Alpha Rho Chapter Alumni's Summer 2021 Digest
NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks Tap NBA Lawyer to Fill First Legal Role: Marcus LeBeouf (Spring 2001) hired as General Counsel
NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks have looked to the National Basketball Association for the team’s first general counsel, hiring Marcus LeBeouf from the Charlotte Hornets. LeBeouf, a former counsel at Seyfarth Shaw and a predecessor to Lathrop GPM, told Bloomberg Law via email that he joined the Blackhawks two weeks ago. He also confirmed he’s among the first three Black legal chiefs employed by an NHL team, all of whom have been recruited within the past year.
LeBeouf’s new role with the Blackhawks was hailed on LinkedIn by two schools he graduated from — Morehouse College and the Duke University School of Law — as being an important milestone for the advancement of Black lawyers in professional sports. Both schools noted that LeBeouf has joined a small group of Black general counsel in the NHL, which has sought to become more diverse in recent years. The former political science major at Morehouse earned his B.A. in 2003 and later earned his J.D. from Duke University Law School in 2006. While at Duke, Marcus spent time serving the Raleigh-Durham community through the Children's Education Law and AIDS Law clinics -- two of his most memorable and meaningful experiences while at Duke Law.
“It is an honor and a blessing to join the Blackhawks’ leadership team,” said LeBeouf, crediting newly hired Blackhawks president of business operations, Jaime Faulkner, and newly promoted club CEO Danny Wirtz with having faith in him to "protect their interests” for several Blackhawks-related entities.
One of the few NHL teams with a Black general counsel is the Seattle Kraken, an expansion franchise planning to take the ice in 2022, which hired Hewan Teshome last summer. The other is Nigel Wheeler, a former real estate associate at Bracewell in Dallas, who joined the Carolina Hurricanes in April 2020 as general counsel, replacing William Traurig, now legal chief for the North Carolina Education Lottery.
Pictured above: Brother LeBeouf, second from left, pictured as a panelist on the topic on The Art of Building Book of Business for BigLaw Atlanta (2017).
LeBeouf is the top lawyer for the Blackhawks, the team’s nonprofit foundation, and its practice facility at Chicago’s Fifth Third Arena, as well as the Rockford IceHogs, a minor league affiliate in nearby Rockford, Ill. LeBeouf will also advise on matters involving the United Center, a 20,000-seat arena that the Blackhawks share with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. The Blackhawks are owned by W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, CEO of the Wirtz Corp., a privately held conglomerate. The company and the Blackhawks have had a longtime client relationship with Chicago-based law firm Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus, Farkas & Brocato, whose founding partner Eugene Gozdecki was the Wirtz Corp.’s general counsel until his death in 2012.
The Blackhawks hired LeBeouf after he spent nearly four years as an assistant general counsel for the Hornets, an NBA team owned by basketball great Michael Jordan that in February hired a new legal chief of its own in Tamara Daniels, most recently the top lawyer for the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights.
Pictured above: Alpha Rho Alumni from the Inexorable 14, Synergistic 22 and Cataclysmic 22 captured in June 2021. Brother LeBeouf is picture 4th from the left.
Life at Deloitte: The importance of giving back. Finding the parallel between principles of community building and fostering relationships (Bro. Jonathan Green, Spring 2007)
“When I was growing up in Chicago, a lot of the exposure to opportunities around me came from others giving back to their community.”
Having a positive impact on his community has always been a priority for Jonathan. After raising his hand to lead the Operation Smile charity effort his senior year in high school, Jonathan went on to Morehouse College, an institution that stresses the importance of preparing young men to change the world through ethical leadership and community service.
“I started out in high school, just trying to fill my college resume, and ended up realizing one of my passions. In college, I joined a fraternity that also focuses on developing leaders, promoting brotherhood and academic excellence, while providing service and advocacy for our communities. It was a natural fit for me and helped shape me for the real world.”
Jonathan started his career after college at another company but learned after a few short years that he needed to find a place that would give him the opportunity to grow and try new things. He had heard great things about Deloitte and applied for a role in Washington, DC serving Government and Public Services clients. “Before workplace culture was a thing, it was important to me. When I joined [Deloitte] in 2012, I learned the rumors were true.”
He thrived in the client service environment as he quickly saw the parallel between principles of community building and fostering relationships. “It’s not just about delivering a project and moving onto the next. To be truly successful, we should walk in the shoes of our clients, be less transactional and more like a strategic advisor to our clients. We’re on the journey together.”
Pictured above: Brother Green is the current Board Chairman (and a founder) for Atlanta Unbound Academy located in College Park, Georgia.
In 2018 Jonathan moved with his wife to Atlanta. Deloitte assisted him through this transition not only to a new office, but also a new sector of clients. It’s been a great move for him personally and professionally. His wife has family in Atlanta, and he went to school there, so it was great settling down in the area and avoiding DC or Chicago winters!
