Alpha Rho Chapter Alumni Association's Summer/Fall 2021 Digest
"A Fighter And A Gentleman -- Gordon Greenwood (Spring 1984) Is Known For His Civility, But He'll Go To The Mat In The Hunt For Justice"
By RJ Smith www.superlawyers.com
Growing up in small-town Mississippi, Gordon Greenwood was immersed in a culture of Southern hospitality. A job offer lured him westward 33 years ago, and though he encountered many differences in his new locale, he says his Oakland neighbors have at least one thing in common with those in his hometown. “They are driven to make life better for others. There’s a lot of that here,” he says. “People care a little more about who you are substantively. … There’s a big premium on being genuine.”
Making life better for others is what he tries to do every day at Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood in Oakland, where he has worked for 23 of the firm’s 46 years. Its focus is on representing working people suffering from mesothelioma and other effects of longtime exposure to asbestos. “I’m fighting for somebody’s life,” Greenwood says. “They’re six months from leaving all of the troubles of the world, and I’ve got a company saying, ‘We don’t want to pay that much money because that’s gonna hurt our bottom line.’ Those two sides of the table are not even close to being equal. That keeps you going.”
Greenwood wasn’t originally drawn to personal injury law. In 1988, when he graduated from George Washington University Law School, the savings and loan crisis was in full force. Banking law—on paper—looked appealing. Greenwood moved to the Bay Area to work in a bank’s legal department. But after about a year, the weekly three-hour case review meetings had him reevaluating his course. He was bored.
A friend, Douglas Rappaport, had just taken a job at the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, and Greenwood decided to watch him in court one day. Not only did it resonate, it activated a passion.
“I was really moved by the idea of making a difference in people’s lives,” he says. “It helped me figure out why I went to law school.”
Pictured above: Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama straightens Brother Greenwood's tie at a 2008 fundraiser at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty in San Francisco, California.
Rappaport has fond memories of working with his friend, who he says is never not in a suit and tie. The entire time they worked at the public defender’s office, “Gordon never raised his voice,” Rappaport says. “He just has common courtesy and is a very good listener. “When you come from Los Angeles like I do, you tend to be frenetic. But he is from the South,” Rappaport says. “Gordon takes it all in before acting on it. He’s the true definition of a gentleman. And those are the qualities that make him such a fabulous attorney.”
When Frank Fernandez, a mentor at the public defender’s office, moved to Kazan McClain, he recruited Greenwood. To his surprise, the public defense skills were transferable, Greenwood says, noting that the concept is really the same: “Somebody says, ‘Hey, I have this problem,’ and you have a chance to help them and chip away at some of the structures that allow large institutions to win.”
For his first six months at the firm, Greenwood says he had trouble finding his footing. Then he got a chance to start on a case right from the introductory call, and it was transformative. Direct contact with clients brought him to life. The woman who called was the widow of a man who had worked at a Chevron refinery in working-class Richmond. For years, he was unknowingly bringing asbestos particles home from his job, and after he died, his wife developed mesothelioma. It all clicked for Greenwood: “You represent people who need help.”
In the last few years, his firm has won major verdicts against Johnson & Johnson for selling baby powder containing talc contaminated with asbestos. These lawsuits have put the firm in the news, but it’s the smaller cases that really stick with Greenwood. “It’s the individual,” he says. “To do something that has real impact on a person’s or family’s life—to me that’s bigger than anything else.”
📸 Pictured above: The Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood team in Oakland, California.
One day in 2017 he drove out to meet a new client—a retiree who worked for a decade in the engine rooms of Navy ships. The Oakland apartment building he lived in was dilapidated, the doors didn’t close properly, and he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. “He had done the dirtiest, nastiest work in the world. And, from the look of things, he had never gotten compensated much.” The man was sick, and Greenwood suspected it had to do with asbestos from the ships.
“Unfortunately, he didn’t live to bring it to the jury,” says Greenwood. But after a high seven-figure settlement was reached, “we were able to change the trajectory of [his] family’s life,” says Greenwood. “That was powerful.”
On a recent Friday, Greenwood is working his pandemic hybrid schedule, having put in some office time and some Zoom time with clients. He has just returned to the East Bay from a quick visit to his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, to visit his 86-year-old mom. “I just check in to make sure she’s OK,” he says. Mississippi’s Southern hospitality is for real, he says; you can feel it, even in casual conversation. But lean too far into those conversations and they can become very polarized.
“Mississippi has this history on race, and it strikes me every time I go back,” he says. Meridian, he points out, was where civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner were visiting when they were murdered just outside of town in 1964—an event that galvanized the movement and the country. It was a “comfortably segregated small town” Greenwood says, when he was growing up. His dad was a civilian employee at the local Naval base and his mom taught school. The family lived in a neighborhood stocked with the teachers who taught him at school—a major reason “there was a high degree of accountability all over the neighborhood,” he says. There was a “built-in ethos that the community put a lot into you and you had a responsibility to achieve.”
A high school athlete, Greenwood was offered a football scholarship as a wide receiver to Mississippi Valley State, where fellow Mississippian Jerry Rice would go a year or two later. Greenwood jokes that Rice might not have become a superstar if Greenwood had taken that scholarship. But the truth is Greenwood was interested in academics, and put sports largely aside when he arrived at Morehouse College.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Greenwood's line Brother Dr. Rahn K. Bailey, far left, is pictured at a Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (Boulé) event in April, 2020.
Rahn Kennedy Bailey, assistant dean of clinical education at UCLA’s Charles R. Drew University of Medicine in Los Angeles, became good friends with Greenwood at college. “Once a week we went to a Wendy’s, [could] barely afford to order French fries, and we’d sit there talking for two or three hours,” Bailey recalls. “He was a very mature guy who was older than his chronological age.” They were in Alpha Phi Alpha together. “He was the most humble, modest and clear-thinking,” Bailey says. “It was Greenwood who kept the rest of us in good stead.”
Greenwood and Bailey still get together when they can, and they encourage each other to work out. Greenwood, who is very health-conscious, runs the steps of Joaquin Miller Park and bikes to stay in shape. He lives in Hayward, and enjoys visiting the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma on weekends with his wife, Tamika, with whom he has a blended family of four children, ages 19 to 28, as well as his 9-year-old nephew.
When he gets going, Greenwood likes to tell stories—in even tones. His favorites include stories about the flurry of pro bono work he’s picked up recently, much of it from the local Black community. “I’ve developed a soft spot for elder financial abuse work especially,” he says. He relates how the niece of “a smart 93-year-old woman” approached Greenwood to help fend off lawsuits after credit card purchases piled up; but after some investigation, Greenwood realized most of the debt was accrued after the niece showed up. Greenwood wound up representing the aunt to help her protect the rest of her savings.
