The Leadership Series are multi-media video presentations that tell the story of Leadership through five different categories: Foundations, The People you Meet, Race, Gender and Environment.
“I come from a long line of hardworking champions on both sides of my family who persevered through the toughest times you can ever imagine.” ~ Sharon Reynolds
Founded on a dream and a mission, DevMar Products, LLC embodies environmental initiatives that will help sustain our planet for generations to come. In 2007, Sharon W. Reynolds, President/CEO, launched the company with an idea to distribute environmentally-friendly products including green cleaning solutions and office products. Her quest is to provide the highest level of knowledge, expertise, discretion, and integrity in the development of business opportunities for the company while sustaining the environment.
“I am passionate about generational responsibility, the old-fashioned notion that we in our time must do what we can to leave things better for those who come behind us.” Deval Patrick is an experienced leader in business and government with a record of success in managing change, solving complex problems, making strategic investments, managing crises, and building teams and coalitions locally, nationally and internationally. The former two-term Governor of Massachusetts was appointed professor of practice and co-director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership in early 2022. Patrick served as governor from 2007 to 2015; he was the Commonwealth’s first Black governor, and one of only two Black governors elected in the United States. Prior to his career in government, Patrick—who is a Harvard College and Harvard Law School graduate—practiced as an attorney and business executive. He served as a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a partner at two Boston law firms, and an executive in two Fortune 50 companies. From 1994 to 1997, Patrick served as assistant attorney general for civil rights—the U.S. government’s top civil rights position—appointed by President Bill Clinton.
Raised on the South Side of Chicago, Deval Patrick moved to Massachusetts as a teenager when he was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy through the Boston-based organization A Better Chance. He is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and the recipient of 20 honorary degrees. After his service as governor, Patrick founded a ground-breaking impact investment fund at Bain Capital. As co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century, he remains engaged in grassroots political organizing through its BridgeTogether initiative, which supports local efforts to engage disenfranchised and marginalized voters. He also chairs the advisory board of Our Generation Speaks, a Boston-based incubator for Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs. His memoir, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life, was published in 2011 and in 2012 followed up with a first-of-its-kind eBook about the American Dream.
“The anger, frustration and impatience is totally understandable and I share a lot of it, but the resignation I will never share. Think about what it took? The perseverance it took for our forebears just to make it possible for us to be here right now. It is so important to remember that and use it as fuel to keep going.”
Dr. Beth Turner is a playwright, director, professor, founder and publishing editor of Black Masks, a long-established Black theater and entertainment magazine. Created in 1984 this publication has gained the support of both Black theater and entertainment practitioners and audiences.
Though her works have debuted nationally and abroad, Turner never imagined a career in theater. With a Bachelor’s in French from Colby College, and a Master’s in Human Relations and Community Studies from NYU, her role as a playwright emerged after meeting her husband, an actor and graduate of Yale School of Drama. Turner’s transition from writer to director happened over her thirteen-year term as a professor at NYU. She went on to earn her PhD in Theater from the University of Georgia. Currently an adjunct Professor at Florida A&M University and Florida State University. She is particularly drawn to African-American life teaching the interplay between history and theatrical works to her students. Dr. Turner’s favorite subject matter is often found in the past. Her first full-length play, Ode to Mariah, was a woman’s coming of age tale at the turn of the 20th century. Turner’s children’s play, “Sing On, Ms. Gri” received a grant that allowed her to travel to West Africa and compare African influences in African-American dance, music, and storytelling.
“We’ve got to give young people a sense of a way out. A sense of hope. A sense of future. A sense that they can feed their children and the ability to hold their head up with dignity because they have work that gives them dignity.”
Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH, has been president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations since October 2017. Under her leadership, the Trust has adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region. For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. An expert on global development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation directing programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.
Dr. Gayle was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She earned a BA in psychology at Barnard College, an MD at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MPH at Johns Hopkins University. She has received 18 honorary degrees and holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University. She was awarded the Chicago Mayor’s Medal of Honor for her work on COVID relief and recovery for the city.
Named one of Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” and one of NonProfit Times “Power and Influence Top 50.” Dr. Helene D. Gayle has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and social justice.
“My life is not linear… life is a rollercoaster. Even in all my success now I have dark moments. Although I find that I learn more in the valley than I do on the mountain top. I embrace those times when I’m in the darkness cuz I know there’s light up ahead on the horizon always.”
For two decades, Glenn E. Martin successfully conceptualized, created and directed a handful of national multi-million dollar organizations in the non-profit sector. He has occupied the important leadership role of "visionary" while developing a strong track record in the more pragmatic aspects of building and running successful organizations including fundraising, operations, administration and communications. Before launching both GEMrealestate and GEMtrainers, multi-state real estate investment company and a successful non-profit consultancy, respectively, Martin founded and served as President of JustLeadershipUSA for three years. An organization he built as a tribute to his son Joshua dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030.
