Home Most Influential Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders for 2023

Wisconsin’s 51 Most Influential Black Leaders for 2023


Just months after we published our first news stories in August 2015, we tried something new: we listed and published brief biographies of the state’s 28 Most Influential Black Leaders. People really liked it, shared it on social media, told us who else should have been on that list. Many asked me if we’d do another list the next year; I said yes, we probably would. Good luck, they said … you’re going to run out of names.

Today, we publish the first installment of our ninth annual list of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black leaders. You may have noticed … there’s a lot more than 28. In fact, we received nearly 200 nominations for this year’s list. Clearly, there are many, many Black leaders doing real work in our communities.

And that’s what this list is all about. introducing you to those people you may not know. Every year, I’ve intended these lists 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 people of color to achieve great things here.

This week we shine a statewide spotlight on the dedicated leaders of Wisconsin’s Black communty. The people we highlight this week are elected leaders, business leaders and community leaders, doing difficult, important work.

We are also aware that this list, like every other, is not comprehensive. It’s obvious just from the number of nominations that there are far more than 52 influential Black leaders doing good work in Wisconsin. We hope you will let us know about people in your community who we can include on future lists. For now, though, we just want to introduce you to a few of the people doing the work, often behind the scenes and without the accolades, across Wisconsin.

You might know a few of these names, but there’s a good chance that most of them will be new to you. I urge you to get to know them. Reach out to those living and working in your communities. Learn from them, network, create partnerships. And spread the word — let others in your network know that we have people of all ethnicities living and working across Wisconsin to make sure everyone here can thrive.

Henry Sanders
CEO and Publisher

Dr. Brittany Bell is the Dean of Students at Lawrence University. Prior to this role, she came to Lawrence in early 2019 as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Diversity and Intercultural Center. Bell contributed a chapter to the published book, Teaching Beautiful Brilliant Black Girls, published by SAGE Publications in 2021. Her chapter is on colorism in the classroom. Outside of work, Bell and her family operate the Appleton-based God’s Purpose Apparel, with monies being donated to nonprofits serving the homeless community. She was recently featured on John McGivern’s Main Street show on PBS.

Lamarr Banks is startup development manager for the Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, a role he took on in July 2023 after two years as the community manager of The Urban Hub, the Chamber’s coworking space. He has also served as the Green Bay organizer of Startup Week, a community organizer for One Million Cups, the 2022 Early Stage Symposium Steering Committee Co-Chair for the Wisconsin Technology Council and a member of the NeighborWorks Green Bay Finance Committee. He is a 2017 graduate of UW-Green Bay.

Dr. Angela Byars-Winston is a tenured professor in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and the inaugural chair of the Institute for Diversity Science. In 2017, she became the first Black woman to hold tenure at the school. She joined the SMPH in 2007 as an associate scientist and has previously served as director of research and evaluation in the Center for Women’s Health Research and associate director of the Collaborative Center for Health Equity. In 2018, she earned the John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career or Personality Research by the Society of Counseling Psycholog. She earned a doctoral degree in counseling psychology at Arizona State and master’s and bachelor’s degrees at San Diego State.

Maia Pearson is a member of the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education, elected in 2021, and the Mann Scholars program coordinator for the Mann Educational Opportunity Fund, a scholarship fund that focuses on providing prolonged and focused support and resources to high school students in need of a little extra help. She previously worked as a revenue agent for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue and at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County. She is also owner of Sweet Sorrel, which provides culturally relevant greeting cards and art. She is a UW PEOPLE program alumni who earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Terrance Williams is CEO of TruStage, the financial services company formerly known as CUNA Mutual Group. He took the helm in October of 2023 following the retirement of his predecessor. He came to TruStage from Allstate, where he was responsible for Allstate’s non-property-liability businesses, representing $4 billion in revenue. In his previous role as executive vice president and general manager of Allstate Property-Liability Sales and Distribution, Williams was responsible for driving innovation in the company’s agency distribution channels including 10,000 domestic agencies and more than 30,000 licensed sales professionals, direct-to-consumer call centers and web sales in the United States and Canada, representing $30 billion in written premium for the enterprise. Before joining Allstate in 2020, Williams was president of Nationwide’s Emerging Business Group, including a team of 1,300+ employees, where he led innovation and digital strategy, served as the chief marketing officer, and established the company’s $100M venture capital fund. Williams was recognized by Forbes as one of “The World’s Most Influential CMOs” in 2017 and 2018 and Savoy Magazine as one of the most influential black corporate directors in 2021.

