Join our panel of experts as they discuss how business leaders can navigate the civil unrest facing our Nation. Learn strategies for businesses to support community organizations and advocate for racial equity through community involvement.
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Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson
Super District 7 DeKalb County, Atlanta
Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson attended Troy University where she received a B.S. degree in Political Science and Criminal Justice; a M.S. in The Administration of Criminal Justice and received and an M.P.A. in Public Administration with a concentration in Economic Development and Grant Writing from Auburn University before attending John Marshall Law School.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson has spent two decades in print media, mass communications, and management. As Super District 7 Commissioner Cochran-Johnson proudly serves over 350,000 constituents from Dunwoody to Ellenwood, including Unincorporated DeKalb.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson was elected as Deputy Presiding Officer for 2020-2021 for the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. She serves as the Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee and is a member of the Planning, Economic Development and Community Services Committee.
As Commissioner of District 7, she has established 7 priorities to foster positive change to transform DeKalb Communities: Economic Development, Public Safety, Education, Blight, Senior Initiatives, and Home Ownership. Her 2020 strategic focus areas include Small Business Support and Expansion, Youth and Teen Enrichment, and Enhanced Community Communications.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson has spearheaded efforts to push state-wide online voting, end the proliferation of dollar stores throughout DeKalb; allocated $200,000 to revive the DeKalb Land Bank to end abated properties; provided $100,000 towards the Small Business Loan Program; awarded $150,000 to the Misdemeanor Mental Health Court; spent $64,000 to fund South DeKalb’s first Park Naturalist. For 2020, Commissioner Cochran-Johnson has allocated $100,000 toward the Phase II development of the Porter Sanford Performing Arts Amphitheater, $101,500 for a Discover DeKalb Convention Center feasibility study, $50,000 for a Tucker Parks Bee Conservatory and $75,500 for the Bransby-Rock Chapel Park Youth Farm, an estimated $904,000 project.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson recently completed commissioner training and is now a Certified County Commissioner, which she completed in record time in just a little over a year. She currently is a member of the DeKalb County COVID-19 Task Force and a board member for the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Project.
Commissioner Cochran-Johnson is in the 2020 Class of Leadership DeKalb and most recently was chosen to participate in the 2020-2021 Class of Leadership Women America.
She is the wife of Ret. Lt. Col. William H. Johnson, III, niece of Annie Page and the Mother of Agnes Scott freshman Zion Cochran, Lorraine values God, family, and community above all else
Robert Lewis, Jr.
Founder & President The BASE
Robert Lewis, Jr. is a highly sought-after public speaker, facilitator and spokesperson on the topic of urban issues and opportunities, addressing attendees at major national conferences and inspiring students and faculty on college campuses across the country. He has worked collaboratively with government and civic leaders in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and currently consults with a number of foundations and non-profits including California Wellness Foundation, Delaware Valley Grantmakers, and the Stoneleigh Foundation, offering leadership, critical and strategic thinking on urban youth development. Robert also worked with the Minister of Defense in Bermuda to launch StreetStafe Bermuda, and advised Prime Minister David Cameron during the tumultuous riots in the United Kingdom in 2011.
Robert’s impressive career trajectory has included important roles such as Executive Director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, President and Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Senior Vice President of City Year’s national operations and Executive Director of City Year Boston, and Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation where he directed the distribution of $16 million+ in discretionary grants.
In 2013, Robert left his high profile position at The Boston Foundation to pursue a lifelong dream to launch The BASE. The BASE is a model and methodology that changes the paradigm for urban youth by providing student athletes with the opportunity, knowledge, skills and confidence needed to develop a winning game plan for success both on and off the field.
Robert served on MA Governor-elect Charlie Baker’s transition team, helping develop Baker’s statewide urban agenda. Robert has been profiled in 4 books: Developing Better Athletes, Better People, A Leader’s Guide To Transforming High School and Youth Sports into a Development Zone, authored by Jim Thompson, Do More Than Give, the 6 Practices of Donors Who Change the World, by Leslie Crutchfield, John Kania and Mark Kramer, 10 Who Mentor, by Denise Korn, Men Who Dare, authored by the late Katherine Martin.