Greenwood is also busy helping his firm bring in a new generation of lawyers. He interviews students fresh out of law school, some of whom want to know, “Do you work evenings and weekends? Is there overtime?" He tells them, “When you work with somebody who is depressed and just been told they’re gonna leave this earth in six months—if that doesn’t motivate you to get up and fight the company who knew their products were dangerous, then nothing will. “It’s that fight that motivates you—and if it doesn’t, this isn’t the right job for you.”
📸 Pictured above: Brother Greenwood is pictured alongside then-Presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Ann Warren, the senior United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
While working at the San Francisco public defender’s office, Gordon Greenwood had a brush with future fame—a prosecutor named Kamala Harris. (He also later met candidate Barack Obama while fundraising for his presidential campaign.) “Yeah, I know Kamala well,” Greenwood says. In his last few years as a public defender, Harris, who grew up in Oakland, moved from the Alameda County DA office to the San Francisco DA’s office. Greenwood met her there, then kept running into her at political and social events.
He kidded her with a prediction: One day she would run for the DA’s office. When she did, victoriously, he kidded that she was destined to run for state attorney general. “She didn’t say anything,” he recalls. “Just smiled.” After she became a U.S. senator and was running for president, they met at an event and he laughed. No more predictions. “None of this surprises me,” he says. “She’s a smart, driven woman trying to do the right thing.”
Inspired Philanthropy: David (Fall 1974) And Linda Ballard, Profiled
Dr. E. David Ballard and his wife Linda both grew up in homes where giving back came naturally. People helped out when they could, it was a sense of responsibility. As they raised their family and achieved career success, the Ballards began to notice a trend of promising, accomplished students having to leave school over financial constraints. As their families had always done, they wanted to help out.
In 2018 they established the E. David and Linda C. Ballard Family Foundation Scholarship, focused on helping minority juniors and seniors at Atlanta-area colleges overcome financial barriers in order to graduate. In the first year, a total of $40,000 in scholarships were awarded to 14 students, helping to ease some financial stress so that students can focus on their course work. The Ballards’ adult children and their spouses are part of the application review process, which includes an in-person interview where at least one Ballard family member is present.
“We want the students to see us and meet us,” Dr. Ballard said. “We aren’t just some anonymous funding source, we are here to let them know we care, and that we want them to succeed. We hope our efforts inspire them to pay it forward in the future.” Linda Ballard shared that “We had no idea so many students were leaving school because they had exhausted all other financial avenues. The people who can be so instrumental in framing our futures were falling out of the system."
📸 Prior to the establishment of his own namesake scholarship foundation, Brother Ballard made history as the lead donor in the establishment of the Alpha Rho Chapter Endowed Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College.
"After A Pandemic Pause, Pickup Basketball Players (Jordan D. Lindsay -- Fall 2013) Share Communion On The Court"
Pictured above: Brother Jordan Drew Lindsay, at right, laces up for the return of every Saturday morning basketball at Joslyn Park in Santa Monica, California.
By Donovan X. Ramsey Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
As 10 a.m. approaches, the men saunter out onto the basketball court at Joslyn Park in Santa Monica, ready for a pickup game. Or three or four. They stretch and don protective gear. Kirkland Lynch has a guard on his left knee and a brace on his right ankle. There are no illusions here. Not only are their high school and college teams a memory, but COVID-19 has kept them off the court for the better part of a year.
They are sluggish, taking careful jump shots as they start to warm up. But on this sunny Saturday in June, it just doesn’t matter. Basketballs thump against backboards. The rhythm grows louder and faster as the minutes pass. At long last, they’re back at Joslyn Park. Together. And that’s as important as the game itself.
“Everybody’s always looking for a good run, especially as young Black professionals,” said Jermaine McMihelk, an asset manager from Compton and one of the OGs, who started playing at Joslyn Park about five years ago.
“You want to play with folks that you feel like they have something to lose,” he said, “who aren’t trying to fight over the foul, who just came to have a good time.” For this group of men, the basketball court at Joslyn Park is a sanctuary — a space that provides undisturbed fellowship, sometimes networking opportunities, and a healthy outlet for the week’s frustration. They’ve gathered at the quiet court — their best kept secret — for years now and built a community along the way. Although their pickup games were put on hold by pandemic and lockdown, they’ve finally returned to their Saturday routine. And they have their sanctuary back.
The main attractions at Joslyn Park are the playground, a small field where groups of women exercise, and the dog park where people congregate near benches and talk while their dogs mill around. It’s a sleepy neighborhood attraction — except for Saturdays, when this small group of guys from all over Los Angeles converge on the sole court. Gameplay is quick, intense and physical. A sort of muscle memory kicks in with tipoff, and the teams are suddenly darting up and down the court. They jostle one another, shove and reach and grab to get to the basket.
There’s shouting as plays are called out. There’s swearing from the more passionate players. But they try to keep things gentlemanly. After all, there’s a playground just a few feet away. The court at Joslyn Park is a great run, McMihelk said. It’s quiet. It’s equally accessible to guys coming from South L.A. but also other areas such as Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Silver Lake, where a few of them live. But more than anything, he says it’s the camaraderie that makes the run special. They catch up between games, share news and discuss business. Right now, the hot topic on the sidelines is cryptocurrency.
“I’m so busy during the week that I don’t have time to do a lot of stuff. I want to do that every Saturday, though. That might be the highlight of my week,” McMihelk said. “It’s our golf course,” said Lynch, an attorney who’s also played at the court for years. “We get out there and talk shop — everything from investments to politics to sports, or just joking around. Those are our Saturday sessions where we debate and talk and, you know, congregate.” It was all good until COVID hit.
The L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation maintains 92 public basketball courts. The indoor facilities closed in mid-March of 2020. All other sports recreation areas, including basketball courts, were closed weeks later. Santa Monica had a coordinated response, closing its nine courts, including the one at Joslyn Park, March 12. Still, not even the threat of COVID could keep some people off the court. Parks workers had enough instances of chasing people off closed courts and playgrounds that the department eventually decided to take the rims down.
Micah Akerson is the principal community services supervisor for Santa Monica. He oversees sports operations in facilities across the city and says shutting down took a lot of work and was surprisingly emotional. “It felt so weird," Akerson said. "It’s not something we like to do. We like to fill the facilities but, in this case, we had to do the opposite to keep everybody safe.”
