Join the Executive Service Corps in Recognizing the
Impact of these African American Leaders
The Executive Service Corps is proud to be led by a diverse group of inspirational leaders. This month, we celebrate those African American leaders who are making history every day by transforming our community.
Executive Service Corps President and CEO Rachelle Jervis Chopra commented, “As a sector, the nonprofit industry serves those most in need of assistance, who simultaneously are least likely to afford alternative options. As a result, our ability to effectively include our diverse stakeholders is critical. That is why our organization’s commitment to diversity is so important. From our budget to our board, we practice what we preach.”
Join the Executive Service Corps in thanking these incredible African American leaders. Their service to the community is inspirational.
David A. Sanders, M.S.Ed., President, Malcolm X College and Executive Service Corps Board Member
David A. Sanders serves as the President of Malcolm X College, including its School of Health Sciences. Before assuming the presidency, he served as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the City Colleges of Chicago system, where he was responsible for the management of day-to-day operations at City Colleges. He also served as the lead executive project manager for the programming, design and construction of the $251M Malcolm X College and School of Health Sciences; a project completed on time and on budget. Now, as the president of Malcolm X College, Sanders oversees a nearly $64 million budget and is responsible for more than 12,000 students and a staff of nearly 1,000 employees. Since his appointment in 2015, Malcolm X College has been named one of 2019 and 2021’s Most Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by NISOD and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. A dedicated and committed church leader, President Sanders serves his ecumenical community in various national, state and local leadership capacities and was recently elevated to the office of auxiliary bishop. President Sanders also serves on the Executive Service Corps’ board of directors. Mr. Sanders is a proud graduate of DePaul University and Concordia University – Portland. He is currently completing his doctoral studies in Educational Leadership at Concordia University Chicago.
Terra Winston, MBA, CEO, inTerractions, and Executive Service Corps Board Member
Terra Winston, MBA, founder of inTerract Consulting, has dedicated her life to helping her clients unleash the potential of each employee. She is a leadership consultant and executive coach with almost 20 years of internal and external business consulting experience. Terra has a flexible style that has driven results in boardrooms and on plant floors, for Fortune 100 companies and small startups alike. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a coaching certification from the Coaches Training Institute and the International Coach Federation. Prior to founding inTerract, Terra worked at Deloitte Consulting as a consultant on process, strategy and organizational engagements and as a director at PepsiCo doing traditional HR and organizational development. With expertise in leadership development, facilitation and diversity, Terra implements a broad variety of custom solutions for her clients. As a coach, she helps leaders and entrepreneurs make a meaningful impact on their organizations. A sought-after speaker, Terra delivers workshops and keynotes that do more than entertain – they give attendees the tools to change behavior. Anonymous feedback from a recent Executive Service Corps client stated, “I had a phenomenal coach in Terra Winston, who was encouraging but also got me thinking and reflecting more than I have in quite some time.” Terra is active in the community, including serving on the Executive Service Corps’ board of directors.
Donna Bunch Coaxum, JD, Chief Legal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer, OSI Group and Executive Service Corps Board Member
Donna Bunch Coaxum, CPA, JD, is the chief legal officer and chief compliance officer of OSI Group, LLC, where she directs all aspects of the legal and compliance functions supporting this nearly $7 billion global consumer products food manufacturer comprising 50+ entities, 50+ manufacturing facilities and 19,000+ employees in 17 countries spanning four continents. She also heads the corporate crisis team, where she helped to develop a mobile crisis application that serves the company globally with the goal of protecting it from legal, regulatory and financial risks. Donna is the former Diversity Section editor for the American Bar Association’s Litigation Pro Bono and Public Interest Newsletter. Donna has received various awards and served as a speaker to various organizations, including the Chicago Urban League, POWER, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, the National Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel Executive Institute, Thomson Reuters, the Women’s Energy Summit and the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA), to name a few. She has been featured in Crain’s Business, Profile magazine and Ebony magazine. Donna is a member of the bar in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Georgia and California (where she was selected, based on her bar exam score, to grade the California bar exam and graded it for three years). Donna holds membership in the National Bar Association, American Bar Association, Association of Corporate Counsel, Corporate Counsel Women of Color, Women General Counsel Network, The Links, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, The Girl Friends, Inc., and the Executive Service Corps’ board of directors.
