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E N T E R TA I N S ,




Volume 9 – Number 26 MARCH / APRIL 2017

JUSTICE FOR ALL First Female African-American States Attorney, Aramis Ayala

WOMEN’S WRITES Remarkable women share their trials, tribulations, and triumphs


WOMEN ON THE MOVE HONOREES Celebrating women who are making a difference




T H U R S DA Y, M A R C H 16 , 2 017 11: 3 0 A . M . T O 2 : 0 0 P. M . L O C A T ION: A L F ON D I NN HO T E L 3 0 0 E . N E W E NGL A N D AV E N U E W I N T E R PA R K , F L OR I DA 32 78 9 F OR A DDI T ION A L I N F OR M A T ION C A L L 4 0 7. 4 51. 2 8 91

contents 11 Carolyn Grant-Ford 12 Viviana Janer 13 Patty Sheehan 14 Dr. Angela Felecia Epps 15 Dr. Barbara M. Jenkins, Ed.D. 17 Maritza Martinez 18 Getting Down with Gumbo 20 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune: The Legendary Woman 22 Kathey K. Porter, MBA, CPSD 23 Dr. Falecia D. Williams 24 Lady Dr. Dhyana Ziegler, DCJ, Ph.D. 27 Ruby Cooper-Darling 28 Denise Hicks 29 Monica May 30 Jackie Brockington 31 Dr. Florence Alexander 32 The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida Eagle Awards 35 Lee Bryan 36 Women’s Writes 38 Natalie A. Jackson, Esq.. 39 Dr. Lucille O’Neal 40 Leticia M. Adams 41 Denee Benton


43 The United Negro College Fund Orlando (UNCF) 44 Beatrice Louissaint 45 Vernice Atkins-Bradley



46 Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esquire 47 Connie W. Kinnard 48 Rosalie Ellis Payne, D.B.A. 49 Camille M. Evans, Esq. 50 Marisol Romany 52 Fast Food, Healthy Food 56 The 24th Annual 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project 58 The African American Heritage Museum

Photo courtesy of Aramis Donell Ayala


42 Lauren Houston and Stefanie Campbell



MARCH/APRIL 2017 In celebration of Women’s History Month, we dedicate this issue to some of the most impactful and influential women in Florida. ONYX celebrates women trailblazers who commit themselves to making a difference in the communities where we live, work and play. The inspiration for this issue was born nearly three years ago. My sibling and I were singing the praises of my late father, Reginald Alexander Maycox Black, Sr. We spoke of the awesome things he accomplished with a high school education and determination. (For the record, my father and mother were the first Blacks to own a restaurant in downtown Orlando). As we spoke, I noticed my mother had distanced herself from the conversation. Then, in a very calm voice, my mother looked up from her plate and said “Your father was a king because I was queen and a king maker. Nothing your father accomplished was done without my support and my willingness to support his dreams…our dreams.” There was complete silence in the room as my mother began eating again, then lifted her head and smiled. “Make sure you add that to the story, she said. We had not included our mother in our father’s success. My dad always said my mother was his rock. I thought ‘how inconsiderate we were to sing our father’s praises without including our mom in any of the verses.’ Never again would I be so chauvinistic to believe a woman’s contributions are not as meaningful as that of her counterpart. And so, we salute women who set positive examples for their families and who also are driving forces in their communities and professions. You are phenomenal “Women on the Move” who remain committed to making it happen every day…women just like my mom. Love you, Mom!

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Dr. Phyllis Davis Dr. Laura Dorsey Gail Andrews Sharon Fletcher Jones Kenya Woodard DESIGN DIRECTOR Jason Jones BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Matt deJager EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Marianne Eggelston

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dr. Laura Dorsey Janice Jennings Sharon Fletcher Jones

Zelda Jones Steven King Roniece Weaver

CIRCULATION DIRECTORS Eugene Leach and Alice Leach CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Nancy Brown Billy Jones John Reed ONYX ADVISORY COMMITTEE Michelle Tatom, Chair Johnny Rivers, Immediate Past Chair Bob Berryhill Dr. Lavon Bracy Byron Brooks Hon. Mable Butler Dr. Cynthia Chestnut James Clark John Crossman Tony Hill Alama Horne Rodney Hurst

Ann Jenkins Larry Lee, Jr. Zita Steglich-Ross Nancy Schwalb Margaret J. Thompson Gail Dewitt Thomas Hon. Alan Williams Carla Williams Dr. Samuel Wright Lady Dhyana Ziegler




Lester and Lillian Seay ONYX is published by RBlack and Associates, LLC, Address: P.O. Box 555672, Orlando, Florida 32855-5872 Phone (407) 4512891, or (407) 298-0544. Subscription rate is $19.95 for six issues. For subscriptions and notification of address change, contact ONYX Magazine at the above address or e-mail us at Letters to the editor are encouraged. Copyright 2015 by ONYX Magazine. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced without written consent of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writer or interviewee and not necessarily those of the publisher. Manuscripts, photos and art should be submitted with a self-addressed stamped envelope. The publisher does not assume responsibility for any materials not submitted in manner advised. Unsolicited materials are not subject to payment from ONYX Magazine.

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STATE ATTORNEY ARAMIS DONELL AYALA, UNIQUELY FIRST By Sharon Fletcher Jones State Attorney Aramis Donell Ayala’s story is one for our history books. Correction: her-story books. She is the first African American ever to be elected to the position of top prosecutor in a Florida judicial district. In fact, on election eve with only Orange and Osceola counties reporting, Ayala had garnered more than 90% of the vote. While some pundits might argue that the relatively unknown attorney was thrust into the political arena only by a single billionaire’s financial backing others believe her straight forward,


no-nonsense approach to the practice of law coupled with a general like-ability had just as much if not more to do with her win. Nonetheless, the former cheerleader and track runner made her priorities crystal clear during her campaign and continues to do so. Ayala fought and beat cancer, returned to law school, passed the Florida Bar exam and started an impressive career as an assistant public defender and later as an assistant state attorney under Jeff Ashton (famed Casey Anthony prosecutor and incumbent).

With a platform that promised more transparency and a pledge to reduce the disparities between the state attorney’s office and minority communities, State Attorney Ayala’s work has just begun. We asked the State Attorney to answer a few questions so that our readers could have the opportunity to get to know her story…better… OM: What does being Florida’s first black State Attorney mean to you?

ADA: It is quite interesting, humbling

and an honor to carry a title I never aimed to achieve. I am proud to be Black. I am also proud to be a woman. But when I filed to run for State Attorney I was simply proud to be a highly qualified, competent, experienced and ethical candidate. It is encouraging to know glass ceilings are being broken and opportunities are available to those who are prepared, irrespective of historical limitations. On the other hand, it evidences a reality that there’s still much progress to be made. I find no pleasure in being a “firstâ€? without a voice that is respected, a perspective that is considered and momentum to assure there are 2nds and 3rds soon to follow. OM: What is your personal mantra? ADA: In all that I say and do, I envision the day we must all give an account of ourselves to God. I strive to hear those words‌ job well done my good and faithful servant. OM: If you had to choose another profession, what would it be? ADA: I really don’t believe we choose our profession. Every fiber in my being believes professions choose us based upon our purpose, passion and experience. My passion for justice runs remarkably deep. I cannot think of a day in my existence on this earth that the desire for justice was not in my heart. Jobs and titles may change but my profession will always be in the pursuit of justice. OM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? ADA: Don’t play it safe. Play it fair. Florida Supreme Court Justice James Perry offered that advice (among so much more insight and advice) just days before I took office. Those words resonated with me because I have never been one to say or do what’s safe. I love what is right and just and fair. That’s exactly how I will continue to live.

OM: And the worst? ADA: You should reconsider your law school aspirations. I remember exactly where I was when I was advised I may not be cut out to be a lawyer. Years later after a successful legal career I learned that advice is best given in the abstract. Advice can offer a caution, concern or even redirection. But it should never suggest an ultimate conclusion. We may advise people in life but we are not the author of others’ lives. OM: If you could choose a theme song for your life so far, what would it be? And why? ADA: HE’s Intentional – Travis Greene. I truly believe that all things are working for my good. I am who I am, where I am, and all that I am because nothing happens by chance. He’s intentional! OM: And what about for the rest of your journey? What’s on the playlist? ADA: This journey as State Attorney has just begun and my focus is right there. Goals are so important to our success. But once a goal has been achieved, it is most important to embrace the achievement by honoring and respecting the “right now.â€? My playlist is on repeat‌. Justice, humanity, integrity, competence. Justice. Humanity. Integrity. Competence. Justice. Humanity. Integrity. Competence.

OM: If you could have a dinner party with any 5 people, living or dead, who would they be? ADA: Justice Thurgood Marshall, Janet Reno, President Barack Obama (+1) Do spouses count in the ??? đ&#x;˜Š (Smile), Nelson Mandela, and Sadie Donell OM: Who or what inspires you most? ADA: I am most inspired by identifying what is right and getting on the side of right. This is true in every area of my life. I love to learn and grow. When I look back I want to always be proud that no matter what, I did what I believed was right. OM: What advice would you give to someone seeking to follow in your footsteps? ADA: Every person is a designer’s original and has their own path already set. To follow in my footsteps is to abandon your own God-given destiny. When you admire the outcome you undervalue the process. It is the process we undergo that develops the character to sustain the status. I would encourage anyone seeking to follow me to follow my faith walk, my focus and my commitment to walk in purpose on purpose daily. OM: Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers that we haven’t covered? ADA: My near death experience with cancer in 1999 (24 hours to live) solidified my perspective on life. I seek purpose in all I do. My faith carries me through life. I value relationships and recognize they give me fuel. My husband is my rock and my daughters keep my heart smiling. My closest girlfriends I’ve known for more than 20 and 35 years. I am grateful for this life. Editor’s Note: Supporters of Ayala (and ONYX readers) should rest easy that the right choice was made and that the first African American Florida State Attorney is more than up to the task.



