Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative

Meet the Fall 2018 Cohort

Tanya Anthony - Cropped 2

Tanya Anthony is a veteran of the US Army with 23 years of experience in local government. She currently serves as Cook County Budget Director. Tanya served as Vice - Chair of the Board of Directors for the Chicago Municipal Employees Credit Union for 9 years and is active with the Government Finance Officers Association and the Bright Star Community Outreach organization. Tanya is also a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.

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Khadine Bennett is the Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs with the ACLU of Illinois. A recognized advocate inside the State Capitol, Khadine is responsible for advancing a wide range of issues under the ambit of the state and federal constitution, from privacy and technology issues, to policing, criminal and juvenile justice, first amendment, LGBT, and reproductive justice matters. Khadine serves on the boards of Restore Justice Illinois and the Juvenile Justice Initiative, and previously served on the boards of the Third Wave Foundation, WILD for Human Rights, Exhale, and the Chicago Abortion Fund.

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Angela Brooks, AICP, is a real estate development manager for the Chicago Housing Authority. She previously served as associate director of real estate development for Heartland Housing and was program administrator for the City of Seattle Mayor’s Office of Housing. She served as President of the Metropolitan Board of the Church Urban League; Next Step Teen Mom Co-Chair for the Junior League of Chicago; immediate past National At Large Board Director and Chair of the Diversity Committee for the American Planning Association; and was a member of the City of Seattle Planning Commission and the State of Washington African American Affairs Commission. Angela earned a BA from Jackson State University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree from the University of New Orleans.

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Tameeka Christian has twenty years of experience working in government, social services and private sectors related to community development. As Program Officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Tameeka supports local communities with creating and implementing Quality-of-Life Plans by connecting them to the resources they need and deserve. In her previous role, Tameeka oversaw the Community Benefits Program and supported with implementation of the Community Health Needs Assessment at Saint Anthony Hospital. Tameeka is currently working on her Doctoral Degree in Community Psychology at National Louis University.

Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair is a passionate advocate for girls, as the founder and executive director of Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program. She launched her Chicago-based organization in 2009, and has helped over 2,000 girls ages 7-17 become effective communicators at home, school, and in the future workplace. Recently, she was selected to participate in the Vital Voices and the Bank of America Global Ambassador Program that connects women entrepreneurs and social enterprise leaders from around the world with female executive mentors for a unique mentorship and skills building opportunity. Kelly published her book “They’re All the Same Girl” as a 'how to' guide to mentoring girls. Prior to founding Polished Pebbles, Kelly managed research studies, national marketing for McGraw-Hill Publishing Company. She is a proud graduate of Howard University.

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Vonyell Foster is the Dean of Students & Operations at Alain Locke Charter School. Vonyell is responsible for cultivating and sustaining the culture and climate of the school and is committed to helping children reach their full potential by giving them the tools that they need to succeed in high school, college and career. Vonyell started her own girls mentoring program named Jewell’s Gems, named after her grandmother who had a strong hand in raising her. Vonyell was awarded in 2014 by Ebony magazine and Pine Sol as a “Woman who is making a powerful difference in her community." Vonyell received her B.S. from Northeastern, Illinois University and two Master’s in Inner City School Studies and in Educational Leadership from National Louis University.

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Stephanie Gates is an educator, writer and activist. Stephanie teaches through the lens of social justice and equity and has developed and facilitated workshops nationally on issues of equity. She created Pretty is Me/Handsome I Am Day at her school in which the school community celebrates the diversity of beauty instead of a one-size-fits-all model. Stephanie has contributed writing to: Inspiration for Teachers--101 Stories About How You Make A Difference, Shifts—An Anthology of Women’s Growth through Change; More of Life’s Spices—Seasoned Sistahs Keepin’ it Real; Flying Over the Finish Line—Women Triathletes’ Stories of Life; Journey to a Blissful Life; and Black-Eyed Peas for the Soul—Tales to Strengthen the African American Spirit and Encourage the Heart.

