Our August Guests

August 29, 2021

Beauty, Brains & Boldness…Women in their 20s & 30s Living their Best Lives

Dr. Courtney Owens

Emergency Medicine Resident, Postgraduate Year 1 
Carolinas Medical Center/Atrium Health

Dr. Courtney Owens is currently a second year Emergency Medicine Resident Physician at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Her journey first began as an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University where she served as President of the Eta Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and a leadership role in the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students. After graduating with Honors with a Bachelors of Science in Medicine, Health and Society in 2013, Courtney desired to pursue her passion of teaching, mentorship and service to under-served communities by joining Teach for America. Courtney served as a 7th grade Math and Science Teacher for two years in Oakland, California where she made life-long relationships with her co-teachers, students and their families.

Shenita Denson

Born and raised in the American south by amazing military parents, I quickly developed a love for diverse cultures, hugs, the arts, storytelling + food for the soul. Additionally, I learned the value of discipline, having a strong work-ethic, and being efficient. I value opportunities that allow me to connect my lived and professional experiences in meaningful ways. I have over 13 years of professional experience in a variety of roles focusing on people development, organizational effectiveness, program management, higher education, and community engagement.

 

As a full-time doctoral student in the Language, Literacy and Culture program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), my research is centered on the stories we hear and tell (and those we wish we heard or told) around intimate topics and how they impact our identities, relationships, and our health/well-being (Koenig-Kellas, 2016). For my dissertation, I am specifically focusing on the stories of intergenerational populations (Millennials and Baby Boomers) in the Black community around concepts of love (self-love, familial love, romantic love, agape love, etc.). 

Rachel Applewhite

Senior Consultant
Deloitte

Rachel Applewhite was raised in Jacksonville, Fl and currently resides in Boston, MA. She received a BA in political science from Temple University and a master of public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Rachel is dedicated to working at institutions that are aimed at improving the health of vulnerable populations, and has worked majority in the field of maternal and child health. She is a returned peace corps volunteer where she served in the rural, highlands of Peru from 2015-2017 as a community health educator. She has conducted research and lead projects focused on addressing racial inequities in maternal health outcomes and care for mothers, infants, and families impacted by perinatal opioid use disorder. Rachel is currently a senior consultant at Deloitte in their Government and Public Service practice where she supports federal health care clients.

Sydney Clark

Business Analyst
McKinsey & Co.

Sydney Clark is a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Co. in Washington DC. In this role, she serves as a trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions. Prior to this role, she served as a Senior Consulting Analyst within the Financial Services practice at Accenture in the DC Area. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2019 where she was active in a number of organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Chief Financiers Organization and Student Government Association.

Joy Willis

Director of Investor Relations
Tryp Therapeutics, Inc.

Joy A. Willis is the Director of Investor Relations at Tryp Therapeutics. Tryp is a pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of diseases with unmet medical needs including fibromyalgia and chronic pain.

She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental and Biological Sciences from The Florida State University and has remained passionate about innovation within the healthcare sector.

Prior to joining Tryp, Joy worked in the investor relations, life sciences department at Solebury Trout, a leading New-York-based firm focused on elevating and furthering clinical development for a broad range of biotechnology companies.

August 15, 2021

From Climate Control & COVID to College Prep…the Impact on Communities of Color

Cheryl Holder, M.D.

Interim Associate Dean
Diversity, Inclusivity, and Community Initiatives
Associate Professor

Cheryl L. Holder is board certified in Internal Medicine and has dedicated her medical career to serving underserved populations. She began her career in 1987 as a National Health Service Corp Scholar working with medically underserved communities in Miami Dade County, Florida. Under the tutelage of Lynn Carmichael, MD, known as the "father of Family Medicine," Holder supervised University of Miami Family Medicine Residents during their internal Medicine rotation at Jackson Memorial Hospital. From 1990 to 2009, Holder served as Medical Director for Jackson Health System's North Dade Health Center. Her focus is on teaching medical students about working in underserved communities and promoting diversity in the health professions through pipeline programs. Holder is Director for the “Period One Primary Care Preceptorship”

Marti L. Forchion

Author/Creator
"A+ COLLEGE PREP PLANNER" & CollegePrepPlanner.com
IT Professional 

Marti L. Forchion is the Author/Creator of the “A+ COLLEGE PREP PLANNER – the Ultimate College Preparation Guide for High-School Students (and their Parents)” and creator of the CollegePrepPlanner.com website. A native of New Jersey, raised in sunny south Florida, Ms. Forchion is a graduate of Florida State University where she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science with a minor in mathematics and was a 2016 recipient of the Florida State University Black Alumni ”Outstanding Alumni Award”.

She has worked for over 25-years as an IT professional and uses her creative and innovative mind to engage and motivate youth to focus on higher education and intellectual pursuits in the STEM career fields.

August 1, 2021

Confronting COVID 2.0, While Continuing
to Educate Our Children in Excellence

Dr. Diana L. Greene

Superintendent 
Duval County Public Schools

Dr. Diana L. Greene became Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools (DCPS), the 20thlargest school district in the nation on July 1, 2018 and serves 130,000 students within 200 schools and manages a $1.7 billion dollar budget. During her tenure as Superintendent of Duval County Public Schools, Dr. Greene led directly to the passage of a half-cent sale tax referendum during the November 3rd, 2020 election to help fund the school district capital needs such as maintenance and repairs on some of the oldest school buildings in the state of Florida.  

On December 2nd, 2020 Dr. Greene was named the 2021 Florida Superintendent of the Year by the Florida Association of District School Superintendents (FADSS); making her the 33rd superintendent and the second African-American woman to receive this honor.

 

Cheryl Holder, M.D.

Interim Associate Dean
Diversity, Inclusivity, and Community Initiatives
Associate Professor

Cheryl L. Holder is board certified in Internal Medicine and has dedicated her medical career to serving underserved populations. She began her career in 1987 as a National Health Service Corp Scholar working with medically underserved communities in Miami Dade County, Florida. Under the tutelage of Lynn Carmichael, MD, known as the "father of Family Medicine," Holder supervised University of Miami Family Medicine Residents during their internal Medicine rotation at Jackson Memorial Hospital. From 1990 to 2009, Holder served as Medical Director for Jackson Health System's North Dade Health Center. Her focus is on teaching medical students about working in underserved communities and promoting diversity in the health professions through pipeline programs. Holder is Director for the “Period One Primary Care Preceptorship”

Dr. Tangelia George Smith

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP)
Miami Dade County School System

Dr. Tangelia George Smith is a native of Blakely, Georgia.  She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fort Valley State University in 1996. She received a Master of Education in Speech Language Pathology from the State University of West Georgia in 1998, and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University in 2011. 

 

She is currently employed as a school-based Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) with the Miami Dade County School System in Miami, Florida. In this capacity, she provides appropriate therapeutic intervention for students within the Exceptional Student Education programs.