Rise to the Challenge Summit 22
11/09/2022 - 11/10/2022
Central State University

About the Summit

Rise to the Challenge Summit 22
Center of Excellence for HBCU Corporate Engagement






Join Central State University and Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) nationwide for engaging career readiness topics with captivating speakers and dynamic companies.

This 2-day hybrid summit, broadcasting from Central State University Student Center in Wilberforce, Ohio is for all students and faculty of HBCUs, academic enclaves, Advancement and Career Service professionals, plus companies, corporations, and businesses advocating for connection with the HBCU community.

Hosted by the Center of Excellence for HBCU Corporate Engagement at Central State University, sessions include hands-on workshops and company-sponsored Meet and Greets, culminating in a Presidential Reception with Dr. Jack Thomas, Central State University president.

The Rise to the Challenge Summit 2022 focuses on: 

Career Readiness and Pathways
Sustainable Corporate Partnerships
Leveraging Proven Methods
 

You are invited to attend this exciting opportunity for the HBCU community in-person at Central State University Student Center or via livestream broadcast November 9 – 10, 2022. Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, your ticket cost has been covered. 


For sponsorship and company participation and more information on Central State University’s Center of Excellence (COE), please contact Ms. Kim Jones (kjones@centralstate.edu). 

Agenda Updates

Check back often for Agenda & Speaker Updates

Presidential Reception




with Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President

Thursday, November 10th from 3-6pm
Please join us in the University Center Ballroom
(business attire required)

Appetizers & Dinner
Recognition of CSU partnerships, companies & sponsors


Everyone must RSVP by registering at www.risetothechallenge.net

Agenda Times are Subject to Change

CSU - Summit Fact Sheet
Upcoming Events



Presidential Reception Invite



CSU Site Map
Central State University Student Center-Building #36

National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center-Building #29

Covid-19 Policy

COVID-19 POLICY FOR

VISITORS TO CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

1.    All visitors are asked to do a health self-check the day of their visit.

       You should refrain from coming to campus if you:

        -  are not feeling well

        -  have a fever

        -  are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

        -  have tested positive for Covid within the last 5 days, or may have been exposed to the virus within the last 5 days

-       and are not vaccinated

 

2.    Visitors are required to wear face coverings while indoors and in environments where social distancing is not feasible or practical,   

       even when outdoors.

 

3.    Visitors are encouraged to use proper social distancing of 6 feet whenever possible.

Contact US

For more information on the Rise to the Challenge 22 Summit,
please contact J. Atwater j.atwater@infinitemanagementsolutions.net.





Event Photos

Coming Soon!

Summit Agenda
09
Event Overview - Ms. Kimberly Jones, CSU
Event Overview - Ms. Kimberly Jones, CSU
Ms. Kimberly N. Jones '89, CSU, Director of Strategic Partnerships & External Affairs 
 
Start
8:30 AM
End
8:55 AM
Speakers
Ms. Kimberly Jones
Soloist - Lift Every Voice & Sing - Mr. Levar Brown
Soloist - Lift Every Voice & Sing - Mr. Levar Brown
Mr. Levar Brown, CSU Student
Start
8:55 AM
End
9:00 AM
Welcoming Remarks - Mr. Darrick Long, CSU
Welcoming Remarks - Mr. Darrick Long, CSU
Topic: The Center of Excellence/HBCU Corporate Engagement at CSU

Mr. Darrick D. Long, CSU, Executive Director Institutional Advancement
Start
9:00 AM
End
9:25 AM
Speakers
Mr. Darrick Long
Opening Keynote Speaker - Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President
Opening Keynote Speaker - Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President
Opening Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President
Start
9:25 AM
End
9:45 AM
Speakers
Dr. Jack Thomas, Host
Panel - Sustainable Partnerships - Moderator: Dr. Jack Thomas, President, Central State University
Panel - Sustainable Partnerships - Moderator: Dr. Jack Thomas, President, Central State University
Topic: Sustainable Partnerships

Moderator: 
Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU

Featured Speakers:
Mr. Daryl Graham, Strada
Mr. Leighton McCoy, Dominion Energy Services, Inc.
Start
9:45 AM
End
10:25 AM
Speakers
Mr. Leighton McCoy
Dr. Jack Thomas, Host
Mr. Daryl Graham
Breakout Session #1 - Telling Your Story: Resume and Online Profile Strategies - Dr. Kevin James
Breakout Session #1 - Telling Your Story: Resume and Online Profile Strategies - Dr. Kevin James
Topic: Telling Your Story: Resume and Online Profile Strategies