Once Jonathan established roots, it was time to find out how he would be able to give back to the Atlanta community. A friend from college reached out and told him about their plan to open a charter school in the area. For the next two years, Jonathan and his friend laid the groundwork and jumped multiple hurdles to open the school. “At Deloitte, you learn the importance of networking and following your passions and interests. I used those same principles to help fundraise and make some key connections in Atlanta that we needed. In a way, my career at Deloitte was shaping me for this moment.”
The Atlanta Unbound Academy (AUA) was one of only a few charter school applications that were accepted and approved to open in 2020. The school focuses on providing a rigorous, empowering, and culturally relevant education to students in Atlanta, and Jonathan is serving as their Board Chair. “Our very first day of school ever was virtual! We were so excited to open, and then COVID hit. The leadership team had to take our learning model and translate it into a virtual format.”
While it hasn’t been without its challenges, their first year has still been a success, and Jonathan and the board have been connecting with families and providing the support they need during this difficult time. AUA provides daily meals, free family mental health counseling sessions, and access to technology via laptops and internet hotspots for each student while school is virtual. The Atlanta Unbound team is looking forward to the possibility of in-person classes starting Fall 2021 and is currently planning for their next school year.
Pictured above: Chairman Green at far right, alongside Atlanta Unbound Academy Founding School Leader Alaina Chipman-Leeks, at center.
For Jonathan, despite the extraordinary first year, he is looking forward to what’s to come. “Giving back is about finding a fit between your passions and your existing commitments to family and career. Whether large or small, it is its own gift to your community and will have a lasting impact.”
Jonathan Green is a manager in Deloitte’s Cyber practice. He serves clients in the Technology industry and helps them identify and prepare for information security risks through ongoing enhancements of their data protection and security compliance programs.
Pictured above: Members of the Veracious 17 (Spring 2007) at the Alpha Rho 90th Anniversary Memorial Obelisk on the Morehouse College Campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
Brother Louis Jared Boyd (Spring 2002) Tapped To Serve As Chief Of Staff For Incoming St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones
Brother L. Jared Boyd was recently appointed to serve as the Chief of Staff and Counsel for St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones. Mayor Jones was sworn-in as the first Black female mayor in the City's history on April 20th, 2021. Mayor Jones is poised to harness the boundless potential of the incredible people of their great City and turn challenges into opportunities, change entrenched systems, and reform the way the City works.
Pictured above: Historic St. Louis City Hall.
Prior to this appointment he served as the Chief of Staff and Counsel in the St. Louis City Treasurer's Office. There, he directly oversaw both the St. Louis Treasury Department and Parking Division which includes 150 employees and an $18 million annual budget. In his responsibilities for the Treasury Department, he managed over $400 million under management, payroll, and accounting functions for the City of St. Louis. He was responsible for the legal affairs of the Treasurer’s Office as well, which included drafting and reviewing contracts, collaborating with outside counsel on litigation matters, drafting legislation, and providing employment law advice for the office.
He has previously worked with Bryan Cave as an Associate Attorney and with Coro Pittsburgh as a Fellow in Public Affairs. Jared has also served on the boards of local humanitarian organizations for the past 10 years, including such organization as St. Louis ArtWorks, the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and the Mound City Bar Association.
Pictured above: Brother Boyd captured during a planning session alongside then-candidate for St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.
Prior to serving in the Treasurer’s Office, he was a litigation associate with Bryan Cave LLP for four years. Boyd’s litigation practice encompassed a wide range of civil litigation, including complex consumer class actions, labor and employment matters, business disputes, and defending colleges and universities. He also maintained an active pro bono practice and regularly represented victims of domestic violence in order of protection hearings. Boyd also successfully tried an international child abduction case in federal court.
Boyd graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2008. Prior to attending law school, Boyd was a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs, worked as a fundraiser for Robin Carnahan’s first campaign for Secretary of State of Missouri, and wrote questions for the Scholastic Aptitude Test (“SAT”). Boyd obtained a B.A. in History from Morehouse College.
Pictured above: Brother Boyd provides counsel to St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura at an election night gathering.
Boyd is active with several civic organizations including serving as Immediate-Past President of the Mound City Bar Association, the oldest African-American bar association west of the Mississippi. Jared also serves on the boards of St. Louis Artworks and the St. Louis Morehouse Alumni Association.
Pictured above: Brother Boyd, at center, makes remarks during a scholarship fund presentation to Morehouse College on the occasion of his line's 10th anniversary in 2012.
