Andre Bynum is a prime example of someone who was destined to succeed, but who also put forth an extraordinary effort to achieve his station in life.
For 22 years Bynum has served as the Director of Marketing for BF Companies, Inc. throughout his long and prestigious career Bynum has received local and national accolades for his marketing prowess, earning him the respect of his industry and his peers. He leads marketing and promotional campaigns in ten states for the Chili’s Casual dining brand, with more than 120 stores; and 162 stores in four states with the Wendy’s quick service brand.
At the urging of his older brother, Bynum first began working in a restaurant when he was 15 years old. He liked the business and quickly moved up the ladder. Later, while working with then Channel 55, Bynum had the opportunity to work with the late Jeannetta Robinson, which helped him gain an early understanding of the importance of community involvement.
Eventually, Bynum was able to transfer his skills when he joined with retired basketball legend, Junior Bridgeman of the Milwaukee Bucks, who owned five Wendy’s restaurants. Within a year of joining with Bridgeman, Bynum moved into marketing. “There’s no doubt I have been blessed to belong to a good company with strong Christian values. We understand that we are all a part of a higher power and all good gifts come from Him.”
Bynum speaks highly of his wonderful wife, their children and grandchildren who continue to ground him and give deeper purpose to his life. And, he remembers with warmth, his mom and dad, married for more than 60 years, who were always there. “Home was home. It was stable. We knew dad was going to provide.”
Faith is the cornerstone of our first honoree’s success, and Faithe happens to be her name. Celebrating her third year as the Director of Community Relations at the Salvation Army of Greater Milwaukee, Faithe Colas personifies her faith, values and professional experiences.
Colas says her current post is exactly what she needs in this “second-half ” of her life. After working at the Milwaukee Courier for 20 years, concluding her career there as publisher, and after getting her daughter through college, it was time for her to embark on a new career.
“The more I learn about the Salvation Army, the more I want to share with others, including what we do locally, as well as around the world. What we are doing in Haiti—helping people get back on their feet following that devastating earthquake—exemplifies what the Salvation Army does in times of need. And most people don’t know that we have been working there for the last 60 years.”
Well known in the community and at ease in many circles, Colas is the perfect spokesperson for the Salvation Army. Unquestionably, her presence has increased the organization’s visibility, diversifying its already massive service area. This expanded awareness has enhanced the success of the Christmas Family Feast, which has been feeding families for 20 years.
Colas has expanded her professional experiences, personal values and melded a phenomenal information, education, communications, advocacy platform that strengthens and betters our community; and the international community.
Colas charts a course that opens doors for those who follow, including her daughter Paige. Paige is a graduate of the University of the Arts and she now expands the accomplishments of the earlier generations.
Partnerships and collaborations are local governments’ most effective tools for impacting community and improving the lives of all its residents, especially those most vulnerable.
And, Embry has become a master at identifying and enlisting the support of intergovernmental agencies and community-based organizations in attacking and changing the “at risk” paradigm.
Currently the Director of the Mayor’s Office for Strategic Partnerships, and Grant Facilitator for the City of Racine, Wisconsin, Embry is in a class all her own.
She was hired as the Grant Facilitator, two years ago, and soon after recognized that government could and should play a bigger role in strengthening its partners-community and faith-based organizations. She developed a concept, modeled after the District of Columbia’s Office of Grants and Strategic Partnerships. She received funding this past fall from the US Department of Health and Human –Recovery- Strengthening Communities Fund and launched the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships in February.
Since being in the Mayor’s Office, Embry also created other initiatives ACCESS Points and Benefits Navigator project, which is a partnership between the Racine County Workforce Development Center and Human Services enabling residents from the City’s three community centers to go directly to one place to get information about jobs. And, “Bank on Racine is designed to get more minorities to use banks for checking, and to open checking and saving accounts. This is designed to reduce dependence on the check cashing businesses that are financially crippling for our communities.”
Since joining the City, Embry has successfully garnered more than $5 million in federal, state, and foundation funding.
Embry graduated from UWM with a degree in Communications and moved to Chicago. Cleveland, Ohio soon beckoned as she moved near her family. There she received a Master’s Degree at Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management.
When an Executive Director’s position opened up at the Canton, Ohio Urban League, Embry was referred for the post. The Urban League Movement was very special to her because her parents had been passionate volunteers both at the local and national level for over 40 years. Her father served on the National Urban League Board and her mother was board chair of both the Milwaukee Urban League and the Cleveland Urban League.
