NY1 News Award Winning Anchor & Author
Cheryl Wills is a nationally recognized award-winning journalist for NY1 News - which is on select cable systems throughout the United States. With 25 years experience as a television journalist, she is the author of the acclaimed Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale. Cheryl is also a blogger for The Huffington Post and she also contributes to Essence.com. On March 25, 2011, Cheryl made history as the first journalist to speak from the iconic stage of the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations for the UN's International Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Atlantic Slave Trade and read
LEGACY AWARD HONOREE
from her memoir.
Cheryl is the only journalist in her cable news networks nearly 25 year history to do a one on one interivew with a sitting president: Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. Cheryl is especially proud to be the Founding Commander of the New York Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops - a national organization based out of Washington, D.C. Cheryl loves teching children about African-American slaves who fought in The Civil War.
Business Woman, CEO & Founder
Ogo Ekweozor has become a sought after motivational speaker, business consultant and corporate CEO of OGONEWYORK whose international platform has reached and served ten's of thousands of people. From running her own successful business aged 22 generating millions of dollars straight after graduating from college with a law degree, to becoming a mentor, business consultant and Founder of several successful businesses since. Ogo's courage and determination has inspired many worldwide and helped countless audiences break through, to discover their own untapped talents and infinite potential.
As Founder and Chief Executive Officer of OGONEWYORK Inc. - a fashion label created for the woman of substance in mind, OGONEWYORK was built with the goal of designing elegant pieces that enhance the female form. Centered at the core of our business is the mission to celebrate True beauty in women and a goal to transform the lives of women and children globally. To date OGONEWYORK through its Fashion for Freedom™ initiative has partnered up with numerous charities to make a difference around the world. Proceeds from Fashion Events go towards transforming the lives of thousands of women and children across the world.
Ogo's extraordinary story of running a business empire straight out of college is the inspiration behind her bold mission to empower others.
As a wife and mother who lives in New York, her love for creative expression through fashion, travel and nature are amongst a few things that keep her inspired.
Well known fans of the label include, ABC's Shark Tank Barbara Corcoran, New York's 1st lady Chirlane McCray amongst many others.
Visionary Entrepreneur & CEO of World Financial Group
Fradel Barber is a young individual with an intense ambition and a huge vision. Growing up in a middle income, Jewish Hassidic family and the oldest of twelve children, she has always had a big responsibility that she takes very seriously. Among her strengths are her commitments to all her endeavors and her capacity for sustained persistence. She is a woman who stands for integrity and honesty above all other things. These strengths among others have enabled Fradel to become a successful business woman and entrepreneur. She is well respected in her community and around the country by business associates and friends alike who share her vision in making positive change in the world.
When you meet Fradel, your first impression is of a well composed CEO, but one who may be on the more timid side. One handshake and a brief conversation later, however, you are immediately aware that you are sitting in the presence of a powerhouse. Not simply one who can internalize and make sense of almost any financial query sent her way, but one who eagerly dispenses valuable information, accurate and up to the minute advice, and most importantly, it is done with the utmost of confidence and professionalism. What then makes Fradel so different? By the time your conversation is over, aside from being humbled by her staggering achievements at her young age, you are equally empowered to seek out similar goals, and do not feel inferior despite her unparalleled success. On the contrary, Fradel feels like a friend. Make that a mentor. Maybe both! She leaves all those in her company wanting more. While she passionately climbs her own ladder to success at an incredible pace, Fradel is not merely surging ahead single-minded. To all those on her team and under her tutelage, one hand is always reaching down behind her to offer others the boost they need to join her on her journey. She is an incredible testament to the fact that self-made leadership doesn't not end with the self. True leaders create other leaders - that's Fradel.
As a visionary entrepreneur in the financial services industry, Fradel is passionate about financial education for all types of people, regardless of their social status or income; entrepreneurship, personal and business development and increasing the number of successful women in the business world and leadership roles. As CEO of World Financial Group she has spearheaded the entrepreneurial expansion throughout the East and West coast, developing and leading successful entrepreneurs in the financial services industry. With her passion for success and will to overcome all obstacles, Ms. Barber has expanded her operation to over 15 offices and leads a team of over 500 licensed financial professionals.
Operational Risk Manager at Citigroup and President and Founder of Proud to Be Latina
An empowerment expert dedicated to helping others fully embrace their power and honor their potential, Yesi brings a dynamic and motivational message delivered with humor, passion and inspiration. Yesi moves audiences, collectively and as individuals, to take action, embrace change, and think positively about growth, opportunity and making possible the impossible.
Yesi was born into a family searching for the American Dream.
That dream ceased to exist when her mother, a Dominican immigrant with barely a second-grade education, was left to raise five children after their father's death. A family with promise soon faced struggle and hardship. Yesi saw these struggles as lessons and opportunities and vowed to break the cycle - the cycle of poverty and missed opportunities. She eventually became the first and only member of her immediate family to earn an advanced college degree and enter Corporate America.
