On February 21st 2019, I had the honor of hosting four sensational black leaders on a panel hosted by ActiveCampaign: (From Left to Right with me being in the middle)

  • Jeffery Beckham Jr (Vice President of Career and Leadership Development at Chicago Scholars)
  • Ashton Clark (Motivational Speaker, Information Technology Leader, Intrapreneur and Nationally Award-Winning Entrepreneur)
  • Dathan Brown (Sales Development Manager at ActiveCampaign)
  • Adebayo Onigbanjo (Senior Director, Business Operations Transport Intelligence GE Transportation)

When I say that conversing with these four gentlemen was astounding and informative, I am understating the impact these men had on the panel.

Even though all of us are in the tech sector, each one of us had our own personal journey to how we got to where we are today. It’s simply electrifying when Ashton Clark shared his experience of being laid off from his previous employer, but not being phased by it. Instead, he used his previous entrepreneurial skills to create yet another company which specializes in creating a ticketing system for local events. To be honest, I wouldn’t even know how to respond to be laid off from my job let alone have the confidence and personal fortitude to build my own company. It was inspiring to hear how Dathan Brown uses his past mistakes in not fighting for a role he knew he was ready for, as opportunities today.

Although their careers have been impressive what they do for their communities is even more inspiring. Jeffery Beckham serves as the Vice President of Career and Leadership Development for Chicago Scholars, an organization that helps underrepresented students in Chicago access opportunities to attend colleges and visit corporations.

Adebayo Onigbanjo, originally from Nigeria, spends his free time helping mentor the youth in the black community of Chicago by understanding their personal struggles and being that guide to help them navigate through tough situations.

I think we’ve all faced a couple of major roadblocks in our lives that have had a huge impact on the types of people we are today. Each one of these leaders has been through hell and high water to get to where they are today. They have broken through the wall that was put before them pathing the path for other black youth to follow.

As part of celebrating Black History Month, we also had a viewing party of Black Panther, took a field trip to the Chicago Cultural Center to view the Black Designers in Chicago exhibit, and hosted a soul food dinner.