Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Sondra Samuels_High Res.jpgFuture History Maker Sondra Samuels is the President & CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), a collaborative of over 40 partner non-profits and schools.  Along with parents, students, partners and staff, Samuels is leading a revolutionary culture shift in North Minneapolis that is focused on ending multigenerational poverty through education and family stability.

While the NAZ Collaboration is relatively new, formed in 2008, Samuels has long been a staple in the North Minneapolis Community. Samuels and her husband (Don) moved to North Minneapolis with a desire to immerse themselves in community. Samuels quickly became active organizing for progress. She began with gathering together small groups of neighbors for block meetings to address ongoing issues of community unrest and violence. Building on this work Samuels took on leadership roles in the Jordan Area Neighborhood Association and was instrumental in convincing her husband to represent the North Side on the Minneapolis City Council.

Samuels’ passion for cultivating change in her community led her to launch a non-profit organization, PEACE Foundation, which built a grassroots movement across race, class and geography toward the common goal of significantly reducing violence in North Minneapolis. The PEACE foundation was immensely successful in uplifting community and Samuels quickly gained the respect of her peers. Samuels viewed the issue of community violence with a fresh perspective. She says, “If a person has no future or vision, then they are going to pick up a gun. If they instead have a community encouraging them to be successful and providing them with the resources necessary to accomplish such, things will be different.” 

In 2008 the North Minneapolis community, desperate for real change and inspired by the results of the Harlem Children’s Zone, pulled together to explore solutions to the seemingly intractable issues that plagued the neighborhood.  From this developed an achievement-focused model that creates a permanent solution to the “cradle to prison/grave pipeline”—and builds a roadmap for sustainable community transformation. As a result of Samuels’ proven leadership, the community called on her for this work, and as a result NAZ was created.

Today the NAZ Collaborative is working toward a single goal—to prepare low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school ready for college. NAZ has scaled up in support of over 1,000 parents and 2,300 students as they turn the social service model on its head and lead the creation of a college-bound culture throughout the community.

Samuels, her staff and their partners, work tirelessly to ensure the integration of effective cradle-to-career solutions across the NAZ collaborative; to scale and sustain results across the community, and to achieve the systems and policy changes needed for low income families and children of color to truly share in the prosperity of the Twin Cities Region. Under her leadership, NAZ was named a federal Promise Neighborhood, and has become a nationally recognized model for community and systems change. Samuels serves on the leadership team of Generation Next, (a Strive Initiative); the boards of Minnesota Private College Council, the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and the 2018 Super Bowl Host Committee Advisory Board. She was also appointed by Governor Dayton to serve on the Hennepin County Forth Judicial Selection Commission.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

Being a partner in the NAZ Collaborative. My involvement with NAZ has been a dream come true. When my husband and I first moved to Minneapolis we didn’t have a plan or agenda, but instead a desire to help. We let the community drive what we needed to do.  I’m grateful that the community has embraced me and my work. 

What Inspires You

The mothers, fathers, and children of the Northside. I’m inspired by their ability to push past life’s obstacles and seek out success. I see people who are not afforded the privileges of education or economic opportunity like I am get up and take on the world with bold confidenc, and serve as role models to others. My community is made up of awesome people and I am blessed to be a part of it.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Every generation out of relative obscurity must discover its’ mission, fulfill it or betray it.  (Franz Fanon- African Philosopher) 

Value and honor people you work with, for, and whom you serve, like your life depended on it.

Hometown

  • Scotch Plains, NJ

Education

  • Morgan State University, BA
  • Clark Atlanta University, MA

Legacy Leader
bill green.jpg

 

Like Samuels, today’s Legacy Leader William D. Green is an dedicated community leader who marries history and education to empower the communities he serves. Green was born in Massachusetts and as a child spent a lot of time at Fisk University where his father was dean.   During this time Green was able to meet such luminaries as W.E.B. Du Bois and Thurgood Marshall. These experiences help shape Green’s love of history and passion for impacting change.

Green is a well-respected and familiar leader in the Twin Cities community. Green served as superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools from 2006 to 2010. In this role he was credited for restoring public confidence in this Minneapolis School District’s ability to educate its’ children. Today, Green is a professor of history at Augsburg College. Green is also an award winning author who has published many articles and  op-ed pieces, on history, law, and education.  He has also published two books on race and civil rights in Minnesota history-A Peculiar Imbalance in Early Minnesota: 1837-1869, and Degrees of Freedom. The Origin of Civil Rights in Minnesota, 1865-1914, which won the 2015 Minnesota Book Award-Hognander Prize. He is presently working on a history of Minnesota during the period of the Civil war and Reconstruction.

Green received his B.A. in History from Gustavus Adolphus College, and his M.A., Ph.D. and J.D. from the University of Minnesota. He has spoken widely at such places as the Ramsey County Bar Association; Bethel Lutheran Church, the Friends of the Ramsey County Library; Unity Unitarian Universalist Church in St. Paul, and William Mitchell Law School. He has also lectured at Peabody College-Vanderbilt University, St. John’s University, and Lincoln College-Oxford University. While serving as Superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools, he studied school reform at Harvard University. Green currently serves as vice president of the Minnesota Historical Society.

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

coxFuture History Maker Roderick Cox is breaking barriers in Minnesota, and inspiring future generations to surpass any and all limitations. Recognized as one of America’s fastest rising young conducting talents, Cox currently serves as the Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, a position to which he was appointed in April 2015. 

A native of Macon, Georgia, Cox grew up in the heart of Georgia football country and family engaged in sports. However, even at a young age Cox sought to chart a different path. He would spend time in his room playing gospel records and imagining himself as a conductor. As a young student Cox explored his love for music as a percussionist and French horn player at a fine-arts high school in Macon. Yet, at the time Cox did not foresee a career as a conductor, instead he thought he would perhaps become a band director or music teacher. Later as an undergraduate student at Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, Cox was inspired by symphony performances and decided there were pieces he would like to conduct that would not be possible as a band director.  Not wanting to limit himself, Cox decided to make the sacrifice and put in the hard work necessary to accomplish his goals.

In 2009, he received a bachelor of music degree in music education from Columbus State University, graduating summa cum laude. Cox later received a master’s degree in conducting from Northwestern University.  After graduating from Northwestern University, Cox served two years as the music director of the Alabama Symphony Youth Orchestra and the assistant conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. In this position he led the symphony in new works by contemporary composers Gabriel Kahane, Andrew Norman and Henry Panion. During this time he was awarded the Robert J. Harth Conducting Prize from the Aspen Music Festival in 2013, which led to national recognition and a return to the festival as a fellow.

Now as Assistant Conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra, Cox has a range of responsibilities from leading Young People’s Concerts, family programs and outdoor community concerts to serving as cover conductor for many classical subscription and “Live at Orchestra Hall” concert performances. During the 2015-16 season, Cox made his conducting debut with the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.), Detroit Symphony, Nashville Symphony, and Florida Orchestra. Cox was selected by the League of American Orchestras as one of five conductors to present in the 2016 Bruno Walter National Conducting Preview, a prestigious showcase for young conductors from around the country. Cox’s highlights for the 2016-2017 season includes a subscription concert debut with the Minnesota Orchestra, debut concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra. Cox also conducted a performance sponsored by Google and the Colour of Music Festival for the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C.

Cox is passionate about his music and uses his influence to make an impact on community. Cox seeks to challenge the European monopoly in classical music. Cox says, “As one of the very few African-American conductors in the world, unlike some of my colleagues, I have to think about how to inspire young African-American musicians.”  He supports initiatives that support black string players. He thinks critically about issue of diversity and inclusion and wants to ensure black string players have the opportunity to play in orchestra, or become soloists.  Cox’s work is focused on connecting young string players with managers, agents, orchestras to help bridge that gap.

Acting on this passion, Cox recently led the Minnesota Orchestra in a debut performance at Minneapolis’ Shiloh Temple International Ministries in North Minneapolis. Cox performance was an inspiration to many, particularly young people who aspire to advance in the music field. Cox continues to serve as a key link to the community, participating in engagement activities, school visits and collaborations with other Minnesota arts and cultural institutions.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

My classical subscription debut concert with the Minnesota Orchestra was quite the rewarding experience for me. A marquee concert with one of the nation’s best conductor is something every young conductor dreams about. For me, it became reality, and now I feel I can turn a corner by setting new goals for myself.

