Foreman is the first CEO of the Emerald South Economic Development Collaborative; the group that works to develop and support South Side communities through a focus on commercial-corridor expansion, sustainable housing, and workforce development. Prior to joining Emerald South, he was the Executive Director of Greater Southwest Development Corporation (GSDC), a CDC focused on the improvement of the Southwest Side of Chicago.
Foreman was the Managing Partner of Maktub Development, a real estate development firm focused on inner city development. In this capacity, Ghian was responsible for $30 million in investments and development in traditionally under-served urban markets throughout the United States. Ghian also previously served as VP of Strategic Acquisitions at HSBC where he oversaw over $3 billion in acquisitions.
Foreman sits on several boards including serving as President of the Chicago Police Board and member of the Rebuild Foundation. He earned his BS from Florida A&M University, and an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He lives in Kenwood with his wife Traci and daughter Jade.
Global Director of Programs and Operations of the Harold Washington Cultural Center, attended DePaul University with studies in Theater Management /International Marketing. Jimalita has received training in theater operation from North Shore Country Day School, Black Ensemble Theater, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, and ETA Theater. She is currently studying Board Development at University of Chicago Graham School of Business and Philanthropy and Non Profit at Northwestern University. Jimalita Tillman is a recent recipient of the 40 under 40 game changers award, and was recognized by the Congressional Black Caucus for her contribution to live musical theater and performing arts in Chicago. She was also recognized at the Congressional Black Caucus for her dedication and commitment to arts advocacy. Jimalita Tillman is Executive producer of Broadway in Bronzeville. She has one daughter Dorothy Jean, Husband Magnus, and dog Jillian.
DJ and music historian Duane Powell has made himself a fixture on Chicago's music scene. From holding residencies at many of the city's nightlife hotspots including House Of Blues and Cerise at Virgin Hotel to conducting music lectures and speaking engagement for programs sponsored by the City Of Chicago, Chicago Public Library and University of Chicago. His passion for music began as a kid growing up immersed in Chicago's rich music scene of the 1970s being in the presence of legends including The Staple Singers, Chaka Khan and The Emotions as well as being under the tutelage of his uncles who were DJs until the mid 80's. By the 1990s, Duane began working in the music industry as a buyer importing acid jazz, soul and dance music from the overseas market to the U.S. at one of the largest music distributors in the country. Into the 21st century, Duane created the Soundrotation brand and continued the work of exposing the city to up and coming artists, the rising stars of the global soul and jazz scene and served as a consultant for many of the city's staple venues including The Jazz Showcase and The Promontory. Currently, in addition to his music lecture series Rear View Mirror Sessions, he also serves as the music art curator and programmer for the Rebuild Foundation and Stony Island Arts Bank. In essence, Duane's life's work of exposing music as art and culture has brought a vibrancy much needed within Chicago's black social culture.
Val Free is a dynamic effective community organizer and convener whose work history and achievements reflect her passion for building strong communities. After 20 years in Cooperate America, she found herself paying attention to the disinvestment in the neighborhood where she grew up, South Shore. Very exhausted about how property management had been managing her building and the residents, not knowing anything about community organizing, she formed a very successful resident association, which got the attention and respect of elected officials and community leaders — especially Henry L. English of the Black United Fund of IL who eventually became her mentor.
Currently, she is the Lead Steward of The Neighborhood Network Alliance, a non-profit organization. Where the mission is to become a highly recognized block club organization that equips community residents to collectively manage and revitalize their neighborhoods through block clubs by creating networks.
She feels her worked with infinity groups across the country for upward mobility at the YMCA of the USA prepared her with skills to organize neighbors around issues and gained a perspective of best practices the would eventually attract community partners that would eventually become a coalition of block clubs on the southeast.
L. Anton Seals Jr. A South Shore Chicago native, is a strong cultural voice of his generation. Organizer, educator, community connector, filmmaker and entrepreneur. Anton’s work is dedicated to service and active engagement through the use of media arts, community organizing and empowerment to dismantle oppressive system impacting divested and oppressed communities. Anton started Seals360group to focus on audience community engagement, advocacy/policy and social enterprise development.
Anton is currently the Lead Steward (Executive Director) of Grow Greater Englewood a social enterprise focusing on building a equitable and resilient local food system that fosters protections of vacant land in divested communities and focuses on connecting those residents with community wealth building opportunities.
Anton also is on staff at the Egan Office for Urban Education and Community Partnership at
DePaul University(where he is also an Alumni) training and teaching with a cross-section of small and large organizations, using Asset Based community development(ABCD) institute, also located at DePaul University Steans Center.