Terra Allen is director of the Academic Learning Center at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Madison. She is also a Sergeant First Class in the US Army, where she is a human resources administrator. She previously spent three years at American Family and served One City Schools as preschool director. An accomplished vocalist, she sang both the National Anthem and the Black National Anthem when the Juneteenth flag was raised over the state capitol for the first time in 2020. A graduate of Austin Peay State University, she is on track to finish her MBA at the UW-Madison this spring.

Joshua Johnson is a director in Solutions Design & Delivery at Jobs for the Future, where he directs the National Innovation Hub for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in Registered Apprenticeship, advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in apprenticeship and helping employers commit to building inclusive apprenticeship programs. Before joining JFF, Johnson was Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development state director of apprenticeship, overseeing growth related to creating intentional career pathways for Wisconsin citizens. He also served as vice president of the National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors. He is a member of the board of Junior Achievement Wisconsin and served as vice president of the National Association of State and Territorial Apprenticeship Directors.

Rodney Lynk Jr. is CEO of Milwaukee Excellence Charter School, a tuition-free public charter school serving students primarily from the challenging 53206 and 53209 ZIP codes. He took the role in 2021 after four years as the school’s chief academic officer. Under Lynk’s direction, the 550-student school recently received a third consecutive five-star rating from the state Department of Public Instruction. He received a bachelor’s from UW-Madison, and holds a master’s of educational policy and leadership from Marquette University and an MBA from UW-Milwaukee. He’s currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis at UW-Madison.

Maurice Horton is an alderman for the City of Racine, representing the city’s northwest side. He is also founder of Why Gangs LLC, an intense gang awareness consultation firm established in 2005. Maurice established this firm to help educate, empower and strengthen educational institutions as well as offering consultation services to community agencies. After 10 years of working with at-risk youth in the city of Racine, Horton received an executive pardon from Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle in 2010.

Rev. Lilada Gee is an artist and nonprofit leader in Madison. With more than 30 years in the fields of education and social services, Lilada founded Black Woman Heal, a Madison based non-profit organization that inspires Black women to join her in her life’s work to defend Black girlhood, by creating safe places for Black girls as well as themselves, to heal. She is also an acclaimed artist, painting murals on State Street, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, the UW South Madison Partnership space and many other locations around Madison. She is a member of the board of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault Board Member, Co-founder of Nehemiah Center for Urban Leadership and senior associate pastor at Fountain of Life Church.

Victoria McNeal is Assistant Director for Black Student Support at St. Norbert College in DePere. Her duties include student support programming, community relations and education and individual and group meetings for student assistance and mentoring. She is a 2015 alumna of the college she now serves.


Quartell Roberson is cultural liaison for the School District of LaCrosse, where he serves as an advocate for Black and Latinx students, their families, and the schools, primarily serving the middle schools. He is also head girls basketball coach for LaCrosse Central High School, where he graduated in 1998. After serving in the US Air Force, he earned a degree in social studies education from Viterbo and returned to the LaCrosse school district as a social studies teacher. 

Richard Jones, Jr. was named the Executive Director of the Vera Court Neighborhood Center, Inc. in November of 2022. Vera Court Neighborhood Center, Inc. is the parent agency of Vera Court Neighborhood Center on Madison’s north side and the Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center on Madison’s southeast side. In 2015, he helped create WWMV-LP 95.5FM, a low-power community radio station, of which he was the first Radio Station Manager. When schools closed in the pandemic, Richard helped create and run the SMARTLY in the Park and School Without Walls Initiatives at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Both programs focused on agile educational and social emotional support for elementary aged students while they were displaced from in-person school. An entrepreneur, Richard owns and operates Oddly Arranged Media – a digital media company that creates content for creative artists and small businesses. He is also the Youth & Young Adult Minister of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He received his bachelors of arts in African-American/Black Studies from UW-Madison in 2015 and was a First Wave Scholar.

