Bridge 2 Technologies Founding Advisory Board
(please select a member below to view their bio)
Eric L. Kelly
Chairman & Founder, Bridge 2 Technologies
Eric L. Kelly is a high-performing, senior executive with a 40+ year career growing and turning around technology companies ranging from pre- public startups to Fortune 100 organizations ─ achieving consistent success running companies in CEO, President, and COO roles. He has served on boards of public companies trading on the U.S. and Canada stock exchanges, private companies, universities, and foundations for the past 20 years. His specific areas of expertise include cybersecurity, complex M&A strategy/execution, international corporate finance, government affairs, business transformations, and leading the strategic visions and product development of software, SAAS, cloud, and artificial intelligence technology companies. Of significant further value in today’s environment, Eric is a thought leader in developing the culture of the companies and senior management in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). In his current position as Chairman and CEO, he oversees a portfolio of technology companies.
In previous career roles, Eric was Chairman and CEO of Sphere3D Corporation (Symbol: ANY), which focused on cloud and virtualization and Blockchain; CEO and President Overland Tandberg Corporation (Symbol: OVRL) where he orchestrated the turnaround by transforming the global operations, changed the technology direction and executed two strategic acquisitions; Chairman and Founder of Silicon Valley Management Partners Corporation, a management consulting and M&A advisory firm in the private equity sector; President of the Systems and Networking division at Maxtor (Symbol: MXO); Vice President and General Manager of Storage Systems and Software at Adaptec Corporation (Symbol: ADPT); and Vice President at Dell Technologies $billion enterprise business (Symbol: DELL).
Eric has also held prior executive positions at Conner Peripherals (CNR) – the fastest growing manufacturing start-up in U.S. history, to reach the Fortune ranking, Hitachi Data System (HTHIY), and IBM (IBM) creating innovative strategies, developing new products, expanding global market footprint, making strategic acquisitions to drive significant gains in revenue, profitability, and market share.
Eric is currently the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Board of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, and Chairman of the Board of San Jose State University Tower Foundation. As an independent board member, he served on the Nominating and Governance, Compensation, and Audit Committees of Overland Storage (symbol: OVRL) and Chairman of the Board for Sphere3D (symbol: ANY). He also served as the U.S. advisor for Nomura Securities Venture Group, a leading global investment bank with over $360 billion in assets.
President Obama appointed Mr. Kelly to the Executive Office of President of The United States Council of Advisors on Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. The United States Secretary of Commerce Pritzker appointed Mr. Kelly to the U.S. Department of Commerce Advanced Manufacturing Council as Vice Chairman of the workforce sub-committee.
Eric received an MBA from San Francisco State University and a B.S. in Business Management from San Jose State University.
President & CEO, Upwork
Hayden Brown is president and CEO of Upwork. Before being named CEO in January 2020, Hayden held leadership roles at Upwork in both product and marketing.
Having been at Upwork since 2011, she is known for bold leadership and her passion for the company’s mission to create economic opportunities so that people live better lives. That passion stems from her childhood years spent living in Kathmandu, Nepal, and she’s committed to building a sustainable, high-performing business that delivers on that mission in ever-bigger ways.
Prior to becoming CEO, Hayden was Upwork’s chief marketing and product officer. In this role, she led the expansion of Upwork’s offerings to attract and serve sophisticated business buyers who could significantly benefit from Upwork’s global pool of talent.
Before joining Upwork, Hayden led corporate development for LivePerson and held strategy and corporate development roles at Microsoft. She began her career as an analyst at McKinsey and Company after earning an AB in Politics from Princeton University. She has been named to Staffing Industry Analysts’ “40 Under 40” and “Global Power 150—Women in Staffing.” Hayden is married with two children.
Benjamin Carson, Jr.
Co-founder & Partner, FVLCRUM Funds
Mr. Carson is Co-Founder and Partner at FVLCRUM Funds, a CRA Eligible Lower-Middle Market Equity firm based in Washington DC, where he is responsible for the overall strategy of the company and its portfolio. FVLCRUM is one of the few minority-owned private investment firms in the country and targets transactions between $10-40 million backing proven executive teams leading highly scalable businesses. The fund exclusively invests in minority owned businesses with the goal of creating generational wealth for the executive teams and substantial economic opportunity for minorities.