Among the guys who played in Joslyn Park, the response to COVID was mixed. McMihelk and Lynch just stopped playing, deciding it was best to wait until the pandemic was over. Others held on. A few courts were open during the shutdown, but their vibes weren’t the same as the Joslyn Park run — their locations didn’t work for everybody, or the people who played on them already had their own games and systems in place.
Jonathan Wall moved to Los Angeles during the pandemic and struggled to find a safe, open court. Then, one day in December, while getting his car detailed in East L.A., he happened to spot a court. For a few weeks, Wall just went out there by himself and put up shots. Eventually, he wanted to invite friends, including McMihelk, who he knew from his undergrad years, and Lynch, who he met in law school. Wall is tall-ish and wiry, with a full beard and a ready smile. He’s a North Carolina transplant and a basketball fanatic.
One friend he brought to the game was Jordan Lindsay, another newcomer, who moved to Los Angeles in May 2019. Over the years, Lindsay’s job had him ping-ponging among Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York City. Along the way, he could never find a consistent basketball court, one of the few places he feels at home. “The only times, since I’ve been out here that I’ve felt super comfortable is while playing basketball,” Lindsay said. “I’ve always been somebody who has anxiety in larger social settings, but basketball is different; I don’t really have to say a lot or get too deep. “The court just brings a sense of peace, and you can find your place on it without any problems. When Jon hit me up, I was like ‘Alright, perfect.'”
Wall kept everyone connected and motivated to play during the long months of the shutdown. He brought guys over to East L.A. from Santa Monica, then to another court in Highland Park. He tried to keep the spirit of the sidelines alive via group chats.
Pictured above: Some of the African American professionals who fellowship together on the basketball court every Saturday morning at Joslyn Park.
The friends mostly stuck to one-on-one games, small games, or they shot baskets alone as they figured out the safest way forward. All the while, vaccines were rolling out in California. They had to discuss who among them was getting vaccinated, who was socially distanced out in the world, who would play in a mask. Asking for vaccine cards was bad court etiquette, it seemed, so they ultimately decided to go by an honor system. That meant everyone would act responsibly in their everyday lives and not come to the court if they had symptoms. Today, most have been vaccinated.
Outdoor courts finally reopened April 16, and the guys — the original crew from Santa Monica, Wall and his group — have been playing back at Joslyn Park since the first Saturday after. That they’re already a few Saturdays into their schedule shows their commitment to the ritual, their eagerness to get back to it, and just how much they get out of playing the game. “Not too long ago, I was at Ocean View Park and saw a guy on the court shooting. I said something to him about how nice it was to have the courts back, and I think he yelled something like ‘freedom.’ We both were really happy,” said Akerson from the city of Santa Monica.
It took a lot of patience and careful coordination on all parts to get back to the game. The result of that hard work is the perfect Saturday morning, win or lose. The guys are rusty after a year without consistent play. They have less energy, for now, and it takes a little longer to find their individual and collective grooves. Still, they play with intensity and rip through four games before noon. By then, they’re sweaty and breathing heavily. “It all came back together so quickly,” McMihelk said. “It went from this huge void to, once the vaccine rolled out and everybody was comfortable, we picked up like we never left.”
📸 Brother Jordan Lindsay describes himself as: "... an entertainment professional telling compelling stories through the lens of film and television. Creative Coordinator at Gidden MediaLLC in Los Angeles, California which is currently in a Joint Venture with MRC Films to produce feel-good feature content for audiences 50+ (A la 'Something's Gotta Give', 'Book Club', 'Terms of Endearment', & 'Red'). I support Gidden Media's Head of Development in pursuit of sourcing compelling stories for our core audience."
Citizens Trust Bank Welcomes C. Howie Hodges II (Spring 1980) As A Citizens Bancshares Corporation Board Director
Citizens Bancshares Corporation, CBC, parent company of Citizens Trust Bank officially announced the appointment C. Howie Hodges, II to its board of directors. Appointed as the eighth Board member, Mr. Hodges brings decades of experience in the discovery and development of high-performing public and private companies. His counsel and expertise bring added value to the board and the board's commitment to enhancing the community, its customers and stakeholders. His input will be significant as the Bank plans for the next phase of growth.
Hodges currently serves as CEO of CH Hodges, Inc., which provides political and reputational risk analysis and community impact strategy for Fortune 500 companies and community equity funders. Hodges also served as president and board member of Zions Community Investment Company, a CDFI and has held senior executive level management roles at Bank of America, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and also served as Group Director for the American Bankers Association, the nation's oldest and largest banking lobbying association, providing policy recommendations on a range of Congressional and regulatory rulemaking legislation impacting financial institutions.
📸 Pictured above: (L-R) C. Howie Hodges, Elizabeth Jackson Hodges, Mali Music and David Waite are seen at the premier of Harry Lennix's Film Revival!, a gospel musical based on the Book of John, at the Museum of The Bible on December 04, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
"We believe Mr. Hodges' varied business experience and diverse skill set in strategic public/private partnerships, external affairs, and political and reputational risk expertise, are valuable to the Board and qualifies him to serve as a director," said Ray Robinson, Chairman of the CBC Board. Cynthia N. Day, Citizens Trust Bank president and CEO, "Mr. Hodges joins us at an exciting time as we continue to drive growth, cultivate deeper relationships with our customers and pursue innovation that will enhance our digital footprint and transform our Company for generations to come.
His addition complements our board of directors' skills and experience and he has already made a difference in facilitating valuable relationships," concluded Day. "I am excited to join the Citizens Bancshares Corporation Board," stated Hodges. "I look forward to working alongside fellow Board members and the management team to continue a vision started 100 years ago to provide access to financial services that meet the needs of all communities, particularly communities of color."
Celebrating 100 years in the community, Citizens Trust Bank remains committed to providing personalized service and financial solutions to meet the growing needs of the community. Through a legacy built on economic equality and well-being, we go beyond meeting the needs of offering banking solutions; our mission is to empower our customers and future generations for financial success. The bank takes pride in offering its financial solutions throughout metropolitan-Atlanta and Birmingham and Eutaw, Alabama.
📸 Within the broader Morehouse College alumni ranks, Brother Hodges took his commitment to “The House” seriously when he created a trademarked design for a signature watch to be exclusively worn by the formidable Morehouse Man. These Hodges Watch Company (HWCo) watches are an élite and limited Morehouse College collection where only 350 were offered for sale. Morehouse College receives a percentage of all sales through an approved licensing arrangement. Hodges shared, “I have a passion for watches, and I wanted to design and manufacture a “collectable timepiece” that could be passed down from generation-to-generation of Morehouse men and to help my Alma Mater and have fun doing so. And, to remind me of the momentous years I spent on campus.”
