Advisory Board Member – 2013-2014

In the Fall of 2013, I was recruited to sit on the advisory board of JA of NWI, a division of Chicago. While a lot of our focus was to think of ways we could raise funds to support various programming, it was also to recruit volunteers and other advocates to teach in the classroom.

I was fortunate enough where I taught a multi-week series at Central Elementary in Valparaiso. One of the best parts of this organization is that I was able to go back to my home school system, River Forest Elementary School, to do ‘JA in a Day’. This programming essentially puts all of what kids will learn over the course of a few weeks in just a few hours. The teacher of the classroom was actually one of my peers in yearbook class from when I was in high school. While I enjoyed teaching financial literacy to the kids, we had a section on the zoning of a community which was exciting talking about schools and hospitals being placed next to graveyards.

Valpo Chamber Leadership Academy – Class of 2013

The Valpo Chamber is one of the best non-profits in Northwest Indiana. Its membership and programming has helped grow the community in ways not imaginable. As a former local business owner, I was able to serve as an Ambassador to the organization as I traveled around to ribbon cutting, happy hours and the like. In 2013, I was admitted to their leadership program which is actually more focused on the non-profit community instead of business. The chamber seeks to develop people from a holistic perspective and help them get engaged in other aspects of the community. We were able to hear from CEO’s program managers and others that are doing the things needs to help people from all walks of life be success regardless of where they started from.

Urban League Young Professionals of NWI 2011 – 2016

After meeting Vanessa Allen, CEO of the Urban League of Northwest Indiana through the Leadership Northwest Indiana program, I was pulled onto the board through 2010. Because of the meeting times during lunch, it was hard to get to them due to the 40-minute commute so I stepped off but wanted to stay involved. The Urban League Young Professionals group was the right it and I was able to interact and learn more about issues that tended to fall outside of my immediate community.

Urban League of NWI – Board of Directors

Post-Tribune, The (Merrillville, IN) (Published as Post-Tribune (IN)) – January 13, 2011

  • Edition: All Editions
  • Section: News – Metro
  • Page: 34

Urban League installs leaders

By Lisa DeNeal

Post-Tribune correspondent

GARY — It was standing room only Wednesday during the Urban League of Northwest Indiana’s installation of the 2011 board and advisory council members inside the office at 3101 Broadway.

“This will be a broader and more diverse organization serving those in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties,” Urban League CEO Vanessa Allen said. “We will be behind the definition of what the Urban League is about — education, economic empowerment, health and wellness, civic leadership and civil rights.”

Chairman of the Board Richard Hardaway told the new board and advisory council members that being a supporter of the Urban League of is the “highest level of volunteering in the organization. You are working for the community and the people in three major counties and they are welcoming you to be a part of it all,” he said.

“We want to not only be a pillar in the community, but we want the National Urban League headquarters to recognize us as a prime example of what they stand for.”

Highland Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin conducted the 2011 installation ceremony, saying this was a reflection of their progress in the last year since Allen was named president and CEO. “This …

is about forming a more perfect union. It is not about you and me, it is about all of us working together for others. It is about what is in your hearts.” and I know you all are committed to do from the heart, what is best for the community,” he said.

Urban league

The 2011 executive board:

Richard Hardaway; chairman

Michael Suggs, vice chairman of internal affairs

Joe Wade, vice chairman of membership

Darian Collins, vice chairperson of programs

State Rep Vernon G. Smith, vice chairman of special projects

Father Thomas Mischler, secretary

Brenda Smith, treasurer

Board members:

Juan M. Andrade, Runetta Brown, Gary School Superintendent Myrtle Campbell, Yolanda Chatfield, Darian Collins, Isaac Culver, Reginald Dotson, Calumet Township Trustee Mary Elgin, Juan Fernandez, Lisette Guillen-Gardner, Marilyn Hairston, Ragen Hatcher, Roosevelt Haywood, Alfred Johnson, Vance Kenney, Patricia Lawson, Indiana University Northwest Chancellor William Lowe, Ian McFadden, Jim McShane, Marlon Mitchell, Robert Ordway, Suzette Raggs, Art Russell, Gene Stubblefield, J. Guadalupe Valtierra, the Rev. Emmanuel Vaughn, Shirley Walls, Gail Watkins, Ann West-Walker and Steven May.

The 2011 Advisory Council:

Loreece Bly, the Rev. Carrell K. Cargle, Gary Police Chief Gary Carter, Shalonda Crump, Paul Dawning, Augusta DeNeal, Elder Willie Eastland, Steven Gill, Tera Grinnell, Bishop Norman Hairston, Richard G. Hatcher, Belinda Huley, Glenn Johnson, Mae Jones, Harold Jones, Irene Scott-King, Sherry Knight, Robert Latiker, Pamela Marshall, Carolyn McCrady, Lavelle Morgan, Debbie Niksch, Joyce Nyongani, Natalie Pugh, Karen Pulliam,

Frank Rivera, Lori K. Sloan, Alisa Spencer, Mary Steele-Agee, Robin Tien, Henry Turner Jr., Rosalyn Whitfield, Annette Williams, Che Wright and Chanelle Yarber.