I worked extremely hard over the course of a year to prepare the music. However, I really used what felt like a lifetime of experience to help with my approach to the concert. 

What Inspires You

The music motives me. The music is bigger than any one person or organization.  In the midst of any disappointment, the music is dependable and is something I can always return to for inspiration to continue onward. Music keeps me grounded, but also pushes me to work harder to tap into a greater potential.

I’m inspired by examples of great leadership. I have many people who inspire me from Serena Williams to Barack Obama. Anyone who is in a high pressure position of leadership and doing the best they can inspires me to pick myself up and keep going.

Advice for Inspiring Professionals

I chose to be a part of an elusive profession. There is no path that is the same for any conductor. If someone is seeking a life as a professional musician, I would advise them not to do it if they can imagine themselves doing anything else. You can’t want to be a musician; you have to need to be one. This is the only way you will have enough hunger and determination to fight and claw your way to the top. Once your decision has been made to pursue a career in music, there should be no turning back. There should be no distractions and allow nothing to prohibit you from reaching your dream.

Hometown

  • Macon, Georgia

Education

  • Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music, BA
  • Northwestern University, Masters of Conducting

 


Legacy Leader

bellamy_louLike Cox, today’s Legacy Leader Lou Bellamy is an artistic pioneer who broke through barriers and serves as a role model to future generations. Lou Bellamy is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company in Saint Paul, Minnesota. During his thirty-nine year tenure, Penumbra evolved into one of America’s premier theaters dedicated to dramatic exploration of the African American experience. Under his leadership, Penumbra grew to be the largest theater of its kind in America and produced 39 world premieres. 

Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director, an accomplished actor, and for 38 years was appointed as Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Directing credits include plays at Arizona Theatre Company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Penumbra Theatre, Signature Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Cleveland Play House, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, The Kennedy Center, and Hartford Stage Company.

Bellamy was born and raised in the Rondo district of St. Paul Minnesota.  He received his bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State University-Mankato and received his masters in theater arts at the University of Minnesota.

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

baker-smithFuture History Maker Chanda Smith Baker is an accomplished senior executive with a career record of providing business insight, transformational leadership, and strategic vision leading to strengthened operational performance, innovative solutions and high performing teams. To translate – Baker is a leader who gets things done.

Baker’s career began in early childhood education. A mother and entrepreneur, Baker was very involved in the at-home provider community. She managed her own daycare and supported other at-home providers in developing and sustaining their business. It was through this experience that Baker developed a passion for children and families.

Today, Baker serves as President and CEO of Pillsbury United Communities, responsible for 130 employees and the operations of five neighborhood centers, a training center and eight social enterprises. Baker says, “I was raised with an orientation of contributing to community as a way of life. As a young person I was always keenly aware of the challenges that my community faced. I grew up in North Minneapolis and I always felt very passionate about uplifting what’s best in the community while working to tackle the challenges.”

Baker leads with an unwavering focus on closing racial disparities and measuring outcomes—boldly pushing Pillsbury United Communities to become more focused, more creative, and to include the voice of community in its solutions that allow for the emergence of new ideas.  In 2014, she led a planning process that resulted in a new strategic framework titled; “One Pillsbury, United – our plan for creating thriving communities.”  This led to securing over $1 Million dollars to implement Pillsbury United Communities organizational strategies.

Recently Baker led Pillsbury United’s gun buy-back initiative where residents were urged to surrender firearms in exchange for Visa gift cards. The guns were decommissioned and given to Twin Cities’ artists to create statements about the impact of gun violence in the community. The buy-back initiative was an undisputed success and one in which Baker was personally invested. Baker says, “My cousin Kristopher Miller was shot and killed the same week I was named CEO of Pillsbury United. Last year was the fifth anniversary of his death. The buy-back program was a result of me taking something that affected me personally and looking for a way to make an impact on community violence.” Baker believes there are too many Minnesotans losing their lives to street violence, suicide, domestic violence and accidental shootings.  She says, “I am  not willing to look the other way, believing that there’s nothing we can do—but rather I’m committed to doing my part to make our community safer. We have a public health crisis with gun violence. It affects all of us, and we all must be part of the solution.”

