Home Most Influential Black Power 2018: Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black Leaders

Black Power 2018: Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black Leaders

Madison365 CEO and Publisher Henry Sanders

We’ve published our Black Power list every year since our founding, and it’s become the most anticipated thing we do. Every year, I’ve intended this list to highlight the beauty of the diversity across our state. I want kids here in Wisconsin to see role models of people who are succeeding, to know that it’s possible for African Americans to achieve great things here.

That’s exactly what our first three lists accomplished, and what we hope to continue with this year’s list.

A lot has happened since we published Black Power 2017 a year ago. The Wisconsin Leadership Summit in October and the founding of the Wisconsin Leadership Council, both of which grew directly from past lists of the most influential African American and Latino leaders,  truly showed the power of gathering these influential leaders of color to work together on issues, learn from each other and create new and lasting connections. This list is no longer just a list. It is also an invitation — an invitation to engage, to create, to make Wisconsin a better place for the next generation of leaders of color.

We have never intended this list to be exhaustive. Obviously, no list has been, because we keep finding more and more dynamic leaders doing real work across the private, public and nonprofit sectors. This list will, however, introduce you to some people you’ve never heard of who are doing great things in other parts of the state or simply working behind the scenes, doing the work without the accolades.

It was important for us to expand the way we think about influence, and to highlight more of the people doing what it takes to improve their community. That’s one reason this list is entirely new — we considered anyone named on previous lists to be ineligible for this one, even though most of the people on past lists continue to wield considerable influence.

Over the next five days I hope you learn something you didn’t know about some of the real leaders in communities throughout Wisconsin, and that we might be able to make some connections and start conversations that really move communities forward.

Henry Sanders
Publisher and CEO, Madison365

Mandela Barnes was elected Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor this past November, becoming the first African-American to hold that office. At 32, he’ll also be one of the youngest ever. He was a key member of the ticket after easily winning the primary to become Tony Evers’ running mate in the general election. He leveraged social media and became an outspoken advocate in favor of racial equity protests like NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. He was even accused of kneeling during the anthem at the Wisconsin State Fair by incumbent Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who later apologized. Barnes represented Milwaukee in the State Assembly from 2013-2017.

Earnell Lucas is the incoming Sheriff of Milwaukee County, having won election to succeed David Clarke who left the post abruptly earlier this year. He previously served as Major League Baseball’s Chief Liaison of Security & Investigations for the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. He was responsible for developing security best practices for the 160 clubs in Minor League Baseball, making security presentations to the players at the major and minor league levels and conducting investigations to safeguard the integrity of Major League Baseball. He previously served as the Vice-President of Security and Facility Management, charged with overseeing the security operations for all of Major League Baseball, and as the Supervisor of Security for Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.  

Dennis J. Shields is Chancellor of The University of Wisconsin-Platteville. During his nine years at the helm, the campus has realized tremendous growth. Enrollment grew nearly 11 percent from 2010 to fall 2016. Most recently, he piloted an impressive effort to gain legislative and gubernatorial approval to build Sesquicentennial Hall, a new $55 million state-of-the-art engineering facility on campus as well as a $23.7 million renovation project for one of the liberal arts buildings on campus. Those two projects, plus a $15.3 million Williams Fieldhouse expansion, will give UW-Platteville more than $93 million in upcoming growth and improvements. Additionally, Chancellor Shields led the construction of two residence halls, one with a dining facility. They were built to accommodate the influx of students who have enrolled during his tenure. Chancellor Shields is also leading the restructuring of UW-Platteville. Approved by the UW System Board of Regents in November 2017, the former two-year colleges UW-Richland and UW-Baraboo/Sauk County became branch campuses of UW-Platteville, effective July 1. An Iowa native, Chancellor Shields earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from Graceland College in 1977 and his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1982.

Dawn Crim serves as the Assistant State Superintendent for Student and School Success for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. She has 25 years of progressive leadership in education and 21 years employment in UW System with operational knowledge of UW-Madison and UW-Extension under her belt. A founding member of the Madison Network of Black Professionals (MNBP), Crim received the he Mike McKinney Award from the United Way of Dane County.

