• ADAORA UDOJI The Story Teller

    Adaora leads emerging technology, media innovation and strategic communication efforts.  As a Managing Director of The Boshia Group, she creates value through nuanced understanding of complex global issues, digital and new technology: trends, what it is, how to use it and when — for Fortune 500 companies and others.  Her consulting, operational and production work ranges from corporate to startups, concept to product development, and strategy to execution.

  • ALEXANDRIA JOHNSON BOONE The Supporter of Women

    Alexandria Johnson Boone, Founder of the Women of Color Foundation, organization dedicated to the education, training and leadership development of women and girls of all colors, President and CEO of GAP Communications Group, a full-service, public relations, advertising, marketing, community outreach and special events firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. She was also the founder of the Marcus Garvey Academy, an innovative community school with an African-centered curriculum, serving grades K-8, based in Cleveland, Ohio, from 2002-2012.

  • ANNE RICHIE The Venture Capitalist

    Anne is a venture partner and coaches early stage companies and entrepreneurs in Ohio where she is a Venture Partner at Jumpstart working with Scale-Up clients in preparing and executing growth plans.  She has an extensive background in finance and banking coupled with the unique experience of working with distressed businesses. She is very resourceful and collaborative and approaches growth opportunities with tactical, creative, innovative strategies.

  • APRIL NOELLE HART The Hustler with a Passion for Urban Education.

    April Hart’s passion for urban education is what moves her to challenge inequality in schools.  Working on the ground level with students allows her to help them overcome the everyday barriers they face while trying to learn. Balancing work between litigation, legislation, board meetings or just sitting still to listen to a child “read out loud” is a challenge that April takes on with pride.

  • AVA LIAS-BOOKER The Law Firm and Community Leader.

    A seasoned trial and appellate lawyer, Ava Lias-Booker serves in a number of leadership roles at McGuireWoods LLP, a leading international law firm.  Additionally, ava serves on the boards of visitors of both Duke University School of Law and the University Of Maryland Francis King Carey School Of Law, and also serves on the boards of directors for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Open Society Institute.

  • CARI K. DAWSON The Class Action Counselor

    Cari Dawson is a creative problem solver, legal strategist, and committed advocate. She chairs the Class Action and MDL Practice Team and has a winning track record defending Fortune 500 companies as lead counsel in high-profile enterprise litigation throughout the United States

  • CARLA WALKER-MILLER The CEO and Energy Expert

    Carla Walker-Miller is a founder, CEO and savvy entrepreneur and a visionary leader determined to change lives through energy. Established in 2000, her Detroit-based firm focuses on empowering people and enriching communities by providing an exceptional experience to customers, team members and the communities in which they serve. Walker-Miller Energy Services (WMES)  develops and implements energy efficiency solutions for utility, residential and commercial building owners.

  • CHERYL MILLER My Mom, The Constant Giver

    Cheryl Miller is extremely active in the community and is constantly in motion.  She is a member of Eta Phi Beta Sorority, a business and professional organization, where she has served in a number of leadership roles, including Chapter President.  In 2002, Cheryl was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, and that year successfully underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  Now, Cheryl volunteers to help others with similar diagnoses and serves in  Cleveland Clinic’ s 4th Angel Mentoring Program and on the where she serves on the Volunteer Patient Advisory Council.

  • COLLEEN TAYLOR The Credit Card Guru

    Colleen Taylor is the executive vice president, New Payments, at Mastercard where she is  responsible for driving volume growth from B2B, government and new economy (P2P, C2B, B2C, BlockChain, etc.) sources.  She joined Mastercard from Capital One Bank, where she served as the head/executive vice president of Treasury Management & Merchant Services at Capital One Bank (USA), National Association.

  • DEBORAH L. PLUMMER The Diversity Diva and Author

    Deborah is a nationally recognized psychologist and diversity management thought leader. She currently serves as Chief Diversity Officer at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care where she has primary responsibility for developing and executing a coordinated and comprehensive diversity plan that cultivates an inclusive academic health sciences center.

  • DEBRA ADAMS SIMMONS The Keeper of Journalism

    Debra is the Executive Editor for Culture at National Geographic Magazine where she manages coverage of the lived experiences of people around the globe. A 30-year news veteran, Debra has extensive reporting, editing and senior news management experience.


    Have you ever had a sharp, stabbing pain going down your leg? Well, energetic, go-getter Dena experienced this form of pain called sciatica from a lodged fragment in her lower lumbar. Ouch!

  • DENISE BROOKS WILLIAMS The Healthcare Leader

    Denise Brooks Williams is the CEO of Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.  A native of Michigan, she received her bachelors and masters degrees in health services administration from the University of Michigan before starting her career as a management fellow at Mercy Hospital in Detroit.


    Dr.  Georgianna Kates is passionate about sharing all of the simple beauty advancements available to help maintain and enhance your best appearance. Keeping beauty simple, real and available to women of color is her aim.

