Academics » Lemons 2 Lemonade Leadership Series Guests 2021-22

Lemons 2 Lemonade Leadership Series Guests 2021-22


Julia Smith HeadshotJulia Smith, MBA, is a proven leader with cross-sector success in Learning & Development. Julia joined Northwestern Mutual in 2012 as a Learning and Development Consultant and held various roles of increasing responsibility throughout the organization. Prior to Northwestern Mutual, Julia has over 10 years of experience in Adult Education, Talent Development, and Organizational Design in both the public and private sectors including Healthcare, Retail, and Non-Profit.
As an Inclusion Champion, Julia is passionate about providing equitable opportunities to historically marginalized groups. Julia currently serves as a leader on the Northwestern Mutual African-American Employee Resource Group governance team board, Diversity and Inclusion Council. She is a founding member of the Greater Milwaukee African American ERG Connection and serves on the Board of Directors at [email protected], a local non-profit.
Julia's personal mission is to inspire others to use their talents, skills, and abilities to impact the world through building relationships and connecting others to opportunities.

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.

Andre Douglas HeadshotAndre Douglas serves as the Senior Director of College Access & Success Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee. A Champion for students and education evangelist, Andre has committed his career and life to help students create opportunities as they strive to develop their mission and purpose. Andre, a first-generation college student, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech. Andre received his Master of Science degree in College Personnel Administration from Concordia University-Wisconsin. He has held previous positions at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Blackhawk Technical College, and Marquette University.
Andre has coached and mentored thousands of students during his career to and through college. Many students credit Andre for their success because of his support, passion, and servant leadership. In addition, Andre helps propel scholars to always strive for excellence and chance their dreams through college access & success prep, public speaking training, and personal and professional development.
Andre was named the 2021 Distinguished Leader Award winner by the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network Greater Milwaukee Chapter. In addition, the Milwaukee Times Newspaper named Andre as an Outstanding Community Leader award winner in 2020. In 2019, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater named Andre as an Outstanding Recent Alumni award winner.
Tammy Olivas HeadshotTammy Olivas, born in California and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, has called Wisconsin home for the past thirteen years. She earned her Bachelors Degree in Commercial Relationships from the Chihuahua Institute of Technology and recently graduated from the Leadership Program of the Rockies.
Olivas helped establish and develop the marketing department for a money transfer company in California. This experience provided her with a deep understanding of the Hispanic community in the United States. Tammy also had the opportunity to teach elementary grade students at College AngloEspañol and college students at the State's University, in Tijuana, Mexico; it was then that she discovered her passion for education and the power it has to transform communities.
Hispanics for School Choice gave Tammy the opportunity to fulfill her passion, making sure that every. child has access to the best education possible. For the last eight years, she helped remove students' barriers to succeed, bringing schools and communities closer to the states' educational options. Olivas hosted local, statewide, and national reaching events, with guests from local and state government officials, to the Secretary of Education and the Vice President of the Nation. In addition, she organized community events throughout the state, partnering with hundreds of local organizations and has given away thousands of backpacks. She educates and empowers parents and community leaders on school choice in Wisconsin, transforming communities one family at a time.
Eva Martinez Powless HeadshotEva Martinez Powless currently serves at MATC's Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer. Eva is a seasoned DEI practitioner. with more than 18 years of combined experience in higher education and nonprofit administration. She has served as Marquette University's Assistant Dean of Admissions/Multicultural Outreach, Director of Intercultural Engagement, and most recently as Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
Eva earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alverno College and a Master's degree in Public Service (Leadership Specialization) from Marquette University. She currently is a doctoral candidate in Marquette's interdisciplinary Educational Policy and Leadership doctoral program. Eva was a first-generation and low-income college student, which propelled her commitment to college access and success. Eva is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and her personal mission is to lead authentically and do work due alga la pena (that matters).

HeadshotNicole 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.

Ana's Headshot

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.  

Rebeca Lopez HeadshotRebeca 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.  

HeadshotNadiyah 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

Robert Jackson HeadshotRobert Jackson, born and raised in Milwaukee, attended Washington High School where he was a three-year starter for their basketball team. He was a member of the 1997-98 USA Today All-USA Honorable Mention team for the state of Wisconsin. By the time he left high school, Robert was rated by some recruiting experts as the top high school senior coming out of Wisconsin. After high school, he earned a full scholarship to Mississippi State University. During the 1999-2000 season, he started 23 of 28 games and averaged 12.3 points in team/best 7.0 rebounds. Robert also distinguished himself in the classroom, earning a spot on the SEC's Basketball Academic Honor Roll recognizing student-athletes with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher. After his junior year, Robert transferred to Marquette University where he averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds. He helped lead Marquette's Men's Basketball team to the Final Four in 2003. Marquette had not been to the Final Four since its national championship season in 1977. Jackson graduated with a BA in Speech Communication. He spent the majority of his professional career overseas playing in Spain, Germany, and South Korea. When he returned to Milwaukee, Robert desired to give back to the community that supported him. He worked for various community-based organizations inspiring others to walk in purpose, developed an AAU basketball team as a way to build the dreams of Milwaukee youth, and serves as an ambassador for Unity Gospel House of Prayer.