Jamaal Eubanks founded Eubanks Solutions LLC in 2018, where he strives to inspire and motivate individuals, companies, community organizations, and schools with a primary focus on at-risk youth between the ages of 11-21. He is a motivational speaker, educational consultant, and coach. Born and raised in Madison, Eubanks co-created a mentoring program, Pivotal Transition, that focuses on giving Black youth the tools to look beyond tomorrow. He is also the force behind the #FuelOrCrutch movement.

Bria Grant serves as the Executive Director of UniteMKE where she has committed to improving the health of the city by training and coordinating community organizations and community health workers. She has worked as a substance abuse and mental health counselor, prevention/intervention coordinator for youth and community organizer. Grant, a Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) graduate and longtime Milwaukee resident, made a lifelong commitment to serving her community and has a tireless passion for social justice.

Eric Gallien is the Superintendent of Schools for the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). Originally from Milwaukee, he has lived in Racine for the last five years and has worked in education for 21 years. Gallien focuses on building positive internal culture within RUSD. He is committed to addressing disparities in academics and discipline in the school district, particularly among African-American males.


Rayna Andrews is the outreach director for Feeding America of Eastern Wisconsin, a premiere public health organization focused on food security and household stabilization throughout Wisconsin. Their mission is to solve hunger by working with community partners to address the root causes of household instability (food, housing, healthcare and employment). As a member of the executive team, Rayna oversees the strategy, expansion and performance of the external relations team; including community relations, volunteer engagement, member services and programs to ensure the more than 36 counties served have access to healthy and safe emergency food assistance. Rayna was named one of Milwaukee Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” in 2016. Rayna is a trustee and founding board member of the Milwaukee Excellence Charter School and is a leading voice in “Unlucky 13”, a task force that fights human trafficking.

Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence at UW Oshkosh, a post she’s held since 2013. Prior to coming to Oshkosh, she served as Interim Executive Director of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Institute for Capacity Building and the inaugural Director of UNCF’s Enrollment Management Program. She also served as Assistant Provost and Dean of Honors at Dillard University in New Orleans. She also served as Associate Dean of Studies at Lafayette College in Easton, PA; she has also held numerous positions in higher education for the State of New York. Overall, her career in education has spanned over three decades and she has won several awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from SUNY-Oneonta. She was the first African American to earn that distinction.

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.

Que El-Amin is the Principal of Milwaukee real estate developer Scott Crawford, Inc. and co-founder of the Young Enterprising Society. El-Amin developed a $60 million plan to revitalize vacant industrial space with 190 apartments and a business incubator. His plan is to provide affordable units, priced $350 a month for studios up to $1,000 a month for the four bedrooms. He and his brother Kalif El-Amin co-founded Young Enterprising Society, or YES, a for-profit LLC dedicated to coaxing out the potential in young minds by holding STEAM workshops in local high schools. El-Amin earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Milwaukee and a master’s degree in geography from Chicago State University, where he was president of the CSU Aquaponics Association, Gama Theta Epsilon Honor Society, CSU Geographical Society.

Rashad J. Cobb is a Community Engagement Program Officer for the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, where he is responsible for facilitating some of the foundation’s grants programs (Women’s Fund, Brown County Crime Prevention Foundation, & R. Bruce & Alyce S. Kopseker Trust). The work affords him an opportunity to contribute to the community while continually building and building upon relationships with community partners that enhance the quality of life for residents in the three counties that the community foundation serves. Cobb is also a board member with Brown County United Way, NeighborWorks Green Bay, and Literacy Green Bay. In addition to his service in these roles, he also supports the work of the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, Green Bay Neighborhood Leadership Council, Green Bay Area Public School District and Downtown Green Bay & Olde Main Business Districts. When he is not involved in these activities Rashad also finds time to mentor a handful of high school students and young professionals in the community. He was named Young Professional of the Year in 2015.

Camille Carter is the Executive Board President of the Madison Black Chamber of Commerce and in her role with Financial Services Group of Wisconsin she helps gives her clients a roadmap of the current financial situations. Carter is a member of the Madison Network of Black Professionals and has been working for over 20 years in business and banking, both nationally and internationally.