Prior to founding FVLCRUM, Mr. Carson served in an executive capacity at The Warner Companies, a middle market financial services and consulting firm, where he advised companies on mergers and acquisitions, capital structuring, capital raises, investments, risk management and strategic planning.
Mr. Carson has also been involved in several political initiatives and served on the board of Carson America, the presidential campaign of Dr. Benjamin Carson, in 2016 -17. Mr. Carson continues to be actively involved in political initiatives in Washington, DC to support entrepreneurship, workforce development, and minority – and women-owned businesses.
In 2015, the Carson Family established their Single Family Office, Floreat Park, where Mr. Carson serves are head of the Investment Committee and on the Executive Committee.
Mr. Carson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Entrepreneurial Leadership from Tufts University. He is a 2019 AEI Scholar and also the recipient of Baltimore’s 35 Under 35 award, the Envest Foundation’s 40 Under 40 award, Franchise Journal’s MBE Titans, Washington Life’s 40 Under 40, and DCA Rising Stars of GovCon. Mr. Carson is dedicated to community involvement and serves on several boards, including Tufts University (Tufts Entrepreneurship Center), Young Presidents Organization (YPO), the Minority Wealth Commission, Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital Foundation Board, and The Carson Scholars Fund.
Digital Transformation Leader, MKD Partners International
Loren Douglass has built a successful 36-year career in some of the world’s largest and most prestigious companies. He has served in executive capacities at General Electric, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, BNY Mellon, and currently at AIG. As leader of AIG’s Global Transformation program (AIG 200), he led the effort to deliver $1B annual cost reductions through a $1.3B investment by transforming its core processes, technology infrastructure and business processes. His management consulting experience, including a senior management role at Deloitte Consulting, included providing management advice to global companies in the Automotive, Telecommunications, and Aerospace industries. He has also had successful executive assignments in operations, marketing, Information Technology, Global Client Management, as well as having served as a Division Chief Executive.
Mr. Douglass has been recognized and rewarded for his unique ability to lead with his interdisciplinary approach, his collaborative style, and his ability to build mutual trust among his colleagues. Known as an effective sounding board who provides wise counsel in support of C-level executives, he is also an award-winning mentor to up and coming talent which reflects his passion for paying it forward and recognizing and developing high performing leaders.
Mr. Douglass has been extensively involved in the fields of the Arts, Economic and Global Affairs. His civic service includes life membership in the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economic Club of New York, a 30-year voting membership in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammys) as well as his 15 years total board service to The Johns Hopkins University, Manhattan School of Music (where he served as Vice Chairman), and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has provided philanthropic support and countless volunteer hours to Prom Plus NYC, a Boulé Foundation award recipient and non-profit community organization with an emphasis on at-risk minority youth and life education.
A life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Mr. Douglass is also a member of the National Association of Guardsmen.
Cheryl A. Harris
Senior Vice President, Procurement, Allstate Insurance
Cheryl A. Harris is the Chief Procurement Officer at Allstate. In this role, Cheryl manages Allstate’s $12B 3rd party spend portfolio to deliver value, mitigate risk, foster innovation, and develop high performing individuals and teams. She also oversees Allstate’s Business Inclusion and Supply Chain Sustainability programs where her focus is on increasing economic equity through the inclusion and development of minority, women, LBGT, veteran and disabled owned businesses, and ensuring that Allstate suppliers serve stakeholders in a socially responsible way.
Prior to Allstate, Cheryl served as the Americas Procurement Delivery Managing Director at Accenture, LLP. where she was responsible for managing $10B in 3rd party spend for global companies. While there she delivered value for her customers, created award-winning supplier diversity mentoring programs in the U.S. and Canada, and served a sponsor of the African American Employee Resource Group.
Over her 30+-year career, Cheryl has been recognized as an innovative and inclusive leader. Recent recognition includes being named as one of the Most Powerful Black Women in Corporate America (2018 & 2019), and one of the Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America (2017). Cheryl holds her a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida A&M, a Master of Science degree in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine. Cheryl is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Chicago United Business Leaders of Color, and serves as chair of the Florida A&M University Industry Cluster. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for the Chicago Humanities Festival Board, The Independent Film Alliance, and is a member of the Allstate Foundation Board.
Janice B. Howroyd
Founder & CEO, ActOne Group
Janice Bryant Howroyd is Founder and CEO of the largest privately-held, woman and minority owned workforce management company in the U.S.
