LEGACY AWARD RECIPIENT
Karen E. Williamson is a seasoned executive whose career has spanned the health care, telecommunications, consumer goods, and government sectors. For the past eight years, she has provided her expertise under the umbrella of her independent consulting practice. For 17 years, Ms. Williamson worked for AmeriChoice Health Services, an innovative Medicaid managed health care company where she not only held marketing, strategic planning and government relations positions, but also spearheaded the launch of their Medicare products (AmeriChoice was acquired by United Healthcare and became its platform for serving vulnerable public sector populations). Earlier in her professional career she was employed by Philip Morris and Avon in New York City. During the Carter Administration, she worked in the White House as deputy to Louis E. Martin, Special Assistant to the President. She spent nine years in the telecommunications industry at Satellite Business Systems and MCI Communications. Ms. Williamson earned an A.B. degree in Economics from Wellesley College and an M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Chicago. While at Chicago, she helped organize the first Black MBA student conferences in 1970 and 1971. In New York, she helped found the National Black MBA Association and served as the organization’s first vice president and is a lifetime member.
Active volunteerism has been an important component in Karen’s life. Currently, she is a board member and past board chair of the YWCA National Capital Area; an active member of The Potomac (VA) Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Leadership Greater Washington, and Nineteenth Street Baptist Church. Previously, she served as a board member and president of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association, a trustee of Wellesley College, and president of the Washington Wellesley Club. She has served on the boards of MedStar Health Research Institute and Green Door, a program serving people with severe mental illness. She was a presidential appointee to the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Services, a mayoral appointee to the DC Commission for Women, and a member of the Coalition of 100 Black Women of D.C. Ms. Williamson’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live in Sydney, Australia, which has become her favorite place to visit.
UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Kaaliyah McDowell started college at the age of 17, with an all tuition and fees paid scholarship, based on academics, at Morgan State University. During her time at Morgan, she participated in ASCEND - a two year biomedical research program that engages undergraduate students in an entrepreneurship training model, where she worked with colleagues in order to create and run an interdisciplinary research thesis and presented findings to the NIH; and the Student Research Center (SRC)- an organization that promotes interdisciplinary research throughout the student population - where she held the leadership role of Public Relations and Communications Chair. She also participated in the UMBC Build a Bridge to STEM summer internship, as well as the Morgan State CAPR (Cognitive, Applied, and Perceptual Research) Lab summer internship , later becoming a Research Assistant assisting the Lead Researcher with conducting trials exploring the use of the virtual reality system when creating virtual art.
Kaaliyah also became a member of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. She currently volunteers as a Daisy troop leader for a Central Maryland Girl Scouts troop.
Kaaliyah recently graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Morgan State University. Kaaliyah was also accepted into the Urban Teachers program, where she will be teaching in Baltimore public schools while pursuing a Masters in Education from John Hopkins University. Kaaliyah has plans to proceed into education administration.
GRADUATE STUDENT OF THE YEAR
Originally from Youngsville, North Carolina, Candace Eaton is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she received a B.A. in English. Upon graduating from Spelman College, Candace was admitted to Howard University School of Law. During her time as a JD candidate, she worked as a law clerk for the Department of Commerce and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC. It was during her clerkship in the General Counsel’s office of SEIU, the she discovered her passion for business and strategic planning. In 2017, Candace was admitted into Howard University’s notably ranked MBA program as a dual Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration program candidate, concentrating in Supply Chain Management. As an MBA candidate, Candace has led several projects in partnership with distinguished companies such as Google, Fiat Chrysler, and the Major League Baseball (MLB). Additionally, Candace was selected to represent Howard University School of Business in two nationally ranked case competitions hosted by the National Black MBA Association in Detroit, Michigan and Key Bank in Cleveland, Ohio.
While mastering her studies, Candace served as Executive President of the 2019 MBA class, Vice- President of the Supply Chain Student Association and Chair of the Howard University Hilltop Policy Board. During her time as a student leader, Candace remained committed to her initiatives of assisting her peers with professional development and giving back to Howard University’s surrounding community by orchestrating professional development workshops with renowned coaches for students, and working with programs such as Leaders of Tomorrow and Junior Achievement. In May 2019, Candace earned her JD/MBA from Howard University and this summer sat for the NC Bar Exam, getting her one step closer to reaching her goal of becoming a licensed attorney. In August, she will begin her career as a Strategic Planner for Reynold’s American Inc. in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
COLLABORATIVE PARTNER OF THE YEAR
Black Professional Men, Inc. (BPM) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Baltimore, Md. and established in 1991 to address the social, economic and political awareness needs of the African-American community, especially those of the African-American male. Its members dedicate many hours to public service each year to accomplish BPM's objectives and goals. BPM's membership includes over 40 dedicated men who come from a variety of professions, including barbers, attorneys, teachers, engineers, architects, financial advisors, councilmembers, and entrepreneurs.
COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD
In 1910, the National Urban League (NUL) started a movement in the African-American community toward establishing economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. Are you ready to join “The Movement”? If so, look no further than Thursday Network (TN). They are the Washington, DC and Suburban MD chapter of the National Urban League Young Professionals (NULYP).