Dr. Kimberly Barrett is the vice president for Diversity and Inclusion as well as the Associate Dean of Faculty at Lawrence University in Appleton. She works collaboratively with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external constituents to advance Lawrence’s commitment to all aspects of diversity and inclusion. She is responsible for developing, facilitating and assessing programs and campus/community-wide initiatives to cultivate a more inclusive campus culture. Additionally, Barrett’s responsibilities include enhancing the diversity of the faculty, faculty development, especially in areas of inclusive pedagogy, and affirming the educational importance of diversity in educational programs. Dr. Barrett has held administrative offices at higher education facilities in both Canada and the United States. Dr. Barrett was the recipient of the DiversityFIRST Award from the National Diversity Council and is on the Board of Directors for the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Lavar Charleston is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Engagement at UW Whitewater. Dr. Charleston has been instrumental in collaborating on multimillion-dollar projects with faculty, staff and students from a range of different institutions. Charleston has collaborated on multimillion-dollar projects with diverse faculty, staff, and students from a range of disciplines, departments, and institution types (e.g., HBCUs, PWIs, 2-year institutions) throughout the country and the world. Through this work, he has been instrumental in receiving, facilitating, and/or evaluating research and education grants, projects and awards totaling approximately $8.2 million. Dr. Charleston’s body of work focuses on graduate school preparation and success, with particular expertise in underrepresented student groups’ STEM Identity and development. Moreover, he has a special interest in the academic identity development of student-athletes, particularly Black males, concentrating on their educational and occupational trajectories beyond sports. He is credited with over 45 publications comprised of journal articles, book chapters, scholarly reports, translational media outlets, and a recent book entitled, Advancing Equity and Diversity in Student Affairs (2017) published by Information Age. Dr. Charleston is a board member for the Brothers of the Academy organization and also directs the Graduate School Academy.

Reggie Jackson is an award-winning journalist, a graduate of Concordia University and Head Griot (docent) of America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee. He is the 2015 winner of the Eliminating Racism Award from southeast Wisconsin’s YWCA and 2016 Courageous Love Award from the First Unitarian Society. He is the 2017 winner of the Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award from the City of Milwaukee. He won the first ever MICAH Legacy Award in 2018. In August 2016 he accepted a position as Community Relations Writer for the Milwaukee Independent. Reggie has served as a race relations expert for CNN, Wisconsin Public Radio, National Public Radio, Reuters News Service the BBC and several statewide news channels.

Dr. Keith Posely is superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, where he is responsible for more than 75,000 students in more than 150 schools. He’s worked his way up from the classroom, where he began as an elementary teacher at Benjamin Franklin School in 1990. He later served as assistant principal at Forest Home Avenue Elementary School and, in 1999, was named principal of Clarke Street Elementary School. During his tenure at Clarke Street, the school received a visit from President George W. Bush after Dr. Posley was named one of eight exemplary principals selected by the president that year. Originally from Mantee, Mississippi, Dr. Posley received his bachelor’s degree from Tougaloo College in Mississippi and his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He holds a certificate of advanced studies in administrative leadership and a doctorate in education leadership from National Louis University.

Shannon Simms is an anchor at WTMJ, Milwaukee’s leading news station, where she was promoted after two and a half years as a reporter. She is president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association, an affiliate of the National Association of Black Journalists. She has been an on-air reporter in Cincinnati, Dayton and Norfolk and a production assistant in Spokane. Shannon places a premium on being part of the community she serves. In Dayton, for example, she led a fundraiser to buy the sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade classes at the Dayton Boys Academy brand new ties. She successfully raised the funds for the uniform project, and was also able to gather a group of professional men to spend time with each child, showing them properly how to tie a tie. She was awarded a Black Excellence Award by The Milwaukee Times earlier this year and was nominated for a local Emmy for her coverage of the Sherman Park riots in 2017. She also played a role in the latest election, moderating key debates between Governor Scott Walker and Governor-elect Tony Evers and Senator Tammy Baldwin and challenger Leah Vukmir.

