Actor and youth activist Malik Yoba was born Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba on September 17, 1967 in the Bronx, New York to Erutan Abdullah Yoba and Mahmoudah Young Lanier. He was raised as a Sunni Muslim in East Harlem. Yoba earned his high school diploma in 1989 from City-As-School in Manhattan, New York.
In 1983, Yoba began working at the Negro Ensemble Theatre in concessions, as an usher, and in other roles. He joined the City Kids Foundation, an arts-education focused youth leadership organization, in 1986, beginning as a volunteer and eventually becoming vice president of the Foundation in 1991. Yoba’s acting career began in 1989 with a small AIDS-education film called Seriously Fresh. In 1991, he landed a starring role in the Disney film Cool Runnings. In 1994, while making an appearance in an episode of Law & Order, Yoba auditioned for a new Fox television police drama called New York Undercover, receiving the lead role of NYPD Detective J. C. Williams. He and his co-star Michael DeLorenzo made history as the first cop-drama featuring actors of color in both leading roles. Yoba went on to star in several television series, such as Bull, Thief, Defying Gravity, Alphas, and Revolution. He also continued his film career, starring in movies like Smoke, CopLand, Soul Food, Why Did I Get Married? and its sequel Why Did I Get Married Too?, and Betty and Coretta. Yoba starred in the David E. Talbert play His Woman, His Wife in 2000, touring the country with the production. In 2011, he began teaching a course entitled “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. Yoba co-founded and launched iconic32, a lifestyle company and innovation studio, in 2014. That same year, he joined the cast of the Fox series Empire, starring alongside actor Terrence Howard.
In 1994, The New York Times named Yoba one of 30 young artists under the age of 30 who would change American culture in the next thrity years. Yoba was honored with three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for his work on New York Undercover. He founded the Malik Yoba Fatherhood Project in 2001, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. inducted Yoba as an honorary brother in 2009.
Yoba lives in New York, New York, and has three children, Josiah, Dena, and Pria.
Tamara Miles is the Deputy Director, Small Business Programs, for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as of December 2020. She has a heart for small business concerns and is charged with maximizing small business opportunities and contract awards.
Prior to joining OSDBU, Tamara served as Assistant Director and Procurement Director at the DOE Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center leading a team of 40+ geographically dispersed contracting professionals in the acquisition and management of multi-billion dollar environmental clean-up contracts nationwide. Tamara believes that teamwork, resiliency, and hard work are cornerstones for success. Her favorite quote is, "Find the good and praise it" - Alex Haley.
Tamara is Level III certified under the Federal Acquisition Certification Program in Contracting. She attended the University of Cincinnati for undergraduate and graduate studies earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with honors in Finance and a Master of Business Administration degree.
Tamara is married to a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and they have three children.
Deidre Deculus Robert was born and raised in Mamou, Louisiana. She has been immersed in agriculture and rural development her entire life; her mother retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and father served on the Farm Services Agency State Committee. Robert has over two decades of legal, administrative, and executive management experience and is honored to serve as state director of Rural Development in Louisiana.
Her legal career began in the Parish Attorney’s Office of the City of Baton Rouge-Parish of East Baton Rouge as an assistant city prosecutor. During her 11 years with the city-parish, she advanced to become the first black female section chief. She worked for over six years as an assistant attorney general with the Louisiana Department of Justice, where she served as deputy director of the Public Protection Division, deputy director of the Litigation Division, and special litigation counsel assigned to defend the Louisiana Judiciary.
Prior to accepting this presidential appointment, Robert served as the executive counsel for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. Her responsibilities included managing legislative affairs on the federal, state and local levels and supervising the innovative procurement, legal and internal audit sections of the agency, as well as the human resources legal matters of the agency. She collaborated with state and local partners to advance infrastructure needs including rail, broadband and bridges throughout the state.
Previously, Robert served as general counsel of the Southern University and A&M College System, the only HBCU college system in the country. Robert has focused her passion for service as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; the Louisiana State Bar Association; the Louisiana Bar Foundation as a fellow and board member; the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society; Junior League of Baton Rouge; Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, and more. She and her husband James reside in Glynn, Louisiana with their two sons.
State Director Robert and her team are here to provide investments that will deliver help to small businesses to access new and better markets, grow modern infrastructure, promote a healthy environment and affordable housing, and create equitable access to quality healthcare, jobs, and capital.