“I come from a family of “firsts.” My father was the first African American general manager in all of professional sports, and he was the first African American in Wisconsin to own and operate three McDonald’s franchises. He used his influence in his professional life to provide opportunities for African Americans. My mother volunteered extensively and overcame racism on multiple fronts before leading the Urban League Board and other important organizations.
Our parents taught us to never let racism stop you from doing the things you want to do; you just persevere. They also expected all of their children to get master’s degrees and we did. I have that same expectation for my daughter Theresa, who is going into her second year at UW-Parkside.
Deborah Embry affirms the adage, “a chip on the old tree” as she builds taller ladders to overcome disparities; builds stronger ties to bind injustices and creates deeper networks to strengthen communities for which she works each day. She is a Second Line success!
As Director of External Affairs at AT&T, Dextra Hadnot’s primary responsibilities include communicating community issues to AT&T and interfacing with the community, businesses and local governments on issues regarding the products, services and financial goals of the company.
Hadnot’s ability to work within the community and the corporate structure has enhanced understanding between both groups. His penchant for retaining the company’s high consumer image is uppermost as he helps the company understand the diverse cultures, contributing factors, and the “voice” of the various 19 Wisconsin municipalities he serves.
Before taking his position with AT&T in 2001, Hadnot was a lobbyist with the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Intergovernmental Relations. There, he learned to understand and navigate the political processes that bring policies from concept to law.
Personally involved in expanding computer access and tech-literacy, particularly within underserved communities, Hadnot was an early participant in the Milwaukee Digital Inclusion Project, created by Mayor Tom Barrett in 2006. The focus of the project was to make Milwaukee one of the first “wireless cities” in America.
Recognizing the digital increases and the racial and cultural divides, Hadnot plunges forth, visiting schools and volunteering on boards, including the YMCA Black Achievers Steering Committee, the YMCA North Side Board of Managers, Menomonee Valley Partners Board, Milwaukee Downtown Business Improvement District #21; Wisconsin Lutheran College Pathways Advisory Committee and the Avenues West Association.
Family has always been an important factor in his growth and his wife and children continue to inspire him today. Hadnot comes from a family that stressed personal responsibility and striving to better one’s self. His parents remain his models. Their resources were aligned with their generation but their strategies for advancement remain recipes for overcoming adversity.
A graduate of Bradley Tech, with an Associate of Arts Degree in General Education from MATC, a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism from Marquette University and post graduate studies at UW-Whitewater, education has helped ground him professionally.
As Hadnot speaks to youth during graduation ceremonies, career days and mentoring sessions, he reminds them to think for themselves. “Too often we look at others and in doing so we lose personal creativity and responsibility. We must see ourselves as special creations made to perform purposeful, personal lives for the benefit of our families and our communities.”
Hadnot leads! He is an ambassador for literacy and he practices what he preaches. We commend him for his commitment to inspiring new leadership. For Dextra Hadnot, “Power is in the People.”
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton
In spite of his many accomplishments, Alderman Hamilton considers himself, first and foremost, “a teacher who wants to make a difference.”
Alderman Hamilton started his illustrious career as an English and literature educator, and thought the classroom would be his platform to make a difference.
Committed to giving back to the community he grew up in, for four years Hamilton exposed his students to the transformational power of language at Riverside University High School.
He soon realized that to make the kind of impact he envisioned, he needed to return to school, so in 2003 he enrolled in Texas Southern University Law School.
While there, he met interim Mayor Marvin Pratt’s son, also a law student. When he and other fraternity brothers learned about the mayoral campaign and the requirements to make the run successful, he joined the Pratt for Mayor team and was “bitten by the bug,” he said.
“Initially I just wanted to help but Mayor Pratt suggested that I run for his vacated seat. I recruited some of my former students who were of voting age and living in the district and they, along with others, mounted a vigorous campaign. The rest is history! I continue to mentor a few of those guys today.”
Now in his sixth year as First District Alderman, Hamilton is realizing some of the transformation he once envisioned. For example, the Earn and Learn Program, where 3,000 youth are involved in city government through summer jobs; and the production jobs that he and Alderman Willie Wade are working to bring to the Tower Automotive site, on 35th and Capitol Drive.