Chris Hess of Appleton was named president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin earlier this year. Previous to taking the helm at Goodwill Industries, Hess, 37, was vice president of market development and sales for ThedaCare. He has also worked for U.S. Venture and Genco (now FedEx Supply Chain). He currently serves on the board of directors of the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce. The Kenosha native earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Norbert College and a master’s in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Rev. Greg Lewis of Milwaukee is the president of Pastors United in Milwaukee, a tightly-woven non-profit with a board of directors and membership of over 300 faith leaders. This past fall Lewis led the Souls to the Polls initiative to increase voter turnout in the City of Milwaukee. More than 100 congregations participated in the city-wide effort to register voters, verify that they have voter ID, and turn out the vote. Pastors United as an organization is committed to seeking God for guidance in organizing and mobilizing for solutions to the social, economic and spiritual problems facing the urban Milwaukee community. Pastors United considers this mission a response to the biblical mandate to love and help the needy the widow, the fatherless, the hungry and the poor.

Genyne Edwards of Milwaukee is is a founder and Partner at P3 Development Group.She is an experienced consultant and attorney who has worked in community development and social enterprise for more than 15 years and. She specializes in building partnerships and coalitions, managing and staffing projects, and conducting research. During the course of her career, Genyne has been instrumental in leading and developing successful public-private partnerships, which have convened community leaders, influential interest groups, public health advocates, government officials and policy makers. In 2016, Edwards was named “Entrepreneur of The Year,” an award presented by ONE MKE and United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society. She also previously served as Deputy Secretary in the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Robin Nicole Tinnon is a Prevention Coordinator for the Black Youth Alliance-WI in Green Bay. The Chicago native is an activist, public intellectual, and writer who advocates for the oppressed. Currently, she works to help black youth be positive participants of healthy relationships and discover black culture devoid of the consumerism viewpoint. She was also honored by African Heritage Inc. with a Sistah Power Award for 2018. She became a first-generation graduate of Kansas City Community College and and continued on to UW-Green Bay, earning a degree in Integrative Leadership Studies with an emphasis of Psychology and Human Development. Robin went on to explore several countries, putting an emphasis on cultural understanding, exploration, personal agency and development. 

Brandon Williams still holds the record for the most receptions as a Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver with 202, but today spends his time on the front lines motivating, educating and empowering athletes, entrepreneurs and executives on the importance of creating a winning culture. He is in the midst of launching Kingdom Man, a new magazine to celebrate and guide men of faith. Brandon earned a communications degree and an entrepreneurship certificate from the University of Wisconsin. In the NFL, he played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and St. Louis Rams. Upon leaving the NFL in 2010 Brandon began a broadcasting career with the Big Ten Network and ESPN radio. Brandon has worked with and interviewed hundreds of athletes and entrepreneurs to find out what it takes to build transformational leadership qualities. As an entrepreneur himself he successfully runs Madison Noteworthy, a video based website that captures the stories of noteworthy Entrepreneurs in Madison. His book, Millionaire Mindset – 7 Principles Athletes Need to Gain Financial Freedom, is enhanced with essential principles to give aspiring professional athletes, and current professional athletes, the tools to create a blueprint for financial freedom.

Dr. Joan Prince serves as Vice Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, appointed in 2000. She is the chief administrator for the Divisions of Global Inclusion and Engagement and Partnerships and Innovation, with responsibilities as the Chief Inclusion Officer. She also leads campus-wide project areas such as the STEM Inspire Pipeline, the Inclusive Internationalization Project, Global Partnerships in STEM, Center for International Health, and Equity/Diversity Services. In 2012, Dr. Prince was nominated by President Barack Obama to the key administrative post of Alternate Representative to the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, with the honorary rank of Ambassador. This diplomatic position also maintains an appointment as a Senior Advisor to the State Department and Public Delegate. Her roles and responsibilities included serving as a United States representative to UN committees and related organizations such as ECOSOC, UN Women, UNESCO, and UNICEF, delivering statements on US policy, and engaging other diplomats and advisors in discussions focusing on global issues. She also served as a member of the 2013 United States Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), appointed by Secretary John Kerry and Ambassador Susan E. Rice. A native of Milwaukee, Prince was the first African American recipient of a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology and Masters in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, with a specialty in Hematology and Flow Cytometry, from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She also holds a doctorate degree in Urban Education, with a specialty in Medical Science Education from UWM. She has been acknowledged as a 2007 Aspen Institute Fellow, a 2008 member of the International Jewish Council’s Civic Leadership delegation to Israel, a fellow of the Millennium Leadership Institute Class of 2009 for higher education executives, and a 2012 Fellow of the American Council on Education.