Mrs. Jacqueline A. Davis-Slay serves as Senior Advisor for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). The OSDBU provides maximum opportunities for small businesses to participate in USDA’s contracting process. The office’s major goals are to provide oversight and accountability to the contracting authorities within USDA and outreach and small business assistance. As the Senior Advisor, she coordinates with Federal Departments and Agencies and interface with private sector entities to organize, direct, and develop contracting and procurement policies, procedures, and regulations for business growth. Mrs. Davis-Slay previously served as Deputy Director in the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), which she assumed in 2019. In 2014, Mrs. Jacqueline Davis-Slay served as the Director for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Office of Public and Private Partnerships. The office provided vision, expertise, and leadership to build NRCS’ public-private partnership program to advance conservation activities through strategic coordination and planning with other USDA agencies, customers, stakeholders, and agricultural industries.
Mrs. Davis-Slay has over 30 years of Federal service with experience in legislative and policy development, statistical analysis, fiscal and program management, service delivery and marketing with a particular interest in developing innovative partnerships and opportunities to assist vulnerable populations, socially disadvantaged, beginning and limited resource producers.
Prior to her position as Director of the Office of Public and Private Partnerships for NRCS, Mrs. Davis-Slay served as the USDA Senior Policy Advisor for the StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. She also held the position of Legislative Director for the Rural Development mission area, providing legislative guidance and direction for over 42 programs in three agencies. In 2009, she served as Legislative Specialist for USDA’s Office of Congressional Relationship where she was one the primary liaison between the United States Congress and USDA. She spent most of her career with NRCS, serving in a multitude of positions, such as Legislative Affairs Branch Chief, Acting State Conservationist, Program Manager, Program Analyst and Special Assistant. She has worked in thirteen of USDA agencies and office, delivering exemplary and innovative customers service to America’s communities, farmers, ranchers, veterans and partners and stakeholders.
A native of Port Gibson, MS, Mrs. Davis-Slay attained her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Alcorn State University in Agricultural Economics. She is married to Denmark V. Slay, the mother of one son, Denmark V. Slay, II and two dogs, Kobe, and Layla.
Ron Pierce is the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In his prior role, he served as an independent management consultant, where he led efforts to address issues on environmental and climate change for several small businesses and military veteran lawmakers.
He spent five years as Senior Director of PBS Veterans and Small Business Initiatives on the Station Services Team. Ron led the national planning, coordination, and implementation efforts for member stations and other public media partners across the country. Over the course of two high-profile presidential campaigns, he was the National Director of small business, veterans, and military family outreach programs at the DNC.
A combat veteran, Ron spent 11 years as a U.S. Army Officer.
He earned his B.S. in Behavioral Human Services from U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, and holds a Master of International Affairs from The Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, CA.
Shalaya Morissette(she/her) is Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), located within the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. She is a highly sought-after collaborator and co-conspirator in the clean technology space. Most recently she hails from the utility sector in safety and compliance. In 2022 she took on an additional role at Dearborn STEM Academy in Boston, Massachusetts as a teacher to 11th and 12th graders - delivering a curriculum for engineering with energy in mind. Previously she held various roles in higher education, including enrollment services project manager and in global transportation as the Director of Affiliate Relations. She is the former president of the Greater Boston chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. Serving as the first African American board member of the New England Women in Energy and Environment, she has been devoted to elevating and engaging women and people of color in the energy space. As a Georgia Gwinnett College Alumni Association board member and a committee member for Browning the Green Space, she has been engaged in the nonprofit and higher education space as a strong advocate for elevating minorities in the energy transition. Morissette’s passion for bringing young people into the clean energy industry has also been supported with her work with Girls Inc and WriteBoston. Shalaya received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Georgia Gwinnett College and her Master of Education degree from Cambridge College.
Krystal J. Brumfield is Associate Administrator, Office of Government-wide Policy, of the General Services Administration. Ms. Brumfield was previously the Chief of Staff of the Carlyle Airport Group (CAG). She was responsible for leading collaboration among cross-functional teams to ensure effective and streamlined performance to advance the development, implementation and execution of corporate priorities and strategic initiatives. Prior to CAG, Ms. Brumfield was the president and CEO of the Airport Minority Advisory Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the inclusion of minorities and women in the multi-billion dollar aviation industry.
Ms. Brumfield previously held the position of Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. During her tenure, she was responsible for providing leadership to the Chamber’s overall strategic planning process and implementing new programmatic initiatives. She was responsible for developing, implementing, and managing the operational aspects of the annual budget. She was also heavily involved in fundraising and planning major events for the organization.
