With Great Pleasure, Lets Introduce The Awesome Award Hosts & Presenters:
Senator Nikema Williams - Public Policy VP & Legislative Advocay
Senator Nikema Williams is the First Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. Over the past decade, she has served in numerous leadership roles within the Democratic Party including serving as a member of the Democratic National Committee, Chair of the 13th Congressional District and 1st Vice Chair of the Fulton County Democratic Party. Nikema represented Georgia as a delegate to the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Convention. On December 5th, 2017, Nikema was elected to the Georgia State Senate to represent the 39th District. Nikema got her start in Georgia politics with the Young Democrats. She served as the National Committee Woman for the Young Democrats of Georgia as well as the Deputy Director of the Southeast Region for the Young Democrats of America. In recognition of her work to engage more young people in Democratic politics, she was named Georgia Young Democratic of the year in 2009 and received the 2009 Future is Now Young Leader award from the Young Democrats of Atlanta. The Apex Society designated her as one of their Power 30 under 30 in the field of politics for 2008. She is an alumnus of Leadership Atlanta’s LEAD class of 2009 and a 2009 graduate of Yale University’s Women’s Campaign School. She was also recognized in the 2009 and 2010 publication of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta as a community leader. She was honored in 2010, by Outstanding Atlanta, the city’s premiere honor for community involvement. Nikema was named one the Women of Influence for 2011 by the Atlanta Business League. Nikema was a 2013 New Leaders Council Fellow, an organization dedicated to training and promoting the next generation of progressive political entrepreneurs.In 2011, Nikema was appointed to the Advisory Board of SCLC W.O.M.E.N. Inc, by founder, Mrs. Evelyn G. Lowery. SCLC Women, INC is a civil rights group dedicated to offering intergenerational programs designed to empower women, girls, and families as they relate to human rights, social action, economic self-sufficiency, reduction of health disparities, and leadership to build strong families and communities.
Representative Billy Mitchell - Businessman, Legislator, Author & Public Speaker
Representative Billy Mitchell, was overwhelmingly elected to his first term on the City Council of the historic City of Stone Mountain in 1995, and was then unanimously selected by his colleagues to serve as Mayor Pro Tem (Vice Mayor). He also served as Chairman of the Finance Committee, where he led the City to "outstanding financial status," as reported by independent auditors. He held the distinction of having sponsored more legislation than any other then present Council Member, including the legislation permitting the City’s erection of the "Freedom Bell" commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, exhortation to "let freedom ring, even from Stone Mountain of Georgia!" in his immortal "I Have a Dream" speech. Because of his penchant for service, he offered himself as a candidate for the Georgia General Assembly in 2002. As the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives, he was elected that November with over 70% of the vote to represent what is now the 88th Legislative District. His constituents reside in most of Stone Mountain, parts of Tucker and Lithonia in DeKalb County and parts of Gwinnett County. Further making history, he was elected by his peers to serve as secretary of the powerful Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, becoming the first freshman legislator to serve as an officer of the largest legislative Black caucus in the nation. He also became the first freshman member of the General Assembly to serve on a legislative oversight committee when he was appointed to Georgia’s Recreational Overview Committee. He has received numerous awards including the Delta Theta Phi Law Fraternity Award for academic achievement, the Shoney’s Restaurant Community Hero award, the Georgia Municipal Association’s "Champion for Georgia Cities" legislative service award, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia "Outstanding Legislative Service Award" and the DeKalb NAACP Pat Jones community service award. He is also a United States Jay-Cees selection as an "Outstanding Young Man in America", the recipient of the East Point VFW "Mr. South Fulton" award for community service, the South Fulton Rotary Club "Rotarian of the Year" award, as well as Rotary International’s "Distinguished Club President" award. He is also a frequent public speaker and writer, Billy has authored several articles that have appeared in various newspapers and magazines. He has served as a lecturer at the Kennesaw State University, Burris Institute for Elected Officials, as well as lectured on Political Science at the Clark Atlanta University.