Martinez White is a director of development for the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association, where he works to cultivate support for the University of Wisconsin’s School of Education. He joined WFAA two years ago after a year in a similar role at United Way of Dane County. He spent several years before that working in finance at both UW Credit Union and Northwestern Mutual. He is also a renowned entertainer, performing as DJ M White and producing events through his company, Intuition Productions. He is a 2010 alum of the UW-Madison.

Terrence Thompson is community services manager for the City of Madison’s Parks Department, where he oversees the department’s community services and public facilities. He also directly oversees the Warner Park Community Recreation Center and Goodman Pool. He took on the community services management role after four years as manager of the WPCRC and four years as sports specialist with the Madison Metropolitan School District. He has previously worked in sports recreation management for the YMCA or Greater Charlotte and YMCA of Dane County. He is an alum of Appalachian State University and holds a public management certification from the UW-Madison.

Alex Booker is manager of the Badger Rock Neighborhood Center on Madison’s south side. He recently returned to Badger Rock, where he previously worked as assistant farm and education manager, after some time away to run Booker Botanicals, where he grew and sold produce and herbs. He has attended and led groups to attend the Black Urban Growers Conference. He also previously served as communications specialist for Urban Triage.

Ashley Johnson is manager of global community relations and contributions at Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, where she leads Rockwell Automation’s philanthropic strategy, implementing the company’s community relations and global charitable contributions programs. She has a  passion for equity work and creating valuable learning opportunities and career  exploration for young people, with a focus on engaging girls and other underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)  curriculum and programs. She joined Rockwell in 2020 after several years as program director at West Suburban YMCA in Wauwatosa. She is a member of the board of City Year Milwaukee and the advisory board of the Nonprofit Management Fund.

Christy Brown is president of Alverno College, a role she took on last year. Previously, she was chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Southeast Wisconsin, which serves more than 17,000 members in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area. Prior to this role, Christy was vice chancellor, finance and administrative affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, overseeing all non-academic operations including business, finance, police, facilities, legal affairs, campus planning, internal audit, HR and IT. Other previous positions included executive vice president and general counsel at Milwaukee Area Technical College, vice president and corporate counsel at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Inc. and associate attorney with Michael Best, LLC, in the Labor and Employment Relations and Higher Education Law Practice Groups. Christy has served on the board of trustees of Carroll University, she currently serves as a trustee for the Medical College of Wisconsin, and she is a member of the Duke Law Alumnae Council. She was a gubernatorial appointee to the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board and an active member on the research council of the National Association of College and University Business Officers. A member of the Wisconsin State Bar, she has held leadership positions in state, local, and specialty bar associations, including vice president of the local and specialty bar associations committee for the Wisconsin State Bar, president, Wisconsin Association of African American Attorneys, and Chair of the Judicial Selection Committee of the Milwaukee Bar Association. Christy has served as Chair of the Board for Pathfinders and Future Milwaukee, Vice President for the Milwaukee Forum, and as a member of the St. Francis Children’s Center Board. In addition, she has been a member and secretary of the board for Professional Dimensions, a member of TEMPO Milwaukee, as well as a TEMPO Mentor Awardee; and a member of the International Women’s Forum. She has been honored as a Woman of Influence (Inspirational) by the Milwaukee Business Journal, A Woman of Distinction by the Waukesha County Women and Girls Fund and has received a Black Excellence Award from the Milwaukee Times. She earned a B.A.in Psychology from Stanford University, and a J.D. and M.A. at Duke University.

David Bready is market president for BMO Harris Bank in Milwaukee, with responsibility for 13 offices and nearly 100 employees. He was promoted to that role in 2020 after six years as a vice president in the region. He is an alum of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.


Joshua Parish is assistant chief for the Milwaukee Fire Department, where he’s worked his way up over a nearly 20-year career. He’s served as director of community relations, fire cadet program director, battalion chief, deputy chief of emergency medical services, and assistant chief for EMS training and education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master’s degree in public health from Northern Illinois, and a master’s degree in behavioral sciences from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Jamie Haack is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. She has been with the Arts Center since May of 2012, when she started as the Marketing Director. In October of 2021, Jamie was promoted to her current role and is now responsible for leading the Arts Center’s efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for employees, volunteers, guests, and the greater community. Prior to joining the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Jamie worked in marketing for several different organizations. Jamie has a passion for marketing and believes that it is a powerful tool that can be used to engage people from all walks of life. Haack holds a master’s degree in business administration from Lakeland College with a focus in project management and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Communication Studies/Mass Communication.