Mrs. Bryant Howroyd was ranked on Forbes’s 2017 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, and highlighted for her professional accomplishments on NBC’s TODAY Show as part of their “Summer of Secrets: Successful Women” series.
She serves on the Board of Trustees for North Carolina A&T State University. She is a member of the Women’s Leadership Board for Harvard University—John F. Kennedy School of Government. She is on the Board of Councilors for University of Southern California—Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
A North Carolina native, Mrs. Bryant Howroyd left her hometown in 1976 armed with $900. Since then, she has dedicated her efforts to building an organization that is committed to keeping the humanity in human resources.
Mrs. Bryant Howroyd’s commitment to excellence has grown ActOne Group to 19 countries, including Canada, India, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, South Korea, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Hong Kong, Japan and the USA. She works to ensure that ActOne Group professionals bring expertise in delivering corporate HR initiatives to local and global markets. Heading a company with over 17,000 clients and more than 2,200 employees, she founded and leads the largest woman-minority owned workforce management company in the US.
She serves as an Ambassador of Energy by appointment, at the White House, of Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz. Her appreciation for international business growth is enhanced by her understanding that every part of the world is more visible today, than ever before.
Mrs. Bryant Howroyd leads her teams to build business success based on the ability to connect great companies with great talent. Her passion for education, mentorship, and self-empowerment initiatives have earned her many professional and philanthropic recognitions.
Her commitment to working to ensure educational opportunities for all and to supporting women in business are central to how she leads, and to how she lives. JBH couples community service with business service, saying “One cannot effectively lead without passionately serving.”
Michael C. Hyter
President & CEO, Executive Leadership Council
Michael C. Hyter is President and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the preeminent membership organization for Black CEOs, board directors, and the most senior Black executives at Fortune 1000, Global 500 and equivalent companies. He leads the organization’s efforts to increase the number of global Black executives in C-Suites, on corporate boards, and in global enterprises.
An accomplished senior executive, leadership consultant, author and thought leader, Mr. Hyter is widely known for his success in developing enterprise leaders and their next generation successors. For more than 25 years, he has served as a trusted advisor to senior leaders in a variety of industries. He brings a wealth of leadership experience to The ELC in the areas of CEO succession, chief executive and executive to leadership development, and strategic Diversity and Inclusion consulting.
Prior to leading The ELC, Mr. Hyter was Chief Diversity Officer of global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry. He also led the firm’s Washington, DC office.
Mr. Hyter’s work is guided by the belief that one of the most effective ways to positively impact an organization’s bottom line is by growing and developing the talent within the organization.
His work with executives in Fortune 1000 companies has helped those organizations grow and enhance their businesses through innovative talent management strategies and programs.
A successful author, Mr. Hyter’s most recent publication is “The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career (2020).” He is also co-author of “The Power of Inclusion: Unlock the Potential and Productivity of Your Workforce,” published by Wiley in 2005.
Mr. Hyter serves on the board of directors of Dine Brands Global Inc. (NYSE:DIN), sitting on the Nominating and Governance Committee. He is a member of The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) and the Economic Club of Washington, DC. He was recognized by Savoy Magazine in 2018 as one of the most influential Blacks in Corporate America.
Jennifer Jeronimo is CEO of Gaingels, an LGBTQIA+/Allies private investment syndicate, and one of the largest and most active private investors dedicated to supporting diversity and inclusion within the venture capital ecosystem.
Ms. Jeronimo has over 20 years of experience in finance and banking working at large institutions such as Credit Suisse, Bear Stearns and JP Morgan earning the coveted position of Executive Director.
She has a wide array of experience, both local and global, servicing institutional and hedge fund clients by running the collateral management, pricing, portfolio accounting and restricted securities departments. Ms. Jeronimo was also integral in helping JP Morgan lift the consent order by working in the Compliance Operations organization. Some of her more notable accomplishments include building a KYC organization in India across all the lines of business at JP Morgan, leading the global roll-out of the transaction monitoring system, creating and implementing operational efficiencies for each organization saving millions of dollars a year and reducing friction for clients.
A passionate advocate for underrepresented leaders, innovators and founders, she is dedicated to growing the businesses and careers of the leaders of tomorrow. Ms. Jeronimo is also an award-winning athlete, proud mother and resides in New York City.
