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Volume 9 – Number 32 MARCH/APRIL 2018






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From the Publisher Mary Ann Carroll Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity Mary Ann Carroll The Write Stuff Justice Julia Sarkodie-Mensah Roda Ward Carter Lynda Harris Felicia Haslom Davis Paula Hoisington Beverly Kuykendall Driving in the green – Women of Color Golf Yolanda Lodono Joyce Odongo Wanda Trotter Angela Suggs Shattering Glass Ceilings Carla Williams CeCe Teneal Williams Terrie Daniel Pamela McCauley Ava Parker Marcia Hope Goodwin Sheila Johnson Fights Back Regina Hill Brenda March B-CU’s Triumphant Trio Desiree Spence Matthews Annette Gibbs Bernadette Morris Stopping Indecent Behavior Shanti Persaud Pasha Baker Althemese Barnes Cathy Grant Anita Henri Women on the move often eat on the run Erica Henri Ann McNeill Tasha Robinson-Banks Jasmine Gebon Megan Mack Model It Until You Master It Arts & Entertainment: Producer Michele Turner Your credit can get it 8 simple rules for purchasing your first home Goals for your small business Human Trafficking: If you see something, say something ONYX on the Move/Florida Scope Food & Wine

FROM THE PUBLISHER PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Richard “Rich” E. Black MANAGING EDITOR D. Shenell Reed, M.B.A. EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Marianne Eggleston, M.B.A. ASSOCIATE EDITORS Laura Dorsey Gayle Andrews Sharon Fletcher Jones



MARCH/APRIL 2018 Welcome to Women’s History Month. Given the theme “Nevertheless, She Persisted” by the National Women’s History Project, this month will honor every woman who uses her tenacity and courage to accomplish magnificent feats—like the women of Wakanda. “The Black Panther” movie opened in February with recordbreaking success. It was heralded the second highest four-day domestic opening of all time; and the fifth film in history to break the $200 million mark in its debut. But perhaps the most talked-about phenomena were the women of Wakanda. They are extremely intelligent, fierce, loyal, and so beautiful—not always the image Hollywood shows us of black women. However, we already know this portrayal of women of color is not fiction, but quite the truth. We encounter these women every day. We are in awe of their magnetic power and inspiring presence, and that’s why in this issue of ONYX Magazine, we celebrate the most influential women of color; those who are making a positive impact on our communities…ONYX Magazine’s Women on the Move! On the cover, meet Mrs. Angela Suggs, who has shattered the glass ceiling in not only becoming the first African-American to hold the position of president of Florida Sports Foundation, but she also is the first woman in the role since the Foundation’s inception 26 years ago.. This issue will feature 31 of the most outstanding women leaders from across Florida and beyond. Each of these honorees embody grace and strength in every walk of their lives— as mothers, sisters, wives, corporate executives, and community icons. It is befitting that we would recognize them during Women’s History Month and adopt the national theme: “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” These words perfectly describe how each woman executes with fortitude and breaks down any barrier she faces. This year’s Woman of the Year hails from an era when women and African-Americans had an unnecessarily difficult struggle. Mary Ann Carroll was the only woman among the Florida Highwaymen, American artists who painted from the 1950s to the 1980s. Because galleries would not exhibit their art, they sold their work from door-to-door across Florida. Their tenacity landed them among the highly acclaimed in the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR Brandi Jordan BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR Matt deJager CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Special thanks to the Women on the Move LaFern Batie Keisha Boyd Alexias Brasfield Gigi Brooks Damani Dickerson Laura Dorsey Sharon Fletcher Jones

Sandra Lee Tia Muhammad Chris Neumann Deidre “Dee” Parker Rhonda Racha Penrice Zachary Rupprath Dan Ryan Roniece Weaver Emily Wray

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Michael A. Cork Schnyder Lops Shane Valentine’s Photography Urban News Service ONYX ADVISORY COMMITTEE Deidre Parker, Chair Michelle Tatom, Immediate Past Chair Bob Berryhill Dr. Lavon Bracy Bryon Brooks Marva Brown Johnson Hon. Mable Butler Yolanda Cash Jackson Dr. Cynthia Chestnut James Clark

John Crossman Tony Hill Alma Horne Rodney Hurst Ann Jenkins Connie Kinnard Larry Lee, Jr.

Nancy Port Schwalb Margaret J. Thompson Gail Thomas-DeWitt Hon. Alan Williams Carla Williams Dr. Samuel Wright Lady Dhyana Ziegler


We will also address a subject that is increasingly drawing global attention: human trafficking. Florida ranks third in the nation for cases of women and children being sold into sex and labor slavery. We encourage you to say something if you see something. Only by working together will we eliminate this heinous crime from our communities. As in Wakanda, women play an essential role in creating a future that would positively impact all people. It is comforting to know that in our real society, women continue to serve as transformative leaders. Enjoy.



Lester and Lillian Seays ONYX Magazine is published by ONYX Communications and Media Group, Inc., Address: P.O. Box 555672, Orlando, Florida 32855-5872. Phone 321-418-7216. 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 2018 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 selfaddressed 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.


Center Offers Community Access to Good Health By Keisha Boyd


he inability to care for oneself can be a very scary and helpless state of being. Unfortunately, many face this reality, especially in underserved or low-income areas. Countless situations prohibit people from taking the basic prevention or corrective steps to get their health in order. Thankfully, for the residents of Daytona Beach, The Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity (OCCHE) is a beacon of light and hope for the community. The center, which is located on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), has offered a myriad of programs and services for students, staff, and the community-at-large. Founded by author and philanthropist Lucille O’Neal, Ph.D., it has created a great opportunity for all involved and is unarguably one of O’Neal’s proudest projects. The OCCHE is committed to ensuring that the community residents have access to proper healthcare regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or social position. The primary goal of the center is to improve health disparities, social justice and social determinants of health among target populations to decrease racial/ethnic disparities in illness, injury and death related to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and influenza. At the OCCHE, hundreds have participated in numerous health programs. The underlying principle of the center is that individuals will be empowered to make lifestyle changes that improve their health if they are given clear, culturally sensitive information about health issues. Based on this idea, the Center provides wellness education programs, assessments and referral services designed to help individuals reduce their risk factors and improve self-management of chronic conditions. The OCCHE works closely with local community agen8 ONYX MAGAZINE

Holly Fink, second from right, graduated from the Baby and Me Tobacco Free Program. She’s with her daughters Luna and Pebble, and Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity staff.

cies to distribute information and conduct educational programs related to chronic illnesses, domestic violence, and substance abuse. In addition to community partnerships, the OCCHE’s collaborations with B-CU programs have proved beneficial. The School of Nursing has been an amazing partner for the OCCHE. Currently, the OCCHE employs one graduate assistant and one undergraduate student who serve as peer health educators. These students are trained with basic knowledge to teach about obesity, diabetes, and tobacco prevention. The center, which opened in 2009, is

named for Odessa Chambliss, O’Neal’s mother. Chambliss died in 1996 from ovarian cancer, and her family created the Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund to honor her commitment to God and medicine. O’Neal and her siblings continue their mother’s legacy by being a funding source to the OCCHE and adding to the quality of life of students who need financial assistance to complete their studies. In addition, The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund provides money to various nursing schools, including B-CU. Source: Diana Lee, M.D., the director of the Odessa Chambliss Center for Health Equity

Health Programs at the OCCHE • Quit Smoking Now (smoking cessation) • Baby & Me Tobacco Free (smoking cessation among pregnant women) • Weight Watchers Program • Healthy Life Weight Management Program • Diabetes Prevention and Management • Annual Summer Weight Loss Challenge • Blood Pressure Clinic (collaboration with the School of Nursing) • Community Counseling Center (collaboration with Counseling Graduate Programs) • Personal Health Assessments with Biometrics


MARY ANN CARROLL Landscape Artist Original Florida Highwaymen

Mary Ann Carroll has an infectious smile. With her positive outlook and upbeat charm, it is hard to believe she passed through a time that was not so kind to women or African-Americans. While so many were fighting against the laws of Jim Crow and other regulations that divided our country, Carroll was honing her craft to mix oil paints and create some of the most intriguing and important art of the 20th century. Her fight opened the doors for many people of color who followed her into art galleries across America. Originally from Georgia, Carroll was born to sharecroppers in Sandersville and had seven siblings. The family moved to Wrightsville before settling in Fort Pierce, Fla., when Carroll was 8 years old. She had already started drawing by then, but she was passionate enough about art to introduce some new techniques into her work. Carroll did not receive formal training in art, but that did not curb her appetite for it. She continued to paint Florida’s natural life and sought ways to sell her creations.

One day, Carroll met a few African-American men who also were artists. Because in the 1960s, many art galleries would not showcase the works of untrained painters or African-Americans, this group sold their art for about $25 apiece along the highways of Florida, stopping at businesses. They would later be known as the Florida Highwaymen. Carroll was the only woman among them. The 26 of them were inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2004. Each February, the Highway Heritage Trail Art Show and Festival takes place in Fort Pierce, paying homage to the group. An accomplished musician, Carroll plays the piano, guitar and organ. She likes to sing and write poetry when she paints, which might explain why her art seems to speak to the spectator. One admirer “heard” the beauty of Carroll’s art and invited her to attend the Congressional Club’s elegant affair “The First Lady’s Lunch” in 2011. There, Carroll presented one of her paintings to First Lady Michelle Obama, and her art was hung in a corridor of the White House.




Criminal Justice Expert with the Commonwealth Secretariat Botswana, Africa

Justice Julia Sarkodie-Mensah was called to the Bar in Botswana in 1974. She remained in private legal practice in Botswana for 32 years as a partner, and later senior partner, in one of the largest law firms in Botswana until she was appointed a judge of the High Court of Botswana. Sarkodie-Mensah was honorary consul of Ghana in Botswana for 12 years until 2006 when she obtained employment from the British Council in Sierra Leone. As the first honorary consul, she established the Consulate, putting systems and processes in place. She handled bilateral and various diplomatic and consular issues, lectured on a part-time basis at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, and its Successor University of Botswana, both in history and law. In November 2006, Sarkodie-Mensah accepted an appointment from the British Council under a DFID-funded program and later joined the Commonwealth Secretariat to work as the Consultant master and registrar of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone. Her mandate included the restructuring and reform of the judiciary and the justice sector, which had been devastated by 11 years of brutal war, building the


capacity of the justice system, and streamlining procedures for the effective and smooth administration of justice and good governance. In Sierra Leone, she was responsible for introducing special gender-based courts to ensure those cases are expedited and campaigned against stigma; establishing special juvenile courts; working to rebuild the judiciary; and clearing the huge backlog of cases. In May 2015, Sarkodie-Mensah was reassigned by The Commonwealth Secretariat to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as a criminal justice expert. Her goal was to coordinate the various justice reform initiatives; help with processes and procedures to improve the administration of justice and clear the backlog of cases; create systems to avoid the creation of more backlog; and train judicial and support staff. Sarkodie-Mensah received the Woman of the Year Award in Botswana; was awarded the Living Legends Award (ECOWAS); received the Woman of Excellence Award from the United Nations Women in conjunction with the Diaspora African Union Forum, among other recognitions.


RODA WARD CARTER President and CEO Carter-Health Disposables, LLC

Roda W. Carter, the president and CEO of Carter-Health Disposables, LLC, has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience with a diverse background in business from cosmetics to healthcare. With a commitment to ongoing education, she holds a degree in Fashion Design from FIT, a Master of Business Administration degree from Rollins College, a certificate from Tuck at Dartmouth College, and a certificate from CVS Executive Learning Series at Roger Williams University. Carter’s diverse skill sets and experience in design, product development, marketing, strategy, and negotiations contribute to her entrepreneurial success. With Carter’s leadership and modest start-up capital of $140,000, the company grew from its inception in 2010 to a multimillion-dollar operation within five years. The company manufactures and distributes disposable medical apparel and supplies for the healthcare and pharmacy markets with products on contract with group purchasing organizations and wholesalers including Vizient, AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal Health. Now embedded in the healthcare supply chain, the company serves hundreds of acute care hospitals’ in-patient pharmacies, compounding and infusion pharmacies nationwide. Customers include:


Tampa General Hospital, Henry Ford Healthcare System, Moffitt Cancer Center, and CVS. The company offers medical supplies to comply with FDA and USP 797/800 regulations and is now growing at a rapid rate. Carter received recognition for Universal Colors Cosmetics; won the Pillar Award by the Minority Enterprise Corporation of Pittsburgh, Penn., as Up and Coming Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001; was featured on cover of the “Washington Post” Business Section in 2003; and has been touted by international beauty magazines around the world. Carter-Health was honored with the “Florida Companies to Watch” Award in 2011; was nominated by the Florida State Minority Supplier Diversity Council for MBE Supplier of the Year in 2016; was featured in “i-4 Business Magazine” in March 2016; and received the Fast 50 Award for one of Central Florida’s fastest growing companies from the “Orlando Business Journal” in 2017. Carter enjoys mentoring women entrepreneurs. She is a founding board member of Bring Out the Dolls, a local charity fundraiser promoting confidence and diversity for young girls. She serves the Boys and Girls Clubs, enjoys physical fitness, playing the flute, and golf.


LYNDA V. HARRIS Vice President The Henderson Financial Group, Inc.