Honorable Carolyn Grant-Ford Carolyn Ford is the Executive Director and founder of the North Florida Educational Development Corporation (NFEDC) which was started in 1986. NFEDC is a community based development organization which fully incorporates the comprehensive approach to community development. This corporation in rural North Florida administers the Wholistic Wellness Center which includes a walk-in Health Clinic, exercise gym, Outreach Summer Nutrition Program, and USDA Food Pantry. The Wellsprings Center incorporates a Grower’s Cooperative, NFEDC’s Farm and Wellsprings Farmers Market. The Housing Department includes a developed and managed twenty-two unit rental complex (Lanier Oaks), Hamilton Place is a ten single family housing unit, and Cooper Place, is a sixteen unit multi-family rental complex that are being developed. The Gadsden Freedom School opened its doors for the first time in 2014 under the leadership of Ms. Ford. Serving on the former Rural LISC Advisory Committee, Florida Housing Coalition Board of Directors, and as former Mayor of Quincy, the former chairperson of the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Board of Directors of Southern Partners Foundation are just a few of Ms. Ford’s civil activities

including membership in NAACP and the Gadsden Democratic Women’s Club. Ms. Ford’s prior professional experience was in community organizing and development, mental health and educational fields. She received her bachelors’ and masters’ degrees from Florida A&M University; and a specialist degree from Florida State University. Currently, she is serving as a Board member of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy. Ms. Ford’s has received many awards during her career, among them are; The Distinguished Service Award, the City of Gretna, FL (1991). The Gloria Steiner Women of Vision Award for Economic Justice, Ms. Foundation for Women, New York (1992). The Dedicated Service Award to the Youth of Gadsden County, Change Agent Project Designee, Center for Community Change, Washington D.C (1993). Honors Award from Youth Build U.S.A. (1995). Featured in Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s most Influential Person for 2006. The Carolyn G. Ford Amphitheatre in the City of Quincy was dedicated in February 2013.



Honorable Viviana Janer Viviana Janer was elected to the Osceola County Commission in 2014. An Osceola County resident and homeowner for more than a decade, Commissioner Janer has been involved in the community, volunteering for various organizations. Commissioner Janer is the Chairwoman of LYNX and the Vice Chairwoman of the Tourist Development Council (TDC), Secretary of the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission (i.e., SunRail), and Chairwoman of GOPEP (Greater Osceola Partnership for Economic Prosperity). She also serves on MetroPlan Orlando, the Tourism Development Council, the Lynx Oversight Board and the Congress of Regional Leaders Board. Commissioner Janer was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico


and raised in New York City. She believes education is the key to success having earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Public Accounting and later a Master of Business Administration with academic honors. She has more than twenty years of experience in corporate accounting. Commissioner Janer’s goal is to improve the quality of life for the residents in Osceola County through enhanced infrastructure and transportation. She is passionate about creating affordable options so that residents have housing alternatives that fit their budgets. In addition, she advocates for the creation of high-paying jobs through economic development and is passionate that residents have all the tools needed to achieve a healthier lifestyle.


Honorable Patty Sheehan Patty Sheehan was first elected to the Orlando City Council to represent District 4 in April of 2000. She was the first openly-gay elected official in Central Florida. Commissioner Sheehan attended Seminole State College and the University of Central Florida where she earned her BA in Art. She worked full-time at a construction company to pay for her education. A former administrator with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Commissioner Sheehan serves her constituents full-time. Commissioner Sheehan’s efforts have been recognized by many organizations; The State of Florida’s Davis Productivity Award for measurably increasing performance and state services to taxpayers. She has repeatedly been voted one of Orlando’s Best Local Politicians. She received the Spectrum Award for Community Activism, Role Model and Lifetime Achievement. In 2015 Commissioner Sheehan was the first recipient of The Center’s Lifetime Achievement award. In 2016 she was awarded the Chuck Hummer Visionary Award from the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida. Patty Sheehan has served her community through many orga-

nizations. She is a volunteer for Green-Up Orlando and Keep Orlando Beautiful. The Nominating Committee and The Public Safety Advisory Committee of the National League of Cities, The Ripple Effect, MetroPlan, Seniors First, Orlando NOW, Central Floridians Against Discrimination, Joy Metropolitan Community Church and the Seminole County School’s Dividends Program. She has also served nationally as the President of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Local Officials (GLBLO) constituency group at the National League of Cities. Internationally, Commissioner Sheehan served as Treasurer of the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials, which is comprised of openly gay and lesbian elected and appointed officials from around the world. She enjoys many activities including painting, gardening, paddle boarding and Dragon Boat racing. She is an artist who exhibits her “Bad Kitty” paintings in local restaurants, clubs and shops. She has been a Central Florida resident for 36 years, and has lived in her quaint, Colonialtown 1928 bungalow home for over 15 years. Patty lives with Nina Simone, her rescue puppy Sienna, a diva kitty (also a rescue), and her mini flock of urban chickens.



Dr. Angela Felecia Epps January 4, 2016, Angela Felecia Epps assumed the role of Dean of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law. Prior to joining the FAMU College of Law, Epps was a professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Epps entered legal academia in 1999 continuing a career that included public service in other arenas. In 1980, she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska in 1983, she attended The Basic School in Quantico Virginia followed by Naval Justice School (NJS) in Newport Rhode Island. Epps graduated with honors from NJS and was certified as a Judge Advocate in the United States Navy. She served 10 years on active duty holding a variety of positions including Defense Counsel, Trial Counsel, Chief Military Justice Officer, Chief Civil Law Officer and Chief Legal Assistance Officer. Epps was awarded the


Naval Achievement Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal while on active duty. Dean Epps left the USMC in 1992 having attained the rank of Major. She continued serving the community by working for Georgia Legal Services Program (GLSP) as the managing attorney of its Albany, Georgia Office. As managing attorney, Epps supervised the efforts of attorneys and administrative staff in providing free legal services to low income people in 19 counties in Southwest Georgia. In 1999, Epps came to the UALR Bowen School of Law to work as supervising attorney in the Mental Health Law Clinic, part of the Bowen Legal Clinic. She went on to teach Trial Advocacy, Legal Interviewing and Counseling, Criminal Law, and Pre-Trial Criminal Procedure. Epps served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from May 2008 to December 2014. Angela Epps continues her commitment to community service by serving on the Board of Directors of several community organizations.


Dr. Barbara M. Jenkins, Ed.D. Dr. Barbara Jenkins has been dedicated to serving the needs of students for more than 25 years. She was named superintendent for Orange County Public Schools in 2012. Under Dr. Jenkins’ leadership, the district won the prestigious 2014 Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize earned half-amillion dollars for student scholarships from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. The district received the Governor’s Sterling Award in 2014 and 2015 for its exemplary performance using research-based best practices in its business. In 2015, OCPS received District Accreditation from AdvancED for its best practices in the education field. Also, for three of the last five years, OCPS was named to the AP District Honor Roll by the College Board, for increasing access to Advanced Placement course work, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning exam scores for college credit. Dr. Jenkins is a recognized education leader. In January 2017, she was appointed a director on the National Board of Education Sciences. She serves on the executive board of directors of the

Council of Great City Schools, is a member of Chiefs for Change, is a member of the Florida Council of 100, and is past president of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents. She was named the 2017 Florida Superintendent of the Year and is one of four finalists for U.S. Superintendent of the Year. The Orlando Business Journal honored her as a CEO of the Year in 2015. In 2014, she was named the Visionary Award recipient by the Girl Scouts of Citrus Council, and the Central Florida Woman of the Year by the Women’s Executive Council. Recognized for her commitment and influence, both the Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Magazine have named her as one of the ten most powerful people in Central Florida.. Deeply engaged in the community, Dr. Jenkins serves on the boards of United Arts of Central Florida, Winter Park Health Foundation, Greater Orlando Economic Development Commission, Florida Hospital, Central Florida Regional Commission on Homelessness, Orange County Youth Mental Health Commission, and is a member of the Aspen Urban Superintendent’s Network.



FLORIDA LOTTERY CELEBRATES NEW MILESTONES Recognizing $6 Billion in Sales and $30 Billion in Transfers to Education

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Lottery announces its fifth consecutive record-breaking sales year with an estimated $6.06 billion in annual sales during fiscal year 2015-16. In addition, the Lottery anticipates reaching $30 billion in transfers to education since 1988. Governor Rick Scott said, “We are working each day to ensure that Florida’s students have the resources and opportunities they need to get a great education so they can succeed in their future careers. I applaud the Lottery for their commitment to investing in education and look forward to seeing Florida’s students become the leaders of tomorrow.” “The Florida Lottery’s mission is to maximize revenues for the enhancement of public education. We are extremely proud to be able to transfer $1.66 billion to education this year as a result of having reached $6 billion in sales. This represents a 10.9% increase in transfers to education over the previous year, something all Florida students and teachers can celebrate,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie. “I want to thank our retail partners, loyal players and dedicated employees who work hard every day to ensure the Florida Lottery continues to be among the very best in the nation.” Over the past 28 years, the Florida Lottery has firmly established itself as a dependable funding source for public education, contributing more than $1 billion annually for each of the past 13 consecutive fiscal years. The Lottery’s commitment to corporate outreach and its effective business model focuses on the development of new revenue streams, creating a winwin partnership with its retailers and vendors, and benefitting Florida’s overall economy. Lottery transfers to education represent approximately six percent of the state’s total education budget, and are appropriated by the Florida Legislature and administered by the Florida Department of Education. CONTACT: LOTTERY COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE • (850) 487-7727