Ebony Grice is assistant superintendent for school services in the Appleton Area School District, a role she stepped into this past summer after a stint as director of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Program at the state Department of Public Instruction. In 2020, she became the principal of Wauwatosa West, becoming the first Black principal in the history of the district. She is an alum of Clark Atlanta University, earning a degree in finance in 2002 before earning a teaching credential from Concordia University in 2012. She also holds master’s degrees from Alverno College and Cardinal Stritch.

Dominique Ricks is the principal at Kromrey Middle School in Middleton. When he took the job in 2019, he was the first Black principal in the history of the district and, at the age of 27, the youngest, as well. Before stepping into the role at the helm of Kromrey, he was dean of students at Glacier Creek Middle School. Ricks previously taught eighth-grade literacy in Verona Area School District and also taught middle school in his home state of Louisiana, where he was named his school’s Teacher of the Year in 2015. Ricks is also a spoken-word poet and performer and a 2014 graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

Ian Carter is chief development and communications officer at Briarpatch Youth Services, an organization that supports young people experiencing homelessness and other challenges. Prior to taking that role in 2022, he was marketing manager for Legendary Way Sports Marketing, the official sports marketing agency for the American Family Insurance Championship. He is also a licensed real estate agent. 

Michele Mackey is CEO of Kids Forward, a statewide policy and advocacy organization working to research and address racial and economic disparities across Wisconsin. Mackey was named CEO three years ago after three years as COO. Mackey also served as a loaned executive to Forward Community Investments, helping the community development financial institution transition from a founder to a new CEO. Prior to Kids Forward, Michele served as Managing Director of the Andon Group, LLC, a nationally recognized organizational development, innovation management, and evaluation consultancy. Mackey is a member of the California Bar and had early careers in intellectual property litigation and financial crimes investigation. Michele holds a B.S. (Math/Computer Science,) B.A. (Economics) and J.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame, and an M.S. degree in Criminology & Management Information Systems from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Jimmy Cheffen is a climate and culture program coordinator at Madison College, a role he’s held for eight years following three years as coordinator of part-time faculty. In addition to providing direct support to students and staff, Cheffen coordinates the Madison College Book Club and a number of Juneteenth and Black History Month celebration events. He also hosts The Navigationalist podcast, which features crucial conversations about navigational strategies for underrepresented higher education faculty. He earned an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Arkansas, a master’s from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and a doctorate from Texas Tech.

Rafeeq Asad is an architect and vice president of team development at JLA Architects in Madison, a firm he joined five years ago as a project associate. He has been the lead designer on two of Madison’s most iconic recent projects: The Urban League’s Black Business Hub, which just opened in September, and the Center for Black Excellence and Culture, set to break ground in the spring. In 2019, Rafeeq helped establish the state’s first National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Chapter.  Rafeeq is a committed mentor in 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc. and has extensive professional experience designing inspiring cultural spaces for communities ranging from libraries and museums to complex multi-use facilities and educational facilities. Rafeeq is a six-time “Omega Man of the Year” by the Gamma Gamma Gamma Chapter of Omega Psi Phi, Fraternity, Inc. He also serves on Madison College’s Architecture Advisory Board and was appointed by the mayor to serve as a commissioner on the City of Madison’s Urban Design Commission. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and served on Madison Area Technical College’s Architectural Review Board. Most recently he was elected Vice President of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects and accepted a six-year gubernatorial appointment to the Wisconsin State Capitol and Executive Residence Board. He earned a degree in business from Florida A&M and went on to pursue post-graduate degree studies at Florida State University’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning before returning to Florida A&M to receive his master’s degree in architecture. Rafeeq ended his formal studies receiving a graduate fellowship in urban design at Carnegie Mellon University.

