If diamonds are forever, then original DREAMGIRL, Sheryl Lee Ralph is a multifaceted jewel of a woman who sparkles in every facet of her life. Her award winning body of work in film, television and the Broadway stage includes originating and creating the role of Deena Jones on Broadway in the landmark musical Dreamgirls, which earned her a Tony Award Nomination and a Drama Desk Award Nomination for Best Actress.
She was voted one of TV's Favorite Moms and received numerous NAACP Image Award nominations for her portrayal of loving step mom, Dee on the hit series Moesha. In the SHOWTIME series, Barbershop, Sheryl broke new ground as the beautiful post-operative transsexual, Claire. She brought a new face to the sufferings of war in the NBC hit series ER. Her extensive film credits include The Flintstones, Sister Act II with Whoopi Goldberg, The Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington, Mistress with Robert De Niro, and Eddie Murphy's Distinguished Gentleman to name a few. Sheryl Lee's performance with Danny Glover in To Sleep with Anger won her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress.
As a motivational/inspirational speaker, Sheryl Lee consistently creates a contagious positive energy with her spontaneous humor and quick wit, which has made her a much sought-after speaker, guest and guest-host. She has appeared on: The Larry King Show, Entertainment Tonight, CNN, The Daily Show, FOX & Friends, Good Day LA, Good Day NY, CBS Morning News, CNBC Africa, Hollywood Squares, Smile Jamaica, Real Life DIVAS, The Martha Stewart Show, The Wendy Williams Show, The Michael Baisden Show, Tom Joyner Show. Sheryl has been featured in: People Magazine, JET, Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, Ebony, ESSENCE, Bazaar, Vogue, GQ, Glamour, Time Magazine, Black Enterprise, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and hundreds more publications. Sheryl Lee Ralph captivates, motivates and inspires audiences around the world.
A passionate AIDS activist, Sheryl Lee Ralph is the producer and creator of the critically acclaimed DIVAS Simply Singing! After twenty years of solid entertainment boasting such talents as Patti LaBelle, Stacey “Fergie” Ferguson, Miss Nancy Wilson, Melissa Manchester, Natalie Cole and Chaka Khan to name a few, DIVAS is the longest consecutive running musical AIDS benefit in the US. Ms. Ralph is the founding director of the DIVA (Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed) Foundation 501(C)3 which she created in memory of the many friends she had lost to HIV/AIDS. Ms. Ralph has added the critically acclaimed one-woman show Sometimes I Cry, written, directed and performed by Ralph herself, about the lives, loves, and losses of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS to her list of outstanding credits. Believing that testing is important, Ms. Ralph and husband Senator Vincent Hughes established, www.testtogether.org in an effort to encourage couples to get tested for HIV/AIDS and other STD’s. Rich in creativity and spirit, Sheryl Lee Ralph was awarded The Red Ribbon Award for her unique use of the arts in raising HIV awareness.
Ms. Ralph found new success with her production company, Island Girl Productions, writing, directing and producing her award-winning film short Secrets. With an all-star cast, that includes Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard, Victoria Rowell, La Tanya Richardson, Robin Givens and Ralph herself. Secrets was a finalist in the HBO Film Short Competition, Showtime Filmmakers Series, Acapulco Black Film Festival, Hollywood Film Festival, Pan African Film Festival, Urban World Film Festival and “Audience Favorite” at Outfest Film Festival. She is also the founding creator of The Jamerican Film & Music Festival, which in five years gave birth to five SHOWTIME Filmmaker Finalists. Her latest project, The D.I.V.A. Awards was successfully launched with Oscar nominees Mo’Nique and Lee Daniels.
Honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sheryl Lee Ralph holds the distinction of being the first and youngest female graduate of Rutgers College (RU) at the age of 19. She has received a Doctorate in Humane Letters from Tougaloo College and Huston-Tillotson University. Mother of two with a blended family of four, Sheryl Lee acknowledges love is the greatest gift to be given and shared.
“If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready!”
Sheryl Lee Ralph
A Delta is D.I.V.A, Divinely Inspired Victoriously Anointed
October 9, 2010 The 20th Annual DIVAS Simply Singing!
October 8, 2011 The 21st Annual DIVAS Simply Singing!
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is currently serving her fourth term as a member of Philadelphia City Council. Reynolds Brown is the only woman to win a Philadelphia At-Large Council seat since 1999. On January 2, 2012 Councilwoman Reynolds Brown was elected Majority Whip, and is the only woman serving in City Council Leadership.
Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is dedicated to enriching the lives of Philadelphia residents by “Putting People First.” As an educator, community activist, political leader and concerned parent, her focus and commitment to helping others defined her work prior to her election to Philadelphia City Council. After graduating from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, Reynolds Brown earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Education, both from Penn State University. Upon graduating she began teaching elementary school in the School District of Philadelphia. Reynolds Brown then began a career as a professional dancer, ultimately earning a place as a company member of the Philadelphia Dance Company, affectionately known as Philadanco. Following her company membership, she continued her affiliation with Philadanco, becoming a dance instructor and later a board member for 20 years.