FACTS • Since 1988, the Florida Lottery has contributed more than $30 billion to education, and has transferred more than $1 billion to education for each of the past 13 years. • More than $4.8 billion in Bright Futures scholarships have been awarded to more than 725,000 students in the state. Additionally, $415 million has been provided to students in the form of other state student financial aid. • Florida’s public schools (Pre-K and K-12 programs) have received more than $16.4 billion since the Lottery’s inception. Florida’s state universities and colleges have also benefited, receiving a combined total of more than $7.8 billion since the Lottery’s inception. • The Lottery broke all sales records in fiscal year 2015-16, reaching more than $6 billion in sales and surpassing last year’s sales of $5.5 billion by more than $480 million. • The Lottery had record Scratch-Off sales for 11 of the 12 months of fiscal year 2015-16, which helped lead to overall record gross sales for 8 of the 12 months this fiscal year, giving the Lottery its best sales year ever. • Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $52.4 billion in prizes and made more than 1,900 people millionaires.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA LOTTERY The Florida Lottery is responsible for contributing more than $30 billion to education and sending more than 725,000 students to college through the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. The Florida Lottery reinvests 97 percent of its revenue back into Florida’s economy through prize payouts, commissions to more than 13,000 Florida retailers and transfers to education. Since 1988, Florida Lottery games have paid more than $52.4 billion in prizes and made more than 1,900 people millionaires. For more information, please visit


Maritza Martinez Maritza Martinez is associate vice president of the University of Central Florida, Division of Community Relations. With more than ten years of experience in community and public relations in higher education. She is involved with many local organizations, serving on the boards of the American Heart Association, the Downtown Orlando Partnership, Valencia College’s Take Stock in Children, Florida Blue’s Statewide Multicultural Advisory Council, and the African American Chamber. She is a past Chair, Board Member, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Past Chair, Board Member, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; Member, Orange County Public Schools Hispanic Council; Member, Project DTO Task Force Economic Competitiveness Committee; Chair, Chamber Coa-

lition Capitol Connection Committee; Member, East Orlando Chamber of Commerce South East Business Council; UCF Liaison, Hispanic Heritage Scholarship Fund of Metro Orlando; Member, Winter Park Chamber Government Affairs Committee; Member, Project DTO Task Force Economic Competitiveness Committee. She represents the University of Central Florida as a volunteer with several nonprofit organizations. Maritza received her bachelor’s, master’s and MBA from UCF. She was named the Orlando Business Journal’s 2012 Woman to Watch and listed in July of 2013 as one of Orlando Magazine’s twelve people to watch. Maritza is married to Julio E. Guerrero and has two daughters, Juliana and Mariana, ages twelve and ten, respectively. She enjoys reading, running and biking.



gumbo! Getting down with


umbo has hundreds of variations... This is just one. This recipe is Filé based and should be used to enhance your current gumbo recipe. Thyme is important as it is the primary seasoning. Use sprigs of thyme that are removed before serving. Place Filé on the table in a shaker and use individually to taste. Have you ever wondered why your gumbo seemed to go bad in a day or so even if frozen or refrigerated? Cooking with Filé speeds up spoilage. To prevent that, use Filé on the table instead of cooking with it. Do not use any raw protein. Your chicken should be par boiled in ole bay. Snow crab, smoked and andouille sausage add depth while el camaron or powdered shrimp is a big flavor enhancer. Jumbo size shrimp should be added last so they do not overcook. Sweat onions, bell pepper and celery in a sauté pan with chicken stock. If you want a kick add cayenne pepper to taste. 18 ONYX MAGAZINE

Sear chicken wings cut into sections on a flat top and place in oven to cook before adding to the gumbo. Use sea salt, pepper and garlic powder on the wings and include the drippings in the gumbo. Make a rue with butter and flour to get the consistency desired. Use a cast iron skillet to precook all ingredients. Serve your gumbo over rice if desired. These gumbo tips are from Lois Herndon a public speaker and mental health trainer. Lois grew up cooking Cajun style food for her friends and family. Drink pairing with gumbo does not have to be complicated. With the seafood base that we have you can always use a bright and fruity Riesling. If you prefer a very spicy gumbo, then a beer or ale would be the best compliment. If you have questions about food or wine drop me a line.

By Steven King

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune: The Legendary Woman When you think of the women who have impacted us most in this world, you associate powerful attributes such as tenacious, unbreakable, brave and brilliant. These are just a few characteristics of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. She was a voice for those who couldn’t speak for themselves and made it her life’s work to empower them, as well. Dr. Bethune is one of our world’s greatest leaders and is the epitome of a Woman on the Move. Dr. Bethune was unapologetic in her desire to educate and uplift women of color. This was evident in her pursuit of what is now internationally known as the great Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU). She started Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute for Negro Girls with just $1.50 and five little girls in 1904. When the city gave her a dumpsite for her school, she was not discouraged. She kept pushing because she knew this work would change the world. Dr. Bethune’s school taught young women 20 ONYX MAGAZINE

to become independent and self-sufficient by sharpening their home-making skills. Educational courses, including business and mathematics, were eventually implemented. She increased the school’s enrollment into the hundreds in her first couple of years and eventually merged with an all boys school to become Bethune-Cookman College. While building the college was a great accomplishment and continuous journey, Dr. Bethune knew that she had more work to do. She wanted a seat at the table for women and African-Americans. Dr. Bethune’s fearless approach resulted in becoming the leader of the National Association for Colored Women and an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Eventually, she would go on to launch and lead her own civil rights organization, the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW). Dr. Bethune’s passion and leadership caught the attention of national decision-makers and resulted in several presidential appointments. The

Photos courtesy of Bethune-Cookman University

By Jhada Walker and Keisha Boyd

President Edison O. Jackson with students and recent graduates.

Photos courtesy of Bethune-Cookman University

Dr. Bethune’s innovative ideas and dedication to making a change in the world has affected many people long after her time on earth. most notable appointment was as President Roosevelt’s Director of Negro Affairs for the National Youth Administration. Dr. Bethune’s courageous fight for the rights of women, African-Americans and Americans, in general, didn’t stop once she gained entrance into the White House. Dr. Bethune actively participated in the fight for women’s suffrage. She educated African-Americans to prepare for literacy tests and personally collected donations to fund poll taxes for those who were interested in registering to vote. By implementing faith in all of her works, Dr. Bethune was able to become the first African-American woman to develop her own institution of higher learning. In addition, she fostered genuine relationships with influential political figures, such as former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped with the expansion of the university. Dr. Bethune’s innovative ideas and dedication to making a change in the world has affected many people long after her time on earth. Her passion for education, service and activism lives on through nearly 15,000 B-CU graduates and the members of NCNW. Dr. Bethune would be amazed

at the growth of that dumpsite in Daytona Beach, where it all started. She would marvel at the population of nearly 4,000 ambitious students, 85.5 acres of land, 78 campus buildings, and an endowment of more than $54M. It is evident that Dr. Bethune’s work will continue on for years to come. Currently carrying the torch is Dr. Edison O. Jackson, the sixth president of Bethune-Cookman University. Dr. Jackson has served B-CU since 2012 and has made great strides in an effort to assure that B-CU is Ascending to Greatness. Over the past years, B-CU has risen from #31 to #23 in the U.S. News and World Report top HBCU rankings. College Choice named B-CU its third best HBCU; and the White House Initiative on HBCUs ranked B-CU #10 for applicants in the nation. The university is the State of Florida’s only United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) certified online program and is a designated Military Friendly school. B-CU now offers 43 degrees and programs including the new School of Religion and the Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management. In

addition, the university expects to offer its first doctorate degree in 2018. The university campus has certainly expanded with the opening of two new, state-of-the-art residential halls. B-CU now offers on-campus housing to 3,000 students. President Jackson and his administration are now working to build a new student center, which is set to offer more than 110,000 sq. ft. of innovation for B-CU’s deserving students. President Jackson and Dr. Joe Petrock, Chairman of the B-CU Board of Trustees, created the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Awards Gala, which is now the largest gala in Volusia County. It has raised more that $7M and hosted nearly 3,300 guests over the last four years. The university’s commitment to the community is unwavering and consistently displayed with continuous outreach to the Midtown and Daytona Beach residents. B-CU offers summer learning programs for elementary youth, STEM focused camps for middle and high school students, and business classes for budding and established entrepreneurs. President Jackson has demonstrated his commitment to the success of B-CU. Here are a few great accomplishments under his leadership: implementation of a 24-Hour Student Learning Resource Center; increased number of graduates; eight (8) new Institutional Student Learning Outcomes; construction of new residence halls; adding 1,200 new living spaces to the campus; establishment of new academic colleges and schools; increased number of applications; addition of five (5) graduate degree programs; creation of a new Online College; certified by the USDLA; increase of faculty research proposals and grants; record number of State of Florida appropriations; increased number of males enrolled. Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune laid the foundation and set the example of greatness for B-CU. She was a teacher, nurturer and motivator. Her legacy is one that will live on forever and her students will continue to honor her by “Entering to Learn and Departing to Serve.” ONYX MAGAZINE 21


Kathey K. Porter, MBA, CPSD A nationally-recognized small business expert with an impressive cadre of experience spanning nearly two decades in marketing, small business development, supplier diversity and entrepreneurship, Kathey has been a supplier diversity director and consultant for the government, higher education and corporate sectors. She has successfully assisted small businesses to receive millions of dollars in contract opportunities. As the Director of Small Business and Vendor Diversity Relations for the University of Florida, she is responsible for an inclusive program focusing on ensuring equal access for Small/HUB Zone/Minority/Small Disadvantaged/Veteran/Service-Disabled Veteran/& Women-Owned businesses, by providing them equal opportunity to compete for procurement and contracting opportunities at the University. Within the community, she actively coordinates training and technical assistance for small businesses through workshops, seminars and one-on-one assistance and serve as the university’s Small Business liaison to the small business community. She frequently collaborates with various governmental entities and the business community and actively participate on boards and committees for various professional and community organizations. Previously a marketing executive in the beauty industry for


companies including Carson Products, Revlon Professional and Colomer USA, Kathey was responsible for new product development, launch strategy and marketing activation for brands targeting multicultural consumers. An adjunct business instructor with over a decade of diversified teaching experience, Kathey has lectured at Virginia Tech-Pamplin College of Business, Savannah State University, Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Strayer University, Columbia College and University of Phoenix. Kathey serves on many national and international professional committees and is a frequent speaker, panelist and workshop facilitator. Kathey has been featured in numerous media outlets including Ebony, Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, Sirius XM, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox 5-DC and was the featured Small Business Expert in the September issue of ESSENCE magazine. Kathey received her MBA from Georgia Southern University, BBA from Savannah State University and a CPSD (Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity) through the Institute for Supply Management and served as a Supply Specialist in the Georgia Army National Guard.