Featured Speaker:
Dr. Kevin James, Morris Brown College, President
Start
10:40 AM
End
11:20 AM
Speakers
Dr. Kevin James
Breakout Session #2-Trends in Corporate Engagement at Universities - Ms. Christy Bertolo, Unite and Mr. Chris Svec, Unite
Breakout Session #2-Trends in Corporate Engagement at Universities - Ms. Christy Bertolo, Unite and Mr. Chris Svec, Unite
Topic: Trends in Corporate Engagement at Universities

Speakers:
Mr. Chris Svec, Unite, Co-Founder
Ms. Christy Bertolo, Unite, Co-Founder
Start
10:40 AM
End
11:20 AM
Speakers
Ms. Christy Bertolo
Mr. Chris Svec
Featured Speaker - Mr. Leighton McCoy, Dominion Energy - Philanthropy and HBCUs
Featured Speaker - Mr. Leighton McCoy, Dominion Energy - Philanthropy and HBCUs
Topic: Philanthropy and HBCUs

Speaker:
Mr. Leighton McCoy, Dominion Energy Services, Inc., Vice President, Gas Distribution Technical Services
Start
11:30 AM
End
12:20 PM
Speakers
Mr. Leighton McCoy
Lunch Keynote Speaker - Dr. Reginald Turner - Why HBCUs Matter
Lunch Keynote Speaker - Dr. Reginald Turner - Why HBCUs Matter
Topic: Why HBCUs Matter
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Reginald Turner

Start
12:30 PM
End
1:00 PM
Speakers
Dr. Reginald Turner
Breakout Session #3 - Featured Speaker - Ms. Cheryl Lavender, Reimagining Corporate Partnerships
Breakout Session #3 - Featured Speaker - Ms. Cheryl Lavender, Reimagining Corporate Partnerships
Topic: Reimagining Corporate Partnerships

Speaker:
Ms. Cheryl Lavender, Procter & Gamble, Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Start
1:40 PM
End
2:30 PM
Speakers
Ms. Cheryl Lavender
Breakout Session #4 - Speaker - Ms. Patricia Roe, Strada, HBCU Initiative, Strada Education Network
Breakout Session #4 - Speaker - Ms. Patricia Roe, Strada, HBCU Initiative, Strada Education Network
Topic: HBCU Initiative, Strada Education Network

Speaker:
Ms Patricia Roe, Strada, Vice President Philanthropy, HBCU Initiative, Strada Education Network
Start
1:40 PM
End
2:30 PM
Speakers
Ms. Patricia Roe
Panel - Building Sustainable Partnerships with Financial Institutions Panel - Ms. Marya Rutherford-Long, Fifth Third Bank
Panel - Building Sustainable Partnerships with Financial Institutions Panel - Ms. Marya Rutherford-Long, Fifth Third Bank
Topic: Building Sustainable Partnerships with Financial Institutions

Moderator:
Ms. Marya Rutherford-Long, Fifth Third Bank, Vice President, Community and Economic Development Manager

Panelists:
Ms. Hosetta Coleman, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Executive Director, Head of Careers & Skills
Mr. Keith Borders, Union & Guardian Savings Bank, Vice President
Ms. Kenya Taylor, KeyBank, Vice President, Regional Corporate Responsibility/Community Relations Officer
Start
2:40 PM
End
3:30 PM
Speakers
Ms. Marya Rutherford-Long
Ms. Hosetta Coleman
Closing Remarks - Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President
Closing Remarks - Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU President
Closing Remarks

Dr. Jack Thomas, CSU, President
Start
3:40 PM
End
4:00 PM
Speakers
Dr. Jack Thomas, Host
10
Event Opening Remarks - Ms. Kimberly Jones, CSU
Event Opening Remarks - Ms. Kimberly Jones, CSU
Overview of the Day
Start
8:30 AM
End
8:45 AM
Speakers
Mr. Darrick Long
Welcoming Remarks - Mr. Darrick Long, CSU
Welcoming Remarks - Mr. Darrick Long, CSU
Mr. Darrick D. Long, CSU, Executive Director Institutional Advancement
Start
8:45 AM
End
9:00 AM
Speakers
Mr. Darrick Long
Breakout Session #2 - Featured Speaker - Ms. Dixie Bullock - Building a Professional Brand as a Key Stepping Stone to your Career Future
Breakout Session #2 - Featured Speaker - Ms. Dixie Bullock - Building a Professional Brand as a Key Stepping Stone to your Career Future
Topic: Building a Professional Brand as a Key Stepping Stone to your Career Future