Brother Ralph B. Everett (Fall 1970) Receives Charles S. Rhyne Award For Professional Achievement From Duke Law
The Charles S. Rhyne award was established in 1994 to recognize graduates whose careers exemplify the highest standards of professionalism, personal integrity, and commitment to education or community service.
Ralph B. Everett has four decades of leadership experience in politics and public policy in the nation’s capital having served in key leadership positions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Named by Ebony magazine as one of the country’s “150 Most Influential African Americans,” Mr. Everett has worked on a daily basis with America’s leading policymakers, business enterprises, advocacy organizations and the civil rights community on a broad range of economic, regulatory and corporate social responsibility issues. He began his Washington career in 1977 by serving as Legislative Assistant to United States Senator Ernest Hollings of South Carolina.
In 1982, he became the first African American to head a U.S. Senate committee staff when he was appointed to serve as Democratic Staff Director and Minority Chief Counsel for the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. When Senate Democrats won majority control four years later, he became Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the full committee, where he played a pivotal role in cable, broadcast and common carrier legislative reforms, as well as regulatory reform of the airline, truck, railway and bus industries.
📸 Pictured above: William Kennard, Chairman AT&T, Debra L. Lee, CEO BET Networks, and Brother Everett.
In 1989, Mr. Everett became the first African American partner at Paul Hastings LLP, a leading international law firm with offices worldwide, where for 17 years he specialized in telecommunications and transportation policy. He served as the Managing Partner of the Washington office, as co-chair of the firm’s Federal Legislative Practice Group and as a member of its Policy Committee.
Mr. Everett served for seven years as the President and CEO of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, widely acknowledged as the nation’s leading think tank for policy analysis and research on issues of concern to African Americans and other people of color. While there he expanded the organization’s research and influence into key policy areas – including telecommunications, broadband and energy and environmental – while strengthening the organization’s leadership on health policy issues. He has also served as Senior Industry and Innovation Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Business and Public Policy.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Everett, far right, engages with President Barack Obama during a 2013 meeting of prominent African American leaders at the White House. The discussion centered on the President's plans to strengthen the middle class and provide opportunities for those living in poverty, particularly African Americans and people of color.
Mr. Everett has received several key presidential appointments. In 2008, he served the incoming Obama Administration as co-chair of the Commerce Department Transition Team. He was appointed by President Clinton to his Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. President Clinton also appointed him as U.S. Ambassador to the International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference, following which he was chosen by the President to lead the U.S. Delegation to the Second World Telecommunication Development Conference in Malta, where representatives from 190 nations elected him vice chairman of the proceedings.
In 2020, he served as co-chair of the Biden/Harris Policy Subcommittee on Broadband, Telecom and Digital Equity. He has also been appointed by Virginia’s governor to serve as vice chair of the Commonwealth’s Waste Management Board and to its Science Museum Board.
📸 Mr. Everett is a member of the Economic Club of Washington, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He also served on the Duke University Law School’s Board of Visitors, and as vice chair of the board for Independent Sector, and as a board member of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Shenandoah Life Insurance Company, Star Scientific, the National Urban League, the Center for National Policy and Cumulus Media, Inc. He also chaired the Board of Trustees of the historic Alfred Street Church, one of the nation’s oldest African American Baptist Churches.
A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mr. Everett is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and earned a J.D. from Duke University Law School. He was also the recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Virginia State University.
Hybrid Theory Appoints Former Google And Publicis Exec Donald T. Moore (Fall 1979) As President And CEO Of North America
Global digital services partner to advertisers, Hybrid Theory, today announces the appointment of advertising industry veteran Don Moore as CEO and President of its U.S. operation. Don will drive the company’s vision and culture, oversee Hybrid Theory’s service offerings, manage the operations of the agency’s multiple U.S. offices while continuing to cultivate key client relationships, drive impact for clients across underserved industries and support Hybrid Theory’s accelerated growth strategy.
Ray Jenkin who has led the North American office since inception in 2017, and was one of the company’s founders, takes on the newly created position of Global Chief Advisory Officer leading strategic initiatives, M&A and partnerships to continue to support Hybrid Theory’s vision.
📸 Pictured above: Members of the Hybrid Theory US Team gather to bid farewell to departing CEO Ray Jenkin, and welcome to new CEO Don Moore.
With nearly three decades in the advertising industry at some of the most highly regarded organizations in the world, Moore is very much attuned to the challenges, needs and wants of agencies and brands as they navigate the complex digital advertising ecosystem. Patrick Johnson, global CEO of Hybrid Theory commented, “Despite a challenging year for us all, Hybrid Theory has seen exciting growth, including significant expansion in North America, a testament to Ray’s leadership. “I am delighted to welcome Don to the Hybrid Theory.
He brings highly valuable expertise as we look to build on this success and further strengthen our US partnerships in a variety of growth areas, from contextual to social. Our clients will benefit from his strategic thinking and breadth of experience, and our team will appreciate his leadership style. I look forward to partnering with him to grow our business and impact our culture.”
📸 Pictured above: A polaroid snapshot from an obviously legendary night, with L-R Sinbad, Frankie Beverly, George Clinton, Maxx Myrick, Brother Moore, Robert Kelly and Tom Joyner.
“Data is Hybrid Theory’s heart, the agency’s growth driver and our added value to solve our clients’ marketing challenges. In this position, I will focus on approaching the industry’s decision makers with the agency’s value proposition that allow us to help brands be relevant and efficient in their marketing and deepen ties with our clients. Patrick is the perfect person for this moment and I am confident that working together, side by side, will be the key to achieving the goals set for Hybrid Theory,” said Moore.
Most recently he served as Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Wise Collective, a full-service integrated marketing agency in NYC whose clients include FIA Formula E, ServiceMax, Quartile and The Game Day, among others. Previously, he served as President of Publicis’ Burrell Communication, one of the largest multi-cultural marketing agencies in the world. In his former role at Google, Moore was responsible for driving revenue beyond search, overseeing one of the largest agency holding company’s accounts in the Midwest and West.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Moore, at right, graces the cover of the April 11, 1997 Black Radio Exclusive Magazine during his tenure as SVP/General Manager of Chicago's WVAZ/V-103 FM radio network. The station's Operations Manager/Program Director Maxx Myrick is seated at left.
