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A Toast to Women in Excellence: BPN Miami Chapter Recognizes 10 Black Women Making Waves

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In the vibrant region of South Florida, excellence knows no bounds, especially when it comes to the contributions of Black women. The Black Professionals Network (BPN) Miami Chapter during Women’s History Month will host and recognize ten remarkable individuals, each leaving an indelible mark in their respective fields of career, business, and social good. Let’s dive into the stories of these phenomenal honorees:

Rickelle Williams: The Visionary Administrator
Rickelle Williams, Assistant City Manager of Miami, is a strategic thinker and team builder extraordinaire. Her dynamic leadership has propelled economic and community development initiatives, contributing to the growth and vitality of Miami Beach.

Juliet Murphy Roulhac: The Power Player
As Director of External Affairs for Florida Power & Light Company, Juliet Murphy Roulhac wields her legal prowess to foster governmental relations and community engagement. Her commitment to philanthropy and corporate responsibility shines through her multifaceted role.

Tamika Moses, MSIRE: The Real Estate Maven
Tamika Moses, Founder and CEO of Robin Bird Realty, is a force to be reckoned with in the real estate industry. With over two decades of experience and a dedication to continuous learning, Tamika’s leadership and expertise have earned her prestigious roles within real estate associations.

Nikki Lewis Simon: The Litigation Diplomat
Nikki Lewis Simon, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Greenberg Traurig, combines her legal acumen with a passion for diversity and inclusion. Her strategic initiatives enrich client engagements and community investments, embodying the firm’s core values.

Kerry-Ann Royes: The Social Justice Champion
Kerry-Ann Royes, President and CEO of YWCA South Florida, is dedicated to advancing social justice and empowerment. Through her strategic leadership, Kerry-Ann has expanded the organization’s reach and spearheaded impactful initiatives benefiting women and girls.

Cristal J. Cole: The Policy Pioneer
Cristal J. Cole, Amazon Public Policy lead in the Southeastern U.S., is a seasoned advocate for public policy and community engagement. With over two decades of experience, Cristal’s commitment to philanthropy and advocacy continues to make a meaningful impact.

Shekeria Brown: The Community Connector
Shekeria Brown, leading community engagement for JPMorgan Chase Corporate Responsibility, fosters enduring relationships to shape the firm’s approach to serving communities. Her dedication to inclusive economic growth drives impactful initiatives in the Southeast U.S.

Suzan McDowell: The Marketing Maven
Suzan McDowell, Founder and CEO of Circle of One Marketing, is a visionary in the marketing and media landscape. Her expertise in targeting African American and Caribbean markets has propelled numerous successful campaigns, earning her recognition throughout South Florida and beyond.

Clara Stroude Vazquez: The Diversity All-Star
Clara Stroude Vazquez, a 20-year veteran of the Miami HEAT, champions diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the organization. Her dedication to fostering a culture of inclusivity and empowerment extends beyond the basketball court.

Dr. Nicole Garner Scott: The Financial Visionary
Dr. Nicole Garner Scott, a sought-after licensed Financial Consultant and serial entrepreneur, empowers communities through holistic financial planning. Her commitment to diversity and innovation drives her mission to combat financial constraints in multicultural communities.

These ten remarkable women exemplify the spirit of excellence and empowerment, inspiring generations to come. Their dedication to their respective fields and communities serves as a beacon of hope and progress, enriching the vibrant tapestry of Miami’s diverse landscape. Let us celebrate their achievements and continue to uplift and support Black women in their pursuit of excellence.


WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Miami Chapter

WHAT: 2024 Black Women in Excellence Networking Mixer

WHEN: Thursday, March 21, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

WHERE: (MIAMI) – Smith x Webster, 486 NE 167th St, Miami, FL 33162

Register to attend here

BPN Los Angeles Chapter Honors 10 Black Women in Excellence

Black Professionals Network (BPN) Los Angeles Chapter’s Black Women in Excellence initiative sheds light on the remarkable journeys of these honorees who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also made indelible impacts on their communities. As part of Women’s History Month, BPN Los Angeles will host a networking mixer at The Gathering Spot. Shedding a spotlight brightly on ten remarkable individuals whose contributions span career, business, and social good. Let’s delve into the stories of these extraordinary honorees, each representing a unique facet of excellence.

Veronica Clanton-Higgins, MSW, CLC: The Mental Health Maven
Veronica’s journey from Compton to CEO of VCH Prosperity Consulting LLC is marked by dedication to mental health advocacy. Through her clinical expertise and community initiatives like the Compton Wellness Collective, Veronica is reshaping narratives and fostering healing in underserved communities.

Leslie Jones: The Event Extraordinaire
From planning sorority fundraisers to owning her event planning company, Leslie’s passion for bringing people together culminated in the launch of 1010 Wine and Events. Her commitment to community and entrepreneurship is evident in her endeavors, making her a true luminary.

Keshia Adeniyi-Dorsey, Esq.: The Family Defender
Keshia’s journey from the foster system to defending families in CPS investigations exemplifies resilience and advocacy. As an attorney, professor, and activist, she champions justice and empowers her community through education and representation.

Taylor Torregano: The Voice of Impact
Taylor’s storytelling prowess has shone a light on critical social issues, earning her recognition for her impactful reporting on diversity and mental health. Her dedication to amplifying voices and spreading awareness underscores her commitment to community engagement.