A sought-after speaker, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown often devotes her programmatic and legislative efforts toward improving the quality of life and life chances of our City’s most vulnerable citizens: children. Since 1999, Reynolds Brown has become an honorary mentor to thousands of women and girls through her signature program, The Celebration of Moxie Women. Through this program, Reynolds Brown has honored hundreds of successful business and professional women, working mothers, and Philadelphia’s “Next Generation of Women Leaders: Rising Stars.”
Councilwoman Reynolds Brown has passed meaningful legislation and supported valuable community programming that positively impacts her core issues: children and youth, women, arts and culture, education, small business development, and the environment and sustainability. Legislative accomplishments include:
- Fund for Children: Persuaded the Phillies and Eagles, along with Mayor John F. Street , during the sports stadium negotiations, to establish this fund requiring each team to contribute $1 million annually for 30 years.
- Menu Labeling: Requires chain restaurants to provide menu labeling with nutritional and calorie information.
- Department of Parks and Recreation Merger: Worked with Council President Darrell Clarke to overhaul Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation system, merging Fairmount Park with the Department of Recreation creating increased efficiency and savings.
- Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification: Requires landlords to have a certified technician conduct a dust-wipe test when property built before 1978 is turned over to a new tenant, all designed to protect children.
- Curfew: Equipped police officers with a new and stronger curfew law to complement the opening of 11 citywide curfew centers.
- Green Building: Requires City buildings and renovations to reach a high sustainability standard.
- Percent for Art: Secured increased funding for the arts in the City’s budget and fought for the integrity of the "Percent for Art" programs.
- Equal-Benefits: requires companies that contract with the city for more than $250,000 to provide domestic-partner benefits to their employees.
- Pension Forfeiture: Requires any city employee convicted of sexual abuse of a minor to forfeit his or her city pension.
- Women on Boards: Advancing female entrepreneurship opportunities and leveling the playing field on business and governmental contracts.
Organizational Affiliations (current):
- Board Member, The Philadelphia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, The Marian Anderson Award, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, City Year Philadelphia, The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Girls Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania and Wynnefield Residents Association.
- Member, Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Coalition of 100 Black Women, PA Chapter; and Pinn Memorial Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. Awards: Honored by United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the School District of Philadelphia, Women’s Way, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Philadelphia Business Journal and recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s 50 Most Influential Women in the book “VOICES.”
"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” This is the mantra that guided, Founder & President, Shaleah Laché Sutton to develop the groundwork for UNIQUELY YOU SUMMIT, INCORPORATED (UYS). She has fused her life and international work experience to build the annual platform for hundreds of brown middle and high school girls, to speak freely about self-esteem, abstinence & sexual accountability, and academic success. “The organization’s mission is to help girls of color uniquely define, discover and become who they are during adolescence,” Sutton says.
As a former magazine Account Executive, Shaleah knows the dedication and commitment it takes to build a brand, after aggressively landing Philadelphia STYLE Magazine’s very first alcohol advertising contract, with Anheuser-Busch, in early 2003. Simultaneously, she helped to revive the, then new, publication’s sales and marketing division. Six years later in 2009, her advertising and sales background would facilitate the launch of the “UNIQUELY YOU” SUMMIT’S first fundraising and sponsorship campaign with brands such as: Hint Water, Carol’s Daughter, and Random House Publishing. She even convinced her former employer, ARAMARK Corporation, to be the first sponsor to buy-in on her new idea.
With a knack for event-planning, Shaleah journeyed to London, England in 2001 for a four-month stay to work with a company called Networking for Industry, where she assisted in the direction of political and social events for British Parliament, MP Barry Sheerman & the Duke of York. While in London, she also attended City University, to continue her studies in Political Science and Media Studies. A few years later in 2004, that overseas experience would allow her to be instrumental in the planning and execution of a thirty-seven city Corporate Communications Tour with former ARAMARK CEO, Bill Leonard, for the corporation’s Mission One initiative.
In 2005, Shaleah experienced a blessed and life-changing event, when she gave birth to twins, Brandon & Island. For 6 years, she committed herself to them as a stay-at-home-mom. “The sacrifice of putting my individual dreams and aspirations on-hold is no match for what I know my children will gain from building a strong foundation for their future. There is nothing that I’m more devoted to than being a mother. Brandon & Island come first.” Shaleah also says her children are her life’s muse. “I am continually reminded by them, at all the right moments, to live life purposefully.”
Most recently in early 2010, she expanded the Summit’s NAASC partnership to the Northeast Region (of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College) to make the “UNIQUELY YOU” SUMMIT for Girls an even bigger reality. In 2011 and 2012, Sutton collaborated with the Delaware Chapter of the NAASC to encourage and empower 500-plus tween and teenage girls, on the campuses of Villanova University and Philadelphia University, to move beyond the social norms and cultural complexities that stand in the way of their ability to be strong, confident, and powerful young women. On June 2, 2011, Shaleah was awarded Proclamation No. 110325 by the Council of the City of Philadelphia for her work to enrich the civic values and leadership skills of young women in Philadelphia. On September 21, 2011, she was also given the honor of “Outstanding Young Leader” by Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes. At the end of 2011, she was presented with the Lady Leadership Award from The Role Model Group for her commitment to leadership and excellence as a real role model.