In addition to her work with Pillsbury United Communities, Baker is a member of the boards of directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce, Public Allies National, the International Federation of Settlements, and CommonBond Communities. Baker sits on the national advisory board of the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification. She has received several recognitions including the Hubert H. Humphrey Leadership Award, and in 2012 she was a Minneapolis-St Paul Business Journal Diversity in Business honoree. Baker was recognized as a  Hometown Hero in 2011 for her role leading the recovery efforts following a tornado in North Minneapolis.

Baker holds a Master of Arts – Organizational Management and Communications degree from Concordia University. She is also a graduate of MenTTium 100 Executive Leadership Program and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor’s Executive Leadership Institute.

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

My most rewarding experience was receiving my masters from Concordia College. I went through this program while working and parenting, and this was not easy. Obtaining an advanced degree help propell my career and provided me with an opportunity to marry my lived experiences with formal training and technique.

What Inspires You

I am inspired by the success of others and my children of course.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

My best advice is to invest in your own development. Embrace who you are as a leader, read, stay committed to professional development and support others success.

Hometown

  • Minneapolis, MN

Legacy Leader

myrtleLike Baker, today’s Legacy Leader I. Myrtle Carden, was a zealous community advocate committed to  empowering children and families. When black families from St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood needed basic services or just a place to hang out, they turned to I. Myrtle Carden.  Carden led the Hallie Q. Brown Community House, a social-service agency inspired by the era’s settlement house movement. Named after an Ohio educator who led the establishment of black women’s clubs across the country, Hallie Q. Brown soon became St. Paul’s second-largest neighborhood center.

Carden, a social worker from Pittsburgh, mentored a generation of young girls shut out from white school groups and social programs. Among other activities, teenage girls taught nutrition and home economics to other teens. Carden served as executive director of the Hallie Q Brown community Center for 20 years, from its founding in 1929 to 1949.

In Minneapolis, Carden’s ideological counterpart was W. Gertrude Brown, who ran the Phyllis Wheatley House, a magnet for famous guests such as Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson and W.E.B. DuBois.

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Future History Maker Jason Sole, president of the jsMinneapolis NAACP, is a thrice convicted felon-turned-Hamline University professor who volunteers in juvenile prisons across Minnesota and lobbies for restoring the voting rights of ex-offenders.

Raised on the South Side of Chicago, at an early age became involved in street gangs. He was charged with possession of an illegal firearm at age 18, and at age 21 he was charged with drug possession. After serving time in prison and spending several years on probation, Sole has now become a model for determination and redemption. He’s fought hard to find work, get into college, raise a family and eventually work towards a Ph.D at Capella University. For Sole attending college was an act of desperation. Sole says, “I was asked to select a major and at the time I had no idea what I wanted to do. However, I was interested in criminal justice because it was my life story. I knew it and felt it, but didn’t understand the disparities in criminal justice.  I recognized I’d committed wrongs in my life but didn’t understand why my punishment was unequal in comparison to my white counterparts.”

A major in criminal justicewas a perfect fit for Sole who excelled in his studies. Motivated by his past and desire to help others, he worked hard and excelled.  He completed his four year degree program in three years and was the recipient of many awards and scholarships. As a student at Metrostate University Jason served as president of the African American Student Union and was awarded the Metrostate Male Student Leader Achievement Award two years in a row. After college, Sole obtained a masters degree in Criminal Justice.

Today, Sole is nationally recognized expert on criminal justice issues. He has been an educator for nearly eight years, serving as an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University ( 8 years) and Hamline University (2 years). He is also a writer, keynote speaker, and trainer for the One Circle Foundation.

Sole is a leader in the push to restore voting rights to convicted felons and combat oppressive or collateral consequences.  Sole views voter disenfranchisement as a serious form of oppression. He says, “ex-offenders are denied access to welfare benefits, public housing, education loans, and the right to serve on a jury or run for office. These barriers make it extremely difficult to find redemption.” Sole lost his voting rights in 2006 and wasn’t set to have them restored until 2026.  However, after petitioning for an early termination of his probation, he was able to vote for the first time in ten years.

