Lemons 2 Lemonade Leadership Series Guests 2021-22
8/27/2021 | Julia Smith, Assistant Director Leadership Development, DEI at Northwestern Mutual
9/10/2021 | Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Sheriff
Sheriff Earnell R. Lucas was elected the 65th Sheriff of Milwaukee County on November 6, 2018. He is committed to restoring honor, integrity and trust in the Sheriff’s Office by treating everyone with dignity and respect. Sheriff Lucas commands a staff that is responsible for safety and security at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, the Milwaukee County Circuit Courts, the Milwaukee County Jail and the Milwaukee County parks and freeway systems.
Sheriff Lucas was born in Milwaukee’s Hillside Terrace housing project and raised by his grandmother, who moved from Alabama to raise him and two brothers upon the death of their mother. He attended Milwaukee Public Schools, graduating from Rufus King High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude in criminology and law studies from Marquette University.
Sheriff Lucas was appointed a police aide with the Milwaukee Police Department in October 1976. He was inspired to a career in law enforcement at an early age after an encounter with a police officer, which showed him the awesome authority and trust the public places in police officers. In a 25-year career with the Milwaukee Police Department, he served as the department's public information officer and as a district commander and retired at the rank of captain. Sheriff Lucas survived a gunshot wound as a young officer but overcame it to finish his career.
Sheriff Lucas was appointed Major League Baseball’s Supervisor of Security for Commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig in 2002. In a 17-year career, he rose to oversee all of security at Major League Baseball as the Vice President of Security & Facility Management and later served as the Chief Liaison of Security & Investigations. His career took him to all parts of the world overseeing security operations, conducting sensitive investigations and safeguarding the integrity of the game of baseball at the major and minor league levels.
Sheriff Lucas is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Executive Institute, FBI National Academy, the National Sheriff’s Institute, the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police and the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety School of Police Staff and Command, where he was awarded the prestigious Franklin M. Kreml Leadership Award.
Sheriff Lucas has received numerous awards including, Minor League Baseball’s John H. Johnson President’s Award, Marquette University's Spirit of the College of Professional Studies Award, Rufus King High School's Distinguished Alumni Award, Milwaukee Brotherhood of Firefighters President’s Award, and in 2019 was named by Madison365 as one of Wisconsin's Most Influential Black Leaders.
Sheriff Lucas and his wife reside in Milwaukee and attend St. Matthew C.M.E. Church, where he has been an active member for over 50 years.
9/17/2021 | Andre Douglas, Senior Director of College Access & Success Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
10/1/2021 | Tammy Olivas, Hispanics for School Choice
10/8/2021 | Eva Martinez Powless, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer at MATC
10/15/2021 | Nicole Z Williams, Director Business Development at Advocate Aurora Health
Nicole was born and raised on the South Side of Milwaukee, where she attended and graduated from Milwaukee Public Schools. Nicole is a two-time graduate at Milwaukee’s Alverno College where she completed both her Bachelor Degree in Marketing Management and her Master’s Degree in Business Administration; she is also currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education.
Nicole is the Director of Business Development at Advocate Aurora Health in the Greater Milwaukee area. She has a passion for leading, leadership development, strategic planning, business plan and program development.
10/22/2021 | Ana Simpson, Director of Community and Economic Development at WHEDA
Ana Simpson serves as Director of Community and Economic Development at WHEDA (Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Authority). Ana leads a state-wide team that focuses on growing economic development statewide as well as promoting financing products and tools that support WHEDA’s multifamily lending activity. Ana also oversees WHEDA’s efforts that impact supplier diversity, emerging businesses and emerging developers.
Ana has an extensive 24-year career in retail, business and corporate banking, insurance and non-profit management. She has served on numerous boards and community associations to help expand business development, entrepreneurship and wealth building opportunities for communities that are underrepresented, under-resourced and often marginalized in particular women and communities of color.