He also served as vice president of multicultural sales & marketing at ABC Radio; as senior vice president & general manager at iHeartMedia; and as Group Marketing Director at Johnson & Johnson. Moore received his BS in Mathematics from Morehouse College; a BEE in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and MBA in Marketing and Finance from The Wharton School.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Moore is pictured 2nd from the right on the bottom row with his Temerarious 25 (Fall 1979) line Brothers during their 40th anniversary during Morehouse College's homecoming in 2019. Additionally, he shares legacy status in Alpha Rho Chapter history with his father, Brother Dr. Donald T. Moore, Sr. (Fall 1951).
Terry Funeral Home (Bro. Gregory T. Burrell -- Spring 1987) Earns Membership In International Association
Terry Funeral Home Inc., recently earned membership in Selected Independent Funeral Homes, an international industry association. “We are pleased to welcome Terry Funeral Home Inc. to our association,” Selected Independent Funeral Homes Executive Director/CEO Robert J. Paterkiewicz said in a news release.
“Affiliation with Selected Independent Funeral Homes is considered an honor because of the high standards of funeral service that are required to receive an invitation to become a member.”
📸 Terry Funeral Home opened its first location in July 1938 in Pleasantville, N.J., expanding to a second location in Philadelphia in December 1938 which became the primary location for all business in 1943.
Paul S. Terry Jr. owned and operated Terry Funeral Home along with his wife and two sons until March 2000 when Gregory T. Burrell became the new president. Keeping with tradition, Burrell continues to serve as president and operates the business with his son maintaining the family business structure started by Paul S. Terry Sr.
Under Burrell’s leadership, Terry Funeral Home serves the community by donating to local churches and service organizations as well as sponsoring fundraisers for UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and yearly tickets for children to attend circus performances.
📸 The business has handled funeral services for some of Philadelphia’s legends and leaders including Billy Kyle, the piano player for Louis Armstrong’s Band; Paul Robeson, athlete, singer, actor and civil rights activist; Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first African-American woman to receive a doctorate in the U.S. and the first woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School; former U.S. Rep. Lucien Blackwell and C. DeLores Tucker, noted civil rights activist and president of the National Congress of Negro Women.
Founded in 1917 as National Selected Morticians, Selected Independent Funeral Homes is an international association of approximately 1,200 independent funeral service establishments. Membership in the association is by invitation and is extended only after a thorough review of character, service, performance and facilities.
📸 Pictured above: Both initiates of Alpha Rho Chapter, the younger Burrell at right, joined his father at their Philadelphia firm as Chief Operating Officer in 2016. Brother Jordan Burrell joined the fraternity in Fall 2013.
“As independently owned and operated firms, our members are truly vested in their communities,” Paterkiewicz said. “Terry Funeral Home Inc., like all our members, takes seriously their responsibility and dedication to providing the best possible funeral service to their friends and neighbors.”
Late In His Career, Renowned Dancer And Choreographer Alvin Ailey Forged Strong Connections In Kansas City, And Helped Found A Local Nonprofit. A New Documentary Tells His Story (Bro. Allan S. Gray II - Fall 1973)
Pictured above: Allan Gray attended a reception at the Black Archives of Mid-America on Thursday, ahead of the local premier of a new documentary about the life of his friend, the late choreographer, dancer and activist Alvin Ailey.
The first time Allan Gray met the world famous choreographer Alvin Ailey was in 1982, when Ailey was in Kansas City to perform at the Folly Theater. It was Gray’s job, as leader of a group selling tickets to the show, to take care of him while he was in town. “I, in fact, had not heard of Alvin, prior to learning that they were coming to Kansas City, so I was quite excited to meet this man who was, from all accounts, a genius,” Gray said. “And so we met at the airport, and had an immediate connection that lasted.”
Beginning in the 1950s, and continuing until his death in 1989, Ailey transformed American dance and used his deeply personal art to advance the cause of civil rights. Thanks to the relationship Gray and Ailey nurtured, Kansas City has some claim to Ailey's legacy, the nonprofit Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, which serves as the second home of the renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Gray and about 30 other Ailey fans gathered Thursday afternoon at the Black Archives of Mid-America, prior to making their way to the local premier of the documentary, “Ailey.” The film is directed by award-winning director Jamila Wignot, who, like Ailey in his time, made her way from New York to share her work with eager audiences in Kansas City, even for just one weekend.
“Kansas City and New York were the two,” she told the crowd. “If y’all liked it, I did a good job.” The new documentary’s local premier sold out more than a week in advance, but the AMC theater at Ward Parkway Center has additional showings throughout the week. If enough people purchase tickets this week, the run could be extended. “Kansas City welcomed Alvin for who he was,” said Gray. “We were more concerned or more focused on who he was as an individual, and that brought about the connection.”
📸 The Kansas City connection: The Harriman-Jewell Series first brought Ailey to Kansas City in 1968, but Ailey was born in a small town in segregated central Texas in 1931. At the age of 12 he moved to Los Angeles, and was introduced to dance by performances of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, according to his American Dance Theater biography.
In 1958, he founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City, “to carry out his vision of a company dedicated to enriching the American modern dance heritage and preserving the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience,” the website says.
According to Melanie Miller, CEO of KCFAA, the dancer and choreographer always had a fondness for Kansas City, “in part, because of our love for jazz.” He would go on to dedicate some of his work to famous Kansas City musicians, including “For ‘Bird’ — With Love,” for saxophonist Charlie Parker, and “Opus McShann,” for pianist Jay McShann.
A visionary artist who found salvation through dance, Alvin Ailey confronted a world that refused to embrace him and was determined to build one that would. Directed by Jamila Wignot, 'Ailey' is a feature-length portrait of the life and work of this brilliant, enigmatic and tenacious man. When Ailey began considering a second home for his dance company, civic leaders and arts organizations here urged him to consider Kansas City, and KCFAA was created in 1984.
Ailey died of AIDS in 1989, though it wasn’t revealed until later. The New York Times reported at the time that he suffered from "terminal blood dyscrasia, a rare disorder that affects the bone marrow and red blood cells." Upon his death, Ailey entrusted his personal papers to Gray, a collection that is now at the Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City. “There's a lot of pride that Alvin selected Kansas City to be the only second home to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater,” Miller said.
📸 Pictured above: Guests applauded for the KCFAA board members, Gala honorary co-chairmen and Gala co-chairmen in 2016. Brother Gray is at center in the group.
