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Luvvie Ajayi-

 

Is a writer, social media strategist and techie from Chicago. She's been blogging for 10 years, and is behind the award-winning pop culture and humor blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com. Luvvie’s a former columnist for EBONY.com and has contributed her writing to Clutch Magazine and Uptown Magazine. She’s also winner of the Women’s Media Center 2012 Social Media Award.

Her background is in Communications and New Media, and as a social media strategist, she helps clients figure out how to use the various online tools to further their missions. She has presented at several conferences over the years on these topics. They include: The Nonprofit Technology Conference, BlogHer, AFTRA Broadcast Conference, Chicago Social Media Summit, and the Social Media For Nonprofits Conference, among others.

Luvvie is passionate about social justice and is addicted to shoes. She combined these loves and founded The Red Pump Project (Red Pump) with Karyn Watkins in March 2009. Red Pump is a national nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls, using red shoes! Their work has earned them a Congressional Record from the U.S. House of Representatives as well as recognition from the City of Chicago Council and much more.

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Trezanay M. Atkins @Trezanay-

Is the creator of The Brand Infringement Firm, a law firm that helps pastors, entertainers, fashion designers, and athletes when they have to fight for how their name, talent, and brand should be used. 

Before forming The Brand Infringement Firm, Ms. Atkins practiced in Los Angeles in the litigation departments of two international law firms, where she participated in all phases of litigation representing matters in the film industry. While attending law school, Ms. Atkins worked in the business and legal affairs department of CMG Worldwide, a leading intellectual property rights corporation, where she advised clients of their rights in trademark, copyright, and right of publicity. She also negotiated license agreements for the use of intellectual property in advertising, film, television, and radio usage. She also negotiated merchandising and endorsement agreements on behalf of clients. In addition to contract work, Ms. Atkins negotiated settlement agreements for infringements of property rights - saving clients thousands of dollars in legal fees by avoiding the courtroom. 

Very active in professional organizations, Trezanay is currently a member of the American Bar Association, Entertainment and Sports Forum, Marion County Bar Association (MCBA), Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA), Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles (BWL) and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. 

Committed to service through community, faith and family Trezanay resides in Indiana. During her free time, Ms. Atkins performs music and enjoys the music of others. She is a classically trained vocalist. In addition to solo vocal performance, she has been a part of jazz, chamber, and gospel ensembles. It is her passion for music that drives her legal practice. 

She is an active member in the religious community and is committed to serving churches, pastors, and other faith-based organizations in their business and intellectual property needs.

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Shante Bacon

Marketing maven Shante Bacon is the founder and CEO of 135th Street Agency, a strategic communications and experiential marketing firm that specializes in campaigns reaching the youth consumer and business professional. Prior to starting the company, Bacon was the senior director of marketing at Island Def Jam Music Group and led the marketing for Kanye West's debut album "College Dropout", Ludacris' highest selling album, "Chicken & Beer", Method Man and more. "I'm proud of the fact that 135th Street Agency was an idea and now, eight years later, it's a real company that wins awards and has a dynamic young staff of creative & communications professionals," says Bacon, who received a 2010 Mosaic Award from the American Advertising Federation for a City of Miami social media marketing campaign. The agency recently launched successful campaigns for the award-winning and highly controversial  The Weinstein Company’s  Django Unchained,  Screen Gems film Think Like a Man, (which spent 2 weeks at #1 at the box office, knocking The Hunger Games out of its top spot with a $33 Million opening), Disney's Marvel's The Avengers (which had the highest grossing opening of all time when it debuted at $200 Million and spent 3 weeks at the #1 spot), Paramount Pictures' Madagascar 3 which spent two weeks at the #1 spot at the Box Office and most recently Sony Pictures' Hotel Transylvania which opened #1 at the Box Office as well. That is a total of 8 weeks that 135th Street Agency represented the #1 film at the Box Office!! The 135th Street Agency has also recently launched a National Experiential Marketing Campaign for the Oprah Winfrey Network's #1 show, Iyanla, Fix My Life.  

While Bacon has learned from many of the powerhouse professionals she has encountered over the years, she reserves special mention for long-time mentors and record industry executives Kevin Liles, Lyor Cohen and Julie Greenwald, who groomed her in the entertainment business. "I draw inspiration from people who live outside of their comfort zone and aren't afraid of insanely hard work," says Bacon, who graduated from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing.  

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Shamar Bibbins

Shamar Bibbins is the Director of National Partnerships for Green For All, a national organization building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Shamar builds and manages relationships with The Administration, Congress and with national environmental and progressive organizations and coalitions.  She also helps shape the organization’s national policy agenda and works closely with the communications team to drive campaigns and policy initiatives.

Prior to this role, Shamar served as the organization’s Senior Political Associate and as project coordinator for Green For All’s State and Local Initiatives. Prior to joining Green For All, Shamar worked in sports and entertainment for several years and ran a successful small business.

Ms. Bibbins attended Vassar College, where she began her environmental justice work while majoring in Science, Technology and Society, with a concentration in environmental studies. Post graduation, Shamar was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan, where she broadened her senior thesis, Race, Class and Environmental Justice, and studied social movements surrounding unprecedented mercury dumping in southern Japan. 

Raised in both of Detroit, MI, and the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area, Shamar’s commitment to social justice and social service was rooted in her from a young age.  She has been committed to numerous organizati

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Necole Bitchie

Necole “Bitchie” Kane exemplifies the young, fresh, determined entrepreneurial spirit necessary for success in today’s unforgiving entertainment industry. As the creator and founder of Necolebitchie.com and its subsidiary platforms, Necole successfully created a viable and successful platform after a lack of jobs within the entertainment industry pushed her to create her own path. With a 2008 launch of the popular entertainment and celebrity gossip blog that spoke with a familiarity and tone that quickly attracted a legion of regular site visitors and supporters, Necolebitchie.com became the stepping stone necessary to propel Necole’s visions and dreams. Accolades for Necole and Necolebitchie.com are many but most notably include the Soul Train Music Award for Best Soul Site, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 and the honor of being the first Blogger to appear on BET’s 106th and Park.

