Former President & CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Vice Chair, NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary’s
Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board
Partner, The Law Offices of Barry D. Lites, LLP
Former Principal, Vice President, Syska Hennessey Group
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Black. Lives. Matter. In a country with endless opportunity and wealth, it seems surreal that any group would need to reiterate the importance of their ethnicity or race by creating a slogan to substantiate their very existence. Unfortunately, the events of the past several weeks speak to the necessity of the Black Lives Matter movement. For 400 years, Black people have been victims of a myriad of indignities and injustices. The filming of George Floyd’s death is as heartbreaking as it is infuriating, yet it has been the impetus for change. These events are not new, however, what is new is the use of visual recording devices. This event has activated a unified movement of people from all walks of life (and in many countries) to highlight and extinguish systems of oppression that cause these injustices to prevail. Clarity Community Outreach is encouraged by the unprecedented support and show of solidarity towards the black community. We are committed to leading efforts that combat systems of oppression in order to advance the treatment of people of color in our communities.
Bruce S. Gordon is the former President and CEO of the NAACP. He was appointed in August 2005 and served for 19 months. Prior to that, Gordon had a 35 year career in telecommunications. His final role was as president of the Retail Markets Group for Verizon Communications.
Gordon currently serves on the board of Northrop Grumman Corporation. He has served on eight public company boards, including Tyco International, CBS Corporation, Best Foods, and was Chairman of the Board of ADT Corporation. He is President of the Board of the Newport Festivals Foundation. Gordon has also served on numerous other not for profit boards, including Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Foundation, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, The Barnes Foundation, Gettysburg College, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and the Black Economic Alliance.
Born in Camden, New Jersey, Gordon received a B.A. from Gettysburg College, an M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Gettysburg College.
Marian Johnson-Thompson, PhD is Professor Emerita of Biology, University of the District of Columbia, and Adjunct Professor, Maternal and Child Health, School of Global Public Health, UNC-Chapel Hill. In her professional career, she has served as a social change agent through her contributions to biomedical research, academic teaching and training and participation in local, national and international organizations to address health and education disparities, climate change, environmental justice and emerging infectious agents- all issues that collectively disproportionately impact people of color and underserved communities. Currently, she serves on the NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board as Vice Chair, the Governance Committee of the NC Environmental Defense Fund’s Advisory Board, and the UNC Lineberger Cancer Center’s Community Advisory Board.
In addition to her academic career, Dr. Johnson-Thompson spent over 16 years at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health where she was Director of Education and Biomedical Research Development. Her diversity of experiences and dedicated work to improve the human condition have led to many prestigious awards. They include being an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; elected membership to the Society of Sigma Xi; she has emeritus memberships in the American Society for Microbiology and the American Association for Cancer Research; currently designated as a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Scholar. Additionally, she is a designated Science History Maker (an online repository of outstanding African American contributors, housed at the Library of Congress).
Dr. Johnson-Thompson earned the BS and MS degrees in microbiology from Howard University and doctorate in philosophy (PhD) in molecular virology from Georgetown University Medical School.
Barry Lites is the owner and principal attorney of The Law Offices of Barry D. Lites LLP, a New York-based law firm with offices in Huntington, Long Island and midtown Manhattan. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School.
The Firm specializes in corporate law, real estate finance, development and leasing, construction, asset-based lending and health care and represents individuals, businesses and government agencies in a wide array of transactions and ongoing legal matters. The Firm currently represents large New York State institutions such as the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as well as individuals and companies on issues such as business formation, sales and acquisitions of businesses, real estate financing, sales and leasing, employment matters and equipment financing.
The Firm also represents not-for-profit organizations. The Firm created and currently represents 261 Fearless, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization established by Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. 261 Fearless is now a global organization with members on 4 continents whose mission is to empower women through running and fitness.
Mr. Lites is chairman of the Huntington Housing Authority, an agency of HUD whose mission is to develop and manage affordable housing in the Huntington community.
Since 2010, Mr. Lites has been an Adjunct Professor at Hofstra Law School, teaching an International Business course. He is also a member of the board of directors of several non-profit agencies in the NYC metro area. He is a founding member of the Suffolk County Bar Association Foreclosure Project, a program in which attorneys give freely of their time to counsel Suffolk County families facing foreclosure.
Mr. Lites lives in Huntington, NY with his wife, Leigh Ann Hutchinson, MD, and their four children and two dogs.
Carlos Petty is former principal and executive Vice President at Syska Hennessy Group, a leading global engineering firm that specializes in full-service MEP engineering, information and communication technology, architectural lighting, vertical transportation, and commissioning.
For more than 39 years, Carlos Petty’s professional focus has been technology consulting and automation design. He has worked with many Fortune 500 companies worldwide assisting them in making technology decisions, by helping them make their operations more efficient. Notable projects led by Carlos include the United Nations Headquarters, where he led the capital master plan design of the new building automation system, serving the United Nations Headquarters Complex and Data Center; Goldman Sachs Global Site Monitoring System, as the principal design consultant outlining the technical requirements for the purchase and installation of a Web browser-based, software graphical user interface (GUI) application, for monitoring and alarming critical facility events whose purpose is be used as a tool to manage all Goldman Sachs facilities portfolio world-wide; Citi Realty Services (Citibank) Critical System Environments as principal design consultant in developing a national strategy to roll out a new building management system (BMS) platform with the flexibility to adapt to different real estate environments that Citi currently resides in or manages nationally, in an effort to consolidate the numerous BMS system platforms & software packages in use.
Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Carlos earned a bachelors of science in engineering from Stony Brook University and masters of business administration from Columbia University. He currently resides in New Rochelle, NY with his wife.
Charles E. Thompson III, MD is the founding surgeon of Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Solutions. As a practicing surgeon, Dr. Thompson has been an advocate for healthy living and wellness by treating many patients struggling with difficulty losing weight, and treating the medical conditions that often arise as a result of this condition. Aside from this specialized surgery, Dr. Thompson performs a variety of other surgeries related to many conditions in the abdomen (hernias, gall bladder, colon, etc.).
Dr. Thompson has spoken internationally and throughout the country on a variety of surgical topics. As a published author in peer-reviewed publications and textbooks, he contributes to the continuing understanding of surgical thought. Dr. Thompson is an inducted Fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and inducted Fellow in the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and a Diplomate for the American Board of Surgery.
Having received his BS in Biology from Morehouse College, Dr. Thompson completed his medical school and general surgery training at Howard University. Afterwards, he completed his fellowship in bariatric surgery at The Cleveland Clinic Florida. In addition, Dr. Thompson earned an MBA at the Stern School of Business at New York University.
He is the proud husband to his wife Morgan, and father of 3 children.
Ayanah Harris has over 10 years of business transformation, organization management and process improvement experience. She currently serves as the Director of Strategic Operations to the Chief Technology Officer of American Express. In this role, Ayanah leads the technology investment portfolio management strategy while governing key compliance programs for the CTO organization. She serves as a strategic advisor to the CTO regarding technology investment and technology risk management.
Ayanah has over 10 years of experience leading various global initiatives which delivered process efficiencies, improved control and compliance while expanding the utilization of technology within American Express. She has led global implementations of accounting and treasury platforms, global business process migrations, and external reporting re-segmentation efforts.
Prior to American Express, Ayanah began her career as a Senior Auditor for Deloitte and Touché where she worked on a variety of engagements. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and holds a Masters of Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Ayanah currently lives in Harlem, New York with her husband.
Patricia Robinson is a credible leader that is highly recognized for her contributions in the media industry, and the community arena. Patricia holds a Master of Management & Human Resources and a Bachelor’s in Business &Finance. She is a licensed HR professional, who also holds credentials Public Notary. Patricia currently also spends time as a Professor at Westchester Community College.
Her exceptional work ethic, leadership, commitment, consistency, and consummate professionalism earned her a dynamic career as Vice President of HR and Community Engagement for Hot 97, WBLS, and WLIB–which spanned over twenty years in the broadcast media industry. In 2021, Patricia shifted from the radio industry and accepted a role as Executive of Operations for Colin Kaepernick Endeavors, overseeing multiple entities both for philanthropic and for-profit businesses.
While Patricia does all of these incredible things in her career, she has also launched her Consulting Firm in 2019 and became MWBE Certified. As President of PR Premiere LLC- a MWBE Certified Consulting Business, she consults clients with her expertise in human resources, workforce development, professional development, and strategic business operations.
She has earned the respect and credibility of organizations and colleagues in many spaces, as she consistently commits herself to ensuring people have equal and fair opportunity in all arenas that she supports – the workforce, the community, and the educational arena. Patricia has a passion for helping others identify and activate their inner leadership potential.
Patricia’s wide array of career achievements demonstrate a robust work ethic, but her passion and enthusiasm, coupled with her sense of humility, organically platforms her as the highly respected professional that she is today.
She is a leader committed to evolve change both professionally and personally.
She is a change agent, and a role model to many.
Vincent "VFerg" Ferguson is a performing artist, educator, and community-builder from Evans, Georgia. Vincent works with high school students to unlock their leadership potential through creativity and technology. Specializing in social-emotional learning, Vincent provides culturally-relevant curriculum through his work with Langston League in communities of color. VFerg, the artist, tours with his label, Higher Level Music, and facilitates the reimagination of business with The Love Economy.
Vincent earned a BA in finance from Morehouse College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Jessica Reyes has been working in the healthcare sector for 19 years and is currently the Director of Operations for Clarity Surgical and Weight Loss Solutions. She has been employed in many hospital systems, including those providing care for inner city populations. She is very passionate about population health and in bridging the gap between community resources and healthcare providers. Health disparities have a direct effect on minority populations, and she hopes to be able to assist in providing education and the delivery of healthcare in these communities. As a first-generation immigrant, and a product of the inner city, her passion for giving back is highlighted in her work.
Jessica attended Queens College, City University New York in social science.
Mr. Busayo Ogunsanya is the managing partner of BigAppleCPA, a mid-size accounting firm based out of New York specializing in accounting services, tax planning, and outsourced CFO services. Mr. Ogunsanya is a licensed CPA in the State of New York. In addition, he holds a Masters in Taxation from Fordham University. Mr.Ogunsanya has been featured in Forbes Magazine, Accounting Today, and VentureBeat. Mr.Ogunsanya has had the privilege of working with over 200 business owners on tax planning, cash flow management, and growth strategies. He is committed to helping business owners regain control of their time, removing the stress of business ownership, and helping serve business owners through legendary service.
One fine body…