Shaleah holds a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA (2002). Visibly, social service is one of her loves. At present she sits on an Advisory Board for “A Healthy Woman’s World” (a Health Initiative by Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph & Senator Vincent Hughes). Shaleah is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is also an active member of the National Alumnae Association of Spelman College. She currently resides in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania with her 8 year-old twins, where she serves as her daughter’s Girl Scouts troop leader.
Kim is a proud mother of spunky, creative and fun children and enjoys adventuring through life with her husband Chris Trethewey, pastor of the Renaissance Church in Summit, New Jersey. Now a stay at home mother, Kim formerly served as the creative programming director of family ministries at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas but considers the title MOM as the most rewarding position she’s held on this planet.
After years of struggling to conceive and experiencing the loss of an infant son she and her husband adopted, Kim overcame her fertility challenges to not only give birth but to inspire others to understand and cherish the influential role of wives and mothers.
Angela M. Brown is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend, mentor and community leader—a woman recognized for making a difference and inspiring others to do the same. Unconventional and determined, Angela has journeyed the proverbial “road less traveled,” turning a number of obstacles into opportunities to blaze new trails and become the woman she is today.
That journey began in 1989 when at the age of 17 she arrived at a “fork” in the road while on scholarship at the prestigious Hampton University. There as a college freshman, she discovered she was pregnant. Having vowed after her parent’s divorce she would never wed or have children, Angela found herself at another defining moment in her life—one she realized would not only shape her destiny, but that of her unborn child. Deciding to be the wife and mother God saw her being instead of focusing on the one she feared she’d become, Angela elected to take a detour after her first semester, deciding to marry and give birth to her first child. Today she is the proud wife of Kevin Brown, her husband of 23 years, and the mother of two incredible children, KJ and Olivia, whom she celebrates as her greatest achievement.
Now a seasoned businesswoman in addition to a wife and mother, Angela enjoys more than 15 years of experience as a public relations executive, including eight years as president of OmniMedia Consulting Group, an award-winning public relations firm she founded in 1999 that specialized in media relations, event planning and media training.
Currently, Angela serves as the director of marketing & public affairs at NewCourtland, a leading, non-profit long-term care provider based in Philadelphia. In her position, Angela acts as a spokesperson where she tirelessly advocates for the needs of low-income seniors and is responsible for shaping and projecting the image of the organization through oversight of all media, government and community relations.
In addition, Angela passionately serves alongside her husband, Kevin, founding pastor of The Perfecting Church, where together they seek to help others discover and fulfill their potential in service of their communities and Angela oversees A Woman’s Business, an international outreach for women, by women to restore the purpose, power and position of women.
Angela graduated from Rowan University with a BA in Communication and a Certificate in African-American Studies, and is a member of the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on Aging, the Urban Affairs Coalition Community & Economic Development Committee, the Reed Street Presbyterian Apartments Board of Directors and president of the Board of Directors of PHILADANCO. She has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Courier Post Diversity Committee, the Multicultural Affairs Congress, a division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mt. Airy USA Neighborhood Advisory Board, Philadelphia Society for Services to Children and as past chair of the Philadelphia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s 2000 Pepperpot Awards.
In recognition of her achievements, Angela has been honored with the Philadelphia Business Journal “40 Under 40” Award, the “40 Under 40 Minority Executive Award,” and the “Rowan University Person of the Week” award, and uses her experiences as a platform to motivate women to use their lives to make a difference through her frequent speaking engagements, mentoring, media interviews and as guest host of TBN’s “Joy in Our Town” now airing on WGTW-TV in the greater Philadelphia region.
Jericka Duncan joined CBS 3 and The CW Philly’s Eyewitness News team in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter in August, 2010 and since her arrival has already received accolades as “Journalist of the Year’ by the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists in 2012.
Before coming to Philadelphia, Duncan was a reporter for WIVB-TV, the CBS station in Buffalo where she has been on-air since August, 2007. Previously, she was an anchor/reporter for WETM, the NBC station in Elmira, New York from 2005 until 2007. A second generation broadcaster, Duncan grew up in newsrooms shadowing her father, Ronnie Duncan, a sports anchor at WAAY in Huntsville, Alabama.
She is a 2005 graduate of Ohio University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications while on athletic scholarship there. In 2005, while still a student, she was awarded an NAACP Image Award for her academic and athletic achievements. She has racked up honors in the industry as well, including a New York State Broadcasters Association Award for Best Spot News Coverage in 2007 and a local Emmy Award in the Best Morning Show category for winter storm coverage in 2008.
Active in the community, Duncan is a member of the Philadelphia Chapter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentoring program