Meet our 2023 stars

DIANA BERRY-MCDOWELL

JOHNNY KING, MENTOR

DARRYLL FORTUNE

ANDREA WRIGHT, MENTOR

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Darryll Fortune is a communication professional with more than 25 years of professional experience in various facets of communications including strategic public, media, and community relations, crisis communications, marketing, branding, sponsorships and social media.
He currently works full-time as Director Content & Public Relation at Milwaukee Area Technical College where he manages a team responsible for internal and external communications.

Most recently, Darryll served as Communications and Fund Development Manager at the Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy, an independent charter school in Milwaukee, where he assisted with grant writing and raising funds for operations and the capital campaign, in addition to media relations.

Darryll also works as an independent consultant at his company, SmallFortune Public Relations & Marketing, serving organizations needing crisis communications, strategic planning and employment training.

His other positions included: Vice President of Business Strategy and Communications at the Milwaukee Center for Independence, Director – Corporate and Public Relations for Northwestern Mutual, and Director of Global Public Relations for Johnson Controls.

He previously hosted a radio show and podcast called, “A Brand New You,” a self-help program focused on the impact, importance and benefits of positive thinking and taking positive actions to improve your life. Darryll plans to resume the show soon.
In 2001 Darryll relocated to Milwaukee from Kansas City with his wife and two daughters.

Darryll earned a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas. His hobbies include billiards, table tennis, golf and traveling.

Darryll is on the board of directors of Life Navigators, an agency dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with developmental and related disabilities.

He is a Deacon at Christ the King Baptist Church in Milwaukee, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas Jayhawks fan!

SHARON JORDAN

JERRY GAINER, MENTOR

DR. SHANDOWLYON REAVES

MARVIN WHITE, MENTOR

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Dr. Reaves engages in activities that are designed to benefit people and society as she donates money, time, skills, and material goods to causes she supports. With over 25 years of experience in the public, private, charter, and higher education, Dr. Reaves has served as a Handicapped Child Assistant (HCA), Paraprofessional, Special Education Teacher, Assistant Director of Special Education, Assistant Principal, Principal, District Administrator, Regional Director, and Adjunct Faculty prior to serving as an Assistant Director and Director at Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). She served as a member of the senior leadership team and director of the Office of the Governor. Dr. Reaves was a candidate for Wisconsin State Superintendent during the 2021 primary election. Having been in the “eye of the storm”, Dr. Reaves has mastered the ability to adapt to change while leading others prior to retiring in July 2021. DR REAVES is a Certified Associate Diversity Coach. She attended and completed the Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching program at Howard University in partnership with Coach Diversity Institute. Having matriculated through the Be The Change Training Program, Dr. Reaves developed and implemented a program wherein she provided free coaching services. Her coaches moved along the trajectory towards continuous improvement as they found their dream job; launched their business; implemented a healthy lifestyle; dealt with childhood travesties; discovered work/family balance; dealt with workplace challenges; and, recommitted themself to being available to God. She is the author of Moving Along the Trajectory Towards Continuous Improvement: From Disempowering Beliefs to Empowering Beliefs. Dr. Reaves, a successful businesswoman, has launched four entrepreneurial ventures: PROJECT HOPE, INC., DR SHANDOWLYON, LLC, MKE TIPPERS, LLC and PRUDENT HOLDINGS. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother.

MORGAN PHELPS

CHRISTIAN SEAMSTER, MENTOR

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Morgan Phelps is the Founder and CEO of Colorful Connections, a social enterprise that helps leaders create inclusive workplace cultures, while supporting the advancement of the underrepresented and underestimated. As a diversity recruiting and retention firm, Colorful Connections provides tailored solutions that create long-standing results in the workplace and supports talent attraction, retention and growth. Morgan also teaches Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity in Organizations at Marquette University.

Colorful Connections provides long-lasting solutions for employers who are invested in creating diverse and inclusive teams (such as talent placement services and cultural competency workshops). Colorful Connections also helps underestimated professionals secure promising careers, doing what they love with organizations committed to diversity and inclusion.