Vice President, AT&T
Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, AT&T Global Connections & Supply Chain
Rachel Kutz, V.P. – Consumer Supply Chain & Global Logistics, is responsible for leading an organization of over 1100 diverse employees dedicated to innovative solutions that provide AT&T’s customers with connected products and services. In this role she assumes ownership for all AT&T’s logistics, supplier quality control, planning, and replenishment of AT&T’s consumer and business products and equipment such as mobile devices, tablets, video, and broadband gateways. Rachel also maintains ownership of two critical enterprise-wide programs: supplier diversity and sustainability, responsibilities from her previous role as VP – Strategic Initiatives.
As VP – Strategic Initiatives, Rachel set the overall supply chain strategy for purchasing operations and supply chain systems and tools to improve the efficiency of AT&T processes using data analytics and automation. She has prior experience in logistics support for consumer products from her prior role as AVP of Product Logistics and Quality where she led teams managing forward/reverse logistics and product quality. Rachel has also lead teams responsible for managing supplier and product selection, pricing, inventory and supply planning, procurement, and quality control for AT&T consumer products.
Rachel is an engaging, insightful and decisive leader who uses excellent communication skills to adapt to any situation. She joined AT&T as a wireless network radio frequency (RF) performance engineer and rapidly rose to Executive Director, Wireless Network of AT&T’s HQ market. In her progressive roles in AT&T’s wireless network organization, she successfully dealt with state and local governments resolving cell site zoning and RF spectrum issues. Rachel designed smarter cell site building plans that expanded networks and enabled local sales teams to more effectively market products and reduce customer churn.
She graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a degree in Astrophysics.
James H. Lowry
Senior Advisor, Boston Consulting Group
President, James H. Lowry & Associates
James H. Lowry is a business icon, sought after speaker, strategic advisor and nationally recognized workforce and supplier diversity expert and pioneer. Lowry was the first African American consultant for global consulting firm McKinsey & Company in 1968. Later, he became the first African American senior partner at the prestigious Boston Consulting Group, where he led the firm’s workforce diversity, ethnic marketing and minority business development consulting practice. Lowry continues to serve as a senior advisor to BCG, while heading his own private consulting firm, James H. Lowry & Associates.
In 1978, his firm prepared the first major study on minority business enterprise development for the U.S. Department of Commerce titled, New Strategy for Minority Business. It was the precursor to the creation of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). In 1980, he prepared another study for the Department of Commerce titled, Minority Business in the 80s.
Between 1981 and 2000, Lowry designed over 30 major minority business programs for corporate and public sector clients. He lead his firm in the design and implementation of state-of-the-art supplier diversity programs in the public sector for the cities of Louisville, Atlanta, and Chicago; at the federal level for the SBA, Department of Labor, and Department of Defense; and in the private sector for Burger King, AT&T, American Express, Peps-Cola, Frito-Lay, Toyota and the Ford Motor Company.
In early 1960’s, Lowry was an associate director with the US Peace Corps, stationed in Lima, Peru, where he met Senator Robert F. Kennedy who recruited him to be a staffer at the new Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn. While there, he, along with Bed-Stuy resident and actress Roxie Roker, co-hosted the pioneering television show Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City’s first program written, produced and presented by blacks at a time when blacks were largely invisible on television, or seen only in news footage about riots, protests or crime. In 1985, Lowry also co-hosted the groundbreaking television show MBR: The Minority Business Report.
In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Lowry is a teacher, mentor and leader across sectors. Since 1999, Lowry has been an adjunct professor and the academic advisor of the one-week course on minority business development for the National Minority Supplier Development Council as part of the Advanced Management Education Program of the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, where he has served on the advisory board since 1998.
He has been a member of the board of directors of Howard University’s business school since 1995 and served as the chairman of Howard University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Innovation for six years. He also chairs the RLJ Equity Fund’s Executive Network and is a member of the Toyota Diversity Advisory Board.
Lowry is the recipient of many iconic awards. Most notably, in 2005, he was elected into the inaugural class of the Minority Business Hall of Fame; in 2009, he received the National Minority Supplier Development Council Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2011, the Abe Venable Award for Lifetime Achievement from the MBDA; in 2012, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council Impact Award; in 2017, his longtime friend John Legend presented him with the Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award at the Executive Leadership Council’s Recognition Gala, and in 2020 he was once again presented with the National Minority Supplier Development Council Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lowry encapsulated his 30 plus years of experience in the field of minority business development in the book he co-authored in 2011, Minority Business Success: Refocusing on the American Dream. His new book, Change Agent: A Life Dedicated to Creating Wealth for Minorities, is an intimate memoir that demonstrates the power of iconic mentors and pivotal opportunities leveraged across the globe and offers solutions to the ever widening wealth gap that plagues black and brown communities today.