Anton is a 2010 German Marshall Fellow, connecting local and global voices to create new systems helping solve complex issues around global resources allocation as it relates to the African diaspora position within the United States and Europe.
Anton is one of the founders of the Revival Arts Collective, a group of artists committed to using arts and culture as a catalyst for community redevelopment.
Ayesha is a philanthropist, educator and choreographer and Co-Founder of M.U.R.A.L. (formerly the Lupe Fiasco Foundation). She has partnered with many Chicago based organizations to provide comprehensive social services, substance abuse prevention, food equity, study abroad and artistic programming for over 18,500 inner-city youth and their families. In 2008, Jaco founded the youth dance company Move Me Soul and has provided over 1,000 Chicago teens and young adults with professional dance training and life skill development.
Currently, Jaco is a faculty member at The Northeastern Illinois University; Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies. She was featured in Hype Magazine South Africa for her artistic prowess and youth work and she was recently awarded the Power 25 Chicago Award by Walker’s Legacy for her commitment to excellent leadership, community achievements and philanthropic contributions. Jaco holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance and Mass Communication from Illinois State University and a Masters of Arts Management (Arts in Youth and Community Development) from Columbia College Chicago.
Dr. Flavian Prince is an educator, innovator, artist, father, and is focused on using technology and current spaces to alleviate recidivism and break the cycle of dependency.
Everything changed for Flavian Prince one day on the job in Champaign. As a dean of an alternative school in Champaign, IL, he escorted a young man to his home due to a serious discipline infraction. The student had no phone, or number listed. He also had no floor on the inside of his house. He was virtually squatting as were the people he lived with. As an 8th grader he could fix the local drug dealers cars which in turn earned him money but also trouble. As he followed his story from Champaign to Chicago, the realization that as a teacher more needed to be done for a population that would not benefit from traditional education. This journey led him to create a documentary (Interrupt the Pipeline 2008) with his first full 8th grade class from Harvard Elementary in Auburn Gresham. The film connected his students’ lives from Chicago to the ones in Champaign. The experience reshaped his thinking in regards to the intricacies of how housing policy and its history controlled where young people went to school, how often they moved, and how successful they would be once entering high school.
He then created a social network called Blend My Class (2009) to track these students. This led him to visit cities like Iowa City, Milwaukee, Battle Creek, Danville, and others where educational officials and community leaders simply could not accommodate highly mobile families which saw a higher rate of incarceration for their children. This led to a creation of curriculum and professional development strategies to help but a systematic approach was needed. Dr. Prince then created a student based learning management system (Inquiry Bridge 2010) to not only track students but to create meaningful curriculum to meet students where they were. This company was called Inquiry Bridge and connected social emotional growth as well to the project based learning modules. His success led to his hiring by Banner Learning to reform their schools and then in 2012 he became a partner. The style of the system had a small cult following and the notoriety led me to River Rouge, MI and several other small urban settings where I helped to reform school districts. I worked with the River Rouge School District for three years and built great relationships and saw some significant gains.
He realized that the overall gains as measured by the state did not translate into ongoing success for the immediate city, as its most pragmatic students ended up leaving with no hopes of return. The ones left behind needed a system of more significance. This led him to create META24 (2014), incubators and fab labs with curriculum to help disengaged youth start businesses in their immediate communities. META stands for Make Enterprise Teach and Achieve He began the process in River Rouge as an extension of the early storefronts and gardens from Auburn Gresham. He brought the program to the Austin neighborhood of Chicago in 2015 which has helped a few hundred students learn transferable skills that they otherwise would not have access to. Forty plus students started their own businesses, opened up a brick and mortar (MZUZI 2016) and an online store (MZUZI.SOLUTIONS 2017). MZUZI means to innovate, and encompasses his overall mission to redefine education.
His goal is to ignite a youth led business renaissance throughout the city of Chicago. He is at a point where he believes the structures of traditional education will continue to be limited in their scope in helping the thousands of students who either have not graduated or those who have and are unemployed and not in school. His current project is transitioning Banner into a learning community with Alderman Emma Mitts and the archdiocese utilizing META24 for not just youth but the young adults needing hands on workforce development training and an opportunity to become entrepreneurs.
A writer and digital strategist by trade; and a nationally recognized girls advocate by life assignment. Combining both, she serves to help individuals and organizations identify relevant digital platforms to narrate their stories. As a media literacy expert and transformational speaker, La’Keisha’s programs and trainings empower women and girls alike to navigate beyond the block of limited mindsets and habits to become global legacy builders. In 2018 she self published her debut book, Move Beyond the Block, a self empowerment tool for women and girls.