Necole’s story is one that comes equipped with its own share of bumps along the road. Before beginning the Necole Bitchie platform, Necole had unfortunately lost both her parents before the age of 19 and was forced to make many of life’s major decisions without the support and guidance of her surviving family. This may have been fodder for failure for others but Necole persevered and now chooses to use her story to inspire and influence her readers on a larger scale through personal appearances and her personal blog iamnecole.com, which has served as a space for open dialogue between herself and her fans. “I hope I am able to connect with my readers more on a personal level and provide inspiration,” says Necole. “I want to motivate others to take risks and work hard for what they want out of life. I especially want girls to know that you should never let anyone get away with telling you that you aren’t worth it, or you won’t make it. If you truly believe in yourself, it doesn’t matter what people think because ultimately as long as you have a dream and a plan of action, no one can stop you.”

Necole is steadily redefining the definition of “urban blogger” to include media personality, fashion maven, lifestyle aficionado and brand ambassador. Thusly, the Necole Bitchie brand is steadily expanding to keep up with its creators dreams to include merchandising, authorship, television, mobile apps, lifestyle and beauty platforms and more. It’s been a wild and exciting ride, but one that has been a chance of a lifetime life experience that Necole is honored to have been a part of. Necole is looking forward, not backwards and ahead is an empire, just waiting to be explored!

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Keesha Boyd

Keesha Boyd, Executive Director of Comcast Cable Headquarters’ Leadership Center of Expertise, is a seasoned strategic leader responsible for the deployment of key leadership development programs for Comcast University nationwide. She holds a B.A. from Emory University, a M.Ed. and a M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University with a focus on race, culture and cultural identity.  

Previously, Boyd served as Director of Organizational Effectiveness for Comcast and was responsible for the successful implementation of the company’s division change management learning and processes in support of its National Customer Operations initiatives. Having held a number of leadership roles in Human Resources and Learning and Development with corporate giants Comcast, Ryder Transportation and McDonalds Corporate Headquarters, Boyd’s knack for process improvement, problem analysis and launching new initiatives has positioned her as one of the best in her field. 

Recently, Boyd’s interest in the media consumption habits of multicultural audiences has led her to lending her expertise to Comcast’s Multicultural Marketing team on the content side of the business.

 

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Kimberly Bryant- 

Kimberly Bryant is a Biotechnology/Engineering professional who has spent her career in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, and Manufacturing industry in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 100 companies such as Merck, Pfizer, and Dupont. Most recently Ms. Bryant spent 5+ years as a Senior Manager with Bay Area biotechnology company Genentech.   Ms. Bryant is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and she received her Bachelors of Engineering degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a major in Electrical Engineering and a minor in CS and math. Ms. Bryant founded BlackGirlsCode in April 2011 to meet the needs of young women of color who are underrepresented in the currently exploding field of technology.

The program focuses on introducing girls of color between the ages of 7-17 to the field of digital technology and computer programming with a focus on emerging entrepreneurial concepts. Since launching BlackGirlsCode in 2011 in the Bayview Hunter’s Point community the very successful pilot program has experienced incredible growth with workshops now being offered in Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, and various other cities as part of a national expansion effort.

Among some of the honors BlackGirlsCode has achieved since its launch include being selected from amongst 400+ applicants for the prestigious Google R.I.S.E. (Roots in Science and Engineering) award for 2012 and its selection as a semifinalist in the Echoing Green Social Entrepreneur Fellowship Program. The program has received national recognition via feature articles on CNN, The Huffington Post, and The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC, MadameNoire, and other major publications.  BlackGirlsCode founder, Kimberly Bryant, was also selected to appear in an upcoming episode of SciGirls a nationally syndicated PBS show which focuses on introducing girls to science.   In addition to her responsibilities as founder of BlackGirlsCode, Ms. Bryant serves on the National Champions Board for the National Girls Collaborative Project, and the National Board of the NCWIT K-12 Alliance.  In August 2012, Kimberly Bryant was also given the honor of receiving the prestigious Jefferson Award for Community Service for her work to support communities in the Bay Area with Black Girls Code.

Although the digital divide is steadily eroding there is still a great disparity in the representation of women and people of color in STEM fields, the mission of BlackGirlsCode is to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders who will become the leaders and creators of tomorrow. 

Our motto is: Build the Future!

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Charlene Bastien-Dance

Is the Global Marketing Director for Strength of Nature Global, LLC. She graduated for Delphi University of New York and did her Graduate Studies at Stonny Brook University. 

During Charlene’s five years at Strength of Nature Global, she has relaunched and re-positioned the portfolio of brands including Elasta QP, MegaGrowth, and African Pride. While exponentially growing the portfolio’s beauty market share, Charlene co-created the the portfolio’s top selling Dream Kids and Beautiful Textures hair product line

Her graduate studies in program administrative research (PAR) prepared her for her current position with Strength of Nature by being able to effectively understand our demographic’s beauty and emotional needs. Also, being able to effectively deliver on consistent results and making sure our brand meets individual needs has been my area of focus.

 

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Karen Civil

Hard work, dedication, and effort are a few of the words that embody the person that is Karen Civil. With career beginnings starting as an intern for hot97’s funkmaster flex, and moving on to work as an A&R for hip-hop group Dipset, it opened doors for her current ventures as a marketing and social media guru. Clients and work of Civil include Lil’ Wayne, Beats by Dre, Mary J. Blige, Young Jeezy, and much more. Her personal brands and website Karencivil.com and livecivil.com are a force within their respective categories of music and her popular lifestyle. Karen is a female force that has been recognized by many and remains untouchable in her profession, which she proves each day. She is currently working on her first affirmations book for young women.