KCFAA presents Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in annual performances in Kansas City theaters, and, as a community arts educator, they help teach critical life skills through dance. Since 1989, the organization has hosted AileyCamp, which was designed to reach urban youth, using dance to develop self-esteem, discipline, critical thinking skills and creativity.
“We also do classes on personal development where we talk about suicide, we talk about drugs, we talk about sexual responsibility, we talk about conflict management. We talk about issues that affect middle schoolers,” Miller said. “It is a transformational camp.”
📸 Identity and race: Ailey did not discuss his thoughts on racism or other political issues overtly. Commentators noted throughout his career, though, that they seem to have found their way into his art. Wignot, the documentary director, recalls the first time she saw Ailey’s company perform. “There was an immediacy to it, there was beauty, and there was drama,” Wignot said. “It is a multi-racial company, but to see this kind of body of people doing these works just really floored me." For Miller, the film will provide a good opportunity to hear Ailey tell his own story. “Alvin Ailey was a very private person and everything that I've read about him, he was a quiet force,” she said. “I cannot wait to see the movie and be able to actually hear him speak.” The film, and the inner monologue it reveals, came about because of a series of audio recordings Ailey made during the last year of his life. While he prepared to write an autobiography, Ailey’s health was getting worse.
“Thinking about the memories that mattered most to him and the kind of things that he wanted to share in the last year of his life … that became the foundation for us,” the film’s director said at an event last month in New York.
📸 Pictured above: Kansas City Arts advocate Allan Gray takes a call inside the former Attucks School which will soon become the new Art Center And Chinese University.
Another reason Melanie Miller thinks the film might resonate now is because many of the challenges Alvin Ailey dealt with in the '50s still ring true. “He didn't really care about the color of your skin, he cared about the talent, the quality of the work that you did,” she said. “That's something that we need to continue to focus on, to create a seat at the table for everyone.”
Ice Miller Continues Public Affairs Growth:
Welcomes Partner Jarrod F. Loadholt (Fall 2002)
Ice Miller LLP today announced the addition of partner Jarrod Loadholt to its Public Affairs Team.
“Jarrod’s experience in both government and private practice, as well as through ownership of his own firm allows him to provide our clients with a unique and diverse perspective, which is the key to our success,” said Lawren Mills, chair of Ice Miller’s Public Affairs Group.
Jarrod previously served as the head of Credit Karma’s Washington, D.C. office as its first director of legislative and regulatory affairs. In this role, he led the company’s government affairs efforts and was responsible for the overall supervision, planning, organization and coordination of the company’s state and federal legislative and regulatory affairs strategy.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Loadholt (far left) participates in a panel discussion on opportunity zones in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2019.
In 2016, Jarrod co-founded a full-service public affairs firm specializing in federal and state government relations, public affairs, strategic communications and issue and electoral campaigns. As a principal of the firm, he developed and executed legislative, regulatory and procurement strategies for a diverse range of commercial, government and nonprofit clients. In this capacity, Jarrod also served as a senior advisor to several mayoral campaigns, including the historic victories of Randall Woodfin in Birmingham, Alabama and Frank Scott in Little Rock, Arkansas.
He also served as Senior Counsel to the House Committee on Financial Services for the United States House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and as Senior Oversight Counsel to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
Jarrod is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina and began his career in Atlanta. He received his juris doctor from New York University School of Law and his Master of Public Administration from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. He also attended Morehouse College and received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics, summa cum laude.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Loadholt (far right) at the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia's 2018 "Servant of Justice Awards."
About Ice Miller LLP: Ice Miller LLP is a full-service law firm dedicated to helping our clients stay ahead of a changing world. With over 340 legal professionals in seven offices, we advise clients on all aspects of complex legal issues across more than 20 practice areas. Our clients include emerging growth companies, FORTUNE 500 corporations, municipal entities and nonprofits. Learn more about Ice Miller and our client commitments.
Apis & Heritage Capital Partners (Philip D. Reeves -- Spring 2006) Announces Initial Close Of $30 Million To Turn Businesses With Workforces Of Color Into Employee-Owned Firms
Apis & Heritage Capital Partners (A&H) announced its First Close at $30 million for its flagship Legacy Fund I, which is designed to help close the country's racial wealth gap by transitioning businesses with large workforces of color into 100% employee-owned enterprises. The fund surpassed its $15 million first close target, with support from leading investors and advisors including the Ford Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation's Zero Gap Fund, The Skoll Foundation and its advisor Capricorn Investments, Gary Community Investments, Ascension Investment Management, and others.
A&H is a BIPOC-led private equity fund that has developed an "employee-led buyout" (ELBO) model that gives retiring owners a fair market price for their businesses, often with significant tax advantages, as employees become the employee/owners of the business with A&H's assistance.
In today's America, 60% of Black and 65% of LatinX workers have $0 in retirement assets making workers vulnerable to financial insecurity as they age and without resources to pass on to the next generation. A&H expects an average worker who benefits from an A&H-assisted buyout to accrue retirement savings of $70,000 - $120,000 each, which can be life changing.
A&H's Legacy Fund I intends to buy at least eight closely held companies from retiring founders, converting at least 500 workers over the next five years into employee/owners. A&H will focus on companies mainly in waste hauling, landscaping, elder care, commercial cleaning, food processing, and other essential service sectors in America. "We are looking to make life-changing investments with this first fund to address the significant and growing wealth gap in this country, especially for Black and brown workers," said Todd Leverette, Co-founding Principal at A&H. "Making this announcement so close to Juneteenth feels right, since A&H is providing a path to financial freedom for workforces of color across the United States."
A&H was conceived by Leverette in collaboration with colleagues at the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI). DAWI is a national organization dedicated to innovation, equity and scale for worker-owned businesses, and will provide technical assistance to A&H portfolio companies. With a planning grant from Citi Community Development, critical launch funding from the Kendeda Foundation, and additional support from the Kellogg Foundation, DAWI made space and resources available to Leverette and co-founder Philip Reeves to incubate A&H.
Co-founder Michael Brownrigg joined soon afterward to help move the concept from one-off deal making into a scalable private equity fund. Jason Ollison and Natalie Edwards rounded out the partnership in 2021. The firm hired its first Associate, Kyle Chin-How, shortly thereafter.
"There are two traditional paths to build wealth in America – you can own your home, or you can own your business," said Philip Reeves, Co-Founder at A&H. "A&H is focused on the latter, especially for workforces of color, which have been shut out of equity ownership for so long." A&H will also announce a Legacy Fund I strategic partnership with LISC's New Markets Support Company (NMSC), which will become the nationwide partner for the ELBO senior debt tranche. LISC and A&H are mission- and values-aligned to drive resources into enterprises and communities of color that have been denied growth finance over the years.