Ms. Brumfield graduated from Southern University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, earned a Juris Doctorate from the Southern University Law Center, and obtained a Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Dr. Henry C. McKoy, Jr. is the inaugural Director of the Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) in the United States Department of Energy. The newly created Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP), within the Office of the Under Secretary for Infrastructure, manages $16 billion dollars in federal funding and supports the transition to an equitable clean energy economy by working with community-level implementation partners and State Energy Offices. SCEP manages the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), State Energy Program, Community Programs, and Energy Future Grants.
Dr. McKoy a seasoned professional in business, community and economic development, policy, government, energy, finance, philanthropy and the academic worlds. Prior to his Presidential appointment at the U.S. DOE, Dr. McKoy served as the lead entrepreneurial faculty and Director of Entrepreneurship at North Carolina Central University School of Business in Durham, North Carolina. In addition, he held simultaneous academic appointments in Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and in Duke’s Executive Leadership Institute where he taught on Public-Private Partnerships. Henry has been a Fellow of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC-Chapel Hill, as well as an Aspen Institute Scholar. He held an appointment (2019-2021) at Harvard University Kennedy School’s Ash Center Innovations in Government program, where he was appointed as the first Associate Fellow of Municipal Innovation. He also held an affiliated faculty appointment at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, where he was a Lecturer and Senior Research Scholar.
Dr. McKoy has a BSBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master’s degree in environmental management, Policy and Leadership from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning program with a concentration in economics, economic development, entrepreneurship, and impact investing.
The Honorable Dr. Kimberly A. McClain was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in as the Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on January 3, 2023. In this role, she serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary on all HUD relations with the Congress, governors, mayors, and other elected officials. Dr. McClain is responsible for directing the Department’s activities with Congress, state, local, and municipal governments. This includes the development of the Department’s legislative priorities and collaborating with the Chief Financial Officer on the development of HUD’s budget.
From 2021 to 2023, Dr. McClain served in the Biden–Harris Administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In that role, she was responsible for advising the Secretary and Deputy Secretary on congressional and legislative matters, as well as, providing management and oversight of the Department’s congressional activities.
Dr. McClain has more than 30 years of experience in cybersecurity, defense acquisition, financial services, international security cooperation, and national security across academia, government, military, non-profit, and private industry. In the private sector, Dr. McClain has held a variety of positions to include Senior Executive Communications Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer for Accenture Federal Services, Risk Operations Manager at Capital One Financial Services, and as an Adjunct Professor at Northcentral University teaching international business.
Over the last three decades, Dr. McClain has held numerous career civil service and military positions across the Department of Defense to include Director of Congressional Strategy, Senior Country Director for Latin America, Director for Defense Senior Leadership Development Program, Senior International Cooperation Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Senior Country Director for Africa and Brazil, Legislative Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Policy Advisor, and E-3 AWACS Instructor Senior Air Battle Manager.
Dr. McClain retired from the U.S. Force Reserve in 2021 after 29 years of service.
A native of Rockford, Illinois, Dr. McClain holds a Doctor of Philosophy in International Business from Northcentral University, a Master of Science in Human Relations and International Business from Amberton University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Dr. McClain and her husband have four children and three dogs
R. Ben Horne is a consulting Energy Justice Business and Program Analyst within the Minority Business and Workforce Division of the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy. Prior to joining the DOE, he assisted in launching the Boston Reentry Collaborative; co-designed a modular plug and play micro-aquaponics (patent – pending) system and wrote the market and sales strategy with a Saudi manufacturing team; launched the finance curriculum as a USAID/DAI sub-contractor leading the inaugural cohort of 12 accountants coaching 40+ minority/women-owned businesses across Afghanistan; for over ten years worked to catalyze interfaith reform, coordinating dialogue and textual analyses in the original languages of problematic biblical and qur’anic passages with indigenous faith leaders in communities suffering from high conflict, historic theocracies, and toxic polarization in the United States and Middle East; launched four separate small business incubators for impoverished communities across the Mideast through co-authoring curriculum, project management, and both teaching courses and coaching business owners in English and Arabic; led the designing of a sustainable solution to Qatari food insecurity caused by the Saudi-led embargo; introduced designs, co-built with appropriate technologies and local materials, and managed three Hydroponic greenhouses to assist Jordanian sustainable agricultural extension programs through feeding Iraqi and Syrian refugees; co-founded a sustainable agriculture consulting firm assisting the tech transfer of research at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; taught ESL and Social Studies with Somali refugee students in Minneapolis through Teach for America.
In addition to being bilingual (Arabic and English), he has studied five other languages, is passionate about fitness, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers. He is committed to restorative justice and economic jubilee-liberation, expressed through sustainable technologies applied to solving poverty and conflict.
John K. Pierre has devoted his career to molding lawyer leaders and being a champion of innovation. He received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southern University in 1980, a master’s degree in tax accounting from Texas Tech University in 1982, and a juris doctor degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1985.
After graduating from law school, from 1986 to 1990, Pierre served his country as a Judge Advocates General Corps Officer, or JAG, for the United States Army. In 1990, his next assignment led him to the classroom as he began serving as a faculty member at the Southern University Law Center, where he taught courses, such as tax law, security devices, local government law and more. In addition, he has previous teaching experience as a visiting and adjunct professor at California State University, Southern Methodist University School of Law, Loyola University Law School, Southern University College of Business, Saint Leo’s College, Webster University, Louisiana State University, and Baton Rouge Community College. Beyond the classroom, Pierre has published numerous articles on tax law, sales and contracts, real estate and commercial law, ranging from magazine features to legal journal and law review articles.
In 2006, he transitioned to a leadership role within the institution becoming the vice chancellor of institutional accountability and the evening division. Currently, he has been serving as the Law Center’s chancellor since 2016. Under his tutelage, the Southern University Law Center has thrived as a global legal institution. Year after year, it is recognized for its diversity, world-class faculty, and racial justice efforts. As a progressive leader and visionary, he advocates for technology advancements, community outreach initiatives, and strategic partnerships that ensure access and opportunity are provided to all.
Beyond the education field, Pierre was involved in the Baton Rouge school desegregation case as co-counsel for the Baton Rouge Branch of the NAACP in Davis v. East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. He was also co-counsel in the landmark case of McWaters v. FEMA.
Pierre fervently serves as a transformational change agent and inspiration to legal professionals and thoughts leaders around the globe. He has earned numerous awards for his leadership, innovative strategy, and tireless efforts within the legal and professional realm, including Educator of the Year from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders from The HBCU Campaign Fund. Hampton University, the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus are just a few of the organizations that have bestowed honors upon Pierre throughout his career. Also, his alma mater, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law, has named him a Distinguished Alumni. Pierre has served as a contributing panelist during national discussions with the Peggy Browning Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the National Pre-Law Summit, and more.
He remains a member of numerous state and national organizations, including the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Texas Bar Association.
Ms. Bailey is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Member responsible for overseeing program operations at Summit Federal Services, LLC (Summit). Ms. Bailey has more than 30 years of management and leadership experience in providing professional services to the small business community and the Federal Government.
Prior to establishing Summit, Ms. Bailey co-founded GCC Technologies, LLC and served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for over 20 years. Prior to that Ms. Bailey held various positions in both the Federal and commercial sectors. During her career, she has been a small business owner, Federal contract auditor, controller, director of Government liaison and fiscal planning, and a small business consultant.
She is a certified fraud examiner (CFE) and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from George Mason University. Ms. Bailey also serves as the board chair for the HUBZone Contractor’s National Council, a national trade association established to strengthen, improve, and promote the HUBZone Program. As the board chair, Ms. Bailey meets and coordinates with congressional leaders, key small business organizations, Governmental agencies, and advocacy groups to promote the HUBZone Program.
Angela Washington is a National Business Development Specialist in the Office of National Director (OND) for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). She joined MBDA in January 1999, under the Clinton Presidential. Angela is an experienced government executive with a proven successful background in helping minority businesses gain access to capital, financing and federal contracts. She is a proactive team leader who excels in assisting Federal Agencies meet their procurement goals, by incorporating highly capable firms into various acquisition programs. She is an excellent communicator with firsthand operational experience as identifying over $50 billion public and private sector contract opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBEs).
Angela has over eighteen years of Federal Government experience where she has served through four presidential administrations. Her career started in 1996 through an Internship Program. She has held various program level positions in several agencies such as the Office of Personnel Management, the Department
of Agriculture and the Department of Commerce. Angela has studied at the University of Maryland, majoring in Business Information Systems. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Women and serves as a Project Director for the non-profit Travels 4 Luv, where she mentors at risk youth
and educates them on the benefits of entrepreneurship.
Michelle Burnett is a dedicated advocate and seasoned professional with over 15 years of experience in supporting and championing the HUBZone small business community. Her journey into the world of HUBZone began in 2008 when she joined the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a contractor. During this initial encounter, Michelle gained a profound understanding of the HUBZone program and the transformative impact it could have on communities and businesses alike.
Although her tenure at the SBA was brief, the impact of the HUBZone community left an indelible mark on Michelle's career trajectory. After completing her contract with the SBA in 2012, she continued her commitment to the HUBZone community by dedicating almost five years to volunteering with the HUBZone Council and its members. Her dedication and passion for the cause eventually led to her appointment as the Executive Director of the HUBZone Contractors National Council in 2018.
Before taking on her role as Executive Director, Michelle Burnett wore various hats within the Government Contracting industry. She served as a Facility Security Officer and a Business Development Representative, gaining a multifaceted understanding of the intricacies of the field. These experiences, coupled with her extensive involvement in various contract support roles, provided her with invaluable insights into the challenges and opportunities that businesses face in Government Contracting.
Sam Sanchez is a long-time Mexican-American businessman based in the city of Chicago. He has an extensive background in the hospitality industry, construction and design, employee management and general operations.
Sam Sanchez started his career as a restaurateur. Since, he has led multiple joint ventures spanning industries such as manufacturing, trade education, security, renewable energy, and transportation. As a developer, Mr. Sanchez also owns EMC Construction, a full-service construction company which handles both renovations of existing properties and new construction for future projects.
Most recently, Mr. Sanchez founded Great Lakes Solex PR LLC, a wholly minority-owned company focused on developing a state-of-the-art facility to manufacture 6GW of solar panels in the United States.
Mr. Sanchez currently acts as liaison with the City of Chicago Latino Caucus and served as the Chair of Chicago’s last Mayor, Lori Lightfoot’s, finance committee. In his position as chair of the finance committee for the Mayor, he worked closely with the administration to bring light to important city issues. In 2022, Mr. Sanchez joined Mayor Lightfoot and a number of hand-selected delegates on a World Business Chicago trip to Mexico City to promote intra-national trade and business between Chicago and Mexico. He works closely with Illinois and city elected officials to promote policies beneficial to businesses across the state of Illinois and to the Latino and immigrant community.
Kevin Williams, a seasoned veteran and accomplished entrepreneur, serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Black Squirrel Collaborative (BSC). BSC is a collective of industry experts renowned for their work with small businesses and neighborhood organizations, specializing in the creation and management of Sustainable Neighborhood Investments. Kevin is not only a dedicated "Thought Leader" but also actively contributes to the development of the next generation of business owners and entrepreneurs. His extensive career spans several decades, during which he has been deeply involved in small business initiatives and startup development in major cities such as Philadelphia, San Francisco, and the Washington DC metro area.
With over 30 years of experience in training and nurturing small-to-medium-sized businesses to become competitive, scalable, and sustainable entities, Kevin has honed his business acumen. His expertise lies in crafting systemic solutions that empower companies to successfully adapt to evolving economic landscapes.
BSC collaborates with significant private and public sector partners to address the dynamic market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disproportionately affected small businesses, threatening their survival. Kevin's involvement extends to multiple transformative projects, including key initiatives with local universities, several Philadelphia-based Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Agencies, and the City of Philadelphia. These initiatives aim to enhance contract access for local enterprises, bolster support for small business corridors, and foster the growth of black and brown tech startups. Two notable recent ventures by BSC are the Philly RISE Accelerator and BizScoreLine.com.
Philly RISE Accelerator: To rectify disparities in local real estate development, BSC launched a Real Estate Accelerator program in collaboration with the national organization, Urban Land Institute. This initiative recruits, trains, supports, and provides access to capital for 10-12 black and brown developers, with the goal of producing 50 new residential housing units annually over the next 5 years. The program offers intensive training and leverages private and public resources to empower participants to competitively scale their real estate businesses.
BizScoreLine.com: Transforming the art of preparing small businesses for capital acquisition into a cutting-edge digital platform is a hallmark of BSC's innovation. They have created BizScoreLine.com, an assessment tool designed to guide businesses through a comprehensive evaluation process. This culminates in a detailed report that provides crucial recommendations to unlock capital readiness, the essential key to expansion and success.
Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Texas State University, complemented by a minor in Computer Science.
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