Donald J. Dew, MSW President & CEO, Habilitative Systems
Donald J. Dew is president and CEO of Habilitative Systems, Inc. (HSI), a vital Chicago-based behavioral health and human services organization providing programs and services for thousands of children and families with special needs. Since his appointment in 1990, HSI’s budget has increased from $6.5 million to approximately $9.5 million in 2020, signaling a significant increase in services to Chicago-area residents during an adverse economic period. Mr. Dew is a member of the International Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities Board of Trustees, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of Black Social Workers, and Academy of Certified Social Workers. He was previously the presiding chair of the inaugural African American Family Commission under Governor Edgar and a board member for the Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital Board of Directors and the UIC Department of Disability and Human Development. Donald won the Executive Service Corps’ 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kelli Haywood, MBA, Executive Director, Dream On Education
Kelli Haywood is the founder and executive director of Dream On Education, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides academic enrichment for high-achieving, low-income middle school students. Additionally, Kelli is the community impact manager for Cboe Global Markets, where she is growing Cboe’s impact through community partnerships, employee engagement, and D&I on a national and global level. Kelli is currently an MBA candidate at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. Kelli is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Prior to launching Dream On Education, Kelli worked in account marketing for Adidas and for Walgreens Corporate as a strategic planning analyst. Kelli also worked as director of corporate development at the American Heart Association and as Community Leadership Corp Consultant for The Obama Foundation. Kelli serves on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Pierre Lockett, Executive Director & Founder, Forward Momentum Chicago
Pierre Lockett, founder and executive director of Forward Momentum Chicago, is a passionate arts advocate for youth in Chicago. With 20 years of teaching and as a former professional dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the Joffrey Ballet, Pierre combined his passion and expertise for dance with his desire to inspire youth through invigorating dance programs to establish Forward Momentum Chicago (FMC). Since 2014, Pierre and his team of teaching artists with FMC have taught more than 6,000 children in 85 Chicago Public Schools. He has also served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Chicago’s Community Arts Assistance Program (CAAP) and DCASE’s Individual Artist Program (IAP). Mr. Lockett was also a co-presenter with the Fry Foundation and Spencer Foundation on the impact of Social Emotional Learning at Grant Makers in the Arts conference. Pierre has served on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Jennifer O. Maddox, VIBA, Executive Director, Future Ties
Jennifer O. Maddox was born in Chicago and raised on the South Side. Jennifer graduated from Corliss High School and received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois, Circle Campus. She is currently working in the CPD’s Juvenile Intervention Support Center. As a result of her passionate conviction, she founded a 501(c)3 organization in 2011 called Future Ties, which provides afterschool and summer programs to increase the academic achievement of the youth who attend. Future Ties also works to equip parents, youth, and teens in the Woodlawn community, primarily residents of Parkway Gardens Apartments, with the workforce development skills needed to be competitive in the job market. Future Ties is a safe place where the residents of Parkway Gardens can come and experience love, support and protection from the violence they face daily. Jennifer has received much recognition for her work in the community, including being selected as one of CNN’s Top Ten Heroes for 2017 and one of Chicago’s 20 most inspiring Chicagoans of 2018. Jennifer serves on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
La Forice Nealy, President & CEO, Olive Branch Mission
La Forice Nealy is the president and CEO at Olive Branch Mission in Chicago. La Forice was born and raised in Chicago, IL. He graduated from Simeon High School in 1984 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies at Governors State University in 2007. La Forice has 32 years of nonprofit experience, and since 2017, he has been the dynamic leader of Olive Branch. He is the organization’s first African American leader. His work has centered on building fiscal responsibility and organizational stability. His leadership has positioned Olive Branch Mission for future growth and expansion of services to the most vulnerable populations. Throughout his career, he has worked across multiple lines of business that have included operational and support roles. One of his proudest accomplishments is having been chosen several times to serve as director of multiple American Red Cross disaster relief operations across the country. La Forice serves on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Vershawn Sanders-Ward, MFA, Artistic Director & CEO, Red Clay Dance Company
Vershawn Sanders-Ward is the founding artistic director and CEO of Red Clay Dance Company and is currently a candidate for Dunham Technique Certification. In 2015, 2018, 2020 and 2022, Newcity magazine selected Ward as one of the “Players 50” awardees. Her choreography has been presented in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and the Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, and internationally in Toronto, Dakar and Kampala. Vershawn is currently on the faculty at Loyola University Chicago in the Fine and Performing Arts Department and has received choreographic commissions from Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Knox College, AS220 and the National Theatre in Uganda. Her upcoming site-specific choreographic project, Rest.Rise.Move.Nourish.Heal, set to premiere in 2023, was selected for a 2021 National Dance Project Award from NEFA. As an arts advocate, she serves as a board member of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago and was selected to attend the inaugural Obama Foundation Summit for Emerging Global Leaders. Sanders-Ward has had the pleasure of gracing the cover of DEMO, Columbia College Chicago’s alumni magazine, and the Chicago Reader! Vershawn serves on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Kia S. Smith, MFA, Executive Artistic Director, South Chicago Dance Theatre
