining a high level of standards and expectations. In addition to Dr. Pettiegrew, the work of Andratesha Fritzgerald, a well-established educator and fierce advocate of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) which focuses on building
student capacity to affect social change, as well as supporting and leading teachers in implementing anti-racist practices in instruction, is changing the educational terrain. How and why we do what we do as educators is key. In her latest book, Antiracism and Universal Design for Learning: Building Expressways to Success, Andratesha shares how implementing UDL can help teachers uncover the genius within each and every student. Through this book and her work in the field, she helps teachers create classroom environments that set students up for success by meeting their individual needs. Andratesha is a proponent of the utilization of an effective framework to teach Black and Brown students by supporting the efforts and fostering the abilities of teachers to open new roads of communication, engagement, and skill-building for students who feel honored and loved. As we continue to unlock the hidden curriculum and reframe the parameters of academic preparation and success, we must understand the impact of having an informed voice in planning and preparation of strategies that will positively impact urban communities. These are only two up and coming educators that are defining the work for themselves. Dennis Bunkley is Director of Systemic Integration and Alignment at East Cleveland City Schools.
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COVER STORY By Montrie Rucker Adams, APR, DTM, MBA
D I VER S I TY
Equity & Inclusion 2022: The Year of Accountability
It’s 2022. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seems to be the new buzzwords floating around. After George Floyd’s murder and the civil unrest that culminated, corporations and organizations began to hire DEI professionals at alarming rates. Every day, LinkedIn buzzed with resounding “congratulations” to those who recently landed new DEI positions. In the business world, DEI is now top of
mind. For this reason, The Black Professional Magazine decided to reach out to our local DEI professionals: Kathryn Hall, Tonya Horn, Tyson Mitchell and Alan Nevel, and Heather Clayton Terry to get their take on Cleveland’s DEI climate. Our biggest question: How will you determine your company’s success as it strives to reach its DEI goals?
Kathryn M. Hall, Corporate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, JACK Entertainment Hall has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is passionate about helping others and deeply committed to the community. She is regarded as a leader in nontraditional approaches to inclusion and supplier diversity. She is frequently sought out for her expertise locally and nationally. Hall is also a training consultant with Corporate College, a division of Cuyahoga Community College. She also owns her own diversity consulting firm, The Essence Group, LLC. She previously served the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District as the chief diversity officer, a position she previously held for both Case Western Reserve University and Cuyahoga Community College. She is actively involved in the community and serves numerous organizations including Board Chair for Step Forward (formerly The Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater 24 | WINTER 2022
Cleveland - CEOGC); and Board Member of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland; the Women of Color Foundation; the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival; The Commission on Economic Inclusion; The United Black Fund of Cleveland, and The UNCF of Northeast Ohio. Hall graduated from Cleveland State University with a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Diversity Management. She is also a Certified Diversity Professional. She received her Executive Coaching Certification from the CWRU’s Weatherhead School of Management. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Baldwin Wallace University. Recently, Hall was named as one of the 2021 YWCA of Greater Cleveland Career Women of Achievement. She is also a proud member of the United Way of Greater Cleveland Equity Leadership Council, addressing diversity and inclusion challenges across Northeast Ohio. A Cleveland native, Hall is an avid sports fan, a proud lifelong Browns fan and Cavaliers season ticket holder. When she is not cheering on her hometown teams, she enjoys collecting fine art and traveling. Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022 At JACK Entertainment, we have four diversity pillars that guide our diversity journey. Pillar One: Team Members JACK strives to support and grow our diverse workforce which reflects the community and the guests we serve Attract, retain, and develop team members to create the highest performing teams and the best guest experience possible Pillar Two: Workplace Culture Develop and foster a culture of inclusion and belonging daily, recognizing the full range of human differences and similarities Leverage the power of our differences and similarities in our workplace and business Pillar Three: Community Engagement Create community collaborations to advance
diversity, inclusion, and equity in the communities we serve Form partnerships with key community stakeholder groups to maximize the impact our business has in the community Pillar Four: Economic Inclusion Promote economic inclusion through deliberate partnerships with local and minority-owned businesses, vendors, and suppliers Extend economic opportunities to a broad group of diverse stakeholders What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Gaming industry positions are exciting, fun and can be very lucrative. They are also a best kept secret to the general public who is less likely to seek out employment in a casino. We have been making a concerted effort in educating the public on the career opportunities at both of our Ohio locations. Similar to everyone else in a world managing COVID-19, we continue to seek out amazing employees to join our team. We believe that recruitment and hiring will continue to be challenges in the near future. However, we are up to the challenge and continue to tackle this opportunity by outreaching and collaborating with local organizations that recruit people who are seeking employment. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? Our metrics vary based on the particular project or issue that we are tackling. We consider it success when we can significantly impact the number of diverse candidates that we are able to hire as Team Members at JACK. Equally important to our progress is the number of minorities, females and small businesses with whom we are able to partner with while doing business daily. We have been successful over the past year engaging several new entrepreneurs on our construction projects, and in purchasing goods and services need at the Casino. When our local citizens are able to join the JACK family we count it all success. bpacf.org | 25
Tonya Horn Diversity & Inclusion Recruitment Manager Avery Dennison With 11 years of experience in higher education administration, Tonya Horn began her career in college admissions, first with Nebraska Wesleyan University followed by The University of Akron as the Senior Assistant Director of Admissions and University of Maryland University College in Okinawa, Japan, as the Regional Manager responsible for Enrollment Management. Prior to returning to Higher Education, she devoted 9 years as the National Account Manager for INROADS, a non-profit organization partnering with an array of corporate industries charged with meeting their companies’ diversity needs while fulfilling INROADS’ mission: To develop and place talented underserved youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership. In her current role since 2018, Horn is responsible for building strategies to create a more diverse workforce. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from The University of Nebraska, a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from The University of Akron and a Human Resources Certificate from The University of Maryland University College. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., President of Greyton Court Association; Future Heights Mini Grant Committee, Noble Neighbors Steering Committee, Cleveland Hts Citizens for Elected Mayor, UNCF Cleveland and a HOLA Ohio Board member. Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022. Globally, Avery Dennison is focused on four pillars, Meritocracy, Women in Leadership, Shop floor employee inclusion and increase diversity, equity and inclusion for underrepresented groups. In North America, the focus on education and awareness to drive DEI for underrepresented groups; increased representation in leadership positions for Black/African Americans and Hispanic; Improve the inclusion of Black/African Americans. What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Initially, when a company establishes a focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, it takes time to get the entire company on board and aligned. There are so many aspects that need to be addressed that a change management plan is needed. When long-term processes are established and maintained, a shift will not happen an easy one. When goals are established, it’s important to realize and address the existing processes and policies that create unseen or hidden barriers that need to be removed. A successful DEI strategy is long-term and does not happen overnight. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? We use a yearly employee survey, Talent Acquisition hiring report, and workforce metrics.