Esq. Meredith Lilly - Attorney, Political Strategist and Campaign Manager
Meredith Lilly is an experienced architect of organizing community involvement and a well sought-after political director. She was selected as State Director of Obama for America-Georgia in April 2012. In this position, Meredith distinguished herself by successfully leading and mobilizing Obama employees and volunteers during President Obama's campaign, by which he secured a victory in the 2012 presidential election. Her role proved successful as a lead engineer who assembled and organized thousands of Georgians to travel to North Carolina and Florida during the last few months of the 2012 Presidential Election. Additionally, Meredith promoted President Obama's platforms and assisted with early voter registration to effectively help President Obama secure Florida's Electoral College. Upon her success in carrying out the presidential campaign's work across multiple states in 2008, she worked as a Presidential Appointee as the senior advisor to the Regional Administrator at the United States General Services Administration (GSA) in Atlanta, Georgia. Meredith is a passionate advocate for community initiative and development programming. Over the past several years she has been involved with the following organizations: Habitat for Humanity, NAACP, American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Hospitality House for victims of domestic violence and Toys for Tots. Meredith holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-Law from Talladega College and Juris Doctorate from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas and she is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority, Inc.
Alzay Calhoun - Business Coach, Consultant & Entrepreneur
Alzay Calhoun is a business coach and founder of Coveted Consultant. He helps digital agencies generate better leads and improve profitability. He is a graduate of Morehouse College and the University of Virginia's Darden Business School. He helps agency owners create time-freedom and close bigger deals. He also helps agency owners create the stress-free agency of their dreams. His goal for every client (whether solo or 20 employees) to create 3 essential systems: Effortless Client Acquisition - Generate more leads without chasing clients all day; Systematic Client Service - Deliver excellent service without exhausting yourself; and Dependable Client Retention - Include a monthly retainer on every engagement. Alzay currently lives in the Marietta, GA area with his beautiful wife, Tonya.
Rev Jennifer Eichelberger - Televsion Producer, Co-Host & Minister
Rev. Jennifer has an extensive background in Christian radio and television programming, appearing, producing and hosting shows focused on women in ministry such as “Essence of Grace” and “Christian Women in Media.” She also produced and co-hosted "Sound Doctrine," a radio program featuring Christian artists and writers. Currently she is the senior producer of WATC TV-57’s “Atlanta Live” flagship show. She has also produced many other programs including cooking shows and fitness segments emphasizing healthy eating habits. Rev. Jennifer is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. She has also been awarded several Honorary Doctorate degrees. Her professional affiliations include CWIMA, Black Women Film Network, Women of Power, National Council of Negro Women – DeKalb Section as public relations officer; she also serves as Vice President of Natural Pearls a mentoring program that serves Gwinnett County. Rev. Jennifer began her studies at Marshall University and completed her studies at George Washington in Public Relations. She is a graduate of Jericho Christian Training College (JCTC) and Vision Alliance. She is the author of two books, “Answering the Call, Discovering Your Purpose” and The Next Level. Her literately works have been placed in various Christian publications.
James C. Horton - Curator, Historian & Community Advocate
James C. Horton, a native of Tuscaloosa, AL, is the founder and director of Sights & Sounds Black Cultural Expo Museum, Inc. This is a 501 (c)(3), nonprofit mobile African American Historical Museum that travels around the country to various schools, recreational centers and churches. The expositions are about sharing, educating, cherishing and displaying the great accomplishments of African American Culture and History; as well as the many wonderful success stories that derived out of a people. Mr. Horton is truly is a visionary, a motivator a neighborhood advocate, and an author with a passion to assist, encourage and inspire men, women and children through the knowledge and the experience he has gained over the past 55 years of working in the community; as a counselor, mentor, organizer, administrator and curator. He has received multiple awards over the course of his lifetime, here are just a few: Outstanding Community Service Award from the State of Georgia; Outstanding Young Man of America, Community Service Award from the NAACP Tuscaloosa, Outstanding Young Physical Fitness Leader from the Tuscaloosa Jaycees, and one of the most honorable awards was the Proclamation that February 17th “James Horton” Day of Recognition from the City Of Tuscaloosa.
