Honorees

Black Professionals Of The Year

Ms. Vanessa Whiting – 2019
Ms. Vanessa Whiting – 2019
Mrs. Robyn Minter Smyers – 2018
Mrs. Robyn Minter Smyers – 2018
Mr. Erskine Cade – 2017
Mr. Erskine Cade – 2017
Dr. Alex Johnson – 2016
Dr. Alex Johnson – 2016
Dr. Charles S. Modlin – 2015
Dr. Charles S. Modlin – 2015
A Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Urologist and Founder and...

In 1983, Dr. Modlin graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., with a degree in chemistry. He received his medical school education at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, graduating in 1987. He then moved to New York City, where he completed a six-year residency in urological surgery at New York University in 1993. He came to Cleveland in 1993, where he completed a three-year fellowship in basic science transplant immunology and clinical renovascular and renal transplantation surgery. In 1996, he joined the Staff of Cleveland Clinic’s Urological Institute with a joint staff appointment within the Transplant Center. He has authored scientific publications and presented scientific research at national meetings.

 

Dr. Modlin is not only the sole African American transplant surgeon in Northeastern Ohio, but he represents one of only 17 African American transplant surgeons in the entire United States. A special area of interest of Dr. Modlin is the issue of healthcare disparities experienced by minority patients in the United States. Minority patients suffer a disproportionate burden of disease in many areas, such as prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and need for kidney transplantation. To this end, Dr. Modlin has developed a dedicated Minority Men’s Health Center and Center for Health Equity at Cleveland Clinic. The center conducts dedicated research into elimination of minority healthcare disparities and provides community outreach as well as direct patient care and public education to minority patients.

 

Dr. Modlin is board-certified in urology and a member of the American College of Surgeons, American Society of Transplantation, American Society of Transplant Surgeons, the American Urological Association and the Urologic Society of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery. He is Chair of the MOTTEP of Cleveland Education and Medical Advisory Board.

 

He also serves as an elected member of the Northwestern University Medical School Alumni National Board. He is Chair of the Cleveland NAACP Health Committee and Chairs the 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland Health Committee. Dr. Modlin has held positions on the United Network of Organ Sharing Minority Affairs Committee and was the UNOS Representative from the National Medical Association. Other professional highlights include receiving the Cleveland Greater Cleveland Partnership MLK Community Service Award in 2007, the MOTTEP Man of the Year Award in 2000 and named one of Cleveland’s 100 Most Influential by the Call & Post newspaper and in 2011 he was listed as one of America’s Top 21 Outstanding Black Doctors. On the home front, he is married and is the father of four children.

Mr. Leon Bibb – 2014
Mr. Leon Bibb – 2014
An American news anchor for WEWS-TV in Cleveland, OH

Raised in Cleveland’s Glenville area, and a graduate of Glenville High School on the city’s east side, Bibb’s broadcasting career began during his student days at Bowling Green State University (BGSU). Following graduation, he worked as a newspaper reporter at The Plain Dealer. After a year at WTOL-TV (Toledo), he accepted a news position at WCMH-TV in Columbus. Prior to joining WEWS-TV, Bibb worked at WKYC-TV as the weekend News Anchor and News Reporter. In 1986, he became Primary News Anchor for the Monday through Friday newscasts. Leon Bibb anchors the noon newscast at WEWS-TV, as well as hosting a Sunday morning show named Kaleidoscope, which focuses on urban issues in Cleveland. In the early 2000s, Bibb did a series called Our Hometown, where he focused on a historical sites in the Cleveland area. He is known to take a camera operator to talk about a story in his own perspective, and such stories are now featured on WEWS under the title of “My Ohio”.

Dr. R.A. Vernon – 2013
Dr. R.A. Vernon – 2013
founder and senior pastor of The Word Church

Dr. R. A. Vernon is the founder and senior pastor of The Word Church, the largest and fastest growing church in the history of Cleveland, Ohio and one of the fastest growing churches in America. With over twenty-five years in ministry and nearly two decades in the pastorate, Dr. Vernon has enjoyed a prolific, storied career in pastoring, but consciously chooses to never stop growing, personally or vocationally. Having started with only one service in a high school in 2000, The Word Church is now a multisite ministry with fourteen services and four campuses across Northeastern Ohio including Warrensville Heights (Main), Downtown, East Cleveland, and Akron, which is currently under renovation, opening in the spring of 2015. A believer in the power of cash over credit and the importance of stewardship, Dr. Vernon opened The Word Church Downtown in the fall of 2014, completely debt free. Known for his uncompromising integrity, he is a trailblazer and trendsetter who focuses on relevance and innovation. Because of the number of weekly worship services at The Word, Dr. Vernon developed the concept of pre-recorded broadcasting for the services he is unable to attend due to time and distance constraints—a ground-breaking move among African-American churches. He also adopted the practice of planting campus pastors to lead the satellite locations so that the members at these locations still receive a personal touch even when he is not physically present. Dr. Vernon is committed to continual improvement and creating opportunities for others to improve as well. Through his bold, frank delivery of the Word of God, he crusades to free other church leaders from the fetters of foundationless formality. He shares candidly

The Honorable Frank G. Jackson – 2012
The Honorable Frank G. Jackson – 2012
An American attorney and politician. He is currently the...

Jackson is the son of an African-American father and an Italian-American mother. Jackson grew up in the Kinsman and Central neighborhoods. After graduating from Max S. Hayes High School, Jackson served in the United States Army. After his discharge, Jackson attended Cuyahoga Community College where he earned an associate degree He later attended Cleveland State University (CSU), earning a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and History and a master’s degree in Urban Affairs. He worked while putting himself through law school at CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

 

Jackson entered politics with the influence of former Cleveland Councilman Lonnie L. Burten. He passed the Ohio bar exam and started his legal career as an assistant city prosecutor. In 1989, Jackson won a seat on the Cleveland City Council for Ward 5. As Councilman, Jackson spearheaded efforts to bring in approximately a half billion dollars of community investments, working to clean up and stabilize his ward.

 

He fought for the redevelopment of Arbor Park Place, the construction of the only Home Ownership Zone in the city, and worked with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) as it began to rebuild its estates. Jackson became an active critic of then-Mayor Michael R. White, who had vowed in his campaign to clean up neighborhoods but had instead dedicated the bulk of his tenure to downtown development. Jackson’s progress in Ward 5 aided his election to Council President in 2001, succeeding Michael D. Polensek.

Mr. Randell McShepard – 2011
Mr. Randell McShepard – 2011
Vice President – Public Affairs for RPM International Inc.

Randell McShepard was elected vice president – public affairs in October 2007. He is primarily responsible for coordinating external and governmental affairs for the company. His duties also include managing the corporate philanthropy program and facilitating corporate purchasing initiatives. Mr. McShepard began his career at RPM in 2001 when he joined the company as director of community affairs. He previously served as executive director of City Year Cleveland, assistant director of administration and program development for the Cleveland Bicentennial Commission and supervisor of training services for Vocational Guidance Services in Cleveland. Mr. McShepard is very active in the Cleveland community, serving as a trustee for Baldwin-Wallace University, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and the George Gund Foundation.  

