Home Most Influential Black Power 2019: Wisconsin’s 49 Most Influential Black Leaders

Black Power 2019: Wisconsin’s 49 Most Influential Black Leaders


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 2018 a year ago. The second annual Wisconsin Leadership Summit in October drew nearly 600 people and has become the state’s premier professional development, networking and community building event for leaders of color. It grew directly from past lists of the most influential African American and Latino leaders, and included leaders of Asian and Native American descent, truly showing 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 to attract and retain 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

Marlon Anderson is a security guard at Madison West High School, which might not sound like the most influential position. But when he was fired for using a racial slur in his own defense — telling a student “don’t call me (n-word)” — he didn’t take it lying down, and neither did his students. More than 1,500 students marched to district headquarters and demanded he get his job back — which he did the following week. He’s clearly influential among the student body in Madison, especially Black students. In fact, when he worked at Madison East in 2015, the senior class asked him to deliver their commencement address. And he’s been influential in the wake of the incident, pushing the school board and administration to revisit the district’s policy on racial slurs and racist language. Anderson also now has a broader platform, too, as his story gained international attention, even catching the attention of music superstar Cher, who offered to pay legal expenses if he wanted to sue the school district.

Gia Gallimore is the director of diverse alumni engagement at Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. One of her core goals is to connect alumni of color with the alumni association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To do so, Gallimore had a hand in creating a strategic plan for diverse engagement, including strengthening the alumni of color network, enhancing marketing and engagement programs and cultivating student-to-alumni connections. She is also the founder of and driving force behind Badger Vibes, a monthly newsletter highlighting faculty, students and alumni of color in order to celebrate the diverse UW experience, produced in partnership between the WFAA and Madison365.

Andrew McKinney is the first Black president of the Monona Grove School Board, near Madison, and Community School Site Coordinator for CH Bird Elementary School in Sun Prairie.  He grew up in Gary, Indiana but moved to Madison Wisconsin to finish his last two years of high school at Madison East. He served more than six years in the US Army during the Gulf War. He went on to work for Madison schools while attending college courses, then worked for American Family and worked for nearly 10 years, but missed working with students. After completing his BA of business management, he earned his masters in counseling and has worked in institutes of higher education, community organizations and school districts.

Sherina Smith is Vice President and Head of Marketing at American Family Insurance, a position where she’s trusted with one of the strongest brands in the country. Smith is a relative newcomer to Wisconsin, joining AmFam earlier this year following three years as Vice President of Brand Loyalty, Customer Relationship Management and Marketing Analytics at JC Penny in Plano, Texas, as well as leadership positions at Chicago-based AbbVie and Kraft Food Group. She earned a degree in marketing at Ohio State and an MBA from the Marshall School of Business at USC.

George Koonce is Vice President of Advancement at Marian University in Fond du Lac, where he provides leadership and strategic direction while being responsible for growing awareness and increasing philanthropic support for the university through community and alumni engagement. But he’s better known across Wisconsin as a starting linebacker for eight years for the Green Bay Packers. After going undrafted out of Eastern Carolina, he played one year with the Ohio Glory of the World League of American Football before joining the Pack in 1993. He played in two Super Bowls, winning one in 1997. After retiring from the NFL in 2000, he returned to East Carolina to earn a master’s degree in sports management, and then became only the second former Packer in history to earn a Ph.D., which he earned from Marquette while working there as associate athletic director. Koonce also serves as an on-air personality at Green Bay’s CBS affiliate for “Backstage with George Koonce,” and “Locker Room”.

Suzanne Johnson is vice president of banking at Park Bank. She has over 15 years of banking experience and takes pride in working with her business clients, big or small, from start to finish with customized business banking solutions. Johnson is also passionate about giving back to the community and to the importance of supporting local businesses here in Dane County. Suzanne is a Financial Literacy Council Member at the Wisconsin Banker’s Association and volunteers in local schools and Secure Futures.