Dr. Tonya Howard Calhoun - Volunteer Management Guru, Author & Speaker
Dr. Tonya Howard Calhoun has a rich background in the nonprofit sector and an overwhelmingly deep passion for volunteerism. She has spent over 15 years in the field of volunteer management, utilizing her skills to create various resources, such as: volunteer programs, volunteer handbooks, recruitment & retention plans, training & development manuals, and program evaluation tools. She is a meticulous Volunteer Management Consultant who undertakes complex assignments, meets tight deadlines, and delivers superior performance. She possesses advanced knowledge in all aspects of nonprofit management. Tonya applies strong strategic planning and analytical skills to inform senior management of key trends to improve organizational capacity. She operates with a strong sense of urgency, and thrives in a fast-paced setting.
Tonya currently serves as the Board President of the Council of Volunteer Administrators of Atlanta (COVA); the Board
Vice-President of Vertical Church Atlanta; and the Board Treasurer of the Nonprofit Trinity Awards. Tonya also provides her volunteer management
expertise through speaking engagements. She has served as a guest speaker at the International Gleaners Symposium, the GAVA/COVA Volunteer Management Conference, a panel discussion
sponsored by Walden University, Junior League of Atlanta General Body Training, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Conference, and the Whitney M. Young Leadership Conference. She has also been a guest
faculty speaker at Coppin State University, Oglethorpe University, and Westwood College.
Tonya is the owner of Altruistically Yours (AY), a company specializing in volunteer management consultation. She has been educated at: Spelman College, Troy University, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, and Walden University. Tonya lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband, Alzay.
Dali Josopovic - Financial Rep, Marketing Director & Insurance Broker
Dali Josopovic is the Senior Marketing Director and a licensed Life and Health Insurance broker working for World Financial Group in metro-Atlanta. She offer free consultations and a wide array of financial services which include, but are not limited to: Whole Life, Index Universal Life, College Funding Plans, Disability Income, 401(k) / 403 (b) Rollovers, Traditional IRA/Roth IRA, Executive Compensation Programs and SEP/ SIMPLE IRA. She always seeking driven and talented professionals who want to pursue a career in insurance and investments with a proven system. Dali is also a certified college-planning consultant who is passionate about helping today’s youth prepare for college and a better future. As a mom of two wonderful boys, she understands the value and importance of good quality education and the intense planning that comes with preparing for college. It is always her pleasure to hold complimentary information sessions, at both public and private events, about college planning and saving.
Richard Barnette - Radio Host, Travel Consultant & Pastor
Richard Barnette is the Pastor of Righteous Global Anointed Ministry in Douglasville, GA. The churches main focus is: "Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Across the globe." Richard is the CEO of R and T Travel, a powerful Ecommerce business, focused on assisting individuals in being able to save more, make more, and have fun traveling. His love for the radio has given him the opportunity to have his own gospel show in CT, a talk show in Massachusetts, and a potent gospel show in Georgia, "Please tell me, what's goings on?" He believes that God will continue to give him the desires of his heart in being able to spread the gospel of Jesus globally. Pastor Richard Barnette is a professional voice-over artist, actor, and director, and has written, produced, and directed three potent original stage plays. One of his objectives is to begin his own theatrical production company in Georgia, named: Righteous Truth Productions. One of the mountains of Cultural Influence that he wants to make a great impact upon for God's Kingdom, is the Mountain of Arts & Entertainment. Pastor Richard is most happy when he is with family, ministering at the church and in the community, on the radio and TV, working with youth, directing and acting in plays, and walking on the beaches of the world with his beautiful wife, Evangelist Tina Barnette. Pastor Richard loves to say: "Do today what others don't, so you will have tomorrow what others want!".