His professional affiliations include the Public Affairs Committee for the National Association of Manufacturers.  He is also the co-founder and Chairman of Policy Bridge, a public policy think tank serving the Northeast Ohio region. Mr. McShepard holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications from Baldwin-Wallace College and a master’s degree in urban studies from Cleveland State University. He is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland and a distinguished alumnus of Cleveland State University.

He and his wife, Gail, reside in Beachwood, Ohio with their three children.

Ms. Louise J. Gissendaner – 2009
Ms. Louise J. Gissendaner – 2009
Serves as Senior Vice President and Director of...

Ms. Louise J. Gissendaner serves as Senior Vice President and Director of Community Development for the Northeastern Ohio affiliate of Fifth Third Bank, a state member bank headquartered in Cincinnati with assets over $105.8 billion and a presence in ten states. Ms. Gissendaner serves on the management team and is primarily responsible for managing the bank’s community reinvestment reporting and goal setting. She is also responsible for directing community development sponsorships and foundation grant opportunities to community organizations throughout Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Ms. Gissendaner has extensive knowledge in the areas of regulatory compliance, community development lending, and CRA-related activities.

Prior to working at Fifth Third, Ms. Gissendaner served as Vice President and Community Reinvestment Officer at the Ohio affiliate of Banc One Corporation. She currently serves on the board of Cleveland Action to Support Housing (C.A.S.H.), is Board Chair of the Akron Urban League, and is the Founder and President of Sankofa Fine Art Plus. Ms. Gissendaner served as a Member of Consumer Advisory Council at The Federal Reserve System (The Federal Reserve Board).

Mr. Frederick R. Nance, Esq. – 2008
Mr. Frederick R. Nance, Esq. – 2008
Frederick R. Nance serves as Squire Patton Boggs’...

Frederick R. Nance serves as Squire Patton Boggs’ Regional Managing Partner, operating out of the Cleveland office.  Squire Patton Boggs, which was founded in Cleveland in 1890, now serves clients from 44 offices around the globe.  Fred’s legal practice focuses on sports and entertainment law, commercial litigation, client counseling and public-private partnerships.  Much of his practice in recent years has included high-stakes negotiations involving community interests.  He is an experienced jury trial litigator in federal and state courts and a frequent participant in alternative dispute resolution proceedings.  

Fred also leads the firm’s Sports and Entertainment Group in the US. Fred began his career at Squire Patton Boggs directly from law school.  From 1991 through 2001, Fred served as the primary outside counsel to the City of Cleveland and former Cleveland Mayor Michael White in a variety of impactful initiatives and development projects including spearheading the battle to keep the Browns in Cleveland.

 He has also served two four year terms on Squire Patton Boggs’ worldwide, seven-person Management Committee. In the summer of 2006, Fred was selected from among several hundred candidates as one of five finalists for the position of Commissioner of the National Football League. In December 2009, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner asked Fred to join his team’s front office where Fred served for three years as the Browns General Counsel, while remaining a Squire Patton Boggs partner.

Mr. Arnold R. Pinkney – 2007
Mr. Arnold R. Pinkney – 2007
Arnold R. Pinkney is the former Chief Operating Officer...

His extensive management, educational, political and entrepreneurial experiences have a proven record of excellence. His visionary leadership and innovative spirit have led to more than 39 years of providing quality insurance products and services for many Cleveland residents. Mr. Pinkney has been instrumental in the organization of several successful levies, campaigns and area development projects. Mr. Pinkney managed the extension of the sin tax campaign that provided major funding for the new Cleveland Browns Stadium. He co-managed the Save the Browns campaign which brought a new expansion team to Cleveland. He was the Deputy Campaign Manager to Dick Celeste’s successful Ohio gubernatorial campaign in 1982 and 1986.

Mr. Pinkney managed the national campaign of Jesse Jackson for President in 1984. In 1996, he managed the successful Cleveland School District operation levy campaign, and managed the mayoral campaign to re-elect Mary Michael R. White. He was the state campaign director for Bill Bradley’s bid for the democratic presidential nomination. One of his most noteworthy achievements is his ability to construct comprehensive and effective strategic plans. It is Mr. Pinkney’s firm belief that corporations must become good partners with their communities and that the communities, in turn, must support their businesses.

He is firmly committed to this belief and has shown his dedication by working with top executives to achieve the following goals: helping them to realize the importance of cultural differences, understanding the political environment, building community alliances and teaching them how to present themselves to governmental agencies. Mr. Pinkney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College, Albion, Michigan.

He attended Case Western Reserve School of Law and was awarded an honorary doctorate of law Degree from Central State University. He unfortunately died at the age of 83.

Ms. Margot James Copeland – 2006
Ms. Margot James Copeland – 2006
Executive Vice President, KeyBank Chair, KeyBank Foundation

Corporate executive Margot James Copeland was born on December 4, 1951 in Richmond, Virginia. She was the only child to her parents, Reverend William Lloyd Garrison James, a Baptist minister, and Thelma Taylor James, an eighth grade math teacher. Copeland earned her B.S. degree in physics from Hampton University, and her M.A. degree in educational research and statistics from The Ohio State University.

 

Copeland began her corporate career at Xerox Corporation, Polaroid, and Picker International. In 1992, she was hired as executive director for Leadership Cleveland, a program of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association that develops community leaders. After seven years at Leadership Cleveland, Copeland became president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, a nonprofit organization founded to improve multicultural and multiracial relations in the Cleveland area. She joined KeyCorp in 2001, and served as executive vice president – director, corporate diversity and philanthropy and as an executive council member.

 

KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies and, within her position as chair and CEO of the KeyBank Foundation, she managed the company’s annual $20 million philanthropic investment program and oversaw diversity initiatives. KeyCorp has been included in Diversity Inc. magazine’s list of 50 Top Companies for Diversity in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009 and ranked 13th among the most generous cash giving companies in America in a 2003 list published by BusinessWeek. In 2013, the KeyBank Foundation was recognized as a Civic 50 Company by the National Conference on Citizenship, Points of Light and Bloomberg LP. Copeland has participated in a number of community organizations and boards. In 2010, she became the fifteenth president of The Links, Inc. She has also served as the president of the Junior League of Cleveland, Inc., sat on the Kent State University board of trustees, acted as Mentor/Protégé Program Advisor for Morehouse College, and is a member of the Business School Advisory board at Hampton University.

 

Copeland was listed as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Cleveland” by New Cleveland Woman magazine, and in 2012, Savoy magazine included her in a list of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.” She is also the recipient of the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award; was the 2006 Black Professional of the Year as recognized by Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation; received the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Community Service Award; and the W.O. Walker Excellence in Community Service Award, sponsored by the Call and Post newspaper.