Making History at St. Jude Hospital: Dr. Rudolph Jackson (Fall 1954)
When St. Jude opened in 1962, Danny Thomas vowed the hospital would treat patients regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. Dr. Rudolph Jackson was one of the first black doctors at St. Jude.
By Thomas Charlier
While he was finishing his training in Philadelphia, Dr. Rudolph Jackson fielded an offer to move 1,000 miles and begin practicing at a fledgling, low-paying hospital in the South where he would be one of the first black physicians. Suffice it to say he had some reservations. First off, the job was in Memphis. The year was 1968. As Jackson later put it, in the most understated of ways, “A lot of things were going on down there.”
Things like racial strife and citywide turmoil spiraling from a bitter sanitation workers’ strike and the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Then there was the matter of salary. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which had opened just six years earlier, would pay Jackson $18,000 annually — a modest sum for a doctor even back then. “When I came down there and I told people how much money I was going to make, they kind of laughed at me and asked, ‘Why are you going down there?’”
Ultimately, Jackson cast his doubts aside and accepted the offer from Dr. Donald Pinkel, St. Jude’s first medical director. He arrived in August 1968 and began treating children for leukemia, solid tumors, sickle cell disease and “any other strange and out-of-way problems,” he recalls.
Pictured above: Brother Jackson during the early years of his career at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Over the next four years, Jackson witnessed and took part in new therapies that produced major advances in the battle against cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He saw treatments that had been refined and tested at St. Jude copied by institutions around the world. Amid the frenetic pace of change, Jackson gave less thought than one might imagine to his distinction as one of St. Jude’s first African-American doctors. “At the time it didn’t mean perhaps as much as later on.”
In an era when segregated hospitals and clinics were the norm across the South and parts of the North, founder Danny Thomas promised St. Jude would be different. Patients of all races would be admitted and treated in the same rooms. African-Americans would be hired not just as service employees, but as researchers, doctors and nurses.
Pictured above: Dr. Jackson alongside a research resident at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Born in Richmond, Virginia, and educated at Morehouse College in Atlanta and Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Jackson arrived at St. Jude at a time when doctors generally did not have the luxury of specializing in the treatment of one kind of cancer or other disease. “We did everything,” he recalls.
An early target of St. Jude was acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, which in the early 1960s was killing some 96 percent of the kids who were diagnosed with it. By the time Jackson got to the hospital, St. Jude was beginning to enjoy success treating ALL. “There was a great deal of progress, which we all participated in. We were getting patients who would probably have not made it, or only made it for 18 to 20 months or so. But then we started taking these patients through age 30 and after that, my goodness…,” he says. “That was fantastic.”
Pictured above: Alpha Rho Chapter alumni at a fraternity gala held at the Sheraton-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit, Michigan (1954).
In the 1960s, however, far more common health problems than cancer threatened children, especially those in low-income households. To deal with rampant anemia, parasitic infections and growth impairments, Jackson developed a program under which St. Jude enrolled thousands of local infants and mothers to receive nutritional assistance, medicine and even diapers. The program served as a prototype for WIC, the federal initiative for women, infants and children.
It also was in the treatment of sickle cell disease that Jackson left a lasting mark. He had run a sickle cell program in Philadelphia, and at St. Jude, he ventured into neighborhoods of Memphis to enhance the education and treatment of children and families affected by the debilitating, painful and often deadly disease.
Pictured above: Dr. Rudolph Jackson, (left, with American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities (ALSAC) president and CEO Rick Shadyac) at the Spirit of the Dream Awards in Memphis, Tennessee.
Jackson eventually built the program to such a stature that in the early 1970s, the NIH hired him to head the federal government’s efforts to fight the disease. Now 83, a retired Jackson lives in Atlanta. In hindsight, he is happy he took the risk and accepted Dr. Pinkel’s offer to come work at St. Jude. "As I look back, that was one of the best things that ever could've occurred."
Brother Romen Rue Richardson (Spring 2019) Joins NYC-Based Excel Sports Management As Inaugural Excel Fellow
"At the beginning of this year, we launched the Excel Fellowship Program and announced we were seeking an exceptional individual from an underrepresented group to join our team for a one-year paid opportunity. As a company, we have made a commitment to create a more diverse workforce, not only within our own walls, but across the sports industry as a whole. We have worked to bring that commitment to life in a number of ways, and are excited to launch our newest initiative, the Excel Fellowship program. After a thorough search and rigorous interview process, we are excited to announce Romen Richardson as the inaugural Excel Fellow.
Romen joins us with prior experience in the industry, having interned with Priority Sports & Entertainment and IBM. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Morehouse College and was selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar.
The Excel Fellowship Program will provide an opportunity for Romen to gain unmatched experience and exposure to key areas of our business and industry. He will serve three-month terms with four different departments, as a fully-integrated member of our staff. Romen’s first rotation will be in our Talent Sales group. There will be unfettered access to mentorship and networking opportunities to position Romen for a long and successful career in the sport industry. Welcome to the team, Romen!"