Nadine Nelson - Billing & Coding Specialist & Community Advocate
Queen Nadine Nelson, has been the Sunday School Superintend at her local church, Liberty Hall House of God for several years and she has done a tremendous job in being an inspiration not only to children, youth and the young women that she mentors. Nadine has many quotes that inspire her on being, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I but Christ liveth in me”. Her favorite quote is “ Love me or leave me, it doesn't matter either way.” Nadine is a Financial Counselor at Emory Healthcare and truly enjoys being of a help and a blessing to others.
Dr. Christopher Bowen - Pastor, Professor, Motivational Speaker & Author
Dr. Christopher Bowen is Founder of Living Faith International Ministries in Forest Park, Ga. He was born and raised in South Charleston, Ohio, then moved to Atlanta after graduating high school to attend Beulah Heights University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987. In 1990, Dr. Chris established Living Faith Tabernacle in a small hotel room with 15 members. The ministry grew at a phenomenal rate and after the seventh building project, the sanctuary on Old Dixie Road in Forest Park, Georgia now seats 1,300 people, with multiple services weekly. Dr. Bowen continued his education, receiving his Master’s degree in Leadership Development at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and his Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Oral Roberts University in April 2011. Dr. Bowen is a full time professor at Beulah Heights University, where he instructs several classes such as: Success for Life, Marriage and Family, Pneumatology and Early Hebrew History, to name a few. He is the Executive Director of Dream Releaser Coaching, a motivational speaker, and travels internationally to speak on topics such as time management, body language, communication, and financial freedom. In addition to operating in leadership, he is also a business owner and entrepreneur, of Bowen Wilson Properties, CEO of C-Bo Enterprises and the CEO and founder of 5 Star Personal and Corporate Development in Atlanta, Ga. Dr. Bowen has authored 11 books and his newest release is entitled, “Beyond Five Star Quality” and has become his #1 selling book, selling thousands of copies in 7 countries.
Joaquin Thompson, Sr - Author, Speaker, Educator & Entrepreneur
Joaquin Thompson, Sr. is an Associate Director for Clinical Operation for a variety of Fortune 500 clients. Over the last 20 years , Joaquin has been researching the subject of Personal Finance. He is the author of My College Finance: A Guide to Understanding Personal Finance for Students and Parents. He is the founder of the American Financial Literacy Association. He is the host of a weekly internet radio show entitled: The Daily Bread Radio Show. The show’s motto is to Educate, Motivate and Elevate listeners to a life of Financial Freedom and Peace of Mind. Joaquin is a proud graduate of Howard University’s School of Nursing and earned his Masters of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology. He is the first African American male to be selected as an Associate Director of Clinical Operations for the Atlanta based Optum team with UnitedHealthcare. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Sweet Danni J - Media Host, Motivational Speaker & Paralegal
“Sweet Danni J” is the mother of one son. She has appeared as a guest on Lavon Bridgers Morning Show, on BBG Network, the host of Stop Da Maddness on BBG Network and GMR Radio and Sensation Station Network (which she co-founded with the owner of BBG Network, Lavon Bridgers). Sweet Danni J has hosted many functions and podcasts. She is the host of The Sweet Danni J Show, which originally launched in 2013. Sweet Danni J is active in her community and uses her show, to entertain while focusing on substance that empowers, informs and uplifts. The Sweet Danni J Show, a daytime television talk-variety show, is in its 3rd season and can be seen on Charter on SCBTV Channel 182. Sweet Danni J loves people and prides herself as the Sweetest host on television
Courtney McFarlane - Nonprofit Visionary, Radio Host & Entrepreneur
Courtney G. McFarlane is the President and Co-Founder of the Caribbean-American Advancement Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Clayton County, Georgia. He is an entrepreneur and owner of Imperial Security Systems, Inc., an electronic security company. He has over 27 years of professional experience in the Electronic Security Industry and also holds a Real Estate License. He also serves as a Real Estate Consultant with Better Homes and Gardens Metro Broker in Atlanta. He attended Broward Community College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he knew then that he wanted to become an entrepreneur and began pursuing his dreams. He is a former radio personality and Executive Producer of the Caribbean Experience on Atlanta's AM 1570 WIGO and a former co-host on AM 1420 WATB radio stations. This community activist and humanitarian's passion for helping others has earned him many awards and honors for his valuable work and dedication to the community. He was recently recognized by the Secretary of the State of Georgia as a Goodwill Ambassador. He is a graduate from the Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institute where he earned the Mike Glanton Servant Leader Award. He serves on various community boards including the American Red Cross Minority Recruitment Advisory Board, Benevolent Missions of Atlanta and the Clayton County Grassroots Leadership Institution.
