Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards
Enabling Communities

2019 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows

Detroit residents—and their voices—are strong. Detroiters have played an instrumental role in shaping culture in their city, country, and world.

But too often, their voices are missing from the forefront of shaping the policies, practices, and systems that impact their lives and communities.

To help deepen the bench of Detroiters who help shape the narrative and lead positive change in the best interests of the city’s children, we partnered with BMe Community to create the Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellowship. BMe Community cultivates a national network of Black leaders and innovators to reimagine a future that is better for all. It facilitates workshops, seminars, and fellowships aimed at helping leaders address root causes of tour country’s most pressing systemic problems. BMe Community’s programming is sought after by the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations as well as Fortune 100 businesses that are committed to elevating Black leadership.

During the course of the fellowship, experts in race, culture, public policy, social innovation, and media help cohort members develop a deeper understanding of the history and current context of issues they are working to resolve as well as the skills needed to drive narrative change and mobilize a diversity of people.

Fellows graduate better equipped to drive narratives about Detroit—shifting dominant perceptions of what is and what can be—and lead systemic change that champions children and acknowledges the power of their voices now. They acquire new knowledge, skills, and most importantly, close connections with leaders from Detroit and across the nation who are influencing the trajectory of their communities.

All photos by Justin Milhouse, unless otherwise noted.

2019 Skillman BMe Vanguard Fellows

Ashley Johnson, PhD

Program Officer, The Kresge Foundation

Bradon Gleaton
Photo: Brandon Gleaton

Executive Director, Hazel Park Promise Zone

Calvin Evans

Violence Intervention Specialist, DLIVE

Dave Gamlin

Senior Vice President, Midnight Golf, Inc.

Dwane Barnes

Community Engagement Specialist, Michigan League for Public Policy

Inglish Reed-Jones

CEO & Founder, Millenials vs. Everybody

Janielle Robinson

Community Engagement Director, ArtOps

Jasahn M. Lersosa

Director of Advocacy, Equity & Community Empowerment, Focus: HOPE

John Ray

Midwest Regional Director, SMASH

Ken Porter

Founder, Porter Media Group

Kevin J. Bryant

MBK Detroit Impact Community Leader, Black Family Development

Kiesha Jackson

Founder & Executive Director, Caleb’s Kids

Dr. Petrice S. Johnson

Vice President, Center for Policy Analysis & Research and the Leadership Institute, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Phaedra Njambi Wainaina, JD

CEO, The Westbank Company

Dr. Ramona Cox

Associate Athletic Director, Detroit PAL

Richard Grundy
Photo: Red by Morgan

Co-Founder & CEO, JOURNi

Robert E. Thomas, JD

Regulatory & Privacy Counsel, Ford Motor Company

Russell Harris, Jr.

CEO, SOAR Detroit

Shadora L.  Ford

Community Development Worker, City of Detroit Department of Neighborhoods

Dr. Tabitha Bentley

Director of Policy and Researchacy Counsel, The Education Trust-Midwest

Timothy Paule Jackson

Co-Founder, Detroit Hives

Kumar Raj

Former program officer for The Skillman Foundation

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