Dr. Shawna M. Charles: The Strategic Communicator
As a thought leader and strategist, Dr. Charles navigates the complexities of communication, guiding businesses and organizations toward success. Her innovative approach and commitment to community relations make her a driving force in the industry.

Charvon Jones: The Educational Visionary
Charvon’s dedication to education and community empowerment is evident in her founding of Centinela Christian Child Development Center. Through her leadership, she continues to nurture family dynamics and educational excellence, leaving a lasting impact on her community.

Sharis Rhodes: The Dynamic Leader
Sharis’s multifaceted leadership spans from executive roles to advocacy for at-risk youth and homelessness. Her commitment to public service and innovation resonates through her impactful initiatives and historic achievements.

Juliet Udeochu: The Philanthropic Trailblazer
Juliet’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion for philanthropy drive her mission to empower Black and Brown children. Her global philanthropic endeavors and leadership role at JP Morgan Chase exemplify her dedication to creating positive change.

Dr. Tammi Mac: The Media Mogul
Dr. Tammi Mac’s influence spans radio, television, theater, and literature, earning her accolades and recognition across multiple platforms. Her commitment to amplifying Black voices and storytelling underscores her impact as a cultural icon.

Niele Anderson: The Media Maven
Niele’s career trajectory from political consulting to media entrepreneurship reflects her dedication to amplifying Black voices. Through her multimedia company and advocacy work, she continues to empower communities of color and reshape media narratives.

    These honorees represent the epitome of Black excellence, each carving out a unique path and leaving an indelible mark on their communities and industries. As we celebrate their achievements, let us also recognize the importance of uplifting and honoring Black women’s contributions in all spheres of society.


    WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Los Angeles Chapter

    WHAT: 2024 Black Women in Excellence Networking Mixer

    WHEN: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

    WHERE: (Los Angeles) – The Gathering Spot LA, 5211 W, ADAMS BLVD. LOS ANGELES, CA 90016

    Register to attend here

    Honoring Excellence: BPN Chicago Chapter Recognizes Black Women Making a Difference

    In a world where recognition often seems reserved for the few, it’s vital to shine a light on those who are making significant strides in their respective fields. The Black Professionals Network (BPN) Chicago Chapter’s this March will host its 2nd annual Black Women in Excellence Networking Mixer, acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of ten remarkable individuals who have excelled in their careers, businesses, and contributions to social good. Let’s take a closer look at these inspiring honorees and the impact they’ve made:

    1. Ashleigh Cortes Morgan: Champion of Philanthropy and Corporate Leadership
    Ashleigh is a beacon of hope, seamlessly blending her corporate prowess with her philanthropic spirit. As the Global Onboarding Manager at Salesforce, she not only fosters employee connections but also spearheads philanthropic initiatives. Outside of her corporate role, Ashleigh is the founder of The Stay Beautiful Foundation, dedicated to supporting women battling cancer, embodying compassion and resilience in all her endeavors.

    2. Bonnie Smith: Connector Extraordinaire and Marketing Maven
    With a career spanning two successful startups and a wealth of experience in marketing and media, Bonnie’s influence extends far beyond boardrooms. Her superpower lies in connecting Fortune 50 brands with diverse audiences, particularly women of color, driving revenue and brand visibility. Through her advocacy work with organizations like Momproject.org, Bonnie continues to pave the way for equitable opportunities in the business world.

    3. Brittany D. Applegate: Branding Guru and Advocate for Diversity
    Brittany is a force to be reckoned with in the realm of branding and marketing. Through her agency, The Resume Agency, she has empowered thousands of minority professionals to unlock their potential and thrive in their careers. Her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is evident not only in her professional endeavors but also in her active involvement in community service organizations.

    4. Cassandra Bell: The Directoress – Storyteller Extraordinaire
    Known as “The Directoress,” Cassandra’s talent for storytelling has captivated audiences and amplified underrepresented voices in the entertainment industry. Her commitment to social justice and inclusivity is evident in her thought-provoking productions, which tackle pressing issues with grace and authenticity. Through her non-profit, Save Me 2 Live Foundation, she continues to bring performing arts programs to vulnerable communities, leaving an indelible mark on society.

    5. Dr. Kerry Mitchell Brown: Advocate for Racial Equity and Organizational Development
    As a scholar-practitioner, Dr. Brown is at the forefront of organizational development, advocating for racial equity and social justice within institutions. Her multidimensional approach to fostering inclusivity goes beyond diversity and inclusion practices, addressing systemic inequalities at their core. Through her consultancy firm, she empowers organizations to confront anti-Black racism and enact meaningful change, driving towards a more equitable future.

    6. Dr. Evelyn Campbell: Scientist, Educator, and Artistic Visionary
    A true polymath, Dr. Campbell’s contributions span the realms of science, education, and artistry. As a STEM education advocate, she inspires the next generation of scientists while leveraging her expertise in microbiology and immunology. Her commitment to human connection and community learning fosters an environment of growth and empathy, transcending disciplinary boundaries.

    7. Serita M. Love: Empowerment Enthusiast and Social Impact Trailblazer
    Serita’s journey from adversity to empowerment is a testament to her resilience and determination. Through her achievement lifestyle brand, Success Junkie™, she empowers underserved communities to thrive, providing tools and resources for upward social mobility. Her dedication to mentorship and community engagement underscores her commitment to creating a brighter future for all.