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Carolyn Edgar @carolynedgar-

Is a New York City attorney and writer who blogs about social issues, family issues and relationships on her self-titled blog, Carolyn Edgar (http://carolynedgar.com). She has contributed to publications including CNN.com and Huffington Post. Her media appearances include NPR’s “Tell Me More” with Tony Cox, The Michael Baisden Show (syndicated), The Al Butler Show on WURD 900 (Philadelphia, PA), and the podcast "Work Stew" hosted by Kate Gace Walton. Carolyn also co-hosts "The Black n Bougie Network" with author Michele Grant of BlacknBougie.com.

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Alfred Edmond Jr.

Alfred Edmond Jr. is senior vice president/multimedia editor-at-large of black enterprise. He is a content leader, brand representative and expert resource for all of the media platforms under the black enterprise brand. Edmond is also responsible for helping to set and enforce quality standards for the editorial content of the major franchises of black enterprise, including BlackEnterprise.com; black enterprise magazine; live networking events, such as the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo and the Women of Power Summit; and the Our World with Black Enterprise and Black Enterprise Business Report television shows.

From 2008 through 2010, Edmond held the position of senior vice president/editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com, responsible for the development of the Website’s content, as well as the hiring and overall supervision of the editorial staff. In this position, Edmond played an important leadership role in the transition of black enterprise from print magazine publisher to a digital-first multimedia content company.

From 2000 through 2008, Edmond held the position of senior vice president/editor-in-chief of black enterprise magazine. During his tenure as chief editor of black enterprise (beginning in 1995 when he was named executive editor), the magazine’s circulation more than doubled to a rate base of 525,000 for 2008. In addition, the magazine earned nine Folio: Editorial Excellence (Eddie) Awards in the business/finance consumer magazines category, a Griot Award from the New York Association of Black Journalists, and more than a dozen other editorial and design awards under his leadership. An award-winning reporter and editor, he has been recognized by TJFR Business News Reporter as one of America’s 100 Most Influential Financial Journalists and was named to the Folio: 40 list of the most influential people in the magazine industry by Folio: Magazine in 2007.

Edmond appears regularly on television and nationally syndicated radio, including serving as host of WVON 1690 Chicago’s The Urban Business Roundtable weekly radio show; host of Money Matters, a daily radio feature syndicated by American Urban Radio Networks; commentator on PBS’ Nightly Business Report; contributor to American Express OPEN Forum and The Doug Banks Show radio program; and guest expert on MSNBC’s Your Business and CNN. A nationally recognized expert on business and economic trends, Edmond is a highly sought-after public speaker and moderator. He is also an influential thought leader on several social media platforms including Twitter (http://twitter.com/alfrededmondjr) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/alfrededmondjr). Together with his partner, personal growth expert and individuality advocate Zara D. Green, Edmond leads A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of the Grown Zone multimedia initiative, including co-hosting the weekly Grown Zone Radio Show (BlogTalkRadio.com/GrownZone).

Edmond is a member and former board member of the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), and has served as a screener for ASME’s National Magazine (Ellie) Awards for more than a decade, including several years as a judging leader. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a lifetime member of the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) and the Rutgers University Alumni Association, and a lifetime and founding member of the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance (RAAA). He is also a charter member of the NABJ Business Writers Task Force.

Edmond joined black enterprise in 1987 as an associate editor and advanced to business editor later that year. In 1990 he was promoted to senior editor/administration, then to managing editor in 1992. He was made executive editor in 1995, named editor-in-chief in 2000, and assumed his current role in June 2008. Before joining black enterprise, Edmond served as the senior editor of MBM/Modern Black Men Magazine (1986) and as an associate editor for the Daily Challenge (1985). He was also the managing editor of Big Red News (1983-1985, now the New York Beacon), a weekly, black newspaper in Brooklyn, New York.

black enterprise, your ultimate source for wealth creation, is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, be has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers. Every month, black enterprise magazine provides 4.1 million readers with information on entrepreneurship, careers, and financial management. A multimedia company, be also produces radio and television programming, business and lifestyle events, Web content, and digital media. black enterprise is the definitive source of information for and about African American business markets and leaders, and the authority on black business news and trends.

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Sue Funke

Sue Funke is a comedic performer in New York City. For the past 10 years her day job has been in digital working for companies such as About.com and LogoTV's online blog NewNowNext. She is currently the social media voice of TV Land as their Audience Development Manager. Recent accolades include being noted as one of the top 15 female comedians to follow on Twitter by Funny or Die. 

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Terrance Gaines @BrothaTech-

Has been interested in technology ever since he can remember. He realized his passion for technology of all kinds when he worked at an electronics store selling Audio/Video gear to make some money during college.

In 2008, he decided to share his techie background and unique writing skills, and created BrothaTech where he helps people integrate technology into their everyday lives.

In addition to his brand, Terrance has also written technology news that empowers the African American community for BlackWeb20 and BlackEnterprise. He currently writes about mobile app news and reviews for PC Magazine's AppScout.com. Several of his technology articles have been published in print for Uptown Magazine and Black Enterprise.

Susan Getgood

Susan Getgood was among the pioneers in introducing children and parents to the Internet as an expert in online safety and General Manager of Cyber Patrol, one of the world's first Internet filters. Her 20+ years in the computer software industry included leading a global marketing team as Senior Vice President of Marketing for SurfControl, with offices in the U.S., England, Australia and seven other countries. A results-oriented strategic marketer, Susan knows how to build brands using technology, policy and good old fashioned high-quality products. In 2004, she founded GetGood Strategic Marketing Inc. to help bring blogs into the mix as an indispensable marketing tool. Today, her firm helps public and private companies and organizations build brands and drive revenue with integrated marketing and communications strategies. Her professional blog is Marketing Roadmaps. She also writes a personal photo blog, Snapshot Chronicles and contributes to a number of group blogs. Susan was named a Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research in 2008.