Lynda V. Harris currently holds the position of vice president of Henderson Financial Group, Inc. As a licensed financial advisor and investment banker with more than 20 years in the financial services industry, Harris specializes in asset management, investment planning and retirement planning. Harris has built a strong reputation for her ability to communicate with highly successful chief executive officers of major corporations, small business owners and working individuals. Harris currently is the co-host of the radio talk show “Understanding Money,” heard on WHIM, 1080 AM in Miami, Fla., for the past nine years. Harris is passionate about financial literacy and presents financial literacy educational workshops throughout South Florida. Her volunteer work includes financial literacy education to individuals, students and nonprofit organizations, and she also provides free social security education to the elderly. She works with the Mourning Family Foundation, Urban Philanthropies, Boys and Girls Club, and Pro Pops Foundation, to name a few organizations. In addition to being an

author and public speaker, Harris has been published in numerous publications including the “Miami Herald,” “Sun Sentinel,” and the “Boca Raton Tribune.” Harris is the recipient of the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama, the chairwoman of the Women’s Business Council of the Miami Dade Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Association of African American Financial Advisors. She currently serves on the board of Girl Power, Inc., and has been appointed to the City of Miami’s Finance Committee. Harris was named as one of South Florida’s 25 Most Influential Women in Business and Industry in 2016 and South Florida’s 50 Most Influential People in Business and Industry in 2017 by “Legacy Magazine” and was awarded the 2017 Quiet Storm Achievement Award in Finance by the Women’s Power Caucus. Harris holds Series 7, Series 6, and Series 63 securities licenses, and a 215 Life, Health, and Annuity license in the State of Florida.




Vice President, New Student Enrollment and Community Outreach Empire Education Group/Empire Beauty Schools Felicia Haslom Davis is the group vice president of New Student Enrollment and Community Outreach with Empire Education Group/Empire Beauty Schools. Empire Beauty Schools are the largest beauty schools in North America and Haslom Davis leads 33 of the 89 schools in the U.S.A. Her career for the past 20 years has been in post-secondary education where she spent most of her career with DeVry University and Herzing University, prior to taking on the new challenge and opportunity with Empire Education Group. In her current role, she is instrumental in improving students’ lives through creativity and art. Every day is unique; there is never a dull moment! Haslom Davis is a native of Florida, born and raised in Martin County. She attributes her entire value system to her grandparents and parents, Ms. Jimmie L Haslom and the late James Haslom. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications from Valdosta State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Hui-

zenga School of Business at Nova Southeastern University. Both degrees have served her well in the field of education. After college, she became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader, which is when she met her husband, John F. Davis, through a mutual friend. Haslom Davis takes community seriously and volunteers her time with the local community, the Psi Theta Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., and the Early Learning Coalition of Orlando as a member of the board of directors. She and John both attend the Southside Church of Christ. She lives her life knowing that whatever she does, she must be the best and give her all. In her small amounts of “me time,” she constantly is cleaning and organizing her home, couponing and, most importantly, spending quality time with her husband, John. It is the small joys in life that really fuel her fire!




Vice President, Client Relations, Policy & Government Affairs Net Communications Paula Hoisington serves as the spokesperson for Net Communications and The Emerging Issues Policy Forum, playing an integral role in developing the platform for dialogue between policy makers and industry. As vice president for Client Relations, Policy & Government Affairs, Hoisington works with CEOs and senior management of major communications, cable, water, and electric utilities. She develops regulatory strategies as well as coordinates public policy forums, assists clients in the identification of strategic alliance partners and facilitates the establishment of corporate and community-based coalitions. Hoisington plays a vital role in developing clients’ business growth and development plans for new market opportunities. Hoisington serves several community boards. Among them are: National Congress of Black Women Orlando Chapter, where she is a founding member; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People State


Conference and the Orlando branch. She chairs the Southlake Black Achievers Community Organization and the Denise Jones Memorial Foundation. She is vice chair of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Corporate Roundtable; and vice chair of the African American Mayors Association Business Council. Hoisington served as a top African-American female executive at the gubernatorial level serving under the leadership of two governors. She also served as the liaison between the Florida Department of Corrections and the Executive Office of the Governor on all matters involving the implementation of gubernatorial initiatives into departmental programming. Hoisington received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Central Florida and became a Certified Public Manager at Florida State University.


BEVERLY KUYKENDALL President Government Business for American Medical Depot

Beverly Kuykendall is president of Government Business for American Medical Depot (AMD) in Miramar, Fla., and leads its expansion into key areas aligned with the firm’s long-term strategic goals. She has a background in relationship development and government contracting, and brings a facilitative approach to understanding and proposing solutions to difficult economic issues. Kuykendall has demonstrated her expertise through her work with firms such as Proctor & Gamble, American Hospital Supply, Xerox and Herman Miller. She also served as president and CEO of Federal and Commercial Contracts, Inc., (FCCI). At AMD, Kuykendall has P&L Responsibility for the Government Unit and in September 2015, AMD was awarded a government contract to work with the United States Agency for International Development and the Defense Logistics Agency to provide more than 1 Million Adult Hygiene Kits and Regular Hygiene Kits in response to the Syrian Refugee Effort. In March 2016, AMD was awarded a $1.2 billion dollar

contract for the provision of medical supplies to more than 60 VA Medical Centers from Florida to Maine. A sought-after speaker and a recognized guru on government contracting, Kuykendall is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 50 Most Powerful Minority Women in Business, Supplier of the Year by the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council, Small Business Champion of the Year by the Los Angeles District office of the U.S. Small Business Association, Entrepreneur of the Year by the Black Business Association of Los Angeles, and Advocate of the Year by the National Association of Minority Contractors of Southern California. Most recently, she was recognized by “Legacy Magazine” as one of South Florida’s 25 Most Influential and Prominent Women in Business and Leadership. Beverly has a BS in Business Management from Cal Poly University in Pomona, Calif., and an MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.



Green Driving In the

Women of Color Golf is helping sistahs step up their professional game and level the playing field. By Alexias Brasfield


lemmie Perry spent more than 20 years working for two Fortune 500 companies. As a corporate trainer, she equipped the right people with the necessary tools to move the organizations to the next level. She garnered relationships with captains of industry and found solid footing high in the ranks. But soon, it became apparent that the life she lived would be behind her. When the job layoff finally came, Perry channeled the same innovation she used to inspire those she trained; and it was something her brother found on the side of the road that changed the trajectory of her life. Golf clubs. One set. Waiting to be swung. Once her brother handed her the sticks, she realized golf was a sport that she wanted to learn. Her brother saw her passion for the game and gifted her a new set. She knew that golf was going to be a part of her future. Perry had never picked up a set of golf clubs until that layoff about four years ago. After seeing a lack of diversity on the course, she wanted to make a change. She used her severance package to start Women of Color Golf (WOCG) and Girls on the Green Tee (GOTGT) and is turning her passion into a national movement to make a difference in the lives of women and girls. “When I started playing in 2014, I didn’t see many women on the golf course who looked like me,” Perry said noting that golf is a mostly white-male dominated sport. “WOCG is creating pathways and access for women to enter the game. Golf is about access. Golf is giving black women 20 ONYX MAGAZINE

Clemmie C. Perry, Founder and Executive Director of Women of Color Golf

access to business relationships they would never gain in a typical networking setting. We can’t get career advancements or new business clients and opportunities if we don’t build new relationships through golf.” Golf provides women executives an interactive, personal social networking experience; it provides visibility to senior executives, and promotes relationship building. Golf can increase the quality of life by renewing your spirit, improving your posture, building confidence and providing numerous health and fitness benefits.

“Minority women want to play; they just need to be informed and a pathway to enter. We can’t do it alone—it is important to build relationships in this industry,” said Perry. In nearly four short years of operation, WOCG has introduced the fundamentals of golf to Tampa and St. Petersburg, and Washington, D.C., training more than 350 minority women and girls. The nonprofit organization is promoting and facilitating the inclusion of minority women and girls into the game. Not only does WOCG encourage women to golf, but it also targets young women through its mentorship program. “Our objective is to be a driver of opportunities for growing participation in golf, particularly women, the millennial generation, and all people, regardless of the color of their skin. It sets the foundation as we foster greater diversity in the game,” Perry said. Livi Grant, a sophomore in the School of Business and Industry at Florida A&M

“When I started playing in 2014, I didn’t see many women on the golf course who looked like me. WOCG is creating pathways and access for women to enter the game.” —Clemmie C. Perry

Livi Grant, left, who serves as the WOCG College Ambassador at Florida A&M University. Livi received a prestigious internship to work last summer for the United States Golf Association at the U.S. Open, Erin Hills, Wis.

University, serves as the Student Ambassador for Women of Color Golf. “I was elected to become a WOCG Ambassador, which I found extremely beneficial and fulfilling,” said Grant. “I embrace the role of trying to increase the involvement of minorities and women, like myself, in the game and business of golf.” Grant also interned with the U.S. Open during the summer of 2017. The mentoring program, Girls on the Green Tee (GOTGT) is designed for girls from 10 to 17, responding to the ongoing need for strong, accomplished, and resilient female role models. WOCG and GOTGT seek to develop an interest and inspiration in golf. Perry was inspired by Renee Powell and her family’s legacy in golf. Renee Powell is the second African-American woman to play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour. Perry admired that she was a courageous African-American woman who endured many challenges to play the game during a segregated era. Powell has made numerous contributions to the world of golf as an African-American woman. Powell is the daughter of the late William Powell, the only African-American to design, build, own, and operate a golf course in the U.S., Clearview Golf Course. In this industry, community, personal, and golf relationships are all important to create partnerships. As women of color

advance in their professional careers, golf will be a necessary skill to help level the playing field and allow them to reap benefits beyond normal employee contributions. Perry has established relationships with The Centre for Women in Tampa and several local golf organizations. “To close the gap, you must create connections” said Perry. WOCG has also created strategic alliances with Rogers Park Golf Course, Hillsborough Community College, Top Golf Tampa, Golfers Grail, and Cheval Golf & Country Club to provide an inclusive environment for their members. WOCG received recognition by former President Barack Obama, as a U.S. White

House Champion of Change for Extra Curricula Enrichment for marginalized girls. It also is the recipient of the 2017 Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero Award. WOCG aspires to change the world of golf with the help of the World Golf Foundation CEO Steve Mona and Dr. Michael Cooper, Golf 20/20 Chairperson of the Diversity Task Force. Perry has reached out to African-American women pioneers and has become a golf pioneer herself. “We are changing golf to be more inclusive” said Perry. “The purpose is to ultimately make golf look like the changing face of America, relative to gender and ethnic diversity.”

Women of Color Golf pays homage to the pioneering women of golf.



YOLANDA LONDOÑO Vice President Global Responsibility Tupperware Brands Corporation

Yolanda Londoño is the vice president of Global Social Responsibility for Tupperware Brands Corporation. She directs and develops local and global philanthropic initiatives, cause-related marketing and global giving strategies with emphasis on programs that educate and empower women and girls. Tupperware Brands has a presence in more than 60 countries and over three-million sales force members. Londoño joined Tupperware Brands after six years with JPMorgan Chase Bank in Houston, Tex., where she was the vice president of Public Affairs. Before joining Chase Bank, she was the executive director of Tourism for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau and previously served as the president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Prior work experience includes four years in Zimbabwe, Africa, where she worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and three years in London, England, with Logica Ltd., an international software consulting firm. Her professional career encompasses leadership roles in community and economic development, strategic marketing initiatives, civic engagement and non-profit organization management. Londoño serves on the Orlando Economic Partnership and Visit Orlando Board of Directors and collaborates with other domestic and international civic and nonprofit boards. She is an active participant in the global movement for women’s economic and social empowerment.


JOYCE ODONGO Community Development Officer Bank of the Ozarks

Joyce Odongo is the new Florida, Alabama and Georgia Community Development Officer for the Bank of the Ozarks. In her new role, she will develop, manage and maintain the bank’s community development programs in the various communities while managing a community development manager in the Georgia market. Recently, she was the senior community development consultant at Wells Fargo of Central Florida, where she represented the company in community and economic development activities. In her role, she established and maintained relationships with community organizations, such as activist groups, community agencies, nonprofits, and minority organizations. She has more than 10 years’ experience both in the corporate and not for profit industries. She has been instrumental in developing key relationships within the community, managing philanthropic efforts, addressing the needs of low- and moderate-income families, and providing financial education seminars. Prior to her career at Wells Fargo, she spent several years at Fifth/Third Bank as vice president for community affairs.


She also worked in the not-for-profit industry as a community advocate for affordable housing, seniors, small business, and neighborhood revitalization efforts. She has a Bachelor of Corporate Finance degree from Wayne State University, and a Master of Public and International Affairs degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently serves on the following boards in these roles: Bethune Cookman University Board of Trustees secretary; African American Chamber of Commerce Central Florida chair; City of Orlando Affordable Housing Advisory Commission chair; UNCF Orlando Leadership Council member; BBIF Community Development Committee chair; Florida Prosperity Partnership Board of Directors chair; and the Orlando Real Estate Foundation Board member. Her passion is working with not for profit organizations and providing financial education to empower others to obtain financial stability. She has been happily married for more than 15 years and has two children. She enjoys traveling, reading books and listening to music.



Founder Worldwide Solutions & Technologies, Inc.

Wanda Trotter is the founder of Worldwide Solutions & Technologies, Inc., a company that provides mobile and virtual solutions to corporations and entrepreneurs. Trotter enjoys helping her clients identify ways to cut costs while increasing profits. Her passion is to help companies experience extreme growth through cutting edge technology. Trotter is an entrepreneur, a musician, and a community service advocate. Her background includes more than 20 years in the areas of business and litigation. She has worked with Fortune 500 corporations and law firms with topranked attorneys on lawsuits ranging from local jurisdictions through the United States Supreme Court as well as international cases. She initially started as a paralegal and eventually transitioned into the areas of litigation management, electronic evidence, and practice technology. Trotter has served as the director of the South Florida Chapter for Women in eDiscovery, an international organi-

zation of more than 5,000 members, that educates women about technology used in the legal field. She served as national president of the Board of Directors for Women in Jazz South Florida, a nonprofit organization promoting business development globally for women musicians and demanding economic equality in the music industry. She is the immediate past president of Marching Alumni of Cookman, Inc. (Bethune-Cookman University Band Alumni). Trotter studied psychology at Bethune-Cookman University. She received a Paralegal Studies degree at Keiser University and earned a Bachelor of Business Management degree with an entrepreneurial emphasis at Northwood University. Trotter is the author of “The Little Virtual Caboose,� a forthcoming book about how creativity and innovation, using very little technological resources, can result in big outcomes.