Kevin Anderson is the Wisconsin Region CEO for Old National Bank (ONB). He joined ONB in 2013 as Corporate Relationship Manager in the Louisville Region and was promoted to Milwaukee Region President in 2016. Prior to joining Old National, Kevin was Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Manager at Fifth Third Bank in Louisville. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. Anderson is an active community leader and serves on the board of directors for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and the United Performing Arts Fund. He is also a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.

Shaniqua Crawford is the new Title IX Coordinator at Lawrence University, administering the federal law that guarantees equal access to educational and extracurricular activities for all genders. Her main role is to work with students, faculty and staff on prevention methods, education around Title IX and giving survivors resources while making sure all processes are fair. Prior to Lawrence University, Crawford was the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and Title IX coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She earned a degree in philosophy and history at Georgia Southern University and a law degree from Ohio Northern University.

Tiffany Henry is president of the Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. The organization’s mission is to engage young professionals in the National Urban League’s movement. Through its committees, MULYP sponsors a variety of community service projects, fundraising activities, social and cultural events, leadership development workshops, and educational and political forums, according to their website. Henry’s biography describes her as “ a wealth of federal political astuteness, longevity, and commitment.” Before becoming president of MULYP, she was a senate staff member for U.S Sen. Tammy Baldwin in Milwaukee and still serves at the Milwaukee Office Director for the senator. She is a 2017 graduate of the African American Leadership Program.

Al Thompson serves as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UW-Stevens Point, working to provide leadership, vision, and strategic direction for the Division of Student Affairs. Through his work, he has served on the Taskforce on Sexual Violence and Harassment and the Affirmation Action Committee among other committees for the University of Wisconsin system. Thompson also has served on the Board of Directors for United Way, the Portage County Coalition for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention and is involved in the Stevens Point Rotary Club.

Adam Barr is Director of Public Policy at Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, a position he assumed earlier this year after two years at Epic Systems. He worked as Wisconsin Deputy Political Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and as regional director of Democracy Builders. He serves on the Board of Directors of REAP Food Group and is cofounder and president of the Grassroots Education Project.

Nafessa Burdine is known as a strategic business partner who holds the role as ManpowerGroup’s Community Investment Manager. Highly collaborative, she is a high influencer who has created strategic alliances and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders, community groups and leaders, government and corporate executives. She is passionately committed to connecting individuals to meaningful work, the mission of ManpowerGroup. She serves on the Boards of Directors of Easter Seals of Southeastern Wisconsin and Milwaukee Urban League, as well as the United Way of Milwaukee and Waukesha County Volunteer Engagement Committee.

Dr. Sarah Ghee is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Ghee leads the operations of the $6 million organization and will oversee human resources, finance, legal, facility management, and programs for more than 7,500 young people across Dane and Walworth counties. She has led the effort to build the new McKenzie Family Boys and Girls Club in Sun Prairie, set to open in January. Prior to her arrival in Madison, Dr. Ghee had been a long-time executive of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, working with the organization since 2010. As the Director for the Eastern Region service area, she led operations and reports to an Action Council that serves as the Area Board of Directors comprised of more than 20 business and community leaders.

Alvin Dupree is the first Black member of the Appleton Area School District Board of Education and senior pastor at Family First Church of God in Christ, which he founded in 2012 after serving more than 20 years in the United States Marines. Shortly after being elected in 2017, he led the charge to end Appleton’s truancy court, which disproportionately affected students of color. The school district suspended its relationship with the court earlier this year. 

TeKema Balentine, a Madison native, was recently crowned Miss Black USA 2019 after winning the title Miss Black Wisconsin in April. She competed against 32 other contestants in multiple categories, including personal interviews, talent and personal fitness. Balentine is currently pursuing a nursing degree at Madison College. In addition, Balentine is a Madison East Track and Field coach and works part time as a caregiver for BrightStar Home Care.

Darrell “DJ” Hines II is chief operations officer of Christian Faith Fellowship Church, a role he’s held for 13 years. It is the largest Black church in Wisconsin, with more than 6,000 members and over 40 different ministries and departments, including two schools: the Darrell Lynn Hines Academy of Excellence, a 4K-8 school serving 300 students, and Destiny High School, serving 300 more. He also co-founded Shine Management, founded his own interactive design and marketing firm, Creative Spurts, and is considered a leader in Milwaukee’s wider Christian community.Milwaukee Business Journal wrote, “whether it’s helping a singer get a recording contract or ensuring that his church reaches people in need, Darrel ‘DJ’ Hines II wants to have a positive impact on others.” 