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Tyson T. Mitchell, JD/LL.M Assistant Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, OhioGuidestone (formerly Berea Children’s Home) Mitchell previously served as a Financial Analyst with OhioGuidestone where he specialized in financial accounting and tax law. He previously served as CFO for the NBA’s Jason Richardson Foundation in Saginaw, Michigan and CFO for syndicated talk show host, Judge Hatchett Worldwide, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. Mitchell holds an LL.M degree in Taxation and a JD Degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia with a BA in History and grew up in East Cleveland, Ohio where he attended Shaw High School. Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022. Our 2022 goals are broken down into four categories: Culture, talent, leadership, and community. Specifically, we seek to create a culture where all employees feel a sense of belonging and can bring their true authentic selves to work (the good parts). As it relates to talent, we seek to evaluate who we hire and how we hire, to professionally develop all employees, conduct career pathing, and recognize and affirm identities. We expect that our leaders will demonstrate inclusive behaviors and provide the necessary financial resources to move the DEI needle forward. Lastly, it is our goal to meaningfully engage with the communities that we serve by being more intentional in advancing equity across the State of Ohio. What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Getting every employee to understand that
in order for DEI initiatives to be successful, we must all consider ourselves to be chief diversity officers in our own right. It’s not just the job of the DEI department, HR, or the CEO – it is all of our responsibility to lean in and be a part of the solution. Also, we must get white men to engage and be full diversity partners and to understand that DEI does in fact include them. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? 1. Engagement Surveys 2. Initiative Focused Metrics 3. Expansive demographic Metrics 4. Correlational Metrics such as Promotion rates, turnover, and job level representation
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A graduate of the Wickliffe City Schools, Cleveland State University (B.A., Liberal Studies) and Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management (MBA), Nevel remains passionate about serving his community both locally and nationally. He serves as a highly sought-after speaker and educator. Nevel is a proud member of The Cleveland (OH) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and Chair of the Cleveland State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Visiting Committee. He also serves as a Board Director for The Urban League of Greater Cleveland, Recovery Resources, Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, Karamu House, Creating Healthier Communities, and the National Society of High School Scholars.
Alan K. Nevel Senior Vice President, Chief Equity Officer The MetroHealth System In this unique integrated leadership role, Nevel is responsible for defining the overarching vision, identity, and strategy to ensure that equity is the underlying principle in all that the system does. He and his team work across departments, programs and initiatives to eliminate systemic disparities and inequities that impact patients, employees and the community. Nevel joined Metrohealth in 2018 after serving for six years as VP Global Diversity and Inclusion for Thermo Fisher Scientific, a $32B global life science solutions, specialty diagnostics and laboratory products company. Prior to joining Thermo Fisher, he served in DEI, HR, Talent Development, Organizational Change Management, Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Operations and R&D roles with LBrands, Accenture/Andersen Consulting and The Sherwin Williams Company.