For almost 20 years, since leaving prison, he's been a part of the vanguard of successful reform advocates in America. His leadership has been recognized with multiple honors, including the 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the 2017 Brooke Astor Award, and the 2014 Echoing Green Fellowship. Prior to founding JustLeadershipUSA, Martin was the Vice President of The Fortune Society where he founded and led the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy. He also served as the Co-Director of the National HIRE Network at the Legal Action Center, and co-founded the Education from the Inside Out Coalition. Glenn Martin is also the founder and visionary behind the #CLOSErikers campaign in NYC. His story personifies the importance of perseverance in navigating our darkest moments.
“I consider myself a global citizen, so whatever it is I do, I want to feel like it’s going to impact the world.”
Dr. Nkem Okeke has collectively spent two decades as a healthcare executive, advisor, physician, change management facilitator, accomplished speaker & entrepreneur. Currently, through her firm, Medicalincs, Dr. Okeke guides and advises healthcare leaders and organizations on strategic solutions to enhance go-to-market/implementation framework strategy, improve operational efficiencies and outcomes, and increase revenue volume/revenue streams by connecting market opportunities.
Her broad experience in healthcare has spanned from clinical to business to health IT. She’s delivered multi-million cost savings and improved population health outcomes. Held several leadership positions, notably at Kaiser Permanente, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Johns Hopkins. She serves as a senior advisor to the CEO at Priority Partners (Johns Hopkins Healthcare) on board priorities; a board member of Lasell Village; and a Maryland Health Care Commission Advisory Council member on Primary Care Transformation (appointed by the Maryland Secretary of Health).
Dr. Okeke obtained her medical degree from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Nigeria, and completed her training at KorleBu Teaching Hospital in Ghana, as a Family (General) Practice Physician. She also obtained triple-master’s degrees in business administration, Project Management (George Washington University, DC); and Public Health (Tulane University, LA). She completed her fellowship in Clinical Data Analytics at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Certified in Project Management (PMI), Lean Six Sigma (Johns Hopkins), and Change Management (Prosci). Also, a member of several associations including: Women Business Leaders, The Maryland State Medical Society, Medical Group Management Association, and Women Elevating Women.
Twenty years experience as a practicing clinician and expert in the fields of public health, business administration, and project management. Dr. Nkem Okeke is a Kaizen-spirited healthcare executive who has carefully honed her abilities and continues to make a significant impact.
“There were certain protocols we had to take to try to control costs if it was going to be paid out-of-pocket. So I would question policies like that and they would say… the committee decided. I was like… who is this committee? I was bold enough to go to the Chief Medical Director’s Office and ask to join the committee. He laughed at me and I felt so small, but I said… I’m going to fix this. I made sure I had a seat at the table.”
Ted Bunch is an educator, activist and lecturer working to end all forms of violence and discrimination against women, girls, and other marginalized communities. Bunch is Chief Development Officer of A CALL TO MEN and internationally recognized for his efforts to prevent violence against women while promoting a healthy, respectful manhood.
Bunch is the former director and co-creator of the largest program for domestic violence offenders in America. His innovative work laid the groundwork for the prevention strategies now endorsed as best practice in engaging men to end violence against women. Bunch developed and implemented model response programs for police, fire departments, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and other first responders dealing with domestic violence. He was a guest presenter for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations. He is an international lecturer for the U.S. State Department and was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as a committee member to UNiTE, an international network of male leaders working to end violence against women.
A leading voice on issues of manhood, male socialization, and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls. An adviser to the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS and MLB, providing policy consultation, facilitating violence prevention, and healthy manhood training. He helped lead the #TimesUp Engaging Men efforts, and provides ongoing healthy manhood and sexual harassment prevention training throughout the entertainment industry. Co-author of “The Book of Dares: 100 Ways for Boys to Be Kind, Bold, and Brave Kindle” and the “LIVERESPECT Coaching Healthy & Respectful Manhood Curriculum” designed to prevent violence and bullying in schools and sports.
“We’re all swimming in the same water. We don’t want to indict men. We want to invite men. We don’t want to call men out. We want to call men in. That’s the same perspective we have with white folks. We don’t want to indict white folks for being white. We want to invite them to the conversation and to be more aware. We don’t want to call them out. We want to call them in.”
“We have to ask ourselves the Golden Rule Question… would you want this in your neighborhood? What is the right way, what is the fair way, what is the equitable way to divide up these responsibilities? These are not issues that are insurmountable. We know in many instances what the answers are. The question is are we prepared to change our behavior in order to address the issue.”