Marilyn Ruffin is an influential member of the Sun Prairie School Board, where she has served since 2015. She has also served as a substitute teacher in the district (which she describes as “gathering intelligence” on what students really need). She is also Director of Family and Community Initiatives at One City Early Learning Center, Madison’s first school to receive a charter from the University of Wisconsin to provide 4k and kindergarten services. Her accolades include the Award of Excellence, Outstanding Educator from 100 Black Men of Madison and the Difference Maker for Excellence in Community Service from the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute in 2015. She was named one of Brava Magazine’s Women to Watch and Sun Prairie Star’s People to Watch, both in 2016, and in 2017 was given the Community Volunteer Award by the United Way of Dane County. Prior to forging a second career in education, she was an engineer who spent a full career in the wireless industry and shifted gears to bring her engineering and problem-solving skills to take on the school system.

Dr. Patrick J. Sims was hired as the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s vice provost for diversity and climate in 2013, after serving as interim vice provost. Recently taking on the title of deputy vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, in addition to vice provost and chief diversity officer, Sims oversees the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement. The division supports the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison as it works to create a diverse, inclusive, and excellent learning and work environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and others who partner with the university. Sims joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, where he became the first African American to serve as chair of the Department of Theater and Drama. Sims is the founder of TCSA, the Theatre for Cultural and Social Awareness and served abroad to launch pilot TCSA programs as visiting faculty. Before joining the faculty at UW-Madison, Sims was a company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as well as a faculty associate in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There he served as a founding member and artistic director of the Human Experience Theatre (HET). TCSA and HET are interactive theatre-based training models that dramatize sensitive subject matters for universities, corporate and non-profit organizations in the United States.

Dr. Roxie Hentz is the founder of Madison-based CEOs of Tomorrow, where she fosters creativity and passion in young children and teaches them how to get their business off the ground. CEOs of Tomorrow, LLC develops hands-on, interactive, and vibrant entrepreneurship education curriculum aligned to math, literacy, entrepreneurship, and 21st century standards. Hentz has over 25 years of experience in the education field, including service as a state education consultant, culturally responsive teacher leader, district-wide teacher mentor, university teacher-in-residence, adjunct professor, and classroom teacher. For 17 years, she served as the Founding Executive Director of a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization offering empowering youth programs including financial literacy, job-readiness skills and entrepreneurship. Among her many awards and recognitions for her dedication to urban education and community leadership are the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Award, Sr. Kliebhan Graduate Student of the Year Award for Service, Achievement, & Leadership, Jammin’ 98.3 Black History Maker Award, V100 Radio’s Positively People, and Channel 18’s Inside/Outside Milwaukee.

Daisy Frazier is the president of Ebony Visions, a non-profit organization with the goal of educating and enhancing the African American culture through united efforts in Fond du Lac and surrounding areas. The organization works with the Fond du Lac Police Department for outreach in to the city’s distressed areas. Ebony Visions also works in collaboration with the UW Fond du Lac for the Juneteenth & All About Kids events. Frazier, who also works with The Humanity Project, once said, “We have to go find diversity and meet it. It isn’t going to come to us.” Daisy was also honored with a Sistah Power Award from African Heritage Inc for 2018, and she’s the namesake of the Daisy Frazier Social Justice award, given each year by FIT Oshkosh to recognize a Fox Valley resident who has championed racial equality and empowered others to do the same.

