Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Women's Day 2015 Rev. Michele Watkins-Branch - May 17th

Rev. Michele Watkins Branch is a pastor-scholar-activist bred in the United Methodist Church and the Black freedom movement tradition.

Rev. Michele is a proud product of the Maceo D. Pembroke, Sr. Memorial Institute for Ministerial Recruitment and Leadership Development where she answered her call to ministry at the age of 16, and for which she now serves as Dean. On June 10, 2014, Rev. Michele was commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the Northern IL Conference of the United Methodist Church and appointed to SBC-21 (Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century).

As a part of her appointment to SBC-21, Rev. Michele has been locally deployed as a Clergy Intern to St. Mark United Methodist Church, Chicago IL where here ministry focuses on the spiritual formation of youth, young adults, and single parent families. Before pastoral ministry, Rev. Michele worked for over 8 years as a community organizer under her mentor, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and spent the last 2 years of her tenure at Rainbow PUSH as the National College Director for PUSH Excel. She has worked as the Youth Pastor at Morgan Park UMC in Chicago, as an educator in the DC Public Charter Schools.

Rev. Michele holds a Master of Divinity degree (Theta Alpha Kappa) from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Howard University in Washington, DC (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude); and a Certification in Non-Profit Management from Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University.

Wedded to both the church and the academy, as an extension of her pastoral ministry, Rev. Michele is working toward the completion of her PhD at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in the area of Theological, Historical, and Ethical Studies. Her dissertation research focuses on constructing a holistic understanding of Christian salvation that is both spiritually and materially redemptive, particularly in a culture of violence.

Rev. Michele is married to Rev. Marlan D. Branch, the Senior Pastor at River of Life AME Church in Milwaukee, WI whom she proudly confesses as her soul mate and life partner in ministry. Rev. Michele is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Women's History Month Speaker March 22, 2015 - Dr. Geri Palmer

Dr. Geraldine (Geri) Palmer is the former executive director of North Side Housing and Supportive Services (formerly Lakeview Shelter) in the Chicago community of Lakeview. Holding a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from National Louis University and a M.S. in Human Services Administration from Spertus College, Dr. Palmer has been instrumental in helping a number of community and faith-based organizations in Chicago’s inner city advance social justice and equity for nearly 20 years with over 15 of those years in housing and homelessness.

She was highlighted in National Louis University’s Alumni Magazine in 2013, nominated for a Roman Nomitch Fellowship Award in 2012, received a Women Making History recognition award in 2007, and featured in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine in 2005.

South Suburban PADS (SSPADS) is the largest provider of homeless services in the Chicago Southland. “While the real effort is to end homeless altogether, SSPADS recognizes that this will take time, viable housing options with case management support, and continued emergency shelter operations,” said Reverend Henry H. Roberts, chairman of the board for SSPADS. “The board of directors unanimously agreed that Palmer’s unparalleled track record in the fight to end homelessness makes her ideally suited to lead South Suburban PADS.”

Dr. Palmer is the author of a self-published book, “The Brightness of Your Dawn: Moving From Survivor to Soldier,” which was a “Finalist” in Midwest Book Review’s Book of the Year Award in 2007; the author of several articles including, “Dissecting the Killing of Trayvon Martin: The Power Factor” published in the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology, and “Community Psychology: A New Paradigm in Leading Nonprofits” published in The Community Psychologist. Dr. Palmer has presented at numerous conferences on housing and community psychology. She has been interviewed by Leah Hope and Michelle Gallardo of Channel 7-ABC News on issues related to homelessness and appeared as a guest on City Voices Public Affairs Radio Show and The Grady Davis Radio Show.

Dr. Palmer shared, “I am honored to be the next executive director of SSPADS and look forward to leading this fine agency in this next step of the journey in what the team and I are calling Act Two.”

The above is taken from The Regional and copyrights belong to that entity as the source.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Women's History Month Speaker March 15, 2015 - Cynthia Revels Young

Cynthia's life experience includes being the only child of loving parents Ulysses and Gabriella Revels. As a young girl, she was constantly reminded by her civil servant parents that service to others, educational obtainment, a love of self and love of God should be the hallmarks of your life. Cynthia in turn added her own, the Fifth Commandment; Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Educationally, Cynthia is the product of a Chicago experience: St. Edmunds, Longwood Academy, Illinois State and Roosevelt University, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. Despite her vast educational achievement, Cynthia remains a hand on practitioner, often describing her life's passion as a mission. In 2005, School District 157 honored  Cynthia as its first Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Her many years as a Special Education teacher and now administrator, were recognized as a mark of excellence. She not only inspires others by her work ethic, but has taken on the personal responsibility of being guardian to her special cousin Paul.