Through his firm, Jason Sole Consulting LLC, Sole provides juvenile and criminal justice agencies with the knowledge and resources they need to assist people affected by delinquency, incarceration, poverty, and other social ills. Sole was a 2013 Bush Fellow  focusing on reducing the recidivism rate among juveniles throughout the state of Minnesota. He is currently traveling the country discussing his memoir, From Prison to Ph.D.: A Memoir of Hope, Resilience, and Second Chances. Sole says, “criminal justice is my life, it’s a lived experienced and being able to use my degree in the community is a blessing.”

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

It’s so rewarding to be able to lead a group of engaged and powerful leaders who are committed to bringing change to their community. I’m amazed by the number of new activists who are interested in criminal justice reform. I take pride in connecting with people who want to get involved. I enjoy bridging gaps and creating relationship with groups that differ in opinion. Right now I’m learning that we can disagree on tactics, and yet be able to put those differences aside to unite for the greater good of community. I’m focused on building coalitions, eliminating silos of work, and finding opportunities to uplift great work.

What Inspires You

I get inspiration from various people and situations. In my pursuit of justice I’m inspired by the many trailblazing civil rights leaders who have come before me. For example, Harold Washington, Fred Hampton. I’m also inspired by my daughters. I find joy in teaching them, giving them the tools to lead well beyond my years on this earth.

Also, I look up to my mother Shelia Sole and uncle Jonathon Walton III, two people who believed in me before I believed in myself.

I must say I was blessed to be a part of the NAACP when it was led by all women. I look up to Black women in this community as phenomenal leaders, admiring their strength and ability to problem solve.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Go with your gut. Don’t be led by rhetoric, and be careful of who you’re aligning yourself with. Don’t be impressed solely by energetic personalities and big ideas, but instead work with people who have good hearts. Also aspire to do work that fulfills your core values.

Hometown

  • Chicago, Illinois

Education

  • Mestrostate University, BA
  • Hamline University, Master of Criminal Justice

Legacy Leader

nkLike Sole, today’s Legacy Leader, Nathaniel Khaliq  is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back. Nathaniel Khaliq, served as president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP for fifteen years. As president,  Khaliq lead efforts to create an anti-racial profiling agreement with the City of Saint Paul  and was instrumental in securing needed changes to racially biased state and county gang databases.

During his tenure, Khaliq advocated for the hiring of more minority firefighters, policies to hire and contract with minority workers, and improved affordable housing.  Mr. Khaliq has served as an interim City of St. Paul City Council member (Ward 1), and  today continues to advocate for civil rights issues serving on the advisory board for the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP.

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Future History Maker

 

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.

 


Future History Maker 

momoh-adine

Future History Maker Adine Momoh is a trailblazing attorney whose work ethic and commitment to excellence have quickly garnered her recognition and respect. Momoh began practicing law in September 2009. On January 1 of this year, she became a partner at Stinson Leonard Street LLP.  In 2018-2019, Momoh will become president of the Hennepin County Bar Association as the organization celebrates its 100th year anniversary. She will be the youngest and first black woman to hold that role in the 8,000-member organization’s history.

Momoh is a native of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her parents, who emigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone in the 1970’s, instilled in Momoh the values of education, hard work, humility, and giving back. When she was just a six-year-old student in first grade, after having put aside dreams of being a horseback rider or ballet dancer, Momoh decided she wanted to be an attorney.  She set in motion a plan that would one day lead her to make history.  Momoh did not have any immediate family members in the legal profession, but eagerly learned as much as she could about becoming an attorney. Throughout grade school and beyond, she strived for excellence in her classes and sought out mentorships from, and developed relationships with, Twin Cities attorneys. Momoh asked questions and never shied away from opportunities to learn or lead.

Momoh’s thirst for knowledge led her to the University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business.  There she developed a love for business.  Mastering subjects such as accounting, finance, micro- and macro-economics, and industrial organizational psychology, Momoh developed the blocks that would later shape a career in bankruptcy, banking and securities litigation. Momoh graduated summa cum laude with a 4.00 GPA, majoring in legal studies in business, psychology, and pre-law. Momoh received her Juris Doctor degree from William Mitchell College of Law, graduating magna cum laude.