 

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Jeneba Ghatt @Jenebaspeaks-

Refers to herself as a social media butterfly and a momtechpreneur. She has founded and cofounded over a dozen businesses, startups, websites, blogs and nonprofits in the past in the service and digital online markets.  She has also worn several hats in recent years: a blogger, columnist, publisher, adjunct instructor, political analyst and a managing law partner at her own boutique firm representing nonprofits, small businesses & individuals before administrative agencies, courts and the US Supreme Court.

Currently, she provides political analysis and commentary for Politic365.com. She is a Beltway insider who has reported news from the inside of the White House, Congress and court houses, and frequently attends media gathers and other summits at the White House. She is a frequent guest on various shows on the SiriusXM POTUS (Politics of the United States) channel.

As the managing law partner at her own boutique firm, Ghatt Law Group, Ms. Ghatt represents nonprofits, small businesses & individuals before administrative agencies, courts and the US Supreme Court. She has won landmark communications law cases before the Federal Communications Commission and represented small business and national civil rights organizations before the federal courts and the United States Supreme Court.

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Michele Grant @OneChele-

Is an award-winning writer, lover of all things purple, and speaker of mind. Her popular blog, Black ’n Bougie (www.blacknbougie.com), is an irreverent look at pop culture, people, politics & personal stuff...with a bougie twist. The blog won the 2010 Black Weblog Award for Best Series and was named a finalist in 2011 for the categories Best Writing in a Blog, Best Series, and Blog of the Year. She has been nominated for RT Book Reviews Best Multicultural Romance as well as an RWA Golden Heart Award. Her articles have been posted on Essence.com, UptownMagazine.com, The FreshXpress.com, and ForHarriet.com. Her website is www.MicheleGrant.net. An alum of the University of Texas, Michele currently resides in Dallas where she continues her career as an author and Human Resources Consultant. You can find her tweeting as @OneChele, on Facebook (MGrantAuthor), or via email at michele@michelegrant.net.

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Scott Hanselman-

Is a web developer who has been blogging at http://hanselman.com for over a decade. He works on Azure and ASP.NET for Microsoft out of his home office in Portland. Scott has three podcasts, http://hanselminutes.com for tech talk, http://thisdeveloperslife.com on developers' lives and loves, and http://ratchetandthegeek.com with Luvvie Ajayi for pop culture and tech media. He's written a number of books and spoken in person to almost a half million developers worldwide.

 

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Teresa Lyles Holmes

Teresa Lyles Holmes is Director of Public Relations for UniWorld Group, Inc., the longest-standing multicultural full-service advertising agency in the country.  As the PR Director for UniWorld, Teresa leads a team to create strategically-designed programs as unique as the UniWorld client itself.

  As the PR Director for UniWorld, Teresa leads a team to create strategically-designed programs as unique as the UniWorld client itself.

She has more than twenty years’ experience in public relations, marketing and branding.  Prior to joining Uniworld, Teresa was the principal consultant for TLH Communications, a boutique-sized PR/Marketing firm which supported the communications efforts of businesses or individuals with a goal to empower multicultural communities through education, marketing and branding.

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Zondra Hughes-

Creator and CEO of The Six Brown Chicks, has been named one of Chicago's most influential champions of women's issues. The multimedia trained journalist is also an accomplished  author and public speaker. www.zondrahughes.com @ZondraHughes

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Michelle Humphress @lmhumphress-

Michelle Humphress is a National Lead-Diversity, media strategist and media trainer specializing in corporate communications, CPG and consumer technology. With more than two decades of communications experience, she has led teams and organizations of dynamic PR professionals for some of the world’s largest PR agencies as well as her own boutique agency and now a Fortune 10 corporation. She’s a former television news writer and producer with an insatiable nose for news, a precise insight for intelligent social engagement and a curious interest for anything tech related.

Embracing a no-silos approach to communications, she is an extremely energetic news and social media junkie, allowing her creative and strategic juices to flow with measured planning and thought--always looking at the big picture, solving problems and driving to results.

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Tamara Jeffries @tamjeffries-

Probably the most significant years in my career were when I was the Executive Editor of Essence, the premier Black women’s magazine. I gained so much experience in editing, design, reaching audiences, and managing people, processes and money.  I also learned that an “audience” is a person—in this case, 1.2 million of them—who turns to you for information and inspiration.

Before that I was Editor-in-Chief of HealthQuest: The Publication of Black Wellness, published for a community of a half-million health-conscious Black readers. Later I was Contributing Editor for Health magazine, in charge of our coverage of mental, emotional and spiritual health. 

I’ve worked with brilliant experts to bring their books to fruition. I co-authored The African-American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes with Constance Brown-Riggs, as well as Dr. Brenda Wade’s Power Choices: Signposts on Your Journey to Wholeness, Love, Joy and Peace.  I wrote a diabetes health guide in MotherLove’s inspirational memoir Half the Mother, Twice the LoveAnd I edited and contributed to Pleasure and What Your Mother Never Told You About S-E-X by sexual-health expert Dr. Hilda Hutcherson. (She landed onOprah, though I can’t take credit for that.)   

If there’s a theme for my work, it’s wellness. I cover physical health, personal growth, family, relationships, and spirituality. When I was awarded a Rosalynn Carter Fellowship in Mental Health Journalism in 2009, mental wellness among women and families of color became a passionate area of study, journalistic coverage and advocacy

 

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Arsha Jones  @brandbuildsell-

Has spent the last 15+ years in web design and technology fields. With a Bachelors of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!), she began her career as the dot com bubble exploded and survived the burst unscathed.