"NMSC is proud to partner on this transformational new fund to address the racial wealth gap," said Kevin Boes, President and CEO of NMSC. "By helping vital, community-based small businesses transition from one founder to many owners, A&H will safeguard the health of these businesses and the futures of their workforces of color."
"The A&H team has taken an innovative approach at addressing the racial wealth gap and building a more inclusive economy," said Maria Kozloski, Senior Vice President of Innovative Finance at The Rockefeller Foundation. "Their novel ELBO model solves for many pain points of prior ESOP strategies while layering in a racial equity lens. The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to be a part of these efforts, providing investors with an offering that can deliver clear impact and competitive returns with great potential for scale."
📸 Pictured above: Earlier in his DC-based career Philip Reeves served as the program manager for ConnecTech at D.C.’s Department of Small and Local Business Development.
The firm and its leadership were selected by Impact Assets as a 2021 IA 50 Emerging Impact Manager and were invited to join VC Include's inaugural Fellowship Cohort for BIPOC Emerging VC and Impact Fund Managers. Todd is a frequent speaker on the power and promise of ESOPs and has recently become a Board Member of the National Center on Employee Ownership.
"We are grateful for the support and confidence that our first close LPs have shown us," said Natalie Edwards, Managing Director and General Counsel for A&H. "A&H is now well-positioned to buy great companies and share the rewards with the people who have really earned them – the workers. Especially workers of color."
Super Lawyers Names Almuhtada R. Smith (Fall 2004) A Top Rated Business & Corporate Attorney In Los Angeles, CA
Attorney Almuhtada R. Smith is the founder and principal of ARS IP Law Firm, P.C., in Los Angeles, California. A top-ranked lawyer with more than 12 years of total legal experience, Mr. Smith provides exceptional counsel and support to a diverse range of clients across the greater Los Angeles metro and surrounding areas who have legal needs involving any of the following:
Business and corporate law
Entertainment and sports law
Over the course of his legal career, Mr. Smith has achieved remarkable success helping his clients with highly complex transactional matters involving intellectual property, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, licensing issues and more. He also routinely counsels his clients on securities compliance, corporate governance and many other areas pertaining to their commercial endeavors.
He routinely provides invaluable counsel regarding startups, venture capital funding and entertainment law, and he has worked with Fortune 500 executives as well as owners and operators of family-owned businesses.
Moreover, Mr. Smith has represented numerous artists, authors, entertainers and professional athletes as well as technology companies, fashion and beauty companies, and more. He has also become a steadfast advocate for people of color across his region, and he maintains an unwavering focus on helping his clients achieve their goals and the positive results they seek as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
He has been honored for his outstanding professionalism and service, and he has received numerous testimonials and referrals from his satisfied clients.
A magna cum laude graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Smith began his legal career in 2009 after obtaining his Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law and his license to practice from The State Bar of California. While in law school, he served as chief managing editor of the Entertainment Law Review.
Mr. Smith is a former board member and treasurer of the John M. Langston Bar Association, and he currently serves as chairman of the board of directors with the Los Angeles Southwest College Foundation.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Smith and colleagues welcome then-California Senator Kamala Harris during a 2016 fundraising event in Los Angeles.
To be featured in this discerning list, which includes no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state, individuals are identified as the top, up-and-coming attorneys in each market who are either 40 years of age or under or who have been practicing law for ten or fewer years.
About Super Lawyers: Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. This selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Super Lawyers Magazine features the list and profiles of selected attorneys and is distributed to attorneys in their state or region. Super Lawyers is also published as a special section in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Lawyers are selected to a Super Lawyers list in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
📸 Pictured above: Los Angeles-based Alpha Rho Chapter alumni Brothers gather on Charter Day 2019. Brother Smith is 2nd from right in the top row.
Brother Grant Bennett (Spring 2018) Drafted By Nike Into The 2021 Class Of HBCU Yardrunners
Brother Grant Bennett has been selected by Nike as one of this year's 16 HBCU Yardrunners -- a multi-media campaign that features former HBCU athletes who are using their experiences to make an impact in the world. Bennett started the The Two-Six Project -- an incubator for developing leaders through intentional programming and scholarship -- in his hometown of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Morehouse College 2020 alumnus Grant Bennett (@benne_nc) reacts: "I’m just a kid from Fayetteville, North Carolina making every effort to respond to God’s promises. This is a win for US! The ones who stay true themselves. The ones who know what’s real will ALWAYS prevail. I’m so grateful for my family, Morehouse, and my community for instilling the confidence in me to follow heart. These engagements led me to create The Two-Six Project, my vehicle to promote true agendas of freedom in my hometown. Thank you @nikesportswear and @leaguextwentytwo for welcoming me to the family!"
BlueFletch Founder & Managing Partner Brother Richard Makerson (Spring 2001) Joins The Fast Company Executive Board
Atlanta, Georgia-based BlueFletch executive Richard Makerson recently joined the Fast Company Executive Board -- an invitation-only professional organization of company founders, executives, and leaders who are defining the future of business. The Executive Board is also a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.
"I'm excited to be a part of Fast Company Executive Board. The experience has been amazing and the association with other brilliant leaders is refreshing," stated Makerson, regarding his engagement which began in May, 2021.
Richard Makerson is the co-founder of BlueFletch,a technology executive with 15+ years experience in Enterprise Mobility strategy, application design and implementation. He is the co-founder of BlueFletch -- an Atlanta-based consultancy building enterprise mobile apps that enhance workforce productivity, improve customer service, and drive business value. Richard has also trained, deployed, and supported multiple application tiers across complex production environments.
He has extensive technical experience in native, cross-platform and web-based mobile application development. Richard holds a BS in Computer Science from Morehouse College. He is also a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Mobility Society.
📸 Fast Company is the world’s leading business media brand, with an editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas, creativity, and design. Written for and about the most progressive business leaders, Fast Company inspires readers to think expansively, lead with purpose, embrace change, and shape the future of business.
Fast Company Executive Board has created a space for founders of fast-growth startups and for executives of established companies who are pioneering key developments at companies of all sizes, pursuing big ideas, lending their collective wisdom, and creating cultures that reward employees for creativity, risk-taking, and acumen.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Makerson (third from left) retuned to his Alma Mater Morehouse College in 2017 at the invitation of the business department and their alumni speaker's series. Also pictured above (second from the right) is Alpha Rho Brother Alexander Davis (Spring 2018) who was in his sophomore year.