Dr. Falecia D. Williams Dr. Falecia D. Williams is a community activist and devotes her time to social action and empowerment. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida and is a proud member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – Orlando Chapter and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – Orlando Chapter. She is the recipient of numerous honors and distinctions, and serves humbly as an ordained minister and pastor of Hurst Chapel A.M.E. Church in the Historic Paramore Heritage Neighborhood in Downtown Orlando. An extensive career in education has been the hallmark for Dr. Williams’s life. She currently serves as the West Campus President for Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, one of the nation’s largest and most celebrated community colleges. Valencia is widely known for its academic excellence, deep faculty engagement, high rates of graduation, exceptional job placement rates, and outstanding partnerships within the community and business industry. Dr. Williams was recently tapped to lead Valen-

cia’s collaborative efforts with the University of Central Florida to garner state approval for a new campus in Downtown Orlando, and she will add the newly approved campus to her portfolio of responsibilities. Prior to her career at Valencia College, Dr. Williams was a secondary teacher in gifted and honors education, coach, and grant administrator in the Lake County Public School system for eight years and taught one year in the Orange County Public School system. She led significant efforts to close the performance gaps for students, increase community outreach, strengthen parental support, and broaden professional development opportunities for teachers. Dr. Williams earned her Bachelor of Arts at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL, Master of Arts at Stetson University in Deland, FL, and Doctor of Education at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. Dr. Williams is married to retired Lieutenant Alfred E. Williams, and they are the proud parents of Adonis V. Williams and Cameron A. Williams.



Lady Dr. Dhyana Ziegler, DCJ, Ph.D. Lady Dhyana Ziegler, DCJ, Ph.D. is the Garth C. Reeves Eminent Scholar Chair in the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication at Florida A&M University. She also has a list of impressive administrative positions at FAMU, such as, Assistant Vice President of Instructional Tech-


nology/Academic Affairs, Acting Vice President of Research, and Director of the Office of International Education and Development. Prior to joining FAMU, she spent fourteen years at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) where she is a Charter Inductee in the African American Hall of


Fame for being the only African American in the history of the institution to be elected President of the Faculty Senate. Dr. Ziegler is an expert and innovator in digital education, media and instructional technology. She has been from its establishment, one of the guiding architects in the growth and development of the Florida Virtual School where she currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She is a world scholar, dynamic leader, trailblazer, transformer and power broker. In 2007, Dr. Ziegler was invited to attend a knighting ceremony at Warrick Castle in England by the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Justice. “I was just excited that I was going to dine in a castle,” says Ziegler. That year she was honored for her work in education. The next year on April 12, 2008, she was knighted in Cambridge, England as a Dame of Justice. When asked about the pathway to knighthood, she simply replies, “they choose you. You don’t choose them.” Dr. Ziegler has a B.S. (Cum Laude) in Journalism and Music, an M.S. in Radio and Television, a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, and a Post-Doctoral Certificate in Management and Leadership in Higher Education from Harvard University. Recognized for her wisdom, character and ability to motivate and guide others, she is a visionary who inspires other to dream big! Most important, she is guided by her faith and the guiding principle “to whom much is given, much is required.” Dr. Ziegler’s leadership, honors and awards are numerous and very diverse. The Girls Scouts of the Florida Panhandle honored her among the Women of Distinction in Education in 2012 and the Oasis Center for Women

and Girls honored her as a Trailblazer in 2014. She is a Fulbright-Hays Scholar, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Delta Kappa, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Delta Kappa Gamma. She is a seven-time Governor’s Appointee: five-time appointee to the Florida Virtual School and a two-time appointee to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and was recently elected Vice Chair. She also serves on the Board of Florida Tax Watch and the Advisory Committee for ONYX Magazine. When asked, what set her apart from others, her students and colleagues said that she is extraordinary at all she does.



Ruby Cooper-Darling Born June 28, 1941, Mrs. Ruby Ann Cooper-Darling was predestined to be among the female catalysts on the political and social scene in The Bahamas. Her father, a Baptist Minister, was a very active outspoken freedom fighter in the struggle for Majority Rule in The Bahamas. This educated her on what was happening around her and ignited a fire in her to become involved. Mrs. Cooper-Darling received a “Mission from God.” That mission would change her life and those of tens of thousands of black Bahamian women. After the right for women to become registered voters, gallantly led The Women’s Suffrage Movement, the prize was to preserve history by becoming the first women to register as a voter in The Bahamas in 1962. Throughout the ensuing years the passion of mentoring young people who have fallen through the cracks of life, bringing words of comfort and hope to those burnt, scarred and bruised from the social injustices, denied opportunities and labeled as ‘hopeless, spiritually encouraging the faint of heart and burdened with cares of life, brings joy at the end of a day.

Mrs. Cooper-Darling is an Educator, Ordained Minister, Columnist, Musician/Church Organist, Former Senator and Member of Parliament, Distinguished Citizen of The World, Global Peace Ambassador. She continues to facilitate as Facilitator for the Florida and National Student Leadership Forum on Faith & Values hosted by the United States Senators. She is also involved with International Friends of the National Prayer Breakfast. Presently she is Program Coordinator for The Government’s Urban Renewal Commission and introduced The Peace Ambassadors Initiative which seeks to develop and empower her people, and rehabilitate physical environs thus enhancing and improving safety and security measures and alertness. Mrs. Cooper-Darling is Divorced, the mother of three children, twins Dwight and Dawn, Odessa, 6 grandchildren, all of whom live in The United States – Nia, Joshua, Ashley and twins, Faith and David. She loves gardening because she says the earth reminds her ‘from whence she came.’ Playing the Great Hymns of The Church is uplifting when the ‘going gets rough.’



Denise Hicks Denise Hicks is the Director of Research at the Orlando Business Journal. This means that she is responsible for the generation, creation and oversight of all OBJ Top Lists products, including online, digital and print publication, as well as the annual OBJ Book of Lists. The job of researcher is not an easy one. You must be very organized and detail oriented to build and manage more than 175 databases, with information as general as contacts to more sensitive financial information. You must possess a fearlessness when you are under fire. Denise feels important are the relationships that she has built, and the mutual trust that the business community has invested in her. She has been with OBJ for over 16 years. In addition, she is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. This success in her life did not happen overnight. She had parents that believed that a good education was key. Denise began her studies at Indiana University completing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Writing and African-American History. Currently she is finishing Religious Studies at Faith Institute (Orlando).


Her studies are only part of her spiritual life. She says that she is a God girl. Denise feels that His call on her life keeps her grounded. His Spirit guides her during very difficult times. However, most important His love sustains her knowing that there is something greater than herself that controls everything. Her faith is not all that keeps her grounded. Her family pays a part in that also. Denise has been married to Norris Hicks for over 21 years. They have four children, J.M. Gray, Alex Gray and Nicolas Gray and Kerry Campbell. Grandchildren are always a joy and Denise has four adorable ones. They are Grace Riley, Larkin John, Jayden Alexander and Cheyenne Renee. She is also an animal lover having several pets. When she is not spending time with her immediate family, she finds multi ways to spend her time. An avid reader she also enjoys cruising; gardening; administrating and leading Faith Small Groups at Faith Assembly of God, Michigan Street Campus. Denis Hick is a WOMAN ON THE MOVE!


Monica May Speaker, CEO & Philanthropist Monica May believes that healthy communication is the key to living the most fulfilling and effective life. Her experience as a 30-year broadcast (radio and television) veteran, host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show (Orlando Affiliate Star 94.5) and creator of the fastest growing mother-daughter communications workshop entitled, “Let’s Spill the Tea” has distinguished Monica as an expert in optimal communications. Monica speaks to audiences around the world to fulfill her purpose of empowering mothers and daughters to create thriving relationships through healthy communication. As CEO of Monica May Communications, she has developed a variety of life skills and mass media curriculums for organizations as well as parents and teens on topics such as: Dress for Success, Self Esteem, Team Building and College Readiness. Her flagship workshop, “Let’s Spill the Tea” came to life after a heart-to-heart with her daughter and many other young women who once felt guarded when it came to having difficult conversations with their mothers. Monica’s philanthropic roots stem from her extensive history of community involvement. Her concern and generosity toward

community projects, garnered her the title of the HARDEST WORKING WOMAN IN RADIO. Her work with the homeless and managing a $4 million fundraising project for the Knowles Temenos Place in Houston is one of many highlights of her career. She has a B.S. Degree in Speech Communication from the State University of New York at Brockport and obtained hours toward a Master’s in Counseling. Monica received numerous awards some of which include: The Urban Radio Programming, Billboard’s Top Programmer Nominee, Top 25 Women in Orlando-Women’s History Project, Parent of the Year-N.A.A.C.P., Outstanding Reporter – Florida Public Health Association and many others. She sits on the Black Advisory Council for Valencia College and the YMCA Teen Achievers. She currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her husband George and dog Jean Gray, and will be opening her very own Tea Room in Central Florida, to continually host “Let’s Spill the Tea” workshops and deliver other optimal communications programs and coaching.