In 2009, with her entrepreneurial spirit, Arsha created BrandBuildSell, a free online resource for beginners who want to get started online, without the fluff and used car salesman tactics.

She is now preparing for the launch of her first iOS app, The Big Chop, a natural hair makeover iOS app for brown girls.

 

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Nicole E. Kenney 

Is the Communications Associate for the Economic Department at the NAACP. In this capacity, Nicole manages the Economic Departments’ communications (including publications, communications operations and digital presence) to advance the Department’s national advocacy efforts around economic justice and fairness.

The department head, Dedrick Muhammad, is a regular contributor to multiple blogs including BET News, Black America Web and Black Voices and has been featured on The Root and Ebony.com, and Huffington Post Live for video commentary.  Nicole also works with several publications, such as The Grio, to highlight other voices in the Economic Department.

 

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Tola Lawal @Tola617/ @Sixone7Creative-

Tola Lawal, native New Yorker and graduate of Pace University has the breadth and depth of experience of professionals twice her age. Having worked for media giant Viacom subsidiaries MTV and BET, and hip hop mogul Sean “P.Diddy” Combs’ wildly successful Blue Flame Agency, Tola has had the opportunity to create and lead successful public relations, traditional and digital marketing campaigns that have transformed brands into national media hallmarks. One of her remarkable accomplishments includes successfully launched the Digital Ambassador program while at the Blue Flame Agency, which increased the digital conversation surrounding the Cîroc Ultra Premium Vodka, and the Diddy Dirty Money “Last Train to Paris” album.

In addition, Tola has led her own SixOne7Creative imprint to secure a respectable client portfolio that includes Carol’s Daughter, Indique Hair Extensions, VH1, Reality Star Tami Roman, Ryan Leslie, Super Producers The Olympicks, Columbia Pictures and a bevy of other known brands. With a specialization in strategic marketing for youth, influencer and super-mom consumers, Tola’s work has truly shaped how firms market products to a younger generation of consumer.

When Tola is not strategically planning branding initiatives in her current position as Marketing Manager in the Brand Solutions/ Ad Sales department at BET, she spends her time on community activism through her non-profit organization, BAP Scholars, focused on preparing girls in urban communities for college and beyond. She currently lives and plays in NYC and is a serial domain buyer. She owns over 45 domains!

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Angel Laws

Angel Laws is the founder and editor-in-chief of popular entertainment blog, CONCRETELOOP.COM. Since 2005, Concrete Loop has been a recognized voice in urban lifestyle and culture; covering news, music, fashion, entertainment and politics. CL has since been named one of TIME magazine's top websites and Angel has garnered many distinguished achievements, including invites to the White House to cover press and to lend expertise on online media. 

The 28 year-old is also an accomplished photographer, stylist, graphic artist and now best selling author. Her how-to blogging book, "Angel's Laws of Blogging" is an AMAZON.COM top seller. For more info visit her personal site: ANGELONFIRE.COM.

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Nicole Moore  @thehotnessgrrrl-

Is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of theHotness (www.thehotness.com)-- part lifestyle mag, part personal blog that empowers, educates, and provokes with intimate features on music, media, politics, and pop culture. Launched in 2000, theHotness has had its own branded column on UptownLife-- Uptown Magazine’s online network and was featured in BUST magazine as a “Site to Watch.”

Nicole’s writing largely centers on women of color and media representation, image politics, and empowerment and has been published in The Village Voice, Essence, One World, Heart & Soul and Uptown Magazine where she served as Editor at Large and featured online on The Huffington Post, The Root, and VOGUEBlack.  She’s appeared on panels and has lectured at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), Ryerson University, Barnard College, Sony Music's Annual Black Music Month Forum, on WBAI's "Wake Up Call" and Fox TV's "Good Day New York."

Nicole is the former Social Media Manager for The Museum for African Art.  She graduated from Williams College and currently lives in NYC in the metropolis of Harlem where she’s producing “Hot Grrrls Cool Music” a showcase series featuring independent artists. You can find her on Twitter at @thehotnessgrrrl or far-off on a beach catching fluke.

 

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Janel Martinez

Janel Martinez is Technology Editor at BlackEnterprise.com, the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource online for African Americans. In addition to overseeing the editorial strategy for the site’s technology channel, Martinez pens the blog After School Daze: Life After Undergrad, where she delves into the day-to-day issues and concerns of recent graduates trying to adapt to life off campus. Her work and insights have appeared on various media sites including TheGrio,  Madame Noire and The Root.

Prior to Black Enterprise, the Bronx, N.Y. native contributed to Latina Magazine, Latina.com, Honeymag.com, Syracuse Record and The Post-Standard. When she's not writing articles, the self-proclaimed travelista is on the prowl for her next excursion.   Martinez holds a bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and sociology from Syracuse University.

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Jessica Neal @naacppress-

 Is the Communications Associate for the newly minted Voting Rights Initiative at the NAACP, managing the communications of national and state campaigns increasing awareness and creating dialogue on voting issues and election law changes. The initiative is working to expand the vote, ensure unfettered access to the ballot, and address factors impacting the nature of our democracy. 

The Senior Director, Jotaka Eaddy, is featured on Huffington Post, BET News, and has contributed to Jack and Jill Politics. NAACP state conference presidents, and state specific voting rights issues, have also been featured on blogs such as ThinkProgress.

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Cavaughn Noel @cavaughn-

Cavaughn began his career as an IT Change Manager at Lucent Technologies before he decided to pursue his MBA at NYU Stern's School of Business narrowing in onto the Media and Technology arena.  