Alden J. McDonald, Jr.
President & CEO, Liberty Bank and Trust Company
Alden J. McDonald, Jr., has been President and CEO since 1972 of Liberty Bank and Trust Company, New Orleans, LA, one of the five largest African-American owned financial institutions in the United States. A graduate of the LSU School of Banking and of Columbia University’s Commercial Banking Management Program, Mr. McDonald began his career at International City Bank in New Orleans in 1966, rising to the position of Vice-President for Consumer Lending. In 1972, he left to take the reins of the newly formed Liberty Bank and Trust Company.
He has also served on the boards of numerous local, regional, and national institutions and agencies, including Fannie Mae, the American Bankers Association, the National Bankers Association, and the Louisiana Bankers Association. Mr. McDonald has also served on many corporate boards including Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (STEI), Entergy New Orleans Advisory Board, Chairman of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Lindy Boggs Medical Center, Minority Alliance Capital, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and the Port Authority of New Orleans.
Formerly, Senior Vice President & Chief Procurement Officer, Bristol Myers Squibb
Farryn Melton is the SVP, Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS). Her team is responsible aligning with company’s business strategy to optimize value, drive efficiency and manage the company’s external spend. With revenues in excess of $35B, her team is responsible for managing the company’s external spend of ~ $12B from early research to distribution. In addition to Global Procurement and Supplier Relationship Management, she is responsible for strategy-to-pay processes, global travel and fleet operations. She leads a diverse team of over 400 + colleagues around the world and manages large external partnerships.
Farryn has a 25-year career in procurement and business management, including key leadership positions with Fortune 100 companies to include Amgen, Novartis, Pfizer, Warner-Lambert, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Boeing and Rockwell International. She successfully led the transformation of several procurement organizations to become “best in class.”
Ms. Melton is a lifetime certified purchasing manager (CPM) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She has received a number of external recognitions in her field; the most recent include The National Association of Purchasing Managers Executive of the Year in 2015, and CPO of the year from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in 2016, Top 100 Women in Diversity in 2016 and 2017 and Strategic Executive of the Year for the NGLCC in 2019.
Farryn is active in the Procurement field, and passionate about diversity and inclusion. She serves on the executive committee for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC); previously served on the executive committee and board of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) through 2016, and actively supports The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Diversity Alliance for Science. She leads the Diversity & Inclusion Council for BMS Global Business Operations for the last several years and sits on the Global Diversity & Inclusion Council within BMS. She is a mentor to several colleagues (within and outside), of BMS.
Ms. Melton enjoys music, the arts, reading, and spending time with her family. She currently resides in PA with her husband Gary of 30 years, two children, Halli and Alexander, dog Bella and cat Simon.
Rhonda J. Morris
Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Chevron Corporation
Rhonda J. Morris is vice president and chief human resources officer for Chevron Corporation, a position she has held since 2016. She is responsible for shaping and driving Chevron’s people and culture strategy, including leadership succession, learning and talent, diversity and inclusion, workforce planning, and total rewards. She also serves on the company’s Executive Committee.
Prior to 2016, Ms. Morris held several roles of increasing responsibility in human resources, global marketing, and international products.
In 2021, Ms. Morris was inducted as a fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources, the highest honor granted in the HR profession.
Ms. Morris serves on the boards of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), designed to increase the total annual number of African American college graduates, and the board of Opportunity@Work a non-profit organization designed to rewire the labor market so that everyone Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) can work, learn, and earn to their full potential. Morris is also a member of the Executive Leadership Council, the HR Policy Association Board of Directors, the Bishop O’Dowd High School Board of Regents, and the BetterUp Advisory Growth Council, a group of leading business, academic and HR experts shaping the future of work.
Ms. Morris joined Chevron through the Human Resources Development Program in 1991. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University.
Justin G. Nelson
Co-founder & President, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Justin G. Nelson is the Co-Founder & President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world.
In addition to over 50 LGBT affiliate chambers in the United States representing America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners, NGLCC leads economic development opportunities at over 20 international affiliates. NGLCC is responsible for major victories for the LGBT business community, among them the first-in-the-nation inclusion of LGBT suppliers in statewide contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Mr. Nelson regularly advises senior leaders at the White House, in Congress, and corporations throughout the world to build business opportunities through commitments to LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity programs. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences and meetings around the globe promoting the business case for LGBT inclusion and creating equity for the LGBT business community.