Always with an eye to the future, Alderman Hamilton is excited about the Common Council’s focus on green jobs so that industries entering the city will have an eco-friendly experience. He believes these initiatives will put Milwaukee on the map for new and green technology strategies.
Alderman Hamilton is also involved in several national models of creative mixed-use development. For example, Villard Square will provide affordable housing for seniors who are parenting their grandchildren.
Since Alderman Hamilton’s grandparents raised him, he is passionate about the growing dynamic of grandparents who, in their later years, raise their grandkids and provide security and nurturing.
The Villard Square project will include 44 units for grandparents raising their grandchildren, a library with computer labs and reading centers, and retail shops.
Hamilton’s long-term vision for Milwaukee is, “To see Milwaukee become a national leader in education, progressive politics and improved race relations. We continue to lag behind many cities in working cohesively. I hope I can be a bridge between ethic groups, generations and political offices. Milwaukee has much potential but we must continue to showcase our best.”
Politician, teacher, visionary—all describe Alderman Ashanti Hamilton. We congratulate his current endeavors and look forward to his future. He is a Second Line honoree who respects his heritage and is committed to his community.
Many in the community have come to know and love the Northside YMCA because of its various programs and because this multi-purpose facility helped reverse blight and revived a central community.
They also laud the outstanding leadership of the center’s director, Shaneé M. Jenkins, our “Second Line” Honoree of 2010.
Now in her fourth year as a YMCA professional, Jenkins celebrated her second year at the northside location in June.
She has eagerly gleaned the history of the YMCA that dates back 152 years. She has also enthusiastically listened as seniors recall the excitement of the Booker T. Washington Y on Walnut Street in the 1930’s, with Director C.L. Johnson; followed by Director Robert Starms, in 1959, at the North Central YMCA.
Completing her Criminal Justice Degree at UWM in 1998, Jenkins was intrigued by the criminal justice system and believed her contribution to making a ‘difference’ would be in the courtrooms. “But God had other plans for me,” she con%ded, leading to her first position with the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee as a Senior Program Director at the YMCA Holton Youth Center.
She said, “Working for the YMCA created the perfect opportunity to live my values, utilize my skills and enhance the community. The offer for Director of the Northside YMCA came just two years later.” Jenkins demonstrates the YMCA’s creed by building strong kids, strong families and strong communities, in her civic/social/ professional realm, as well.
Visiting the Northside Y is a lesson in ‘unity in the community’ for it bustles with activity from early morning to night. Servicing participants from age 6 weeks to past 90 years could be a diverse interaction challenge. Jenkins says she stands upon the shoulders of those who preceded her.
“We begin our day with prayer. So did my parents, as I was growing up. It is so easy to get caught up in the politics of the day unless you are grounded with purpose.”
Jenkins is married to Derick Jenkins and together they are raising two beautiful daughters, Déysha and Sydnee. Her parents remain her ‘First Line,’ having recognized her talents and supported her aspirations and dreams.
With the same maternal capacity, she brings the firmness of professional expertise, coupled with deep compassion to the children at the Y. Jenkins lives her values daily as she performs day to day operations at the Northside Y, and serves as the principal liaison and relationship builder with the community which includes financial development and member satisfaction.
She said, “I made a commitment, long ago, to give my best! I expect from the children the same that my parents expected from me. The Y is an extension of their home. They will be loved and reprimanded because every child is going to be nurtured here.”
Shaneé Jenkins is a builder of generations to come. We honor her commitment as a torch- bearer in the 2010 “Second Line.”
Nina V.A. Johnson
Nina V.A. Johnson is the Director of Community Relations and Community Development and Community Reinvestment Act at Guaranty Bank’s headquarters, but her duties encompass Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Georgia.
Totally confident about the responsibilities and her future, Nina exudes excitement about making a difference in the community. Johnson has never let her gender dictate her aspirations nor her accomplishments. As an only child, she was groomed by both parents to shoot for the stars.
Her mother, a creative, artistic, professional violinist, taught her to appreciate the arts and the expressive potential that lies in listening and performing. Her father, a career serviceman in the United States Air Force, traveled extensively and subtly promoted engineering and business management—his major—as a future option for his young daughter. Both parents modeled, daily, the realities of succeeding by doing, not just wishing or hoping!