In 2011, she founded Girls Like Me Project, Inc; an Illinois NFP organization which seeks to move girls beyond stereotypes to become global leaders.
As its flagship event, GLMPI produces the Annual Chicago Day of the Girl in observance of the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl. In October 2015, under La’Keisha’s leadership, the organization was acknowledged by Congressman Danny K. Davis and the U.S. 114th Congress for its efforts and has been noted nationally.
She created a podcast, Voices of Advocacy Radio, to showcase leading activists, community servants and entrepreneurs. Adding to this, La’Keisha is developing the Chicago Women and Girls Media Center
A native Chicagoan, La’Keisha has been named as a Salvation Army Hero; Chicago Defender’s 40 Under 40 to Watch in 2012; recognized amongst Trumpet Magazine’s Movers and Shakers Under 40; 2019 She Rocks It; featured in Ebony Magazine and on the Steve Harvey Television Show, Moms Rising Radio, WVON 1690AM, WAOK-CBS 1450AM, .
Of all her titles and roles, none bring more pride or joy than that of mother and wife.
A seasoned community leader and human rights defender. His activism and organizing work began with the devastating impacts the demolition of public housing had on his community.
Organizing with groups such as the Chicago Coalition to Protect Public Housing, the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions and the Hip Hop Congress, J.R.’s dedication to enforcing human rights grew. In 2009 he served as the Chicago City Chair for the UN Human Right to Adequate Housing's official mission to the U.S.
Shortly after he co-founded the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) and currently serves as the Executive Director. In the AEC's first year alone, the organization built a dynamic city-wide Human Right to Housing Collective consisting of CHA tenants and families facing foreclosure. Their work grew nationally and they helped guide the Campaign to Restore National Housing Rights serving as founding members of its Steering Committee.
At the state level, the AEC also won a temporary moratorium on "economically motivated" evictions in Cook County. The AEC helped tenants living in foreclosed properties stay in their homes by coordinating with banks to donate homes to Churches in the community. As Executive Director of the AEC, JR helps to coordinate foreclosure assistance and trainings with homeowners, tenants, community groups, and churches.
J.R. is also a national advocate for the Women’s Ex-offender Re-entry Program (CHA,HUD).
As CEO and founder of Nuface Entertainment®, Rita Lee sits at the helm of a multifaceted marketing and entertainment firm that pushes the urban envelope with technical expertise. Public Relations and Marketing, whether traditional or grassroots form the basis of Rita’s working knowledge of how to get things done. In addition, Lee’s forward thinking allows her to not only accomplish but supersede ideas and goals other may have thought of as unattainable.
As early as 2004 and well before it’s time, Lee was a part of pioneering the convergence of technology and entertainment by creating companies where she was a tough competitor in major markets. Nulink Kiosk® Centers, The Download Hour ®with Crawford Broadcasting WPXW & “Click that I®” Downloads with Clear Channel Chicago WGCI are just a few endeavors that put a “Nuface on entertainment®” Lee says. Lee continues to blaze paths where few have traded and in late 2010 will launch JustNtoneTM and TV series entitled “ The Porch”©. Her philosophy is that by marketing entertainment via World Wide Web, radio, retail, mobile and lifestyle branding, she will open up a whole new world for urban youth; a world that will not only create entertainment venues, but also economic opportunities that will empower communities for years to come. Now with Facebook and Twitter this mission is easier to accomplish for all businesses to compete and reach their audience with proper strategy and budgeting.
Lee’s talent and tenacity brought her fame and recognition at an early age. As a high school basketball phenomenon and Chicago, Lee led the State of Illinois in scoring for three consecutive years before a career threatening knee injury ended her dreams of professional and international play. When her physical abilities became limited, Lee decided to exercise her brain by embarking on an educational journey that included classroom and life lesions in marketing and entrepreneurship. As a physical instructor for the Chicago Park District, Lee was responsible for creating, managing and implementing educational and recreational programs for the community. After finishing school, Lee became the Senior Marketing Event Coordinator for the University of Chicago’s Family First Health Care Program, one of the most respected and revered medical institutions in the world. In just over a year, Lee increased enrollment beyond all expectations which in turn improved the access the scope of services provided by The University of Chicago to it’s members.
In 2000 Lee opened the first Black-‐owned, mainstream, full-‐service entertainment studio in the heart of downtown Chicago. The venture enabled Lee to come in contact with a number of artist that have become a part of the NuFace family largely because of their unique artistic abilities that compliment Lee’s visionary prowess. Rita Lee is constantly recognized as a mover and shaker who attains an even loftier status with each new successful endeavor.