Judge Carl Ashley was appointed as Chief Judge of the First Judicial District effective April 15, 2023, by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. He is the Chair of the Milwaukee Community Justice Council (MCJC). During his 24 years on the bench, he has served in every court division (Misdemeanor, Felony, Family Court, Large Claims Civil, and Children’s Court), as well as the Adult Drug Treatment Court, Veterans Treatment Court, and Domestic Violence Court. Judge Ashley is Chair of the Supreme Court Planning and Policy Subcommittee on Effective Justice Strategies (EJS). Judge Ashley is also the Past Chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee. He is the Chair of the Milwaukee County Race, Equity and Procedural Justice Committee. He is a member of the Evidenced-based Sentencing Judicial Peer Group for the National Center for State Courts. He is a faculty member of the Wisconsin Judicial College. He is the Chair of the Wisconsin Association of Treatment Court Professionals (WATCP) Subcommittee on Equity and Inclusion. In 2003, he received the Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of vision, creativity, and innovative spirit. In 2011, he was selected by the State Bar of Wisconsin as Judge of the Year. In 2013, Judge Ashley received the Leaders in the Law Award from the Wisconsin Law Journal. In 2014 and 2015, Judge Ashley was presented with the State Bar’s President’s Award. In 2016, he received the E. Michael McCann Distinguished Public Service Award. In 2019, he received the Charles L. Goldberg, Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Law Foundation.

Dr. Syneathia LaGrant is vice president and global head of talent management and development for ManpowerGroup.  Her 20-year career includes managing global talent management teams and developing learning interventions for multi-national organizations including Molson Coors Beverage Company, Fiserv Inc, and Johnson Controls, Inc. Syneathia holds a bachelor’s in English and Secondary Education Certification from Bradley University. She earned a Master’s in Adult Education with an emphasis on Instructional design from Alverno College. Syneathia earned her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Chief Learning Officers Program. She provides leadership development and board development workshops for churches and community groups, is an active board member for Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, and serves as a trustee and youth ministry leader for her church.

Dr. Sam Coleman is the assistant superintendent of instruction for the Oshkosh School District. Coleman previously served as the chief academic officer for Lynchburg City Schools in Lynchburg, Virginia. Over the last 16 years, Coleman has served in public education as well as state and municipal government. Coleman began his educational career in 2007 as a social studies teacher in Milwaukee. In 2015, Coleman became the dean of students at the Daniel Webster High School campus in Milwaukee, and later served as the director of student and family services at Seton Catholic Schools in St. Francis, before joining the Shorewood School District in 2019. In Shorewood, Coleman served as the director for equity before advancing to serve as the director of curriculum and instruction. 

Uchenna Jones is the Community Impact Director of Health at United Way of Dane County. She is a Registered Nurse and alum from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Bacteriology and Nursing. Since 2002 until now, Uchenna, as a certified Doula, has been committed to working with all women, especially women of color, to receive the best maternal and infant health care possible through her business, A Doula Just For You. She is also a Nurse Consultant and Doula Trainer at Harambee Birth and Family Center. She is currently a 2nd year Midwifery student at the Midwest Maternal Child Institute.  Uchenna is a published author of two children’s book, “Hello, My Name Is” and “Pretty Black Girl.” Uchenna founded the Madison Gospel 5K Foundation, which is a charitable non-profit that is focused on creating healthier families through faith, fellowship and fitness. Since its inception, Madison Gospel 5K Foundation has encouraged over 600 families to be more active on the Southside of Madison. Additionally, Uchenna is one of three founders to create Sole Sistas Run Madtown, an exclusive multicultural women’s walk/run group. Lastly, in February of 2021, Uchenna, along with two other community leaders came together and founded Soles United. Soles United is an organization that is focused on creating an inclusive, diverse, equitable and welcoming running/movement fitness community for all. Through physical movement, Uchenna hopes to shift people’s mental space to a better place.

Chakla Davis is Executive HR Leader of Global Strategy and Technology and Global Operation at Plexus Corporation, a global manufacturing company based in Neenah with 25,000 employees worldwide. She joined Plexus earlier this year after spending most of her career in various human resources roles at Kimberly-Clark. She started her career with Shaw Industries in Georgia after graduating from Clemson University. She later earned a master’s degree in management from Southern Wesleyan University.