Featured Speaker:
Ms. Dixie Bullock, NextJob, Inc., Coach Team Manager, Quality Survey Manager
Start
9:10 AM
End
9:50 AM
Speakers
Ms. Dixie Bullock
Breakout Session #4 - Ms. Elaine McMichael, Dominion Energy Services, Inc.
Breakout Session #4 - Ms. Elaine McMichael, Dominion Energy Services, Inc.
Speaker:
Ms. Elaine McMichael, Dominion Energy Services, Inc., Talent Acquisition Sourcing Specialist, Human Resources
Start
10:00 AM
End
10:40 AM
Breakout Session #6 - Dayton Children's Hospital
Breakout Session #6 - Dayton Children's Hospital
Topic: Dayton Children's Hospital

Speaker:
Monique Patterson, Dayton Children's Hospital
Start
10:50 AM
End
11:30 AM
Breakout Session #9 - Career Opportunities at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Panel
Breakout Session #9 - Career Opportunities at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Panel
Topic: Career Opportunities at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Moderator:
Ms. Sharnell Delmohammed, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Vice President, HBCU Relationship Manager - Advancing Black Pathways

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Panelists:
Ms. Sionne Murray, Risk Analyst for the Business Bank
Mr. Breelin Motte, Associate Campus Recruiter in Commercial Banking
Mr. Andre Young, Application Support Specialist in the Consumer and Community Banking Division
Start
12:40 PM
End
1:20 PM
Speakers
Ms. Sharnell Delmohammed
Breakout Session #11 - Nationwide Insurance - In-Person Only
Breakout Session #11 - Nationwide Insurance - In-Person Only
Topic: Nationwide Insurance

Speakers: 
TBD
Start
1:30 PM
End
2:10 PM
Breakout Session #12 - Mr. Rashadd Humes, The J.M. Smucker Company - Persevering with Passion Through Your Professional Journey
Breakout Session #12 - Mr. Rashadd Humes, The J.M. Smucker Company - Persevering with Passion Through Your Professional Journey
Topic: Persevering with Passion Through Your Professional Journey

Speaker:
Mr. Rashadd Humes, The J.M. Smucker Company, Diversity Recruiting Manager
Start
2:20 PM
End
3:00 PM
Speakers
Mr. Rashadd Humes
Speakers

Dr. Reginald Turner

Host and Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics, Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT)

Dr. Reginald Turner is the Associate Dean of the School of Systems and Logistics, one of four schools that make up the Air Force Institute of Technology, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Dr. Turner is responsible for the daily operations of the school, which includes executing an annual operating budget of $12.5 M across three Professional Continuing Education departments and one Administrative department. These four departments develop and deliver defense-focused professional continuing education, research and consulting services in order to sustain America’s Air and Space Forces technological supremacy. Dr. Turner also serves as the school’s Chief Academic Officer and assumes the responsibility for the management and professional development of over 120 faculty and staff members, to include military, civilian and contractor personnel. To this end, the school provides more than 120 resident, on-site, virtual and both synchronous and asynchronous distance learning professional continuing education courses in acquisition management, logistics, contracting, systems management, software engineering and financial management. Approximately 18 thousand DoD personnel in 50 worldwide locations attend Systems and Logistics courses each year.

Dr. Turner has a diverse professional background, which spans nearly three decades of dedicated, exemplary military and civil service. After being commissioned into the Air Force from Tuskegee University as a 2d LT, he began a distinguished 22 year military career that included working in the intelligence, research and development, and education career fields, as well as program and technical management. Dr. Turner has been recognized by The Under Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions as an Acquisitions Subject Matter Expert and continues to serve the nation having brought that expertise to the civil service workforce.