  • DR. RACHEL TALTON The Marketing Goddess

    Dr. Rachel Talton is CEO of the award-winning firm Synergy Marketing Strategy & Research, Inc.  Synergy’s purpose is to help organizations inspire, connect, and engage with customers to flourish and grow. Synergy uses a unique combination of expertise in brand research and leadership strategy to better understand consumer and employee behaviors and leverage opportunities for growth.

  • GAIL PERRY-MASON The Finance Doctor

    Gail Perry-Mason, of Detroit, MI, has come a long way, from foster care to caring for others. A respected authority in the financial industry, Gail is also a bestselling author.

  • GENA C. LOVETT The Aerospace Guru

    Gena Lovett is the vice president of Operations for Defense, Space & Security at Boeing. She sets the strategic direction for operations ‎for the business and leads the employees who manufacture Boeing’s range of defense and space products.

  • GRACE E. SPEIGHTS The Legal Leader

    Grace Speights is a partner in Morgan Lewis’ Labor & Employment Practice Group, resident in the Firm’s Washington Office. Ms. Speights serves as the Global Leader of Morgan Lewis’ Labor & Employment Practice Group. In that role she is responsible for managing more than 330 lawyers and other professionals around the world.

  • HEIDI REDD The Retail Innovator & Life Long Student

    Innovator, trendsetter, caring, loyal and God-fearing is just a few words to describe Heidi Redd. As the owner of Amira’s Closet, a fashion and personal styling boutique, Heidi brings her passion for fashion and meticulous style to everyone she meets.  Amira’s Closet is a living expression of Heidi’s colorful spirit that evolved from her grandmother’s spirit and skillful hand as a seamstress.

  • Jennifer Coleman The Architect Turned Arts Enthusiast

    Jennifer Coleman is the Senior Program Officer of the Arts at The George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. The Foundation was established in 1952 with the basic goal of advancing human welfare, concentrating in the Greater Cleveland area. To date, the Foundation has made grants totaling over $713 million.

  • JOYA R. HARRIS The Automotive Advertising Exec.

    Joya is Senior Vice President, Group Account Director, General Motors at Leo Burnett Detroit.  She is a senior marketing professional with proven track record for building successful brands and collaborative teams.


    Melody Stewart has over 30 years of legal experience – ranging from civil litigation practice and teaching students at several Ohio law schools to being an appellate court judge and sitting by assignment on the Ohio Supreme Court.

  • KALYN JOHNSON CHANDLER The Black Girl Magic Maker

    Kalyn Johnson Chandler is the founder and creative force behind the signature paperie, Effie’s Paper :: Stationery & Whatnot.  Now, a self-taught graphic designer, she’s extended her intrinsic fashion sense into a distinct lifestyle brand focusing on desk accessories and travel products, named after her grandmother, Mrs. Effie Hayes, that features her signature design aesthetic of bright colors, bold designs and witty “bon mots”.

  • KATHRYN SMITH-MCGLYNN The Actress, Producer, Director, Scholar, Author

    A veteran actress, Kathryn’s body of work includes notable performances across mediums including theatre, television, film, video, print, and radio. Kathryn has performed on regional stages from coast to coast, as well as internationally in Moscow, Russia. She has also had notable turns on many hit television shows.

  • KELLYE L. WALKER The C-Suiter

    Kellye Walker, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII), is a seasoned senior executive with over 25 years of experience helping publicly traded companies increase value through forward thinking, strategic discipline and a focus on continuous improvement.

  • KRISTI STEPP The Talent Developer

    Kristi Stepp is a senior global HR executive specializing in organizational transformation through strategic planning, change management, operational execution and team collaboration.  She currently serves as the Global Head of Talent Development for General Motors.

  • LORNA WISHAM The Energy Enthusiast

    Lorna Wisham is Senior Advisor of Federal Affairs for the Washington, D.C. office of FirstEnergy Corp.  Ms. Wisham lobbies Congress on a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from utility operations and cyber security to regulatory and environmental issues.  Her primary focus includes House and Senate members within FirstEnergy’s footprint in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.  She also advocates FirstEnergy’s policy position with the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

  • MICHELE C. MEYER-SHIPP The Diversity & Inclusion Promoter

    Michele Meyer-Shipp is a principal and chief diversity officer at KPMG.  In this role, she is responsible for developing and promoting all diversity management practices across the firm, ensuring that the firm’s foundational principles of inclusiveness and diversity are reflected in its internal and external policies, work and practices.

  • MICHELLE WIMES The Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Development Goddess

    Michelle P. Wimes serves as the Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms. In her role, Michelle leads the firm’s efforts to attract, develop, retain, promote and advance a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s national platform of 52 offices in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.  Additionally, Michelle leads the firm’s attorney training and professional development efforts.  She is based in Ogletree Deakins’ Kansas City office.

  • PHYLLIS P. HARRIS The Legal Ops Expert

    Phyllis Harris is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Legal Operations at Walmart Stores, Inc.  In this role, Phyllis leads a team of attorneys and legal professionals in the areas of corporate affairs, employment, intellectual property and corporate governance law.  In addition, Phyllis is responsible for data and analytics, diversity and inclusion programs, outside counsel management, and programs to support the talent development of Walmart’s legal team.