    8. Dr. Caroline Robinson: Dermatology Innovator and Diversity Advocate
    Dr. Robinson’s impact in the field of dermatology extends beyond medical expertise, advocating for diversity and inclusivity in skincare and beauty. As the founder of Tone Dermatology, she champions representation and healthcare equity, ensuring that all individuals have access to quality dermatological care. Through her advocacy efforts, she challenges industry norms and fosters a more inclusive beauty landscape.

    9. Kim Lewis: Entrepreneurial Dynamo and Clean Beauty Pioneer
    Kim’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to her resilience and tenacity. As the CEO of CurlMix, she has transformed a daring decision into a thriving business, empowering women of color and working moms along the way. Her commitment to diversity and inclusivity is evident in every aspect of her company, from its diverse staff to its clean beauty products.

    10. Arielle Renee Johnson: Public Service Prodigy and Social Enterprise Leader
    Arielle’s dedication to public service and entrepreneurship is unparalleled, shaping policies and initiatives that drive social impact. Through her work with Fierce Staffing and the Business Leadership Council, she creates pathways for marginalized communities to thrive, fostering economic empowerment and community revitalization. Her commitment to equity and inclusion serves as a beacon of hope for future generations.

    In honoring these exceptional women, the BPN Chicago Chapter not only celebrates their individual achievements but also acknowledges the collective impact of their contributions. Their stories serve as inspiration for all, reminding us of the power of perseverance, passion, and purpose in driving positive change in our communities and beyond. As we continue to champion diversity and inclusion, let us stand together in recognizing and uplifting the voices of those who are making a difference, one remarkable woman at a time.


    WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Chicago Chapter

    WHAT: 2024 Black Women in Excellence Networking Mixer

    WHEN: Wednesday, March 20, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

    WHERE: (Chicago) – Hue Chicago, 67 E Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

    Register to attend here.

    Icon of Industry: Gordon Parks – A Luminary Legacy Builder

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    As part of the launch of our Legacy Houses, a community building initiative which underscores our unwavering commitment to support the legacy builders within our community and empower black households, we take a moment on the journey to delve into the remarkable achievements of trailblazing individuals from the past. In our 2024 Black History Month series: Icons of Industry, we invite you to reimagine with us the legacies of these iconic figures, pondering what type of legacy builder they would be and which BPN Legacy House they would belong to – Tycoon, Diplomat, Luminary or Guardian.

    Tycoon: Pioneers of possibility and innovation, the Tycoons drive opportunities and growth, breaking barriers and creating pathways to success for future generations. Charles R. Drew

    Diplomat: Masters of impact and diplomacy, these trailblazers excel at forging bridges and fostering collaboration, uniting communities and championing for the soul of society. Ella Baker

    Luminary: Beacons of inspiration and enlightenment, Luminaries illuminate paths to progress and fulfillment, igniting passion and driving positive change in their wake. Gordon Parks

    Guardian: These individuals are the steadfast protectors of ideals and values, embodying resilience and fostering a sense of community wherever they go. Mary McLeod Bethune

    As you immerse yourself in the stories of these remarkable individuals, you’ll discover the diverse pathways to success and draw inspiration from their extraordinary achievements. Each Legacy House represents a unique facet of professional excellence, guiding our present impact and shaping our collective vision for the future.

    As we step into the vibrant month of February, we embark on a journey of celebration, reflection, and inspiration. In this reimagined interview with Gordon Parks, learn more about his contributions to his community and society at large as a Guardian legacy builder.

    Interview with Gordon Parks (AI-generated based on real historical facts)

    Interviewer: Welcome, Mr. Parks. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Let’s dive into your remarkable journey as a photographer, artist, and activist.

    Gordon Parks: Thank you for having me.

    Interviewer: You’re often hailed as a pioneer in photography, particularly for your profound documentation of African American life and the civil rights movement. Can you share with us what initially drew you to photography and how it became such a pivotal part of your life’s work?

    Gordon Parks: Certainly. My journey into photography was somewhat serendipitous. While working as a waiter on the North Coast Limited passenger train, I stumbled upon magazines featuring Depression-era photographs that depicted the struggles of migrant farmers. These images resonated deeply with me, reflecting my own experiences and struggles. Inspired by the power of these photographs, I purchased my first camera, recognizing its potential to tell stories and shed light on societal issues. Photography became my chosen medium for capturing the world around me and advocating for social change.

    Interviewer: Your early work, particularly from the 1940s to 1950s, is celebrated for its poignant portrayal of African American life and the injustices faced by black Americans. How did you navigate the complexities of capturing both the beauty and the struggles within your community?

    Gordon Parks: It was imperative for me to present a multifaceted view of African American life. While I sought to capture the beauty, resilience, and dignity of my community, I also felt compelled to shine a light on the harsh realities of racism, poverty, and oppression. This balance was essential in conveying the full spectrum of the human experience and advocating for social change. Through my lens, I aimed to challenge stereotypes, provoke empathy, and inspire action.

    Interviewer: Your commitment to social justice and your use of photography as a tool for activism are truly commendable. Can you tell us about a particular moment or project where you felt your work made a significant impact in advancing the cause of civil rights?

    Gordon Parks: One project that stands out to me is my series on Ella Watson, a government charwoman in Washington, D.C. The photograph, “Washington, D.C., Government charwoman (American Gothic),” captured Ella in her work environment, holding a mop and broom, with a determined expression on her face. This image, inspired by Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” served as a powerful symbol of the struggles faced by African Americans in the midst of segregation and inequality. It sparked important conversations about racial injustice and economic disparity, furthering the dialogue on civil rights in America.