Anne Foster - Community Activist & Advocate for Seniors
Anne Foster is the Founder and Executive Director of Generational Sources of Strength Inc. where the focus is “To foster healthy living for all generations.” Anne credits her passion for service to her Aunt (Anna Lightsey) who raised her and instilled in her the importance of being a servant leader. Anne’s first volunteer experience began at the age of 5 by assisting her aunt in organizing Christmas parties for children with multiple sclerosis in Yonkers, New York. Being of service to others is the creed that Anne lives by. At Delta Airlines she was part of their Critical Incident Response Team that provided peer counseling during the 911 crisis. In 2005 she served as an Ameri-Corp VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) at the Center for Positive Aging thus leading her to a career in Aging Services. Joining Meals on Wheels Atlanta in 2008, Anne served for 9 years as the Center Manager for the Fulton County New Horizons Neighborhood Senior Center in Vine City where she enabled seniors to enjoy a high quality of life and maintain their independence and dignity.
Austin Thompson Jr. - Founder, Organizer & Entrepreneur
Austin E. Thompson, Jr. is the founder and CEO of Thompson Management Consulting, LLC, and the Founding Visionary and Chief Organizer behind the company’s Annual Entrepreneurship and Small Business Summit. In addition to small business consulting, Austin was appointed in December 2013 by Mayor Judy Jordan-Johnson of Lawrenceville, GA to serve a 4-year term on the Downtown Architectural Review Board of the City of Lawrenceville. He is also a published Author, Adjunct Professor of Business at Shorter University, and currently serves on two Advisory Boards, the Entrepreneurship Academy at Discovery High School in Lawrenceville, GA and with C.A.N.I (Community Action Network Initiatives). As part of his consultancy, Austin publishes the monthly Empowered Business Journal, and hosts a monthly business radio program on WATB 1420AM radio, on which he conducts live instudio interviews of business owners. He has over 16 years of senior project management and EMC compliance engineering experience, and has been advising small business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 10 years. Austin is a graduate of Keller Graduate School of Management, receiving his Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and a Master of Project Management (M.P.M) degrees with honors in 2005, and has future plans to pursue Doctoral studies in International Business. He enjoys reading, sporting events, mentoring and inspiring young adults, and meeting people of influence from different parts of the world.
Donna McLeod - Community Advocate, Entrepreneur & Engineer
Donna McLeod is a Chemical Engineer with over 20 years’ experience in Quality Assurance Management/ Engineering, she is now the President/CEO of Enviroqual, LLC a Quality Assurance/Regulatory Consulting company specializing in Medical Devices, Food, Plastics and Pharmaceuticals. She believes that every individual should be actively involved in the decision-making processes that empower the leaders who make the rules and regulations through which we are governed. Passionate about civic responsibility and civic engagement, she emphasizes that through our VOTE we have a say in those decisions that affect virtually every aspect of our daily lives. Through her involvement in many grassroots organizations and her direct interaction with her community, Ms. McLeod has realized that many people remain unaware of the full duties and privileges of citizenship. She is dedicated to educating the electorate on the importance of their roles in society and the power of the VOTE as a vital force in constructively changing our communities and our country. In 2016, she ran for State House Representative, District 105, Gwinnett County, GA. Ms. McLeod was endorsed by President Barack Obama. Ms. McLeod is running again for State House Representative for District 105 in Gwinnett County, GA. Ms. McLeod is a co-founder of C.A.N.I, Inc., (Community Action Network Initiatives) a non-profit 501c3 organization that helps educate and inform people of their civic and societal rights and responsibilities. Such enlightenment will lead to a higher level of voter participation in the United States, whose voter turnout currently is the lowest among the world's industrialized nations.