Kia S. Smith is a Chicago native and the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the South Chicago Dance Theatre. Her collaborative and choreographic credits include; Nike, Chicago Opera Theatre, actor Jack Black, world renowned visual artists Manuel Mendive and Nick Cave, South Shore Opera Company, Chicago Fringe Opera and HBO’s Lovecraft Country. Her choreography has been commissioned nationally by Madison Ballet, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Chicago Repertory Ballet, University of Wisconsin-Madison and others. Her work has also been presented internationally in Seoul, South Korea and is seen at Art Ez University in the Netherlands in March 2022. In 2021, Kia received a 3Arts Make A Wave award and was an Ann & Weston Hicks Choreographic Fellow at the renowned Jacobs Pillow. She is a 2022 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Awardee and Artist in Residence at the Cliff Dwellers Chicago. Kia has served on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Christa Hamilton, MBA, CEO and President, UCAN Chicago
Christa Hamilton serves as CEO and president of UCAN Chicago, the 152-year-old youth services organization that provides a continuum of services to more than 21,000 children, youth and families around Chicago. Prior to her appointment, since 2014, Hamilton served as CEO for Centers for New Horizons, based on Chicago’s South Side, a nonprofit organization that helps children, youth and families attain self-reliance. Christa previously served as director of New Horizons’ Workforce Development effort for more than three years. In addition, she serves on the Forbes Nonprofit Council and was the former regional procurement manager for Walgreens. She served on the board of directors for the Reflections Foundation, was a Social Services Advisory Council member for the Illinois Department of Human Services and was a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Christa is currently a board member of the Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition and an advisory council member for the University of Chicago Social Services Department. Christa has served on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Kymika Okechukwu, MPA, Senior Manager, Evidence-Based Medicine Initiatives, American Academy of Pediatrics
Kymika Okechukwu, MPA serves as the senior manager of evidence-based medicine initiatives for the American Academy of Pediatrics, the most trusted publisher and association in pediatrics. Kymika was promoted to the role internally. Prior to coming to the American Academy of Pediatrics, she served as an analyst at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists as well as at other nonprofit associations. Kymika serves as a board member for Evanston Scholastic Chess, is the professional peer group clinical practice guidelines chair for the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, supports children’s cancer charity Camp One Step and is an executive coach for the Executive Service Corps.
Yves Lassere, MBA, MS, Engagement Manager, Executive Service Corps
An independent consultant in supply chain management, Yves Lassere, MBA, MS, has worked for several companies in the Chicago area, ranging from engineering and transit to electric utilities. Most recently, he served as director of supply operations for Exelon Corporation. A positive, energetic and creative team leader, Yves has many years of practical experience at a leadership level. His expertise includes governance and oversight, strategic sourcing, project management and supply operations organization. He is a professional who has implemented leading-edge initiatives, resulting in operational efficiency and cost-saving. Yves currently serves as Principal of LEVIER Solutions, LLC. Yves is a certified project management professional and a LEAN SIX SIGMA green belt. Active in the community, Yves is currently on the board of directors of the Evanston Township High School (ETHS) Educational Foundation and Haiti Outreach. In addition, he is a member of the Program Committee at Alternatives Inc. Yves has also been a leading participant of the Evanston 150 – Learn to Work and Work to Learn (LWWL) Initiative and is an engagement manager for the Executive Service Corps. In an anonymous feedback survey, an Executive Service Corps client recently rated Yves as 5/5 and shared, “Yves brought a calming sense of organization and thoroughness to the entire process. I always appreciated his insightful and spot-on comments/suggestions.”
Dr. Barbara Hall, PhD, Consultant, Executive Service Corps
Barbara Hall has more than 40 years of experience in the education sector and currently serves as a program counselor for Northeastern Illinois University. Before her career at Northeastern, Barbara held various positions in the Chicago Public Schools: teacher, administrator and counselor, as well as principal of Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. Barbara brings expertise in coaching, facilitation, facilities management and maintenance, grant proposals, human resources, focus groups, executive transition management and media relations. At the Executive Service Corps, Barbara has worked with CPS, the Office of Pathways to College, the Chicago Urban League, Chicago Heights Public Library and the City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. She has completed ESC training for consulting and volunteer management. Barbara serves as a school representative for the Harvard Alumni Association and is part of the community advisory council for the Paul Simon Job Corps. She also participates in an after-school program at the Chicago Park District and is an Executive Service Corps consultant.