 

Copeland also received the distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2013 from Hampton University. Copeland lives in Cleveland, Ohio and has three children, Reverend Kimberley, Dr. Garrison, and Michael Copeland.

Mr. David Whitehead – 2005
Mr. David Whitehead – 2005
Member of the Advisory Board at ASW Global, LLC

Mr. David W. Whitehead Solon served as Vice President of FirstEnergy Corp., and its subsidiary Jersey Central Power & Light Company until July 1, 2007. Mr. Whitehead also served as the Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Chief Ethics Officer of FirstEnergy Service of FirstEnergy Corp until July 1, 2007. He served as Secretary of Jersey Central Power & Light Company, FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. and Pennsylvania Power Company until July 1, 2007. He served as Corporate Secretary of FirstEnergy Corp. and Toledo Edison Company. He serves as Member of the Advisory Board at ASW Global, LLC. He received his Bachelor of Arts and law degrees from Cleveland State University.

Mr. Hilton O. Smith – 2004
Mr. Hilton O. Smith – 2004
Senior Vice President for Corporate and Community...

As Senior Vice President for Corporate and Community Affairs at Turner Construction Company, Smith’s duties include managing the company’s corporate affairs, minority and woman owned business enterprise program, and their equal employment and educational programs. He coordinates business development and strategic marketing programs with Turner’s senior executive officers as well. Smith has actively led Turner’s efforts in awarding over $20 billion dollars to thousands of minority and woman business enterprises. For four consecutive years, Turner has reached the one billion dollar mark in the MWBE utilization program. He oversees the national Turner School of Construction Management, which began in 1969, along with the James H. Walker Course in conjunction with the City of Cleveland. Annually, Turner’s 46 business units coordinate and provide educational opportunities in the construction industry for small businesses. This is an award winning and widely recognized program that has received many awards, including the U.S. Department of Labor’s EVE Award, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission Award for Best Practices and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Minority Advocate Award. Smith who follows a quality just like Martin Luther King Jr. also works for racial equality in the United States. Smith became active in the movement for Civil Rights and racial equality. In the Greater Cleveland area, he actively serves on the boards of The Cleveland Foundation; University Hospitals; United Black Fund; Urban League of Greater Cleveland, SCLC, and UCIP-ASAP.

Nationally, he enthusiastically serves on several other boards. Smith is an ordained minister and serves as an associate minister of the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church. He is married to the beautiful Delores and they have three children and four grandchildren.

Mr. Danny Cameron – 2003
Mr. Danny Cameron – 2003
Head of the pioneering National City Community...

Cameron was raised in Hogansville, Ga., came to Cleveland to visit a sister, liked the town and stayed. He graduated from the International Institute of Data Processing in Cleveland and attended Trenton State College and Cuyahoga Community College. He served in the Army in South Korea. He married Dorothy L. Mason in 1965 and moved with her the next year to Warrensville Heights. He joined National City in 1968 as a data processing trainee. He rose through the ranks and managed the Lee-Harvard branch from 1975 to 1982.That year, Cameron helped to start the community development corporation, one of the nation’s first such organizations for profit. He also spent a couple years as the bank’s vice president of governmental affairs. He oversaw development in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois.

He opened offices in many major markets, including Akron, Youngstown, Toledo and Columbus. He helped fund West Tech High School’s apartments, south Collinwood Homes, East Fourth Street’s restaurant district and much more. He also helped Cuyahoga Community College start High Tech Academy for local high schoolers. In 2004, Cameron helped launch a $9 million campaign by the Local Initiatives Support Corp. for community projects in Cuyahoga, Lorain, Summit, Stark, Trumbull and Mahoning counties. He also served on the corporation’s regional advisory council. Cameron often joined projects with many partners, including government and other banks.

Counting funds from all sources, his projects were worth more than $5.7 billion. The results included more than 46,000 new or renovated housing units. He served on many civic groups, including the Warrensville Heights Civil Service Commission. He chaired the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Euclid Corridor Engineering Committee. Among his many awards, the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation named him Black Professional of the Year. At East Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Cameron was vice president of the deacons’ board and worked with youths. “We don’t just teach them how to read the Bible,” he told The Plain Dealer in 1992, “but how to live life, even little things, like which fork to use.” In 2004, he retired and moved with his wife to Stone Mountain, Ga. He liked to golf and work with model trains.

Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett – 2002
Dr. Barbara Byrd-Bennett – 2002
An American educator and the former Chief Executive...

Barbara Byrd–Bennett (born April 12, 1951) is an American educator. Byrd–Bennett is the former Chief Executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools district and the Cleveland Municipal School District. Byrd–Bennett served as CEO of the Cleveland Municipal School District from 1998 to 2006. From 2009 to 2011, she was the academic and accountability officer for the Detroit Public Schools system. She was hired as the Chicago Public Schools’ chief education advisor in April 2012 and then named CEO by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel six months later. She resigned from CPS in 2015.

Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle – 2001
Rev. Dr. Marvin A. McMickle – 2001
President, Professor of Church Leadership, Director of...

Marvin is a 1970 graduate of Aurora University in Aurora Illinois with a B.A. in Philosophy. He earned a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ in 1983. Princeton later named him a Distinguished Alumnus in the school’s bi-centennial year of 2012. He was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in 1998. In 2010 he was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio. He was ordained to the Christian ministry in 1973 at the Abyssinian Baptist Church of New York City where he served on the pastoral staff from 1972-1976.

 

He was pastor of St. Paul Baptist Church of Montclair, New Jersey from 1976-1986. While in New Jersey he served as president of the New Jersey Council of Churches from 1982-1986, as a member of the Montclair Board of Education from1982-1986, as well as two terms as president of the Montclair Chapter of the NAACP. He also taught preaching at New York, New Brunswick and Princeton Theological Seminaries. From 1987-2011 he was Senior Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church of Cleveland, Ohio.

 

During that time he led the church in establishing a ministry for people infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. It was the first church-based program of its kind in the entire country! He also initiated the practice of having the church tithe one-tenth of its annual income to community-based programs every year. While in Cleveland, Dr. McMickle served on the Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University, as president of the Shaker Heights Board of education, and as president of both the local NAACP and Urban League chapters. He was the Professor of Homiletics at Ashland Theological Seminary from 1996-2011. Upon leaving Ashland he was voted by his faculty colleagues to be Professor Emeritus.

 

He is a member of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In the winter semester of 2009 he served as a Visiting Professor of Preaching at Yale University Divinity School. He was elected to be the 12th President of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in 2011.