Ana is an advisor on the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capacity’s Adult, Health and Workplace Financial Literacy Committee. She currently sits on TEMPO Milwaukee’s Board of Directors and chairs TEMPO’s membership committee. She also is actively involved on the Advisory Boards of La Casa de Esperanza and Family Services both located in Waukesha.
Originally from New York City, Ana has lived in Wisconsin for over 30 years. Ana and her husband, Shane, live in the City of Waukesha with their blended family of 7-children.
11/5/2021 | Rebeca López, Attorney
Rebeca López was born and raised on the Southside of the city of Milwaukee and attended Milwaukee Public Schools. While attending Marquette University and completing her bachelor’s degree, Russell D. Feingold hired López to work as an immigration caseworker and a regional coordinator, and eventually elevated her to manage his Milwaukee district office. During that time, López worked to develop and implement a Latino outreach program across the state of Wisconsin and build relationships with Latino leaders so that she could more effectively understand and advocate for legislation and services to benefit the Latino community. Her experience working for the Senator led López to attend law school in 2009. In 2012, López graduated magna cum laude in 2012 from Marquette University Law School. Upon graduation, she was hired as an attorney for Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.’s Labor & Employment Law Practice Group in the firm’s Milwaukee office, where she continues to work.
López counsels and assists business clients in navigating complex legal issues arising in the employment relationship, conducts internal investigations into employee complaints and allegations, and defends her clients before administrative agencies and federal and state courts. In her current role, she is able to connect the greater Milwaukee community with elected officials and the business community.
Early in her career, López was fortunate to benefit from, work with and eventually support many non-profit organizations in Milwaukee. Since graduating from law school, López served on various boards of directors in the legal and non-profit community, including Centro Legal. In 2019, she was appointed by Governor Tony Evers to the Wisconsin Governor’s Judicial Selection Advisory Committee.
11/19/2021 | Nadiyah Johnson, Owner of Jet Constellation
Nadiyah Johnson graduated from Marquette University with a master’s in computational science and is currently pursuing a PHD with a focus on computer science and mental health. Her research is predominantly geared toward mobile Health (mHealth). Nadiyah’s research has granted her recognition at several conferences around the globe. She previously held a role at GE Healthcare as a technical product manager with a specialty in data science. Nadiyah’s passion for diversity in STEM led her to launch her company Jet Constellations, a local software company. It’s social impact arm functions to promote racial diversity in the tech industry through STEM education and entrepreneurship programming as well as building a nurturing ecosystem of diverse techies and entrepreneurs. As founder,she aims to uplift her community, including zip code 53206 (which incarcerates the most Black men in the nation), through education and tech investment, and later to hopefully roll out the model to other communities around America. She is currently realizing the vision that Milwaukee is the “ Milky Way Tech Hub” – a tech hub representative of Milwaukee’s diverse population.
Nadiyah is a recent Milwaukee Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree. She also serves as a professor at Marquette University. Nadiyah enjoys painting and educating youth about computer science in her free time. She currently sells her art in pop-up shops at local art fairs. When Nadiyah isn’t painting or
12/3/2021 | Robert Jackson, Entrepreneur
12/10/2021 | Judge Maxine White, Judge
Judge White is honored to participate in Lemons 2 Lemonade Leadership Series. She believes its profile allows many to share in the journey in hopes of inspiring others- in that same unstoppable spirit embodied by the new mantra of Milwaukee’s champion Milwaukee Bucks- to “BELIEVE HARDER.”
Her journey began decades ago – when she was welcomed into a large family by loving parents, grade-school educated sharecroppers who suffered horrific odds and overwhelming circumstances and yet persevered. They coached her to serve God, to love and help family and neighbors. Judge White’s parents were emphatic and forceful in teaching us that as Black boys and girls we are equally capable, competent, bright and deserving of all that America has to offer, despite the societal speech which preached the contrary and acts of violence perpetrated to enforce disparity. These lessons embedded within her a strong desire to do all that she could to make a difference in the quality of life for others.