Judge White HeadshotJudge 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.

Wendell White HeadshotWendell White, born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, is a motivational speaker and author that inspires others to turn tragedy into triumph. Growing up in the poverty-stricken Englewood community taught him many bad habits but also instilled in him the values of loyalty, toughness, respect, and an insane work ethic. Today, Wendell shares his experiences with audiences across the nation and through his book "The Devil Thought He had Me!" to ensure that many with similar life circumstances will have a pathway to success.
Rayna Williams HeadshotRayna Andrews is a public health ambassador, author, and activist with her core work in food security. Rayna is the Founder of the Healthy Food Movement, a wellness company focused on food security and food literacy in underserved communities. She is also the host of the radio show, "Our Community, Our Health" where she brings clarity to our healthcare system and marries the intersectionality of food. Her radio show airs every Friday at 4 p.m. (CST) on WNOV 860 a.m. and 106.5 FM. In 2016, Rayna gave a TEDxTalk at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee regarding the landscape and impact food insecurity. In 2018, Andrews released a children's book entitled "Alex McGreen and the Tale of the Mysterious Kale". Her book tackles real-world issues such as excess lead in our water supply and introduces concepts of peer advocacy and healthy eating.
Rachaad Howard HeadshotRachaad Howard started his business more than 10 years ago, making shirts in a little two-bedroom apartment and selling the shirts out of a backpack. Three years later, he had built his first bike cart to sell his shirts and has continued to grow ever since.
In 2020, a year when many small businesses were failing, Howard kept working hard and it paid off, including a deal with Kohl's to carry his line promoting diversity and inclusion. The Kohl's line had 12 designs including, "Black culture is not a trend". 
Howard opened Cream City Print Lounge just over a year ago. The West Allis is an interactive retail and apparel printing lounge that allows guests a space to hang out, print t-shirts, and even have a drink or host their own private T-shirt making party.
Danielle Bly HeadshotDanielle Bly is the Vice President-Suppler Diversity at WEC Energy Group where she has served for the last 20 years. Danielle is responsible for fostering corporate relationships with suppliers and contractors, area businesses and local government. Additionally, Danielle works in the community facilitating proactive, mutually beneficial relationships with business advocacy groups and women-and-minority-owned and operated businesses. She serves on the board of directors of the We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, The Milwaukee Urban League, Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium, Black Arts MKE, and the Advisory Council for the Milwaukee Film-Black Lens. Danielle was acknowledged as a Woman of Influence-Community Supporter by the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2014, received the Bridge BuildHer award from The PowHer Network in February 2020 and was most recently named the recipient of the 2020-21 Trailblazer in Women's Leadership Award from St. Joan Antida High School.

Jasmine Johnson HeadshotJasmine 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.

Kenyatta Sinclair Headshot
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.
Kenyatta is a certified trainer of Crucial Conversations and Color Code and has a Diversity and Inclusion certificate from Cornell University. She has a Masters of Science in Management degree from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, WI and is pursuing her doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University.
Dimonte Henning Headshot Dimonte is a proud native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and serves as the Artistic Director for Lights! Camera! Soul! and is a Founding Member of the Milwaukee Black Theater Festival. Dimonte received his formal theater training from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with additional training from the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's Emerging Professional Residency. His previous directing credits include: The Colored Museum (Lights! Camera! Soul!), The Niceties (Forward Theater Co.), and Pretty Fire (MKE Black Theater Fest). Dimonte's regionally theater credits include: The Island & Deathtrap (Milwaukee Chamber Theater), Stick Fly (Writers Theater), Skeleton Crew (Forward Theater Co.), Our Town, A Christmas Carol, & Dreamgirls (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), The Wiz (First Stage), and Black Nativity (Black Arts MKE). TV and commercial credits include: guest starring roles on NBC's Chicago PD (Seasons 4&6), Disney's Encore!, UBER, Inpro Designs, and Harley-Davidson.
Dr. Beck HeadshotAs a child, Dr. Darlene Beck experienced many hardships and misfortunes. She spent seven years in the foster care system until her maternal grandmother Dorothy Beck adopted her. However, Dr. Beck's grandmother died just seven years later.
Ready to change the narrative in her life, Dr. Beck turned to education and used it as a vehicle to shape her future. Dr. Beck earned her Licensed Practical Nursing Diploma from the Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2004 and returned in 2007 to earn her Associates Degree in Nursing.  Dr. Beck knew she wanted to further her education in the healthcare field, so she attended Concordia University Mequon where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing in 2010. In 2015, she returned to Concordia to earn her Master's Degree in Nursing. In 2020, Dr. Beck earned her Doctoral Degree in Clinical Practice from the University of Alabama.
Dr. Beck currently works as a Nursing Educator for Milwaukee Area Technical College and Rasmussen University. She also serves the community as an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Outside of Dr. Beck's professional roles, she is also the proud founder of Setting the Bar, LLC. Dr. Beck founded the company in 2018 to help others change the narrative in their life by setting the bar.