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton – 1999
Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton – 1999
Former president of Cuyahoga Community College

Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, Ph.D. served as the President of Cuyahoga Community College since 1992. Dr. Thornton served as Corporate Secretary of Greater Cleveland Partnership. From 1985 to 1991, Dr. Thornton served as the President of Lakewood Community College in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

 

Dr. Thornton has been a Director of Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc. since 1994, Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. since August 2, 2015 and FirstEnergy Corp. since March 17, 2015. Dr. Thornton has been an Independent Director of RPM International Inc. since 1999 and Bridgestreet Worldwide, Inc. since September 1997. Dr. Thornton serves as a Director of University Hospitals Health System, Inc., Playhouse Square Foundation, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Cleveland and New York, Cleveland Municipal School District, Greater Cleveland Roundtable, United Way of Cleveland, Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Cleveland, St. Vincent Quadrangle, Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Cleveland Foundation,

 

The and Cleveland Tomorrow (professional, educational and non-profit organizations). Dr. Thornton served as a Director of National City Corporation since 2001. He served as Director of American Family Mutual Insurance Co., Inc. and American Family Mutual Insurance Company. Dr. Thornton served as a Director of American Greetings Corp. from 2000 to October 2013. Dr. Thornton served as a Director for OfficeMax Incorporated since 2000. Dr. Thornton served as a Director of National City Bank (Bank and Financial institution). Dr. Thornton holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Thornton holds an MA and BA degrees from Murray State University.

Mr. Wayne Embry – 1998
Mr. Wayne Embry – 1998
A retired American basketball player

He played in the NBA All-Star game for five consecutive seasons (1961–1965) and won the NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1968. Embry was originally drafted by the St. Louis Hawks in 1958. He was then traded closer to home weeks later to the Cincinnati Royals. The Royals were rebuilding due to the collapse of the team following the hospitalization of team star Maurice Stokes.

 

Star center Clyde Lovellette was traded to St. Louis for Embry and four others. Oscar Robertson arrived to the team in 1960, reviving the Royals. Embry, Robertson and Jack Twyman were all NBA All-Stars for Cincinnati over the next three years. Embry’s play was notable for his pick and roll play with Robertson, whose encouragement improved Embry’s game. A powerful 6’8″ and 240 pounds, Embry at times appeared to be a blocker on the court, a protector of teammates. But he also had a fine all-around game. In 1963,

 

he was named team captain of the Royals. The 1963–64 Cincinnati Royals surged to the second-best record in the NBA, with teammate Jerry Lucas now added. But the team was not able to surpass the Boston Celtics of Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, or the Philadelphia 76ers with Wilt Chamberlain in their quest for an NBA title. Retiring to be a regional sales leader for Pepsi-Cola, Embry was talked out of retirement by friend Bill Russell, the new player/coach for Boston. Embry played crucial reserve minutes for Russell and aided that team’s surprising 1967–68 NBA title run. When the Milwaukee Bucks were formed, they claimed Embry from the Celtics and Embry centered the Bucks for the 1968–69 season. After retiring as a player he became the first African American NBA general manager, managing the Milwaukee Bucks (1972–1979), Cleveland Cavaliers (1986–1999), and Toronto Raptors (2006). He was selected NBA Executive of the Year in 1992 and 1998.

The Honorable Steve D. Bullock – 1997
The Honorable Steve D. Bullock – 1997
The chairman of the Mandel Center for Non-Profit...

Mr. Bullock has enjoyed a distinguished career with the American Red Cross. He was named chief executive officer and chapter manager of the Greater Cleveland Chapter in 1982. Prior to assuming this position, he worked for the Red Cross in military installations in the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia. Mr. Bullock also previously served as executive director of the agency’s St. Paul, MN chapter.

 

Mr. Speaker, in 1988, Steve Bullock was named chairman of the president’s advisory committee, a group of senior Red Cross field executives which counsels top management on issues facing the organization. Another highlight of his career occurred in 1995 when Mr. Bullock was appointed to head the 1996 national American Red Cross campaign. Mr. Bullock is also an active member of the Greater Cleveland community. His board memberships include the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, the Cleveland Campaign, and Leadership Cleveland. He is the chairman of the Mandel Center for Non-Profit Organizations, Case Western Reserve University Executive Advisory Network, and is the past president of the Council of United Way Services Agency Executives.

 

Mr. Bullock received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Sociology at Virginia Union University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the College of St. Thomas. He has also done graduate work in urban administration; attended the American Red Cross Executive Development Institute; and is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland. Mr. Bullock and his wife, Doris, reside in University Heights.

 

They are active members of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland. Steve Bullock will be the 17th individual to receive of the prestigious Black Professional of the Year Award. As a past recipient of this honor, I take special pride in saluting him on this occasion. I join his family, friends, and colleagues in stating that he is more than deserving of the award. I also take this opportunity to applaud the Black Professionals Association for its strong leadership and commitment. I wish Mr. Bullock and the association much continued success.

Ms. Claire Freeman, Esq. – 1996
Ms. Claire Freeman, Esq. – 1996
Former public housing director

Ms. Freeman was one of the highest paid housing directors in the country when she was hired in May 1990. By 1997, her compensation totaled more than $400,000.

The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones…
The Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones…
A Democratic politician and member of the United States...

Stephanie Tubbs Jones (September 10, 1949 – August 20, 2008)[1][2][3] was a Democratic politician and member of the United States House of Representatives. She represented the 11th District of Ohio, which encompasses most of downtown and eastern Cleveland and many of the eastern suburbs in Cuyahoga County, including Euclid, Cleveland Heights, and Shaker Heights. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress from Ohio. On December 19, 2006, Tubbs Jones was named Chairwoman of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the 110th Congress. She was also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. On August 19, 2008, Tubbs Jones was found unconscious in her car, having suffered a cerebral hemorrhage caused by a burst aneurysm. She was taken to an East Cleveland hospital, where she died the next day.

Ms. Alexandria Johnson Boone – 1994
Ms. Alexandria Johnson Boone – 1994
The Chairwoman and Founder of the Women of Color Foundation

Ms. Boone, a native of Cleveland, is a proud graduate of the Cleveland Public Schools. She also holds a Master’s Degree from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Organization Development and Analysis; Certificates from the Advanced Minority Business Management Program at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (1987-1991); and was a 1997 National Fellow in the Boston University School of Public Health’s Join Together Program. Alex was also a member of the prestigious Leadership Cleveland Class of 1987-88.Prior to founding GAP Communications Group,Ms. Boone was a Senior Vice President at a Cleveland-based P-R firm and was a Senior Public Information Officer for the Federal government for five years. She was also the founder of the Marcus Garvey Academy, an innovative community school with an African-centered curriculum, serving grades K-8, based in Cleveland, Ohio for ten years.In1994,

 

Alex was named Black Professional of the Year, the most prestigious award that an African-American living in Greater Cleveland can receive; in 1995, she was named the Girls Scouts’ Woman of the Year; and in 1997, Crain’s Cleveland Business named her one of the Most Influential Women in Northeast Ohio. In September 2008, she was named one of Cleveland’s most powerful and influential citizens; and in December 2009, she was named Cleveland’s Power Networker of the Year, by Frasernet, Inc., a national networking organization. Most recently, Alex received the 2011 Phenomenal Woman Award from SuccessNet, Inc., commemorating its 25th Anniversary. Currently, her primary volunteer community involvement includes serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Sankofa Fine Art Plus; the Board of Governors at The Club at Key Center; and the Board of Directors at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, all located in Cleveland, Ohio; and the Urquhart Memorial Foundation located in Phoenix, Arizona. Throughout her career, Alex has received several awards for her business and professional achievements and has been recognized for a number of communications industry accomplishments.