ANGELA SUGGS SHATTERING GLASS CEILINGS The first woman and first person of color is at the helm of the Florida Sports Foundation By Damani Dickerson Photo by Michael A. Cork


o the most valuable legacies share what was earned or what was learned? Angela Suggs inherited a legacy of commitment and perseverance and has since used those gifts to become one of Florida’s most influential women. As a young child, she witnessed her parents’ commitment to their family, their community, and their careers. Her mother’s attention to detail in each endeavor is a constant memory and influence in Suggs’s life. From a legacy standpoint, it was her parents’ strong work ethic and commitment that inspired and motivated the newly appointed president & CEO of The Florida Sports Foundation. Now married and a mother herself, Suggs is committed to inspiring and empowering not only her daughter, but other women as well.


“There’s no sense of entitlement here; we come to work every day and work hard,” the energetic Suggs said. “I’m humbled and honored by the opportunity and want to make sure those who follow me can continue to have a seat at the table.” Despite being in a male-dominated industry, the Florida A&M University alumna continues to excel. Only the third president in the Foundation’s 26-year history, she is the first woman and first person of color to hold the position. Suggs recognizes she not only represents women coming up in the industry, but also those on whose shoulders she now stands. According to Lynn Thompson, Bethune-Cookman University’s vice president of Intercollegiate Athletics, Suggs performing her duties won’t be an issue for the dynamic business woman.

‘No’ really doesn’t mean ‘no’, it just means not right now. It’s more so not the what, but the how. I’m always solution-focused.” –Angela Suggs

Photos courtesy of Florida Sports Commission

FSF President Angela Adams Suggs (left) is pictured with Gordon Smith, USTA National Campus Executive Director and Chief Executive and Katrina Adams, United States Tennis Association - USTA President. Suggs was attending the first anniversary of the USTA National Campus, in Orlando. Known as “Nirvana With Nets,” the United States Tennis Association - USTA (Official) and Orlando can claim the facility as the Home of American Tennis.

“Angela Suggs is the total package. She is a great communicator, an innovative thinker and a bold leader,” Thompson said. “As a colleague and friend, I am proud to see her soar as one of Florida’s most influential women in sports. She is destined for greatness on her new journey.” Confident and driven, Suggs is excited to lead the Tallahassee-based Florida Sports Foundation as they work to support Florida’s $57 billion sports industry and represent the state as a whole, including its 30 sports commissions, professional sports teams and intercollegiate groups. She wants the world to know Florida is open for sports year-round and intends to make sure the Foundation’s existence, moving forward, is an expansion of its core mission of sports development and promotion. As president & CEO, Suggs intends to continue the Foundation’s dedication to job growth and economic sustainability through sports. Her vision for the Foundation includes enhanced support of youth and amateur sports programming, through the increased awareness and sales of the Florida Sports Specialty License Plates. Suggs also is committed to the foundation’s recruitment of sporting events of all levels to the state. The self-admitted, overly optimistic Suggs says she won’t take no for an answer. “That’s where that commitment and perseverance kick in. It’s a part of every decision I make. ‘No’ really doesn’t mean

‘no’, it just means not right now,” Suggs said smiling while serious. “It’s more so not the what, but the how. I’m always solution-focused.” Leticia Adams, a 2017 ONYX Magazine’s Women on the Move honoree agrees. “Angela is someone I truly admire,” Adams said. “She doesn’t see obstacles. Things that make normal people quit she’ll find a way around. Anything she puts her mind to, she will see it through.” The Florida Sports Foundation is a nonprofit corporation, serving as the Sports Industry Development arm of Enterprise Florida, Inc. The mission of the Florida Sports Foundation is to: • Assist Florida’s communities with securing, hosting and retaining sporting events and sports-related businesses that generate significant economic impact and sports-related tourism for the state of Florida through the Foundation’s grant programs, legislative initiatives and Industry Partner service, recognition and development. • Provide the citizens of Florida with participation opportunities in the Sunshine State Games and Florida Senior Games events. • Serve as Florida’s leading resource for Sport Tourism research and facts. • Assist in the promotion of targeted leisure sport industries in Florida. • Assist National and Florida State Governing Bodies to promote amateur sport development through Florida’s Sunshine State Games and hosting events in Florida. Suggs joined the Foundation after many years at Florida A&M University and held a variety of roles while there. Her last role at the university was senior associate athletics director for External Affairs and senior woman administrator. Prior to that, she served in the lead role in Florida A&M University’s Athletics marketing and pro-

motions, development, athletics communications, licensing and branding. She was the Athletics Department’s primary liaison with campus direct support organization, neutral site games such as the Florida Blue Florida Classic, affinity/ support groups, and community relations. She also oversaw administration for the men and women’s track and cross-country teams along with the softball, men and women’s tennis teams, and spirit groups. Her previous experience includes work in sales with Brown and Brown Insurance, Joe Robbie/Pro Player Stadium and the Marriott Corporation. Suggs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Economics from Florida A&M University and a Master of Science degree from St. Thomas University. A native of Tallahassee, Suggs has a sincere passion for her work and is committed to the sustainable future of the organization’s efforts. “I’ll be right here with the Florida Sports Foundation, working with an amazing team while continuing to be a part of many more success stories,” she said when asked about her future. “I plan to continue contributing to job growth and active living through sports in the State of Florida.”

Angela Suggs (right) and FSF Chairman of the Board, Jesse Biter (left), present Houston Astros General Manager, Jeff Luhnow, with a Crystal Cup of Grapefruit in recognition of their 2017 World Series Championship. The Astros started their 2017 season in the Florida Grapefruit League at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, in West Palm Beach. The 2018 Governor’s Baseball Dinner serves as an Celebration of Florida Spring Training Baseball.




President Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, Central Florida Carla Williams serves as president of Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Central Florida chapter. Central Florida COMTO is a dynamic multi-modal transportation organization that provides leadership programs as well as, advocacy services to the needs of the businesses, members and communities within Central Florida including, but not limited to, Orange, Hillsborough, Manatee, Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties. Williams is the manager of Community Relations for the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) in Tampa. She has coordinated community relations, marketing and business outreach programs to promote HART’s services to the Hillsborough County community for more than 18 years. Williams performs as HART’s primary point of contact to schedule and execute community events and grassroots outreach. Williams serves as HART liaison with business, civic, and community organizations and assures delivery of


quality customer service. She develops and implements outreach and awareness initiatives, and creates programs that promote the organization’s image in a positive and community-oriented way. She leverages a high level of community relations expertise, existing networks and public transit experience to develop strategies and provide expert guidance on matters impacting public image outreach. Williams has served on numerous transportation, business, tourism and other service-based boards and committees throughout her career; and is a member of Riverview Chamber of Commerce, North Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Chamber of Commerce, West Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, Visit Tampa Bay, and the NAACP. Presently, Williams serves on the Tampa Bay Advocacy Board, Ybor Saturday Market Board, West Tampa Chamber of Commerce Board and Florida State Fair Diversity Board. She also served as board member of Tampa Attraction Association and Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce.


CECE TENEAL WILLIAMS Director of Employee Relations Dusobox Corporation

Cece Teneal Williams is unarguably one of the best players in the field of business management and its operations. With over 16 years of practical experience, contributing to the growth and performance of corporate environments and industries. Her dedication brings about the passion she puts in her field of work. CeCe’s multitude of skills includes Executive Business Operations, Recruitment and Human Resources Management, as well as Entertainment and Event Planning. Even as a graduate of Valencia College, she garnered most of her expertise while working for impressive corporations, including her own enterprise. Amongst her experience, she touts her consulting experience as the turning point in her career. She holds a track record of working experience from prolific

establishments, such as RVR Consulting Group (2010-2017), BB King’s Clubs (2007-2011) and many private/confidential clients. She is currently the Director of Employee Relations for 92 employees at Dusobox Corporation, an international corrugated manufacturing plant. She also holds her ground in entertainment, owning and managing an event and entertainment company; that provides event planning services and marketing services. Cece is innovative, thorough and versatile, with an exceptional ability to handle multi-tasking jobs simultaneously fast and even with the pressure that it brings. She’s truly an inspiration, a problem-solver and a true asset to the business world.




Assistant Vice President of Supplier Diversity University of South Florida Terrie Daniel is the assistant vice president of Supplier Diversity at the University of South Florida. As the inaugural appointee for this position, Daniel is responsible for the development, direction and management of the University’s Supplier Diversity Program. This includes developing a strategic plan to support the foundational structure for the program, building a support team of professionals, and forecasting for diverse supplier participation within the USF System, which includes the main campus in Tampa and two satellite campuses in Sarasota and St. Petersburg. Diverse supply chain management and spend analysis also are in her purview. Prior to joining the University of South Florida in 2017, she was the deputy commissioner of the State of Indiana Department of Administration, guided by then Gov. Mike Pence prior to his appointment as vice president of the United States. She served as the lead primary point of contact and subject matter expert for all supplier diversity initiatives for the State of Indiana. Daniel successfully implemented the state’s Supplier Diversity Program, which encompassed managing a statewide team of 10 certification and business development experts.


Within this position, Daniel collaborated and maintained effective partner relationships locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally with individuals and organizations that mirrored the organizational business strategy. She developed and ultimately added value to the economy by increasing the utilization of minority-, women- and veteran-owned business enterprises. Daniel also was instrumental in interpreting relevant statutes and laws to assist state legal counsel with formulating policy recommendations shaping statewide program success. Daniel has an extensive background in project management and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Computer Information Systems from Ferris State University and a Master of Contract Compliance degree from Morgan State University. An ordained minister, she is working toward her Bachelor of Religious Studies degree from Aenon Bible College. She is a member of many organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She also is the owner of Sweet Confections, a small Indianapolis-based company specializing in hand-made gourmet confections. Daniel currently resides in Wesley Chapel, Fla., with her husband and their two children.


PAMELA MCCAULEY, PH.D., C.P.E. Professor & Director, Ergonomics Laboratory Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems University of Central Florida

Pamela McCauley, Ph.D., C.P.E., is an ergonomics and biomechanics expert; a professor and director of the Ergonomics Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida; an internationally acclaimed keynote speaker; and popular author on a mission to increase diversity in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. An award-winning educator often described as an “outstanding” professor and “enthusiastic” teacher, McCauley previously held the position of Martin Luther King, Jr., Visiting Associate Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She received both the College of Engineering Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Teaching Incentive Program Award. She is also the recipient of the National 2015 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Educational Leadership and the Promotion of College-Level Education. She is the author of more than 80 technical papers, book chapters, conference proceedings and the best-selling ergonomics textbook, “Ergonomics: Foundational Principles, Applications, and Technologies.” Many of her leadership, diversity, innovation and STEM education related keynote


talks draw from her research-based book, “Transforming Your STEM Career Through Leadership and Innovation: Inspiration and Strategies for Women,” which examines the growing need for leadership and innovation, particularly among women and STEM professionals. Her newest book is titled “The Essentials of Engineering Leadership and Innovation.” To inspire minorities and female students to consider careers in STEM, she authored, “Winners Don’t Quit… Today they Call Me Doctor,” and shares her challenging yet inspirational journey to engineering. The U.S. State Department awarded McCauley the prestigious Jefferson Science Fellowship in 2015, based on her stature, recognition, and experience in the national and international scientific or engineering communities, and their ability to rapidly and accurately understand scientific advancements outside their discipline area to effectively integrate this knowledge into U.S. Department of State/ USAID policy discussions. McCauley also has the distinction of being a 2012 U.S. Fulbright Scholar Specialist Program Awardee for her US-New Zealand Human Engineering and Mobile Technology in High Consequence Emergency Management Research Program.


AVA L. PARKER President Palm Beach State College

Palm Beach State College President Ava L. Parker leads Palm Beach County’s largest higher education institution with a strategic approach emphasizing innovation, student success, and business and community collaboration. Parker is the first female president in the history of the institution, which opened in 1933 as Florida’s first public community college. Growing with the county, the College now offers more than 130 programs of study, including bachelor’s and associate degrees, professional certificates and career training. Serving 49,000 students annually, Palm Beach State has earned national distinction as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College. Before joining Palm Beach State in 2015, Parker was executive vice president and chief operating officer at Florida Polytechnic University, the state’s first public university focused on applied research in STEM (science, technology,

engineering and mathematics) fields. She also served for more than a decade on the Florida Board of Governors of the State University System where she served as chair and vice chair, and she served on the University of Central Florida’s Board of Trustees. Parker was a partner in the Jacksonville law firm of Lawrence & Parker, general counsel at Edward Waters College, general counsel for the 11th Episcopal District of the AME Church and assistant general counsel for the state Department of Transportation. She is on the board of directors of Orchid Island Capital, a publicly-traded specialty finance company. She is a former president of the Perkins Bar Association and the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association. Parker earned her Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees from the University of Florida. She and her husband, Joe Gibbons, have two children.