In the second part of our conversation, Ben Wilson discusses the great challenges of our day along with the history of Environmental Law. Covering topics from NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), Superfund, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Justice / Climate Justice, The NRDC, Environmental Law Institute, Gilbert Campbell, STEM as it relates to protection of the environment, and “The Environmental President.”
Wilson is one of the most respected environmental lawyers in the world. “There’s not a Civil Rights Movement, Environmental Movement, Women’s Rights Movement without the law and people willing to defend rights. The law is often times an inadequate remedy for the problems we face, but it’s the best one that we have.”
Ambassador Lewis rose from segregation-era Kansas to prominence in government, business, and the not-for-profit world. His bestselling memoir, “It All Begins with Self” affirms his belief in the value of family, education, hard work, perseverance, mentors and supporters.
The District of Columbia statehood movement is a political movement that advocates making it a U.S. state. Doing so would provide residents of D.C. with voting representation in Congress and full control over local affairs. Discussing race relations and self-determination in the district, this is our exclusive interview with pioneer, Ambassador Delano Lewis.
Delano Lewis former Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa, and former president and chief executive officer of National Public Radio, he’s led a long and successful career in global corporate and public affairs. Prior to his diplomatic appointment by President Clinton, Ambassador Lewis was an executive with C&P Telephone Company in Washington, D.C., a subsidiary of AT&T. He also served as president and chief executive officer of Bell Atlantic’s (now Verizon) Washington, D.C., operations.
Earlier in his career, Ambassador Lewis served in multiple roles for the federal government. He was an attorney for both the Department of Justice and the Office of Compliance in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, associate director of the U.S. Peace Corps in Nigeria and country director of U.S. Peace Corps in Uganda, and legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke, and chief of staff for Delegate Walter Fauntroy of the District of Columbia. He was also the founder and former director for the Institute of International Relations at New Mexico State University.
Kailee Scales is a global strategist, social justice advisor and Founder of ThinkFree Global Strategies, a firm that caters to all those interested in crafting forward-thinking solutions to complex issues, and served as the first Managing Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network. A long-time advocate of equity in educational opportunities, she has committed her career to mission-driven work around the world. Scales also held prior leadership roles with Teach for America, Engender Health, The Climate Group, Mentor International and Jumpstart for Young Children before joining Pencils of Promise as the CEO in 2021.
Pencils of Promise (PoP), is a for-purpose education organization whose mission is to support access to quality education for children around the world. “School in every fundamental way was instrumental to who I am and who I know myself to be. That is my birthright, and that is the birthright of children everywhere. A pencil is a tool that, if utilized, can capture the deepest, most creative thoughts, dreams and talents of the person holding it. It connects what lives inside of us to the outside world.”
“I learned it in my little old Sunday School in Jackson, Mississippi. We called it the Golden Rule. So even today when I say geez, I don’t want to do this or I don’t want to call this guy back, I’d say, well how would I want someone to treat me? The answer is, I’d want them to call me back. The golden rule has guided me and I didn’t learn that in New England. I learned that in Jackson, Mississippi.”
Ben Wilson is one of most respected environmental lawyers in the world. Wilson has had a storied career, from the U.S. Department of Justice to becoming Beveridge & Diamond's first Black partner in 1986, nine years as managing partner to being named chairman of Beveridge & Diamond in 2017. He went on to lead numerous major matters, including longtime representations of the water utilities of Chicago, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., and as Court-Appointed Monitor in the Duke Energy coal ash spill proceeding and Deputy Monitor-Emissions & Environmental in the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” matter.
“I value my time. When people put a dollar amount on what your worth is it minimizes you. I always knew my time was more valuable. Your time is what you’re selling. So what is the value of that time? You can’t get it back. It goes by so fast.”
Ciemone Sheppard is a visionary entrepreneur, advocate for women in business, and owner of Ciemone Inc. She is also the Co-Founder of Sheppard Benefits Group, Inc., a national multimillion-dollar comprehensive insurance brokerage firm. A member of the Million Dollar Round Table which is The Premier Association of Financial Professionals. An active member of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and Women Elevating Women. In addition, Ciemone serves on the board of several non-profit organizations including the Black Women’s Health Imperative. Alongside being a wife and mother of 3 daughters she works passionately mentoring aspiring women entrepreneurs to follow their paths to greatness.
“We were part of a racist tradition in many quarters of agriculture.” Dan Glickman served as the United States Secretary of Agriculture from 1995 until 2001, prior to which he represented Kansas' 4th congressional district in Congress for 18 years. He was the Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government from 2002 to 2004, and served as chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America from 2004 to 2010. Throughout his life of service as a politician, lawyer, educator, lobbyist, and nonprofit leader he’s learned that “structural and cultural change has to be an all fronts effort.”