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Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022. Our Goals for Racial Equity and Inclusion are: 1) Improve racial and ethnic minority representation at senior levels of the organization 2) Improve leadership representation of underrepresented groups 3) Focus in hiring, retention, and promotion at all levels for racial and ethnic minorities 4) Enhance hiring, retention and promotion of diverse candidates for Medical staff 5) Create a stronger sense of inclusion and belonging for our racial and ethnic minority staff in particular, and all employees in general 6) Eliminate or substantially reduce health disparities among our patients 7) Support regional efforts to reduce mental and physical health disparities 8) Promote economic equity and participation in all our activities 9) Establish a range of anti-bias and anti-racism educational programs for all employees
What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Ensuring that everyone across the system is in alignment with our inclusion, diversity and equity strategy in not only words, but in their actions as well. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? We will look to customer feedback, employee engagement as well as quantitative and qualitative data. Heather Clayton Terry, MPA Senior Philanthropy Coordinator Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation Terry is an advocate, career coach and philanthropist responsible for the company’s foundation, sponsorship and volunteer efforts across Ohio. She also leads Dominion Energy’s Social Justice Grants Initiative, a commitment of $5 million over 24 months, to address the fundamental causes of systemic racism across the company’s 16 state footprint. Terry also collaborates with Central State University and Wilberforce University to honor the HBCU Promise initiative, a commitment of $25 million over six years to 11 HBCU’s across the company’s footprint. Prior to Dominion Energy, Terry worked as the Associate Director for Women in Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She advised emerging women and underrepresented students in pursuit of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics/Medicine) degrees and provided individual coaching to help students navigate male dominated fields. In 2015, she established the Family Equity Committee at CWRU for alternative family building in collaboration with a group of individuals determined to modernize policies to address national trends in infertility insurance coverage, adoption benefits, and foster care support. Terry also established the Women of Color Series at CWRU to address intersectional feminism
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and the layers of bias which impact interaction and experience based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. She is a native Clevelander and first-generation college graduate who has worked as a Project Manager for National Institutes of Health grants as well as worked as the Francis H. Beam, Jr. Fellow for the philanthropic entity, the Saint Luke’s Foundation. Prior to her fellowship, Heather spent six years managing programming initiatives for the Cleveland Public Library as well as taught adolescents in programs such as the NASA Workforce and Economic Division - Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) Program. Terry is a member of the Our Hope, Our Future Giving Circle administered in collaboration with the Cleveland Foundation. The initiative is led by Black and/or African American community members of Cleveland, Ohio who pool their personal dollars to annually provide grants to Black- led nonprofit organizations. Terry recently received the Emerging Philanthropist 2021 Award from Philanthropy Ohio. She was graced with the Women of Distinction Award (Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio), the Women’s Centers Outstanding Achievement Award (National Women’s Studies Association), the Inclusion and Diversity Leadership Award (Case Western Reserve University) and the NEO 25 Under 35 Movers and Shakers Award (The Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club’s Inside Business Magazine). In her spare time, she enjoys 30 | WINTER 2022
spending time with her husband (Brandon), fraternal twins (Harper and Braxton), parents (Gail and Ronald) and dog (Duke). Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022. Dominion Energy is committing $5 million to address the fundamental causes of systemic racism through our Social Justice Grants Initiative. Through HBCU Promise, Dominion Energy is committing $25 million to a six-year initiative supporting 11 HBCU’s across the company’s 16 state footprint. Additionally, a $10 million scholarship fund called the Educational Equity Scholarship program was launched to provide scholarships to underrepresented students across the company’s service territory. What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Our biggest challenge will be in sharing our stories with the community. We are, however, committed to sharing our outcomes and eager to hear from our customers and community members on the best ways to share our efforts to level the playing field. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? We have partnered with our system Board of Trustees to establish a series of key performance indicators and metrics tied to culture, employee retention, supplier diversity and representation.
Kevin Clayton Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement, Cleveland Cavaliers / The Rock Entertainment and Sports Company Clayton is responsible for leading the DEI strategic plan for all Cavalier properties including the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Clayton’s approach to diversity and inclusion is grounded in a belief that everyone is part of the D&I landscape. He has successfully used this approach with the Cavs to develop a strategic D&I business plan that has delivered quantitative and qualitative results affecting representation of the workforce, the culture of the workplace, revenue from the marketplace, and authentic community relations and fan engagement. Clayton also has a passion for community service. He is the Board Chair for Creating Healthier Communities (CHC). CHC is a national health organization that for more than 65 years, has been creating stronger, healthier communities by building capacity
for nonprofits through raising awareness, amplifying their message, and driving more funds and supporters to their cause. Clayton is also a board member of the Greater Cleveland Urban League, the famed Cleveland City Club, Black Sports Professionals, and the Shaker Heights Foundation. Additionally, he serves on the DEI advisory boards for Sports Business Journal and the Greater Cleveland Partnerships. Kevin is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. He has four daughters, a granddaughter and grandson. He is an alum of North Carolina Central University and received a bachelor of arts degree in Business Administration and Psychology from Wilmington College (Ohio) where he was a co-captain and student athlete on the basketball team. Q&A: Please explain your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals for 2022. We have five targeted areas that are the cornerstones of our strategic plan. Our goals in bpacf.org | 31
these areas include: Increasing the representation of women and people of color throughout our organization; creating and maintaining an inclusive/respectful/equitable culture; increasing our fan engagement across all dimensions of diversity: being authentic and relevant in all communities; and leveraging DEI to drive revenue and strengthen our partnerships. Additionally, we have specific supplier diversity goals to increase our spend and to increase our minority, women, business enterprise (MWBE) supplier pipeline. What will be your biggest challenges reaching your goals? Our biggest challenge is operationalizing DEI into our culture where the majority
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of team members have “buy in” to the organizational and personal benefits of having a culture that authentically treats all team members, fans, partners and functions with dignity and respect. What metrics will you use to gauge your success? We have developed an NBA first DEI scorecard that measures our performance against the DEI strategic plan. The uniqueness about the scorecard is that it is tied to the compensation plan of our senior leadership team. The scorecard populates monthly and tracks hiring targets, supplier diversity spend, DEI revenue, community engagement activations, and team member participation in our education/training curriculum.