Mr. Leighton McCoy

Leighton McCoy is the Vice President of Gas Distribution Technical Services at Dominion Energy. He is responsible for pipeline safety management, technical training, damage prevention, GIS Services, and other field support functions across the gas distribution’s seven-state service territory. McCoy joined Dominion Energy as an Engineer - Measurement and Regulation in 2007. He was named a Manager of Gas Projects in 2009 and promoted to Design Supervisor- Gas Planning in 2011. He became Manager-Gas Planning & Storage Operations in 2013. In August 2015, McCoy along with his wife, son, & daughter relocated to Richmond, VA for position as Director – Engineering & Construction within the System Engineering department. He managed engineering/construction project teams located in Bridgeport, WV and Columbia, SC. He also led the project team responsible for Land, Lease and Right of Way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) project. In January 2019, he became Director-Electric Distribution Design & Project Management in the Power Delivery Group where he oversaw the Electric Distribution Design organization responsible for system-wide (Virginia/North Carolina) development and implementation of distribution design standards required for the safe, reliable, and efficient operation of regulated electric handling facilities. He assumed his current post in October 2019. McCoy earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Case Western Reserve University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio. A 2014 recipient of the Benjamin J. Lambert III, Volunteer of the Year Award, he remains active in volunteerism and mentorship. An active participant in the Junior Achievement Program of Central Virginia, upon his return to the Ohio, McCoy has expanded his presence to other local mentoring programs in the Cleveland. McCoy currently serves on the Advisory Board for North Carolina A&T State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering departments. He also serves as Board Member for the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Red Cross. McCoy is currently a member of Leadership Cleveland’s class of 2021.

Dr. Jack Thomas, Host

Central State University President

Dr. Thomas

President, Central State University

Dr. Jack Thomas joined Central State University as president on July 1, 2020, bringing a long track record of success in several academic settings.


Dr. Thomas brings visibility and insights from experience in every aspect of academia. Roles he has held have included president, interim president, provost and academic vice president, executive vice president, executive assistant to the president, dean, department chair, and English professor.


Dr. Thomas was a Senior Fellow with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Previously, Dr. Thomas served as president of Western Illinois University (WIU), a state-run university where he served for nearly a decade. As president, he successfully managed a budget of nearly $224 million during a period of unprecedented state fiscal challenges.


At WIU, Dr. Thomas was responsible for a number of accomplishments, including increasing diversity, creating new academic programs, managing fiscal and cash flow issues brought on by the state’s financial crisis, investing in STEM and other academic programs, increasing funding for student scholarships, and establishing a presidential institute to foster and improve corporate, community and K-12 relations. Under Dr. Thomas’ leadership, the Institution constructed a new campus in Moline, Illinois, and achieved its multimillion-dollar capital campaign goal. WIU has been rated as a "Best in the Midwest College" by the Princeton Review and as a top tier Midwest Universities Master's institution by U.S. News and World Report.


Prior to WIU, Dr. Thomas spent more than 20 years serving in various capacities in several institutions of higher education. From 2004 until 2008, he served as senior vice provost for Academic Affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University. There, Dr. Thomas improved diversity, assisted with the design of new academic programs, coordinated the implementation of a new key assessment instrument, enhanced academic reviews, and mentoring.


From 1990 until 2004, Dr. Thomas served in several roles at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, including interim president, executive vice president, and associate vice president for Academic and Student Affairs. During his tenure, he enhanced fundraising, implemented new academic programs, and drove increased enrollment.


Earlier in his career, Dr. Thomas served as an English instructor at South Carolina State University and Johnson C. Smith University.


Dr. Thomas is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in higher education administration.


Dr. Thomas' influence on the academic community extends to his service on several distinguished boards including the Marguerite Casey Foundation Board of Directors; the Illinois Board of Higher Education; the Stillman College Board of Trustees; the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education Board; the American Council on Education Council of Fellows; the NCAA Presidential Forum; the Illinois Campus Compact Board; the Heart of Tennessee Chapter of the American Red Cross Board; and the Rutherford County YMCA Board.


Nationally, Dr. Thomas graduated from the Harvard Leadership Program, served as an American Council on Education Fellow, was a Kellogg-NAFEO Fellow, participated in the Salzburg Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, and participated in Leadership Middle Tennessee. He has also served as the chair of the NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program (AASP) Selection Committee. He served as the chairperson of the (AASCU) Christa McAuliffe Award Presidential Selection, and as a committee member of the Middle States Visitation Team.


A native of Lowndes County, Alabama, Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in English (Literature and Criticism) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a Master of English Education from Virginia State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Alabama A & M University. He is a noted scholar and lecturer, as well as a highly sought-after keynote speaker presenting his research and inspirational messages locally, nationally, and internationally.


Dr. Thomas is a published researcher, and the focus of his research has been on black males in literature. Additionally, Dr. Thomas is the author of numerous publications and professional presentations including his most recent publication titled, Within These Gates: Academic Work, Academic Leadership, University Life, and the Presidency.  Dr. Thomas has been a committed advocate for diversity and inclusion. He has been recognized by Minority Access, Inc. and others for his work helping to provide meaningful and transformative opportunities for minorities through mentorship and access at various universities. Dr. Thomas has done further graduate work in theological studies at Liberty University and is an ordained Baptist Minister. Dr. Thomas' current body of work includes research on public institutions that have had to make transformative programmatic and human capital decisions due to decreased federal and state financial support and declining enrollment. The working title of Dr. Thomas’ latest book is "From the Segregated South to the Presidency."