Founded in 1992, Thursday Network is comprised of over 200 young professionals committed to serving the Washington Metropolitan area through community programs and partnerships that address the Empowerment Goals of the National Urban League. The mission of TN is to provide a forum for young adults, ages 21 – 40, to focus their energies on community service, professional development, and political involvement.
Annually, the organization sponsors several events such as Young Blacks Give Back Month, the Empowerment Academy mentoring program and awards “I EMPOWER” scholarships to local high school seniors. In addition to service programs, Thursday Network provides personal & professional development through workshops, seminars and networking opportunities.
Thursday Network is proud of its history as one of the most progressive service-oriented organizations in the DC metropolitan area.
COLLABORATIVE PARTNER OF THE YEAR
The CIA is the premier US intelligence agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior policymakers. They are the nation’s first line of defense. They accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go.
The CIA is responsible for knowing what’s going on in the world beyond the nation’s borders. They observe current events and anticipate their significance to our national security. Their mission is an ongoing process of collecting information, sifting it for useful intelligence, then reporting their assessments to the President and senior policy-makers.
To meet these national security challenges they employ people from different backgrounds and with a variety of experiences and skill sets. That’s because their strength and effectiveness as an agency depends upon their ability to employ a workforce as diverse as the nation they serve. Our nation derives strength from its diversity and commitment to equal opportunity. The CIA achieves its greatest accomplishments when it draws on the talents of all parts of our society and bring diverse perspectives to our greatest challenges. This is particularly true in the national security arena where they must operate in a wide range of environments. Success in the intelligence business requires people with different backgrounds and different ways of seeing things. The CIA’s workforce must reflect the world in which they operate in order to meet the expectations of the American people.
MENTOR OF THE YEAR
Carletta S. Hurt currently serves the DC Black MBA Association as the chair of the Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) program and the Corresponding Secretary. Carletta is a passionate educator and a fierce youth advocate with over two decades of serving young people through education and empowerment programs. She is the founder of IN THE LOOP Program of Success, a youth development company, which provides ongoing, engaging programs to empower, educate and elevate young people.
A graduate of Oglethorpe University and Georgia State University, Carletta works as a school counselor with the District of Columbia Public Schools. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) named Carletta the 2016 DC School Counselor of the Year (SCOY), which included a reception at the White House, hosted by then First Lady Michelle Obama. She was also honored with the Bell Award (in Education) from the Oglethorpe Alumni Association.
In addition to her work with the DC Black MBA Association, she serves on the board of directors for Science, Engineering, Mathematics (SEM) Link and Women in Film and Video. She is mentoring two dynamic young ladies (Moreena and Cameron) who are pursuing degrees in film and video.
A native of Georgia with nearly a decade of DC living under her belt, Carletta is working on her first novel, 20 Reasons Why I Love Girl Power (And You Should Too) set for release in Winter 2019 and Clothed Minds: Black Girls in DC Schools: a documentary about the impact of dress code policies on black girls in DC schools.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Johnny Bailey is a Social Entrepreneur and Marketing Strategist with over 10 years of corporate, agency, and entrepreneurial experience. As Google Digital Coach, Johnny’s mission is to level the digital playing field for minority small business owners. Providing access and information to diverse communities within the DC community through free digital workshops and exclusive networking opportunities. Johnny stands as Google’s local SMB advocate working with Government Agencies, Nonprofits, Chambers of Commerce, Creative Groups, and Diversity Councils. As Executive Director of the ShineHard Foundation, a 501(c)3 org based in Washington DC with a mission to close the racial wealth gap, Johnny leverages relationships to provide role model visibility, collaborative economics, and transfer financial knowledge from one generation to the next. Johnny’s fundraising efforts have raised over six figures to facilitate their programming. The ShineHard Summit conference has empowered over 5,000 diverse entrepreneurs and the digital web series, ShineHard Conversations, was recently picked up by TVone after reaching half a million views. The series features black entrepreneurs, artists, and corporate innovators from companies like ESPN, Google, Nike, Amazon, Forbes, CNN, & more.