Congratulations Cleveland Mayor-elect
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Surviving and Thriving While Black:
The Cruciality of Preserving Our Mental & Physical Health While Navigating Corporate Spaces By Angela Adams Ali, PhD Click here to read Part I of Surviving & Thriving While Black In efforts to survive and thrive in these spaces, we can take up a similar mission within the corporate space by exhibiting extraordinary mental strength and endurance. Ironically, the story of John Henry ends with a particular plot twist in that he worked so hard that he died with the hammer in his hand. In fact, John Henry proclaimed that before he would give up his mission, he’d ‘hammer himself to death’ with his efforts to be a steel driving man. John Henry’s lived experiences of enduring racism, juxtaposed with his arduous quest for autonomy and economic mobility, resulted in his goal achievement by age 40. However, he suffered the manifestation of chronic illnesses by his late 50’s. When hard-working Black employees adopt the belief that there is promise in working ‘ten times harder’ than their white counterparts to achieve 34 | WINTER 2022
the same upward mobility, it can align with the historical disenfranchisement response that John Henry lived. It is the replication of how systemic racism plays out when the door is ‘opened’ for Blacks to succeed, yet it wears them down in the process of doing so. This is the perfect storm for the development and/or the progression of racial trauma in our lives. The psychological and physical health effects are seldom understood by its victims. More specifically, the myth of John Henry outlines how the progressive effect of racial discrimination moves toward chronic conditions of depression and heart related disease. How can we best preserve our health while surviving & thriving in the workplace? The acknowledgment of our historical resilience should never underestimate the physical and physical impact these chronic
experiences have had, and continue to have, on our individual and collective health. To be effective, our coping strategies must be healthy and consistently utilized. Many people develop negative coping strategies to deal with the undesirable effects of racial discrimination - such as drinking, drug use, overeating, etc. One salient and historical coping mechanism that we often use is ‘minimizing’ our painful experiences as a means of remaining strong enough to deal with what else life brings. This is ineffective as trauma makes an imprint on our minds and physical bodies. The mind and body always remembers experiences, especially painful ones. Our health suffers in accordance with the events that have occurred until it is addressed. John Henry hung his hat on the ability to endure, however we require effective ways of offsetting the decline of our health. Over time this
‘endurance’ creates perpetual anxiety, depression, and other chronic illnesses, all within a structure that is not designed to save them.
allowed others to assist them through advice and strategy.
Maintaining a sense of pride in who you are without looking to apologize for it is key How do we cope and better to armoring oneself from the manage our expectations? One emotional violence often inflictof the first things we can do ed in these spaces. Also, being for ourselves while working in realistic about what diversity these environments is to renego- and inclusion has truly meant in tiate ideas about having to work Corporate America to date, and ten times harder than whites to any other initiative that does survive and thrive. While it is not line up in practice versus true that our talent and work what is purported. Being resilethic often isn’t credited the ient enough to know that withsame as our white counterparts, out placing false expectations we must be careful to not buy around it shifts your expectainto a trope that assumes hard tions so that the eventual disapwork alone will place you on pointment doesn’t rock you to par with white success. The your core. place where you are may not be the place where you obtain That way, when you feel that the ultimate success you seek. you haven’t been recognized If our hard work ensured that through your work, you’ll be we would attain the utopian better able to maintain a healthy places that we have sought, sense of self and the truth about you wouldn’t be reading this who you are. You’ll be clearer article. Alternatively, it is best to about your value, what you understand and accept that our bring to the table, what you’re success in these spaces can be willing to voice, if necessary, targeted at any time once we get and what parts of you that will to that place, and often our suc- not be sacrificed. In the end, cess is resented by detractors. understand that your workplace experiences do not determine Developing a support system your value as these two things of mentorship, internally and are mutually exclusive. Mainexternally, allows you to have taining this level of conscience trusted sources of individuals is key to your well-being. that you can consult to help problem-solve certain challeng- Recommendations for self-care es in your workplace or career. Self-care can take on many Be coachable. Remember that forms, but it is extremely neceach time you see a Black peressary while on the battlefield. son who has attained any mod- Self-care or effective self-care icum of success, know that they ranges from maintaining have certainly sought mentorhealthy perspectives that reject ship and sponsorship and have inherent negative messaging we
receive daily as Blacks in America. Carving required time out for practices such as physical exercise, spending time with loved ones, maintaining a support system of personal connections and relationships, spending time towards spiritual growth, mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, breathwork, and journaling is important. Oh, and let’s not forget about asking for help when you need it. Therapy may be one of the last things that a Black person considers. Engaging in this method of self-care yields benefits that are likely greater than one would estimate. It can be one of the best tools for renegotiating the limiting perceptions we hold in our minds, but once these ideas are reimagined, a whole world of psychological flexibility opens up. Decreases in anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, and self-esteem can certainly follow once we let go of limiting beliefs and adopt healthy versus unhealthy coping strategies. Seeking professional help from a culturally competent therapist that looks like you is an indication of intelligence, not weakness. You come from a history of greatness. Preserve that at all costs. Angela Adams Ali, PhD is a counselor, psychologist, licensed clinical therapist, marriage and family therapist and board-certified coach. bpacf.org | 35
Where Are They Now? BPACF Scholars are the reason our Charitable Foundation exists. We continue to raise money through our annual Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation Awards Gala and other means to ensure our scholars’ academic success. Though no longer participating in the program, we want to always keep up with our scholars’ success. Following are updates on two of our former scholars, Nikia Beal and Imani Young.