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Andrea Clark Horton is a Staff Chaplain for Women’s Health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In her ministry at the hospital, Andrea supports women and families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss or illness, and patients diagnosed with cancer and other chronic or terminal illness. Andrea previously directed an outreach program to homeless and disconnected young adults and was an attorney for the Chicago Board of Education. She currently serves as an associate minister in her home congregation in Matteson. In addition to mentoring girls and women, Andrea volunteers with Reclaim 13, a Christian organization dedicated to rescuing girls and women from human trafficking and eradicating sexual abuse and exploitation of girls and children. Andrea received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College, a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago, and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary at Northwestern University.

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Camile Lindsay Kumi serves as Chief Legal Counsel for the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). Camile and her team are responsible for the provision of legal advice and court representation on civil rights, probate, healthcare, contracts and employment matters. Camile has also served as Supervisory Regional Counsel for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Assistant Attorney General with the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office. She serves on the board of directors for Housing Forward, is vice-president of diversity for the Longfellow Parent-Teacher Organization, and is a member of the District 97 Superintendent’s Equity Leadership Network. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree and a Master of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a proud alumna of the Chicago Urban League’s Impact Leadership Development program.

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Cheron Massonburg is the Senior Director of the Adult Support Network at Breakthrough Ministries. In her 17 years at Breakthrough Ministries Cheron served as a shelter assistant and Hospice Nurse, and obtained a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing. Cheron is a native of Chicago, and grew up in Austin.

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Anna DeShawn Rainey is a Chicago-born media professional and social entrepreneur. Anna turned her passion for media into a reality when she founded E3 Radio, an online radio network curated from a queer point of view. She is currently serving as President on the board of directors for Affinity Community Services. Affinity Community Services is a social justice organization serving the needs of the Black LGBTQ community of Chicago with a particular focus on Black women.

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Chiara Rodgers, MPH, serves as Director of Research and Humanitarian Activities at the American Association of Hip & Knee Surgeons. With a strong civic leadership background, Chiara also serves as the staff liaison for the Humanitarian Committee, traveling globally to volunteer with Operation Walk. Chiara’s professional experience includes clinical research at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University as well as patient care work in the Neonatal ICU at Northwestern. Chiara serves as a Junior Board member for Youth Guidance and is a past recipient of the AmeriCorps Service Member of the Year award. Chiara holds a Master’s in Public Health from Benedictine University and completed her undergraduate studies at the Indiana State University.

Phasha Spencer serves as Director of Secondary Partnerships Support on the National Program Team for OneGoal, an education nonprofit working to close the college degree divide and ensure all young people can achieve their postsecondary dreams. Through a dynamic coalition of teachers, students, school leaders and education advocates and enthusiasts, Phasha has played a critical role in advancing the organization’s secondary partnership priorities - both within Chicago and across the broader country. Phasha spearheads the strategy for Teacher Selection for the organization, and ensures that growth and scale outcomes are achieved by providing consultative support and training to staff members. Simultaneously she commits herself to being unwavering in ensuring that students experience nurturing learning environments that are led by educators committed to culturally relevant pedagogy. Additionally she currently serves as an affinity leader for the Black/African American affinity group, and collaborates with the Human Assets team regarding culture and engagement strategies and solutions.

Phasha is also a Voiceover Talent. She completed her training at Acting Studio Chicago and has a professionally produced narration and commercial demo. She has served as Voice of Program for the OneGoal Graduation Gala for two years, and most recently as an Audio Narrator for ThinkCERCA, an E-Learning company that produces literacy lessons for elementary and high school students.

She is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but has resided in Chicago for 10 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

Aisha Truss-Miller is the Development Manager with Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO). She previously served as MTO’s Affordable Housing Preservation Programs' Community Organizer, and Youth and Community Programs Director with Affinity Community Services. Aisha has worked in youth leadership development and community engagement with Encampment for Citizenship, Chicago Freedom School, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago. She is a co-founding member of Ella's Daughters and a member of Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy. She was recently awarded a Windcall Mindful Breather Residency for spring 2019. Aisha earned her BA in English and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Presita West is an Assistant Public Defender in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office, representing individuals charged with juvenile petitions, traffic cases and felony charges. After attending Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Presita worked with First Defense Legal Aid as a community educator and Attorney representing individuals in Chicago Police custody as a Equal Justice Works and Soros Justice Fellow,  educating residents on their rights when stopped by the police. She has also served as a Steward for AFSCME Local 3315, the Chief Steward and the Union President.