Frederic “Ric” Ransom serves as Vice President and President, UW Hospitals, Madison Region, where he provides overall direction for American Family Children’s Hospital, UW Health at the American Center and University Hospital. Previously he served as Chief Operating Officer at Greenville Memorial Hospital, a part of Prisma Health, the largest integrated health system in South Carolina. Ransom provides primary oversight for the Joint Operating Agreement with UnityPoint Health – Meriter and multiple clinical programs and services.

Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. is director of The Privilege Institute and The National White Privilege Conference, both organizations he founded. Dr. Moore is also co-editor of Everyday White People Confront Racial and Social Injustice: 15 Stories, and the forthcoming online workbook, The White Women’s Guide to Teaching Black Males. He is also recognized as one of the nation’s top motivational speakers and educators, especially for his work with students from kindergarten through college. In 2015, his interview with Wisconsin Public Radio won the 2015 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s Best Interview in Medium Market Radio.

Carolyn Stanford Taylor was named Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction in January when former Superintendent Tony Evers was inaugurated as governor. She has decades of experience in public education including 17 years as the Assistant State Superintendent for the Division for Learning Support. As a child, she and her family were among the first to integrate the schools in Marks, Mississippi. Taylor was also the first female African American appointed to serve as an assistant state superintendent and is one of Wisconsin’s longest-serving assistant state superintendents. 

Dr. Dwight C. Watson is the first Black chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater, a position he has held since August. He brought more than 35 years of experience to that position. Before Watson served as provost and vice president of academic and student affairs at Southwest Minnesota State University. He focuses on achievement, access, attention, and affordability. Previously, Watson served as dean of the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, associate dean of the Teacher Education Program at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and chair of the Department of Education at Hamline University.

Anthony Hudson is vice president and managing director–southwest region of BMO Wealth Management, which has over $50 billion in assets under management. He earned his BSBA in Finance from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also graduated from Consumer Bankers Association Executive Banking School with a focus in Retail Banking. He currently serves as an Executive Board Member with City Year Milwaukee and a member of the board and Human Resources Committee Chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. He was previously a Board Member of the Milwaukee YMCA Urban Campus board, and a past member of the Leadership Cabinet at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County. Anthony was a 2017 recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, and a recipient of Who’s Who in Black Charlotte in both 2011 and 2012.

Sheridan Blanford joined the University of Wisconsin Athletics Department Diversity & Inclusion staff in August of 2017 and was named the Director of Inclusion in 2018. She assesses and leads the current Division of Intercollegiate Athletics programming, initiatives, policies, and procedures regarding diversity issues, and facilitates a diverse and inclusive culture across dimensions of diversity for student-athletes, coaches, administration, and other constituents on campus and in the community. Blanford has attended the Learfield Minority Academy each of the last two years, serving as an alumni ambassador at the 2018 event. Women Leaders in College Sports also selected Blanford as a 2018 Rising Star Award winner and she received a scholarship to attend the 2018 Women Leaders National Convention, held in October 2018 in Atlanta.

Kathy Thornton-Bias is president and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. She is an experienced executive in the business and retail space with a career that spans almost three decades. During that time, she has held senior leadership roles for more than 15 years in large organizations and possesses a wealth of fundraising experience. Thornton-Bias has also served on numerous non-profit boards including the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Ron Brown Scholars Program, and the University of Virginia, where she serves as a trustee. She is also a member of the Junior League and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has received widespread recognition from a number of esteemed publications including Ebony Magazine, which placed her on their “Power 100” list, and Essence Magazine, which named her to their list of “Game Changers.”