Nikia Beal is putting science into action. The Cleveland resident and former BPACF scholar is currently a chemical technician at Akron Rubber Development Labs (ARDL) in Akron, OH where she has worked for four years. Her main tasks there are different types of thermal tests, which are her favorite, such as DSC and TMA tests, but she also performs other tests such as one called Karl Fischer, and FTIR, which analyzes substances using infrared light. The different varieties of activities keep things interesting for her. “I am also always encouraged and motivated to learn new skills,” she said. Prior to her job at ARDL, she worked for six years at a small pharmaceutical company, Copernicus Therapeutics. “I loved every minute of it,” she said. She has also done contract work for Sherwin-Williams, PolyOne and Hygenic Corporation. Beal graduated from Regina High School, then earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Cuyahoga Community College before attending John Carroll University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She is currently enrolled in online graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, where she is studying for a cosmetic chemistry certificate, and plans to eventually earn a master’s degree in cosmetic science. Then Beal plans to do some science of her own. “I plan to market and sell my own skin and hair products,” she said. Beal is the proud mother of an eight-year-old son and a two-yearold daughter. Her advice for current BPACF scholars is, “Never give up. It’s designed to be hard and challenging. Never let anyone convince you that you are not capable of accomplishing your goals.” Former BPACF scholar Imani Young is working in the field of archi-
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tecture, and is having a great time doing it. Young, a Cleveland resident, has worked at DS Architecture, LLC, in Cleveland, since May 2021, where she is a project designer and executive assistant. Young graduated from John Hay High School where she participated in the Cleveland School of Architecture and Design program. She then attended Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. She found her current job while networking with her friend and now boss Jeff Meyers. “I absolutely love it,” Young said, while explaining that her favorite part of the job is working with Myers and using Revit software for construction documents. “Learning and taking courses in Revit through the company was very helpful and I appreciated the time the company takes to invest in its young professionals,” she said. Before her current job, shortly after graduation in 2018, Young worked for Regency Construction Services, Inc., for a while, then eventually became a project intern at the AM Higley Company, where she worked on MetroHealth interior renovation
projects. “It was fun. Now I have a construction background as a young architectural designer which is a nice mix,” she said. Young lives with two of her family members and in her spare time likes to paint with watercolors, draw and read self-help books and novels. Her advice for current BPACF scholars is, “Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It is scary, but well worth it. Work for an employer who you believe will value your mental and emotional health as well. Ask the company questions about the culture of the company and any other questions that come to you. Always know and believe that your worth does not come from your work but from yourself and your values or whatever you believe in. Ask for help no matter how stupid you think the question is. There may be someone else who has the exact same question and is afraid to ask. Be the first to ask questions because you will be recognized as someone who takes the initiative. I learned this from my boss and personal friend, Jeff Meyers.”
Save the Date
2022 African American Philanthropy Summit Philanthropic Equity: Making An Impact Presented by the African American Philanthropy Committee of the Cleveland Foundation
Saturday, April 30 8 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Hybrid event www.ClevelandFoundation.org #GivingHasNoColor bpacf.org | 37
Ronna & Darrell McNair
Click here to submit your nomination for the 2022 Black Professional of the Year Click here to watch the Preview Reel from the 2021 Gala Click here to watch the 2021 Gala Program
Student Scholar Ty’Shawn Simon 38 | WINTER 2022
Emcee Leon Bibb
Paul Farrington, Meltrice Sharp, Laurie Murphy, and Darrell McNair Gala Photos by Alvin Smith
Co-Chairpersons Audrey & Albert Ratner Alex Johnson, Ph.D. Committee Members Thomas Adler Warren Anderson Alexandria Johnson Boone Akram Boutros Paul Clark Lonnie Coleman Daryl & Jennifer Deckard Terrell Dillard Joseph DiRocco Paul Dolan Trina Evans Umberto Fideli Adam Fishman David & Faith Gilbert Dee Haslam Andrea Hogben Carole Hoover Ariane Kirkpatrick Len Komoroski William Lacey Daryl Laisure John Langell & Sara Whittingham Margot Copeland Randell & Gail McShepard Teresa Metcalf Beasley Marsha Mockabee Rev. Dr. Otis & Edwina Moss Megan O’Bryan & Kevin Poor Tracy Oliver Dominic Ozanne Patricia Ramsey Andy & Adrianna Randall David & Cynthia Reynolds Ronn Richard Sean Richardson Victor & Danielle Ruiz Harlan Sands David Schaefer Richard & April Scott Greg & Patti Skoda Robert Smith Robyn Minter Smyers & Bert Smyers Eddie & Kelli Taylor Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton David & Ruvene Whitehead Vanessa Whiting Lorna Wisham
Save the Date
BPACF Scholarship & Awards Gala Saturday, November 12, 2022
Mayor-elect Justin Bibb and Darrell McNair
TITANIUM SPONSOR Cuyahoga Community College GOLD SPONSORS • AES Management Corporation • Cleveland Browns Foundation • KeyBank • RPM International, Inc. • Saint Luke’s Foundation • The Good Community Foundation SILVER SPONSORS • Avery Dennison • Carter Family Charitable Trust • Fifth Third Bank • FirstEnergy • GE Lighting - A Savant Company • Jabali Management Group • McDonald Hopkins • Maltz Family Foundation
• MVP Plastics • PNC Bank • Port of Cleveland • Thompson Hine LLP • Urban League of Greater Cleveland • Lee Weingart BRONZE SPONSORS • Alliance Healthcare of Ohio • Warren Anderson • Calhoun Funeral Home • Cleveland Indians • Cleveland Public Utilities • Dominion Energy • Huntington Bank • Marcum LLP • NRP Group • Ozanne Construction • Roetzel • Turner Construction bpacf.org | 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. To celebrate over 40 years of professional excellence, The Black Professional Magazine highlights 40 professionals who embody the tenets of the Black Professional Charitable Foundation (BPACF), an outgrowth of BPA
Evelyn Burnett CEO ThirdSpace Action Lab & Café
– 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. In our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issue, we finalize our list by profiling 14 professionals in diverse careers including construction, nonprofit, entrepreneurship, education and the legal profession.