The Honorable Michael R. White – 1993
The Honorable Michael R. White – 1993
An American politician of the Democratic Party

White, began his political career early on during his college years at Ohio State University, when he protested against the discriminatory policies of the Columbus public bus system and was subsequently arrested. White then ran the following year for Student Union President and won, becoming the college’s first black student body leader. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1973 and a Master of Public Administration degree in 1974.After college, White returned to Cleveland. He served from 1976 to 1977 as an administrative assistant to the Cleveland City Council and then served as city councilman from the Glenville area from 1978 to 1984. During his time on the City Council, White became a prominent protégé of Councilman George L. Forbes. White then represented the area’s 21st District in the Ohio Senate, serving as a Democratic assistant minority whip.

Mr. George C. Fraser – 1992
Mr. George C. Fraser – 1992
Chairman and CEO of FraserNet, Inc.

It was some 20 years ago that God unveiled His real purpose for George. Mr. Fraser went on to author of two critically acclaimed books: Success Runs in Our Race; The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the African American Community and Race for Success; The Ten Best Business Opportunities for Blacks in America. Mr. Fraser is also the publisher of the award-winning Success Guide Worldwide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources.

 

He is the founder of the annual Power Networking Conference, where thousands of Black professionals, business owners, and community leaders gather to discuss and do business with each other. Dr. Fraser is the Chairman of Phoenix Village Academy; which consists of three Afrocentric charter Schools that serves Cleveland and Akron inner city children. A popular speaker and author, George C. Fraser’s inspiring talks on success principles, effective networking, wealth creation, business ethics, and valuing diversity, are as popular among corporate professionals as they are among college students. His views have been solicited by media as diverse as CNN and the Wall Street Journal. Over the past decade, the prestigious publication, Vital Speeches of the Day, has selected, reprinted and distributed worldwide, five of Mr. Fraser’s speeches–a first for any professional speaker in America, regardless of color.

UPSCALE magazine name him one of the “Top 50 power brokers in Black America”. Black Enterprise Magazine called him “Black America’s #1 Networker” and featured him on a cover issue

The Honorable Louis Stokes, Esq. – 1991
The Honorable Louis Stokes, Esq. – 1991
Was an attorney and politician for Cleveland, Ohio

Louis Stokes (February 23, 1925 – August 18, 2015) was an attorney and politician from Cleveland, Ohio. He served 15 terms in the United States House of Representatives – representing the east side of Cleveland – and was the first black congressman elected in the state of Ohio. He was one of the Cold War-era chairmen of the House Intelligence Committee, headed the Congressional Black Caucus, and was the first black on the House Appropriations Committee.

Ms. Gloria Pace King – 1990
Ms. Gloria Pace King – 1990
Former Chief executive of United Way of Central...

A passionate and driven fund-raiser, she boosted United Way’s annual campaign total to $45.3 million in 2007 from $18.5 million in 1993, the year before she became CEO. “Gloria was a very strong fund-raiser and led a strong fund-raising campaign,” says Janet Singerman, president of Child Care Resources Inc., a United Way partner agency.

Mr. Charles E. Taylor, PhD. – 1989
Mr. Charles E. Taylor, PhD. – 1989
Managing Director in the Cleveland Office of Diversified...

Over the past decade, Dr. Taylor has successfully completed more than 125 executive search assignments in the academic, corporate and nonprofit arenas. Dr. Taylor’s assignments have included university presidents and other senior university officials, public school superintendents, foundation and association executives, chief financial officers, chief information officers, chief legal officers, members of boards of directors and public officials. Prior to joining Diversified Search, Dr.

 

Taylor was with The Prout Group, where he served as Managing Director of the Education, Government and Nonprofit Practice. His career spans nearly 30 years in a variety of corporate and academic management positions. He has served as President of Morris Brown College and Wilberforce University; President of BP (British Petroleum) Shipping; Director of Corporate Contributions for the Standard Oil Company; Managing Partner and Senior Partner of two global retained executive search firms.

 

Dr. Nolen M. Ellison – 1988
Dr. Nolen M. Ellison – 1988
Chairman - Boards of Directors for The Seed Center KC

After Dr. Ellison was elected in 1966 to the Board of Trustees at the Kansas City Community College, he quickly became enthralled with the community college environment. He was eventually recruited by Michigan State University to pursue his Ph.D., and, in 1972, he became president at Seattle Central Community College in Washington. Two years later, after an exhaustive nationwide search, Dr. Ellison became the second president of Cuyahoga Community College.

 

He was 33 and one of the youngest college presidents in the United States. Tri-C was at a crossroads when Dr. Ellison arrived and his prescient vision and indomitable will modernized and transformed the College. To successfully manage the growth of the school and deliver outstanding education to its students, Dr. Ellison believed he needed to significantly change the College’s management methodology. Blessed with a $300,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation, he rallied internal and external support. Dr. Ellison was among the first educators to understand that colleges needed computers to help them operate. In 1977, the College made a significant investment in its computer systems, putting Tri-C years ahead of most four-year colleges in utilizing technology to manage and distribute key information.

Mr. George L. Forbes – 1987
Mr. George L. Forbes – 1987
American politician of the Democratic Party

George Lawrence Forbes (born April 4, 1931) is an American politician of the Democratic Party. From 1974 to 1989, Forbes served as one of the most powerful presidents of Cleveland City Council. He is the former President of the Cleveland NAACP and is semi-retired from practicing law. He served a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps and attended Baldwin-Wallace College on the G.I. Bill and graduated with a B.A. in 1957. He received a J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1961. He passed the Ohio bar exam and began practicing law.

Ms. Carole F. Hoover – 1986
Ms. Carole F. Hoover – 1986
President and Chief Executive Officer of Hoover Milstein

Ms. Hoover is President and Chief Executive Officer of Hoover Milstein, a partnership formed in 1999 between Carole F. Hoover and Howard P. Milstein of New York City to provide financial services and real estate development. Prior to establishing Hoover Milstein,

 

Ms. Hoover was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association. Ms. Hoover is also Chairman and Chief of HWH, LLC and a member of the Board of Directors of Emigrant Capital in New York.

Mr. Steven A. Minter – 1985
Mr. Steven A. Minter – 1985
Former executive director/president, The Cleveland...

Minter served as president and executive director of the Cleveland Foundation from 1984 until his retirement in July 2003. Outside the foundation world, Minter spent over 15 years in governmental positions. In 1980, when the U.S. Department of Education was first formed, he served as its first undersecretary. From 1970 to 1975, he was the commissioner of public welfare for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He had a career as a caseworker at the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department in 1960 in Cleveland, Ohio and became its director in 1969.
Minter served on the boards of numerous national and regional organizations, including the College of Wooster, Community Foundations of America, American Public Welfare Association and the National Community AIDS Partnership. He co-chaired Greater Cleveland’s Vision Council and served on the boards of the Greater Cleveland Roundtable, Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, the Union Club and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. He is a director of KeyCorp and the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He is also a former board member of Dominion Resources, Rubbermaid and Ohio Bell Telephone Company.