Upon graduation, after being a digital strategist for the Associated Press and writing for Black Web 2.0, he has consulted for multiple small and large businesses in efforts to diversify his skill set and expand his entrepreneurial expertise.  From there he attained his Mini MBA from Rutgers University in Digital Marketing and decided to take his future into his own hands and officially started his business, Icy Visions, LLC which is a multimedia hybrid providing consulting services and digital property management where he will host a showcase of internal brands including apps, social media properties, and editorial sites.  

As Senior Digital Consultant for Acxiom, he has created the digital strategy for some of the world's largest retail brands, and currently works with small businesses and startups and their digital strategy and growth.  Cavaughn is passionate about the intersection of education and the technology space and optimizing technology and new media to facilitate learning.  He has started a group called BETA ( Black Entrepreneurs in the Tech Alliance) which served as a vehicle to create more diversity in the role of creator versus consumer of digital media, and is currently working on his own technology startup to be launched in the Spring.  Cavaughn is a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and hence believes in lifting as he climbs as he takes his knowledge and career to the next level.

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Elisa Camahort Page @ElisaC-

Elisa Camahort Page co-founded BlogHer, Inc., in 2005 with Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, and serves as the company’s COO. Elisa leads events, marketing, public relations and research for the company and with her leadership, the BlogHer conference business has grown from a single conference hosting 300 attendees in 2005, to many diverse events that hosted over 6,000 attendees in 2012.

Elisa’s work leading consumer insights, marketing and public relations has resulted in

coverage from many leading media outlets, including USA TODAY, New York Times, Washington Post, Advertising Age, Forbes, Fast Company, CNN, TODAY Show, the Wall Street Journal, and more

BlogHer, Inc. has been named among the AlwaysOn OnMedia Top 100 for 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the AlwaysOn Global 250 for 2010 and 2011, and as one of America’s Most Promising Start-ups by BusinessWeek. BlogHer’s flagship site, BlogHer.com, was named one of the Top 100 Websites for Women by Forbes in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Together, BlogHer’s co-founders were in the Ernst & Young Winning Women Class of 2011, have been named among the most influential women in Web 2.0 and technology by Fast Company (20082009 and 2010), and among the seven most powerful people in new media by Forbes Magazine (2009). In 2011 they were jointly awarded the PepsiCo Women’s Inspiration Award and in 2008, the Anita Borg Institute Social Impact Award. Elisa has been honored as an NCWIT Hero and as one of the AWM's Sixty@60.

Elisa is a founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research and serves on the Board of Directors of the 42nd Street Moon Theatre in San Francisco, the programming advisory committee for SXSW Interactive, Advisory Board for Food on the Table, and the Board of Advisors of the Anita Borg Institute

 

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JODIE PATTERSON-

Patterson owns and is the Creative Director for the beauty company, Georgia By Jodie Patterson. She's also the Co-Founder of a beauty e-tail site dedicated to women of color, launching in the Fall of 2013

She writes for her blog, Stir It Up on topics of beauty, family, small business, health, style and the activity of being beautiful. Girl Crush is Patterson’s very popular short web series on beauty. Jodie blogs for diverse brands such as Birchbox, Nomad-Chic and Dell Computers. Her natural body and hair care line can be purchased on her site.

Patterson has built a brand around the philosophy: Beauty Is Simple and she lives true to those words, daily. From entertainment to fashion to beauty, and throughout her career, Jodie is known to bring niche culture to the popular eye. Previously, she worked in the fashion and entertainment industries for ten years. Most notably Jodie helped launch the acclaimed Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater and developed the internal PR department for the fashion designer Zac Posen as his Director of Public Relations. She’s worked with such mavens as Nike, Teen People, Lenny Kravitz, Virgin Records, Lincoln Center and Sean John.

Jodie is dedicated to helping women find their own inner and outer beauty.

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Attorney Patrice N. Perkins @mylifestylezen-

Is the owner of Lifestyle Zen, a law firm for creative entrepreneurs. Her practice areas include business set-up and maintenance, transactional law and intellectual property, serving clientele that spans all creative industries. Patrice publishes My Lifestyle Zen, a lifestyle + law blog for creatives, where she offers tips on legally operating a business and insight on work-life balance topics.

Patrice also offers a workshop series Real Law for Creative Entrepreneurs to educate creatives on the real law that they need to successfully transform their craft from hobby to business, now. She is a regular presenter on legal topics affecting creative entrepreneurs particularly social media and cyberspace issues.

Patrice was recognized by Rolling Out as one of the Top 25 Women in Chicago. She has also received coverage in TCW, N'Digo, WGN, FOX (Good Day Chicago), WCIU (The Weekender), and ABC (Windy City Live) for her creative event StreetFood Artistry, which she founded as a forum to spotlight artistic and culinary talents in Chicago. In Patrice’s spare time, she serves on the Future Leaders Council for the YWCA. Patrice received her B.S. in Business Economics from Florida A&M University and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

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Deesha Philyaw @DeeshaPhilyaw-

Is a Pittsburgh-based freelancer who writes about race, parenting, food, and pop culture. Her work has been published in Essence, Bitch, and The Washington Post.  She is the co-founder of coparenting101.org and the co-author, with her ex-husband, of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive In Two Households After Divorce (New Harbinger, 2013).

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Mary Pryor-

Mary Pryor is a passionate and vocal media expert currently based in New York. Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Mary received exposure to automotive design, electrical engineering, music, digital arts and marketing at an early age.

Today she is a powerful and accomplished Digital Specialist who has worked for major companies such as Sony Music Group, Viacom, Attention PR, City Parks Foundation, Mirrorball, Uptown Magazine, Black Enterprise, VaynerMedia, Mindshare and MusicWorld. Mary’s goal is to provide online branding and digital trend-forecasting for the general market by empowering communities through the utilization of digital tools.