    Interviewer: We believe you would be a Luminary, a legacy builder within our organization who aims to leverage their influence and prestige to plant seeds of inspiration and thought for future generations to water. What about your journey would you say makes this distinction accurate?

    Gordon Parks: Throughout my career, I’ve strived not only to capture compelling images but also to use my platform to amplify marginalized voices and advocate for social change. Whether through my photography, writing, music, or activism, I’ve sought to inspire empathy, provoke thought, and ignite action. By documenting the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit, I hope to leave behind a legacy that inspires future generations to continue the fight for justice and equality. My journey is a testament to the power of art to effect change and shape the world for the better.


    Want to see if you are a Luminary as well? Visit mybpn.org/legacy-house-quiz to discover what type of Legacy Builder you are!

    An Icon of Industry: Mary Jane McLeod Bethune – A Guardian Legacy Builder

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    As part of the launch of our Legacy Houses, a community building initiative which underscores our unwavering commitment to support the legacy builders within our community and empower black households, we take a moment on the journey to delve into the remarkable achievements of trailblazing individuals from the past. In our 2024 Black History Month series: Icons of Industry, we invite you to reimagine with us the legacies of these iconic figures, pondering what type of legacy builder they would be and which BPN Legacy House they would belong to – Tycoon, Diplomat, Luminary or Guardian.

    Tycoon: Pioneers of possibility and innovation, the Tycoons drive opportunities and growth, breaking barriers and creating pathways to success for future generations. Charles R. Drew

    Diplomat: Masters of impact and diplomacy, these trailblazers excel at forging bridges and fostering collaboration, uniting communities and championing for the soul of society. Ella Baker

    Luminary: Beacons of inspiration and enlightenment, Luminaries illuminate paths to progress and fulfillment, igniting passion and driving positive change in their wake. Gordon Parks

    Guardian: These individuals are the steadfast protectors of ideals and values, embodying resilience and fostering a sense of community wherever they go. Mary McLeod Bethune

    As you immerse yourself in the stories of these remarkable individuals, you’ll discover the diverse pathways to success and draw inspiration from their extraordinary achievements. Each Legacy House represents a unique facet of professional excellence, guiding our present impact and shaping our collective vision for the future.

    As we step into the vibrant month of February, we embark on a journey of celebration, reflection, and inspiration. In this reimagined interview with Mary McLeod Bethune, learn more about his contributions to his community and society at large as a Guardian legacy builder.

    Interview with Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (AI-generated based on real historical facts)

    Interviewer: Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, thank you for joining us today. Your legacy as an educator, civil rights leader, and government official is truly remarkable. Let’s delve into some aspects of your life and work.

    Interviewer: You founded the Daytona Beach Literary and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls, which later evolved into Bethune-Cookman College. What inspired you to establish this institution, and what were your goals for it?

    Mary Jane McLeod Bethune: Thank you for having me. My inspiration stemmed from the dire need for education among African American girls in the South. I wanted to provide them with opportunities for intellectual and vocational growth, empowering them to contribute meaningfully to their communities and society at large. My goal was to create a nurturing environment where they could develop academically, culturally, and spiritually.

    Interviewer: Throughout your life, you were a staunch advocate for racial and gender equality. Can you tell us about some of the challenges you faced in advocating for these rights, particularly in the early to mid-20th century?

    Mary Jane McLeod Bethune: Certainly. The challenges were numerous and often formidable. I faced opposition from entrenched systems of racism and sexism, which sought to deny African Americans and women their fundamental rights. In my advocacy work, I encountered resistance, hostility, and even violence. But I firmly believed in the righteousness of our cause and persevered, rallying others to join me in the fight for equality and justice.

    Interviewer: We understand that you played a significant role in advising President Franklin D. Roosevelt on matters concerning African Americans. Can you elaborate on your experiences in this capacity and how you aimed to influence policies that would benefit the African American community?

    Mary Jane McLeod Bethune: Indeed, serving as an advisor to President Roosevelt was a tremendous honor and responsibility. I endeavored to ensure that the voices and concerns of African Americans were heard and addressed in the halls of power. By advocating for policies such as anti-discrimination measures, economic relief programs, and educational initiatives, I sought to improve the lives of African Americans and advance our collective interests.

    Interviewer: We believe you would be a Guardian, a legacy builder within our organization who aims to be a steward of community and safeguarding legacies. Can you share your thoughts on this characterization, and how do you perceive your role in preserving and advancing the legacies of those who came before you?

    Mary Jane McLeod Bethune: I am deeply humbled by the designation of a Guardian, as it aligns with my lifelong commitment to uplifting and empowering others. As a legacy builder, I believe it is incumbent upon us to honor the sacrifices and achievements of those who paved the way for progress. By preserving their legacies and carrying forward their work, we ensure that their contributions are never forgotten and that future generations continue to benefit from their legacy of resilience, courage, and determination.


    Want to see if you are a Guardian as well? Visit mybpn.org/legacy-house-quiz to discover what type of Legacy Builder you are!

    An Icon of Industry: Ella Baker – A Diplomat Legacy Builder

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    As part of the launch of our Legacy Houses, a community building initiative which underscores our unwavering commitment to support the legacy builders within our community and empower black households, we take a moment on the journey to delve into the remarkable achievements of trailblazing individuals from the past. In our 2024 Black History Month series: Icons of Industry, we invite you to reimagine with us the legacies of these iconic figures, pondering what type of legacy builder they would be and which BPN Legacy House they would belong to – Tycoon, Diplomat, Luminary or Guardian.