Mr. John H. Bustamante, Esq. – 1984
Mr. John H. Bustamante, Esq. – 1984
Was lawyer, banker publisher and civic leader

John H. Bustamante formed First Bank, headed the Call & Post and represented everything from small businesses to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s causes. He chaired Central State University, helped clean up its ledgers and closed it during a riot. He also helped lead many businesses and nonprofits.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. – 1983
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. – 1983
American pastor, theologian, speaker, author, and activist.

Moss was born in and raised in LaGrange, Georgia, the fourth of five children. After being orphaned at 16 he earned his B.A. at Morehouse College in 1956, before earning his Master of Divinity from the Morehouse School of Religion in 1959. At Morehouse Moss was taught and mentored by Benjamin Mays, who was also a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. While at Morehouse Moss helped lead sit-ins and other activities to protest segregation.

 

He completed further graduate coursework at the Interdenominational Theological Center from 1960 to 1961. He also earned a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary in 1990, where he was taught by Samuel DeWitt Proctor and became friends with Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the famous Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and pastor of Barack Obama.

Ms. Cheryle A. Wills – 1982
Ms. Cheryle A. Wills – 1982
Mr. Betram E. Gardner – 1981
Mr. Betram E. Gardner – 1981
Banker, Vice-President, Urban Affairs and Management...

Bertram E. Gardner (1916- ) was Vice-President, Urban Affairs and Management Development, at AmeriTrust Corp. He also served as Executive Director of Cleveland’s Community Relations Board, president of the City Club (1972), and president of the Kiwanis Club.

Lifetime Achievers

Remembering Tanya Allmond, BPACF…
Remembering Tanya Allmond, BPACF…

You cannot look at the present without first looking at where it all began. Tanya Allmond, one of the founders of the Black Professional Association, is worthy of being recognized as someone who has helped, aspired, built people up and has been a significant influence to the community of Cleveland.

 

Tanya Allmond was a native of the Cleveland area and attended John Adams High School. She went on to pursue her degree at Carnegie Melon in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Growing up, Tanya’s life was significantly influenced by her parent’s role in the political world. As the oldest of nine children, Tanya’s natural maternal instincts helped her to aid other people and raise them up with an experience and maturitybeyond her years. Tanya started early as a politician due to the support of her parents and she was never afraid of knocking on any doors when she knew that she could get people involved for the cause.

 

In 1978, Nancella Harris, Arthur Baker and Tanya Allmond met and founded the Black Professional Association. Tanya’s greeting stood as a means to show the type of person she was and would continue to develop into. “Hello, my name is Tanya Allmond and this is the committee I would like to be on and I hope to be the chair of the Leadership Identification and Chairmen of the Black Professional Association”. As time moved on, Tanya did just that. She later became the Chair of the Leadership Identification and the Chairmen of the Black Professional Association. Here stood a woman who inspired others and was not afraid of going after the things in which she was passionate about. Tanya believed in not only lifting people up, but in bringing people behind you so that no matter when it was your time to go, someone was ready and capable of standing in the gap.

 

Tanya’s ability to network with others and her organizational skills within the community helped to not only drive the BPA but also gave way as the start of other organizations under the positive influence of Tanya’s words and wisdom. She knew how to start with nothing and end up with something and the fruits of her labor can be seen around the community of Cleveland. She moved on to become the president of the BPA, following Arthur Baker, and handled the financial aspect of the now widely spreading Black Professional Association Charitable Foundation. Because of the legacy Tanya has left behind, several other organizations have been birthed from the hopes and dreams that Tanya pored into the BPACF. Tanya believed in nurturing one another to better one another and there has been a scholarship named after her niece to honor Tanya’s legacy. Tanya has helped to raise over 2.5 million dollars in scholarship money and was active with the BPACF until the time of her death and was known to “hold court at her bed side”.

 

Tanya is a woman who has inspired me to be better and to do better. Although I never had the privilege of meeting Tanya, the legacy that she has left behind is one that has inspired me to be a better person, one who makes a significant impact on the lives around me and an impact on the community in which I live in. She has inspired me to be an effective role model in the community. As Tanya has shown through the life she’s lived, no goal in unobtainable, no person is too far out of reach to help bring up and every person needs to have someone make a positive impact on their lives to help them be a better person. She has stood the test and showed that in order to be successful, you must be willing to think of others and help others out and not just think about putting yourself first. The goal of the BPACF is to “prepare future leaders to transform the world” and that is exactly what Tanya did and exactly what we should all be striving to do to honor her legacy.

The Honorable Jean Murrell Capers – 2000
The Honorable Jean Murrell Capers – 2000

 

Jean Murrell Capers is a practicing attorney and a retired Cleveland Municipal Court Judge. In 1949, she became the first African-American councilwoman for Cleveland. Throughout her years she worked in Cleveland’s prosecutor’s office, served as an assistant state attorney general, and in 1977, Capers was appointed a Cleveland Municipal Court judge and won the election to a full term.  Judge Capers grew up knowing the importance of education. Both her parents graduated college from State Normal School for Colored Persons in Kentucky and became teachers. Judge Capers used the opportunity and graduated from Western Reserve University, in 1932 with a degree in education. She taught for five years, first at an elementary school and then as the health and physical education teacher at a local high school.

 

Judge Capers felt she could help her community more with the law so she earned her degree from Cleveland Law School in 1945. Jean Capers was one of the original members of the Women’s Advisory Council of the Women’s Division at the former Ohio Bureau of Employment Services. Judge Capers was one of the original members of the Women’s Advisory Council of the Women’s Division at the former Ohio Bureau of Employment Services, now known as the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Judge Sara J. Harper – 2015
Judge Sara J. Harper – 2015

 

Harper was raised in a public housing project in Cleveland, Ohio. Harper got her undergraduate and law degrees from Case Western Reserve University. Harper worked as a prosecutor for the city of Cleveland in the 1960s. In 1970 she was appointed a judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court by Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes, a position to which she was elected for a six-year-term in 1971. In 1980 Harper was the Republican Candidate for Chief Justice of Ohio. She also ran for a seat as a Justice on the Ohio Supreme Court in 1994. She was president of the Cleveland branch of the NAACP for some of the 1980s. For a time she served in the United States Marine Corps judiciary. In 1990 she became a member of the Ohio Court of Appeals. Harper is a member of Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Cleveland.

Dr. Julian M. Earls – 2015
Dr. Julian M. Earls – 2015

Dr. Julian M. Earls is the retired Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio where he served from October 2003 until December 2005. Previously, he served as Glenn’s Deputy Director. As Director, Dr. Earls was responsible for planning, organizing and directing the activities required to accomplish the missions assigned to the Center.