MARCIA HOPE GOODWIN Chief Service Officer City of Orlando

Marcia Hope Goodwin is the City of Orlando’s first chief service officer and the director of the Office of Community Affairs and Human Relations. As a member of Mayor Buddy Dyer’s senior staff, she is a lead liaison for the mayor, the Orlando City commissioners and city staff, in developing and implementing the City’s community mission, through partnerships with the arts and cultural, non-profit, human service, faith-based, human rights, civic and volunteer sectors of Orlando. Goodwin oversees more than $4 million annually to support the City’s community and human rights priorities with a staff of 12 and up to 10 AmeriCorps (Volunteers in Service to America) VISTA members. Goodwin was appointed by former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood in 1992 as Orlando’s first director of Neighborhood Services. In 2003, Mayor Dyer appointed her as his interim press secretary and later as director of Neighborhood and Community Affairs. In 2010, Mayor Dyer appointed Goodwin to lead Orlando’s Cities of Service effort, making Orlando a leader in the national Cities of Service coalition and convening stakeholders to develop and implement a citywide impact-volunteering service plan, Orlando Cares, which has

engaged more than 4,000 volunteers to increase youth literacy and improve community safety, serving more than 6,500 youth. Goodwin has represented Cities of Service internationally as a speaker and mentor for chief service officers in the United Kingdom. Goodwin was honored with a 2016 Harambee Award from the Black Business Investment Fund, Inc.; the 2008 Drum Major Award for Civic Affairs from Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; the 2006 Black History Month Local Legends Award from Lynx Transportation; and a 2004 Trailblazers’ Award from PAST, Inc., among other recognitions. She serves on many civic and arts boards, including United Arts of Central Florida, Metro Orlando YMCA, Downtown Arts District, Orlando Ballet and City Year Orlando. Goodwin credits her parents, the late Nathaniel and Jeanne Evans, Sr., and her grandparents, the late Roy and Rosa Pearl Edge, Sr., with teaching her the values of faith, family, education, a strong work ethic and service to others. She is married to Kenneth Goodwin. They have two adult daughters, Nia Hope Bess and Imani D. Hope, one grandson, Alexandre, II, and a son-in-law, Alexandre M. Bess, Sr. Goodwin’s passions are her faith, her family and her community.



When the Government Discriminates, Sheila Johnson Fights Back


he “biggest fight of my life,” says Sheila C. Johnson, wasn’t co-founding Black Entertainment Television or ending her 33-year marriage to Robert “Bob” Johnson, with whom she raised two children and a television network. It was getting zoning, planning and other local government permits to open a hotel and spa in the village of Middleburg, Va. While the hotel, which she called “The Salamander,” would create dozens of jobs and pay millions in property and other taxes, the village government fought her every step of the way. Her famous name and hard-earned wealth 36 ONYX MAGAZINE

didn’t give her any advantages. “None of that matters,” she told CNN, “As an African-American, they didn’t want me to do this. It was the fight of my life. I’ve never been more frightened in my life.” Certainly, Johnson had more credentials than any other developer or investor in that hamlet of fewer than 640 residents. Johnson says she always “had an entrepreneurial spirit.” In high school, she earned money by playing her violin in small parties and, later, by giving private lessons. And she was tireless in building BET from a two-hour feature into a 24-hour cable channel.

Photo courtesy of Urban News Service

By Ronda Racha Penrice

Johnson, the owner of Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Fla., is a woman of firsts. She was one of first African-American woman billionaires. She is the first African-American woman to own three professional sports teams in three different leagues—the NBA’s Washington Wizards (where she serves as both president and managing partner), the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics. She is a renowned leader in philanthropy. She serves on the board of governors of a school that bears her name: The Sheila C. Johnson Design School Center at the Parsons School of Design in New York City. At the Harvard Kennedy School, she endows the Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellowship to support emerging leaders primarily focused on erasing disparities in underserved African American communities. As Johnson explained, “none of that mattered.” Middleburg, founded in 1787, fashions itself the “Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital.” It is renowned for steeple chases and fox hunts. It has 632 residents, according to the U.S. Census, and many of them are opposed to any change. While one out five Middleburg residents are African-American, they have little say over local government. Johnson, who lived in town, wanted her hotel to have an equestrian theme—including riding trails and horse paddocks—in keeping with the town’s traditions. Johnson purchased nearly 350 acres in 2002, lands once owned by former U.S. ambassador Pamela Harriman, a one-time daughterin-law of Winston Churchill. She thought it would take just a few years to build her dream. In the end, it would take more than 10 years. The local government had to issue permits and every step of the way it dragged its heels, finding one reason or another to delay or deny a permit. Often, Johnson had to take the town to court. “I was naïve about realizing that I was south of the Mason-Dixon Line and a lot of people got very nervous about this African-American woman coming in and building this resort,” admits the 68-yearold Johnson, who is no stranger to racial discrimination. Growing up, the Pennsyl-

“I learned the life of hard knocks and racism but I was also able to assimilate into the different cultures and do what I had to do to make things work.” —Sheila Johnson

vania-born Johnson moved more than a dozen times before settling in Maywood, just outside Chicago, because her neurosurgeon father’s race frequently became an issue. Those experiences, however, taught Johnson a resilience that serves her to this day. “I learned the life of hard knocks and racism but I was also able to assimilate into the different cultures and do what I had to do to make things work,” she said. In the end, she won. Today the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg has won the coveted Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards. The hotel is the crown jewel in an impressive constellation of almost ten hotels. Earlier this year, she added Nopsi New Orleans to her portfolio and Hotel Bennett in Charleston, South Carolina is set to join in summer 2018. Equestrian-themed, Salamander Resort & Spa’s 168 guestrooms and suites boast countryside views as well as an on-site stable, a 23,000-square-foot spa, a heated pool and a cooking studio. “I think what

is different with our resorts is people feel so comfortable and so at home,” says Johnson. “When they e nter our doors, they do not feel like it’s just a regular hotel.” “With my resorts,” she continues, “I want to make sure it’s my thumbprint. It’s not a Ritz-Carlton thumbprint or St. Regis. And those are great hotels.” Johnson’s impact on the hospitality industry and Loudoun County specifically has been undeniable, says Beth Erickson, Visit Loudoun’s president/CEO since 2014 who works closely with Salamander. Loudoun County tourism accounts for nearly 17,000 hospitality jobs and generates roughly $1.6 billion annually in spending. And Johnson is a big part of that success. “When Sheila opened Salamander, it was the only new luxury destination resort in the United States that opened in 2013 and, by opening it alone, it created 400 jobs,” says Erickson. “Occupancy taxes from Salamander have exceeded $1.3 million per year.” And Middleburg has reaped the rewards. “Some of those taxes,” reports Erickson, “went directly to improving sidewalks and crosswalks in Middleburg. It created revenue that allowed the town’s failing pipes to be replaced.” Johnson, who is also a film producer with “Lee Daniels’ The Butler’’ (2013) among her credits, “has literally brought Hollywood to Loudoun County” with the Middleburg Film Festival she started when Salamander opened, adds Erickson. Held annually in October, Erickson says the festival has put “us on the map in the company of Cannes, Telluride, Sundance and that is wonderful company to keep.” The 2017 festival, held October 19-22, spotlighted the highly regarded film “Mudbound” and featured a talk with its acclaimed black female director Dee Rees, a graduate of Florida A&M University. In 2016, the festival also screened “Moonlight,” which was based in Miami, and “La La Land,” which both won Oscars later. “I was always a businesswoman,” she says. “I could not prove that earlier but I’m proving it now.” The story and photo were provided by the Urban News Service ONYX MAGAZINE 37


COMMISSIONER REGINA I. HILL District 5 City of Orlando

Commissioner Regina I. Hill, a staunch advocate and supporter for the residents of District 5 and the City of Orlando, is committed to the advancement and creation of community enriching projects, policies and proactive solutions. Commissioner Hill approaches her public service with the mindset best stated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” Hill was born in Tavares, Fla., grew up in the Parramore area of Orlando and matriculated through the Orange County Public School System. She served in the United States Navy and fulfilled her desire to help and serve others as a nurse for 25 years. In 2013, as a first-time elected city commissioner, Hill advocated for more jobs, education opportunities, business development, and affordable housing in District 5. Specifically, she spearheaded activities toward the success of: Revitalization of Orlando Police Department; City of Orlando Blueprint – Turner School of Construction Job Training; Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plans (Church Street Renewal); Soccer Stadium; Parramore Village; Community Gardens; Wells Built House Rehabilitation; and Parramore Lymmo Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, among others. She


also spearheaded the “Ban the Box” initiative, which eliminated the question of felony and misdemeanor convictions on the employment applications for City of Orlando. Hill seeks and creates opportunities to affect change for residents and organizations in underserved communities, to include hosting community family events, school supply events, clothing donation events and food drives. As the past Second Vice Commander of AMVETS Post 30, Hill actively seeks to assist homeless veterans by providing housing and job opportunities. Hill has been recognized with the following honors: President Barack Obama Humanitarian Award, Orlando City Magazine “50 Most Powerful People,” Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., “Citizen of the Year” and Orlando Light Brigade “Global Peace Network.” Her support also has been recognized by the Butterfly Transformation Outreach Partnership, Parramore Kidz Zone Baby Institute, Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association and ONYX Magazine. Hill serves as co-chair - Caribbean Health Summit; Board Member - Salvation Army Advisory Board; Honorary Board Member - Courtney Project; Member - AMVETS Post 30; and the National League of Cities.



Children and Education Manager/Parramore Kidz Zone Manager City of Orlando Brenda R. March is the Children and Education manager for the City of Orlando and the manager of the Parramore Kidz Zone. In her role she is directly responsible for organizing and providing leadership to grassroots community leaders, nonprofits, educational groups and faith organizations in Parramore and surrounding communities. March also lends her expertise on a national scale as an advocate for children in underserved communities. The mission of PKZ is to level the playing field for Parramore’s children, equipping them with the tools to become successful, healthy and well-educated adults. PKZ aims to reduce juvenile crime, teen pregnancy, and high school drop-out rates in Orlando’s highest poverty neighborhood and seeks to ultimately replicate this model in other Orlando neighborhoods. PKZ is achieving this by investing in activities that make a difference in children’s lives such as quality early childhood education, after school programs, family economic success programs, youth development programs for teenagers, access to healthcare, mentoring, tutoring, college access assistance and more. March brings more than 30 years of experience to PKZ,

specifically in the areas of program management, community organizing and public relations. March has developed an extensive portfolio of programs during her 25-year tenure with the City of Orlando. She was instrumental in First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move! Cities, Counties, and Towns”; the National League of Cities; Policy Link: Campaign for Black Male Achievement; President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Orlando; Citizen Corps; and Neighborhood and Community Plans. She has been appointed by the mayor to facilitate numerous task forces, committees and community relations initiatives to inform and engage Orlando citizens in municipal government. In addition to her work with the City of Orlando, March serves on numerous boards and national panels including: Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion; Cities United; Volunteer Florida; My Brother’s Keeper; Heart of Florida United Way CAP Board of Directors; Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association Board; Steinway Society of Central Florida; Orlando City Soccer; Parramore History Committee; YMCA Achievers; and the Orlando Community & Youth Trust, Inc., where she served as president.



Vanessa Blair-Lewis

Corliss Fingers

Sandra Booker

A Triumphant Trio of Female Leadership in B-CU Athletics By Dan Ryan


he story of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune is well known throughout the rich history of our nation and the success of her life’s work at Bethune-Cookman University has been chronicled for generations. Her rock-solid faith, the ability to teach and inspire people and the courage to fight and break barriers against unbeatable odds are the foundations of her legacy. Her legacy has also taken root and is blossoming in the work and success of three powerful and successful women in leadership roles in the highly successful athletic program at BCU. An institution of higher learning founded by an African-American woman no doubt has and will always have strong women carrying on the founder’s legacy. B-CU is fortunate to have a trifecta of dynamic professionals who are a vital part 40 ONYX MAGAZINE

of its NCAA Division I program. Sandra Booker, the senior director of Athletics, Corliss Fingers, the director of Strength and Conditioning and Vanessa Blair-Lewis, head women’s basketball coach, are each accomplished in their industry as highly successful, nationally recognized, professionals who are mothers and mother figures to their own children and countless others on the campus. These three women are a huge part of the overall success in Wildcats athletics and Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Lynn W. Thompson appreciates their contribution to an athletic department is during a legendary run of championships both on and off the field. “You cannot work at Bethune-Cookman without being touched by the story of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune,” Thompson said. “And these three phenomenal women are

living proof of Dr. Bethune’s impact and influence. Like her, they are living a championship life by blazing a trail and setting a standard for the next generation, particularly young girls and women to follow.” That sentiment is the same for former women’s basketball coach Sandra Booker, now in her 13th season as BCU’s Senior associate director of Athletics and Senior Woman administrator. As a part of the senior management team, she coordinates the internal day-to-day operations of the department including budget management, providing leadership in game day operations, and oversight of the women’s sports teams. As a seasoned athletic administrator, Booker has taken on leadership roles in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference as a part of its delegate assembly, and she has served on national NCAA Committees including

a stint on the high-profile NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. Her experiences as a successful women’s basketball coach enabled her to ascend to the executive level of intercollegiate athletics. “I think about the opportunities Dr. Bethune provided those around her at the time,” Booker said. “Thanks to her, 100 years later, my mission here at BCU is to provide those same opportunities to this new generation. As an administrator, I deal with a lot of different challenges and see not only the student-athletes mature, but the coaches and staff evolve as well. They grow and take this experience and the spirit of Dr. Bethune with them. I like that. The legacy carries on.” “Do I see Dr. Bethune’s influence in our everyday endeavors? Of course!” Thompson adds. “Especially with some of our women’s coaches, staff and administration. They’re already motivated and talented… and with an extra level of inspiration… we’re blessed.” Inspiration takes care of itself sometimes. When possible, B-CU teams visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History when playing Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) foe Howard University in Washington, D.C. Last year, Women’s Basketball Coach Vanessa Blair-Lewis took her team to the museum. It got real. As the back- to-back MEAC Coach of the Year winner, BlairLewis thought nothing would be as exciting as leading her Lady Wildcats to the MEAC hoops crown and NIT tournament appearances the past two seasons, but she was wrong. “You work your way up the upper floors to the National Council of Negro Women exhibit, and Dr. Bethune has her own room,” Blair-Lewis said. “You get to hear her speak. It even has a maroon carpet! And here you are, wearing athletic gear with her name on it and other visitors to the museum now know you’re from Bethune-Cookman. That moment had a profound moment on me and I know it did on the players as well.” Moments like those are building blocks in the championship process.