Today Yesi holds an executive Director position at one of the largest financial services firms in the world, is working towards earning a Doctorate Degree. She is the President and Founder of Proud To Be Latina, an organization dedicated to educating, empowering and encouraging women to rise to their full potential. Perseverance, hard work and a relentless desire to rise to her potential has allowed her great success as an executive and entrepreneur. Believing that if she can, others can too, Yesi now encourages others to do the same – to break those cycles and ceilings, to banish those "labels" and to serve the purpose they were meant to serve.
A recognized leader, Yesi has graced the stage of the Working Mother Multicultural Conference, has hosted six Empowerment & Leadership conferences and numerous functions under the Proud To Be Latina umbrella and has served as a speaker, thought leader and panelist for McGraw Hill, St. John’s University, Stanford University, Cornell University, Marsh & McLennan, Columbia University, BNY Mellon, and many others.
She has been honored with various awards of excellence by El Diario, NV Magazine, the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPHA) and others.
Developer & Award Winning Professional Blogger
After graduating from Columbia College with a degree in History-Sociology, Kimberly spent a decade in corporate America (including Salomon Smith Barney and Time Inc.) working in consumer research and business analysis. After giving birth to her first son in 2004, she reinvented herself to become a professional lifestyle blogger. For the last decade, she has written on her personal, award-winning blog Mom in the City (www.mominthecity.com) and for various brand sites (including ParentZone and CBS) with a focus on moms enjoying both work and home.
Kimberly is also the founder of RK Responsive Design (www.rkresponsivedesign.com), a WordPress development company focused on “ending website shame” for fellow women bloggers and small business owners. Balancing beauty and function, Kimberly creates sites that shine on any device which allows her clients to get their message out to the widest audience possible.
Creator, Executive Producer and Host of Brooklyn Savvy
Antonia (Toni) Yuille Williams is the director of Public Affairs, Government Relations, for Con Edison Company of New York, Inc. In this capacity she develops the strategic direction for the Brooklyn Public Affairs department, of one of the nation's largest investor-owned energy companies. Her responsibilities include government relations, corporate community relations, media relations, employee communications, volunteerism, and special events.
Toni is the creator, on air personality and executive producer of Brooklyn Savvy, a Talk Show which airs weekly on NYClife channel 25. NYC Media is the official TV, radio and online network of New York City informing, educating and entertaining New Yorkers about the City's diverse people, and neighborhoods, government, services, attractions and activities. Brooklyn Savvy explores topical issues related to women. As a result of this work, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Commission of Women's Issues honored Toni at their Annual Women's History Month Program in 2011 for her part in shaping the dialogue around women's issues. Toni is involved in many community activities. Currently, she is on the boards of the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce amongst many others.
Toni is the recipient of numerous community awards. The former Borough President of the Borough of Brooklyn Marty Markowitz awarded her with the highest honor a leader can receive the "Outstanding Brooklynite Award," given only to those who have made an outstanding contribution, and provided exemplary service to the Borough. She is recipient to the Progressive Democratic Political Association"s Woman Leadership Award and Top Women in Business not to mention many others.
Rev Dr. Oti
Assistant Vice President of WIN
Patience holds a Ph.D. in Guidance and Counseling. She is an Ordained Minister of Assemblies of God, General Council, USA, and serves as the Vice President of Nigerian Assemblies of God Fellowship, USA.
Reverend Dr. Patience Oti, is the Senior Pastor of New Jersey Tabernacle in Edison, New Jersey and Shekina House of Worship in Queens, New York, and the President of Shekina Charities.
Dr. Oti also works as the Assistant Vice President of WIN's Transitional Housing in New York.
Dr. Oti is a conference speaker and a missionary. She has taken the Word and her charity work to all the continents of the world except Australia and Antarctica. Dr. Oti is the President of ISOM Bible Schools in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Oti’s passion is to serve the less fortunate, women and children of the world. She is the proprietress of Shekina School of Catering and Fashion Design in Aba, Abia state, Nigeria, which was established in 1990.
Dr. Oti is also a published author of 5 books, the latest being, "God Calls Me An Eagle" - a book that awakens your God-given confidence.
Co-Founder Justice Rising
Cassandra Lee is the Co-Founder and President of Justice Rising. She has over ten years of international experience living and working in conflict areas around the world, including Southern Sudan during the Darfur crisis, Northern Uganda, the Middle East where she worked with Syrian refugees, and in North Korea. For the past five years, she has worked primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a country defined by war and conflict for over twenty years. Cassandra recently married in November 2014 and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her new husband Edison Lee.
Senior Tax Accountant and IRS Enrolled Agent - Tanton Group LLPTashjawana (Tasha) Ozger is a tax consultant currently working with high and ultra-high net worth clients and national and international corporate entities as a Senior Accountant at Tanton Group LLP. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She has received her Master’s in Taxation Degree from Rutgers University. Tasha is also an Enrolled Agent with the IRS.