Beyond serving as a change agent for diversity and inclusion, Morgan has more than 15 years of experience working as a Communications Specialist. A Chicago native, Morgan graduated with a MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, and a B.S. in African-American Studies, Theater and Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, TEMPO Milwaukee, The Gathering Spot, serves as a DEI Committee Trustee for The Milwaukee Rep, and Trustee for the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre. Morgan is also a 2023 awardee of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.

JAMES PHELPS

TUNYA COLEMAN, MENTOR

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James has more than 21 years of industry experience – including both field and office experience. James leads the company’s construction and business development team and provides senior oversight for the project team to ensure that cost, schedule, and quality commitments are met. He also oversees preconstruction, project cost management, and contract negotiations.
A graduate of Marquette University’s ACRE (Commercial Real Estate 2005) program, James worked his way through various field, engineering, and project management roles. James’ project experience includes residential and complex commercial structures, ranging from $100K to $350M. Examples include Bader Philanthropies Headquarters, Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons, MSOE Soccer & Parking Facility, and the Milwaukee Bucks Arena.
James began his career as a painter apprentice for the Facilities and Maintenance Department at Milwaukee Public Schools and left as a supervisor. He then transitioned into a project management role while working at KBS Construction (now part of CD Smith). Seeing a market need within the construction industry, amid The Great Recession, James started JCP Construction in 2008 with his two brothers – Jalin and Clifton Phelps.
James serves on the board of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. Bid #8, Bradley Tech Foundation Board, MMAC’s COSBE board, MMAC’s The Business Council, and The Rep Spotlight Advisory Board. James is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee (BBA Finance ’08), and a LEED Accredited Professional.

JALIN PHELPS

NICOLE MORGAN, MENTOR

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Born and raised on Milwaukee’s eastside and a graduate of Milwaukee Tech and Trade, Jalin followed his entrepreneurial spirit and love for the trades with his own projects at the age of 14. He continued to excel and officially began his professional Carpentry journey in 2001. Now with over 25 years of experience and almost 15 years in business with his brothers. As a partner and Vice President of Field Operations, Jalin is a critical component of JCP Construction. His wide range as an experienced carpenter has equipped him with valuable knowledge and skill in nearly every aspect of construction, including residential, multi-family, and commercial projects.

Jalin serves as a member of The Northcott Neighborhood House Board and Brown Deer’s Plan Commission; is a graduate of the Associates in Commercial Real Estate (ACRE) Program, the SBA Emerging Leaders Program, Forward 48 and the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 recipient.

JADE PHELPS

STEPPIN’ TRELL, MENTOR

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Jade is the manager of Gerhard’s Kitchen, Bath & Lighting Showroom – Whitefish Bay, WI. She has worked on many residential projects throughout the US – including but not limited to Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey and throughout Texas and of course here in Wisconsin. Jade takes pride in taking one’s vision and bringing it to life. There is a dreamer in everyone and to bring that space to life brings her great joy.

Jade is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – with a major in Art and minor in Architecture. Jade is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated since 2009 and enjoys helping others within the community. She loves traveling, learning about, and experiencing different cultures.

DR. LIA KNOX

ALFRED JOHNSON, MENTOR

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Dr. Lia A. Knox may be the co-founder of Black Space and the CEO and founder of Knox Behavioral Health Solutions (KBHS) but more importantly, she’s a storyteller.
Dr. Knox, whose resume spans more than 25 years, is an expert in cultural competency and organizational health, helping her clients discover their innermost selves while encouraging them to maintain mental wellness along the way. Assisting her clients in being confident in telling their stories on their own terms is just a portion of who the esteemed mental wellness expert is.

Dr. Knox’s true passion lies in uplifting those who display resilience in the face of adversity. It comes as no surprise that she’s using her wealth of experience with Black Space, aiding our most vulnerable communities in obtaining therapeutic experiences, free of charge. Doubling down as a media maven, Dr. Knox is hailed as an expert within her field and is routinely called upon to commentate on happenings related to her areas of expertise. Dr. Knox has been featured on The Today Show, The Morning Blend, TMJ4 News, Voices of America, NPR, PBS, Spectrum News One, and more.

Dr. Knox is also a Mental Wellness Columnist for Black Women 50+ Health & Lifestyles Magazine, a featured author in “Special Education Practices: Personal Narratives of African American Scholars, Educators and Related Professionals,” The Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education & Research, The Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health, Jet Magazine, UMOJA Magazine and the “GIRLFRIENDS Health Guide for Women of Color.”