Harper Donahue was appointed as the City of Madison’s Human Resource Director in January. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Interim Director of the Human Resources Department since September 2017. As the director, Donahue is responsible for leading and directing the work of the Human Resources Department. He works closely with the mayor and other managers to achieve a diverse City workforce.He is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Ruben Hopkins of Milwaukee is the CEO of the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce. Hopkins founded the organization in 2007 and since then the chamber has grown initiatives such as the Wisconsin Black Restaurant Association, the “Black Milwaukee: Where to go and what to do” visitors guide and the popular Men Who Cook competition. Hopkins is also a 14-year military veteran. The Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce was voted Chamber of the Year in the first-ever Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Awards at the 2019 Wisconsin Leadership Summit.

Renita Robinson is the Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Greater Green Bay, Wisconsin’s third-largest city. She has been working in social justice all her life. Robinson worked as a middle school teacher for several years and spent about 27 years working against domestic and sexual violence. She was the Executive Director for the largest service provider in southern Minnesota for domestic and sexual violence. In her role as CEO, Robinson has tackled covert racism. 

Anthony E. Woods is the President of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield Wisconsin, a role he’s served in since last November. Woods began his career with Anthem as Vice President of Sales & Marketing in in New York in 2005. He served as a member of the board of the North Brooklynn YMCA and a member of the managing board of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce before taking the helm at Anthem’s Wisconsin operation just over a year ago.

Rayon Brown is Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. He works to ensure all of FVTC’s 11,000-plus students are welcome and supported, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability, age, religion or socio-economic status. Under Brown’s leadership, in 2016 FVTC became Wisconsin’s first two-year college to receive the Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award from the WIsconsin State Council on Affirmative Action. To earn the recognition, Brown’s team increased retention of multicultural students by five percent above projected targets in addition to seeing a 220 percent spike in the number of learners served over the previous three years.

Deborah Biddle runs The People Company LLC, a consulting, training and coaching firm. She also serves as a member of the Verona School Board. One of the state’s few diversity and inclusion certified trainers, she consults with organizations who want to leverage the power of change to heighten development and performance for their people. She brings more than 25 years of business leadership, operations, talent development, project and change management, strategic planning and financial analysis experience that empowers audiences with impactful and engaging strategies to develop inclusive and high performing teams and organizations.

Chris Walton is chair of the Democratic Party of Milwaukee County, where the attention of the nation will be focused next summer for the Democratic National Convention. He is the first Black person to hold that position since the 1980s, and the first openly LGBTQ person ever. His organizing experience goes all the way back to his teen years, when he volunteered on Matt Flynn’s 2004 campaign for Congress. He went on to work on both of Barack Obama’s campaigns for president and earn a degree in political science from Mississippi State University. He’s worked in nine states on numerous campaigns. Since returning to his native Milwaukee in 2015, Walton has worked as Southeast Regional Director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and then Political Director of the Milwaukee County Party until being elected Chair in 2018.

Malika Evanco  is the division administrator for Wisconsin’s Division of Personnel Management (DPM), which provides leadership and support to other state agencies in human resources management and oversees the state civil service system. The division also manages labor relations while leading the state’s affirmative action and equal opportunity employment programs. Previously, she was Head of Human Resources for the Sun Prairie School District and also spent seven years as Director of Employment, Diversity and Community Relations at Madison College as well as a year as Head of Human Resources at Agrace. Evanco is a proud member of the Madison alumnae chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Major Cooper is an assistant director of Recruitment and Admissions at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, working in regional recruitment. Prior to assuming his current role, he spent time working as an assistant director of intercultural engagement for African American Student Services. There, he developed and coordinated student programming efforts designed to increase students’ awareness of their own ethnic and cultural heritages. Cooper has been working in student affairs since 2001.

Jacarrie Carr started holding shoe drives for those in need, dubbing them Jacarrie’s Kicks for Kids, when he was a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The shoe drives started after he witnessed a young boy wearing shoes with holes in them and a man wearing two different shoes approached him. This past August was the sixth annual shoe giveaway. Carr collects new and gently used sneakers, and refurbishes and customizes them so kids can have new pairs of sneakers at the start of each school year. His organization is now expanding to include educational and motivational programs for youth. Jacarrie’s Kicks for Kids was voted Nonprofit Organization of the Year in the first-ever Wisconsin Leadership Community Choice Awards at the Wisconsin Leadership Summit.