At UWM, Johnson was in the Management Information Systems (MIS) program with a minor in Arts. MIS seemed like a great fit because it combined computer technology with human interaction. In her senior year, Johnson made the difficult decision to leave school to focus on her career. Never a quitter, Johnson digested every rung of the banking ladder. She was a teller, loan officer, collections supervisor, insurance trainer, consumer lending manager, credit card manager, student loan manager, merchant services manager, marketing manager, auto loan manager, etc.
After marrying and giving birth to a son, Johnson returned to school to complete her undergraduate degree and also earned an MBA in Global Business Management, with honors. that same year, she and husband, Jerry L. Johnson II completed seminary and were both ordained and licensed as ministers.
Nina has been with Guaranty Bank for 15 years and reports directly to the Chairman, who guided her growth in the company. Previously she worked for Bank One’s President of Consumer Lending. When he moved to Guaranty Bank, he recruited her to help him start a new home equity lending division at Guaranty. The program became a household name within a year, resulting in a 300% increase in production.
Nina’s motto is: “Don’t EVER give up!” We honor and applaud Nina V.A. Johnson as a “Second Line” drum major, whose heritage continues to push her to excellence, leadership and accomplishment.
In loving memory of her First Line, we honor Johnson’s dad, John B. Armstrong, who departed this life on April 22, 2010.
Lisa Jones comes from a family of teachers! For four generations, Milwaukee has benefitted from the Jones’ family’s love of education, teaching, mentoring and building strong citizens. Lisa followed this path, not because she was goaded into it but because she genuinely loved it as well.
She taught music in Milwaukee Public Schools for over 13 years, but when cutbacks continued and her number was called, she thought she would re-invent herself and find another profession. Then Racine United began Teacher’s Fairs and she decided to apply. Lisa Jones was hired as a Music Teacher with a school counseling background in fall 2009. So in a few weeks, she will put her first year, in Racine, under her work experience column and she’ll record another year of living her dream.
As a student in high school, she found “herself ” in music. “Ms. Debra Jupka, my chorus teacher at Rufus King inspired me. She was so caring and passionate about music, she made us all love the competitions we participated in.
From Rufus King, Lisa went to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, majoring in music education and continued in counseling for her Master’s Degree at Concordia University.
“Milwaukee has so many advanced education options that we must remember and support these outstanding institutions. We can be a mecca for advanced degrees, our schools are superb, the areas and fields available are so broad, and completing transformative educations is so doable in Milwaukee and Racine”.
Lisa Jones is a teacher supreme! She, like her parents, grandparents and their parents, carries the baton for student excellence. She mentors a fourth grader in reading and has guided any number of college grads; armed service representatives; and three college students, currently matriculating in colleges throughout the U.S. She has shared her teaching techniques with an early childhood teacher with dyslexia who works with children with special needs, guiding them with patience and faith and confidence in their teacher.
Lisa Jones is the model of teachers most noble! She inspires and challenges her students and other teachers by continuously utilizing creative techniques to bring forth their best, in music and math and creative writing.
Atty. N. Lynnette McNeely
N. Lynnette McNeely never had to look far for positive role models; she found the perfect mentors and role models right in her home—her mother and father.
“My father was an attorney and I grew up watching him not only engaged in his career, but being involved with and giving back to his community, and my mom is a computer programmer who has also remained active with volunteer service, community programs, soup kitchens, the Red Cross, etc. they met at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater – they were in a class in advance mathematics together. I always teased them about being two nerds who fell in love in math class and married.” said McNeely.
She said her parents were classic overachievers. “They were so involved and focused on giving back to the community and working to make Milwaukee, Wisconsin a better place for everyone. that’s the world that I grew up in, that’s what shaped me, and that’s what I do now—work to give back,” said McNeely.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, McNeely received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and worked for a short time as an actuarial analyst for Mercer, Inc.
Eventually, she became consumed with computer technology and worked her way into a vibrant career as a systems analyst consultant for large corporations in the Milwaukee area. An overachiever herself, McNeely continued working full-time while she earned her law degree.
Currently Ms. McNeely is an active legal practitioner and also an adjunct professor for law and computer technology at DeVry University’s Milwaukee Campus.
McNeely considers herself to be an ordinary person who is not doing anything particularly extraordinary with her life.
Adamant about ‘not standing’ out, McNeely said that she does not like to celebrate herself or her successes, but rather gets more out of life by helping people, her community and her church.
McNeely exemplifies modesty. Not one to talk about herself, you have to read between the lines of conversation to discover that this accomplished and credentialed young woman is semi-fluent in Spanish, is a world traveler and is very involved in her community.