    Tycoon: Pioneers of possibility and innovation, the Tycoons drive opportunities and growth, breaking barriers and creating pathways to success for future generations. Charles R. Drew

    Diplomat: Masters of impact and diplomacy, these trailblazers excel at forging bridges and fostering collaboration, uniting communities and championing for the soul of society. Ella Baker

    Luminary: Beacons of inspiration and enlightenment, Luminaries illuminate paths to progress and fulfillment, igniting passion and driving positive change in their wake. Gordon Parks

    Guardian: These individuals are the steadfast protectors of ideals and values, embodying resilience and fostering a sense of community wherever they go. Mary McLeod Bethune

    As you immerse yourself in the stories of these remarkable individuals, you’ll discover the diverse pathways to success and draw inspiration from their extraordinary achievements. Each Legacy House represents a unique facet of professional excellence, guiding our present impact and shaping our collective vision for the future.

    As we step into the vibrant month of February, we embark on a journey of celebration, reflection, and inspiration. In this reimagined interview with Ella Baker, learn more about his contributions to his community and society at large as a Diplomat legacy builder.

    Interview with Ella Baker (AI-generated based on real historical facts)

    Interview with Ella Baker

    Interviewer: Welcome, Ms. Baker. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Let’s delve into your remarkable journey and contributions to the civil rights movement.

    Ella Baker: Thank you for having me.

    Interviewer: To start off, could you tell us about your early involvement with the civil rights movement and your role in founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)?

    Ella Baker: Certainly. My journey in the civil rights movement began long before the founding of these organizations. I started my work with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the 1940s, focusing on grassroots organizing and activism. However, I realized the need for a more inclusive and decentralized approach to organizing. This led me to collaborate with Martin Luther King Jr., and other leaders, to establish the SCLC in 1957. Three years later, I played a pivotal role in the formation of SNCC, which empowered young activists to take leadership roles in the struggle for equality.

    Interviewer: Your dedication to grassroots organizing and empowering marginalized voices is evident. Speaking of empowerment, your approach seems to align with the traits of a diplomat and legacy builder. We believe you would be a Diplomat, a legacy builder within our organization who aims to carry out missions of impact that drives positive change throughout society. What about your journey would you say makes this distinction accurate?

    Ella Baker: I appreciate the recognition of my efforts. Throughout my journey, I have always prioritized fostering collaboration, empowering individuals, and fostering long-term change rather than seeking personal recognition or glory. My work has been focused on building lasting movements that endure beyond any single leader or organization. By emphasizing the importance of collective action and grassroots organizing, I aim to cultivate a legacy of activism that inspires future generations to continue the fight for justice and equality.

    Interviewer: Your commitment to collective action and long-term impact is truly inspiring. How do you envision the role of diplomacy within social movements, particularly in navigating complex challenges and fostering meaningful change?

    Ella Baker: Diplomacy plays a crucial role in social movements by facilitating dialogue, building alliances, and bridging divides within communities. In the face of adversity, it’s essential to seek common ground and engage in constructive dialogue to effect positive change. Diplomacy allows us to navigate the complexities of social issues, build coalitions, and mobilize diverse groups towards a shared vision of justice and equality. It requires patience, empathy, and a willingness to listen to differing perspectives, but ultimately, it is instrumental in achieving meaningful and sustainable progress.

    Interviewer: Thank you, Ms. Baker, for sharing your insights and experiences with us. Your dedication to grassroots organizing and empowering marginalized communities serves as an enduring example for activists around the world.

    Ella Baker: It has been my pleasure. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on my journey and the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.


    Want to see if you are a Diplomat as well? Visit mybpn.org/legacy-house-quiz to discover what type of Legacy Builder you are!

    An Icon of Industry: Charles. R. Drew – A Tycoon Legacy Builder

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    As part of the launch of our Legacy Houses, a community building initiative which underscores our unwavering commitment to support the legacy builders within our community and empower black households, we take a moment on the journey to delve into the remarkable achievements of trailblazing individuals from the past. In our 2024 Black History Month series: Icons of Industry, we invite you to reimagine with us the legacies of these iconic figures, pondering what type of legacy builder they would be and which BPN Legacy House they would belong to – Tycoon, Diplomat, Luminary or Guardian.

    Tycoon: Pioneers of possibility and innovation, the Tycoons drive opportunities and growth, breaking barriers and creating pathways to success for future generations. Charles R. Drew

    Diplomat: Masters of impact and diplomacy, these trailblazers excel at forging bridges and fostering collaboration, uniting communities and championing for the soul of society. Ella Baker

    Luminary: Beacons of inspiration and enlightenment, Luminaries illuminate paths to progress and fulfillment, igniting passion and driving positive change in their wake. Gordon Parks

    Guardian: These individuals are the steadfast protectors of ideals and values, embodying resilience and fostering a sense of community wherever they go. Mary McLeod Bethune

    As you immerse yourself in the stories of these remarkable individuals, you’ll discover the diverse pathways to success and draw inspiration from their extraordinary achievements. Each Legacy House represents a unique facet of professional excellence, guiding our present impact and shaping our collective vision for the future.

    As we step into the vibrant month of February, we embark on a journey of celebration, reflection, and inspiration. In this reimagined interview with Charles R. Drew, learn more about his contributions to his community and society at large as a Tycoon legacy builder.

    Interview with Dr. Charles Drew (AI-generated based on real historical facts)

    Interviewer: Dr. Charles R. Drew, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Your contributions to medicine and society are truly remarkable.