Mr. Nelson and Team NGLCC are also responsible for the creation of the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), advocating the business interests of a diverse range of people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, ethnic minority, disability, and women-owned business communities, representing a total of over $9 trillion in annual consumer spending power and significant contributions to the marketplace and workplace.
For his efforts in establishing the NGLCC, he was named to OUT Magazine’s Top 100 Greatest Gay Success Stories. Mr. Nelson was also named to the 25 Leading Men of 2006 list by Instinct Magazine, SmartCEO Magazine’s 2012 Top 20 Leaders We Admire, and the 2012 Global LGBT Power 100 from the Guardian Newspaper in Great Britain. In 2010 he received the Outstanding Collaborative Partner Award from the U.S. Business Leadership Network for his partnership work on disability issues and is the recipient of the 2014 Vanguard Award from the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Prior to launching the NGLCC, Justin was the Director of Federal Affairs and External Relations for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Washington, DC. During his tenure, the organization was named one of the top 100 lobbying organizations in Washington, DC by Forbes Magazine. Prior to lobbying Congress and the White House, Mr. Nelson spent five years as an aide in the United States Senate. He has served as a past volunteer coordinator for the Wyoming Special Olympics, a Capitol Hill Chair for the March of Dimes Walk America and on the advisory board for the First Wyoming Race for the Cure.
Mr. Nelson holds a BA in political science from the University of Wyoming.
Phyllis W. Newhouse
Founder & CEO, Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., Xtreme Solutions, Inc., and ShoulderUp
Phyllis W. Newhouse is CEO and Co-Founder of Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., Founder and CEO of Xtreme Solutions, Inc., and Founder of ShoulderUp. She co-founded Xtreme Solutions in 2002 upon retiring from the United States Army as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer.
In 2020, Ms. Newhouse co-founded Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), to carry out mergers, capital stock exchanges, asset acquisitions, stock purchases and reorganizations with one or more businesses in the technology, DTC and fintech industries. Ms. Newhouse serves as the company’s CEO and her co-founder, Isabelle Freidheim serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Athena closed a $250 million IPO in March 2021, making it the only SPAC listed on the NYSE with a Black female CEO.
Prior to starting Xtreme Solutions, Ms. Newhouse served in the U.S. Army. While serving in the United States Army on various assignments she specialized in National Security and established the Cyber Espionage Task Force.
Ms. Newhouse serves on the Sabre board of directors since April 2021. She also serves as a board member for the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), as well as on the board of Business Executives for National Security (BENS). She is also a member of the WPO where she proudly serves on the Executive Board.
In 2017 Ms. Newhouse became the first woman to win an Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur Of The Year award in the technology category. She was admitted into the 2013 class of EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women, and in 2019 was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of fame. Ms. Newhouse now serves as a national judge for EY’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
She was recognized as part of Inc.’s Mighty 25 in 2020 and was a 2019 Culture Creator Honoree for the finance category – an annual award that recognizes minorities in arts, entertainment and business.
Additionally, Xtreme Solutions Inc., received inclusion in the Inc. 5000 list in 2013 and 2014, and has been recognized as one of Women’s Presidents’ Organization’s (WPO) 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned Companies in the U.S. consecutively for the past six years.
Ms. Newhouse has been featured in Entrepreneur, Inc., Atlanta Business Journal, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, NBS News, Bloomberg and more.
In 2019, Ms. Newhouse founded ShoulderUp alongside Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting and supporting women on their entrepreneurial journeys.
ShoulderUp Ventures is the first women-founded and led influencer fund providing impact and exclusive access to a diverse portfolio of media, technology companies and sports entertainment. In 2019 alone its members and affiliates invested over $10 million in companies like Lime, Rent the Runway and Airbnb. Newhouse also hosts Leadership Inspirational Talks (LITalks), addressing the ShoulderUp audience directly to develop leaders through their spiritual and inspirational journeys.
Ms. Newhouse also serves on the Board of Directors of Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages all girls to be “Strong, Smart, and Bold.”
Ms. Newhouse received her degree from John F. Kennedy University.