Mr. Darrick Long

Central State University Executive Director, Institutional Advancement

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Darrick Long is a Higher Education Advancement professional with nearly a decade of experience in Higher Ed, Marketing, Fundraising, Advancement Services, and Organizational Leadership. After completing his academic studies, Mr. Long went straight to work in higher ed. Throughout his career, Mr. Long has held several roles of increasing responsibility at multiple institutions in Marketing, Communication, Development, and Advancement Services. He is currently the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at Central State University, which houses many University services, including Marketing, Branding, Development, Corporate Partnerships, Alumni Relations, and the University Website. Mr. Long’s latest career highlights include record-breaking fundraising with significant increases in individual and major gifts at multiple institutions; he provided considerable leadership in CSU’s marketing and rebranding campaign and led the redesign and implementation of a new University website. In addition to marketing and branding, Mr. Long has taken the lead on the University’s multi-million-dollar capital campaign. Mr. Long’s focus for the Center of Excellence for HBCU Corporate Engagement is to increase vital career pathways to business and industry and increase student capacity and readiness for the workforce.

Ms. Kimberly Jones

Central State University, Director, Strategic Partnerships & External Affairs

Kimberly Jones is a native of Detroit, Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Central State University; she also holds a master’s degree in Early and Middle Childhood Education and a Principal Licensure from The Ohio State University. Ms. Jones has more than 30 years of education experience, including as an elementary and middle school teacher, program director, counselor, dean of students, and principal. She has proven successful during her tenure as principal, which includes raising her school’s report card score from continuous improvement to effective through innovative leadership and guidance.

She currently serves her Alma Mater, Central State University, as Director of Strategic Partnerships and External Affairs within the Division of Institutional Advancement. Kimberly uses her passion and talent for the youth to connect the corporate partners and students with unique experiences and opportunities through internships and special programming.

Ms. Jones serves her community by participating with several organizations that focus on education and uplifting people of color. She is the current President of the Central State University Columbus Alumni Chapter and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

She enjoys the opportunity to encourage, empower, connect, and uplift individuals, especially youth. When she works with young people, it is her goal to make sure that they feel loved and necessary and are given the tools to reach their full potential. Exposing and connecting young people to opportunities and preparing them for their future is a job she takes seriously and has dedicated her career towards.

Kim’s motto for teaching and learning for herself and others is “Education is your passport to the future.”

Dr. Kevin James

President, Morris Brown College

Dr. James made history by leading the institution to become the first HBCU to regain accredited status after a nearly twenty-year hiatus. He drew from his 22-year career as a higher education administrator, professor, executive business leader, and motivational speaker to fulfill his role as the Chief Executive Officer of the college. He is responsible for the leadership and management of all aspects of college operations. Dr. James is also responsible for the development and execution of the vision and strategic direction for the college, in concert with the Board of Trustees. To execute his preliminary vision of re-accreditation, he built a strategy around several core pillars: academic strength, governance, financial solvency, alumni partnership, and community engagement. Dr. James is committed to the legacy of Morris Brown, which empowers the community through education. He understood such empowerment could only be delivered through the pillars previously listed.

Dr. James announced a partnership that has people Rethinking what Morris Brown is capable of. On February 25, 2021, Hilton Hotels Worldwide and the global investment firm CGI Merchant Group agreed to partner with Morris Brown in developing a $40 million dollar hotel. A major component of the agreement was the ability to train students in the hotel and its restaurants. Construction begins fall 2022 on a 150-room hotel under the Tapestry Collection by Hilton.

As President, Dr. James has stabilized finances; increased fundraising; expanded and revised academic offerings; successfully guided the institution through TRACS accreditation; and led the College in reaching record-breaking enrollment increases in the past twenty years. Under his leadership, Morris Brown College has been completely transformed and revitalized.

Prior to his post as President, Dr. James served as Interim CEO of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., internationally headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The mission of 100 Black Men of America is to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economic opportunities for all African Americans.

Dr. James has been featured on CNN, CBS, NBC, Fox, US News, Forbes, Black Enterprise, The Root, NewsOne, The GRIO, HBCU Times, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Atlanta Voice, Atlanta Magazine, and The Atlanta Tribune just to name a few.

