Black Power 2018: Wisconsin’s 42 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 2


    This is the second of a five-part series. Part 1 is available here.

    Nichelle Nichols oversees the Family, Youth and Community Engagement Department as well as the Strategic Partnerships and Innovation Department for the Madison Metropolitan School District. Nichols has shown an unwavering commitment to children and families in the greater Madison area resulting from 17 years of non-profit and three years of school district experience. In her role she leads the charge on the district’s new Black Excellence movement. She also secured a grant of more than $1 million from Madison Community Foundation — the largest in the foundation’s history — to develop the Community School concept. As a longtime member and current president of the Kappa Psi Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Nichols has made huge contributions to the Madison community through her service in the areas of education, employment, health, economics, the arts and more.

    Joanne Johnson-Sabir is the owner of The Juice Kitchen, a wellness-focused smoothie and juice bar in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood, and is one of a dozen black-owned businesses that have signed on to the Sherman Phoenix project, a small business incubator that offers high-quality space for small businesses-of-color offering diverse foods, wellness services and cultural activities in order to heal the city following the riots that engulfed the Sherman Park neighborhood in 2016. The Juice Kitchen’s vision is community ownership and wellness through living foods and when you purchase products from The Juice Kitchen you are boldly investing in neighbors, youth, and impacting everybody’s own personal wellness.

    John Pembroke is president and CEO of the Madison-based national organization Credit Union Executive Society (CUES), whose mission is to educate and develop credit union CEOs, executives, directors and future leaders. Since joining CUES in May 2013 as chief operating officer, he has helped launch a new direction in CUES’ strategy, branding and culture. Pembroke has more than 20 years of experience in branding and financial services. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and is a member of the board of the Goodman Community Center.

    Robyn Y. Davis is the President and CEO of Brown County United Way, based in Green Bay. BCUW is a center for community-based strategies that unites people, ideas and resources to create community solutions that strengthens every person and every community in Brown County. She is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the program development industry. She has been a resident of the greater Green Bay area for the past 15 years and led Freedom House Ministries, Inc. in Green Bay as its president for 8 years prior to moving to Brown County United Way.

    Kevin Newell is founder and CEO of Royal Capital. In his role, Newell oversees all senior level investment and development related decisions, while managing a disciplined company growth strategy. The Milwaukee Bucks chose Royal Capital to build a new 90-unit apartment complex in the new arena district. Newell has been honored with numerous awards including 40 Under 40 by Business Journal, Top 75 Power Brokers in Milwaukee Magazine and 17 People to Watch in ‘17 by the Business Journal. Kevin is an MBA graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with an emphasis in Finance and Management, and an ACRE Alum at Marquette University. He is chair of the Junior Business Academy and members of the boards of Guest House of Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater College of Business and Economics, Marquette University School of Real Estate, MLK Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Preservation Fund.

    Emery K. Harlan, a partner at MWH Law Group in Milwaukee, has more than 25 years’ experience as a trial lawyer representing clients from a broad array of industries in complex civil litigation matters. In his practice, he focuses on defending companies and governmental entities in high profile, aggravated discrimination matters. Harlan has served as a board member for the Blood Center of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Health Services and Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. This year he received the “2018 Lifetime Legal Innovator” by the State Bar of Wisconsin, Wisconsin. Throughout his career, he has served as a leader in promoting greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Immediately prior to co-founding MWH Law Group, he served as Chairman of one of the largest minority-owned law firms in the United States. He also co-founded the premier trade association focused on creating opportunities for women and minority-owned law firms – the National Association of Minority & Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF). Additionally, since its formation Harlan has served as an advisor to the Minority In-House Counsel Association (MIHCA) – an organization focused on developing and promoting minority in-house lawyers.

    Markasa Tucker is director of the African American Roundtable at Wisconsin Voices, a civic engagement nonprofit that aims to build a better democracy. Markasa joined Wisconsin Voices in 2013 as office administrator and was later promoted to officer manager. In August 2017, Markasa was promoted to director of the African American Roundtable, a coalition of community leaders and organizations that work to improve civic engagement for and with the African-American community. Tucker has a background in community activism and media relations. She is a former member of the National Association of Black Journalists and served as secretary and president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association. Tucker has her bachelor or arts degree in mass communications. She is the founder and CEO of The Alternative, Inc and one of the co-founders of UBLAC (Uplifting Black Liberation and Community).

    Natasha Banks is the owner of The Cozzy Corner, a family-owned restaurant in Appleton. The Cozzy Corner provides a good old fashioned southern flair in the heart of the Fox Valley. Banks and her family, natives of Florida and Alabama, wanted to provide the type of atmosphere they grew up enjoying in the south. With a menu featuring baby back ribs, catfish, gizzards and chicken fried, smoked or barbecued, it’s the place for soul food in the Fox Valley.

    Rev. Marcus Allen is the Pastor of Madison’s Mt. Zion Church, a role he began in 2017. Allen. He served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a patrol and supply specialist and has been involved in church leadership his entire life. Allen grew up in Milwaukee before settling in Virginia where he pursued his ministry calling. Since moving to Madison, Allen has been a vocal leader in the community. He has taken the lead on issues like justice reform, homelessness, education and unemployment. As a result, Dane County has tapped Pastor Marcus to lead a coalition of churches to pair mentors with teens to help improve mental health and reduce juvenile crime.

    Part 3 coming tomorrow!