Home Wisconsin Black Power 2020: Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 3

Black Power 2020: Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 3


This is the third in a five-part series. Part one is available here and part two is available here.

Samba Baldeh will be sworn in next month as the first Muslim in the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing Madison’s north and east sides. The former Madison Common Council president stepped away from a six-figure IT job at American Family to run for the office. Twenty years ago, he moved to Madison from the Gambia. He joined the Common Council in 2015, and was elected council president in just his second term.

Cordero Barkley is the director of finance and investments at Titletown Tech, an investment firm based in Green Bay. Formerly, he was an Assistant Vice President – Fiduciary Officer with Associated Bank Wealth Management, working with high net-worth individuals. He earned both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he played Division I basketball from 2005-2009. Barkley was recognized by the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce as 2018 Future 15 recipient, as well as a recipient of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Distinguished Recent Alumni Award for 2018. He also currently serves on a number of boards in the Greater Green Bay community

Kiah Calmese Walker is director of supply chain services at UW Health at The American Center & UnityPoint Health-Meriter, a role she assumed late in 2019 after five years as director of hospitality & support services. She began her UW Health career as a health unit coordinator in 2000 and has held a variety of roles in health education and administration. A 1997 graduate of Carleton College, Kiah earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota in 2015.

Chandra Rodgers is the Senior Vice President of Community Affairs / Community Reinvestment Act Officer at Associated Bank. This year she was recognized as a Game Changer at the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee Game Changer event. Rodgers has about 20 years of experience in the banking industry.

John Tate II is the chair of the state Parole Commission. Before accepting the appointment by Gov. Tony Evers, he served as a Third District Alderman in Racine. He also has professional experience as a social worker, case worker and mental healthcare provider within the criminal justice system and in community health settings.

Payton Wade is the communications coordinator at the office of Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a senior at the UW-Madison in 2019 when a student-produced homecoming video touted diversity but featured no people of color, and became an outspoken advocate for representation in its wake. Wade, who is part of the Epsilon Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, was filmed as part of the promotion but was never included. She led the Student Inclusion Committee, which prompted UW-Madison to take down the video and issue an apology statement, and create a new video.

Nasra Wehelie is the newest alder on Madison’s Common Council, having been appointed last month. As of Nov. 17 she represents District 7, which comprises four wards, five neighborhood associations, and approximately 13,000 residents on Madison’s southwest side. Wehelie has served as the director of development and communications for Second Harvest Foodbank, the development director for Madison-area Urban Ministry (now called JustDane). She founded the Muslim Youth of Madison and is currently the president/CEO at Empathy 4 Equity LLC, a consulting business that builds a culture of empathy framework for organizational excellence for nonprofits, foundations and corporations.

Michael Jackson is the Associate Athletic Director of Development, Inclusion & Engagement for Wisconsin Badgers Athletics. In his role, he oversees all areas of donor relations, business development as well as diversity & inclusion.  He is a strategic and visionary leader with over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing and business development. As one of the top African-American executives at a growing Fortune 100 company, he was responsible for leading the marketing, talent management and growth strategy for the company’s largest geographic region, which includes a team of over 125 financial full-time advisor teams. Jackson is a former two-sport student-athlete Wisconsin, where he was a member of Big Ten champion basketball and track and field teams. He also earned numerous accolades across campus in various leadership positions such as student government and several registered student organizations. He earned an MBA from the Wisconsin School of Business with a concentration in brand management. During his tenure in graduate school, he served as the co-chair of the UW Diversity Plan, which was a campus-wide initiative to update the university’s diversity & inclusion strategy. Active in the community, Jackson is a former volunteer of the year recipient at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County.

Dr. Corey King is the Vice Chancellor for Inclusivity & Student Affairs UW-Green Bay. King has over 27 years of collegiate experience in student affairs. Prior to his current position, King was the Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Financial Services at Bethune-Cookman University and the Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management at Florida Atlantic University. During his time at FAU, King established the Urban Male Institute and the First Generation Student Success Center both of which focused on supporting the university’s first-generation minority students. King received a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree from Florida State University as well as a Doctorate in Educational Administration & Leadership from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. 

Marcelia Nicholson, now in her third term, is the first Afro-Latina woman to be Chairwoman of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Nicholson is also the Fifth District Supervisor for Milwaukee County. Prior to her current position, Nicholson acted as 1st Vice-Chair of the Board, Chair of Economic & Community Development, and IGR committee. Nicholson is also an award-winning activist and uses her work in civic engagement to inform her policy work today. Nicholson has sponsored a variety of legislation including a $15 minimum wage, an eviction reduction program, criminal justice reform, and funding for BIPOC women seeking entrepreneurship. 

Part 4 coming tomorrow!