Most can remember their school days and depending upon the experience, it dramatically influenced our love of learning. Those who loved school have great teachers to thank and phenomenal principals who led and guided.
Tommie Myles is just that kind of principal. He loves his school, staff and, most importantly, his students. “I tell my students, I am going to love you, whether you love me or not. And, if you follow the rules, experience what we bring to you daily, in love, you will not only learn to love this school, you will love learning.”
The H.O.P.E. Christian Schools (acronym for “Holding On to Promises Everywhere”), will graduate the Class of 2010 soon, and another group of future leaders will proceed to high school or college. Many of the successes of the Hope Christian Schools can be attributed to Myles who is never a boaster and quick to acknowledge his team. He is Mr. Commitment in capital letters.
Myles said much of his life has been God-guided. “My training for this post, the schools I attended and the degrees I received were “gifts from God.
“Each opportunity came through the mail, without me initiating inquiry. When I graduated from Grambling University with a degree in Art Education, I started at the County Juvenile Detention Center in Wauwatosa and worked there three years. I wanted to make a difference. I thought my contribution would be in rehabilitating our youth.”
Yet, destiny became evident as Myles moved on to the Marva Collins Preparatory School, teaching third grade through eighth graders, where he became a lead teacher.
A new program for Administration and Curriculum at Alverno University led him to earn his Master’s Degree, followed by an Urban Education Fellows Program at Mount Mary College.
The Hope Schools have multiple locations. The HeartLove Place, on King Drive is the headquarters, The Prima location is at 26th and North Avenue; and just a year ago, the newly built Keefe Avenue and Port Washington Avenue Hope Christian High School opened its doors.
Myles’ concern about building competent students and future leaders extends to his respect for community. He grew up in the area where the schools are located. “I‘ve watched this neighborhood since I was a boy. My mother owned and operated the liquor store at 11th and Atkinson Avenue. Her entrepreneurial spirit continues to inspire my brothers and me today. She taught us resilience, respect, refusing to accept negativity, believing in God-given abilities. She passed a year and a half ago but her messages continue to resonate for me each day.”
Myles watched the King Drive/Atkinson Avenue area stagnate but he feels good about the construction of the new high school at Keefe and Port Washington and the new developments in the area. “We need these changes to re-invigorate the area and motivate our students.”
Encouraging him and supporting his efforts is his gracious wife, Carletta and their three beautiful daughters, who admire his successes.
The new education leader remains committed to bringing about positive change through educational expectations and daily follow-through. Principal Tommie Myles brings HOPE to his students, to the area and to the Milwaukee community.
Dr. Enid Okokon
Dr. Enid Okokon’s life hasn’t been a bed of roses, but you’d never know it from her positive attitude and warm disposition.
As a teenager, Okokon came to the United States from Ghana and endured the cultural shock. She survived the grueling regime of medical school and subsequent residency. She was widowed at a young age and left to raise her four children alone, and she is a cancer survivor.
Any one of those life experiences might have left a weaker person undone, but not Dr. Okokon.
In her own words, “I love what I do and that’s what gets me going in the morning. I do get stressed sometimes and this job can be stressful, but I don’t let people see that in me.
“I’ve been in practice for more than 20 years and it’s still exciting. If I had to do it over again, I would do the same thing.”
It’s that kind of enthusiasm, commitment and passion that has made Dr. Okokon one of the most beloved pediatricians at Milwaukee Health Services, Inc.
She is proud of the fact that she’s now taking care of the babies of children she took care of as babies.
Dr. Okokon first came to the United States when she was in her late teens, and she lived with her brother who is 15 years her senior, and his wife.
“My brother was a father figure to me, and he was very strict. His wife was an educator and she was instrumental in helping me acclimate to life in the United States. She made sure I read books apart from my school books and taught me many things,” said Okokon.
Dr. Okokon finished her high school education through MATC’s Adult Education Program, and then attended Marquette University through the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).
She attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her residency in Parkridge, Illinois at Lutheran General Hospital.
Dr. Okokon credits her first line for her endurance and perseverance. “My father is my first line. He pushed my siblings and me. He believed in education and pushed us to excel.
“When I came to the United States, my brother became my first line; he took over where my father left off. He was a father figure for me during that time, and he pushed me as hard as my dad. Even though they’re divorced now, my brother’s wife was also critical to my success.