Cynthia believes in the message of Isaiah 11:6, the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a child shall lead them.

She joinedthe congregation of Martin Temple as a young girl. Her mother soon followed with her father coming later. She currently serves as the Chicago District President of the Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society and is a candidate for General Superintendent of the Buds of Promise Juvenile Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Other ecumenical affiliations include World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women, Church Women United, and National Council of Negro Women.

The best measurement of a person's commitments is to gauge their passions. Cynthia has embarked on a mission to raise the specter and ravages of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes. To her own sisters and brothers in the missionary, she sends challenges to them to become involved in winning the the world for Christ. And no bio of Cynthia would be complete without including her passion for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority incorporated and her long standing relationship with her book club "In the Company of My Sisters".

Women's History Month Speaker March 1, 2015 - Dr. Felicia Blasingame, Ed.D

A native Chicagoan and former resident of public housing for 23 years (Abbot Homes and Robert Taylor Homes) Dr. Felicia Y. Blasingame pulled herself up by her bootstraps and now heads one of the most effective human service agencies on the South Side of Chicago: South Central Community Services, Inc., now celebrating forty-five (45) years of involvement in improving the lives of community residents.

Dr. Blasingame worked her way up through the ranks of South Central, beginning in August 1979 as a teacher of emotionally disturbed and learning disabled students. She also served as a Learning Disabilities Specialist, Special Education Administrator and Associate Executive Director in Charge of All Programmatic Affairs prior to being named President/Chief Executive Officer in July 1990.

During her 35 year tenure, Dr. Blasingame has contributed greatly to the growth of South Central from a special education school for emotionally and behaviorally disordered youth to a major human service agency, offering fourteen programs and services from four facilities and ten senior satellite facilities. An effective and enthusiastic leader, Dr. Blasingame has successfully promoted and advanced its Mission by responding to community needs with the expansion of programs, services and facilities, and by forming strong relationships with community leaders and organizations.

Dr. Blasingame's academic credentials include a diploma from DuSable High School, Bachelor's degree in elementary education from DePaul University, master's Degree in special education from Chicago State University, Doctorate degree in educational administration from Nova (Southeastern) University and Clinical Massage Therapist Certification from Sawyer College. She has enhanced her educational background with academic training, practical teaching and administrative expeience via attendance in workshops and lectures. Dr. Blasingame is the president of "Together Everyone Achieves More" (T.E.A.M.) Consulting, and conducts workshops in Effective Leadership, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Youth Development, and Stress Management.

Her civic affiliations include appointments by Governors Quinn, Blagodevich, and Ryan to the Illinois African American Family Commission and appointment by Governor Edgar to membership on the Commission for Guardianship and Advocacy. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Chatham Business Association, is a member of the Greater Chatham Youth Advisory Committee, and is a founding member serving on the Federation of African American Agencies (Chicago Community Trust) and next Level Health Partners. She also has been selected by Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, to serve on the Charitable Advisory Council.

Dr. Blasingame formerly served on the Board of Directors of the HOPE foundation, the Black Executive Directors Coalition, the Illinois African American Coalition for Prevention, the DuSable Museum of African American History, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. She has served as a former member of the Illinois State Committee of North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the African American Affairs Council of the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer, the Executive Committee of the Phi Delta Kappa Sorority, and the Illinois Affiliation of Private Schools for Exceptional Children. She was a past President of the Illinois Council for Children with Behavior Disorders and past Chairperson of the Advisory Ambassador Committee, United Way, Crusade of Mercy.

Among the honors bestowed on Dr. Blasingame are the "Woman At The Top Of The Game" Award presented by America's Time Out for Youth; Mary Herrick Humanitarian Award, National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Citation Award; South Central Community Services, Inc. "Promises Fulfilled" Longevity Award; the Kizzy Image Service and Achievement Award; the Bethune Tubman Award presented by the Black Woman's Hall of Fame; the Ambassador of Mercy Service Award. presented by United Way Crusade of Mercy; the Humanitarian Service Award, presented by the Mazalene Roberts Towner Scholarship Foundation; the Umoja/Unity Award presented by WVON-AM; the Phenomenal Woman Award presented by the V Expo for Today's Black Woman; the Rising Star Award presented by ABJ Community Services; the Outstanding Service Award presented by the Chatham Business Association as well as the Public Service Award and the Leadership/Youth Direction Award, presented by the Chatham/Avalon Community Council. She has also received the Exemplary Support Award presented by Black on Black Love; and the Leadership Award presented by the Illinois Africn American Coalition for Prevention. in addition, her name appears in "Who's Who in American Education" and in the "International Who's Who of Professionals". Dr. Blasingame has been honored as one of Chicago's "50 Top Women of Excellence" by the Chicago Defender.