 

Dr. Earls joined the Monte Ahuja College of Business as Executive in Residence in 2006. Dr. Earls earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Norfolk State University, his master’s degree in radiation biology from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and his doctorate degree in radiation physics from the University of Michigan.

 

He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Program for Management Development. Since the beginning of his career with NASA in 1965 at the Lewis Research Center, renamed to the Glenn Research Center in 1999, Dr. Earls has written 28 publications for technical and educational journals. He wrote the first health physics guides used at NASA. He has been a Distinguished Honors Visiting Professor at numerous universities throughout the Nation. On two occasions, he has been awarded NASA medals for exceptional achievement and outstanding leadership and has received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive.

 

Dr. Linda Bradley – 2015
Dr. Linda Bradley – 2015

 Linda Bradley, MD is an internationally recognized gynecologic surgeon known for her expertise in diagnostic and operative hysteroscopy, endometrial ablation, alternatives to hysterectomy, hysteroscopic sterilization and the evaluation of abnormal uterine bleeding. She is a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio and is Vice Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health Institute as well as the Director of The Fibroid and Menstrual Disorders Center and Director of Hysteroscopic Services. She was elected to the Board of Governors at the Cleveland Clinic, 2006–2010. Dr. Bradley specializes in the evaluation, diagnostic testing, and surgery for uterine fibroids and menstrual disorders.

 

She has been very active in endoscopy for over 20 years. Her expertise in endometrial ablation technology makes her an innovative leader in the field of hysterectomy alternatives.

 

She recently was involved in several multi-center clinical trials involving endometrial ablation, uterine fibroid embolization compared to abdominal myomectomy, and hysteroscopic sterilization procedure. She performed one of the first hysteroscopic sterilization procedures in this country in 2000. With over 1000 referrals for uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), she maintains an excellent collaborative practice with the interventional radiology department for a UFE Fibroid Registry database. She has published extensively and presented internationally on this topic. While being a gynecologist at the Cleveland Clinic for over 20 years, she has performed over 12,000 office flexible hysteroscopic procedures and over 2,000 operative hysteroscopic procedures also including myomectomy, polypectomy, and endometrial ablation.

 

She has served on the Board of Trustees for the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy (1997-1999) and currently serves as an Editorial Advisory Board member for the Journal of American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists. She was Chair of the OB/GYN section of the National Medical Association, 2006–2008. Recently, she was elected as Secretary-Treasurer 2009–2010 for the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists and was President of the AAGL in 2011.

 

Dr. Bradley has been an invited lecturer at more than 1000 local, national and international symposia conferences, and meetings as an honored guest speaker. Additionally, she has performed live telesurgery for many programs. Published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and continuing medical education films. Most recently, she is a co-author of an authoritative textbook: Hysteroscopy: Office Evaluation and Management of the Uterine Cavity, published by Elsevier, 2009. She has been named as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Bruce Hubbard Stewart Fellow; which honors physicians with compassion and clinical care. Later, Dr. Bradley received the APGO award, which honors physicians for resident and fellow teaching and has frequently nominated as “Faculty of the Year”. She is admired and respected for her clinical teaching, surgical expertise, and compassionate bedside manner. She has received “Top Doctors of America” award annually since 2002. In 2009, she was selected by Ladies Home Journal as one of the top 6 female physicians in the USA.

 

Dr. Linda Bradley is a proud member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology department at the Cleveland Clinic; ranking 4th in the country by US News and World Report 2011, and number one in Ohio. Dr. Bradley earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology from Vassar College before attending the University Of Cincinnati College Of Medicine for her MD. She completed her residency training at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. And she has completed an executive program in practice management from the Weather head School of Business, Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio

 

Dr. Daisy Alford-Smith – 2015
Dr. Daisy Alford-Smith – 2015

Dr. Daisy Alford-Smith was deputy director of the Ohio Department of Human Services, Director of the Cleveland Department of Public Health, and assistant professor and Director of Case Western Reserve University’s Center for Urban & Minority Health. From 1998 until 2004, Dr. Alford-Smith was director of the Summit County Department of Job & Family Services. Before becoming CEO of the Ohio Girl Scouts, she was CEO of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools and the International Commission on Health Care Professions in Philadelphia.

Mr. Bracy E. Lewis – 2009
Mr. Bracy E. Lewis – 2009

Mr. Lewis was one of the first African Americans in the City to break through the banking industry’s “Ivory Tower” to become a Senior Vice President, head of the Private Banking Department and Chairman of a Major Financial Organization’s Contributions Committee. Likewise, through his extensive volunteerism, he has served on numerous boards where he was the first and only African-American to serve. He has made it a personal goal to assist these organizations in diversifying their boards & staff. He distinguished himself through his career by unselfishly serving as the Community Reinvestment Act Officer at Bank One in Cleveland and held the bank’s Community Development position as a Senior Vice President. Bracy provided collaborative efforts in lending and equity financing for historic rehabilitation, community, and economic development, and revitalization in the Greater Cleveland Area for the betterment of the community. He has always been much more than a banker, by serving on boards and volunteering to “give back” to the community, usually without compensation. During his tenure at Bank One, Mr. Lewis was named to the Glenville High School and Glenville Legends and Legacy Halls of Fame honoring citizens of accomplishment in the community who have provided an excellent example for those to follow.

 

He was given the “Ohio Humanitarian Award for Leadership” in 1993, which was bestowed upon him by then Governor George Voinovich. Mr. Lewis received the “Community Development Award” from Amistad Development Corporation. Also one of the ten finalists in 1994 for the “Points of Life Award” which was President William Clinton’s Volunteer Action Award for remarkable individuals who have given themselves to an exemplary level and made a difference in their community. Formerly, Mr. Lewis served simultaneously as President of the Cleveland Restoration Society and Chairman of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners and served as President of Karamu House Theatre. Mr. Lewis actively participated in Lutheran Housing Corporation, Living in Cleveland Center, Huron Hospital, Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Government Affairs Committee, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Health Care for the Homeless (aka Care Alliance), Senior Outreach Center, Fenn College Foundation (aka Cleveland State University), AAA Ohio Motorists Association, Cleveland Music School Settlement, Trinity Cathedral Music and Performing Arts Committee, The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences Visitors Committee and Chairman of the Regional Board of Northeast Ohio Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). 

 

Upon his retirement in 1996, then-Mayor Michael R. White presented the “The Key to the City of Cleveland” and named a City Park in Mr. Bracy Lewis’s honor in recognition of his service to the community through his role as banker and his service on numerous boards. This was a first in the City. JP Morgan Chase Bank (aka Bank One) retained him as a consultant in the capacity of Director of Governmental Affairs for over ten years due to his reputation and skill sets. Mr. Lewis is still remains involved in the banking community and is on the Regional Board at Huntington National Bank. Bracy was chosen by Mayor Michael R. White to serve as Chairman of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners in early 1998. Mr. Lewis also volunteers at the national level for The National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington DC and was given an award for his indisputable leadership abilities. Mr. Lewis even donated his time to tutor children in the Cleveland Public School System in music appreciation, math, and reading. Currently, volunteers for Golden Age Centers and the City Club of the Cleveland Foundation. 