So how does one go from weighing and picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta to weighing and writing decisions on the bench in Wisconsin? It has been a very long and arduous journey, filled with difficulties, painful and terrifying memories and seemingly impenetrable obstacles. But Judge White survived and thrived because of the sacrifices and work of so many others who she lovingly refers to as “her village.” The power of her village is unbelievably strong and influential - comprised of people near and far, known and unknown who laid a foundation, even surrendering their lives to show her a different vision; a world filled with more rights and endless possibilities to get her to where she is today.
Early intervention, loving and attentive adults who saw her potential - to learn and do good work landed her safely where she is today. During Judge White’s early years teachers invested their own assets, filling in the gaps left by substandard overcrowded classrooms and insufficient hand-me-down books, and missing materials - to set her on the right path. They greatly influenced her love for learning. A high school teacher, for example, who knew that despite her honor grades, many Blacks who managed to gain college admission did not get financial or scholarship support. She taught Judge White how to mediate and market a plan to go beyond reciting academic excellence; a plan which also focused on service to the university and employment in any Department that needed her in order to finance her education. It worked!
After earning her BA degree from Alcorn, like so many other African Americans did in the 70s, she migrated North – making her new home in Milwaukee – joining several siblings. Judge White had a lifelong attraction to the possibilities presented by the law – but at the time, these things seemed just too far a reach. The late US Secretary of DHHS, Patricia Harris moved her closer to her dream when she became one of her recruits as an intern in Washington DC working on matters primarily affecting the Social Security Administration. That experience led her to a subsequent master’s degree in public administration from USC. Then, with the urging of a very close friend who had changed careers and achieved her lifelong dream as a lawyer, Judge White earned her law degree from Marquette.
Judge White’s journey in law has given her numerous chances to honor her village through hard work and unwavering commitment to do justice from amazing leadership positions - Assistant US Attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin; Legal Advisor and instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Georgia; Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge; Chief Judge for Milwaukee County Circuit and Municipal Courts; and Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge. As a judge, she has observed other justice systems at home and abroad. She is humbled by the people that she serves, all backgrounds, walks of life, who express their gratitude for the work we have done. But she joins with so many others to justifiably state that we still have a long way to go to make “equal justice under law” a reality for everyone. With support from the lyrics written by Curtis Burrell, “I don’t feel no ways tired, she has come [so] far from where she started from …” And is so grateful that her journey continues.
12/17/2021 | Wendell White, Author & Motivational Speaker
1/4/2022 | Rayna Andrews, Author, Activist, and Founder of Healthy Food Movement
1/7/2022 | Rachaad Howard, Owner of Cream City Print Lounge LLC
1/21/2022 | Danielle Bly, Vice President-Supplier Diversity at WEC Energy Group
1/28/2022 | Jasmine Johnson, Vice President of Sales
Jasmine M. Johnson brings 20+ years of leadership, service, and advocacy to any space she enters. She started her corporate career as an intern at Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) of which is also the company she landed her first job post Undergrad, and most recently returned as the Vice President of Sales. As part of the Senior Leadership Team at Milwaukee’s iHeartMedia Markets Group she is charged to lead the sales team to achieve and exceed customer’s goals and expectations across multiple platforms and assets. Jasmine has led and served at some of the largest Global Brands such as Pfizer, Walgreen’s, and ManpowerGroup.
She was most recently named as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2021 40 Under 40 Awardees, was selected as a participant of the 2020 Young American Leaders Program through Harvard Business School, and was recognized as one of the 2015 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Philanthropic Five. In 2018, Jasmine received the inaugural City of Milwaukee’s Vel R. Phillips Trailblazer Award, an award honoring social justice and civic accomplishment in the City of Milwaukee of which she was soon then appointed by the City of Milwaukee to the Vel R. Phillips Trailblazer Service Award Selection Committee. Jasmine serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, Milwaukee Film, the Executive Leadership Team for GoRed for the American Heart Association – Greater Milwaukee of where she’ll be the first person of color across the State to lead a local campaign in 2021, is an inaugural Board member of the Milwaukee Parks Foundation, and holds a Mayoral appointment as a Board member of the Historic King Drive BID #8. Jasmine is a member of Milwaukee Women, Inc. (MWi), Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.