Jackie Brockington She is a well-known name around Central Florida and knows our area’s news, and that knowledge makes Jackie a strong addition to the anchor desk at News 13. This Brooklyn, New Yorker’s first broadcasting job was doing weather in Green Bay, Wisconsin. But that was only the first stop. Jackie has worked in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Maryland and San Diego, California. She has also worked as a news anchor for other local stations in Orlando. The excitement of something new each day is what fascinates Jackie about her work. She likes being in the middle of the action. When she’s not anchoring the news, Jackie likes to spend time visiting her family in New York. She has two daughters, two grandchildren (boy and girl) who she admittedly spoils to pieces. Her


granddaughter is fluent in Italian and French. Her granddaughter follows in her father’s footsteps and is an accomplished chef of Italian cuisine but loves cooking different foods and baking. Her grandson is all boy and gives Jackie quite a workout. He is excellent at soccer and loves American football as well. He especially enjoys dinner dates out with “Nonna” at his favorite restaurant when attending camp here one month during the summer. The rest of her family here is made up of her boyfriend, Robert, and two cats that had been abandoned as kittens. Jackie enjoys cooking, reading, entertaining and traveling. A cancer survivor, Jackie says she wants to make sure that she has contributed with her life.


Dr. Florence Alexander Dr. Alexander began her business career in the basement of her home with only a manual typewriter while a single mom rearing her young son. Overcoming many hurdles of racism, sexism and “bullying”, she drew on her inner strength and internalized a standard of excellence in reaching seemingly impossible goals. Ebon Research Systems has employed in excess of 1,500 full-time staff in all 50 states and from 3 foreign countries and grossed more than $450 million dollars in federal contracts. Dr. Alexander’s entrepreneurial journey has taken her into the minefields of Federal government contracting and through the challenging terrain of pursuing education. From Ohio State University, she received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her Master of Science Degree was awarded in the areas of Administration and Nursing from the Catholic University. She received a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in the fields of Human Development Education, Research and Evaluation. She has received a multitude of awards, but when speaking to her she is most proud of receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

from the 44th President of the United States, President Barak Obama. She has also been named as Entrepreneur of the Year, received the Federal Woman’s Award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice award. To whom much is given, much is required. Dr. Alexander is involved in many non-profit organizations. To give back to society, she and her husband founded the Ebon International Preparatory Academy with seventeen buildings on forty-four acres in Forsyth, Georgia for disenfranchised youth. Currently they have Ebon Production Studios™, LLC where she is President and Director of Young Stars Foundation, Inc. (501©3). This is an audio and video stateof-the-art studio supporting the creation and production of training films, infomercials, commercials, full feature movies and concerts. Her foundations have provided more than 200 scholarships for students attending HBCUs. In addition to these endeavors, she has numerous community and professional associations. She is married to Dr. Stanley Alexander, has three children and seven grandchildren.



Herzing University wins 2017 Corporate Recognition Award


Organization honored at African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida’s annual Eagle Awards

erzing University wins 2017 Corporate Recognition Award Organization honored at African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida’s annual Eagle Awards Herzing University was honored for its commitment to business and social responsibility with the Corporate Recognition Award during the Eagle Awards, the signature event of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, on January 14, 2017. “In addition to providing our students an excellent educational experience, we strive to add value to Central Florida through the organizations and projects we support,” said Heatherann Antonacci, Campus President. “Our goal is to provide our community resources and support that changes lives.” In 2016, Herzing University extended more than twenty-five MBA scholarships to members of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida who are entrepreneurs. To date, fourteen scholarships valued at more than $389,000 have been awarded. Additionally, Herzing hires diverse faculty and staff; provides mentoring and coaching for minority students at no cost; facilitates employee development through a partnership with Vantage Point Coaching; partners with Wyche & Associates, a local Black-owned public relations firm; and supports the African American Chamber as a Founding Trustee. The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida’s Eagle Awards salute corporations that drive the growth and development of Central Florida’s diverse business landscape. The


Corporate Recognition Award honors an organization that demonstrates the highest commitment to business and social responsibility. The ideal organization is instrumental in growing Black small businesses by providing sound professional advice, performing duties beyond normal practices, and positively influencing businesses Heatherann on a mentorship or contractual basis. Antonnaci, Campus Herzing University is an accredited priPresident Herzing vate nonprofit institution, encompasses University, eleven campuses in eight states, a continuing education division, an online division and has a current enrollment of approximately 6,000 students. Founded in Milwaukee in 1965, today the University offers career-focused, convenient and caring education for master’s, bachelor’s, and associate degrees, diplomas and continuing education in the fields of nursing, technology, business, healthcare and public safety. In 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked Herzing University as one of the “Best Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs” nationally. Herzing University has also been recognized on the GI Jobs magazine list of “Military Friendly Schools” from 2013 through 2017. Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission; More information about Herzing University is available at:

Heatherann Antonnaci, Campus President Herzing University, Corporate Recognition of the Year Award.

Cameron Saulsby, Owner, CK Flooring, Business of the Year Award.

Adrian Ellis, Infinity Protection Service, Enterprise Business of the Year Award.

Dorian Boyland, CEO Mercedes Benz of South Orlando, Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Shelia Norton, Owner, B Cupcake, Eagle Award.

Jasmine Gebon accepted the Eagle Award for Inez Long, president, BBIF.

THE AFRICAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF CENTRAL FLORIDA EAGLE AWARDS The African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida (AACCCF) and Walt Disney World Resort were the proud presenters of the 2017 Eagle Awards. The Eagle Awards was held on January 14, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Eagle Awards are the AACCCF’s crowning celebration for Central Florida’s most dynamic businesses and entrepreneurs. The Eagle Awards serve as a time to recognize and honor the corporations positively impacting our community and driving the growth and development of our business vibrant and diverse business landscape. Serving Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, the African American Chamber of Commerce Central Florida serves as the principal leader and preeminent organization advocating for the advancement of black and minority-owned businesses in Central Florida. The businesses represented by the AACCCF reflect the diversity, skill, and devotion of our membership and community. Attendees from the Florida business community helped to celebrate with this year’s six 2017 Eagle Awards winners as they graced the stage to accept their awards:

Heatherann Antonnaci, Campus President Herzing University, Corporate Recognition of the Year Award. Cameron Saulsby, Owner, CK Flooring, Business of the Year Award. Adrian Ellis, Infinity Protection Service, Enterprise Business of the Year Award. Dorian Boyland, CEO Mercedes Benz of South Orlando, Humanitarian of the Year Award. Shelia Norton, Owner, B Cupcake, Eagle Award. Inez Long, BBIF (Black Business Investment Fund), President, Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. Through your generous support, the AACCCF can continue in its commitment to educate, enlighten, and empower our community and local businesses, a commitment that has driven the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida for more than 70 years.



Lee Bryan My vision is to build a dedicated Sickle Cell Disease Center that concentrates on whole-person care, which is a patient-centered approach, and all, at no cost to the patients. Here are the statistics: Sickle cell disease is the most common genetic disorder in the U.S., 100,000 Americans are thought to be living with sickle cell disease. 1,000 babies are born with the disease. People are born with sickle cell disease; it does not develop in adulthood; it is not contagious. Sickle cell disease is chronic but treatable. Sickle cell disease affects people of many different races. Patients with sickle cell disease require comprehensive care. No one knows these statistics better than Mrs. Lee Bryan does. She is the president of Tri-County Sickle Cell Disease Association, which serves Osceola, Orange, and Seminole Counties of Central Florida by promoting awareness of sickle cell disease and sickle cell trait. The organization participates in a variety of activities designed to lend economic, psychological, social, and emotional assistance to individuals and/or families affected by sickle cell. Mrs. Bryan is the past state president of Sickle Cell Association of Florida that oversees thirteen chapters in the state of Florida.

She also operates Mrs. B’s Closet, which is a consignment shop located in the Village Square in Orlando. The mission of the shop is to help fund assistance to Sickle Cell clients. Money raised from the sale of the items in the store is 100% donated to Tri County Sickle Cell. Lee Bryan is a very dynamic community activist logging thousands of hours of hours in public service. She is Vice President of the National Hook-Up of Black Women, an organization focused on helping women improve their health. For the past fifty years, she has been a loyal and productive member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. At Bethune Cookman University, Mrs. Bryan is the honorary assistant football coach and has been appointed as trustee emeritus. She has also received the Dr. Richard V. Moore Legacy Award and the Mary McLeod Bethune Legacy Award. As a member of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, she sings in the Mass Choir and teaches Bible Study.





omen and young girls everywhere should be feeling the power and inspiration of the female presence in the boardroom, in the classroom, and even in our living-rooms as we watch their giftedness and their talent on our flat-screen televisions! Women are doing so many amazing, incredible, and remarkable things with their lives and many of them have decided to share with all of us the trials and tribulations associated with getting to where they are by writing their story in books. Writing has always been a natural conduit for sharing thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and values by which man has lived, thrived, and survived. Thank goodness Shonda Rhimes, Taraji P. Henson, Simone Biles, and Margot Lee Shetterly decided to pen four of the best-selling books of our time. In the memoir and self-help book, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes, executive producer, writer, and creator of ABC television series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, shares how an introvert like herself changed her life by saying ‘yes’. It was her sister who challenged her to say yes to unexpected invitations to Hollywood parties, speaking engagements, and media appearances. Ms. Rhimes shares how accepting these opportunities were not only transformative but life-saving. Taraji P. Henson, Academy Award Nominee and Golden Globe Winner shares in her autobiography, Around the Way Girl, truth, humor, and insight of her journey on becoming a mega-star. Her book reveals the experiences of many women, such as single motherhood and domestic abuse. She also discusses her relationship with her biological father and many other childhood memories. She even sheds light on some of the challenges of being an African-American female in Hollywood. In Courage to Soar, Simone Biles, 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, writes an inspirational autobiography of faith, family, and perseverance. Simone shares her memories of her childhood with her biological mother, who was a substance abuser and her subsequent life in foster care. She was later adopted by a loving family and worked hard to pursue her dream of becoming an Olympic athlete. In her book she talks about an incident of body-shaming and how that made her feel, yet her coach encouraged her to do her best and she did. She is now one of the most beloved athletes and is considered one of the greatest gymnast of all times. Margot Lee Shetterly chose to write the true story of