Dr. Blasingame is the wife of Zachary Blasingame and the mother of one daughter, Chloe.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Black History Month Speaker February 22, 2015 - Mr. Paul King

Contractor and CEO of UBM, Inc., Paul King was born September 6, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois. Raised in a business-minded family, King attended St. Anselm Elementary School. Graduating from Mayor Daley's alma mater, DeLaSalle High School, in 1956, King went on ti the University of Chicago to study chemistry, the University of Illinois for construction management and pursued graduate studies in political science from Roosevelt University.

Working his way through college, King's part time paint contracting work exploded into a full time business. He then faced the reality that the city rarely awarded jobs to black contractors. Keenly aware that public contracts were necessary for growth, King began to organize other black contractors. He became executive director of the United Builders Association of Chicago in 1969 and a national officer in the National Association of Minority Contractors. In association with the Builders Association of Chicago and the University of Illinois, King developed two courses in construction management for minority contractors. He spearheaded two national meetings that involved hundreds of  contractors and a working alliance with
Congressman Parren Mitchell.

As a faculty member of Advanced Management Research-International, King lectures on affirmative action issues. He has also been a contract compliance officer for the United States Department of Labor. Today, King is the Chairman and CEO of UBM Construction with over 100 employees and contracts worth up to a billion dollars. He is also chairman of founder of the O'Hare Development Group.

Travelling to twenty-four states and over forty cities to speak about the plight of minority contractors, King's economic and political views are published in Black Scholar, Emerge Magazine, and Black Enterprise. He is also a lecturer at Roosevelt University in African Studies and contemporary black issues. King lives in Chicago with his wife LoAnn.

Black History Month Speaker February 8, 2015 - Todd Stroger

On February 8th Sherman was pleased to welcome former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, who graciously stood in for Alderman Howard Brookins who was unable to attend due to last minute difficulties.

Todd H. Stroger grew up on the South Side of Chicago and attended St Felicitas Elementary School before going on to St. Ignatius High School. Stroger attended Xavier University of Louisiana, the alma mater of his father, former Cook County Board President John Stroger, Jr. He then began his career of public service in the office of Cook County’s chief judge. Stroger worked as an investment banker at SBK Brooks before serving as a state representative from 1992 to 2001 and as alderman of the 8th Ward from 2001 until 2006.  Todd succeeded his father as Cook County Board President in 2006 and held that position until 2010.

A "Fun Fact" provided by the Cook County Clerk's office: When he ran for state representative, Stroger’s friend and fellow Xavier alumna Jeanine volunteered for his campaign. They later married and have two children.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Omar Brown - Black History Month Speaker - February 15, 2015

Omar was raised by C. Louise Brown (former Director of Health for the City of Evanston), with a passion towards serving the community of Evanston. Omar is a graduate of both Evanston Township High School and Chute Middle School. He resides in the 8th ward of Evanston with his wife Tanya (nee Jones), and their three children, Destini a senior at ETHS, Faith a fifth grader at Oakton, and Omar Jr “OJ” a student at the Child Care Center of Evanston.

Omar has been involved with many organizations within the community of Evanston: Chessmen Club of the North Shore, Second Baptist Church, and basketball coach with the Fellowship of African American Men (FAAM), a former steering committee member for the McGaw YMCA Achievers Program, and a former member of the Y.O.U. board.

Omar Brown joined the Chicago Transit Authority initially as the General Manager of Diversity in September 2012. Omar’s responsibilities included enhancing CTA’s commitment to diversity, equal opportunity, and a workplace free of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation as the General Manager of Diversity.  Within eight months in May of 2013, CTA promoted Omar to the title of Vice President of Human Resources.  Omar is responsible for leading the talent management, HR services, HR operations, and employee programs departments at the CTA.

Omar began his career in benefits working for two of the largest benefit consulting companies in the US, Hewitt Associates and Towers Perrin Consulting. He also gained experience in asset management (pension funds) and public finance with General Board of Pension and Illinois Housing Development Authority. Omar served as a Diversity Manager with both The City of Chicago’s Office of Compliance and The University of Illinois’s Office of Business and Financial Services prior to joining CTA.

Omar has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Northeastern Illinois University, a Master’s of Business Administration from Loyola University, and a Master of Arts Degree in Public Policy from Northwestern University.

Omar is committed to the community of Evanston.