Sheronda Glass is the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Assistant Chancellor of Human Resources and Employee Engagement. In 2018 she received the Milwaukee Business Journal Top HR Award in the government category and in 2019 was chosen as the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award honoree from the UW-System. She is known for her dedication to inclusion and diversity in Parkside faculty and staff. 

Kendricks Hooker is the dean for the School of Health Education at Madison College. He previously served as the associate dean in the School of Arts and Sciences at Madison College. Prior to joining Madison College, Hooker served as the Chair of the Biomedical Sciences and Pre-Health Studies programs at Baptist College of Health Sciences in Memphis and simultaneously taught biology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology and pathophysiology. Kendricks holds a PhD in urban higher education from Jackson State University, a Masters of Business Administration from Bethel University, a master’s and bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Jackson State University and an associate of arts degree in biology from Coahoma Community College.  

Samantha Mitchell is the engagement manager of diversity and inclusion initiatives at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Previously she was the project coordinator for diversity initiatives and has been with United Way for more than two years. Mitchell has worked in numerous public relations and marketing positions such as Advertising Account Coordinator at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Creative Director at SamanthaStarr Events. 

Dr. Colleen Simpson joined Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) as vice president for Student Services in 2018. Most recently, she directed Retention and Student Success at Bronx Community College, leading and managing a comprehensive program of services promoting access, support, engagement and student success. Dr. Simpson brought more than 20 years of experience in administration and instruction from the College from the City University of New York (CUNY). She chose NWTC because of the College’s focus on student success and “intentional commitment to move the needle in terms of retention and completion.” In her role, she hopes to eliminate student barriers. 

Lee Cole is director of operations at The River Food Pantry in Madison, where he coordinates service to more than 1,000 households every week. In 2019 alone, more than 2,500 volunteers worked more than 40,000 hours, providing two million pounds of food, nearly 30,000 community meals and 60,000 mobile lunches for children and teens. 

Jeanette Mitchell is chief creative officer of Leadership By Dr. Jeanette, a leadership development consulting firm, and “chief catalyst” of the new African American Leadership Alliance-Milwaukee (AALAM). Prior to starting her own businesses, she was program director for Cardinal Stritch University’s Leadership Center, where she managed and directed the Professionals of Color lines of business. She also founded and was executive director of the Stritch Leadership Center, through which she developed innovative programming for professionals of color. She was the driving force behind the African American Leadership Program, providing leadership training to more than 200 Black professionals over the past 12 years. That program has grown into the AALAM, which just launched last month.

Byron Adams is the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Originally from Chicago, Adams came to Oshkosh when he was 18 years old to attend college. He would go on to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UW Oshkosh in Communication, Business Administration and Educational Leadership. As Program Manager for Student Engagement and Retention in the Division of Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence, Adams served as a student retention specialist, co-advised the Black Student Union and coordinated the Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant.  

Lonnie Brigham is the director of community relations at the Boys and Girls Club in Janesville. He is also the former chairman of the Janesville Police Department African American Liaison Advisory Committee. As a committee member, Brigham worked to create dialogue that enhanced a mutual respect and trust between citizens and the police department. He also implemented the first-ever community and school outreach program for students and resource officers in Janesville.

Jenene Calloway is the director of talent for Schreiber Foods. In this role Calloway is responsible for the recruitment, development and retention of new employees. Calloway is also the partner development team leader, and coordinates company-wide leadership development and training strategies. In addition to that, Calloway has been featured on panels, including the African Heritage Emerging Student Leaders Institute, where she spoke to college students about what they needed to do now and later to get the jobs they wanted. She is also Chapter President of the Northeast Wisconsin Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

Kristen Hardy is director of the Milwaukee Bar Association, was appointed to the Judicial Selection Advisory Committee by Governor Tony Evers and is the most recent past-president of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers — quite a lot of accomplishments since she graduated from Marquette Law School just five years ago. In 2019 alone she received three awards: Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40, Up and Coming Lawyer and Milwaukee Business Journal’s Top Corporate Counsel: Rising Star. She started a networking organization called Brunch of Professionals “to foster meaningful conversations around professional and personal development,” according to her Linkedin profile.