Founder Global Alliance Solutions
Nikki Pardo is the founder of Global Alliance Solutions, a consulting company that offers simulation-based customized diversity training for corporations, non-profit agencies, school districts, and law enforcement agencies. She also is co-founder of The Pack, a community-based project that hosts conversations linked to inclusion, equity and community throughout Detroit. Nikki has been featured in several publications, received Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Business Leader Award for 2017, facilitates trainings across the country, and is a trusted consultant on the topic of diversity, equity, inclusion, and implicit bias.
Nikki was appointed to the FBI-Detroit Division – Multi-Cultural Advisory Council, and is a graduate of the FBI Detroit Citizens Academy. She was also appointed to the Princeton University Prize in Race Relations – Detroit Committee, is a graduate of the New Detroit-The Coalition’s Multicultural Leadership Fellowship, and the national fellowship Seeking Education Equity and Diversity (SEED). She has served on numerous boards, and currently serves on Birmingham’s Race Relations and Diversity Task Force Board, and the Board of the Hispanic Police Officer Association – Detroit Chapter.
Nikki is an avid researcher and earned a Master of Business Administration degree in Management/Leadership, a Master of Science in Administration degree with a concentration in International Administration, and a Bachelor of Science degree. She is also a nationally certified Global Career Development Facilitator, a member of the National Career Development Association, the National Diversity Council, and a Michigan-certified mediator. Nikki is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Jack and Jill of America – Oakland County Chapter.
Donnell R. White
Senior Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and Director of Strategic Partnerships TCF National Bank
Donnell R. White is chief diversity officer and director of strategic partnerships for TCF National Bank. He previously served in the same role at Chemical Bank since June 2018.
Prior to joining Chemical Bank, Mr. White served as executive director of the Detroit Branch National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he helped lead the organization’s largest local Branch – also one of its oldest and most storied Branches. While there, he was responsible for the strategic, financial and operational oversight of the organization and also served as the spokesperson and community liaison for the organization.
Donnell is active in the community serving as a founding member of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice Law Enforcement Signatory Group. He also serves as a board member of ClearCorps Detroit, Arab American and Chaldean Council, and Crime Stoppers of Michigan. In addition, he serves on the Federal Bureau of Investigations Multicultural Advisory Committee, Wayne State University President’s Community Advisory Group, and Focus Hope Advisory Group. He is Board Trustee for Michigan Children’s Foundation, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Public Safety Foundation.
Chief Executive Officer Focus: HOPE
Portia Roberson joined the Focus: HOPE team as Chief Executive Officer in 2018, bringing strategic and inclusive leadership with a focus on moving the organization forward. Prior to her work with Focus: HOPE, Portia acted as Group Executive of the City of Detroit’s Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity Department, working to ensure that all major economic development projects adhered to hiring Detroit-headquartered or Detroit-based businesses, thus allowing Detroit workers opportunities for employment. During her tenure with the City of Detroit, Portia led the charge on how Michigan and Detroit-based businesses can work together to enhance local employment. Previously, she served as Corporation Counsel, Law Department at the White House Domestic Policy Council for Strong Cities, Strong Communities, as well as Director, Office of Intergovernmental and Public Liaison under Attorney General Eric Holder.
Portia is a graduate of Cass Technical High School. She majored in English at the University of Michigan, and holds a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University Law School.
Portia is a well-known public speaker, serving as an on-camera analyst for WDIV’s Flashpoint and CourtTV. She has extensive volunteer experience throughout Metro Detroit, serving as a Board Member for Michigan Political History Society, Habitat for Humanity, ACLU, and Delta Manor. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the Wolverine Bar Association.
Please register for Racial Justice National Town Hall on Jul 1, 2020 12:00 PM EDT