Today, Momoh is a trial attorney representing clients in various aspects of litigation including:  case development and strategy,  discovery, motion practice,  trial, and appeals in state and federal courts across the country.  She has also successfully defended clients facing fraudulent conveyance, preferential transfers and other avoidance actions from bankruptcy trustees seekingamounts up to millions of dollars. In her seven years of practice, Momoh has been recognized locally and nationally.   In 2013 she received Stinson Leonard Street’s Pro Bono Services to the Indigent award, and that same year was also named a Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. In 2014 she was honored with the Minnesota State Bar Association’s first-ever Outstanding New Lawyer of the Year Award.   In 2015 she was named one of two finalists for the American Bar Association’s National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award.  And in 2016Momoh was one of four recipients of the Service to the Minnesota Women Lawyers Association Award. She was recognized for her legal excellence in bankruptcy law by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, naming her a Blackshear Presidential Fellow.  

Momoh’s credentials are mirrored by her commitment to giving back. Since she began practicing in 2009, Momoh has dedicated up to 200 hours of her time to pro-bono service each year. From 2013-2016 Momoh received the North Star Lawyer designation from the Minnesota State Bar Association for her commitment to pro bono work.  Momoh also serves on the boards of various organizations, including The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, Federal Bar Association’s National Younger Lawyers Division, Federal Bar Association’s Minnesota Chapter and International Women’s Insolvency and Reorganization Confederation–Minnesota Network.  She co-chairs the Minnesota Women Lawyer’s Equity Committee, which works to develop and implement action steps to achieve equity for women in the Minnesota legal profession.  Momoh also mentors law students at the three local law schools in Minnesota.

 

Most Rewarding Work Experience 

I certainly enjoy motion practice and trial work because I love being in court and relish opportunities to hone that particular skill set. That said, my most rewarding work experience is being able to be the trusted advisor to clients.  As an advocate, it’s my responsibility to be a problem solver and to do so as objectively and persuasively as possible, by anticipating, understanding and refuting the other side’s best argument.  To know that someone has placed this immense amount of trust in me is a true privilege.

 

What Inspires You

I’m inspired by my parents, Kofi and Mabel, who have been my champions and sponsors since day one (even before those words were even being used), and who always taught me the power of resilience.  They taught me that if anyone makes me feel discouraged, I should work harder and prove them wrong.  I also look up to my two older brothers, Kenny and Kofi, who have always supported me and set the bar high for me. Moreover, I’m grateful for the support of all the mentors I’ve had throughout my life. And of course, I am inspired by my husband, Vince.  Without his support and encouragement, I wouldn’t be where I am today; he inspires me to be my best self.

 

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Don’t be afraid to chart your own course and don’t be afraid to say yes.  Many of the doors that have been opened for me throughout my legal career and in my life in general came from me taking chances and simply saying yes. I didn’t always know what would be required of me, but I was confident that I could rise to the challenge. To those interested in a legal career, I encourage you to stay focused. Make it your goal to not only get good grades, but also to understand what’s being taught fully. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class, speak up and ask questions.

Hometown

  • St. Paul, Minnesota

Education

  • University of St. Thomas Opus School of Business
  • William Mitchell College of Law

Legacy Leader

Like Mompafeoh, today’s Legacy Leader, Justice Alan Page is someone of great recognition and respect who has demonstrated a commitment to giving back.

Justice Alan Page is a jurist and former professional American Football player. While he played for the Minnesota Vikings, Page attended the University of Minnesota Law School, from which he received a Juris Doctor in 1978. After graduating, he worked at the Minneapolis law firm Lindquist and Vennum from 1979 to 1984 outside the football season. Page was appointed Special Assistant Attorney General in 1985, and soon thereafter promoted to Assistant Attorney General. In 1993 Page became the first African American justice to be appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. 

Page and his wife Diane are the founders of the Page Education Foundation, which assists students of color with postsecondary education. Page also helped establish the Kodak/Alan Page Challenge, a nationwide essay contest encouraging urban youth to recognize the value of education, and he is a frequent speaker to groups of students about the importance of education. Justice Page also has a long history of community service and has been named on both 100 Influential Minnesotans of the Century and 100 Most Important Sports Figures of the Century. Page is a member of the American Law Institute, Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, National Bar Association and American Bar Association.

