Our March Guests
March 21, 2021
Barbara Darby, Ed.D
Retired Florida State College
Campus President & Community Trustee
A member of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church since relocating to Jacksonville from New York in 1972, Dr. Barbara Ann Darby retired as president of the North Campus and the Nassau Center of Florida State College at Jacksonville in July 2015. She held this position since 1998. Dr. Darby received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Hunter College in New York, a Master of Education degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Florida. She received her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida. She gives God, the Center of her life, all praise and glory for whatever she has accomplished
Crisis, Community, and the Church... The Stigma of Mental Health
Chief Operating Officer
Mrs. Yvonne McClain is a construction industry consultant with more than a decade of experience in project and construction management. She is the Chief Operating Officer of CMTS, LLC, a construction management and quality assurance firm. McClain has been active in community service since moving to Jacksonville with her family in 2007. She has served on the State of Oregon’s American Public Works Association Chapter for 5 years and has been a member from 2004 to present. She has served on the Board for the City of Jacksonville Human Rights Commission from 2010 to 2014 where she was on the Executive Committee as the Commission Secretary. She is also an active member of the National Association of Black Women in Construction (NABWIC). She has been on the Board of Jacksonville Children’s Chorus since 2017 and continues to have an active role in encouraging students by promoting the Art’s in STEAM programs as a key element for engaging and motivating students to appreciate how science surrounds our daily lives.
Director, Medical Affairs Oncology/ Pharmaceutical Consultant & Military Family Advocate
Dr. Stephanie Mayes is a Pharmaceutical Consultant based in the United States. She has held several key roles with Fortune 500 to small biotech/pharmaceutical companies. Her current role is Director, Medical Affairs for Gastrointestinal Oncology. In this role she is responsible for engaging with the scientific community as a therapeutic and disease state expert for colorectal cancer, esophageal cancer, gastric, pancreatic and liver cancers, where her primary responsibilities include managing clinical research trials collaborations. She has a high-level understanding of the healthcare environment and the business aspects of integrated delivery networks. Her professional functional expertise is in factual and balanced Scientific Information Exchange, Clinical Research Collaboration, Training & Process Improvement, Business & Relationship Development, and Product Launch Strategy. Because many cancers disproportionally affect the African-American Community, she is especially passionate about diversity and inclusion in clinical trials and educating people of color on the value of participation.
Global Quality Cummins, Inc.
Judy Brunson leads the Global Central Quality team and sets the overall
strategy for Quality at Cummins, leading both the Quality Executive Team
and the Quality Leadership Team. Working her entire 20-year career in
the Daimler and Daimler Chrysler family of companies, Judy has held
positions with increasing responsibility in Research and Development,
Engineering, Manufacturing, Product Marketing and Planning, Product
Litigation, Quality and Operations.
In her most recent role, Judy led Quality and Customer Experience for Mercedes-Benz USA. She was responsible for developing and executing the North American Strategy for Mercedes Benz to achieve and sustain its recognized leader status in Quality and Customer Experience. Leading an enterprise-wide commitment to product quality, her responsibility spanned the entire product quality lifecycle from the ideation phase to end of life. Judy’s work included developing and implementing strategies to implement big data, connectivity and digitization for flawless launches of new vehicles in North America.
Kim Brooks-Hall, P.E., PMP
Technical Services Branch at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
In her current position, Ms. Kimberly Brooks-Hall is responsible for providing strategic leadership to 28 professional engineers and cost estimators. She provides overall vision to ensure execution of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District's goals and ensures multi-million dollar A-E Contracts and task orders are available to support mission.
Ms. Kimberly Brooks-Hall served as the first Chief of Staff for the Jacksonville District. She was responsible for synchronizing staff requirements, interfacing with state, commonwealth, and federal leadership, leading strategic planning efforts for the district and served as a member of the district’s corporate board.
The CSI Companies
Regarded as one of the First Coast’s most prolific technology leaders, Melissa Fulmore-Hardwick has dedicated her more than 20-year career to merging innovative technology solutions with collaboration-based leadership. Her initiatives have skyrocketed operational efficiency, reduced the IT footprint and bridged exciting technologies with operational objectives.
Melissa credits much of her success to the teams she has recruited and cultivated over the years. Powered by knowledge and ideas, these teams have been integral in the projects upon which Melissa has built her career from complex cloud strategies to groundbreaking Agile-based development initiatives.
Melissa started off by serving in the U.S. Army as a Commissioned Officer and later launched her career as an accountant. It was this early experience that instilled a respect for standardized processes. She soon discovered how technology can enhance these processes and improve the world around us. Melissa then shifted to IT and moved up the ranks as Oracle consultant, change management leader and then business applications director, while also developing as a leader to motivated teams, both on-site and remote.
LaFonda Middleton, Esq
The Middleton Law Firm
LaFonda Middleton matriculated at Albany State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice in 1993. She continued her education at the University Of Florida College Of Law. While at the University of Florida, she received the Book Award for achieving the highest grade point average amongst minority students. She obtained her Juris Doctorate in 1996.
LaFonda is a member in good standing of the Florida Bar (1997), Georgia Bar (1996) and the Tennessee Bar (2008).
Upon graduation from law school LaFonda worked for the Office of the Public Defender as an Assistant Public Defender until November 2000. While at the Public Defender’s Office she represented adult and juvenile defendants charged with both felony and misdemeanor cases. While at the Public Defender’s Office she received the Trial God Award for having tried the most cases of the entire Public Defender’s Office for 1999. In that same year she also received the award for having the most “Not Guilty” verdicts for that year.
March 7, 2021
Valiant Black Women:
Owning the Vote
Senior Director of Advocacy & Programs
Moné Holder is the Senior Director of Advocacy & Programs at Florida Rising. Moné has led the organization in the fight for voting rights on the local, state, and national levels and develops strategies to build black political power in the state.
Moné graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with a Master’s degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. Moné has over a decade of policy experience stemming from her work in the Florida House of Representatives Democratic office, and as a Florida House and Senate staffer.
Florida 10th District
Congresswoman Val Demings represents Florida's 10th District. A lifelong public servant, Rep. Demings broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department and her election to Congress. The first in her family to graduate college, she became a social worker, then a police officer. In 2007, after a distinguished career, she made history by becoming Orlando’s first female Chief of Police. Chief Demings shepherded the department through the financial crisis, championed policing strategies that put the community first, and oversaw a stunning 40% reduction in violent crime. Today, she serves as a member of the House Intelligence, Judiciary, and Homeland Security Committees, and chair of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery. She made history and stood up for the rule of law when she was chosen to prosecute President Trump’s first impeachment before the U.S. Senate. Rep. Demings rides her Harley-Davidson in her limited spare time.
Beverly Evans Smith
National President & CEO
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Beverly Evans Smith is the 2017-2021 National President & CEO for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., one of the nation’s largest minority female-owned and operated public service non-profits. She also served as the organization’s elected National First Vice President, National Secretary and was previously employed as Delta Sigma Theta’s Executive Director leading their headquarters business operation.
Smith retired from the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) as the Assistant Commissioner and Georgia State Director for Adult Education and GED Testing in 2018. In this role she provided adult education training programs for an average of 69,000 Georgia citizens annually with a staff of over 1200 educators and support staff at 450 sites across the state. She was also responsible for the administration of all Georgia GED testing and supported local literacy action groups throughout Georgia. In addition, Smith served as 2015-17 Chair of the National Association of State Directors’ of Adult Education and has testified before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee representing the issues faced by adults with literacy challenges.