Judge Mario White was appointed to the Dane County Circuit Court bench in 2020 by Governor Tony Evers. He handles both criminal and civil cases. Prior to being appointed to the bench, Mario was a Dane County Circuit Commissioner. In that role, he presided over an array of cases, including small claims, family law and criminal law. Before that, Mario was an Assistant State Public Defender. The Wisconsin Law Journal named him a 2017 Leader in the Law. White has been on the faculty of the National Criminal Defense College in Bristol, Rhode Island and teaches at the Wisconsin Public Defender Trial Skills Academy. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2008, Judge White became an adjunct professor, coaching mock trial. A 2005 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Judge White was named a 2018 OSU Outstanding Alum by the Oklahoma State University College of Arts and Sciences.

Latoya Holiday currently serves as the executive director of the Multicultural Student Achievement Network (MSAN) at UW Madison’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. MSAN is a national network of school districts working and learning together to eliminate racial disparities in schools. Latoya has spent her entire career in education working and advocating for equity and change to ensure success for all students, especially for students of color.  Latoya spent many years of her career working at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in various roles including school administration consultant and federal grant project director. Latoya has had the pleasure of serving as an executive cabinet member and Special Assistant for two Wisconsin State Superintendents including Wisconsin’s first black state superintendent–Ms. Carolyn Standford Taylor.  Latoya has also served as associate director of the Office of Educational Opportunity at UW System and Chief of Staff for One City Schools.  Latoya provides service to the Sun Prairie community as an elected member and Vice President of the Sun Prairie Board of Education.  Latoya attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Wisconsin-Madison earning degrees in English and Educational Policy.

Elmer Moore, Jr. is CEO of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Agency, appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in April 2022. Moore previously served as the executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee for the Greater Milwaukee Committee. He has a proven track record in creating public-private partnerships and innovative programs that support business development and job creation resulting in over 1,400 jobs created for more than 200 Wisconsin organizations and securing more than $60 million in new capital investments. He has also secured national foundation funding that provides programming for entrepreneurship growth and resources to address the racial wealth gap. Mr. Moore has a bachelor’s degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia Business School in New York, New York. Mr. Moore also serves as chairman of the board for the WHEDA Foundation, member of the Community Investment Advisory Council of the FHLBank of Chicago, chairman of the board for the Social Development Commission, board member for the Harbor District, and adjunct instructor for Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, instructing students on entrepreneurship.

Tracy Anderson is community outreach and volunteer recruitment coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County. She joined the nonprofit in 2022 intent on rebuilding the corps of volunteers willing to mentor young people in Dane County after the COVID pandemic severely reduced its numbers. She came to BBBS after a career in media, both as an on-air personality on 93.1 Jamz, a marketing representative for Mid-West Family Broadcasting and business manager at Umoja Magazine. She is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

Nick Truog is the political director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Since taking the role in 2020, Truog has overseen multi-million dollar programming that has helped elect Governor Tony Evers, Justice Janet Protasiewicz, numerous mayors, and over 200 democrats across Wisconsin. His work has been critical to help build long-term presence and relationships in underrepresented communities through its Coalitions program. Truog has previously served as a Senior Political Advisor for Mandela Barnes US Senate Race, on Congresswoman Gwen Moore’s staff, and is currently the President of the Greater Milwaukee Urban League Young Professionals. He is also a national award-winning brother and leader of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, the largest Latino Based Fraternity with multicultural membership.

Margo Franklin is Chief Human Resources Officer for Milwaukee County and its 4,000 employees. County Executive David Crowley appointed her to that role in the spring of 2020 after she had been director of employee relations for two years. She joined the County in 2018 after a long career in human resources, working for Visteon Corporation, Medical College of Wisconsin, Kohl’s and Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. She is a graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and holds numerous human resources certifications.

Shakita LaGrant-McClain oversees all service areas within Milwaukee County’s largest department, Health and Human Services (DHHS), encompassing Aging and Disabilities Services, Behavioral Health Services, Housing Services, Management Services, and Veterans’ Services, with a $400 million budget, over 700 employees, DHHS serves more than 95,000 residents annually. She’s implemented a No Wrong Door model of customer service, serving Milwaukee County residents across their lifespan regardless of race, gender, age, or socio-economic status. LaGrant-McClain is dedicated to maximizing organizational performance and leveraging DHHS to influence the human services ecosystem, positively impacting social determinants of health and addressing health disparities. She invests in staff training and development, delivering high quality customer service, and transforming human service delivery to a person-centered approach. LaGrant-McClain is a compassionate and committed community leader who leads by example drawing from personal experience. She serves as an adjunct instructor at Mount Mary University. LaGrant-McClain was recognized as a “Disruptor” by the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee, a “Notable BIPOC Executive” by the BizTimes Milwaukee, and named a “Woman of Influence” by The Milwaukee Business Journal. LaGrant-McClain earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Mount Mary University, and a Master of Business Administration from Mount Mary University.