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Bridget "Bee" Quammie @BeeSince83

 Is a blogger, freelance writer, and health professional whose ultimate goal is to live life fully - and to encourage others to do the same as well. 

Bee writes and manages '83 To Infinity, a personal lifestyle blog that focuses on life's various journeys - including natural hair care, health & wellness, career tips, relationships, and more. '83 To Infinity was a finalist in the 2012 Black Weblog Awards in the Best International and Best Writing In A Blog categories. Bee is a freelance writer and content partner for publications like ChatelaineCurly Nikki, and For Harriet; she co-hosts a weekly web show called Hot N Holistic; she is a small business social media manager and consultant; and she's been a featured panelist/speaker at events like the Battle of the Sexes Show and Harbourfront Centre's Kuumba Festival

With a degree in Health Sciences from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario), and post-graduate certificate in Health Promotion from George Brown College (Toronto, Ontario), healthcare has been one of her life's passions. Her work in the field spans mental health research, international health, medical tourism, and working with adults with acquired brain injury.

Writing, health, and connecting with others are where Bee's passions and purpose intersect. You can connect with her via TwitterFacebook, or email: bee@83toinfinity.com

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Evita Robinson @evierobbie-

After graduating with her B.A. in Television and Film production, from Iona College, Evita Robinson  (Evie) hit the world running, or creating, rather. Within weeks of graduation, in 2006, she attended the New York Film Academy, studying Digital Filmmaking in Paris, France at  La Femis film school. There, the seed for Nomadness LLC was planted after receiving acclaim for the films created through the duration of her program.

Since her first taste of Europe, at age twenty-one, Evita has traveled to twelve countries, on three different continents. She has since lived in New York, Paris, Japan, and Thailand.

After concluding a year and a half of traveling around the world, while videotaping her life on the NomadnessTV web series, Evie came back to New York on a mission to bridge her love of production and new found need for travel. In September 2011 she created the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online social community for travelers all around the world, who have the similarity of an urban background or stylistic when traveling. For Evie, it's about being the representation for the under represented. Within a year, the Tribe has augmented to a world wide movement, with over 3,000 members, boasting over 4,000 passport stamps, from nearly three dozen countries. She was named one of Clutch Magazine's "11 Black Women Inspiring Us To Travel", and the Tribe's first ever NomadnessX group trip to Panama was featured in the July 2012 issue of Ebony Magazine. From the success of the online group, Evie thrust herself into the world of entrepreneurship, and in April 2012, launched the business home for all things Nomadness and travel oriented, Nomadness LLC. The business end of Nomadness includes the online community, merchandise line, travel series, group trips, and much more to come in the future.

Previously, while in New York City she worked in televsion and film production. Her resume included production work with names such as A&E, HBO, MTV, BET, BBC, TURNER, the reality travel series JET SET ZERO, and Spike Lee’s 40 ACRES AND A MULE FILMWORKS.

 

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Markus Robinson-

Markus Robinson has over 10+ years of Information Technology experience in a variety of different positions. Markus started his career as a computer support manager at Florida State University, where he was responsible for training and leading a team that provided support to over 40,000 students, faculty and staff members. After his tenure as support manager, Markus became one of the youngest Directors of Technology in Florida State University history, responsible for managing Information Technology for the universities’ Police Department. Markus also served as the Director of Technology for College of Human Sciences where he coordinated all aspects of technology including, procurement, application development, and support for more than 5000 students, faculty, and staff.

Markus is co-founder of Black Web Media a network of websites targeted towards African Americans (Flagship site Black Web 2.0). While at BWM, Markus helped manage the day to day operations of the blog network, including writer management and the support and development of premium advertising for brands including; Microsoft and HP.

In 2010 Markus founded Robinson Innovations, a technology consulting firm, that provides a  wide range of technology and business services including web development, system administration, and IOS/Android application design and development for variety of different companies including; Politic365, Connxus.com, One Church One Child, and Radio One.

Markus now leads the Innovation Team at Interactive One, the nation’s largest network of sites targeting African American and Latinos with over 60 unique brands reaching 10+ million monthly uniques. Markus is responsible for leading a team of developers focused on using cutting edge technologies and techniques to ideate, design, and develop mobile and web applications.

Markus is an expert in Agile development techniques, PHP, MYSQL, Wordpress, Linux system administration, and cloud services such as Amazon Web Services, Linode, and Joyent.

Markus is a graduate of Florida A&M University where he received a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Information Systems, and he currently resides in New York.

 

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Kristin Rolla-

Kristin Rolla is a digital media business executive with extensive experience in all facets of the entertainment industry.  Having spent the majority of her career covering movies and music, she recently relocated to New York City to explore the uncharted waters of television.  Currently overseeing digital marketing, social media and social content for Viacom’s TV Land, Ms. Rolla manages the web presence for original sitcoms such as “Hot In Cleveland” and “The Soul Man” as well as the network’s acquired programming, including “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Golden Girls”.  Prior to joining TV Land, she managed editorial and programming for Myspace, overseeing Movies, Television, Comedy and Music, and previously managed business operations for Moviefone and AOL Television, two of AOL's largest entertainment destinations.

Her core business philosophy is to build exceptional content experiences that foster deep engagement and loyalty with audiences.  Areas of expertise include digital marketing, social media, entertainment, film, television, music, popular culture, video/short form content production, trend analysis, sales and business development, product development, monetizationstrategy, business operations and general management.  When not trying to engage and delight a broad audience through her work at TV Land, she attempts to do the same, albeit at a much smaller scale, with her food Tumblr Street Meat and travelogue A Rude American In Paris.  You can follow her on Twitter @krisrolla.