In 2022, Dr. James was selected to Leadership Atlanta, Named Core 100 Most Influential Blacks Today, named one of 12 Prominent African Americans you should know by Upscale Magazine, named Honorary Chairman of The Walk Atlanta- National African American Male Wellness Initiative, named 22 to watch in 2022 by The Atlanta Business Chronicle, and named one of Atlanta’s Most Powerful Leaders by Atlanta Magazine. Moreover, he received the FACE of Influence Award and The Isaiah DeQuincey Newman Lifetime Humanitarian Award. In 2021, Dr. James was named College President of the Year by the Georgia Greater Black Chamber of Commerce and one of Atlanta’s Most Powerful Leaders by Atlanta Magazine. In 2020, he received the Winthrop University Alumni Professional Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to higher education. Additionally, he received the 4 Brighter Futures Foundation, Inc. Chairman Award, was a Georgia Leadership Character Award nominee, Mentor of the Year for 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., and Morris Brown College was named Top 10 Smaller HBCU that is Rising #4 by the HBCU Campaign Fund. Moreover, he was selected and completed the Higher Education Leadership Foundation/United Negro College Fund Presidential Leadership Institute.

Mr. Daryl Graham

Senior Vice President, Strada HBCU and Engagement

As senior vice president of HBCU and Engagement, Daryl A. Graham oversees Strada Education Network’s strategic philanthropic investments and overall grant management efforts. Prior to joining Strada in 2017, Graham spent 15 years with JPMorgan Chase & Co., in Wilmington, Del., serving more than a decade as vice president and relationship manager where he identified grantmaking, sponsorship and volunteerism opportunities for the firm.

His background also includes accounting and auditing positions at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., ConocoPhillips and General Electric. He has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the Philanthropy Delaware Board of Directors, which he chaired. Graham has been honored for his leadership with the YMCA Black Achiever in Business and Industry Award, the H. Fletcher Brown Leadership Award and the Community Reinvestment Act Leadership Award.

Graham is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore

Ms. Monica Poulard-Hawkins

Professional Pipeline Development Group, Founder & CEO

Ms. Christy Bertolo

Co-Founder of UNITE

Christy Bertolo is the co-founder of UNITE and BridgED. UNITE is a consulting, training and technology company developed to help unite university and industry partners. UNITE is a licensed, Ohio State technology and Ohio State portfolio company. BridgED is a consulting company helping K-12 districts bridge the gap with companies while providing opportunities and exposure to career paths for teachers, parents, and students.

Prior to starting UNITE and BridgED, Christy led the first ever holistic corporate engagement effort for The Ohio State University. In this role she served as the single point of coordination and liaison between business partners and the university. She managed a portfolio of companies who partner with Ohio State and drove corporate engagement in the areas of philanthropy, research, student hiring and more. In the fall of 2020 Christy lead the campus re-open team and rolled out the operations of the single surveillance COVID-19 testing site that tests nearly 45,000 faculty, staff, and students weekly.

Prior to Ohio State, Christy worked as Vice President of Business Services at the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. In her role, Christy worked directly with over 600 companies and organizations throughout the Columbus Region in various industries. During her tenure, Christy helped members add $10m+ in new revenue, 300+ jobs and 200k sq ft in expansions.

Prior to joining the Chamber in 2011 she was the Director of Operations for 1400 Aveda Salon and Spa's located in Grandview, Downtown and New Albany. Christy was responsible for all company operations, new salon growth, the opening and build out of two new salon and spa locations as well as talent retention and acquisition.

Christy received her Bachelor of Science Degrees in Marketing and Business Administration at Franklin University. Christy lives in Upper Arlington and serves on the board for The Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corporation, Columbus Startup Week and is active with various organizations and her children’s school. She also served on the Board of Directors for Relā.

Ms. Cassandra Binkley

Bob Evans Farms, Inc. Sr. Manager, Community Engagement & Philanthropy

Mr. Chris Svec

Co-Founder of UNITE

Chris Svec is the co-founder of UNITE and BridgED. UNITE is a consulting, training and technology company developed to help unite university and industry partners. UNITE is a licensed, Ohio State technology and Ohio State portfolio company. BridgED is a consulting company helping K-12 districts bridge the gap with companies while providing opportunities and exposure to career paths for teachers, parents, and students.

Prior to starting UNITE and BridgED, Chris led the first ever holistic corporate engagement effort for The Ohio State University. In this role he served as the single point of coordination and liaison between business partners and the university. He managed a portfolio of companies who partner with Ohio State and drove corporate engagement in the areas of philanthropy, research, student hiring and more.