Jasmine has a passion for making a difference through advocacy both at work and in her community. She holds a Master of Science degree in Management from Cardinal Stritch University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside. Jasmine resides in the historic Harambee Neighborhood in Milwaukee area and recognizes the significance of working hard, performing strong, and giving back. She juggles it well with grace, style, and class all while being motivated by her 14-year old son, Jeremiah.
2/18/2022 | Kenyatta Sinclair, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Kenyatta Sinclair is a dedicated professional, author, entrepreneur, strategic partner, and facilitator with over two decades of experience. Over the course of her career, she has been employed and consulted with schools, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, In these roles, she has consistently sought to be the change maker, employ inclusive practices, enhance staff capacity, and work to advance equity in organizations and systems. She is known as a professional who creates, develops, and re-ignites people, programs, purpose, strategy, and vision. Kenyatta currently serves as the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. In this role, she is responsible for the racial equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives.
2/25/2022 | Dimonte Henning, Artistic Director at Lights! Camera! Soul!
3/4/2022 | Dr. Darlene Beck, Nurse Practitioner
3/11/2022 | JoAnne Sabir, Co-Founder of The Shindig, LLC, Sauce and Spice Pizza, LLC, Freedom Endeavors, LLC, The Sherman Phoenix, LLC, and Advisor with American Family Insurance
JoAnne Sabir, Co-founder of The Shindig , LLC , Sauce and Spice Pizza, LLC, Freedom Endeavors , LLC, The Sherman Phoenix, LLC , and Advisor with American Family Insurance has earned a reputation in Milwaukee as a premier community development leader and serial entrepreneur with a gift for cultivating impactful relationships across communities while addressing the challenges of revitalizing neighborhoods. As co-developer of the Sherman Phoenix, JoAnne restored a historic bank building that was burned in 2016 during nationally noted civil unrest, secured over 25 black-owned business tenants, and helped raise $5 million from venture philanthropists and impact investors. JoAnne has been acknowledged for her leadership with the 2020 Women of Influence Award, 2018 Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award and the Biz Times 2017 Community Leader of The Year.
3/18/2022 | Sherry Simmons, Supply Management Lead at Harley-Davidson Motor Company
4/1/2022 | Senator Brenda Gilmore, Senator
4/8/2022 | Pastor Alfonso Prada, Pastor
Alfonso Prada was born in the city of Caracas, Venezuela in 1975. He is the youngest of 4 siblings, all formed with deep values of service, love, respect and faith in God. From a very young age, Pastor Prada was interested in knowing more about the Bible, knowing God and understanding the relationship He wanted to have with me.
He studied theology at the "Juan de Frías" Seminary in the city of Caracas, where Prada was finally ordained and installed to serve as Pastor on December 17th, 2006 at the "El Salvador" Lutheran Church.
In 2002, Prada married a wonderful woman named Rosmy Prada. Since 2013, they have served at the "St. Martini" School and Church where they have promoted a Hispanic ministry full of activities for children, youth and adults.
Pastor Prada learned to trust God throughout his life, knowing that his life is in His hands, the best hands that exist. Every morning, he wakes up with the desire to honor his creator and serve the people God puts in his path.
4/22/2022 | Brooks Griffin, Speaker & Youth Advocate
5/6/2022 | Judge Allegra Walker, Judge
5/13/2022 | Desiree Cocroft, Transformation Coach
Desiree Cocroft is a personal and professional transformation coach who specializes in helping female entrepreneurs and leaders figure out what comes next in life. Drawing from her certifications and years of training in executive coaching and positive psychology, she has helped her clients successfully birth their first business, happily restart their life in a new city, transition to a more lucrative position at work, and more.
Desiree is the host of her own podcast, Get Your Life Today, and her expertise has also been featured on Forbes, The Gifters Podcast, Exposed the Podcast, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, and the PowHer Network. She is also an award-winning author who has appeared on stages for TEDx, Innovation Women, Marquette University, the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, and more. In her free time, she works as the co-founder and board chair of a six-figure nonprofit called Signature Dance Company. She lives in Philadelphia.