“You get into coaching because you love the game, then because you want to be part of molding your players into young women.” —Vanessa Blair-Lewis

Blair-Lewis has built the Lady Wildcats into a perennial contender for the MEAC championship by increasing progress each season, winning the last two and currently within striking distance of a third. B-CU recently broke into the national rankings with a No. 25 slot in the CollegeInsider. com Mid-Major poll. Moments like the tour in D.C. provide a platform for success that is much bigger than a basketball court and it is a part of the philosophy and game-plan of Blair-Lewis for transforming her student-athletes into highly successful women in life. “You get into coaching because you love the game, then because you want to be part of molding your players into young women,” said Blair-Lewis. “It truly is special to see the growth as the players advance through the years at this special and historic place.” Dr. Bethune would certainly be proud of her contemporary Wildcats. She loved sports. If she could see and feel the impact that this trio of superstars has on young people she would be impressed. One of Dr. Bethune’s passions was her football team, and Corliss Fingers is helping maintain B-CU’s status as an elite HBCU and NCAA mid-major program as the Director of Strength and Conditioning for the Department of Athletics. Fingers has been known to get into the players’ faces despite the players’ somewhat advantages in size. She is a bold leader who personally designs and implements the strength and conditioning program for all of the 17 sports

at B-CU, including Dr. Bethune’s favorite sport of football. As probably the most acclaimed African-American woman in the field of strength and conditioning, Fingers came to B-CU with a national reputation and the opportunity to work on the campus built by this iconic figure is a treasured experience. “I love hearing the stories of how bold Dr. Bethune was,” Fingers said. “The one about her walking the sidelines with her cane. Wish I could have seen that. I think we would have gotten along just fine.” In her third year at B-CU, Fingers was recently awarded the Judy Sweet Award at the NCAA Women Coaches Academy in Denver. Her daily regiments and strength conditioning programs are nationally acclaimed and her passion for total development and growth of student-athletes is a vital part of the overall success of all of the sports programs at BCU. “When you win an award, it’s a tremendous honor,” Fingers said. It inspires me and reminds me that I am pushing to be great for so many other women with dreams to smash through the ceilings.” Just like Dr. Bethune. For more on Bethune-Cookman athletics, visit the official athletic website at ONYX MAGAZINE 41


DESIRÉE SPENCE MATTHEWS Deputy City Manager City of Kissimmee

Strong. Courageous. Caring. A woman of integrity. Those are the words that describe Desirée Spence Matthews, the deputy city manager for the City of Kissimmee. She serves as second-in-command for an organization with a budget of $169 million and more than 700 employees. Her responsibilities include assisting the city manager with day-to-day operations of the organization, including oversight of the Airport, City Manager’s Office (City Clerk and Public Information), Development Services, Economic Development, Information Technology, Parks and Recreation, the Kissimmee Charter Academy contract, and the City’s homelessness initiatives. Having served the citizens of Kissimmee for more than 16 years, Spence Matthews has held the following positions: assistant to the city manager, assistant city manager/city clerk, and acting director of Central Services. She was promoted to deputy city manager in 2011. Spence Matthews has been an advocate and community champion throughout her career and has dedicated her life to helping people navigate processes and systems to meet their needs and achieve their goals. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, community initiatives and can always be found working in the background to help others.


She credits her mother with instilling in her the tenants of character, courage and commitment, as she watched her mother become the first black female firefighter for the City of Fort Lauderdale. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor of Health Care Administration degree from Florida Atlantic University. Spence Matthews is the proud mother of two beautiful daughters, Mikayla and Callista. Desirée Spence Matthews is the deputy city manager for the City of Kissimmee. She serves as second-in-command for an organization with a budget of $169 million and more than 700 employees. Her responsibilities include assisting the city manager with day-to-day operations of the organization, including oversight of the Airport, City Manager’s Office (City Clerk and Public Information), Development Services, Economic Development, Information Technology, Parks and Recreation, the Kissimmee Charter Academy contract, and the City’s homelessness initiatives. She serves on numerous nonprofit boards, community initiatives and can always be found working in the background to help others.


ANNETTE GIBBS Public Relations Manager Disney Destinations

Since 2001, Annette Gibbs has served as a Public Relations Manager with Disney Destinations. In addition to developing PR strategy and story ideas promoting Disney’s theme parks, resorts and cruise line, Gibbs manages relationships with national broadcasters, print and online media. If you’ve watched ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “Nightline,” CNN, CBS, or FOX, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her work. Gibbs has also been instrumental in the launch of a myriad of new Disney products and promotions. Most recently she provided PR support for the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort. Other globe-trotting adventures included the launch of “it’s a small world” at Hong Kong Disneyland, the 15th-Anniversary celebration at Disneyland Paris and the launch of new Disney Cruise Line ships. You’ll find no Disney Cast Member more passionate about the Company’s outreach to the African-American community. Gibbs was part of the team that developed Disney’s Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence

Magazine, an annual mentoring program for teens that has earned national acclaim. She also played a major role introducing Princess Tiana, Disney’s first African-American princess, to Walt Disney World guests and to the nation at large. She also spearheads Disney Parks’ sponsorship of and involvement in major initiatives such as the National Association of Black Journalists and “EBONY” magazine’s HBCU Campus Queens celebration at Walt Disney World. Prior to joining Disney, Gibbs was an award-winning journalist. She spent 12 years as a reporter and anchor at various TV networks including BET News. Her public service work includes serving on the Board of Visitors for the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication. Gibbs is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Public Relations Society of America and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Orlando Alumnae Chapter. She also is a longtime supporter of the Heart of Florida United Way.




BERNADETTE MORRIS President and CEO Sonshine Communications

Bernadette Morris is the President and CEO of Sonshine Communications, a full service public relations, marketing and advertising agency. Incorporated in 1993, Sonshine is celebrating its 25th anniversary and is one of the most highly regarded black-owned agencies in Florida. Sonshine offers comprehensive services ranging from grassroots marketing to fully integrated communications services. The firm represents a cadre of clientele including federal and state government agencies, corporations and small businesses, non-profits, ministries, and more. Under her leadership, Sonshine has acquired multiple accounts ranging from Anheuser-Busch, Darden Restaurants, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Florida Department of Health (FDOH), Florida Power and Lights (FPL), and hundreds more. Morris and her team have championed a myriad of campaigns, from the statewide and national “truth” anti-tobacco campaigns; the National Black HIV/AIDS campaign; the statewide FDOT “Drive It Home: Keep Our Paradise Litter-Free;” and most recently, the FL511 Traveler Information System. A woman of many talents, Morris manages multiple com-

panies. She is the CEO of Black PR Wire (BPRW), a nationwide news distribution company serving the black media throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean. Clients of BPRW include Business Wire, Coca-Cola, ASPiRE TV and others. Morris also is the CEO of her non-profit company, Women Grow Strong, Inc., which serves to educate, empower and inspire women and young girls. Morris holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Florida International University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of North Florida. Prior to starting Sonshine, she served as Associate Dean/ Public Affairs at Miami-Dade College. She also has enjoyed a successful career in broadcast journalism where she was a publicist for PBS/NPR and a producer of children’s programs. Morris is committed to “Making the Difference of a Lifetime with Quality, Substance and Style.” She and her husband of 28 years, Colin, have two young adults: Rebecca, 26, an executive manager with Bloomingdale’s; and Stephen, 25, a National Football League player with the Washington Redskins.



Stopping Indecent Behavior We are standing up to sexual harassment By D. Shenell Reed


ne-by-one, they all fell. News anchors. Movie directors. Actors. Countless others. Each allegedly had made sexual advances toward unwilling women. We watched with our hands cupped over our mouths, shaking our heads in disbelief. The recent stories of impropriety poured in so furiously that we tuned in just to see who made the roll call. Women beseeched, ‘lawd, please don’t let it be Denzel!’ We were not making light of the situation, but the frequency of the allegations and the favorable reputations of the accused led us to believe that anybody could be next. As we witnessed women speaking out and taking down the mighty, we thought, ‘this issue is not isolated in the entertainment industry. This happened to me.’ However, like many others, we were paralyzed by the fear of what might follow if we let the secret slip. *Seventy-five percent of women who reported harassment also reported that retaliation was not far behind. This fear convinces us to play along. We shrug off dirty jokes. We suck our teeth at sexist, degrading comments. We roll our eyes when a male coworker thumps our backsides in the elevator. The truth is,


some women have come to accept indecent behavior from men. Many of us expect it. But, when we don’t call men on their stuff, the behavior can swell and create an even more uncomfortable situation. As a young reporter, I befriended a male editor at a local newspaper. Ours was exactly the type of relationship that might develop when two people are working long hours, often late into the evening. We would take breaks together, review each other’s copy, pitch story ideas, share resources. Then we took our relationship offsite. We dined, watched movies, chatted by phone after midnight. We heard murmurs from co-workers about our relationship, but I really had no feelings for this man other than friendship. As our friendship grew, we spent more and more time together. Then, he started making sexual innuendo. I thought it was innocent at first, but it became aggressive and physical (he tried to kiss me, caressed me, showed up at my apartment). I felt nervous being alone with him and backed away but remained friendly. When I was ready to take on more responsibilities at work, I asked for his recommendation. He asked what was in it for him and suggested we meet at my place to discuss. I was hurt,

ashamed, angry. He went on like nothing ever happened. I eventually moved away and never spoke with him again. Later, I learned he had a similar budding relationship with another young reporter. And when he stepped to her wrong, she put him on blast. He lost his job. I wish I would have been as brave. Women who speak up are commonly labeled liars or somehow are to blame. The first question is ‘what was she doing there anyway?’ Her being there doesn’t give another the right to violate her. The #MeToo movement, started by Tarana Burke, has given women a voice and support they never believed they had before. Now, more than ever, harassers (men and women) are owning up to their bad behavior and employers are holding them publicly accountable. The only way to stop this behavior is to stop this behavior. All of us. We know when we are being inappropriate and when to shut down someone else for acting the same. Most importantly, we must strengthen our communities by promoting respect for others. *Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports


SHANTI PERSAUD Owner and Operator Unity Broadcasting Networks

Shanti Persaud is the owner and operator of the ever-expanding Unity Broadcasting Networks. A native of Orlando, Persaud is a successful business woman, an entrepreneur, and a mother of two. After her matriculation through Orange County Public Schools, she became involved in the family business, where she eventually took the helm at the more than 6-year-old brand. WOKB 1680AM is Orlando’s oldest station, featuring a balance of ministry and music. It was formally known as Tiger Radio and was located at 1600AM on the radio dial. Currently, 1680AM airs “Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell.” WNTF 1600AM is one of the newest stations under Unity Networks, and, features a mixture of Old School R&B and Classic Soul. It is honored to air the “DL Hughley Show.” WOKB received the 2017 Stellar Award for Best Gospel Radio Station in the Large Market category, Persaud’s greatest accomplishment. WOKB has been nominated for the same award for 2018. Persaud is a member of the African American Chamber of Commerce, Black Advisory Committee for Valencia Community College, a member of the


Orange County Branch of the NAACP, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the Winter Garden Chamber of Commerce. Presently, she gives leadership to the “Cease Fire,” movement, which is an attempt to stop gun violence in the Central Florida community. Since 2009 she has partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide an open food pantry. In addition, she has given school supplies to more than 2,000; she provides essentials to families in need at Christmas; and offers help to the homeless community. She devotes time to lunch with the students at Citrus Elementary School. Furthermore, the Unity Broadcasting Network participates annually in the local Martin Luther King, Jr., parades. Persaud is pursuing her degree in Science at Valencia Community College to become a sonogram technician. She plans to serve the elderly at local nursing homes. Nonetheless, this will not detour her from her love and focus of her family, the Unity Broadcasting Networks, and the ever growing, constantly expanding, Central Florida community.



Director & Chief Executive Officer Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, Inc. Pasha Baker is the director & chief executive officer of Goldsboro West Side Community Historical Association, Inc. In her daily role, she collaborates with state and federal agencies, partners with small businesses, and executes grant and fundraising platforms. Further, she manages the Goldsboro Museum, Francis Oliver Cultural Arts and Goldsboro Welcome Center, Crooms Academy Museum, The Goldsboro Heritage & Art Garden, The Goldsboro Arts Square, and Page Jackson Cemetery. Baker is a native of Sanford, Fla., and she is a true Southern Belle. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. As an ongoing effort to enhance her skills, Baker has taken executive classes at Yale University. Baker’s humble beginnings and life lessons led her to entrepreneurship. It was this experience that encouraged her to create an entrepreneur ecosystem. She set her sights on really making a difference within her community. She became one of the most sought-after entrepreneurs in Central Florida. Her desire was to create an economical development model that would provide the disenfranchised with financial stability and growth opportunities. She accom-

plished this goal by creating jobs within the community and building businesses that withstood economic highs and recession lows. Baker is one the most influential young business leaders of today. Among her many business achievements, she has franchised a cupcake company; built a multi- million-dollar construction company, a funeral home, a chain of endodontics offices, national tie and bowtie line, a women’s retail store, a bartending school; and streamlined a consortium of state colleges. Baker’s accolades consist of the 2012 “Orlando Business Journal” 40 under 40 winner; 2012 Visionary Leader of the Year by The Central Florida Girl Scouts Nominee; 2012 & 2013 “Orlando Business Journal” Young Business Woman of Year Nominee; 2011 National Small Business Influencer Nominee; 2011 Business Buddies Tampa Bay Young Professional of the Year Nominee; “Tampa Bay Business Journal” 30 Under 30 Winner; “Tampa Bay Business Journal” Young Minority Business Person of the Year Nominee; and “Tampa Bay Business Journal” Young Business Woman of the Year Nominee. Baker is currently a candidate for mayor of Sanford, Fla.