Joanne HeadshotJoAnne 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.

HeadshotSherry Renee is a native of Milwaukee, WI. She works in a strategic role for an iconic fortune 500 company. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and an MBA from The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Sherry is a certified PMP (Project Management Professional) and a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. She is passionate about her community and loves to volunteer as giving is important to her. Sherry is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She loves knowledge, thought-provoking conversations, and most of all, she loves to laugh! When she is not recording her podcast, you can catch her riding her Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Senator Gilmore HeadshotSenator Brenda Gilmore previously served as a Metro Council Woman for Nashville Davidson County for eight years, State Representative for District 54 for twelve years, and was elected to the Tennessee Senate in 2018 serving as State Senator for District 19 in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Senator Gilmore serves as a member of the Senate Finance, Ways & Means Committee, Transportation and Safety Committee, Join Fiscal Review Committee, and the Join Pensions and Insurance Committee within the Tennessee General Assembly. Prior to her public service, she served for twenty years as Vanderbilt's Director of University Mail Services.
Nationally, Senator Gilmore serves as a board member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, National Council of State Legislators (NCSL), and a member of the Executive Board of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
Senator Gilmore has received numerous awards. Most recently, she received the SAGE Award, the Academy of Women of Achievement, presented by the YWCA and nominated for the Athena Award.

Pastor Prada HeadshotAlfonso 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.

Brooks Griffin HeadshotBrooks Griffin is an Inspirational Speaker & Youth Advocate that delivers empowering presentations, workshops, and trainings on youth success, overcoming adversity, and mental health awareness.
Growing up in Milwaukee, Brooks Griffin was faced with many toxic experiences such as having divorced parents, fighting depression & anxiety, and graduating high school by the skin of his teeth,
Brooks uses real experiences, learned lessons, and evidence-based approaches to motivate each group to experience their full significance & potential! He has delivered hundreds of presentations and has spoken to over 5,000 young leaders in 5 states through workshops, youth conferences, retreats, assemblies, and other student events.
While Brooks loves engaging with our future leaders and inspiring students, he loves traveling, playing basketball, reading and spending time with his two daughters. They live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Judge Walker HeadshotJudge Walker, a graduate of Fisk University and the University of Toledo College of Law, served as an Assistant Public Defender and Assistant District Attorney General. She was elected as Justice of the General Sessions Court, Division IV, taking the bench in August 2014. Judge Walker currently serves in this role, acting as one of three judges that preside over the court's domestic violence cases, as well as presiding over Environmental Court. She is the third woman of color elected in Davidson County General Sessions Court and is the third woman to president over Division IV.
Judge Walker is a member of the Nashville Bar Association; the Napier Looby Bar Association, serving as a past president; the Lawyers' Association for Women; the National Association of Women Judges; and is an emeritus member of the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court, among other professional organizations. 
She was awarded the Honorable Justice A.A. Birch Award for Outstanding Service by the Napier Looby Bar Foundation in 2015. Davidson Country Democratic Women nominated Judge Walker as their ATHENA nominee in 2015, was recognized by her alma mater as a Fisk University of Prominence in 2016, and in 2017, she was recognized as one of 100 Influential African-Americans in Davidson County. Most recently, she was awarded the Tennessee State University Women of Legend and Merit Award in 2020 and the 2021 Nashville Business Journal's Women of Influence Award.
Judge Walker has been recognized for her prolific work in the community to raise awareness and education around issues of domestic violence, her work supporting and mentoring women and girls, as well as her work and engagement with a number of civic organizations.

Desiree Cocroft HeadshotDesiree 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.

Judge Derek Mosley HeadshotDerek 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.

Celeste Cuffie HeadshotCeleste'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.