Evelyn Burnett is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ThirdSpace Action Lab (TSAL) and Third Space Café. Prior to starting TSAL, Evelyn served as Vice President, Economic Opportunity at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Associate Director for Program Strategies with Admiral Center at Living Cities, project director in the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, and Cleveland Executive (Coro) Fellow. Evelyn is a 2018 German Marshall Fellow and holds board officer roles for Birthing Beautiful Communities, ioby, RidAll Green Partnership and Teach for America. Evelyn holds a BA in Business and Organizational Communications and Public Relations with a double
Affectionally known as Dr. Flapp, he is responsible for leading and collaborating with administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members to advance CSU 2.0 priorities and promoting and advancing the University’s commitment to a transformative student experience while enhancing an inclusive and equitable Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, PhD campus community. Just prior to VP for Campus Engagement, joining Cleveland State, Dr. Flapp Diversity, Equity and Inclusion served as Vice President for StuCleveland State University dent Affairs and Vice Provost at 40 | WINTER 2022
minor in Sales and Marketing and a master’s degree in Public Administration from The University of Akron and studied abroad in Ghana, Africa. What is your superpower? Truth-seeking In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Bolder moves, bigger risks. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Stay hydrated. Commit to a meditation practice. Be kind to and honest with yourself. Namaste. the University of Toledo (UToledo) from 2016-2021. A product of the Upward Bound Program, Dr. Flapp’s scholarly research interest centers on the experiences of first-generation and low-income college students of color within post-secondary institutions. He credits the Upward Bound Program for saving his life and introducing him to a world of possibilities to be global citizen and leader. Most recently, Dr. Flapp was recognized as one of Toledo’s
Top 20 under 40 and honored by his alma mater as a recipient of the 2020 Service Award. What is your superpower? My personality is infectious and contagious; therefore, I do not meet strangers. I begin and end each day with positive reflections. As I meet new people, I encourage them to do the same. In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I am the Creator and Founder of DorNee’, a natural luxury skincare line founded in 2005 after creating a product to assist my mother’s drying skin as she was taking chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.
Ismail Douglas Dean of Engagement Cleveland Metropolitan School District
to reset and recharge. As for my business, I will focus on a rebrand, expanding the brands territory and streamlining the product production.
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? In the upcoming year, I will be intentional about allowing myself more time for self-care in an effort
What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? My words of wisdom are to always trust yourself and stay faithful in all you do. The plan has been set but we must never try to speed up the journey. There are lessons and blessings in every step taken and in addition to that, always show love, be kind and a blessing to everyone.
Ismail Douglas has been creating and providing innovative programming for youth and families for over 30 years. He is currently employed with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) as Dean of Engagement at Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy. Douglas is an instructor in the martial arts discipline of Capoeira (i.e. African Brazilian) and Tai Chi. Douglas also served as a Visiting Lecturer for three years in the Religious Studies Department at Cleveland State University.
He has played and studied the guitar since his early teens. Douglas has performed in collaboration with master musicians and dancers worldwide. Public performances include Cleveland Museum of Art, House of Blues Foundation, Kent State University’s Folk Festival, Parade the Circle, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Public Theater, Taste of Cleveland, and many other community events. He served as a presenter for the Council of International Program Istanbul, Turkey; USA/ U.S. State Department (2005, 2006, 2008 & 2009).
What is your superpower? My superpower is being a motivator and showing love to all people.
Torrian Denise Creator and Founder, DorNee’ Natural Body Luxuries
During the pandemic, I took control of my health and well-being. In 2022, I will continue to protect my peace, spend more time with my family and friends, live and enjoy my life, and prioritize my self-care. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Life is too short; therefore, take a few moments each day to pause, breathe, give thanks, and center your mind, body, health, and spirit. A healthy lifestyle is essential to thriving and showing up as your best and authentic self.