African-American women who helped win the ‘Space Race’ by working for NASA in the turbulent sixties. In Hidden Figures, Margot reminds us all of the tenacity, integrity, and intelligence that women bring to the workforce in spite of adversity. Had Margot not taken the time to research and write about these women, it is highly unlikely that the countless number of movie-goers, male and female, would ever have known that these women existed. The story was so powerful and intriguing that it was adapted as a Hollywood movie by the same name, Hidden Figures, starring Octavia Spencer, Taraji P Henson, and other highly acclaimed actors and actresses. So, lucky for us that each of these women exercised their write by publishing a book that reveals how the tenacity of women regardless of age or time period can overcome and surpass even their own expectations. Each of these books, tells the stories of real women who were wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. Each of these books depict the power and inspiration of the female presence. ONYX MAGAZINE 37


Natalie A. Jackson, Esq. Civil Litigator and Human Rights Activist This Orlando/Atlanta-based lawyer and former Navy Intelligence Officer, has had several highly publicized cases over the span of her career. She has appeared as a legal analyst on many news networks and shows including: CNN, MSNBC, FOX, Nancy Grace, JaneVelez Mitchell, Dr. Drew, Good Morning America, and the Today Show. Ms. Jackson’s personal philosophy is “EQUAL COURT ACCESS, EQUAL PROTECTION OF RIGHTS, AND EQUAL JUSTICE FOR ALL.” An example of this philosophy in action can be seen in the outcome of one of Ms. Jackson’s cases involving a homeless man who was senselessly beaten by the young adult son of a leading citizen in a small Florida town. A settlement was reached which required the attacker to not only pay for the homeless man’s medical bills, but to also donate money to various drug rehabilitation and homeless help organizations. The homeless man received a confidential monetary settlement as well. Ms. Jackson believes the most important case of her career came in February 2012, when Attorney Benjamin Crump asked her to 38 ONYX MAGAZINE

become local counsel for the family of Trayvon Martin. Seventeen-year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by twenty-eightyear old Neighborhood Watch Captain George Zimmerman while walking home. The case sparked a nationwide debate on racial profiling and gun laws. Ms. Jackson received her undergraduate degree in History from Hampton University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. She is admitted to practice law in all Florida State Courts, the Middle District of Florida, the Northern District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In addition to her law practice, Ms. Jackson has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at FAMU School of Law where she taught Trial Practice and Negotiations. She is also a member of the Florida Bar Association, the Association of Florida Trial Lawyers, the National Bar Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Ms. Jackson has received numerous awards from local, state and national organizations for her social activism and community service. She resides in Orlando and has a son, Kevin.


Dr. Lucille O’Neal “This is the day that the LORD has made, don’t mess it up” If you have ever called Dr. Lucille O’Neal on the telephone, her take on one of her favorite scriptures is how she ends her message. This is not by chance. The Lord placed a mantle on Lucille to speak words of encouragement, empowerment and inspiration to everyone that she encounters. Lucille shares her life story candidly—and often humorously in her book, “Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go,” as well as in her keynotes. Touching on her years of spiritual unrest and mental welfare, she shares her struggles and disappointments against the backdrop of her sweetest memories and proudest accomplishments. When you ask Lucille about her proudest accomplishments, she will discuss her role of parenting and grand parenting as mother of four adult children and a grandmother of fifteen. Lucille still finds time to be involved in many community projects such as: the Southeast Director of The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund, which is the foundation established by her family to raise funds

for educational needs; the Odessa Chambliss Health Equity Center and nursing scholarships; Pastor associated with New Life Evangelistic Center of Orlando; Board of Trustees at Bethune-Cookman University; Orlando Chapter of the United Negro College Fund; American Program Bureau, a speakers bureau; Boys and Girls Club of America, and the former President of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players Association, Inc. Dr. Lucille O’Neal also understands the value of education. She graduated from Bethune-Cookman University Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, has a Master of Arts in Organizational Management, from the University of Phoenix and has been honored with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Bethune-Cookman University. Lucille is motivated by her love of people and living by the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Dr. O’Neal will always remind you that GOD HAS THE MASTER PLAN!



Leticia M. Adams Leticia M. Adams currently serves as the Manager of Government Relations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, US, where her primary role involves all matters with statewide implications in ensuring that The Walt Disney Company is one of the world’s leading producers and providers of entertainment and information. She assists with developing the Resort’s overall government, political and policy initiatives and efforts, developing strategies and plans to help ensure a favorable regulatory and political environment for resort operations and park expansion. Ms. Adams is also responsible for maintaining and enhancing relationships with local/regional advocacy organizations, including Orange, Osceola, Brevard, and Indian River Counties and local government agencies and administrative bodies. Ms. Adams has more than fifteen years of experience working with state associations, local and state government agencies and public policy. Prior to joining the Walt Disney World family, Ms. Adams has served as the Senior Policy Director for the Government Affairs division of the Florida Chamber of Commerce specializing in infrastructure and governance issues. Prior roles have


also included Manager of State and Local Government Programs at WRScompass, responsible for expanding business efforts throughout sixty-seven Florida counties and seven southeast states. She also served as legislative staff at the Florida Association of Realtors and in local government as a commission aide for the Leon County Board of County Commissioners. Over the past decade, she has participated and played active roles in numerous local and state political campaigns. Ms. Adams received both her Master’s degree in Public Policy and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. A native of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, Ms. Adams now lives in Orlando, Florida and relishes frequent visits from her two nieces in Tampa. She plays tennis and golf and enjoys replicating her grandmother’s Italian recipes in her spare time. An avid reader and frequent traveler, she tries to visit family back in the DC as often as possible. What drives Ms. Adams to do what she does lies in her love for good public policy, for a better and more economically prosperous Florida.


Denee Benton A self-described “flower child,” 25-year-old actress Denee Benton is experiencing her idealized dream of being a leading lady on Broadway. She is making her debut in the role of Natasha in the critically acclaimed new musical, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, alongside multi-platinum singer Josh Groban, who is also making his Broadway debut. Benton was born in Eustis, Florida and grew up in Oviedo and Winter Park. She has had a love for the performing arts since she was a young child. Often, she could be seen choreographing dances, singing, taking bows and thanking her imaginary audiences. Benton has participated in church and school choruses and plays, as well as several regional and national competitions to help her sharpen her craft. It wasn’t until her role as Aida in the musical Aida at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, Fla., that she knew without a doubt that acting was the path she wanted to pursue. Her success in the entertainment industry began early by most

standards - a semester before graduating with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA, when she accepted the role as Nabulungi in the US National Tour and in London’s West End. She can currently be seen as Ruby in Lifetime’s Season 2 of UnReal. Her role as Natasha somewhat matches her “happy-go-lucky” persona and hopeless romanticism. Denee enjoys simple things in life such as spending time with family, in which she cherishes and finds much inspiration, she especially adores her two older brothers, their children, and her grandmothers. Additionally, she loves to eat a variety of foods, especially sushi, which she would eat everyday if she could. She does not own any pets, but always wanted a puppy growing up; she has had to settle for tropical fish instead. Benton is most excited about where this amazing role on Broadway will lead; hoping it provides an even greater opportunity to continue to inspire young ladies to go after their dreams without compromising who they are.



Lauren Houston Lauren Houston is the senior account executive in NASCAR’s Multicultural Development department. She currently oversees operations and program development for the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program, a ten-week paid internship for minority students. Since 2014, Houston has added to its growth and success by hiring more than sixty students as NDIP interns and onboarding ten new motorsports partners, industry-wide. Through the NASCAR Opinion Leader Initiative, Houston has been integral in incorporating a collegiate component that introduces millennials to the sport of NASCAR while exposing them to employment and professional development opportunities. Connecting with universities and collegiate professional chapters in targeted markets, she

Stefanie Campbell Stefanie is currently the Program Assistant and Event Coordinator at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Central Florida. She is responsible for the development of the curriculum, the coordination of seminars and workshops, and recruitment for the Legacy: Leadership and Mentoring Program as well as the prestigious Leadership Empowerment Program. Stefanie also takes on the duty of managing logistics for all office events such as the Diversity Breakfast. Most, recently she started a website titled TheChicSoup. com which mission is to create a platform where millennials can share their professional and personal develop-


ment while enjoying our youth. Holding a passion for all things, her goal is to create a lifestyle that encompasses everything that brings her joy. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Central Florida, Stefanie graduated from Valencia College with an AA in General Studies in fall 2012. In fall, of 2014, she graduated from the University of Central Florida with an honors degree in Sports Exercise Science and a minor in Education. During her undergraduate studies, she also took the challenge to write an undergraduate thesis titled “Why Evidence Matters: Knowledge and Perception of Pre-service Teachers”.

has aided in the increased brand awareness of the sport for hundreds of minorities and women across the country. Houston also plays a key role in managing NASCAR Multicultural Development’s key corporate engagement and national partnerships such as The National Association of Black Journalists National Convention and Sports Diversity and Inclusion Symposium. Houston also oversees all of NASCAR Multicultural Development’s digital and social platforms. Houston received her Bachelors of Arts degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. She majored in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. Houston was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. KaLia Braynon-Miss UNCF. US Ambassador Andrew Young. Mayor Teresa Jacobs

US Ambassador Andrew Young

The United Negro College Fund Orlando (UNCF) 15th annual Black History Month Luncheon

Photos by Billy Jones Photography Studio


he United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Orlando hosted its 15th annual Black History Month Luncheon on Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at The Ballroom at Church Street located at 225 S Garland Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST. The keynote speaker for the Luncheon was former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young, and he had a few stories to tell which kept the audience in awe. Dr. Lucille O’Neal was also recognized as the 2017 UNCF Champion of Education for her contributions to the education field in Orlando. Ambassador Young and Dr. O’Neal took time to mingle and pose for a VIP photo session which was held before and after the event. The Luncheon was attended by local business executives that contribute to UNCF, local officials and community leaders. Jonathan Perry, Member and Immediate Past Chair of the Orlando Leadership Council and Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig stated, “Greenberg Traurig was proud to partner with UNCF to host Ambassador Young and recognize him for all his contributions”.