A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Johnny is a decorated four sport high school athlete, winning two state championships and countless all-state awards. He was recently inducted into the Colonial Heights HS Hall of Fame. Johnny went on to attend Hampton University where he won a team championship ring with the Men’s Track & Field Team and broke the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference record in the 60 meter dash. Academically, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management and a Master’s Degree in Marketing from VSU. Also, he is a graduate of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth’s Digital Excellence Program and distinguished guest at the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference at Harvard Business School hosted by the African American Student Union. Johnny is proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated. He’s been recognized by the Washington Wizards and Travel Noire for outstanding leadership, was named Top 30 under 30 by HBCU Buzz, and partnered with the Mayor’s Office on the #FlipTheScript campaign highlighting minority fathers in Washington DC.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
London McCloud is an international trade professional with experience in the private and public sectors. Currently, as a trade specialist for the Department of Transportation, she works to ensure compliance of projects financed by the Export-Import Bank with a specialization in maritime and shipping in West Africa. Previously, London worked for the Liberian International Shipping and Corporate Registry (LISCR) where she managed off-shore corporations on behalf of the Liberian government. As the membership chair for the DC Black MBA Association, London is passionate about sharing her time, skills and resources with the organization. She continues to create innovative membership programming content and serves as an asset to executive leadership. London makes substantive recommendations that contribute to making our membership recruitment process more effective. Also, London participated in the 2019 NBMBAA Trade and Education Mission to Ghana and Liberia. This was an initiative centered on educating members on the countries’ immense business and investment opportunities and participate in cultural experiences and traditions. As an American University Alumni Board Member, she contributes to guiding the efforts of the Office of Alumni Relations and supports the Board of Trustees and AU’s President's strategic initiatives. She also leads an AU student-alumni mentoring program and holds positions on the AU Black Alumni Association and Kogod School of Business Advisory Board.
London is dedicated to raising awareness for diversity and women’s issues through mentoring initiatives. She is passionate about leading the Women of Carroll mentoring program at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC.
London graduated from American University and obtained her MBA from the University of Maryland University College. She recently completed the American University KEY Leadership program for federal government employees and is currently working on Project Management coursework at Georgetown University.
Cornelius Henderson is a Sales Associate in the Georgetown office of RE/MAX Allegiance in Washington, DC. With 12 years in the business as both a sales professional and investor, this year he is on track to double the production required for the highest award category the Greater Capital Association of Realtors is able to provide. His production is a result of his relentless focus on his clients and their specific needs. Real estate is a second career path for Cornelius. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of VA. After earning his Bachelors in Business Administration from Johnson C. Smith University, he was recruited into the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) exclusive Master’s in Professional Accounting fellowship program at the University of Texas, which only 30 candidates in the country received. He was the only black male to enter this program at the #1 ranked program in the country at that time.
After his career with PwC, he worked at Fannie Mae developing their quarterly public financial reports and at Quadrangle Development Corporation where he managed a Real Estate Investment Trust that invested the wealth of many of DC’s top families and trusts. While working side by side with some of the best tax and wealth minds in DC at Quadrangle Development Corporation, he started his investment company in 2008 in the middle of the recession and has never looked back.
Cornelius is married to his wonderful wife, Edivia Henderson and has 3 beautiful children. In addition to his role as Chair of Business and Economic Development with the DC Black MBA Association, he is active in his Johnson C. Smith University Alumni Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and the Parent Association for the Lowell School in NW Washington DC.
Paula Grayson is an Executive Staff Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She is currently the African American Outreach Program Manager in the Diversity Solutions Division of the Talent Center of Excellence, where her job is to build lasting relationships with professional organizations and community-based groups within the African American community.
She has over 34 years of Agency service in a variety of assignments to include serving as an Analyst in the Directorate of Analysis, a Recruiter in the CIA’s Talent Center of Excellence, a support officer in the Directorate of Support, and various other assignments both inside and outside of CIA.
Ms. Grayson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Strayer University as well as a Master of Science Degree in Management from the University of Maryland.
Yasmine Saibou has been associated with the DC Black MBA Association for quite some time. She was introduced to the chapter through her participation in the Leaders of Tomorrow program while she was a high school student. While in the LOT Program, she won several Oratorical Competitions and participated on the National Case Competition Team.
With the great leadership provided by mentors in the program, Yasmine attended Florida A&M University where she studied Business Administration. Upon graduating she returned to the DC area to start her career in commercial real estate management.
Yasmine currently works for Oxford Properties and is on a team managing 1 million sqf. in the heart of the city. Yasmine is a mentor and Oratorical Coach for the LOT students and is the current Vice President of Membership.
Yasmine is also the creator of darkerberrie.com, a lifestyle blog where she hosts a variety of events including an annual Vision Board Brunch to empower millennial women. Yasmine is also a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.
MBA OF THE YEAR
Mahmia Richards serves as the Director of Operations for the Maryland Association of Healthcare Executives. She has been employed for the past 12 years by Johns Hopkins Hospital as a Senior Molecular Scientist, and her expertise is in research and development. She has collaborated with her department on numerous projects with her most recent being the validation of a Meningeal (men-in-gee-ul) & Encephalitis (en-seth-el-it is) Panel which tests cerebral spinal fluid for 7 common viral pathogens. This project earned her the Joan Valentine Award from the Department of Pathology, the highest recognition for scientists in her department.
Mahmia earned her MBA in healthcare management and her MS in Finance from the University of Baltimore & Towson University respectively. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in Baltimore. She’s currently pursuing an MS degree in Accounting and hopes to sit for the CPA examination soon. Her career goal is to bring
value to an organization which can utilize her background in healthcare and business administration.
Mahmia joined the National Black MBA Association as a graduate student. She has worked alongside the past President Ms. Erica Roberts and most recently the current President Dr. Lemar White involving initiatives such as student outreach, professional development workshops, and community service projects. Her goal is to support professional development and collaboration amongst the DC Black MBA Association’s members.