Ms. Rolla holds an MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management as well as a BA inHistory from UCLA.

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Alexis Garrett Stodghill

An award-winning journalist, Alexis Garrett Stodghill is an editor and writer for theGrio.com, a division of MSNBC. While covering lifestyle issues, news and politics for the web, she also regularly contributes on-air commentary regarding African-Americans and culture for MSNBC. A former editor for the finance, entertainment and style areas of BlackVoices.com, Alexis also co-produced the launch of BlackPlanet.com, one of the first successful social networks. Alexis graduated from Brown University summa cum laude with a dual degree in English and American literature and Modern Culture and Media. She lives in New York City.

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Claire Siobhan Sulmers

Claire Siobhan Sulmers is a writer and editor based in New York City. Her editorial work, which focuses on fashion, beauty, and health, has appeared in Real SimpleNewsweekNew York, and Essence magazines and on the websites of Paris and Italian Vogue

In August 2006, Claire founded the blog The Fashion Bomb, a daily destination for the multicultural fashionista. From celebrity style to fashion news, trend reports to street style, the blog delivers fresh, engaging content from an informed point of view. With 1.6 million monthly visitors, The Fashion Bomb made Ebony Magazine's 2011 Power 100 List, while Claire was named Black Blogger of the Month by Black Enterprise, and was dubbed Blogger of the Moment by Teen Vogue. The Fashion Bomb won Judges Vote for Best Fashion & Style Blog in the 2009 Black Weblog Awards and made the list for Signature 9's 99 Most Influential Style Blogs. In June 2012, Claire won Blogger of the Year in the 2012 Style Blogger of Color Awards. Well respected in the industry, The Fashion Bomb has been referenced in New York Magazine, featured in Glamour, and quoted in Time. Claire is a regular contributor to Essence.com and Vogue.it

Claire holds a B.A. magna cum laude with highest honors in Romance Languages and Literatures and African-American studies from Harvard University.

 

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Nicole Taylor @foodculturist-

Georgia native Nicole A. Taylor has been an artisan candy maker, an activist, and a social media maven, and is currently the host of Hot Grease, a progressive food culture radio program on Heritage Radio Network. A member of Food Systems Network NYC, Southern Foodways Alliance, NOFA-NY, Black Urban Growers (BUGs), and a frequent panelist at New York City food events. Nicole worked as a community outreach consultant for the Brooklyn Food Coalition, raised funds for the Urban Justice Center through the Vendy Awards and now is an instructor for a GED & internship program that weaves in urban farming and food. She was named one of the top 25 Foodies on Pinterest by babble.com and is a principal at NAT Media.

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Karla Trotman  @BButtonBoutique- 

Is the owner of BellyButtonBoutique.com, an online boutique that specializes in products of comfort, support and healing for pre- and postnatal women.  Karla is also the Marketing and Special Projects Manager at Electro Soft, Incorporated, an electronics contract manufacturing and engineering firm started by her father 25 years ago.   

Prior to Electro Soft and the launch of her boutique, Karla served as a leader in distribution and supply chain logistics for premier consumer products organizations, IKEA and GAP, where she was responsible for managing and maintaining a steady flow of products – from point of origin to point of retail.  Like most women, Karla worked full-time while pregnant.  This proved to be unexpectedly uncomfortable.  While both her doula and doctor offered suggestions for comfort, Karla found that the suggestions provided little help.  Using her supply background, she was able to identify and source products that helped her through her pregnancy and postpartum period.  Two years later, while on maternity leave for the second time, Karla launched BellyButtonBoutique.com.  She maintained her full-time position while running her growing business and raising two small children.

Karla obtained a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Logistics and a minor in the Legal Environment of Business from The Pennsylvania State University.  Entrepreneurship is in Karla’s blood. Her grandmother owned and operated a successful restaurant for over 15 years, and her father’s business continues to thrive. 

A Startup Nation “Leading Moms in Business” winner, Karla consults small businesses on successful implementation of social media into their current marketing strategy.  As an expert in pre- and postnatal comfort, Karla has been featured on:  NBC 10! Show, NBC 10 News, People Magazine’s Celebrity Baby Blog, CBSNews.com, Huffington Post Live, radio shows, several books and countless blogs.

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Lamar Tyler- 

Lamar Tyler wears many hats, not the least of which is being a husband and father of four. Using his motto “The Gatekeepers Are Gone,” Lamar, along with his wife Ronnie, has successfully leveraged social media to move the couple’s website BlackandMarriedWithKids.com in the last five years from a small personal blog to an international brand with over 170,000 Facebook fans. As a filmmaker Lamar directed and produced four full-length documentaries , which deal with the challenges and triumphs of marriage in the black community and have been screened to sell-out crowds nationwide.  Among the recognition received for his work, in 2012 Lamar, along with wife Ronnie was named one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, a list of the top 100 movers and shakers in the black community for the second consecutive year. The list also includes President Barack Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z and Tyler Perry among its ranks. 

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Jennifer Zaldivar-Clark

Jennifer is the Vice President of Corporate Communications at TV Land and is based in New York. As VP and Senior Director before that, Jennifer oversees publicity and communications for TV Land's original series like "Hot in Cleveland," "The Exes," "Happily Divorced" and "The Soul Man." She has planned and executed press for each series and season launch since the debut of "Hot in Cleveland" in 2010. Prior to TV Land's original series, Jennifer spearheaded publicity initiatives for series acquisitions and events, coordinating all press for and at the TV Land Awards in 2011 and 2012.

Prior to joining TV Land and Nick at Nite in 2001, Jennifer worked at CNN, where she worked her way up from Assistant to Junior Publicist. She holds a BA from Boston University and graduated from The Anderson School of Management for NAMIC’s Executive Leadership Program at The University of California, Los Angeles.