“We invite all members of the Orlando community to join us as we raise money to send deserving young people to college,” said Anita Henri, UNCF Regional Development Director. “Everyone who believes that ‘A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste®’ should attend the luncheon. We must empower our young people to secure passports to opportunity by way of their college degree.” Ambassador Young also talked about his book, “Andrew Young and the Making of Modern Atlanta”. “Atlanta provides a unique case study of the relationships among the city’s corporate, government and community leaders and their alternative, and ultimately successful, vision of progress,” said Young. The book was well received by attendees. Proceeds from the event will help deserving students attend the college of their choice and support Bethune-Cookman University. UNCF has a long and strong commitment to Orlando. More than 6,100 students in the city, and in Florida, are getting their education with UNCF scholarships at colleges and universities across the country.

HaLia Braynon, Crowned Miss UNCF for Bethune Cookman University on January 2017




Beatrice Louissaint Ms. Louissaint is the President & CEO of the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. FSMSDC is one (1) of twenty-three (23) affiliates comprising the National Minority Supplier Development Council whose membership includes 60% of the Fortune 500 and 1,750 corporate members and 12,000 certified MBEs nationwide. The mission of the FSMSDC is to foster the growth of minority businesses. The Council acts as a liaison between Corporate Members and Minority Business Enterprises. Prominent Florida companies that are members include JM Family Enterprises, Florida Power & Light, Disney, CSX, Orlando Health, Office Depot and AT&T. Under her leadership, the FSMSDC has linked minority firms to $8 billion in procurement sales. Ms. Louissaint has helped shape state-wide policy for minority business advancement. She was hand-picked by Governor Bush as Vice Chair of the One Florida Accountability Commission. In 1994, she was appointed to the Steering Committee for the first


Summit of the Americas, which convened 34 heads of state from the Western Hemisphere. That year, she was named “Advocate of the Year” by the Minority Business Development Center. In 1997, she chaired the Miami-Dade Minority Business Advisory Board during the County’s transition from minority to small business construction program. Ms. Louissaint has received many awards and recognitions for community service. Recent awards and recognitions include her induction to Miami Dade College’s Hall of Fame, listed as one of “The 100 Most Influential Black People and Miami-Dade County’s Women’s Leadership Award. She is a member of the Orange Bowl Committee, International Women’s Forum and the Miami Biscayne Bay Chapter of the Links, Incorporated and serves on the boards of Miami Dade College Foundation, Little Haiti Optimist Club and the Miami Bayside Foundation.


Vernice Atkins-Bradley Without a doubt, Vernice Atkins-Bradley is a woman on the move! As a matter of fact, she is the President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), majority owner, and license holder of Votum Construction, LLC. Regardless of her life accomplishments, Vernice remains humble. She will quickly quote one of her favorite scriptures, Psalms 121:2, which proclaims that all her help comes from the Lord. For Atkins-Bradley, the scripture embodies a firm foundation that positions her for success. The name of her company has a spiritual connotation. Votum, is Latin for “vow”, which is the essence of its brand identity, as well as the organization’s mission statement. Social responsibility is not only an undertaking for her business, but one that is personal and dear to Vernice Atkins-Bradley. This is obvious since she has served on various executive boards that are influential in Orlando communities, for instance, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission, Orange County Public Works Board, the American Red Cross, and the African America Chamber of Commerce. Atkins-Bradley is not

one who seeks after celebratory accolades, awards, or recognition. However, Orlando have high regards for her involvement, dedication, generosity, and endeavor within the community. As much as she tries to renounce her achievements, it is, perhaps, extremely difficult for Atkins-Bradley to do so given that she was Orlando Business Journal’s first Executive of the Year. Additionally, she was nominated for Leadership Florida. Vernice Atkins-Bradley aspiration is to leave a legacy that epitomizes commitment to the community and being an assistance to others. Currently, Atkins-Bradley and Sisaundra Lewis, a renowned performing artist, are collaborating with the Minority Achievement Office of Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). Together, the organizations’ goal is to influence the lives of children through mentoring sessions. Find Your Voice Female Mentoring Initiative core principles are Value, Overcoming, Integrity, Commitment, and Enthusiasm. The project speaks volume about Vernice Atkins-Bradley’s steadfastness to fulfill her end purposes.



Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esquire Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esquire is an experienced Government Law attorney with an impeccable reputation for leadership in professional, community, and charitable organizations. She has been a member of the Management Committee for Becker & Poliakoff Legal and Business Strategists since 2010. In 2009 Ms. Cash Jackson was selected to serve on the University of Florida Alumni Outreach Committee. She is also an active member of the Orange Bowl Committee, the Carrie Meek Foundation, the Greater Miami Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce (Chair-State Advocacy Committee). Ms. Cash Jackson is a member of the United States Senate Military Affairs Committee where she served on the Service Academy Nominating Board which screens and recommends applicants to West Point, Annapolis, the U.S. Marine Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Ms. Cash Jackson also served as General Counsel to the Miami Dade Branch of the NAACP. She has garnered numerous honors and awards including the


Broward Black Elected Officials Community Service Award. Recognized as one of the 100 Most Accomplished Blacks in Law in South Florida along with the ICABA Recognition Honoree Award, she was the only attorney selected to write the publication’s foreword and to speak at the VIP event. Ms. Cash Jackson is the recipient of the 2007 Company of Women award presented by the MiamiDade County Commission on the Status of Women. She has also been honored by Florida Memorial University as “Community Leader of the Year”, was twice honored by her peers as one of the “Florida Legal Elite” featured in Florida Trend Magazine, as a “Distinguished African American Woman with Vision” by Dare and Care-Les Bonnes Amies Club, and as a “Woman to Watch” by the Sun Post Magazine. She managed the successful State Senate campaign for Senator Kendrick Meek and participated in Leadership Florida, a highly selective statewide training program. In 2014, Ms. Cash Jackson was elected to the Corporate Round Table Board of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.


Connie W. Kinnard Connie W. Kinnard is Vice President of Multicultural Tourism & Development for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau(GMCVB). Ms. Kinnard began her tenure at the GMCVB on June 1, 2015 and is leading the newly formed department in efforts to promote the multicultural neighborhoods, attractions and events of Miami’s diverse communities as well as support the convention and travel sales efforts in securing business. Prior to joining the GMCVB, Connie held the position of Senior Vice President of Multicultural Development for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation. Connie has worked in the tourism and hospitality industry for over 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in Management from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Tennessee State University. Connie is an active member of numerous hospitality and civic/service organizations as well as served on professional boards and committees of leadership throughout her career.

Connie is a native of Franklin, TN. Her parents Charlie W. Kinnard and Helen T Kinnard are her main inspiration and although they are no longer here physically, she gives them credit (second to God of course) as the reason for any success that she may have. Both Helen and Charlie were active in the community, had a good work ethic and spiritual soundness which are the foundational blocks that helped to mold the lives of both Connie, her brother David and bonus siblings Chuck, Kenny and Sandra. Connie loves to travel and has participated in two mission trips to Africa that supported the Nigerian Christian Institute, a church of Christ affiliated school in Uyo, Nigeria. She has been to Haiti, Paris, London, Barbados, Trinidad, Jamaica, Canada and hopes to travel more in the near future. Her additional hobbies include golf, walking, working out, reading the bible, motivational books and frequenting spas.



Rosalie Ellis Payne, D.B.A. While the word ‘dynamo’ is often used to describe male achievers in their respective fields, Dr. Rosalie Ellis Payne personifies its root synonyms; generator, livewire, and go-getter. As Senior Director, Shipboard Human Resources for Carnival Cruise Lines, Dr. Rosalie Ellis Payne is backed by 33+ years of experience in human resource training, development and quality assurance. She was named among 25 Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business by Legacy Honors in 2012 and recognized as South Florida’s Top Black Corporate Executive in 2011. Because of improving sales conversions, she was most recently promoted to Senior Director, Shared Resources at Carnival. An internationally and domestically seasoned professional, Ellis Payne is ranked as a Subject Matter Expert for Travel and Tourism by direct reports and other industry leaders. She specializes in policy development, change implementation and management and employee engagement program design. Dr. Rosalie Ellis Payne obtained her Bachelor’s in Industrial Technology from Florida International University, her Master’s in Business Administration from St. Thomas University and her Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern 48 ONYX MAGAZINE

University. Her memberships and affiliations include the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD), Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP), Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS), and Commissioner Barbara Jordan’s Summer Youth Program. Additionally, she is an Adjunct Professor at Florida Memorial University where Business Ethics, Hotel, Travel and Tourism, and Human Resource Management are among the coursework offered. Additionally, Ellis Payne is an expert in aligning managerial strategies with organizational goals and collaborating with business leaders to deliver workable solutions. As Director of Training and Quality Assurance, she oversaw the initial inbound direct sales team and was recognized by department VP and senior level management for increasing sale conversions approximately 17% within first two years of holding the position and vetted international companies for outsourcing business ventures ; providing training and quality assurance support while recruiting, hiring and managing individual reservations departments with more than 600 call center employees in two locations.