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What is your superpower? My Superpower is being Spiritually grounded in the understanding that a disciplined mind finds opportunity within everything. We must be relentless in discovering our inner gifts and share them with humanity. We must live everyday as a miracle and not allow petty matters to influence our actions. Greatness is the essence of our genetic design and mediocrity should not fit in the equation. In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I will invest more quality time on
Derrick Holifield Principal Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy
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Derrick Holifield was born in Cleveland, and grew up in the Glenville neighborhood. He graduated from the Cleveland School of the Arts in 2010. Holifield attended Ohio University and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in African American Studies. He was active in student government and joined Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Phi Chapter and became the president of the chapter. After college, Holifield joined Teach for America and returned to his former middle-high school to teach English Language Arts to sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade scholars. While working as a teacher, Holifield earned a Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Economic Development from Cleveland State University. Holifield was hired to become the Principal of Kenneth W. Clement Boys’ Leadership Academy. He be-
the effective methods of adopting and being flexible to change. To ensure that self-care and professional growth are kept in proper perspective. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Live your truth with passion and unwavering devotion. Know yourself and allow that knowledge to serve as the inspiration for living a purposeful life. Stay firmly planted in the conviction that you deserve to be unapologetically - you! Your authenticity is a powerful badge of honor.
came the youngest principal within Cleveland public schools. What is your superpower? My superpower is knocking down barriers that prevent an equitable education for Black and Brown students. In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I plan to find new ways to engage scholars, families, teachers, and community members in innovative avenues to dismantle the oppression caused by the ills of poverty. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? When advocating for others, do not forget to advocate for yourself. Often you will have to teach people how to treat you. Work hard and do not settle. “If it is easy, you are not doing it right!”
Tammara Humbert has spent years in the accounting field in many industries including manufacturing, banking, and non-profit. She currently serves as the Accounting Director at CLE Consulting, a black-owned professional business, tax, accounting, and consulting firm in downtown Cleveland. A graduate from Shaw High School, she has a BA from John Carroll University in Communications, and a Master’s in Accounting Tammara D. Humbert, MAFM and Financial Management from Director of Accounting Keller Graduate School. She built CLE Consulting Firm her career on integrity, determination, and hard work. She loves to laugh, and tries to learn something every day. What is your superpower? My superpower is my resilience. I’ve been tossed into many arduous situations in my personal and professional career. My capacity to overcome those situations has become my superpower. Put me in any difficult situation, and I’m going to find my way out.
Cecil J. Lipscomb, CNM Executive Director United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland
Although originally from Richmond, Virginia–where he married his high school sweetheart, Erica– Cecil Lipscomb has been serving the greater Cleveland community for more than three decades. Lipscomb received his undergraduate degree from Ursuline College, his MBA from Weatherhead School of Management and certificate of nonprofit management from the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University. Since 2011, Lipscomb has served as the Executive Director of United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland,
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Prior to planning for 2022, I really need to take a hard look at 2021. In what areas was I successful? In what areas was I lacking? There are obvious experiences, triumphs, and mistakes that grew me into the professional person I am today, and there are those that did not. I plan to look at what I did to move forward and re-evaluate those things that held me back. Doing so will allow me to move much more strategically in 2022. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Her words of wisdom are from Rihanna: When you follow your heart or your gut, when you really follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose, because settling is the worst feeling in the world. As a Black woman, we often find ourselves settling. But why? Trust yourself, trust that feeling. Bet on yourself.
Inc. (UBF). Under his leadership, UBF has expanded their reach. In addition to providing much-needed grants to local grass-roots nonprofits, they’ve evolved into an organization that is respected regionally and nationally for their work as facilitator, collaborator, and activist for nonprofits and now minority-owned businesses in NE Ohio. What is your superpower? To be fearless. I am not afraid to make challenging decisions to bridge beyond our current plane of understanding.
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Daniel Roberson VP, PNC Community Development Consultant PNC Bank
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In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Going forward in 2022 with the help of Jerry Primm, former Board member and community strategist, UBF will bring together several key political figures and donors in support of the launch of the business incubator. In addition, I plan to guide UBF toward diversified investments into the community and an adjusted grant process that will provide a unique opportunity
to get to know grantee organizations better in the space of their expertise.
Daniel Roberson is the VP, PNC Community Development Consultant for Northern Ohio, serving Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Toledo and Youngstown. As the NOH Community Consultant, his focus is economic and workforce development, financial literacy, community services and a drive for revitalization for low-to-moderate-income (LMI) communities. Roberson has been an employee of PNC Bank for over 11 years, working initially in the retail branch segment to help promote personal financial literacy, stability and community sustainability. In his current role he loves working to connect the bank’s resources to LMI communities through employee engagement, affordable housing programs, financial literacy, effective banking solutions, community development lending, and community investing. Roberson was born in Akron, and earned a Bachelor of Organizational Management and a Workplace Communication certification
from The University of Akron. He serves on two separate boards in the Akron non-profit community, believing that community support starts with being a part of community solutions.
What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Always work towards your purpose. Reflect on the building blocks that got you to the present. When you look at the patterns of success from your past, you can look forward and duplicate the pattern and rhythms of your success.
What is your superpower? My superpower is having empathy towards others to help me connect to people. In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Because the pandemic has limited so many, I plan to personally reach out more to community partners, and to the community to help me understand a full picture of needs. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Have compassion all around. Compassion for yourself to forgive yourself when you go off track from a goal and compassion for another to help someone make it through a struggle.
Chef Eric Rogers Black Box Fix
Billy L. Sharp Billy Sharp OmniMedia (BSOM)
Ohio celebrity Chef Eric Rogers is from Cleveland, Ohio and is the creator of the Black Box Fix sandwich concept in Lyndhurst Ohio and Columbus Ohio. Born and raised in Cleveland, Rogers is a self-taught chef who learned cooking skills and methods from his grandparents and family restaurant. He is a leader in the community for giving back, mentoring and philanthropy. Chef Rogers has made an indelible mark on the Ohio food scene.
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I plan to do more mentoring and giving back to our seniors and youth. Write my first cookbook. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Dreams do come true! Passion, Purpose, Position. Always live with passion, make sure your purpose is your mission, always position yourself successful situations.