5/20/2022 | Judge Derek Mosley, Judge
Derek Mosley graduated from Marquette University Law School in 1995. After graduation he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Milwaukee County from 1995-2002. As an Assistant District Attorney, he represented the State of Wisconsin in over 1,000 criminal prosecutions. Mr. Mosley founded the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Community Prosecution Unit. This unit places assistant district attorneys in various neighborhoods throughout the City of Milwaukee to work with residents to reduce urban blight and to improve the quality of life. As the head of this unit, Mr. Mosley helped to establish after-school programs, he established a Second Chance Felony Employment Initiative for offenders, closed 100 drug houses and nuisance properties, and started a police and citizen crime fighting initiative, which targeted street drug dealing. This initiative called “Operation Streetsweeper” was awarded the Law Enforcement Honor Award by the United States Department of Justice.
In 2002, Mr. Mosley was appointed Municipal Court Judge in Milwaukee. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest African-American to be appointed judge in the State of Wisconsin. In August 2004, Judge Mosley was appointed Chief Judge of the Milwaukee Municipal Court.
Judge Mosley sits on the Board of Directors of several organizations including the Urban Ecology Center, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Safe & Sound and Transcenter for Youth. He sits on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s Judicial Education Committee. Judge Mosley has been featured in both Milwaukee Magazine’s “Top Lawyer Edition,” as well as their “35 Emerging Leaders" Edition. He received the Leaders in the Law Award from the Wisconsin Law Journal. He was awarded the Milwaukee Times’ Black Excellence Award, inducted into the Milwaukee Community Journal’s Academy of Legends, named one of the Philanthropic 5 by the United Way, received the State Farm/V100 Trailblazer Award, the “Wisconsin Cares About Kids Award,” 2015 recipient of the Howard B. Eisenberg Public Service Award from Marquette University Law School, and was featured in the Milwaukee Business Journal’s “Forty Under Forty” Edition and their “ Six Most Connected Milwaukeeans” Edition. Judge Mosley was also voted “Jurist of the Year” for 2015 by the Justinian Society of Lawyers, Professional of the Year by ONEMKE & The United Way in 2017, Citizen of the Year in 2017, named Law Enforcement Official of the Year in 2018 by Safe & Sound, received the William C. Frye Civic Engagement Award from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation 2019, was named “Milwaukeean of the Year” in 2020 by the Shepherd Express, and was inducted into the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Hall of Fame in 2021.
5/27/2022 | Celeste Cuffie, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Executive Coach
Celeste's passion in life is to live it to the fullest through teaching, empowering and motivating others to live in the same manner. In pursuit of these goals, Celeste is Founder and CEO of Life Empowered Consulting Services which specializes in corporate training, executive coaching, and motivational speaking. In 2017 she solidified her experience and became a certified coach, trainer, and speaker with the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
Throughout her career, Celeste has held several leadership roles in organizations such as Continental Savings Bank, Associated Bank, and Johnson Controls. In 2016, Celeste branched out full-time as CEO of Life Empowered to fully leverage her corporate experience in pursuit of helping people and corporations reach their full potential. As a result of this leap, she has been a consultant and speaker for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Urban League, Concordia University Wisconsin, and many others. In 2017, she published her fourth book entitled “The Risk to Be Great” and kicked off the Entrepreneur in You Conference conveying her can-do perspective through influential speakers, leaders, and philanthropists.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Celeste graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Management & Communication in 2007. Later, in 2012, she graduated with a double Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Management all from Concordia University Wisconsin. As a proud graduate of CUW, she went on to serve at her alma mater as an adjunct professor in 2018.
In spite of all of her professional accomplishments, Celeste is most proud to be the wife, for nearly 30 years, of her childhood sweetheart, Sheldon, and the proud mother to two amazing adult children, Alyssa and Zachary.