AMADC + AAF DC: Community Forum on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
What is our industry’s role in cultivating inclusion and fostering diversity as well as equity? Join AMADC and AAF DC as we explore this question--and more--during our first Community Forum of 2021 as we celebrate Black History Month 2021.
These forums bring together DC’s creative community for virtual conversations to discuss racial inequality and social justice and how our community can collectively take action to create change in our industries.
We are thrilled to be joined by the following key industry influencers for this panel:
Karen Maria Alston
VP & Agency Lead for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, M. Booth
Sheila Brooks, Ph.D.
Founder, President and CEO of SRB Communications
CEO, Visioneer IT
The panel will be moderated by Andrea C Smith , Founder and CEO JLC Consultancy, LLC.
Our panelists will share their insights during this conversation, which will also feature ample time for questions and discussion with the audience.
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Karen’s favorite mantra is “Trust the Process.” Karen is a marketer, brand architect, strategist, leader and executive. She has an illustrious career working on impactful branding campaigns and projects for business, corporate and government entities that touch the lives of millions. An executive, entrepreneur, strategist, storyteller, authentic leader, innovator, women’s leadership advocate and thought leader, Karen Maria Alston is a nationally recognized award winning proven expert. She is affectionately known as The Advertising Diva or for her hashtag #beingkarenalston.
Currently, Karen is the Chief Marketing Officer for Eagle Academy, a network of charter schools in Washington, DC. Prior to her current role, Karen operated a boutique branding and marketing agency founded in 2002. (www.alstonmarketing.com) Karen’s branding agency, Alston Marketing Group launched several successful and award winning marketing campaigns in the Washington DC metro area. In 2015, Karen added to her entrepreneurial journey and founded the innovative women’s professional development storytelling platform, The Spectrum Circle (www.thespectrumcircle.com).
Karen Maria Alston received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance from Howard University. In 2008, an Executive Education Certificate in Branding and Design from Harvard University, an Executive Education Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University, and has completed two leadership programs at Harvard Business School. In 2017, an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard Business School for completion of the Women’s Leadership Forum. In 2018, an Executive Education Certificate from Harvard Business School in Authentic Leadership. In 2019, a Master Storytelling in Modern Media certificate from Yale.
Eric is a skilled communicator with a demonstrated history working in complex industries. He brings his experience in corporate communications, reputation management, public and community affairs, and issues and crisis management from sectors such as energy, education and consumer brands. He also serves as the agency’s lead for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives and brings that lens and expertise to client work. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media, serves on the Emerging Leader Committee for the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations.
Eric is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., serves on the board of advisors for After-School All Stars DC, The Emerging Leaders Committee for the Plank Center in Public Relations, a member of the board of visitors for the Reed College of Media and is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery County, a nonprofit dedicated to developing future leaders and building work cultures that celebrate different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds.
Dr. Sheila Brooks is founder, president and CEO of SRB Communications, an advertising, marketing and public relations agency in Washington, D.C. specializing in multicultural markets and video production. For 30 years, the African American, woman-owned agency, helps clients build brand awareness for their programs and initiatives.
Dr. Brooks is a former television anchor and documentary executive producer who has received more than 200 entrepreneurial and journalism awards for her work, including two Emmy Awards, NABJ’s prestigious 2019 Ida B. Wells Award and a 2019 NAACP Image Award Nomination for her first book, Lucile H. Bluford and the Kansas City Call: Activist Voice for Social Justice.
Dr. Brooks is an expert in multicultural marketing, entrepreneurial education and minority and women business issues. She has a Ph.D. and Master of Arts degrees from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from the University of Washington in Seattle, where she was inducted in the department’s 2018 Hall of Fame.
Gavriel Legynd is an entrepreneur, technology strategist and founder of Visioneer IT, a firm specializing in Technology, Marketing and Digital Security. He has held Technology positions with Booz Allen Hamilton, Northrop Grumman, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Commerce, HHS, ESRI and CACI just to name a few. With 20 years in the technology industry, Gavriel built VisioneerIT with the goal of giving business owners back their time and confidence while drastically increasing brand reputation and reducing technology risks.
Gavriel currently serves as Vice President of the African American Marketing Association and he is an Executive Board member of the Disability Law Center of Virginia and Co-Chair of the mentorship committee for the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Inclusion Taskforce.
Gavriel attended George Mason University for his Bachelors Degree in Journalism, Capital College for his Masters of Network Security, Nova Southeastern for his PhD in Computer Science, and Oakbrook College of Law for law School. He is a passionate advocate for the Transgender Community, Jews of Color and those with Disabilities.
Andrea is the founder and CEO of JLC Consultancy, LLC – a private firm specializing in professional coaching and marketing solutions for small businesses. She is also a seasoned and highly accomplished marketing executive and leader. For over twenty years, she has proven success with Fortune 500 organizations resulting in millions in revenue growth.
For nearly fifteen years, Andrea has lead marketing strategies for a myriad of industry leading brands at AARP Services, Inc. She has been recognized as a dynamic leader who consistently develops high performers to impact organizational changes and business goals. Prior to joining AARP Services, Andrea held several marketing roles at AOL, where she managed direct mail, telemarketing and alternative media channels. Before joining AOL, Andrea was Director of Marketing for Citigroup. During her tenure at Citigroup, she was responsible for leading partner-marketing strategies. Additionally, she has twelve years of experience as an adjunct business professor at DeVry and Keller Universities.
Andrea currently serves on the boards of the American Marketing Association, Washington, DC Chapter and Chantilly Park Condominium Association. She is a member of the Black MBA Association, ColorComm and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and a MBA from Strayer University.
Andrea resides in Northern Virginia. She enjoys being an aunt, mentoring, traveling and spending time with her friends.