President & CEO
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
Pamela Prince-Eason is the President and CEO of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a role she assumed in 2011. She was previously Vice President of Worldwide Procurement for Pfizer Inc. and held various leadership positions at Texas Instruments, GSE Systems and Warner Lambert, as well as co-owner of RMR Associates.
Pamela is a member of the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), a non-partisan federal advisory council who advises the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.
Pamela’s dedication to women’s business leadership is illustrated in her many professional and personal roles advancing women’s excellence and opportunity. She serves on women’s advisory committees of several corporations including the CVS Health Executive Learning Series, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program, the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, and Walmart’s Women Owned Business Advisory Council.
Pamela holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from East Tennessee State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland with a Master of Administrative Science in International Business and Finance. In 2008, she was among the first to receive ISM’s Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation, in 2010 was named a Power Women by NYMoves, and in 2012 she received the AIDC WBE Hall of Fame “Executive Leadership” award. In 2013 and 2017, she was named a top leader in Supplier Diversity by WE-USA Magazine and selected by the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) as the 2014 Woman of Achievement. Most recently she was inducted into the Enterprising Women Hall of Fame in March 2018 and was recognized as Alumna of the Year at East Tennessee State University in May 2018.
She and husband John have three children and six grandchildren. Favorite family activities include tennis, basketball, and snowboarding.
David L. Steward
Founder and Chairman of the Board, World Wide Technology
David L. Steward is an entrepreneur, civic leader, philanthropist and the founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, the largest Black-owned company in the United States. He is committed to expanding opportunities for Blacks and others from historically under-represented and underserved communities.
“Talent is equally distributed; opportunity is not,” Mr. Steward says. “We need to change that by inspiring and igniting untapped potential. Diversity and inclusion are essential to innovation; both foster stronger business outcomes.”
Creating and developing strong business relationships are hallmarks of Mr. Steward’s ability to grow a business. After being named the top sales executive for FedEx, he set out to fulfill a lifelong dream: own a company. After creating two successful startup companies, Mr. Steward began WWT in 1990 with a handful of employees and a 4,000 square foot office. WWT currently operates in 4 million square feet of warehousing, distribution, and integration space in more than 20 facilities throughout the world. The company employs more than 9,000 people globally and generates over $14.5 billion in annual revenue.
Specializing in cloud capabilities, data center and virtualization, security, mobility and networking technologies along with voice, video, and collaboration solutions, World Wide Technology provides advanced technology solutions from 3,000+ manufacturers to the commercial, government, and telecom sectors.
As chairman of WWT, Mr. Steward emphasizes the role of strong cultural values, as well as the importance of collaboration between employees and departments, beginning with the company’s executive team. For the eleventh year in a row, Great Place to Work® and Fortune magazine have honored WWT as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For® in 2022. Forbes also named WWT one of America’s Best Employers For Diversity. These honors demonstrate that the core values on which Mr. Steward founded WWT more than 30 years ago are still alive and well today.
“Transformation does not happen without listening, Mr. Steward says. “Our Employee Resource Groups, dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, strengthen our workforce culture. These groups help members better understand others through listening, learning, and engaging. As we celebrate our employees’ unique contributions to our culture and business, we put them in a position to make a meaningful impact on our business and community.”
Mr. Steward holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Washington University, as well as Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from numerous colleges and universities.
Among his many awards, Mr. Steward has been recognized as the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) and the 2015 St. Louis Post-Dispatch Citizen of the Year. Together, Mr. Steward and his wife, Thelma, have received the Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award. Variety The Children’s Charity of St. Louis also honored them with their Man and Woman of the Year Award.
Shelley Stewart, Jr.
Chairman, Billion Dollar Roundtable
Shelley Stewart, Jr. retired Chief Procurement Officer at E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. is the organization’s chairman. Stewart is responsible to shape the strategic direction of the BDR, a top-level advocacy organization that promotes corporate supplier diversity excellence and advances best practices through its 28 member companies.
Shelley is a familiar face in corporate procurement and supplier diversity and has worked alongside many of our members to promote best practices. He has been a leading champion and voice for diverse business development and inclusion.
Stewart led DuPont’s procurement, global sourcing and logistics, real estate and facility services organizations and played a significant role in the 2017 DowDuPont merger by helping to deliver synergy savings for the combination that is now the world’s largest chemical company. Prior to DuPont, Stewart was Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer at Tyco International. In addition, Stewart has served in executive capacities in procurement and supply chain operations at Raytheon Co., Invensys PLC, and United Technologies Corp.