Winnie Karanja is the Founder and Executive Director of Maydm, a Madison-based organization focused on equipping girls and students of color with the technical skills and experiences to become innovators and technology leaders. In just three years, Karanja has grown the nonprofit organization to become a well known name in the Madison area for teaching third through twelfth grade girls and programming and computer science fundamentals. Maydm partners with Madison Metropolitan Schools to lead workshops, semester long projects, in addition to individual mentoring, tutoring and other activities. Her background is in education, technology and workforce development. Karanja has worked on national data projects, has led economic development initiatives and holds a Bachelors in education and Masters in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political science. She was named to the 2019 M List by Madison Magazine in partnership with Madison365, which celebrated innovators in diversity and inclusion, and to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Reggie Moore is the director of the Office of Violence Prevention in Milwaukee, part of the city’s health department. The organization works with government, nonprofit and faith based institutions to reduce violence in neighborhoods, families and schools. He is known for fostering safety with “therapeutic interventions instead of police punishment,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also founded the Center for Youth Engagement in 2012, which increases the quality and accessibility of opportunities for underserved youth, according to the website. 

Gaulien “Gee” Smith opened Gee’s Clippers more than 20 years ago, starting off with four barbers on the Northside of Milwaukee in 1995. Since, he has employed dozens of barbers and stylists. On Sunday June 14, 2015, Mayor Tom Barrett proclaimed it to be Gee’s Clippers and Hair Design Day throughout the entire city of Milwaukee. Gee’s Clippers has partnered with organizations like the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative (MFI) and continues to provide a space for open conversations among Black men.

Zina Haywood is executive vice president and provost of Gateway Technical College in Racine, where she has served its 20,000 students on nine campuses for 14 years. Haywood has held various other positions in her 22 years at Gateway including Vice President for Student Services. She previously worked as Director of Student Financial Aid and Employment at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and as Manager of Student Loans and Scholarships at Oakland University. Haywood earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, her Master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University and PhD from Cardinal Stritch. She has served on the Racine County Workforce Development Board and the Board of Directors of the Kenosha/Racine Community Action Agency, and was president of Wisconsin Women in Higher Education.

Carl Hampton is Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the University of Wisconsin System, based in Madison. Hampton came to this position in 2016 after many years practice and service as an attorney and high-ranking federal, state and local government official in the State of Wisconsin, including as a policy adviser to and legislative liaison for Gov. Jim Doyle. Hamption earned his undergraduate degree in political science at Stanford and his law degree and PhD both from the University of Wisconsin. He serves as a volunteer mentor for 100 Black Men of Madison, a Rotary Club of Madison Racial Equity Inclusion Committee Member and Member of the Board of the UnityPoint Health Foundation.

Ed Holmes is the Vice President for Equity and Innovation at Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, one of the largest and most active performing arts centers in the nation. Prior to joining Overture in 2016, Dr. Holmes spent 38 years in community-based and public educational programs, including ten years as Principal at Madison West High School. In that capacity he is credited with keeping West High School consistently ranked as one of the top public high schools in the State of Wisconsin for a decade through composite SAT and ACT scores, number of National Merit finalists and Presidential Scholars; successfully implementing a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Education Smaller Learning Communities grant; closing achievement gaps between ethnic minority students and their white student counterparts over a three-year span while raising achievement scores of all student sub groups; and restructuring the school to create opportunities for 250 faculty and staff to engage with 2,200 students daily through the West High Lunch and Learn Program. In 2019, he helped Overture bring the second annual Wisconsin Leadership Summit to Madison, hosting nearly 600 leaders of color from across the state for discussion, professional development, networking and community-building.

Who should be on next year’s list? Email your suggestions to [email protected].

Browse previous lists:

Black Power 2015

Black Power 2016

Black Power 2017

Black Power 2018

Browse previous lists:

Black Power 2015

Black Power 2016

Black Power 2017

Black Power 2018