Emma Jean Jamison, MS, Engagement Manager, Executive Service Corps
Emma Jean Jamison, MS, is an engagement manager at the Executive Service Corps. Her projects with the Executive Service Corps have included Foundation College Prep, Illinois Read, All Day Montessori, Chicago Black Gay Men Caucus and Red Clay Dance. Jean is active in her community and is a team leader for the Experience Corps, an AARP program, where she manages a team of literacy tutors in the Chicago Public Schools. Jean spent her 38-year career in telecommunications in positions of increasing responsibility. Most recently, she was the associate director of network staff representing ATT/SBC/Ameritech, where she was responsible for end-to-end project management of all major 9-1-1 initiatives and FCC mandates and upgrades as well as other complex customer complex offerings and upgrades, including the National 800 network, the National General Services Administration (GSA), Chicago Public Schools, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, to name a few. She is an active member of Word Works Believers Church, where she serves as president of the Mothers Board and a member of the Mission Guild. Also, as a recent member of the Harvey Memorial Community Church, she previously served as board president; she is currently president of their Mothers Board and is the secretary (and a past president) of the Library Committee and Media Ministry. Jean has also served as secretary and in other board positions at both a local and a national level for several organizations, including as a national board member/trustee of the National Gospel Quartet Convention, where she served many years as both secretary and president of the Illinois Chapter.
Dr. Robin Johnson, DSL, Executive Coach and Consultant, Executive Service Corps
Robin Johnson is the founder and change leadership advisor of DesignOrg Solutions, an organizational effectiveness boutique consulting firm bringing more than 15 years of experience as a change leader executing and navigating companies through complex organizational change and development, such as M&A integrations, restructures and other large-scale transformations. The work primarily focuses on assessing the impact of change on organizations, assessing the organization’s readiness to go through the change process, managing leadership engagement, designing and redesigning organizational structures, and coaching leaders through the transformations. When not working with a client, she is also carrying out duties as a board member, teaching graduate students in the MBA program at Concordia University Chicago. Robin volunteers her time with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and is a board member of World Bridge Military Partners. Robin is the author of Leaders Don’t Have to Be Lonely: Eliminate the Loneliness and Lead Like a Coach, which informs managers of people and leaders whose performance goals include developing their team members of what it takes to lead with the intent to coach. Robin is an Executive Service Corps Consultant and Executive Coach.
Julian Champion, MAFM, Executive Director, West Point School of Music
Julian J. Champion hails from the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He began his career developing community social services programs in North Carolina, with a concentration in spiritual and emotional care for the urban poor. Raised in a single-parent home, he became acquainted very early with the debilitating effects of poverty upon the mind and on communal life. He understands firsthand the struggles that many urban youths face. Determined to address this issue, he chose a career path in pastoral and social services, hoping to make a difference in the lives of others. His passion for music began at a very early age, but it was not until the age of 17 that he had the opportunity to play an instrument. Champion pursued his dream of establishing West Point School of Music to reach more youth through music. He believes that once a child learns to read and play music, they understand very well that they have accomplished something great and nothing is impossible for them. Julian serves on the Executive Service Corps’ Nonprofit Advisory Council.
Norman Jones, MA, Head of Business Resource Group Partnership, JLL
Norman Jones is an experienced human resources professional whose areas of expertise center on diversity & inclusion, employment brand and talent acquisition. Since 2007, he has been focused on ensuring that members of all diverse communities know that there is a place for them in corporate America, and he works to equip them with the tools needed to be successful. Norman is the head of the Business Resource Group Partnership at JLL. Norman joined Discover in 2017 and currently serves as the senior manager of diversity engagement & field marketing. Prior to joining Discover, Norman worked at the Hartford as the diversity talent acquisition manager, crafting and implementing a diversity strategy that would assist the organization with meeting its long-term diversity hiring goals. He started his professional career at the global consulting firm Accenture and was employed there for almost 10 years. Norman has served as vice president of the board of directors of Between Friends and vice chair of the Industry Partnership Council of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and is an executive coach for the Executive Service Corps.