 

 

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Future History Maker

BHM

Black History Month

History. Tradition. Community.

February is Black History Month. 
 Since 1926, and the creation of Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson, the accomplishments of persons of African descent have been recognized each February.  The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to present Future History Makers, a profile series featuring emerging leaders from the Twin Cities African American community who share our ideals of advancing civil rights and removing barriers to equity.  We also recognize the kinship of their work to those who are legacy trailblazers.  Thus, in a brief question and answer profile, we uniquely celebrate both the past, present, and future.


Future History Maker 

Future History Maker Chris Webley chrisis the founder and CEO of New Rules North. Webley studied textile technology with a concentration in medical textiles at North Carolina State University. He has worked with Calvin Klein, Victoria’s Secret and Target, in the corporate retail fashion industry as a research and design textile engineer. After seven years in the fashion
industry Webley decided to take on a new and different challenge, and start his own company. 

New Rules North is a truly innovative landmark destination that merges together art, innovation, and technology in a space for business owners to not only share work space but work together to invest in the local community. New Rules provides entrepreneurs with the equipment and resources needed to expand their creative and professional capabilities, build innovation in the community, and contribute to economic growth for individuals and the region. This unique approach to connecting service and entrepreneurship attracts new, young, risk-taking talent to the Minneapolis Northside.

A proven problem solver, Webley is no stranger to leading change in the Twin Cities community. After moving to Minnesota to work for Target, Webley immediately noticed that the opportunities for professionals of color to connect and socialize were nearly non-existent. Within two months he sought to change that by hosting a professional networking social where over 200 professionals of color gathered together to meet and connect.

Webley said this was his “ah-ha” moment that planted the seeds for New Rules North. Webley followed the social with a fashion showcase of local talent representing the African diaspora.  Partnering with powerhouse twin cities corporations (Target and General Mills) Webley shined a light on the amazing talent possessed by a vast array of diverse creatives who otherwise would not have an opportunity to share their work on mainstream platforms.  Webley’s work demonstrates the value of cultural diversity and  retaining professional people of color in the Twin Cities region.

Desiring to have a broader impact on community, Webley pulled together $100,000 from his personal savings and investments to help redevelop a historic building in North Minneapolis and open New Rules. Webley created New Rules North with a vision of developing a common ground of resources needed to sustain an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and creativity. New Rules mission is to measurably contribute to the growth of individuals and communities by providing space and holistic resources that expand their creative and professional pursuits.  New Rules uses art as a bridge to connect people to broader and richer experiences.

Webley wants to see the Northside thrive.  Recently New Rules has partnered with the YMCA to introduce a variety of artistic professions to Northside youth. Most recently they hosted a photography exhibit where youth were taught photography, given cameras, and asked to compile portfolios documenting their community.  Webley’s ultimate goal is to help continue to change the narrative of what North Minneapolis has to offer.  He strives to boost economic development and opportunities for people who live there.

Webley has served on the board of the North Community Harold Mezile YMCA since 2014.  He is working with Achieve Minneapolis to develop a creative professionals pipeline, helping students explore creative career avenues and provide the structure and resources needed to maintain such careers.

Webley has demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering his community and providing opportunities for artist to succeed. His advocacy is a beacon of hope and inspiration for future generations.

Most Rewarding Work Experience

Right now I’m working to incentivize major corporations, nonprofits, and   community members to take advantage of the New Rules event space.  As a result, New Rules is planning a major fundraiser, the Investor’s Forum, that will take place March 11th. Also to celebrate Black History Month, we’ve lined up several events, kicking off the month with a major community art exhibit, opening on February 4th. Information about these events can be found on the New Rules website.

What Motivates You

Lately it’s been hard to stay upbeat and focused.  I imagine I’m not alone, and often wonder what inspires my neighbors to get up each and every day and fight through barriers and disappointment, without yielding to the desire to give up. Their ability to persevere inspires me. However, at the end of the day I look to God for peace and understanding. That  is what keeps me grounded and focused. I am rooted in my understanding that I do not know what the future holds; therefore I can only trust the path that God has put me on in fulfilling my personal legend.