What is your superpower? Leading others.
Prior to becoming a Human Resources Manager for Ledwidge GP Management, DBA McDonald’s, Sharp founded Billy Sharp OmniMedia (BSOM), a company that produces, publicizes, and sells books, documentaries and educational DVDs and CDs as well as consulting. In 2018, BSOM started a new consulting division with McDonald’s, Chef Carolyn’s Exotic Cuisine, Central Towing & Auto Service and Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. Sharp is a philanthropist, community servant, President of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland Guild and President of Mastering Generosity Unlimited (MGU). A former candidate for Ohio State Representatives House District 10, Sharp continues to work to change our community. He was the Executive Director of The Straightway Project. He worked to bring resources to underprivileged households in the Glenville com-
munity. Sharp has worked with youth and on youth-related issues and The City of Cleveland in The Division of Parks and Recreation in administrative positions. He then went to work in the private sector as a top management administrator in the fast-food industry. Businesses include McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, where he continued to help low-income residents prepare and get the social skills they needed in an ever changing job market. What is your superpower? Organizing In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Streamline all our operations so we can give the best service possible. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? You have to put the work in.
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Taurean Spratt Business Manager Turner Construction Company
Lauren R. Welch Laurel Cadence
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Spratt is Turner Cleveland’s Business Manager and is responsible for all new project sales. Turner is currently ranked as the nation’s #1 General Contractor (2021-ENR). Spratt graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management with honors from The University of Cincinnati. He began his career with Turner Construction in 2004, and since then has performed leadership roles on multiple high-profile projects such as the FirstEnergy Stadium Modernization Project and the Cleveland Convention Center. Spratt is on the Board of Directors for the Cleveland Builders Exchange. He has played an instrumental role in Turner’s community engagement efforts, which includes facilitating Turner’s School of Construction Management program, as well as Turner’s Ohio Inclusion Action Team.
What is your superpower? Motivation. I have had the opportunity to lead several dynamic teams. I am passionate about motivating the team to not only accomplish the most complex project goals, but empowering them to reach their potential.
Lauren R. Welch is a Cleveland native whose expertise as an advocate, brand strategist, and creative have taken her across the nation and back again. Welch began her career working with high-profile clients such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Zico Coconut Water, Reebok, and more with over 15 years of expertise in high-profile marketing, communications, and advocacy. She uses her expertise to elevate the voices of people on the margins and is devoted to advocacy, arts/culture, and liberation work.
ments, projects, and ideas. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to do this for a living.
What is your superpower? Organizing. Both colleagues and acquaintances have referred to me as “Dot-Connector in Chief.” For most of my life, I naturally sought out opportunities to bring people together in order to build, repair, and elevate communities, move-
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I want to increase my level of mentorship within my community. As a father of two young boys, I understand the importance of having positive role models. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Take on a new role or assignment that takes you out of your comfort zone. The opportunities that appear to be the most challenging will provide the most growth.
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? I’d like to continue to discover ways to utilize my influence and expertise to improve issues in Cleveland, to spend more time with family and friends, and to prioritize self-care. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? The Northeast Ohio area is embarking on a new era of leadership, and it will require all of us working together to elevate and build sustainable communities. When you have the opportunity, give back. Listen as well as you speak. Create environments where many people can flourish rather than just a few.
Chef Eric Wells Skye LaRae’s Culinary Services
Arleesha Wilson, Esq. Law Office of Arleesha Wilson
Chef Eric Wells is a private chef, culinary instructor and caterer in the Northeast Ohio area. Chef Wells is one of the most respected and recognized chefs in Cleveland, appearing on local television more than 80 times. His business, Skye LaRae’s Culinary Services, has served the Cleveland area for over 17 years. Chef Wells is an advocate for healthy eating, especially among Cleveland’s youth. Chef Wells also donates time and resources to charitable organizations like The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, MOTTEP and The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.
What is your superpower? The ability to serve with humility.
Attorney Arleesha Wilson, “The People’s Esquire,” is an attorney passionate about providing legal services to the People! Wilson believes that all should have access to justice, but understands that many end up in the justice gap—where they do not qualify for legal aid, but cannot afford a high priced retainer. Her nearly three-year-old law firm, the Law Office of Arleesha Wilson, positions itself in the market to serve the underserved, providing legal assistance in the areas of real estate and bankruptcy. The goal of her business model is to close the Justice Gap, one client at a time. Outside of practicing law, Wilson, her better half, and her two children enjoy spending time exploring local and national parks. Although Wilson is a Cleveland native who takes great pride in being born and bred in 216, she enjoys traveling the world. She also
enjoys real estate investing and wild dreams of someday syndicating a multi-million-dollar deal. Wilson sends positive vibes to all and welcomes any opportunity to connect!
In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Adding two chefs to broaden our reach and to serve more clients. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Being an entrepreneur is not about money. It is about service. It is about humbling yourself to serve and please your clients.
What is your superpower? Solving legal problems that people cannot solve on their own. In 2022, what do you plan to do differently for yourself or your business? Hire help! I will no longer do it all myself as I have for the last three years. What words of wisdom would you like to share with our readers? Dreams do come true! Put one foot in front of the other and keep stepping. Before you know it, you’ll be at the finish line!
Submit professionals to be profiled in future issues of The Black Professional:
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