From 2010-2017 Chris worked for Nationwide where he held the title of Director, Sports Marketing. He led a team who managed a portfolio of high-profile sponsorships which included NFL teams, the PGA TOUR, Diversity and Inclusion, Columbus Marathon, and Columbus Zoo properties. Chris also managed athlete endorsement relationships including Earvin Magic Johnson, Tavis Smiley, Hines Ward, Bill Haas, Jack Nicklaus, and USA soccer star Alex Morgan. During his tenure at Nationwide, Chris served as President of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, a Korn Ferry Finals tournament played at Ohio State’s Scarlet golf course. In this role he led a board of prominent central Ohio business leaders and the tournament which generated over $1.7M in donations to Nationwide Children’s annually. 

From 1996-2010 Chris was employed with Real Living, Inc., one of the top five real estate brokerages in the US. During this tenure he held various sales and marketing related roles and was instrumental in the firm’s explosive national growth. He was accountable and responsible for sales, merger/acquisition activity, marketing, and overall growth of the brand. Due in large part to this effort, Real Living experienced significant growth and penetration into new markets which ultimately led to Real Living being purchased by Berkshire Hathaway. The brand was named “Fastest Growing Real Estate Company in the US” by the Swanepoel Report for three consecutive years under Chris’ leadership.

Chris Svec is a graduate of Ohio University and resides in Powell, Ohio. He is an avid pickleball player and sports fan.

Ms. Marya Rutherford-Long

Fifth Third Bank, Vice President of Community & Economic Development

Marya Rutherford Long is a servant leader and trusted community advisor. She serves as the Vice President and Community & Economic Development Manager for the Dayton and Cincinnati Regions at Fifth Third Bank. She is a member of the senior leadership team for the Dayton market and manages the Community & Economic Development program to ensure the region’s compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act, while cultivating community partnerships and executing community development strategies. Focusing on impact, she looks for opportunities to strengthen our community in meaningful ways through partnerships with community stakeholders.

For more than 25 years Marya has served in various Community Development Management roles with PNC Bank, National City Bank, Provident Bank, and the Dayton View Community Development Corporation.

She is an active board and committee leader in the Dayton community, and currently serves as Chair of the Homeownership Center of Greater Dayton and is a member of the Dayton Business Journal’s Diversity Committee. Marya also serves on the Downtown Dayton Partnership Board, the University of Dayton/ West Dayton Initiative, Central State University’s College of Business Advisory Board, Homeownership Center of Greater Dayton Board, 6888 Kitchen Incubator Board, Fifth Third Bank’s HBCU Initiative and the Dayton Corporate Community Roundtable.  

Ms. Dixie Bullock

Coach Team Manager & Quality Survey Manager, NextJob, Inc.

Dixie Bullock is known as a tenacious Career Change Coach. She provides a guiding light to those looking to enhance their value proposition, especially toward promotion opportunities. Dixie has been promoted into several leadership roles over her career, which began in staffing and recruiting. She delivers a unique perspective into what hiring managers are looking for to help people build resumes, and self-branding strategies for new, meaningful and enjoyable work!

Dixie is recognized as being a light to people during what can be one of the most stressful and difficult challenges of their lives. Her style is described as standing side by side with the client, while asking insightful questions to help her clients’ vision for the next career move become clearer. She has coached hundreds of clients toward success in a new mindset, improved communications, leadership readiness and taking new action. Dixie joined the NextJob coaching team in 2010, helping students and other job seekers find their new adventure!

Ms. Patricia Roe

Vice President, HBCU Initiative, Strada Education Network

Ms. Sharnell Delmohammed

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Vice President, HBCU Relationship Manager – Advancing Black Pathways

Ms. Karla Harper

Central State University Director, Career Services

Ms. Cheryl Lavender

Procter & Gamble Global Director Equality & Inclusion for Product Supply HR

Cheryl currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been employed by the Procter & Gamble Company for 32 years. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended both Cass Technical High and Redford High School. She is a proud graduate of Central State University’s Ebony Class of 1990, where she obtained her BS degree in Accounting. She went on to earn her MBA in Entrepreneurial studies from Xavier University of Ohio in 2002. 