ALTHEMESE BARNES Founder and Executive Director Riley House Museum/Center and FAAHPN

Althemese Barnes is the founder and executive director of the Riley House Museum/Center and Florida African-American Heritage Preservation Network (FAAHPN), a professional association of museums in Florida. Under her leadership, the Riley Center/Museum received the 2014 Tallahassee Trust historic preservation award, along with Conn Architect & Associates, for design of the new Riley Visitors Center. Her dedication to heritage preservation led President Barack Obama to appoint her to the National Board of Directors for the Institute of Museum and Library in 2012 for a five-year term. A native of Tallahassee, Barnes served on the Florida Department of State Historical Commission, where she reviewed and recommended funding to museums. Barnes’s work has not gone unnoticed by her colleagues and supporters. In 2014, with more than 800,000 people voting online in 57 counties, the Museum/Center placed first in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) People’s Choice Award, which was presented to Lewis and Whitlock AIA for the Cascades Park/Smoky Hollow Village Com-


memoration Project. In 2015, Barnes received the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achiever Award; she received the Evelyn Fortune Bartlett Award in 2016, the top statewide award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation; and she has received numerous awards from local, state and national historical institutions. Barnes has been tapped to present at numerous state, national and international meetings and conferences on heritage preservation and conservation initiatives. She has directed the publication of 32 books and documentaries based on historical research. The Riley Museum/Center has provided internship experiences for more than 70 university students from Florida A&M University and Florida State University. Barnes received both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Florida A&M University. She studied Museum Management at Florida State University and was a part of the Flagler Museum Fellowship Scholars Program.



Senior Director of Moffitt Diversity Moffitt Cancer Center

Cathy Grant is the senior director of the Moffitt Diversity team at Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt) in Tampa. Under her leadership, Moffitt has advanced to becoming a nationally recognized diversity and inclusion forerunner. Grant is passionate about inclusion and equity; and is focused on ensuring that Moffitt is best prepared to meet the needs of all the patients it serves. Grant leads an interdisciplinary team of professionals who are focused on diversity and inclusion, cultural and linguistic competence, supplier diversity, health disparities, and community benefit. Prior to joining Moffitt, Grant served in roles that consistently focused on community empowerment. As the assistant vice president at the Citigroup Foundation in New York City, she awarded $25 million in higher education and environmental protection grants annually. While at the Foundation, Grant partnered with organizations such as The College Fund and the Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management to provide scholarship and mentoring funding support to underrepresented students pursuing degrees in business.


Grant led Moffitt to be ranked No. 4 by DiversityInc on its annual list of “Top 12 Hospital and Health Systems;” was recognized by the American Hospital Association as a Healthcare Equity Honoree; and has been designated as a leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality for seven years in a row by the Human Rights Campaign. Grant is very proud of her work, which resulted in a greater focus on supplier diversity. Since the program’s inception, Moffitt’s spend with diverse suppliers has increased by 170 percent. Grant earned a Master of Public Administration degree at City University of New York. She also earned a Certificate in Diversity Management in Health Care (CDM) from Georgetown University and the Institute for Diversity & Health Equity. She serves as a member of the Institute for Diversity & Health Equity American Leadership Council and is a member of the Tampa Museum of Art Board of Trustees. Grant is proudly celebrating 20 years of marriage, and has a 17-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, who are her priority.



Regional Development Director United Negro College Fund

Anita Henri is the Florida regional development director of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). She is responsible for all the fundraising, outreach and public relations. She has organized events for UNCF featuring Tom Joyner, Ambassador Andrew Young and actress Angela Robinson, and expanded UNCF’s community programs. Henri is dedicated to increasing the number of minority students who have the opportunity to attend college. Prior to joining UNCF, Henri was the associate director of External Affairs for the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. The Smithsonian Institution is the largest museum complex in the world with 19 museums and the national zoo. While at the Museum, Henri was responsible for holding two President Barack Obama Inaugural Balls, hosting numerous African presidents and U.S. leaders including President George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and First Lady Michelle Obama. She also helped organize the Museum’s inner-city art program where children learned about African culture and the arts. She insti-

tuted the African Advisory Council with representatives from the diaspora who advised the museum about cultural sensitivity. Before her tenure with the Smithsonian, Henri was the vice president of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the largest trade association on Africa with more than 300 multinational corporate members that represent nearly 85 percent of the US private sector investment in Africa. Henri was CCA’s representative on the Coalition for AIDS Relief in Africa that successfully lobbied for the passage of the $15 billion emergency AIDS Relief for Africa. Henri was an international project finance lawyer who practiced at Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin and Kahn. She founded their Africa practice. Henri received her Bachelor of Arts degree from American University in Communications. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Howard University and her Masters of Law in International Finance Law degree from the London School of Economics.


HEALTH AND WELLNESS For fried foods pay attention to the type of oil that it is fried in. You will find that most fast food restaurants are using 100 percent vegetable oil instead of peanut oil. You want to always consume oils that are polyunsaturated instead of saturated oil. Remember that you can choose fried foods sometimes. Make it a habit to selected broiled, grilled, oven-baked, roasted, or steamed items.

Being a Woman on the Move Could Mean Eating on the Run Roniece Weaver

HOW DOES YOUR EATING OUT PLAN STACK UP? LET’S TAKE THE TEST: Do You: 1. Order the regular size: burger, fries, drinks, shakes and smoothies? Yes


2. Make burgers a single: single meat patty, no bacon (or just a little, if you want the flavor)? Yes No 3. Build it with whole grains: wholewheat and other whole-grain bread, buns, pita pizza crust, or tortillas – and brown rice in bowl meals and wraps? Yes No 4. Switch it up with more menu variety: fast food bowl meals, main-dish salad, stir-fries, stuffed pitas, and more if offered? Yes No 5. Layer on veggies, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, shredded carrots, tomatoes, and more for burgers, sandwiches, and wraps or in a bowl meal? Yes


6. Lighten the mayonnaise, sauce, or spread: Ask for hummus, another mashed vegetable spread, or nut butter instead? Yes


7. Go for grilled: grilled (not breaded or fried) chicken sandwich (same for a fish sandwich)? Yes No

8. Swap: a baked potato, fruit, or a side salad instead of fries or fried onion rings? Yes No 9. Substitute: water, 100 percent juice, or low-fat or fat-free milk instead of regular soda or sugar -sweetened tea? Yes


10. Order a sweet and healthy ending: Fruit or low-fat frozen yogurt rather than a fruit pie or a sundae? Yes No If you are a woman on the move and find that you are eating out quite a bit, you will want to be able to say Yes to many of these questions, especially if you are living in the fast lane and have very little time to plan meals. Each one of the questions above also can assist you with making a fast/quick meal a healthy one. So, say Yes to the meal. If you had several No answers, below are some suggestions to limiting calories: Condiments and spreads Ease up on the side condiments, especially sauces and dressings. One packet of mayo has 60 calories. If you want a wet sandwich, you can add lots of mustard and throw in tomatoes for the wetness. If you are a fish lover, tarter sauce is 70 calories. Swap and add mustard, salsa, hot sauce. I promise you won’t miss it.

Limit sugary items: • Limit sugary desserts, and pastries. • Substitute your desserts with fresh fruits. • Drink water or fruit enhanced water for your beverage instead of sodas and sweet teas. Sodium limitations If you have high blood pressure: • Taste your food before you salt it. • Leave the salt shaker alone. • Salt is an acquired taste that can be modified in a few months if you give up the extra salt in your diet. • Limit meats that are cured and high in salt: Luncheon meats, sausage, and ham

Women on the move must do one thing correctly. Eat breakfast. Tips on breaking the morning fast: • Breakfast should be a sensible portion. Focus on 400-600 calories for breakfast. • Choose lean protein which helps you feel full longer. • Add fiber rich foods such as whole grain bread, vegetables and fruits with edible peelings. • Add a low-calorie source of calcium: yogurt and low-fat milks. • Limit added sugars: Donuts, pastries and sweet coffee and teas. Remember that Breakfast Matters. Enjoy! Roniece

Roniece Weaver, MS, RD, LD is a registered dietician. ONYX MAGAZINE 55



Director of Development and Communications United Arts of Central Florida Erica Henri has worked in politics and fundraising for more than 37 years. Her first fundraising position was as assistant office manager for the Kennedy for President Campaign where she worked with the titans of fundraising and political operations, which whet her interest in fundraising and politics. Henri has worked with United Arts of Central Florida since August of 2015. She started as interim director in the Development and Communications office as a nationwide search was held for the permanent position. After an exhaustive search, she was offered the role. Henri has held many development and political positions throughout the country. When she was a special assistant to Mayor Frank Jordan in San Francisco, Henri was the neighborhood liaison to San Francisco neighborhoods; created the Mayor’s Office of Citizen’s Assistance; coordinated and managed Fleet Week activities; established the Hunter’s Wood’s Job Fair; represented the mayor at town meetings;

coordinated the mayor’s outreach to neighborhoods by setting up 10 to 12 town meetings per year; and helped bring Major League Baseball’s Giants to San Francisco. As political director for the Women’s Campaign Fund, a bipartisan group in Washington, D.C., which helps women get elected on the local, state and national level, she recruited, trained and managed women candidates running for office. She also raised more than $1.5 million annually at “Dinner of Your Choice” fundraising dinners in New York and Washington D.C.; and recruited members for high donor Fundraising Circle and Corporate Elite Circle. Henri served as development director for the Appleseed Foundation, which runs civil justice centers throughout the country. She directed the Development Department; coordinated and managed all fundraising and outreach events, developed prospects, and conducted all outreach to prospects; and developed and coordinated fundraising courses for center directors.




President MCO Construction and Services

Ann McNeill is the president of South Florida’s first African-American and female-owned construction company. Founded more than 40 years ago, MCO Construction and Services is still one of the leading minority firms in South Florida in construction management and project controls. McNeill has been at the helm of this small company with a large presence as it has worked on most of the flagship projects in South Florida, such as American Airlines Arena, Marlins Park, Miami International Airport, The Philip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and The Miami Dade Children’s Courthouse, just to name a few. A licensed general contractor, McNeill discovered that women in the construction business were few and far between in the male-dominated construction industry. So, McNeill founded the National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC) to give these women a voice. The association was created to help build a pipeline for black women in the public sector, private sector, entrepreneurs or young women pursuing construction disciplines in high school, trade schools or colleges; and to teach each other how to turn


contacts into contracts. Each month NABWIC has its “Billion Dollar” luncheon to help members do exactly that. Annually, McNeill and NABWIC hosts an Industry Day to connect STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students with industry leaders. McNeill has been featured in “Black Enterprise” magazine, “USA Today” and ABC’s “World News.” McNeill travels around the country speaking about work-life balance for her speaking business, Constructively Speaking, Inc. She is also the president of MCO Consulting, Inc., a consulting company that provides outreach, monitoring and compliance for private sector firms that perform work on public sector land. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her work in her industry and also in the community. McNeill received her Bachelor of Accounting degree from Florida Memorial College (University) and her Master of Finance degree from Barry University. She is married to Daniel McNeill and has two daughters, Danelle and Lonnie. She also has a grandson, Malachi, and a granddaughter, Rajah-Nia.


TASHA MARIA ROBINSON-BANKS Senior Director, Hughes Branch Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida

A native of Orlando, wife to Bryant and mother of LeahGrace and Loren-Gabriella, Tasha Robinson-Banks is the senior director of the Hughes Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, the largest club in the region. For 18 years she has excelled in her nonprofit leadership experience working with underserved, disadvantaged and marginalized populations. Robinson-Banks started her career as the Suspension Programs coordinator moving into the position of Teen director for the Southwest Branch, now known as the Universal Branch, from 1998 to 1999. Driven by passion and purpose and being the youngest among her peers, Robinson-Banks took on the task of managing the Boca Branch located in the clubhouse of an apartment complex. Though small and quaint, this club and new role allowed her the opening to building professional relationships. The partnership with the West Orlando Washington Shores Program, United Way, Foster Grandparents Program, and Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corp, helped to serve as an opportunity for her to advocate for youth needing a safe place to go after school.


In 2001 Robinson-Banks became the director of the Downtown Branch located on the property of the Coalition for the Homeless, which was the first club of its kind in the United States to provide services to homeless youth. She also managed the Parramore Club in Orlando’s first African-American library known as the Annex of Shiloh Baptist Church, and then at the Jackson Community Center. In August 2017, Robinson-Banks assumed her current role. The Hughes Branch has a membership of more than 470 kids and 31,000 square feet has put into perspective the importance of having engaging activities for youth in areas oftentimes forgotten. It is an honor for Robinson-Banks to be respected as a voice for at-risk youth in the Parramore Heritage Area and has a proven record of positively impacting the futures of the youth she has served. Robinson-Banks has remained committed to making sure all the youth her clubs serve know they are loved, valued, created with purpose and destined for success. She is working hard to leave a legacy of hope and inspiration.


