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Our September Guests

September 19, 2021

Celebrating Women Who Are Making a Difference:
HER Story... In Search of Truth, Service & Democracy


Yolanda Cash Jackson, Esq.

Founder & Shareholder
Reshaping Influence

Yolanda Cash Jackson, double Gator from the Law Class of 1990 is among the power elite when it comes to lawyer-lobbyists in our State Capitol. Her untraditional path to becoming a lawyer who influences state policy at the highest levels is a model for new lawyers seeking meaning in their law practice. Ms. Jackson knows political leaders by their first name and changes people’s lives through institutional and programmatic initiatives. Ms. Jackson tapped into Florida Blue Key while in law school.

Donna Deegan

Journalist & Philanthropist
Jacksonville, FL

Award-winning journalist, philanthropist, marathoner, and Jacksonville native, Donna Deegan anchored the First Coast News for twenty-five years. She is the founder of The DONNA Foundation, a non-profit that provides financial assistance and support to families living with breast cancer.

Lakesha Burton

Assistant Chief and Zone Commander
Zone 2, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

Lakesha Burton, one of four black female assistant chiefs in Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s history, has launched an ambitious campaign to become Florida’s first black female sheriff with the bold assertion that police departments can build great community relationships even in the toughest neighborhoods without compromising strong law enforcement.

With a master’s degree in criminology, more than 20 years of distinguished law enforcement service and experience leading large civic organizations, Burton is ready to lead Jacksonville law enforcement, Forward Together.

September 5, 2021

Celebrating Women Who Are Making a Difference…Remaining Vigilant, Vaccinated & Healthy


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.). 

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Rachel Applewhite

Senior Consultant

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.


Dr. Lanetta Bronté-Hall

President and Chief Health Officer
Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research

Lanetta Bronté-Hall, MD, MPH, MSPH is responsible for strategic planning, scientific, and administrative oversight of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research (FSCDR). She is a leading national and international researcher and population health scientist in the field of sickle cell disease, rare blood disorders, community-based participatory research, and chronic disease management. Dr. Bronté-Hall has extensive experience in developing programs that are closely aligned with the recruitment and retention of underserved and underrepresented populations for treatment of Sickle Cell Disease and Breast Cancer, research and clinical trials. She is currently President and CEO of the Foundation for Sickle Cell Disease Research (FSCDR), Chief Health Officer (CHO) of the Sickle Care and Research Network, FSCDR, LLC, an independent full- service outpatient medical treatment and clinical trials center that offers medical care and coordinated care for underserved populations. Dr. Bronté-Hall held a faculty appointment at the University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine as an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Department of Health Services Research and Policy. 


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Selena Webster-Bass

Voices Institute, LLC
Executive Director
Richard Webster-Bass Health Institute, Inc.

Selena Webster-Bass, M.P.H., is a Jacksonville, Florida native with more than 20 years of experience in cultural and linguistic competence, health equity and community health. Selena has an undergraduate B.S. degree in Biology from University of North Florida and a Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida. She has worked in a variety of professional settings as Community Medicine Director with the pediatrics and family medicine residency programs at University of Florida (UF) Health Jacksonville, Manager of the Pediatric Sickle Cell Clinic at Shands Jacksonville/Nemours Children’s Clinic and developing national disease education campaigns for pharmaceutical companies focusing on multicultural populations. From 2011 – 2016, Selena Webster-Bass served with the Jacksonville System of Care Initiative as the Mental Health and Cultural Competence Educator.   From 2015 - 2016, Selena Webster-Bass developed four cultural humility and health equity modules training health and human service professionals in cultural responsiveness. She led The Mirror Project, an opportunity for agencies to assess their infusion of cultural and linguistic competence throughout their organization using the National Culturally Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards as a framework. She also worked with behavioral health professionals in implementing Wraparound Care Coordination Services and supporting caregivers and youth with systems involvement.

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