Camille M. Evans, Esq. Camille M. Evans, Esq. is a Public Finance Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Camille summarizes her daily work as “Building Communities.” With a legal practice focused on finance transactions, Camille regularly serves as bond counsel, disclosure counsel, underwriter’s counsel, borrower’s counsel, bank’s counsel and trustee’s counsel for publicly and privately offered debt issuances that provide funding for various types of community infrastructure. Her transaction experience extends to a wide array of sectors, including general government, airports, healthcare, toll roads, K-12 education, higher education, special districts, water, sewer, gas and electric utilities, and industrial development. Camille is an active and engaged member of her profession and community. Camille’s service to her community currently

includes serving on the Boards of Directors for The Creative City Project, the West Orange Chamber of Commerce and the West Orange Political Alliance, and as member of the Finance Committee for Health Central Hospital and the WESH-TV African Heritage Advisory Committee. Her professional involvement includes being a member of the National Association of Securities Professionals and the National Association of Bond Lawyers, and the current Vice-Chair of The Florida Bar’s Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee. Camille commonly serves on committees and panels focused on securities and finance law and the training and development of young professionals. Camille obtained her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her J.D., cum laude, from Florida State University College of Law.



Marisol Romany Marisol Romany is the Director of Diversity and Minority Business Development at Orlando Health. In a growing organization with over 18,000 team members spread across eight geographic locations, the Diversity program led by Mrs. Romany provides linguistically and culturally appropriate care for patients, as well as cultural diversity training for the organization’s team members. Under her leadership, the Minority Business Development program supports the introduction of diverse vendors to Orlando Health’s Supply Chain and Healthcare Purchasing Alliance, with the goal of increasing diverse supplier participation in Orlando Health projects. In taking the lead in new initiatives, Marisol has shaped Diversity and Minority Business Development’s main objective to establish and grow successful relationships by valuing diversity and inclusion in the workplace as well as in the marketplace. Today, these supplier


diversity efforts positively impact the economy of over 400 diverse suppliers. Marisol has been part of the Orlando Health Team for more than ten years, is a Cornell Certified Diversity Professional/Advanced Practitioner (CCDP/AP), and holds dual Master’s degree in Leadership and Education. Diversity and Small Business Development is her chosen profession, because as a minority woman who has lived and worked in different corporate and entrepreneurial environments, she has seen countless opportunities first-hand for minorities and has a sincere desire to facilitate others to succeed in their professions and their business. Marisol has been married for 28 years, has three children and a Maltese Chihuahua named Simba.

FAST FOOD, HEALTHY FOOD O ver the last decade our dependence on fast food has continued to increase and it has now become part of American food culture more than we think. Ask you grandparents about McDonalds, which is one of the first iconic fast food industries that American culture experienced. Baby boomers experienced the “Drive In” , but we are now experiencing the “Drive Thru” concepts. Today’s fast foods offer more options than the traditional fare. Fast food choices don’t have to be complicated, but we must put some thought behind the choice before you pay. Fast foods currently offer grilled chicken sandwiches, wraps, salads, smoothies, and more fresh selections. So we have plenty to choose, but is it healthy? You make the choice. How do your Fast Food Meals Measure up? Let’s look back on your last fast food purchase. What did you order. Did you consider if the menu choice fit in your overall diet? Let’s examine it on the chart below.


Menu Item

Portion size



Saturated Fat



Food group (Meat, Fruit, Veg, Grains, Dairy)


On the chart above, write in the last fast food meal or snack you ordered and the portion size for each item. Write down the amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium for each menu item you purchased. Then total the amounts at the bottom of the chart. You can get the nutrition facts from the restaurants website on your smart phone or google the nutrition facts on your computer. Also note what food group it belongs to. You want to make sure there’s color on your plate instead of a huge amount of brown and white foods. This exercise might change the way you order your next meal or snack. There’s no right or wrong answer to fast food eating, but the best choices depends on your needs and your health. You also want to include this activity for your children to limit poor choices in the fast food lane. If you are the fast food connoisseur keep these tips in mind.


• Order more fruits and vegetables, and more bone building foods that have calcium in which is found in dairy products • Choose foods with less saturated fat and overall fat • Reduce the added sugars and make sure the portions are reasonable in size. • Be aware of portions that say deluxe, super and mega. Big is Big! More calories , more Fat! • Create a plan before you make an impulse order because it smells good. • A large order of fries and a supersize drink can equal 650 calories and you haven’t begun to eat real food yet. Make sure most meals are around 500 calorie portions. • Split the order, find a friend and share your food. You have now reduced your portions in half and sharing with a friend is not such a bad idea. • Select a side salad, raw vegetables or even coleslaw to get added Vitamin A and C, and Fiber.

• Try new fast food restaurants that promote fresh products that serve salads. Salads fill you up faster and pack a powerful amount of nutrients. • Try cultural fast food places, they tend to have more veggies in their food. For example Caribbean fast food, Chinese stir fry or a Mexican burrito . • Make fried food your last choice or option, go baked or grilled. • Lighten up on the salt, reduce the sauces, and don’t ask for salt packets at the window! Make yourself proud in becoming an informed and healthy consumer! Stay Well, Stay Healthy! Roniece

RECIPE FOR THE MONTH I love this salad dressing because it is sweetened with Apple juice concentrate and not sugar. Pour on your next salad and you will find that you got your dark green veggies and juice all in one dressing. Remember 2 Tbsp is a serving! All you need is a Blender or Nutribullet to prepare the dressing. Enjoy!

Roniece’s Spinach Vinaigrette Dressing 1 small bag fresh spinach leaves 6 ounces frozen apple juice, thawed 1 tsp salt 1 tsp garlic ½ cup olive oil ½ cup balsamic vinegar 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (optional) Place all ingredients in blender, blend well. Pour dressing on leafy greens. Pour extra dressing in a bottle and refrigerate.



CITYARTS FACTORY Downtown’s largest collective of art galleries that showcases an ever-changing infusion of local and international works of art. Free admission Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.



A Contemporary Art Gallery with work by emerging and established artists. It’s located in the historic Queen Anne style Roger’s building in the heart of Downtown.

Celebrate art and enjoy an evening of sights, sounds, food, shopping and cosmopolitan fun. Expect the unexpected as each month is uniquely an experience in art and culture.


The 24th Annual 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Scholarship Breakfast Guest Speaker Honorable John Louis Civil Rights Icon and Member of United States Congress Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

Cecil Milton, CEO, United Property Management, Chief Maurice Kemp, City of

Mentors hug 2017 Wilson Scholars

Star Swain


he 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project was founded by Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson. The project operates in schools in MiamiDade County and there are chapters in Duval County and Pinellas County.

The 24th Annual 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project was hosted in Miami, Florida at the Jungle Island – Treetop Ballroom – III Parrot Jungle Trail. The guest speaker was the Honorable John Louis, Civil Rights Icon and Member of United States Congress. Mr. Louis’ delivered a motivational and influential keynote to the eighty-four Wilson Scholars. Lewis, among the most revered leaders of the civil rights movement, suffered a skull fracture during the march in Selma, Alabama, more than a half-century ago and has devoted his life to promoting equal rights for African-Americans. Several elected officials on both sides of the issues and opinions were in attendance including: Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami Dade County, Mayor Tomas P. Regalado, City of Miami, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Larry Feldman, Chair-The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida and many local officials. The project goal is to instill positive alternatives to self-destructive behaviors and societal pitfalls, and everyone must assume responsibility for preparing our children to effectively deal with the challenges and struggles that now confront today’s youth.


Antonio Arzola, Gordon Murray, Darrin Gayleo, Congressman John Lewis, Fred Seraphin, Orlando Prescott, and Rodney Smith

Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Congressman John Lewis and Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson

The African American Heritage Museum


he African American Heritage Museum in Bartow, FL grew from an exhibit of local African American historical figures and events in the rear of the main classroom at the Luster-All vocational school which offered courses for certification in Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), construction helper and food service technician. The students benefited from an infusion of cultural pride and excellence. At graduations, the family and friends of the students lingered at the exhibit. Eventually Charles Luster and his brother Dr. Harvey Lester, who retired from a military career, developed the exhibit into a museum. The Luster All Pastoral Care and Cultural Center, Inc. officially opened the museum in downtown Bartow in 2012. The museum hosted its grand re-opening at a new downtown location in the Spring of 2016 at 585 Summerlin Street one block south of Main Street in Bartow. Staffed by volunteers and managed by Adrienne Kerst, an experienced museumologist, the museum is available for private 58 ONYX MAGAZINE

tours which can be scheduled by calling (863) 537-6658. The museum’s permanent collections and exhibits include local African American culture, African Origins and the Middle Passage, American Slavery and Emancipation, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Era and Black Military Notables. The museum’s current hours are 1 pm – 4 pm Monday through Friday, 11 am – 3 pm

Saturdays and Sundays by appointment. The museum is a member of the Florida African American Heritage Network. You may also visit the website: http:// www.lusterblackhistory or Facebook page: https://www.facebook. com/African-American-Heritage-Museum-630663250386267/timeline.

We choose to foster an inclusive workplace. We choose Orlando Health. At Orlando Health, we are committed to fostering an inclusive environment that recognizes, respects and values the diversity of our community, patients and families, physicians, team members, volunteers and vendors. Orlando Regional Medical Center Arnold Palmer Medical Center: Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies UF Health Cancer Center – Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital Health Central Hospital South Seminole Hospital South Lake Hospital

BE THE COMEBACK STORY OF THE YEAR. Cancer hates courage. At Moffitt Cancer Center, courage keeps us asking questions cancer doesn’t want answered. Can we personalize a treatment to a patient’s unique genetic profile? Can we use evolutionary biology and mathematical modeling to actually predict a tumor’s development and direct its path? Courageous thinking changes the rules. And cancer hates that. Because when you’re free to apply courage to solving cancer’s toughest challenges, amazing things can happen. Like they do every single day at Moffitt. To find your courage, schedule an appointment today at and see how we’re relentlessly innovating so our patients can continue to #BeCourageous.


ONYX Magazine_March/April 2017  

Women on the Move

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