Shawn Anthony Robinson, Ph.D, is a social entrepreneur, co-founder of the award-winning graphic novel Doctor Dyslexia Dude, a research affiliate with the Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB) at the University of Wisconsin Madison, served on the advisory council of Benetech, and a former Board member with the International Dyslexia Association. Robinson has received several distinguished honors throughout his early career such as: an honoree of The Reading Center’s 4th Hall of Fame class (2023), the 2022 Wisconsin Innovation Award (with his wife – Dr. Inshirah Robinson); the 2017 Alumni Achievement Award/New Trier High School Alumni Hall of Honor; the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from UWO; “Educator of the Year” from All-State Insurance (Chicago) 2005. Robinson is also a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Despite being unable to read until the age of 18, he earned his Ph.D. in language and literacy from Cardinal Stritch University.

Afra Smith is manager of diversity, equity and inclusion at UW Health, a role she took on in October after three years as a DEI consultant with UW Health and the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. She is also founder and CEO of The Melanin Project, which aims to eradicate wealth disparities for women of the Black and African diaspora through programs that support building generational wealth through advocacy, personal empowerment, and financial wellness coaching. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. 

Samuel E. Liebert currently serves as the Wisconsin State Director for All Voting is Local (AVL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to dismantling barriers to the ballot box for historically disenfranchised groups. In this capacity, he spearheads initiatives to ensure free, fair, and safe elections, advocating for voter registration without fear of unjust removal, secure ballot casting, and the accurate counting of every vote. Collaborating with coalition partners, Liebert straWtegically leverages collective power to safeguard the fundamental right to vote. He spent much of his career in local government both in an elected capacity, serving six years on the Janesville City Council and in administrative roles in Sussex, Shorewood Hills, Monroe and Madison. He worked as White House Liaison to the Department of Agriculture under President Obama after working as a field organizer on the Obama campaign. He earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Whitewater and a master’s from UW-Milwaukee.

Charm Der is a DEI manager of diversity and inclusion at Prevea Health in Green Bay, a role she took on just recently after a stint in a similar role at Sargento. strategist and social impact advocate with over a decade of experience. Charm also serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Director of Sheboygan-area SHRM, as a member of the Board of Directors for Generations Intergenerational Center in Plymouth, WI, a Board Advisor to Above & Beyond Children’s Museum in Sheboygan, and as a member of the Sheboygan LGBTQ+ Alliance.  She holds a master’s degree in Education and obtained her Diversity & Inclusion certificate from Cornell University. She serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Director of the Sheboygan area Society for Human Resource Management chapter. 

James Bond is the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Appointed in January 2023, he became the first openly LGBTQ+ person to lead one of Wisconsin’s cabinet agencies. Bond joined DVA in 2010 and served as the administrator of the Divisions of Veterans Benefits and Veteran Services before being appointed deputy secretary in 2019. Prior to his time with DVA, Bond was employed at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as deputy division administrator in the Divisions of Employment and Training and Family Supports and as bureau director of management services in the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. He served on active duty in the United States Marine Corps from 1983-88. After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps, Bond returned to Wisconsin, enrolled at UW-Madison, and earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees. Bond has over three decades of service – service to his country, the State of Wisconsin, and fellow veterans and has dedicated himself to helping others in his professional career opportunities.

Rebecca Cooks is hospitality & student enrichment manager at Upper House, a Madison organization that aims to curate experiences of Christian thinking, being, and doing in the University of Wisconsin community through programs and hospitality. Rebecca has worked at Upper House for six years, joining in 2018 after two years at High Point Church. She is a 2016 graduate of UW-Madison, where she was a member of the Varsity Band.