Mr. Virgil E. Brown – 1997
Mr. Virgil E. Brown – 1997

Since January 1979, Mr. Brown has been serving as a commissioner of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. He has been serving as president of the board of commissioners since November 1980. He was director of Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in 1972-1979. Prior to that, he was a city councilman, ward 25, in 1967-72. Mr. Brown is married with two children that reside in Cleveland, Ohio. He was born August 12, 1917. His political career started in 1966 with an unsuccessful bid for a State representative position. However, in 1967 he won a seat on the Cleveland City Council, where he served for three terms.

 

In 1972, when there was a breakdown in the countywide election system and the position of director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections was now available, Mr. Brown resigned his city council seat to accept an appointment as director of the Board of Elections. He served nearly 7 years in this position and during his tenure, he restored the integrity and efficiency of the election process. When George Voinovich left the position of Cuyahoga County commissioner to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio in 1979, Mr. Brown was appointed as the replacement. He 44was reelected and served three additional terms. While in his last term as commissioner, I was serving as Governor, and I asked Virgil if he would serve as the director of the Ohio State Lottery.

 

Mr. Brown graciously accepted, even though he was planning to retire. I appointed him in 1991, and he remained as director until 1995, when he officially retired at the age of 74.

Mr. William F. Boyd, Sr. – 1995
Mr. William F. Boyd, Sr. – 1995

William Francis Boyd was born on February 7, 1915, on East 38th Street and Central Avenue in Cleveland, OH. He moved with his parents, Elmer F. and Cora S. Boyd and sister Lucille in 1917 and lived above his father’s funeral home on East 43rd Street and Central Avenue. The family later moved in 1925 to East 81st Street and Cedar Avenue. William F. Boyd attended Quincy Elementary School and Patrick Henry Junior High School. During the Depression, Elmer Boyd moved his family again to an upscale, predominantly Jewish neighborhood at 10704 Drexel Avenue off East 105th Street in the Glenville area. They were the second family of Negroes on the street. William finished Glenville High School in 1933. Under the influence of two cousins, he completed post-graduate courses for one year at Central High School. At Central High School, the student enrollment was predominantly African-American. Bill Boyd was elected President of his class and loved and cherished the friendships that were made at Central. The Boyd family faithfully attended St. John AME Church on East 40th Street for many years. The Great Depression compromised the financial stability of the home and Elmer Boyd was forced to move his family residence back to East 81st Street in 1932. William’s desire was to help his father run the business and provide for the family. There was no money for him to pursue a college degree, so he volunteered to attend Cleveland College of Embalming and graduated in 1938. Seeing a need to expand his services, Elmer F. Boyd purchased the Slaughter Funeral Home at 2165 E. 89th Street in 1938 and the ‘& Son’ was added to the firm name.

 

On August 19, 1939, William F. Boyd married Mary E. Webster, daughter of Dr. Franklyn DeDelk and Ina Guy Webster at Lane Metropolitan CME Church. In the early 1930’s, he joined Antioch Baptist Church alongside his mother, Cora Stewart Boyd. He served there as a Trustee. Elmer F. Boyd passed away in February of 1944 and William ran the business with his mother until her demise in 1960. William and Mary raised three children: William F. “Pepper” Boyd, II, Marina Elisabeth and Marcella Millicent. The first Cleveland NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner was chaired by William F. Boyd in 1959. In August of 1963, he was appointed by the committee to fill the vacancy of Rev. Cole’s position on the Cleveland School Board. By November of 1963, he successfully ran for the Cleveland School Board and later became Vice President. He served on the Board until 1970. He was responsible for the school district erecting yellow flashing lights around all public schools. While serving on the Board, he used his influence to get positions for many school teachers and other personnel. William F., affectionately known as “Bill”, was a tireless community servant for many years. Many times he performed funerals and received no compensation.

 

He was one of the last members of a rare class of gentlemen who believed that if you do as God asks with honesty and integrity, you will be rewarded. Committed to the African American community, he served on the Eliza Bryant Skilled Nursing Facility Board for over 24 years, received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts, Lifetime Achievement Award from BPACF, a member of the Central Area Council, the Urban League and the Prince Hall Excelsior Masonic Lodge. Because of his belief that a strong family unit was the essence of life, the Urban League recognized the Boyd Family as the “Family of the Year” in the ‘70s. He never influenced his children to join him, but his example inspired all three of the Boyd children to become a part of the family dynasty including William F. “Pepper” Boyd, II (LaVerne), Marina Boyd Grant and Marcella Boyd Cox, grandchildren, Victoria Boyd and Lisa Taylor. William and Mary were proud grandparents of 10 and great-grandparents of 18. William F. Boyd, Sr. celebrated his 75th Anniversary of service to the public in November 2008.

Mr. Booker T. Tall – 1987
Mr. Booker T. Tall – 1987

Mr. BOOKER T. Tall. (Dec 12. 1928 – Feb 13. 1994) had a varied career as a teacher, businessman, and politician, but he is best remembered for a lifetime of work to enhance and honor the positive achievements of African Americans. Born to sharecroppers Booker T. (Sr.) and Julia MacFulton Tall in Hooker Bend, TN, Tall learned early the virtue of industry and thrift. When his family relocated to Akron, OH, in 1943, he held a variety of jobs as a dishwasher, a short-order cook, a manager of a car wash, and a janitor at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to support his family while completing his high school education. Tall worked full-time while attending the University of Akron, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1952 and found time to organize a junior branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on campus. In 1953, Tall attended Oxford University in Great Britain as a Fulbright scholar. He earned his master’s degree at Western Reserve University in 1956 and pursued additional graduate work at Harvard University. Tall moved to Cleveland in 1952 and began a teaching career in the Cleveland public schools. In 1968, he joined the faculty of Cuyahoga and established the first black studies program at a community college in the state of Ohio.

 

After an unsuccessful attempt to buy a McDonald’s restaurant franchise in 1969, Tall joined Operation Black Unity and promoted a boycott of restaurants that excluded blacks from ownership. His efforts helped open the door for African-American ownership of fast-food franchises across the nation. During the 1970s, he was pivotal in the founding of the Cleveland chapter of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History and organized the African American Archives Auxiliary at the Western Reserve Historical Society. During the 1980s, Tall worked at City Hall, where he developed programs to promote minority- and female-owned businesses, and was especially effective in helping minorities obtain franchise businesses in the Tower City complex. He also worked briefly as the director of the local office of U.S. Representative Louis Stokes. During the Mayoral Administration of George V. Voinovich May, Tall served as the Director of the City Minority Enterprise Center and Cleveland’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office. Tall married Carolyn Smith on 25 August 1956. They raised five sons: Reginald, Bruce, Victor, Christopher, and Michael. He died in Cleveland and is now buried in Highland Park Cemetery.