“She was my mother when I came to in the U.S. She is still a very important person in my life.”
For a time, Dr. Okokon lived in River Falls Wisconsin. Her husband was a professor at the University in River Falls, so the family relocated there.
After he passed away, relatives talked her into returning to Milwaukee, where other siblings were now living, so she could have a support system.
While she lives one day at a time, Dr. Okokon keeps her eye on the future and she believes that there’s much more she has to look forward to.
“I don’t think I’ve necessarily fulfilled my purpose in life. I’m happy with what I do, but I know there’s always more to come; there’s always more.”
She is competent, confident, clear about her goals, compassionate, and committed to making a difference. And she has a compelling story! Her name is Crystal! Crystal Owney is as interesting as the mineral whose name she bears, and she has been shaped and polished for greatness!
When the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, May, 2010 graduates move their tassels to the right, Owney will be among the new graduates in Business Finance.
She will also be the first in her family to graduate from college. Owney is the poster child of someone who plays the cards she is dealt, regardless of how the deck is stacked. A goal setter and planner, she has already applied for graduate school, and plans to earn her MBA (Masters in Business Administration).
Born in Milwaukee, Owney lost her sister from Sickle Cell Anemia when she was only 11 years old. While that experience was devastating, two short years later she also lost her mother. After being moved from foster home to foster home, Owney learned many life lessons yet, somewhere deep within her spirit she mustered an overwhelming desire to succeed.
Owney attended Milwaukee School of the Arts where she found an outlet to act out, vicariously live the roles of the persons she played and live life beyond her point of reference. “Theater gave an opportunity to be someone else while bettering myself by dissecting the roles and experiencing life through others’ prisms. I learned a lot about mothers through playing Penny Sycamore in “You Can’t Take It With You” and Mother in “A Raisin In The Sun,” Crystal said.
Owney believes that more understanding is needed in Milwaukee about the plight of youth aging out of foster care. She credits an organization called Lad Lake for giving her tuition assistance, money for other educational needs and providing her with mentors throughout her five years of participating in the organization’s Independent Living Program.
Always aspiring for more, Owney has dreams of one day holding an elected office. In the meantime, her track record reflects her leadership potential.
Crystal Owney has an attitude of gratitude! She thanks the First Line, her Mother, who gave her a strong foundation that continues to strengthen her journey. She is a “Second Line” star creating new horizons!
When Shelia Payton traveled to Senegal, this refined, intelligent, and purposeful businesswoman didn’t take a shoed walk on the grass. Well studied, she knew that when in Senegal, do as the Senegalese. “In Senegal, grass is sacred,” she said. She believes the ability to be “bi-cultural” is one of her many assets. Though, those foreign customs were not her own, she understands the reality of such rules, and added, “Unless you are independently wealthy, you must compromise in some way.”
Her interest in communications and helping her community eventually led her to purchase the Black Pages from a colleague and friend. Payton already had experience and credentials on her side. She has a degree in Journalism from Syracuse University in Rochester, New York; 10 years experience as a Miller Brewing Company public relations executive, and vast experience and connections in business, economic development, politics, community service, board memberships, and most importantly, marketing and public relations as the owner of her own marketing firm.
“I tend to look for win-win solutions; that way everyone gets their needs met and everyone gets something out of it,” Shelia said. To demonstrate that, she has not raised her rates in 11years to ensure that her services are affordable for everyone – in and out of recession times.
Now semi-retired, Payton works part time for Congresswoman Gwen Moore—doing outreach to small businesses, faith communities, and African American professionals. .She had hoped the Black Pages would have been a bit more lucrative; still, she clings to a forward moving vision. Today, she runs a business development program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Payton has also been a featured guest on WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio, discussing Project Milwaukee and race relations.
These days Payton is returning closer to her first grade school love, creative writing. Her proverbial, literary “teeth were cut” teaching creative writing at the Inner City Arts Council. This was during the time when Walnut Street was the heart of business, cultural and social renaissance for blacks in Milwaukee.
Dr. Enid Trotman Anyanwu
Dr. Enid Trotman Anyanwu dreamed of becoming a doctor; of course, many children do! Yet transforming her dream, into a reality, has been more than wishing upon a star! Actualizing this early decision is a journey that continues to evolve as she now celebrates 26 years in the field of medicine.
“ I was only three years old, but I knew I wanted to go into medicine. I loved and respected the art of healing. Since that age I have been studying and growing in medicine.