Dr. Knox proudly received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her master’s degree in Counseling Education from Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, and her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.

LANELLE RAMEY

TREANNA EVANS, MENTOR

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LaNelle has been in the Youth Development profession for over 25 years working with various non-profit and community-based organizations that serve youth. LaNelle has worked with organizations such as the New Concept Self Development Center and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

LaNelle Ramey currently serves as the Executive Director for MENTOR Greater Milwaukee. MENTOR Greater Milwaukee works to increase Mentoring relationships by building the capacity of existing mentoring organizations matching a caring adult with children in need through safe, effective mentoring programs throughout Greater Milwaukee. MGM provides professional development, mentor recruitment and technical assistance to Mentoring Organizations throughout the Greater Milwaukee community and surrounding areas.
Before joining MENTOR Greater Milwaukee, LaNelle joined Milwaukee Public Schools in August 2017 as one of the Founding Directors of the Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement for Milwaukee Public Schools. LaNelle worked within the district to ensure Black and Latino male students are intentionally a part of the district’s educational equity strategies for academic improvement and overall life outcomes.

LaNelle sits on several boards throughout the community including the American Red Cross, Fire and Police Commission, PEARLS for Teen Girls, and Milwaukee County Mental Health Board, and is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

LaNelle is a proud Milwaukee Public Schools Alumni and graduate of Marquette University with a Bachelor’s in Pre-Law/Criminology and a master’s in public administration. LaNelle is a graduate of the African American Leadership Program at Cardinal Stritch University.

LaNelle is married to Danielle and a proud father and grandfather. He loves sports, specifically basketball, and loves to play golf!

DR. NICOLE TANNER

KEVIN DOCKERY, MENTOR

John Moore

Jodine Basterash, MENTOR

Bryant MCCray

Sheronda Glass, MENTOR

Clifton Phelps

AnnMarie Sims, MENTOR

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Clifton serves as Vice President of Business Development for JCP Construction, Clifton focuses on project forecasting, preparing bid packages for design and construction phases, and negotiating subcontract work. His career includes more than 20 years of experience in commercial real‐estate, property management and nonprofit management for the Running Rebels Community Organization.

Clifton is currently the co‐chair of the Running Rebels Capital Campaign, in addition to being a six‐year board member of the organization. He has served as chair for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Executive Committee of MLK Economic Development Corporation, and MBEIC Committee for the North Central Supplier Diversity Council. He also had the honor of being a 2018 Milwaukee Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award Winner.

Clifton has a Master of Arts in Public Administration from UW-Milwaukee and received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Political Science from Tuskegee University. Additionally, he is a graduate of Marquette University’s ACRE (Commercial Real Estate 2007) program.

Ray Nitti

Niyoka Winston, MENTOR

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Born in the U.S Virgin Islands, and raised in Milwaukee, WI, Rayhainio Boynes, also known as Ray Nitti, is an artist, entrepreneur, and the co-founder of Sharp Creatives; A consulting agency that connects the creative professional community to opportunities, platforms, and resources. Ray’s experience as a consultant for various industries over the past 10 years has led him to the role in commercial and residential real estate as a governmental, community, and creative liaison. Accomplishments include co-founding ‘COM’, a Creative Incubator In L.A., and a significant contribution the ARCH Project. In 2021, Ray, along with partners Que El Amin and Mikal Wesley broke ground on their $60 million dollar residential and commercial development on 32nd and Center, which will be home to The Creative Corridor The Creative that will cater to Milwaukee’s growing artistic and creative community. With over 50,000 sq. ft of commercial space and additional resources for creatives and entrepreneurs to take advantage of. Ray intends on building sustainable creative ecosystems that can support and retain our homegrown talent.

Stepping with the Stars is organized and hosted by Milwaukee Steppers and Ballroomers United. Aurora Health Care Foundation is serving as the fiscal agent and donor-recipient for this event. For additional information, please contact Tiffany Tannhaeuser at 414.430.0154 or Tiffany.Tannhaeuser@aah.org.

Registered 501(c)(3) public charity: Aurora Health Care Foundation 39-0806181