JASMINE GEBON Operations Manager BBIF Florida

Jasmine Gebon is the operations manager at Black Business Investment Fund Florida (BBIF). From a young age, Gebon was exposed to both the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurship brings. Her father had a small business and often she worked on special projects and tasks. This led to her becoming a project manager in the construction industry before she transitioned to the nonprofit sector and joined the team at BBIF in 2008. BBIF is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides loan capital and financial technical assistance services for black, minority and underserved small businesses statewide. Historically, BBIF has made capital investments to more than 406 loan clients, retained and created more than 12,906 jobs and provided more than $47.6 million in loans. Passionate about the organization’s mission, Gebon has worn several hats during her tenure at BBIF, including roles in project management, event planning, marketing, advocacy, and fundraising. She has successfully managed several certification and funding applications. Most notably were the 2014 CDFI Financial Assistance Grant, 2015 New Markets Tax Credit, and Wells Fargo Diverse Community

Capital (DCC) applications. These awards totaled more than $22 million. Her outstanding work ethic has not gone unnoticed. In 2011 Jasmine was a finalist for the “Orlando Business Journal” (OBJ) Women Who Mean Business Up-and-Comer award; and in 2012 she was named one of OBJ’s 40 under 40. Jasmine also was selected as a program lead for the Wells Fargo DCC Marketing cohort in 2017. A savvy young professional who embodies the principals of leadership with integrity and a servant heart, Gebon was recently promoted to operations manager. Gebon moved from Florida’s Space Coast to Orlando in 2003. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Central Florida in 2005, and currently is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree there. She is a member of the National Black MBA Association; Central Florida Urban League Young Professionals; NAACP; and the Society of Human Resource Management. Gebon resides in Orlando with her husband, Daniel, where they are devoted godparents to their nieces and nephews.




Sous-Chef Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Megan Mack is one of the youngest sous-chefs at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Fla. As a souschef, Mack is second in command in the kitchen, ranking directly after the executive chef. She is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the restaurant, at times managing more than 30 people on staff. This position is second nature for Mack. She has been cooking since the age of 6 when she assisted her grandmother in the kitchen. She enjoyed the happiness that cooking meals for others brought to her. To parlay her love into a career, her mother insisted that if she wanted to attend culinary school, she should also include management and business of the industry into her curriculum. This resulted in Mack earning degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management from Johnson and Wales University. There she learned that the kitchen is not just about food preparation. ONYX Magazine named Megan Mack as a 2018 Women on the Move Rising Star and the team at Hard Rock agrees. Chef Luke Forzano, the culinary director for Seminole Hard


Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, said “Megan is an absolute rising star on our culinary team here at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. She has a great work ethic and a fiery passion for her role that is to be admired and emulated by all young culinarians on property. She sets an example of leadership for our culinary students and even for most senior managers on property. We have seen Megan grow in her career with two promotions in just the past 12 months. We look forward to seeing her continued growth with the company.” Justin Wyborn, the vice president of Food & Beverage for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, said “At Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, we are always looking for the best of the best to join our team. Megan exudes the talent and hunger for growth that we strive to inspire in all our team members. We are proud of her many accomplishments, and we are grateful to have her as part of our Seminole Hard Rock family.”


Model It Until You Master It Don’t Fake It ‘Til You Make It By LaFern Batie


ake it ‘til you make it.” You have heard it a million times, right? It sounds like opening lyrics written to convince someone of your value: “I have no idea what I’m doing but, baby, just trust me. Who needs proof when I can simply make a lie look pretty?” No matter how many people use that catchphrase, do not buy into this mindset without being sure that what you are saying reflects the message you intend to deliver. Besides, when you hear “fake,” what comes to mind? Fraud, counterfeit, sham…words that you would not dare use to describe what you want others to confidently perceive in you, like competence and capability. If strong relationships are built on trust, which is rooted in truth, then pretense and deception can damage any relationship if uncovered. So, what is a viable, authentic alternative to “faking it ‘til you make it?” Model it until you master it. Sometimes, we observe others who are achieving what we desire and feel compelled to measure up. We all have experienced situations when we really want an opportunity, yet the requirements are far beyond our stretch capabilities—that good enough, 70-80 percent fit that still leaves room to be challenged. (If you are a 100 percent fit, where is the room to grow?) I have worked with emerging entrepreneurs who launch products and services because they think what has seemingly been profitable for a competitor will produce financial success for them. For example, they copy marketing language, adopt

LaFern Batie

the same systems, target duplicate markets mentors, sponsors, an executive coach and share on the same platforms thinking, and role models—to help support your “If I just look like they look, I will be sucdevelopment. Don’t have time? Delegate cessful.” If an opportunity lands in their tactical activities to someone who could laps, they often stumble because they are benefit from what you already know, ill-prepared to meet customers’ expectamaking room for your growth; and tions. I have served leaders who suffer from • Ask for support in the areas the “imposter syndrome,” trying so hard to where your knowledge and hide what they do not want anyone else to experience are limited. If you know that they don’t know. are not as savvy about financial metWhat or whom do you desire to be? rics, rather than sit through meetings One competency that presents significant in a fog, do what top leaders do—find modeling opportunities is effective leada financial mentor, share your developership. If you want to become a visionary mental need and build your skills. Take leader, rather than expending most of your a class online through low- or no-cost, energy trying to convince others that you credible programs. are already there, incorporate these tips to help build mastery: “Faking it” is a message you speak first to yourself. It takes significant effort to • Identify a specific area where hide the truth. What would be different if you can consistently practice you expended that energy preparing and the key behaviors that help modeling your brand—the experience you shape your leadership. If you promise to those you serve? The mastery need to sharpen your business acumen, journey takes consistent, intentional and read publications that target senior lead- focused effort. It can be challenging. There ers. Learn about global trends, national are no shortcuts, but it is worth every headlines and local activities to have ounce of confidence and competence more informed, richer conversations; gained on the journey! • Make room for relationships that will challenge and stretch you. Create your own Professional Advisory Board—a team including

LaFern Batie is the CEO of The Batie Group, a boutique consulting firm serving executives and entrepreneurs seeking to lead effectively, create compelling strategies, execute with excellence and create exceptional experiences.





his year’s Oscar 2018 nominations will prove the strength and the rise of diversity, in regards to race and gender. The number of Oscar-nominated women sitting in the director’s chair is on the rise as well, to include African-American women such as, Dee Rees, “Mudbound” (Netflix). Actor, Director, Producer, and Stage Manager, Michele Rashida Turner, is a Woman on the Move. For over 25 years honing her craft on stage with the Afrikan Women’s Repertory, Theater Off-Broadway, roles in over 50 industrial films, she has earned numerous awards, and produced her first feature comedy film, “Lord Help Us” released on DVD in 2008. She even cast the film with Margaret Avery (Academy Award nominated actress – Color Purple), Debra Wilson (Mad TV, Scary Movie 4), Nadia Turner (American Idol), Joe Clair (BET), Johnny Brown (Good Times), Marion Ramsey (Police Academy) with cameos by Al Jarreau (Grammy Award Winner), and Tico Wells (Five Heart Beats). With several films now under her belt, Turner is still pushing the envelope with several projects. A play which caught the attention of actor, Philip Michael Thomas, who commissioned her to direct. “My first acting teacher was Bea Richards, the actress who was in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. She did a two-week acting seminar in San Francisco, there were actors in there who were looking at me like why am I in there with Bea Richards, and I don’t know anything. She said I was her empty cup and she would fill me.” she reflects. “Sy Richardson, writer of the 1993 film “Posse”, directed by Mario Van Peebles, 66 MAGAZINE GigiONYX Brooks

taught me that what makes a great director is casting, casting, casting. You have to be able to take your script and break it down for every character and really see the path of the plot, because it’s so important to see how to get to the message and bring it in. Directing is something you have to do. You can study all you want, but eventually you have to do it. I never studied directing in school. Being in a Repertory company, I picked up on everything...being able to build a set, do the lights, music, climbing up into the rafters, knowing all of the technical things, I believe it made me a better director. When I read a script I just see it, when I read a chapter I can feel them and know them and I know the characters. Understand the time when it took place. The script I am working on now, “Nameegie”, takes place in the 1960’s, I lived this. So, I understand what people dressed

like, what the sounds were like; what the culture was like. You have to know who, what, where, why, and when.” The play “Nameegie”, written by Judy Jones, is currently in production for performances later this spring, and it’s reading was in February at the Billie Holiday Theater in Brooklyn, New York. I wanted to know what drew her to this particular play. “I was just so honored that actor, Philip Michael Thomas called me, and had the confidence that I could do it, when he has never seen anything I’ve directed. I had to read that script. Could I say no? Oh, no! I could not say no! It wasn’t even about the script at that point, and then when I read the script it was such a sweet story; a love story; a now story, even though it took place in the 60’s, it’s talking about immigration from Africa — a woman who was abused and her children were taken away from her, and she’s dependent on a married man to help her. I was really taken by it.” In addition to Turner’s already full schedule, she has been invited by Jeffrey Poitier to produce Sydney Portier’s “Goodness Is Revolutionary” a documentary film scheduled to be completed by late spring. Dr. Henry Louis Gates has also stated that he would be honored to be a part of the film. However, the project most near and dear to her heart is her documentary film, about Special Olympians and their road to the USA Games. Special Indeed is a labor of love and is currently being edited. The winter of 2018 is the goal to have the editing completed and the film on the festival circuit. (See Director Michele Rashida Turner is indeed A Woman On The Move!

PLACES TO GO & PEOPLE TO SEE ORLANDO AREA Russian Ballet Orlando presents La Bayadere Ballet – March 3 Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center presents Anita Baker – March 16 Bob Carr Theater Standing Ovation Talent Group presents He Paid It All - March 31 Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival – March 16-18 Park Avenue Florida Film Festival – April 6-15 Enzian Theater Miguel – March 29 The Plaza Live

MIAMI Miami Film Festival – March 9-18 Miami Dade College

Black Panther photo courtesy of The Walt Disney Studios

Jazz In The Gardens – March 17-18

HOLLYWOOD Kirk Franklin – April 21 Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater

TAMPA Miguel – April 1 The Ritz Ybor

PLANT CITY Earth, Wind & Fire – March 9 Florida Strawberry Festival Grounds

JACKSONVILLE Wyclef Jean – March 10 Daily’s Place

“Black Panther” Roars to a Record-Breaking Debut With an astounding $201.8 million over its first three days, Marvel Studios’ Black Panther leapt into the top five domestic openings of all time and shattered the record for a February debut. The film has grossed $242 million over the Presidents Day holiday weekend, making it the second highest four-day domestic opening of all time. Combined with a stellar international debut of $169 million, Black Panther’s has earned over $370 million globally through Sunday, February 18—rising to $427 million with Monday’s global included. It’s just the fifth film in industry history to break the $200 million mark in its debut, joining Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Marvel’s The Avengers as Disney’s fourth release to do so. The Walt Disney Studios now holds eight of the top 10 all-time domestic debuts, five of them from Marvel Studios.

Kicking off with a domestic February preview record of $25.2 million, Black Panther grossed $75.8 million in its first day, followed by the fourth biggest Saturday ever with $65.9 million, the second-best Sunday in history with $60.1 million, behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and remarkably, the biggest Monday ever with $40.2 million. It is the 18th No. 1 debut out of 18 releases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the ninth MCU release to open above $100 million. Black Panther has earned raves from critics and audiences alike. It received a rare A+ CinemaScore from audiences and has an exceptional 97-percent Certified Fresh aggregate critics score on RottenTomatoes, the highest ever for a Marvel film. Provided by Walt Disney Studios



Your Credit CAN Get It Learn the facts and know what to ask By Laura Dorsey


hen it comes to money, being a woman presents its challenges. Besides receiving lower wages for equal work, and less funding for new businesses, women tend to have worse credit scores. The average credit score for men is 650 out of a possible 850, compared to 621 for women, according to Credit Sesame. The issue goes back to the gender pay gap. We all know the statistics; women working full time earn 78.6 percent of what their male counterparts do. Because women make less than men (on average) they tend to use a higher percentage of their total available credit. Your credit is your reputation as a borrower. Credit was originally used for lending decisions, but credit scores now show up in other areas of life as well: 1. Borrowing money – the most common use. 2. Insurance coverage – issuers check your credit to determine whether to cover you and at what rate. 3. Employment – employers are trying to make a judgement about how respon-

sible you are based on your financial history. 4. Utilities – services such as electricity or water might need to get a credit check. If you have no credit or bad credit, they may require a larger security deposit. 5. Renting – a landlord might ask to pull your credit. Depending on the report, it could prevent you from renting or lead to a higher deposit. The cost of living can be higher for women than it is for men, based on a CNN study. Women’s clothing is more likely to need dry cleaning more than men’s, hairstylists for women are more expensive than barbers, and studies show that doctors order more tests for women than for men with the same symptoms. All of this adds up and leaves women with less money to pay credit card bills than their male counterparts. Knowing the various weights given to components of a FICO credit score can give women a better idea of where to focus their attention. Five elements of FICO score calculation:

1. Payment history comprise 35 percent of total credit score. Past long-term behavior is used to forecast future longterm behavior. 2. Credit utilization – the percentage of available credit that has been borrowed make up 30 percent of your total score. 3. Length of credit history – 15 percent of your total credit score is calculated by the length of time each account has been open and the length of time since the account’s most recent action. 4.& 5. New credit and credit mix comprise 10 percent each of your total score. Women should avoid opening too many new credit accounts and use only as needed. However, historical data indicates that borrowers with a good mix of revolving credit and installment loans generally represent less risk for lenders. Many people say that knowledge is power, but I contend that applied knowledge is power. Now that you know the numbers, you know what questions to ask and what areas to work on. It is your credit, control it and do not let it control you.

Laura Dorsey is a retired assistant vice president at Comerica Bank and current associate editor of ONYX Magazine.



to levels that can put even the smallest and oldest homes out of reach for many firsttime buyers. For young families looking to get their foot in the door and make sure their kids have access to great schools, looking just outside your target neighborhood can be a great way to go.