    Dr. Charles Drew: Thank you for having me.

    Interviewer: Let’s start with your groundbreaking work in the field of blood banking. Can you tell us about your discovery of the method for long-term storage of blood plasma?

    Dr. Charles Drew: Certainly. In my research, I found that by separating plasma from whole blood and refrigerating it, we could extend its shelf life significantly. This breakthrough allowed for the creation of blood banks, where plasma could be stored and readily available for transfusions, saving countless lives.

    Interviewer: Your efforts in organizing America’s first large-scale blood bank are widely recognized. What inspired you to undertake such an endeavor?

    Dr. Charles Drew: My primary motivation was to address the critical need for a steady supply of blood for transfusions, particularly during times of war. I saw the devastating impact of blood shortages firsthand and knew that establishing a centralized blood bank system was essential for saving lives on a large scale.

    Interviewer: Your tenure at Howard University and Freedmen’s Hospital is also noteworthy. Can you tell us about your mission during that time?

    Dr. Charles Drew: Absolutely. My goal at Howard University was twofold: to train young African American surgeons to the highest standards and to advocate for the inclusion of black physicians in medical societies and organizations. I believed that by empowering future generations of black doctors and fighting against discrimination in the medical field, I could make a lasting impact on healthcare and society as a whole.

    Interviewer: We believe you would be a Tycoon, a legacy builder within our organization who aims to stimulate opportunities or innovations that are in support of society’s trajectory. What about your journey would you say makes this distinction accurate?

    Dr. Charles Drew: I appreciate the recognition. Throughout my career, I have always strived to push the boundaries of what is possible in medicine and to use my platform to advocate for equality and access to healthcare. Whether it was pioneering blood banking techniques or fighting against racial discrimination in the medical profession, I have always been driven by a desire to make a meaningful and lasting impact on society. I believe that my dedication to innovation, social justice, and improving the well-being of others aligns well with the values of a Tycoon within your organization.


    Want to see if you are a Tycoon as well? Visit mybpn.org/legacy-house-quiz to discover what type of Legacy Builder you are!

    Celebrating Black Men in Excellence: Chicago Chapter’s Dynamic 2024 Honorees

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    The Black Professionals Network (BPN) Chicago Chapter has taken a bold step in recognizing the outstanding achievements of Black men in various fields—career, business, and social good. This year’s honorees showcase the city’s diverse talent pool and the positive impact they have made in their respective spheres. Let’s dive into the remarkable stories of these ten individuals who are leaving an indelible mark on their communities.

    Brandon Pope – Journalist and Mentor: Emmy-winning journalist, media critic, and host of “On The Block.” President of the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, he focuses on mentoring the next generation of journalists and fundraising for scholarships. Also, an adjunct professor and recipient of the Ball State University “Hall Of Beneficence” award.

    Jahmal Cole – Community Leader and Philanthropist: Founder and CEO of My Block My Hood My City, dedicated to social justice, education, and community service. Awarded an honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities from DePaul University, recognized as the 2022 Activist of the Year by Chicago Reader, and named one of the 25 Most Powerful Chicagoans by Crain’s Magazine.

    Alan B. Conley – Faith Based and Community Leader: A 21st-century communicator of “Good news,” Alan is the Director of the Office of Faith Based Initiatives in the third largest school district in the U.S. Instrumental in cultivating faith-based partnerships city-wide, impacting the lives of over 60,000 students. Also, an actor, producer, and writer, contributing to local film and theater productions.

    Zack Day – Entrepreneurship and Mentorship: Senior Counselor for Youth Guidance’s BAM program by day, and Director of Brewing Operations at Funkytown Brewery by night. A recipient of the 2022 Michael Jackson Foundation Scholarship for brewing, Zack focuses on mentoring youth and bringing diversity to the craft beer industry.

    Christian Harris – Entrepreneurship and Community Leader: Entrepreneur, coach, and consultant, Christian has a diverse background, from founding MS Clean and Sons LLC to serving as Director of DEI and Operations for marketing firm DM Burton LLC. Passionate about community work, Christian co-founded the group Walk the Walk and established the Oak Park Reparations Task force in 2021.

    Rich Bloomfield – Business Leader: CEO and co-founder of Funkytown Brewery, Rich has over 10 years of project management experience, specializing in education equity. Holding certifications in project management and cloud computing, his current role at Funkytown Brewery focuses on bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to the beer industry.

    Delante Greer – Wealth Advisor and Mentor: Investment Advisor Representative with Opulentia, Delante has over 10 years of experience in self-directed investments. A TEDx speaker and founder of a nonprofit, Delante is committed to equipping the younger generation with vital financial tools and knowledge, actively participating in various community and industry roles.

    Anthony Curtis, Jr. – Advocate for Education and Mentorship: Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs Manager and Organizational Culture at NFTE, Anthony leads initiatives devoted to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging. As a coach affiliate at Developing Capacity Coaching, LLC, he coaches people to effectively lead for equity and justice, emphasizing his commitment to empowering marginalized communities.

    Gregory Williams – Business Leader: Program Manager at Wesco-Anixter and Co-Founder/Sales Director of Funkytown Brewery, Gregory combines over 15 years of business management experience. A key figure in Funkytown’s brand expansion, he actively supports Diversity and Inclusion efforts within the craft beer industry.

    Dr. Lawrence A. White, DDS – Health Advocate and Business Leader: Dentist and practice owner on Chicago’s south side for over 30 years, Dr. White serves diverse communities. Currently the Vice Speaker of the House of Illinois State Dental Society Board of Trustees, he continues to contribute to the field of dentistry and community health.