  • Ragan D.R. Royal The Dollar Whisperer

    With over 20 years of higher education fund development and alumni relations experience, Ragan D. R. Royal has wide-ranging expertise in annual and major giving, campaign fundraising, and strategic planning. She leads a highly successful fund development team at Northwestern Business School.  Regan also has served as the associate vice president of development at the University of Maryland University College and held leadership roles at Tuskegee University; Syracuse University, during its first $1 billion campaign; Howard; and Michigan State University.

  • ROBYN MINTER SMYERS The Real Estate Maven

    Robyn is a Partner and Member of the Executive Committee at Thompson Hine (law firm) in the Real Estate, Construction and Corporate Practice Groups, where she focuses on commercial real estate acquisitions and sales, development, financing, leasing and corporate transactions.  She has a particular focus on shopping center deals, urban redevelopment projects, manufacturing plant developments, hospitality projects and public-private-partnership (P3) transactions.

  • SANDRA SHACKELFORD The Education Innovator

    Sandra is an accomplished educator, communications coach, and the founder of Nspire Classroom Solutions. Her reputation of delivering engaging and motivating lessons that empower students earned her the 2015 Southfield Public Schools Teacher of the Year award and a 2015 Oakland County Teacher of the Year Nomination.

  • SCENARIO B. ADEBESIN The Corporate Social Responsibility Leader

    Scenario B. Adebesin is Senior Vice President and Director, Corporate Social Responsibility for Fifth Third Bancorp. In this role, she is responsible for developing and executing innovative socially responsible strategies and initiatives to shape the company’s position as a national corporate social responsibility (CSR) leader.

  • SHARON E. MILLIGAN, Ph.D. The Professor and Friend of the Arts

    Sharon is the President of Friends of African and African American Art at The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Student Services and Associate Professor of Social Work, Chair of the MSSA and MNO degree programs at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • SHEMIN V. PROCTOR The Oil & Gas Expert

    Shemin is the Managing Partner of the Washington, DC office, and she divides her time between the Washington and Houston offices. She represents major energy companies, including natural gas and oil pipelines, energy marketing and trading companies, and midstream service providers, in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and has represented natural gas pipelines before the federal courts.

  • SHIRELL GROSS The Writer

    Shirell A. Gross, Esq.  is the Vice-President/ Head of Law Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Radiology (medical device and pharmaceutical products) supporting Americas, and globally Product Supply, Regulatory, Quality and Informatics (software business). She believes it is imperative women accept and appreciate themselves in order to successfully navigate future challenges.  In this regard, she is currently writing a book about “Ambition” which is partly a memoir as the child of a single teenage mother.

  • TAMARA D. HORNE The P&L Leader

    Tamara D. Horne is the General Manager – Veriflo Division of Parker Hannifin headquartered in Richmond, California where she recently earned the company-wide annual growth award for the division.

  • TERESA BRYCE BAZEMORE The Business Leader and Corporate Board Member

    Teresa Bryce Bazemore has more than 25 years’ experience as a Senior Executive in the mortgage banking field including building both mortgage insurance and services businesses.  Ms. Bazemore has proven expertise at creating and implementing strategic plans to increase market share and profitability, while improving the risk profile – even during challenging economic times.

  • TERESA METCALF BEASLEY The Real Estate Financer

    TERESA is a law firm partner  with a practice focused on public finance, real estate development and financing, and economic development incentives. She  represents private entities and local and county government relations, including municipalities, school boards, port authorities, healthcare entities and library systems on various legal and legislative matters.


    The Honorable Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale was nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA).

  • TRACI OTEY BLUNT The Media Maven

    Traci Otey Blunt was named President of Urban Movie Channel (UMC) in February 2017. Traci joined RLJE management in November 2014, as EVP, Corporate Marketing & Corporate Affairs.  She was appointed by Robert L. Johnson, RLJE Chairman and Founder of Black Entertainment Television, to develop and launch UMC, the company’s proprietary over-the-top (OTT) subscription streaming service created for African American audiences.

  • VERNA MYERS The Inclusion Thought Leader

    Vernā Myers is an inclusion strategist, cultural change catalyst, influencer, thought leader, social commentator, and author. She’s known for her high-energy keynotes, her captivating insights, and her ability to help people bridge differences and connect more meaningfully.


    Xina Eiland, President and CEO of X+PR, is a visionary leader and recognized authority in multicultural communications, digital media and event planning. Xina brings a wealth of experience to clients, helping them effectively connect with diverse and hard to reach populations.

  • YVETTE MCGEE BROWN The Supreme Justice

    A series of firsts defines the judicial career of Yvette McGee Brown. She was the first African-American woman elected to the Franklin County Common Pleas Court. In January 2011, she became the first African-American woman to serve as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio.

  • ZOE BROWN The Blogger

    In 2012, Zoe Brown discovered her passion to inspire women to make their brilliant ideas blossom when she launched her blog GoneGirlGo, where she shares tips and advice about idea execution. Zoe offers writing coach services to newbie bloggers, and workshop design, development, and delivery services for business owners who want to engage with their clients.

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