5. Consider a transitioning neighborhood

Simple Rules

Up your chances of buying your first home Between rising prices, tough loan limits, and massive competition among other eager would-be buyers, it can seem like an impossible feat to purchase your first home. But, there are ways you can put yourself ahead, even if the situation seems desperate. 1. Get that preapproval

Even if you are just casually looking, make sure you talk to a lender before you head out on a house hunt. You don’t want to fall in love with something and lose out on owning it because someone else was already preapproved and you first had to start pulling your paperwork together. Nor do you want to fall in love with a house that’s out of your budget because you didn’t know what your purchasing power was. 2. Talk to landlords

If there are rental homes in your target area, you might have an opportunity to buy a home that isn’t even on the market yet. Your real estate agent should be able to locate some homes and initiate a conversation about the potential of purchasing. Some rental home owners may want to sell

but are reluctant to take the steps to update the home and get it on the market. You may be able to slide right in there, which would be a win-win! 3. Consider a home that needs work

You might have better luck buying a home that isn’t updated and/or staged because they can tend to stay on the market longer. But, a home that’s a real fixer-upper can be a great buy, thanks to the 203(k) loan, which packages the home loan and money for needed repairs. An FHA 203k loan allows you to borrow money, using only one loan, for both home improvement and a home purchase. “Luxury improvements,” like a pool, are not allowed under the terms of the loan. These loans are guaranteed by the FHA, which means lenders take less risk when offering this loan. As a result, it’s easier to get approved (especially with a lower interest rate). 4. Look just outside your target neighborhood

Home prices in some areas have climbed

6. Buying in a neighborhood that is transitioning can be tricky…you’ll have to depend a lot on your real estate agent’s knowledge and your own gut to make sure you’re buying in an area that is going to appreciate—and is also going to meet your needs now. The current state of the neighborhood might not fit that dream home idea you’ve dreamed about, if you’re in it for the long haul, you could be making a smart move by looking in an area that isn’t exactly top of your list in its current state. The obvious draws of buying a home in a transitioning neighborhood are: more affordability or more home for the money, and the possibility to make some money as the neighborhood changes. Raise your budget 7. Some people get a number in their

head and decide that’s the most they’re comfortable with spending. Say you’ve decided you can’t spend more than $300,000 on a home, but you’re not having any luck finding anything in your target neighborhoods and you’re not willing to look elsewhere. Consider this: Is your preapproval from your lender higher than that magic $300,000 number? If so, consider upping it. That $20,000 difference would cost you only about $100 per month. Go back to your lender If you’re already looking for homes at your max approval amount and not having any luck, have a conversation with your lender. There might be a way to reconfigure your loan options to get you more money to spend.

8. And, most importantly, Work with an

experienced REALTOR®.

The information in this article was compiled by Dee Parker, Broker/Owner at Parker Realty Group and chair of the ONYX Magazine Advisory Committee.



Seven Goals for Your Small Business This Year By Sandra Lee


ave you already fallen off your New Year’s resolutions for your small business? Don’t worry. You can get back on them and add some more to the mix. Check out these seven goals that can make your small business soar to immeasurable heights.

then this is the right time to do it. This is the best time to make your business website mobile friendly. There are many businesses that still don’t have any type of web presence, so this New Year you must pledge to get a website or web presence for sure.

1. Figure Out How to Deal with Your Cash Flow More Successfully This is an awesome resolution for small company proprietors who witness extreme fluctuations in their cash flow. It is also a good thing for small businesses that have not been able to make enough money to invest into the business, or for the individuals who don’t generally have an idea about the everyday finances of their company.

3. Go Social in Your Small Business Have you been keeping social networking on the sidelines and not by any means beginning to check which social media platform is the best option for your business? Are you planning to start a blog for your business website, but don’t have any specific strategy or time for it? Try not to do all these things anymore and make a goal that you will look into this area before summer.

2. Find New Ways to Enhance Your Digital Presence If you haven’t got your business website updated or upgraded for the past two years,

4. Be More Engaged and Productive This is the ideal goal for people who regularly sit idle on social networking web-

sites or surrender to different distractions that gets them off-track, and then wind up thinking what they did the whole day because hardly any work is completed and the day ends. 5. Develop Your Team and Assign Effectively If you have a lot of work, more than you can deal with and lack time to concentrate on developing your business, it’s an ideal opportunity to quit the unnecessary things in your company and begin acquiring others to get a move on. This resolution concentrates on building your team and figuring out how to assign successfully. 6. Improve as a Communicator Misunderstandings among the employees on a frequent basis, lack of worker spirit and regularly sitting around idly dictating the same info again and again is an indication that you’re communicating inadequately. However, this goal will help you concentrate on improving as a communicator in your company. 7. Get HR Software for Your Company Haven’t thought about it yet? It’s not too late to get highly effective human resources software for your company. Small businesses often lack the budget to have a separate HR department in their company. However , with HR software, you won’t need to have an HR department and you can focus on the main business of your company.



WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING Florida ranks third in the nation for human trafficking By Sharon Fletcher Jones

On an unusually busy day at a local employment center, two young girls walked in, hand in hand and sat among 30 or more people waiting to receive services. The girls had come into the center on two previous occasions. While they hesitated to provide information needed to enroll in the center, workers informed them of the services offered and the center rules which included a dress code. “Marisa” was diminutive in stature, shorter than four-and-a-half feet tall. She was accompanied by “Angel” who stood at almost six feet and weighed more than 200 pounds. Workers noticed the two immediately, as they were wearing visibly dirty clothing not in keeping with the center’s dress code policy. On previous visits to the center, workers asked if they needed assistance with jobs, clothing, food, or shelter. They insisted they did not need help and they had somewhere to stay. A review of their enrollment forms found they had provided bogus information. When asked why they had come to the center on this particular day, Angel took over the conversation and disclosed that Marisa had a mental disability for which 74 ONYX MAGAZINE

Human Trafficking under both federal and Florida law is defined as the transporting, soliciting, recruiting, harboring, providing, or obtaining of another person for transport; for the purposes of forced labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation using force, fraud and/or coercion.

she received a check and they needed to arrange to get money from the payee or be kicked out of their residence. Marisa, who workers noticed on each visit barely spoke at all, grew increasingly uncomfortable as the conversation went on. When the payee couldn’t be reached by telephone, workers asked the girls if there were any family members that could be contacted to assist them. Marisa fought back tears as Angel insisted “our families won’t help us.” In an effort to get Marisa to open up and communicate more, staff decided to speak with the girls separately. Angel became increasingly annoyed and uncooperative when asked about her relationship and where she and Marisa lived. Marisa,

whose eyes were glazed over, appeared to be anxious in one minute and listless in the next. She indicated that she had been sick and would have taken medicine but thought she shouldn’t in case she was pregnant. The staff member asked Marisa repeatedly throughout the conversation, if she was safe and whether or not she needed help. Marisa reluctantly handed the staff member a note with her real name and her mother’s name, address and phone number. The other staff member held Angel at bay by discussing employment opportunities, GED programs, and affordable housing options. Finally, Marisa asked staff to contact her mother and help her get away from Angel. When the staff reached Marisa’s mother, they learned that an entire team of people had been looking for Marisa for several months and a private investigator had been employed to recover Marisa and return her to her family. Her mother indicated she had been waiting for one good lead on Marisa’s whereabouts. “I’m so grateful for your services, otherwise I would not know if my baby was dead or alive,” she stated.

Authorities surmised that while Angel appeared to be the controller in the relationship, it was more likely that she, too, was a victim of human trafficking. Months later, Marisa’s mother called the center to report that her daughter had arrived home safely and was receiving treatment for substance abuse and additional counselling as a human trafficking survivor. There was no mention of a pregnancy. Heart-wrenching, true stories like this one haunt law enforcement and others who fight human trafficking every day. Human trafficking worldwide is a $150 billion industry with nearly 21 million victims. More than 55 percent of victims are women and girls while 26 percent are children. It is a serious business with high demand. The volume of human traffic is seemingly never-ending, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports that Florida has the most human trafficking cases in the United States after California and New York. Orlando ranks third in the United States for the number of reports to the national human trafficking hotline. Experts, including John Lares, the president and founder of the Florida Abolitionist—a group which campaigns against modern-day slavery— and father of a human trafficking survivor, believe this type of exploitation is more common in central Florida because of tourism, large numbers of transients,

and growth. Other experts comment that because we now live in times where many of us don’t know our neighbors, we are not likely to notice a house being used for trafficking. In 2016, Orange County commissioners agreed to spend almost $2 million over two and a half years to staff the state’s first shelter for human trafficking victims. Under that agreement, Aspire Health Partners, a provider of mental-health care and addiction treatment services, would provide therapy and intensive care, and Florida Abolitionist would handle client intake. While the initiative provides some victim support services, the rising numbers of human trafficking victims indicate the need for more. “Human trafficking is comparable to modern-day slavery,” says Kristie Hall Catanzaro, one of the founders of The Glass Slippers Project, a ministry dedicated to helping victims escape human trafficking and reclaim their lives. “This [human trafficking] was an issue 18 ago when I was a law enforcement officer in Orlando and it’s still a huge problem,” Valencia College Professor Eugene Heflin said. He added that victims are lured by drugs, dreams, money, threats and/or promises. And it happens more often than not in plain view. Many of the female victims of human trafficking are sexually exploited. Across the state however, labor trafficking is con-

sidered the larger, fastest growing concern especially in rural areas where victims are enslaved specifically to do agricultural work. Other victims are made personal or domestic slaves. Florida state officials in 2016 received more than 1,800 calls to its Department of Children and Families hotline reporting suspected trafficking of children and teens. In addition, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported that Orlando had 790 complaints of adults being trafficked between December 2007 and December 2016. Global human trafficking research continues as individuals and organizations labor to eliminate these occurrences. There are signs to look for and experts admonish citizens to pay close attention to each other—even if there is slightest possibility of preventing harm or saving a life. When you see something, say something. To learn more about Human Trafficking visit and www. . Join the Blue Campaign to end human trafficking. Visit https://www.dhs. gov/blue-campaign/.If you believe you are a victim of Human Trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center or call them at 1-888-373-7888. If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.

Raising awareness and removing survivor stigma are vital to eradicating human trafficking. Recognize the key indicators with these questions by the Department of Homeland Security. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship? Has a child stopped attending school? Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior? Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts? Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse? Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing? Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive? Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care? Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to? 10. Does the person appear to be coached on what to say? 11. Is the person living in unsuitable conditions? 12. Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation? 13. Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures? It must be noted that not all of the above are present in every suspected or proven human trafficking situation. However, the presence of any one of those indicators should, at the very least, cause concern. Sharon Fletcher Jones is an employment specialist and skills trainer at a local center and an associate editor at ONYX Magazine.


ONYX ON THE MOVE Left: Writer, producer, actor Tyler Perry was the keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary.

5000 Roles Models Celebrate Silver Anniversary


NYX Magazine attended the 25th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship Breakfast to commemorate the silver anniversary of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, founded by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. More than 50 young men ages 9 to 19 were inducted as Wilson Scholars and given golden medallions by their Role Models, ONYX Magazine CEO Rich Black among them. Actor, producer, writer Tyler Perry was the keynote speaker and encouraged the young men to chart their own path. “Family Matters” actress JoMarie Peyton introduced Wilson and Perry as they weaved through the room of about 1,500. Retired New York Congressman Charles Rangle also gave remarks. To show his commitment to uplifting young men, Perry came out of production with “The Haves and the Have Nots” to be inducted as a Role Model in the Project during the breakfast. In the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, adult Role Model men are trained to salvage “at-risk” youth, who are considered candidates for society’s endangered species list. Young men ages 9-19 are paired with successful professional adult volunteers, who provide advice, guidance and educational assistance.


he Florida Commission on the Status of Women (FCSW) announced the election of its 2018 Officers, including Lady Dhyana Ziegler DCJ, Ph.D., of Tallahassee as its chair. “I’m pleased and honored to have been selected as chair of this dynamic group of Florida women who care deeply about improving the lives of women and girls. Throughout our 27-year history, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women has been an agent of positive change, bringing the voice, needs, and conditions of women to the forefront,” says Commissioner Ziegler. “With the energy and skills of our Commissioners, we’ll continue to capitalize on the momentum to advance the opportunities for women and girls in our state.”The commission is a non-partisan body with a focus on raising awareness and celebrating the contributions and successes of all Floridians, along with providing a collaborative platform for those seeking information on issues that affect women, girls and their families in the state.


Photos by Schnyder Lops

Movie Reveals Lost Tapes of Malcom X


embers of the thriving Central Florida community gathered at the Orlando Museum of Art to enjoy a VIP screening of “The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X.” The Smithsonian Channel, in partnership with Charter Communications, the Central Florida Urban League, the Orlando Museum of Art, and the Mennello Museum, arranged for a special sneak peek of the film. The evening began with a reception in the beautiful rotunda of the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA), complete with cocktails and a bold jazz bass line playing in the background. Following the reception, the crowd gathered in the OMA auditorium for the private screening of the film. The piece, relayed solely through the interviews and speeches of Malcolm X, tells the story of the transformational figure and his unyielding effort to bring change and equality to black America. Tammie Fields, a news anchor at Spectrum News 13, facilitated a panel discussion between John Cavanagh, a Smithsonian Channel executive producer and Tulani Salahu-Din, a museum specialist in Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The evening was filled with history, community, and a deep appreciation for the life of Malcom X and his work for equality by any means necessary.

Lady Dhyana Ziegler Tapped to Lead Commission

Bottom: Congresswoman Frederica Wilson is flanked by Tyler Perry and Wilson Scholars.




1 tbsp. vegetable oil 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined 3 c. cooked white rice 1 c. frozen peas, defrosted 1 c. frozen carrots, defrosted 2 tbsp. soy sauce 2 tsp. sesame oil 1 large egg, whisked sriracha, for serving 2 tbsp. Sliced green onions

In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add carrots and peppers and sautĂŠ, 3 minutes, then add shrimp and cook, 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice, peas and carrot and and season with soy sauce and sesame oil. SautĂŠ for 2 more minutes. Push rice to one side of the skillet and add the egg. Stir egg constantly until almost fully cooked, then fold into rice mixture. Garnish with Sriracha and green onions and serve.


ONYX Magazine March/April 2018  
ONYX Magazine March/April 2018