    BPN Chicago Chapter’s Black Men in Excellence honorees represent the best in their fields, embodying resilience, leadership, and a commitment to positive change. Their stories inspire us to strive for greatness, leaving a lasting legacy for the generations to come. As we celebrate their achievements, let us also recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in fostering a vibrant and successful community.


    WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Chicago Chapter

    WHAT: 2024 Black Men in Excellence Networking Mixer

    WHEN: Thursday, February 22, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

    WHERE: (Chicago) – Hue Chicago, 67 E Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616

    Register to attend here

    Celebrating Excellence: The Unparalleled Achievements of Los Angeles’ 2024 Black Men in Excellence Honorees


    Los Angeles, a city renowned for its diversity and cultural richness, is home to ten extraordinary individuals recognized for their outstanding contributions to career, business, and social good. Black Professionals Network (BPN) Los Angeles Chapter’s Black Men in Excellence initiative sheds light on the remarkable journeys of these honorees who have not only excelled in their respective fields but have also made indelible impacts on their communities. Let’s delve into the stories of these exceptional individuals who embody the spirit of excellence

    Stanley Cortez Webster – Business Owner and Mentor:
    Stanley’s journey from a small town in Alabama to becoming one of the youngest Chick-fil-A franchise owners is a testament to resilience and community impact. Mentored by Anita Costello and inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” Stanley not only excelled in business but also became a mentor, coach, and father figure. His commitment to community-building organizations sets him apart as a true leader shaping lives in Los Angeles. Legacy House: Diplomat

    Aaron Hall – Non-Profit Leader and Youth Advocate:
    Aaron’s story is deeply intertwined with the Crenshaw community, where he found inspiration and purpose at the Crenshaw Y. Returning to Los Angeles as Executive Director of the Crenshaw Family YMCA, Aaron’s journey showcases his dedication to community service and his commitment to empowering individuals. His career with the YMCA has become a legacy, impacting lives across communities.

    Rakeem Addison – Community Advocate:
    Rakeem Addison is not just a servant but a dedicated advocate addressing food insecurity, financial stability, mentorship, and providing quality sneakers to those in need. Through the Spread Love Foundation, Rakeem’s commitment to fulfilling diverse needs in every aspect of life exemplifies the spirit of excellence and compassion.

    Joseph Ward-Wallace – Enterprising Community Advocate:
    As the Co-Founder of South LA Cafe, Joseph Ward-Wallace is at the forefront of fighting racial and economic inequality. His mission is to provide a safe space for local residents, ensuring equal access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Additionally, as Co-CEO & President of the South LA Community Foundation, Joseph is breaking the shackles of systemic oppression and inequality in South Central Los Angeles.

    Benjamin Carlton – Entrepreneur and Philanthropist:
    Benjamin Carlton is a transformative force for social change, recognized for his leadership in the national movement celebrating Black aspirations. As a co-founder of BMe Community, he has not only influenced national policies but has also invested millions in local community leaders, impacting over 2 million families. Beyond his roles as an actor, activist, and author, Benjamin’s core principle of asset-framing promotes recognizing individuals for their contributions, and he actively advocates for the rights and fair treatment of the Black and LGBTQ communities, with a global impact through initiatives like STAN for LOVE.

    Alrick “Butta” Augustine – Entertainment Entrepreneur:
    Alrick Augustine, known as “Butta,” is a trailblazing entertainment entrepreneur with a keen eye for creating impactful experiences. His contributions to the entertainment industry have not only elevated his career but have also influenced the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. Butta’s entrepreneurial journey reflects resilience, creativity, and a passion for making a lasting impact.

    Doc Campbell – Youth Advocate and Philanthropist:
    Doc Campbell, a native New Yorker and visionary founder of Yacht (Young and Creating History Together). His lifestyle brand is dedicated to illuminating and sharing fundamental principles and innovative approaches aimed at enhancing spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being which sets him apart as a beacon of excellence in the city.

    Jacques Saint Fleur – Executive Leader and Mentor:
    Jacques Saint Fleur, a first-generation Haitian-American, has overcome humble beginnings to become the President of the NETwork Los Angeles and Culture Ambassador for AT&T’s National Business Team. With a background in the U.S. Navy and over 20 years of leadership development, he is now a certified Performance Coach, dedicated to empowering underserved communities through personal and professional development workshops in Los Angeles.

    Eugene “Big U” Henley – Community Activist and Mentor:
    Eugene “Big U” Henley’s impact as a community activist and mentor is profound, leaving an indelible mark on Los Angeles. His commitment to creating positive change, particularly in underserved communities, reflects a dedication to social good. Big U’s influence extends beyond his entrepreneurial ventures, making him a respected figure in community development.

    David P. Anderson, MSSE – Youth Development Advocate and Philanthropist:
    David P. Anderson is a nationally recognized leader in afterschool programs and youth workforce development, serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Urban League. With a profound commitment to education and philanthropy, he has significantly impacted over 100,000 students through afterschool initiatives, showcasing his passion for creating positive community change and exemplifying true leadership in transformative endeavors.

    The stories of these ten exceptional individuals from the BPN Los Angeles Chapter’s Black Men in Excellence initiative illustrate the diverse and impactful ways they contribute to the city’s cultural fabric. Their journeys, marked by resilience, innovation, and community engagement, serve as an inspiration for all. Los Angeles is not just a city of stars; it is a city where these remarkable individuals shine bright, leaving an enduring legacy of excellence and positive change.


    WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Los Angeles Chapter

    WHAT: 2024 Black Men in Excellence Networking Mixer

    WHEN: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

    WHERE: (Los Angeles) – The Gathering Spot LA, 5211 W, ADAMS BLVD. LOS ANGELES, CA 90016

    Register to attend here

    Building a Legacy of Excellence: Miami Chapter’s 2024 Black Men in Excellence Honorees

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    South Florida’s vibrant culture and diversity are not just reflections in its art and music but also in the remarkable individuals who shape the city’s landscape. Black Professionals Network (BPN)’s Miami Chapter has embarked on a mission during Black History Month to spotlight and honor individuals who have not only excelled in their careers but have also made significant contributions to business and social good. The Black Men in Excellence honorees for this year represent a diverse tapestry of talent, leadership, and community engagement. Let’s delve into the inspiring journeys of these honorees, each a trailblazer in their own right and making an indelible mark on South Florida and beyond.

    Ja’dan Johnson – Visionary Entrepreneur:
    From launching the largest hackathon in the English-speaking Caribbean at the age of 15 to leading a citizens-driven COVID-19 response project, Ja’dan Johnson epitomizes innovation and commitment to societal well-being. As the Founder & Director of Miami Hack Week and a venture scout at Craft Ventures, Johnson continues to pave the way for future tech leaders.

    Jefferson Noel – Educator and Orator:
    Jefferson Noel, a professor at Florida Memorial University, is a three-time published author, TEDx speaker, and founder of Barbershop Speaks. Noel’s influence extends far beyond the classroom, engaging communities in intelligent discussions.

    Wilton L Triggs II, MD – Industry Pioneer and Mentorship Advocate:
    Dr. Wilton Triggs, a Plastic Surgeon and former Chief Resident at the University of South Florida recognized as the first black chief resident of plastic surgery. However, Dr. Triggs not only excels in his medical career but also dedicates himself to mentorship. His commitment to giving back led him to establish the Dr. Wilton Triggs Foundation, supporting education for historically under-represented populations. Additionally, he holds an with Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Assistant Professorship allowing him to teach both medical students and medical residents the intricacies of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

    Zachary Rinkins – Journalist and Economic Advocate:
    Zachary Rinkins, once a freelance journalist and always an advocate for economic growth, has interviewed notable figures and contributed to outlets like Black Enterprise and Ebony Magazine. Currently managing communications for the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust, Rinkins plays a pivotal role in ensuring Black residents participate in Miami’s economic development.

    Timothy Merriman Jr, MBA – Real Estate Trailblazer:
    A distinguished commercial real estate broker, Timothy Merriman Jr. has navigated complex transactions, earning recognition as Broker of the Year and becoming an owner of NAI Miami | Fort Lauderdale. With expertise in various property types, Merriman is a leader in commercial real estate, committed to achieving optimal outcomes for his clients. Legacy House: Tycoon

    Michaeljohn A. Green – Advocate for Economic Development:
    Michaeljohn A. Green is the Chief of Economic Development & Strategy for the Miami Downtown Development Authority Agency. In this role, he focuses on attracting and retaining businesses in the Miami DDA district, contributing to the city’s economic prosperity. With a background in financial institutions and community development, MJ has been recognized for his impact, particularly during the pandemic, when he managed the RISE Fund, lending money to 900 businesses and saving 4,500 jobs in Miami-Dade County. Additionally, he is actively involved in various boards and organizations, advocating for access to capital and equitable opportunities in urban communities.. Legacy House: Tycoon

    Jeremy Jones – HR Strategist and DEI Advocate:
    Jeremy Jones, an HR Business Partner at Starboard Cruise Services, is recognized for his talent management strategies and employee engagement initiatives. Serving as Co-President for LVMH Employees of African Decent, Jones actively contributes to diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies within the company. Legacy House: Guardian

    Stevo’n Evander McGill – Community Builder and Strength Coach:
    Stevo’n McGill, known as Coach Von, has dedicated his career to community service, initially as a firefighter and later as a strength and conditioning coach. Through initiatives like TopShelf Performance and publishing a children’s novel, McGill empowers communities in Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

    Adrian K. Felix – Litigation Expert and DEI Advocate:
    Adrian K. Felix, a Partner in Bilzin Sumberg’s Trial & Litigation Group, is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. Serving as Chair of Bilzin Sumberg’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, Felix actively addresses social injustice issues nationwide. Legacy House: Diplomat

    David J. Castro II – Innovative Entrepreneur:
    As the CEO and co-founder of Dungeon Forward, David J. Castro II is driven by authenticity and innovation. Through his brand, Castro not only creates innovative headwear but also tells stories of triumph, promoting diversity and creativity within the community.

    Black Professionals Network (BPN) Miami Chapter’s Black Men in Excellence honorees represent a mosaic of talent, dedication, and community impact. Their stories inspire us to strive for excellence, contribute to societal well-being, and pave the way for a more inclusive and vibrant future in Miami and beyond. As we celebrate their achievements, let’s also recognize the collective strength and resilience they bring to the city’s rich tapestry.


    WHO: Black Professionals Network (BPN) Miami Chapter

    WHAT: 2024 Black Men in Excellence Networking Mixer

    WHEN: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 6:00PM to 9:00PM 

    WHERE: (MIAMI) – John Martin’s, 253 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

    Register to attend here