Tasha has been professionally active in the accounting field for over fifteen years. She has worked on post-production for major Hollywood movies and Indie films, handled staff accounting for a Tony Award-Winning producer, and she has also provided personal tax accounting services to many famous production managers, actors, dancers, choreographs, dancers, wardrobe designers, stylists, directors, and expats.
Furthermore, Tasha is also an expert in financial planning, tax strategies, production accounting, and provides nationwide and international tax accounting services for LLCs, S-Corps and C-Corps.
Vice President of Melillo InternationalJoanne Melillo realized at an early age, that she was set apart for something special. Her story begins at birth when she was given up for adoption by an unwed mother on welfare. She believes it was at that very moment that the Hand of God reached down from heaven and plucked her from one situation and purposefully placed her into another, which would change her life forever. He placed her with a family who had lost 3 natural children at birth and whose loss was great. But, it was this couple’s faith and trust in a loving God that brought Joanne to them...and the healing process began in all of their lives.
Although raised in very humble beginnings being from Mt. Vernon, NY, Joanne had a dream in her heart to become all she was meant to be. A shy child but with an active imagination and genuine love for people, she had been rejected by peers and never really seemed to fit in. Even still, something told her she was meant for something greater than the hard beginnings she fought so hard to rise above. She had to work extra in school as studies didn't come easy for her but, she had a personal resolve to make a difference in the world around her born out of her heartfelt gratitude of being a 'chosen child.' She would answer the different calls to leadership through opportunities that lead to her being the ‘first’ in many things. She was the first female paper girl in her county, as well as the first female lector in her church by age 13. She was elected Treasurer of the Future Business Leaders of America for her junior & senior years at high school, as well. And business leader she became.
She always had a heart for children and pursued many volunteer endeavors such as teaching catechism, coaching cheerleading squads and volunteering as a candy striper at her local hospital. This philanthropic spirit carried through to her adult life by serving on The Relief Bus and their board of directors, which a charitable organization that provides food, shelter and resources to the homeless in NY and NJ. She has also served the national organization of Easter Seals, by raising awareness and funds of hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout her 25+ years of service. As a family, they support numerous evangelical organizations, as well, which spread the gospel and many other needs locally and throughout the world.
This is why she is supporting this worthy cause of Ogo and True Beauty, because she believes in the God-given potential of women and a celebration of His plan, protection & provision in their lives. She is a die-hard advocate of empowering women and families through business ownership, as well as ministering to them with the revelation knowledge of a God of Grace, Who knows them personally and desires to prosper them in all their ways.
After graduation from Berkeley College in NYC with a degree in Court Stenography, she took a position at a major law firm on Park Ave. After only one year of working full-time, she was afforded the chance to go into business for herself and partake in a mentorship program that would lead her to where she is today. The rest, as they say, is history. Her business today encompasses every member of her family and spans the globe. Joanne is VP and co-owner of Melillo International, a private business which mentors people who desire to build security and wealth of their own through creating assets that will long outlive them into the next generation and beyond. This business venture has now reached over 14 countries and produces close to a 1/2 billion dollars in revenue sales throughout their organization globally.
Besides celebrating 30 years of marriage this past year with her husband and partner Ray, she is a mother of 3 grown boys who also share in her fervor for God, music and business...and who today are making a positive impact for this generation through their music and business mentoring. She has owned & operated several businesses throughout her lifetime and recently, along with her husband, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame by their industry market leaders and partners. No small feat in today’s social world and marketplace.
But, of this she does not boast. She does boast, however, of being the daughter of the Most High God, Whose goodness and mercy has followed her all the days of her life. Without Him, she proclaims, she can do nothing. She is literally here today by His grace as He escorted her through a recent battle with breast cancer and is a survivor who has won her victory through a personal and physical encounter with Jesus Christ. She now takes every opportunity to share this story with audiences whenever and wherever she can. He has also divinely strengthened her during her battle in order to help her husband through a recent stroke and now, just this past January, through a massive stroke suffered by her 29 year old son, as well. They are both doing extremely well and working their way back to 110% recovery with God’s help. She is someone who can testify to the saying, "the greater the struggle, the greater the prize." She proclaims her God is good…all the time…and trusts Him completely.
Joanne is a sought-after motivational speaker and life coach. She has mentored hundreds, if not thousands, to success in life and business throughout her career. Her entrepreneurial and ‘never give up’ spirit is God-driven and her passion for helping others is fueled by her desire to 'pay it forward.' "To whom much is given, much is required," she says, as she speaks of her success journey. "Times were hard and sometimes even desperate but, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose…it's all good."
As anyone who knows her can testify to, Joanne has been setting a pace for young girls to emulate throughout her entire life. She attributes this 'you can be anything you want to be' mentality to her dad who said to her at the ripe old age of 4, "Joanne, you are going to be a leader among women." She often wonders...how did he know?
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