Stewart has been a contributor to many boards and councils, including Cleco Corp., Howard University, Drexel University and the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton/Mercer County.
In supplier diversity, he has served in leadership positions with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and received the NMSDC’s first-ever Chief Procurement Officer of the Year award. In 2011, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed him to its National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises. Black Enterprise and Savoy magazine named Stewart one of the “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America,” and he received a 2016 honorary doctorate degree in Business Administration from the University of New Haven. Stewart is co-author “Straight to the Bottom Line” An Executive’s Roadmap to World Class Supply Management, (J. Ross Publishing).
Susan L. Taylor
Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement
Editor-in-Chief Emerita of Essence Magazine
Susan L. Taylor, best-selling author of four books, and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur, who grew up in Harlem working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. It was that enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community that led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2006 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained and deployed more than 160,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as to its own culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. A community-mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization in the nation dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services, on a national scale, to advance Black children living in poverty.
Taylor is a recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and hundreds of awards, including the Phoenix Award and the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the highest honors given by the Congressional Black Caucus and the magazine-publishing industry, respectively. A lifelong activist who has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Susan Taylor says that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America today.
Senior Vice President, Global Supplier Management Group and Global Workplace Enterprise Services and Chief Procurement Officer, Merck & Co, Inc.
Susanna Webber currently serves as Senior Vice President, Global Supplier Management Group and Global Workplace Enterprise Services and Chief Procurement Officer for Merck. In this role, Ms. Webber is responsible for all aspects of strategic sourcing & procurement (Indirect, Direct and Research & Development), supplier development and performance management, process, operations, and strategy, as well as, the global workplace enterprise services, which is Merck’s facilities management and real estate portfolio.
Prior to her current role, Ms. Webber was Vice President, Indirect Sourcing and Operations organization for Merck, responsible for leading the simplification of the purchasing process, supplier performance management, data standardization and transparency by embracing a culture of service mindset while driving efficiencies and innovation in support of the launch and growth of key products that provide benefit to society.
Ms. Webber has an extensive supply chain, procurement, finance, operations, sales and business development background that spans more than 25 years and includes senior positions in both the pharmaceutical manufacturing and auto manufacturing industries. Susanna has served in several executive positions at General Motors (GM), including General Manager and President of GM in Russia and Vice President, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain for GM Europe.
Ms. Webber holds an undergraduate degree in business administration and management from Southern Methodist University, and a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Dr. David K. Wilson
President, Morgan State University
David Kwabena Wilson, Ed.D., is the 10th inaugurated president of Morgan State University—Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University. For more than a decade, Dr. Wilson has not only been a transformative president at Morgan but has emerged as a leader among university presidents nationwide as well as an effective advocate for HBCUs and the role they play in developing leaders and serving the needs of their community, state, and nation.
Dr. Wilson has a long record of accomplishment in his more than 30 years in higher education administration. A newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S) and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), he also serves on the Lumina Foundation Board of Directors, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Board of Directors, and the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors. Dr. Wilson is the former chairman of the HBCU/China Network, and in 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
Dr. Wilson has also served on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, the Board of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Board of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and as a member of the National Science Foundation Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering.
Among the many recognitions received throughout his professional career he has been awarded the Maryland Senate’s First Citizen Award and the Transcendent Order of the African Eagle Award. In addition, Dr. Wilson has been named as a Baltimore Business Journal Top 10 CEO, an AFRO Newspaper ‘Person of the Year,’ a Baltimore Sun Business and Civic Hall of Famer, and one of the Maryland Daily Record’s ‘Power 30’ in Higher Education. To his credit, Dr. Wilson was named in Forbes as a “Top Black Higher Ed CEO to Watch in 2023.” He has also authored two books and more than 20 articles in scholarly journals and other publications.
Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Wilson served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension; vice president for University Outreach and Associate provost for Auburn University; assistant and associate provost for Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Camden); and director for the Office of Minority Programs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
Dr. Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in education from Tuskegee University, and master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard University. He was also bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater Tuskegee University.
His educational philosophy is to put the students’ experience first. As a leader, he is a consensus builder and a strong believer in transparency of process. Dr. Wilson’s goal is to make Morgan a leader in producing the next wave of innovators in the U.S., further cementing its call to action of Growing the Future, Leading the World.