Her recent experiences include being the Pantene Product Supply Business Planer for North America.  In this role, Cheryl was one of the influential Product Supply Leaders that enabled the launch the “My Black is Beautiful” Hair Care line, which premiered at the 2019 Essence Festival in New Orleans, LA. Cheryl worked on the Pantene Gold Series line, the new launch designed by African American Scientists and Stylists for multi-cultural hair care needs.  Cheryl contributed to growth of that brand as she led the Gold Series Grass Roots Awareness Team. Cheryl enabled the 20,000-product sampling give-away at the Bayou Classic – Southern University vs. Grambling State in the first ever P&G Sponsored Half-Time Event. In addition to having responsibility for the largest brand in Hair Care (40%), she also owned the Category’s $35MM Cost Savings Program and Inventory Disposition Expense strategy.  In her tenure, she led the Product Supply Network Operations 70-member African Ancestry Leadership team, P&G’s Corporate AALN Employee Engagement team for the 2017 Cincinnati Music Festival and was the Single Point of Contact for P&G’s sponsorship of the 2017 Black Family Reunion. 

Today, Cheryl leads Historically Black College and University Recruiting for P&G, where she also serves as the Central State School Team Leader focused on Graphic Arts & Design Recruiting.  She sits on two African Ancestry Advisory Boards for the Beauty Business and for the Global Product Supply Leadership Team.

She is an active member of the 84-year-old, African American Family organization known as Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated.  An organization dedicated to nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving, and civic duty.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a member of Cincinnati’s CSU Star Chapter, on the CSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a Financial Lifetime Member.

She has been married to husband, Wayne Lavender, Sr, for 25 years.  They have three wonderful children, one daughter, Toni Sherall, son-in-love, Norman II, two sons, Wayne Jr (22) and Jason Lee (17) and two grandchildren Norman III (6) and Nyah Anne (2).  Her daughter & son-in-love are career Supply Chain Leaders and her two boys both love Basketball, Music and are big Drake fans. Cheryl enjoys party planning, singing in the choir, working with youth, and spending time with her family and friends.  Cheryl comes from a HBCU family, her oldest brother has 2 degrees from FAMU, her brother attended Southern University, her Centralian sister & Soror, Barvett Wright Everson attended CSU at the same time, and they graduated 2 years apart. The legacy continues at CSU, Cheryl’s son, sister-in-love, 3 nieces and 2 nephews are all currently enrolled at Central State University.  Her mom, Lily Wright turned 81 this year, though not an HBCU, she graduated Wayne State University at the age of 55 and is an honorary Centralian in every way.  My personal quote is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13!

Her awards include P&G’s 2022 Beauty Equality & Inclusion Community Award for HBCU Talent Development, 2020 & 2017 Global Diversity, and Inclusion Awards for Enabling & Inspiring Innovation, 2018 Outstanding and Courageous Leader Award, and 2018 “All-In” Award Nominee.VP Platinum Award for lowest level Scrap in history of Hair Care, Global Award for #1 Cost Savings in all Regions.

Ms. Hosetta Coleman

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Executive Director, Head of Careers & Skills

Panelist, Chase Bank

Mr. Rashadd Humes

The J. M. Smucker Company, Diversity Recruiting Manager

Rashadd Humes is the Diversity Recruiting Manager for The J.M. Smucker Co. In this role, he is responsible for leading the company’s comprehensive inclusion, diversity, and equity recruitment strategy. This includes developing supporting programs and actualizing company initiatives that impact Smucker employees, potential candidates, and the community. Under Rashadd’s leadership, Smucker’s strategy seeks diversity, pursues equity, promotes inclusion, and drives accountability to create sustainable results. Prior to joining The J.M. Smucker Co, Rashadd spent eight years at Marathon Petroleum Company (MPC) in various departments including Talent Acquisition, Diversity & Inclusion, Change Management, and IT Services. During his time at MPC, he served as the chair for the Black Employee Network, held the position of the Diversity Recruiting Lead, and led change management efforts for the company-wide project, “MPCConnect”. In 2021 Rashadd, was selected as one of the Top 66 Early Talent Acquisition Leaders by WayUp which is now Yello and he was also a recipient of the Leadership Excellence award by the National Diversity Council at the Ohio Diversity & Leadership Conference. Rashadd is a proud graduate of Wiley College, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He enjoys being an active participant in his community and offers his time and talent to several local organizations. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the volunteer assistant varsity basketball coach at Toledo Whitmer High School, Director of Finance for the Wiley College National Alumni Association and serves as an employer advisory board member for the University of Michigan Athletics Career Center. He resides in Toledo, Ohio with his lovely wife Ebone and their four children

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Central State University
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