Antoiwana Williams is Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services at UW-Lacrosse, where she has been a member of the family since she started her undergraduate career at UWL as an Academic Success Summer Institute (ASI) participant in the early 1990s. Since fall of 2000 she has served in many roles on the UW-La Crosse campus, such as a Precollege Site Supervisor, ASI Program Director, and the Director of Upward Bound. She moved into her current role in 2010. In this role Antoiwana strives for the retention, persistence, and graduation of all multicultural students. Under her leadership, the office has narrowed its focus to a comprehensive support model, which features academics, finances, and community outreach at its core.

Jordan Roman is president of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals and an operations manager at Trustmark Insurance. He has held leadership positions in both public and private arenas, non-profit management, and corporate private insurance. As MULYP President he is excited and committed to bringing his passions for Community Advocacy, Civic Engagement, Professional and Personal Empowerment to the organization. His focus is raising awareness of National and Local UL missions, engaging the community and developing dynamic leaders. He looks forward to continued service to the Milwaukee Urban community and moving forward in the movement together. Jordan is a native of Milwaukee. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota- Morris where he received his Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Spanish Language Studies. He has a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is also currently working on completing his Master’s in Public Administration.

Cedric Johnson is Community Services Manager for Madison Gas and Electric, where he works to engages with MGE’s diverse residential and multifamily customers and community in culturally and linguistically relevant ways. His team seeks to understand and responsibly meet customer energy needs and identify issues facing customers and community. He also works to make sure MGE’s philanthropic dollars work for the community through organizations and efforts like the Black Women’s Leadership Conference. Prior to joining MGE, Cedric served as Development and Communications Director at Briarpatch Youth Services, supporting the mission to provide housing, job training, and programmatic support for runaway, at-risk, and homeless youth and their families in Dane County. He’s also served as President of the Madison chapter of OPEN, the Out Professional Engagement Network, and was honored on Our Lives Magazine’s first QPOC Pride list in 2017.

Amanda Porterfield is a reporter and anchor with Milwaukee’s CBS affiliate, an award-winning journalist who has covered four states throughout her 10-year career. Porterfield started 2005, beginning in Indiana as an intern at WNDU while completing her bachelor’s degree at Saint Mary’s College. One of her passions is investigative journalism, and expanding on stories that highlight social issues in the community. The Illinois Broadcasters Association awarded Porterfield with “Best Hard News Story” for her coverage of a woman addicted to heroin and her attempt to get help. The NAACP honored Porterfield with the “Social Justice” award for her unbiased reporting about social justice issues and honoring a culture of diversity in the community. She also worked closely with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office on creating more opportunities for those with mental and behavioral issues. Amanda is an unusual journalist, covering community stories with a depth and authenticity not often found in mainstream media — just like we try to do here at Madison365.

Selika Ducksworth-Lawton is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, a specialist in Twentieth-Century African American Military, National Security, and Civil Rights History. She is Vice President of Uniting Bridges of Chippewa County, which organizes the Juneteenth and Martin Luther King celebrations in Eau Claire, and serves on the Executive Board of the Chippewa Valley Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. Selika also advises the Eau Claire Police Department on how to handle cases involving race, as well as in training the force against racial biases. Her book, Honorable Men: Armed Self Defense and the Deacons for Defense and Justice, is under contract with University Press of Mississippi and expected in press early next year.

Tony Shields serves as CEO of the Brookfield-based Wisconsin Philanthropy Network (WPN), leading all aspects of strategy and operations for membership, staff, programs, fundraising, expansion and execution of its mission. The Wisconsin Philanthropy Network is the state’s only organization devoted exclusively to the profession and practice of philanthropy. As WPN’s leader, Tony serves a growing network of 130 member organizations contributing over $600 million annually to non-profits locally, regionally, nationally and globally. WPN’s mission is to support and promote effective philanthropy through education and research, best practices, enhanced partnerships and thought leadership. Prior to joining WPN, Tony served as Executive Director of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM) and before that led Community Relations efforts for Harley-Davidson, and held executive roles with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boys and Girls Clubs. Over the years, Tony has served on various community boards and volunteered for several initiatives including community involvement serving on the Leadership Council for Milwaukee Succeeds, the Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership Council, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and Cardinal Stritch University College of Business and Management Deans Advisory Board and Board of Directors.

Who should make the 2019 list? Email [email protected]!