Damian Boyd - Pastor, Visionary & Community Leader
Damian is a devoted man of faith, passionate communicator, visionary leader, and pastor. For more than 20 years, he has been known throughout the country as a dynamic speaker. Damian serves as the Lead Pastor of Vertical Church, a family “on mission” in the urban, college community of the Historic West End & Greater Vine City. Vertical Church is a vital part of Southwest Atlanta, and continues to invest 2500 hours of service annually. The church is best known for their Burgers & Backpack back to school event. Damian and his wife, Zarat, celebrate over 17 years of marriage and over 13 years of raising their son, Damian Jr., a gifted, musical child with complex medical needs. He loves his family deeply.
Carla Wright - Entrepreneur, Evangelist & Community Advocate
Carla Wright is an Evangelist and the CEO of The Wright Way Up Of Atlanta, Inc. She has a BS degree in Accounting from Georgia State University in 1982. She is the mother of 3 wonderful children and a grandmother of 4 beautiful children. She has owned several business one was a non-emergency transportation business and the other was a psychiatric outpatient center. Now, she is the Chairman and Director of The Wright Way Up Of Atlanta, Inc which helps those that are less fortunate. Carla also has a radio broadcast on WYZE Radio on 1480 am on Sunday morning from 8:30am to 9:00am. As an Entrepreneur, she has a small business that make body oil, body washes and more. Carla truly loves God and definitely believes that he has his hands on everything that she does.
Nancy J. Lewis - MS, SHRM-CP, PHR, RCC
Nancy J. Lewis is the founder and President of Progressive Techniques, Inc. where the theme of her organization is, "Developing a Better YOU!" Nancy's company has 22 years experience in professional development, diversity and inclusion, leadership and communication skills helping organizations develop and transform their people. Nancy's company provides practical insights and wisdom for resolving the complex workplace issues of today in a world filled constant change. Nancy does motivational keynotes for conferences and is a business and executive coach. Nancy has a quarterly event called Transforming Women Entrepreneurs (TWE) where she empowers, equips, and encourages women to be the very best they can be in an environment where true connections are made. (www.tweus.com) Nancy has an engaging and energizing style that ignites her audiences as she equips and educates them on how to navigate the winds of workplace change.
Lyric Elise - Entertainer, Motivational Speaker & Television Host
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Lyric Elise grew up around the entertainment industry. Her father was a singer in various R&B bands in Atlanta. Growing up Lyric's grandmother put on a gospel album and Lyric discovered she could sing. Her mother supported and wanted to cultivate her talent by sending her to North Atlanta Performing Arts High School. From there Lyric's passion for entertainment grew and has become an important vehicle to help others and create change. Today Lyric is an entertainer, host and motivational speaker with a BS in Business Organization. She has coordinated several non-profit events and services over the years to benefit Fulton County Parks and Recreation, Sickle Cell Foundation and Grady Hospital Cancer Social Services Program. Lyric has worked behind and in front of the scenes in film and television for over 15 years. She has worked in various positions behind the scenes before creating and having her own show, ATL Fresh, on People TV 2015-2016. Today, Lyric Elise is an entrepreneur with a salon in Union City Georgia, owner of health and beauty product line, radio host and real estate investor. Dedicated to serving humanity with a degree in Business Organization and experience in the entertainment industry she is on a mission to create meaningful content and inspire others.