Our February Guests
February 21, 2021
Carol J. Alexander
President & Chief Creative Officer
MaBu: A Cultural Resource Company
Carol J. Alexander is an arts management executive, producer, storyteller and educator with a passion for culture and history that has taken her around the globe, led to the founding of two Florida museums, a theater, and the renovation of the National Museum of Liberia, and fostered her success in the business and nonprofit worlds. As President & Chief Creative Officer of MaBu: A Cultural Resource, Carol assists organizations and individuals seeking to deepen their understanding of themselves and the cultures around them.
MaBu designed and curated three floors of art and history exhibitions and oversaw the reopening of the National Museum of Liberia in Monrovia, Liberia, at the request of then- president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017. The museum’s 2017 rebirth -- after nearly 20 years -- represented an important turning point for Liberia after a devastating 14-year civil war. In addition to gathering artifacts, commissioning new art works and exhibits, Carol engaged scholars, craftspeople and students, solicited donors and planned every aspect of the opening celebration.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D.
President, National Council of Negro Women
Johnnetta Betsch Cole is the Chair and Seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), an organization of over 2 million women of African descent. NCNW’s mission is to advocate for and empower Black women, their families and their communities. Dr. Cole is a noted educator, author, speaker and consultant on diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in educational institutions, museums and other workplaces. After receiving a Ph.D. in anthropology, she held teaching positions in anthropology, women’s studies, and African American studies at several colleges and universities. Dr. Cole served as President of both historically Black colleges for women in the United States, Spelman College and Bennett College, a distinction she alone holds. She also served as the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, as a Principal Consultant at Cook Ross, and as a Senior Consulting Fellow at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Adonnica L. Toler
Museum Administrator at the Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum
Adonnica is the Museum Administrator at the Ritz Theatre and Museum, a restored historic movie theater in the LaVilla neighborhood in Jacksonville, FL. Revived in 1999, the theatre and museum mission is to preserve and celebrate the rich African American culture and history in Jacksonville. Adonnica has curated over 60 national and local history exhibits in the Ritz Museum gallery, of which two received the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Award. Her work has also received international recognition with an art exhibit on display at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, South Africa. She is a noted tour guide, historian and has a B. A. Degree from Florida State University.
Past National Secretary Jack & Jill of America, Inc., Owner & CEO Pin Man
Michelle Gentry Anderson is a long time resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Michelle enjoys working in the Tulsa Community as a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and as an active member of The Tulsa Chapter of the Links Inc. where she has served as President, Vice President and the Services to Youth Committee Chair.
She is also an active member of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. where she has served as the Tulsa Chapter President, the Central Region Secretary and the National Recording Secretary.
Michelle has been married to Dr. Bret Anderson for over 25 years. Bret and Michelle are the proud parents of Alexis, Brett and Amelia.
Professionally, Michelle is the President and CEO of Tulsa based The Pin Man-positivepins.com, a promotional products company started by her father, Bern Gentry Sr. in 1973.
In her spare time Michelle loves to study black history with a special focus on African American history of Oklahoma.
February 7, 2021
MD, PhD, FACC
Chesapeake Cardiac Care
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 130 books and novellas, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She worked in management for State Farm Insurance where she retired after thirty-seven years. Forty-nine years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, Gerald and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages forty-three and forty, respectively. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then, she has received numerous national and literary awards and has made many trail-blazing accomplishments, which includes being the first African-American author to make the New York Times Bestseller’s List and the USA Today's Bestseller's List in the romance genre. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and she was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.
Nicole B. Thomas
Hospital President, Baptist Medical Center South
Nicole Thomas, FACHE, is Hospital President of Baptist Medical Center South, the first woman and African American to be named a hospital president in Baptist Health’s 64-year history. She is responsible for the operational and strategic direction of the second largest community hospital in the health system. Baptist South is a 320 bed acute care hospital with 1,400 team members and revenues of $350M. She also serves as Chair of the Baptist Health Transformation Cabinet, leading a group of 10 health system leaders charged with oversight and monitoring of the Baptist Health 5 year strategic plan.
Previously, Thomas had executive responsibility for Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, a partnership between Baptist Health and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, designed to transform oncology care in Jacksonville and the Southeastern United States. She also led the development of the Baptist Neurological Institute, which provides sub-specialty care in Neurology and Neurosurgery including the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center and the Minimally Invasive Spine Center.
DR. BARBARA HUTCHINSON is a pioneer in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death globally. Her trailblazing blend of medical expertise, powerful insights and business acumen is helping change the quality of and access to healthcare.
As a world-recognized physician, Dr. Hutchinson is a triple threat to heart disease with credentials in cardiology, sleep medicine and pharmacology. As a thought-leader, she is an influencer, speaker and advisor focused on improving the health of women and people of color. As an award
winning businessperson, she has built a strong company from the ground up and launched innovative start-ups.