About Excel Sports:
We are a collection of experiences from which we have drawn up a new model of representation that stands for best-in-class, individualized and high-touch service. Founded in 2002 by Jeff Schwartz, our story begins long before, when our partners forged friendships with one another early in their careers. As Excel continued to grow as a basketball agency, there was a new opportunity for the friends to again work together. The addition of partners Casey Close, Mark Steinberg and Alan Zucker, brought Excel to the multi-sport agency it is today, with a foundation in excellence and a commitment to honesty and integrity.
Excel is a team of highly-specialized people who have been hand-selected for their dedication and creativity, and come equipped with a wealth of knowledge across the sports industry and a shared goal of client success. We maximize this through a cross-functional team approach that integrates all verticals across our business to provide robust and innovative solutions.
Pictured above: Members of the Novellus 18 (Spring 2019) during their first full year of membership in the fraternity.
Brother Rodney Boyd, Jr. (Fall 2011) Launches Higher Learning Trivia Gaming Franchise
Higher Learning Trivia HBCU Edition brings together the rich history and dope culture of HBCUs in a trivia game that's fun, nostalgic, and informative for all those who play. Originally from the Chicagoland area, Higher Learning Trivia founder, Rodney Boyd, Jr., is a proud Morehouse College alumnus and member of the Alpha Rho Chapter Alumni Association of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
An idea conceived in April 2019, Rodney wanted to combine his passion for trivia, bringing people together, and his love for historically black colleges and universities. Rodney founded this company to display and educate the masses on the importance of HBCUs and African American history.
Brother Boyd served as President of Alpha Rho Chapter Morehouse College in 2013. Professionally, he currently serves as a Chicago-based Business Analyst on the Booking Path Team for United Airlines, and has previously held positions with Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, GE Healthcare and JP Morgan. He describes himself as a product professional with a background in Software Engineering and Business Analytics and large enterprise-level eCommerce experience. His strong suits include launching products and features, roadmap and user story development, and synthesizing large datasets to inform business decisions.
Picture above: Chicago-area Alpha Rho Alumni at the ChiFootballClassic in 2018. Brother Boyd is at far right.
Meet Darian Nwankwo (Spring 2017) | Research Scientist & Aspiring Entrepreneur
We had the good fortune of connecting with Darian Nwankwo and we’ve shared our conversation below:
Hi Darian, what is the most important factor behind your success? I believe my willingness to try different approaches to life and not being too dogmatic in any approach taken thus far. It’s a pretty challenging thing not to be dogmatic, but I’m open to learning something new and immediately implementing it. I think this approach has allowed me to figure out which strategies are reasonable in certain settings and I think thats contributed to my success a lot. As well as being transparent about my failures. When I consider how I can improve, I’m always reflecting on my failures. Also, when I say failure, I’m speaking of situations where an outcome has occurred in a non-favorable manner. I try to remove the negative connotation associated with the word.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community? What I’m most excited about to date is that throughout my PhD I’ve come to realize that I’ve achieved a life goal of mine: to be paid to think. What I’m most proud of is the fact that my curiosity has not been demolished. If you look at my resume, I’m a computer scientst, but I don’t usually like to ascribe terms to what I do because I find joy in learning about different domains and I think that’s what has helped me pick up a few fields of study relatively easy. My curiosity to read helps a lot.
I wouldn’t say my journey was easy or hard. Nor, anywhere in between since I assess situations in my life from a “what can I learn” perspective. Thus, I’ll share a few lessons that I’ve learned throughout my life that may be useful to a select audience:
* Try to refrain from dogmatism in your thinking, especially when interacting with others. * Be willing to connect with people regardless of their ethnic and geographical background. * Never stop learning. Never stop contemplating. And always be willing to have a conversation, even when you think you know something.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Off rip, we’re going to waffle house. I don’t care what you think about waffle house, we’re going. Afterwards, I’d probably pull up on a local bookstore to chat over coffee. After we catch up, we’re definitely going to the courts. If you’re my best friend, you’re definitely a hooper too! Definitely pulling up on some parks to chill and catch a nice breeze. I’m very chill, so what I consider fun typically consists of me hanging out with friends or reading a novel. Anything beyond that is exhilarating, so I lean on my friends for more exciting activities!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout? Most immediately, my mother and father come to mind, but when it comes to where I am today, my father has the most significant impact. Throughout my matriculation at Morehouse College and, currently, Cornell University, a few names come to mind. Dr. John Howard, Dr. Shelby Wilson, Dr. Duane Cooper, Dr. Ilya Davis, Dr. Robert Kleinberg and Dr. David Bindel.