“We take courses, continuously, to retain our licenses. And, you want to know the new medicines, new techniques, the things that improve your ability to treat your patients”, she shared.
Inspired by her own childhood doctors, Dr. Trotman explained. “They were so compassionate! Dr. Fardard, a black female was one of my doctors and I had Dr. Drew, an amazing white male. They made indelible impressions”.
Caring for patients is clearly an art. Science and skills are major parts of the healing process but of equal importance is the respect of the patient as an individual, one worthy of all of the social, emotional and personal skills that the doctor should carry in their medical bag. Dr. Trotman ministers to her patients the way she would want others to treat her own family.
Dr. Trotman is a third generation graduate from historically black colleges or universities. Her grand father was a graduate of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, the home of the renowned George Washington Carver. He was her Mother’s, Cherrye Trotman’s, father, a rarity in that era, and her Mother, Lura Ballard, graduated from Alabama State University.
Dr. Enid Trotman Anyanwu is the epitome of the 21st century’s finest. Enthusiastic, eager to learn, emblazoned with the tenets of her medical school graduation and realistic about how she must perform the oath today. She excels and models excellence to her family, her Spelman sisters, her sorority sisters, her patients and her colleagues in the medical community.
Jerry Turner, Jr.
A Milwaukee native, Jerry Turner, Jr., was “born, breed, and raised as an only child.” He and his family are multi-generational members of the International AME church and, St. Mark AME, his local church, “Continues to be more than a house of worship; it is church family, my source of advocacy and a constant that impacts my daily life,” said Turner.
Today Turner is a Unit Administrator for the State’s Department of Health Services.
After more than a month in the new post, Turner believes he has found the position he loves and one where he can make his greatest contribution.
He previously worked at Milwaukee County’s Department on Aging in the fiscal area, ensuring that medical benefits from the State were used according to mandates.
For a brief period Turner also worked in the County Child Care Division as a Payment Liaison, where he verified attendance for Child Day Care Providers and was aggressive in changing cultural attitudes and stereotypes. He also worked in financial reporting at Assurance Health, and U.S. Bank and Chase Bank One before landing in his current position.
Compassion and sensitivity are values Turner learned at his parent’s dinner table and they were reinforced in church. His mother and father worked for Milwaukee Public Schools. His mom taught at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School for some 20 years and his dad was a manager in facilities and maintenance.
Girded by faith, family and purpose, Jerry Turner, Jr. represents the fullness of the Second Line. He daily builds upon the strengths laid by those before him and confidently accepts the baton of his generation.
JoAnne Pollard-Williamson teaches at her alma mater, the University School of Milwaukee.
Her teenaged children describe her as energetic, caring, persistent and mean.
They ‘mean’ that in the best way. “I am strict but they know how much I love them,” Pollard-Williamson said.
“Teaching was not my first career, but it should have been,” said Pollard-Williamson. “I was the child that always took care of the little children and babies. I worked six years in the medical field as a registered records administrator. My management skills were lacking back then and that career ended.
“I came to a time in my life that I needed to do something that I wanted to do instead of what others wanted me to do, so I went back to college and got my teaching certification and a Master’s Degree in professional development.”
Pollard-Williamson said that her first semester of teaching was not the best. “It was in a K4-5 classroom. They had lost their teacher and I was the replacement. Some of the kids were just not having it. I cried every night because I could not figure out what to do to get them to listen and learn.”
That summer Pollard-Williamson took a course called “Beyond Assertive Discipline” and that changed everything.
Never one to give up, she went into the next school year armed with tools to get the job done effectively. Twenty years later, Pollard-Williamson still uses many of the lessons she learned that first summer.
She said she knows she made the right career choice when she gets letters from students, telling her how she affected their lives, and when she get hugs from former students.
Pollard-Williamson received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Record Administration from Clark College, and she has a reading license and K-3 certification from Cardinal Stritch University. She also has a MEpD from Cardinal Stritch University, with an emphasis on reading and language arts. She said her father always jokes, that it wasn’t until she started paying for her own degree that she got stellar grades!
Pollard-Williamson attributes much of her success to the great life she has with family.
“You always think as a child that there is a ‘happily every after’ but for most people, that doesn’t happen. I live a good life with my husband, Ronald, and my two wonderful children Bennett, 17, and Olivia 13.
JoAnne Pollard-Williamson truly embodies The Second Line.