Launched in November 1995 by Alan Webber and Bill Taylor, two former Harvard Business Review editors, Fast Company magazine was founded on a single premise: A global revolution was changing business, and business was changing the world. Discarding the old rules of business, Fast Company set out to chronicle how changing companies create and compete, to highlight new business practices, and to showcase the teams and individuals who are inventing the future and reinventing business.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Makerson delivered a key note presentation at the October 27, 2015 dedication ceremony for the Alpha Rho Chapter 90th Anniversary Memorial Obelisk on the campus of Morehouse College.
Brother Christian C. Nwachukwu, Jr. (Fall 2002) Featured In Morehouse College's Inaugural "Profiles In Pride" Series
Writer Christian Nwachukwu, Jr. ‘04 has built his career on storytelling and speechwriting, starting as an editor for Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a Penguin Random House company. After publishing, he developed an esteemed career in politics as a speechwriter for several politicians such as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, former US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and deputy secretary Nani Coloretti, as well as organizations like the Corporation for National and Community Service and the New York City Housing Authority.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Nwachukwu at his appointment as the newest board members of the Stonewall Community Foundation in 2017.
Outside of his professional life, Christian serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Stonewall Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to strengthening the LGBTQ Movement by “making smart, values-driven investments in dynamic organizations, projects, and leaders, funding over 100 nonprofits a year, in more than 30 issue areas.”
Christian is a native of North Carolina and a 2004 graduate of Morehouse College, where he studied biology and edited The Maroon Tiger newspaper. During his time in publishing, he donated hundreds of Random House books to the College's Frederick Douglass Resource Center, now known as the Nwachukwu Collection.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Nwachukwu staffing the ‘Bionic Mayor’ Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Alabama at a video interview.
What does “Pride” mean to you?: “The acronym PRIDE was, I believe, first used in 1966 by the radical gay political organization Personal Rights in Defense and Education, which was founded in Los Angeles to organize and demonstrate against the oppression of the Los Angeles Police Department. More well-known is the 1969 Stonewall uprising, a series of demonstrations that took place in response to police violence against queer people in New York City. Pride means liberation to me -- queer liberation but also the liberation of all people, for if queer children and Black trans women, to name two groups, are fully free, fully citizens of this country, then we will all be free.”
What advice would you give your younger self?: “If I could speak with young Christian as he settled into his Living Learning Center dorm room (formerly Thurman Hall) in the fall of 2000, I would tell him that the ‘work’ is twofold, concurrent, and ongoing. First, do the work to heal ‘so you can hear what is being said without the filter of your wounds.’ And second, even in your woundedness you are still worthy of love, most of all from yourself. I spent most of my youth and young adulthood unable to believe that anyone could love me as I was because my self-love at the time came with qualifications and promises: to be better, to be different, to become someone else.”
📸 Pictured above: Brother Nwachukwu alongside former US Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.
What are the ideal attributes of an ally?: “An ideal ally is someone who acknowledges the ways in which society privileges them and is willing, and perhaps eager, to give those privileges up. If you are looking for ways to help strengthen the LGBTQ Movement, I recommend visiting the Stonewall Community Foundation (SCF) to learn about the organization and some of the partners with whom SCF works to address a wide range of LGBTQ issues, from caring for aging adults and eliminating HIV to ending homelessness and improving mental health.”
About the "Profiles In Pride" Series: In celebration and support of Pride Month, Morehouse College is sharing its inaugural “Profiles of Pride” series, which will highlight the life, experience, and successes of a selection of the College’s own students, alumni, faculty, and staff who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. These people are a few of many who embody the Morehouse mission of leading lives of leadership and service with disciplined minds.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Nwachukwu (3rd from left) alongside his Chapter Dean and members of his Fall 2002 Alpha Rho pledge line, the Inexorable 14.
Brother Jason T. Mercer (Fall 2003) Joins Chicago:Blend's Advisory Board
The non-profit organization Chicago:Blend announced today the formation of an advisory board tasked with guiding the organization’s strategic direction. This group of 33 external advisors represents a diverse mix of thought leaders from local venture capital (VC) firms, tech companies, and other strategic partners.
“The advisory board will play a central role in providing insights and recommendations, as well as pointing us to new opportunities for Chicago:Blend to make an impact, as we work to increase representation of overlooked and underestimated professionals within venture capital,” Chicago:Blend executive director Joey Mak said.
Chicago:Blend is a collaborative effort of venture capitalists in Chicago who know that diverse teams and inclusive environments are critical foundations for both the startups we invest in and our own venture firms. We believe that Chicago has an opportunity to be one of the most diverse and inclusive startup ecosystems in the world. We’ll provide access to data, best practices and resources to Chicago’s VCs and startups to positively impact financial returns, attract the best talent, and cement Chicago as the best city to build a business. We do this because we know DEI matters.
The numbers don’t lie: according to a McKinsey study, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Diverse, equitable and inclusive companies build better products, recruit the best teams, and produce better financial results.
Jason Mercer is a part of Cleveland Avenue’s Finance Team, focusing on financial diligence for investment opportunities. Founded by Don and Liz Thompson, Cleveland Avenue (CA) is a privately-held venture capital firm that invests in, builds and extends brands across a range of companies, industries and locations. Jason has over ten years of work experience in strategy, finance and mergers and acquisitions-related roles within large, multi-national organizations in the Food & Beverage sector. Most recently, Jason was the Business Manager Consumer for Fonterra USA, where he was responsible for growing volume, profitability and brand awareness.
Previously Jason served as Director, Corporate Strategy for TreeHouse Foods and Manager, Strategy & Operations for Deloitte Consulting. Earlier in his career Jason was a Senior Financial Analyst for Warner Music Group and an Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers.
Jason earned his Bachelor of Arts in Finance from Morehouse College and an MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
📸 Pictured above: Brother Mercer pictured at top far right alongside members of his Fall 2003 pledge line, Metamorphic 18, at the their 15th anniversary in 2018.
The APCAA Digest is distributed 4-6 times every calendar year and features Alpha Rho Alumni submissions that illustrate the global impact of the Brotherhood. The submissions are edited by the APCAA Editorial Staff to include connecting content to the featured Brother's tenure in the association. Brother BMaynard Scarborough (Fall 1980) serves as the blog's Editor-In-Chief.
📸 indicates the incorporation of images into the blog storyboard that were sourced from the APCAA archives, personal IG/FB/LinkedIn posts, or mass media that were not included in the original publication.
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