Corey Marionneaux is founder and CEO of the Black Men Coalition of Dane County, an organization that connects people with jobs after periods of homelessness, incarceration and other difficulties. In addition, BMC provides transportation to/from work and financial literacy, including assisting with opening bank accounts, budgeting and credit repair. Marionneaux has also organized a free summer baseball league for Madison youth for the past two years.

Dr. Roanne Osborne is Vice President of Medical Management at Quartz Health Solutions, serving more than 350,000 members.  Dr. Osborne has practiced Family Medicine for over 20 years and held leadership positions in the clinical and payor space over the past 10 years.  She has been a Clinical Associate Professor at Brown University in the Department of Family Medicine and has been a Family Medicine advocate to both State legislature for Rhode Island as well as in Washington DC.  Dr. Osborne has worked with underserved populations at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and at Duffy Health Center, Massachusetts (Healthcare for the homeless clinic site).  She is the immediate Past President of the Dane County Medical Society (Wisconsin), has been President of the Rhode Island Chapter of Family Physicians and has been Co-Chair for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education (APOE).  She also volunteers with the Madison Metropolitan (WI) Chapter of the Links Incorporated. Dr. Osborne received her Medical Degree from the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, completed her Family Medicine training at the Residency Program in Family and Social Medicine (RPSM) at Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York and earned her Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from George Washington University, Washington DC.  She is Board Certified in both Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine and is a Certified Physician Executive.

Tiffany Malone is a real estate agent with the Alvarado Group and co-founder of OWN IT: Building Black Wealth, a program that assists Black families become homeowners. Her varied career includes working in insurance for American Family Insurance and Allstate Insurance for several years, and at the state of Wisconsin in Social Security and disability for eight years. She is also on the board of the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, which recognized her with the Good Neighbor Award in 2022. She graduated from Upper Iowa University with a bachelors in human services and a minor in criminal justice. 

Raynetta Hill is executive director of the King Drive Business Improvement District in Milwaukee. Prior to joining the BID, Ray led Wisconsin’s fundraising, property portfolio and wraparound services for CommonBond Communities. She also served as operations manager for a private real estate firm, National Management, overseeing a substantial residential portfolio of multifamily units throughout the state of WI. Ray is not new to the BID nor Bronzeville district, she served as Associate Director for the Historic Business Improvement District No. 8 from 2016–2018 where she focused on revitalization efforts within the commercial corridor while building high level engagement with resident groups, businesses and stakeholders. Ray is a 2016 Associates in Commercial Real Estate Graduate, African American Leadership Program Cohort 10 alumna, Wisconsin Women’s Policy Institute 2018-2019 fellow and is a graduate of Concordia University with Associates of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice. She serves on numerous boards and is involved in several committees related to local community service and economic impact. In 2019 Ray was appointed by Governor Evers to serve on the Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and elected Vice Chair by the board in 2021. She is one of the 2021 Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40 awardees and was also awarded the 2021 Young Pioneer by the African American Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Preston Cherry is the founder & president of Concurrent Financial Planning, head of the financial planning program, and director of the Charles Schwab Center for Personal Financial Planning at the UW – Green Bay. Preston specializes in empowering individuals to share stories that inform their financial resources and life’s design to achieve financial wellness and freedom that cultivates life wholeness. Preston has over 15 years of financial services and academic experience, including financial planning and investment management, published research in top journals, such as Personality and Individual Differences and Journal of Personal Finance, and extensive leadership in the planning profession. His current research surrounds personality traits and financial uncertainty risks, and specializes in financial psychology. Preston has been cited by the New York Times, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Yahoo Finance. He is an Investopedia 100 Top Financial Advisor, 2022 ThinkAdvisor LUMINARY Finalist, WealthManagement.com Ten to Watch in 2023, President of the Financial Therapy Association, practitioner editor of the award-winning Journal of Financial Planning, and Board Member of the FinServ Foundation. 

Kecia King is a member of the school board in Platteville, just appointed earlier this year. She has previously served as a fourth grade teacher at Westview Elementary School there. She started her career in the US Air Force, ultimately rising to superintendent of personnel programs with Space Command. Her service also allowed her to earn a master’s degree in elementary education at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Who’d we miss? Email us at [email protected] to let us know who should be on the list next year!