Advice for Aspiring Professionals

Don’t be afraid to be in the trenches doing what you love, as it is all part of the growth process. Stay consistent and always remember to follow through. Be you and be proud of doing things your own way.

Hometown

  • North Carolina

Education

  • BS in Textile Technology and Medical Textiles
  • North Carolina State University

Legacy Leader

 Webley’sarchie jr.jpg dedication and committment to community mirrors that of  Legacy Leader Archie Givens Jr. 

Archie Givens Jr. is president of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a Minneapolis based not-for-profit agency, and chief executive officer of Legacy Management & Development Corporation, developers of real estate and affordable housing. He has been honored on many occasions for his work in both fields, most recently with the 2001 NAACP President’s Award, the 2002 Alchemy Black Arts Award, and the 2003 Minority Business Award from the National Black MBA Association and the Twin Cities Business Journal.

A tireless advocate for reading and literature, Givens, along with his family and the University of Minnesota Foundation, led a community fundraising effort to bring a notable private collection of Black literature to Minnesota in 1985. This collection, named in honor of his father Archie Givens Sr., now resides at the University of Minnesota. It contains 9,000 rare and first edition books, manuscripts, scripts, correspondence, and other written materials, and is the inspiration for the Givens Foundation’s national programs.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Givens obtained his master’s degree in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota, where he pursued undergraduate studies in history and the humanities. He now serves on the University’s Alumni Board. He upholds a long-time family commitment to the community by serving on the board of the Minnesota Humanities Commission, the Weisman Art Museum, Coffee House Press, the Guthrie Theater, and Western Bank. 

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Sean Skibbie appointed as Director, Contract Compliance


sean-2 Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights (MDCR) is pleased to announce that Sean Skibbie has been appointed as Director, Contract Compliance. Skibbie has a strong background in construction work and in compliance that makes him a great fit for this position.


Skibbie most recently worked as the Small Business Contracting Supervisor at the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Civil Rights, with compliance oversight for approximately $3 billion a year of publicly-funded contracts. He also spent time at MnDOT enforcing prevailing wage requirements. His professional career began as a small business owner, operating a Minnesota based painting company. As the company owner Skibbie oversaw all administrative tasks and sales with the business and as well as operating logistics and managing the workforce. 

Skibbie began working for the Minnesota Department of Transportation in 2011. He first worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation Labor and Compliance Unit as a prevailing wage investigator.  In this position he investigated contractors for prevailing wage violations and accompanying labor compliance issues.  Sean later worked for the Alaska Department of Transportation as a contract compliance officer. There Skibbie oversaw the implementation and compliance of the Alaska DOT’s entire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. This included oversight of project monitoring, working with consultants to complete a disparity study, and the day to day operations of setting project DBE goals and conducting good faith effort investigations when contractors failed to meet DBE goals.  Skibbie then returned to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, where he gained experience in Workforce programs and as the Small Business Contracting Supervisor. In this position Skibbie managed a team of ten employees. As manager he improved monitoring practices on active projects and initiated procurement changes to increase small business participation. 

Minneapolis Civil Rights Director, Velma Korbel, summed up her thoughts about hiring Sean Skibbie in saying, “Sean is going to be great in his new role leading the Contract Compliance Division because he is passionate about equity and fairness, and demonstrates a commitment to high quality work. I’m most impressed by his ability to lead and work well with others, particularly his experience overseeing the Alaska DOT disadvantaged business enterprise program where he transformed the office culture to one of consistent productivity and teamwork. Furthermore, he has a unique combination of both academic training and real world experience that is essential to success in contract compliance oversight.  He has knowledge of small business issues as both a contract and former business owner and knowledge of civil rights history and issues from both education and experience.  Such a combination is hard to find. He is a bright and thoughtful young leader, who we gladly welcome to the leadership team.”

Skibbie received his undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota, and his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. He is licensed to practice in Minnesota. In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family. Skibbie is an avid runner and has participated  twice in the Twin Cities marathon. He is married to a Minnesota psychologist, Vang, and has three daughters.  He began his work at the City on December 5, 2016.

 

 

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