Zainab Ali is an award-winning producer of independent films with a background as a senior recruiter for major corporations including Lucasfilm, Charles Schwab, and Gap Inc. She transitioned into filmmaking in her fifties when she created ZAG Media Productions and produced two short films; including Danger Word, which was nominated for best narrative short by the Pan African and BronzeLens film festivals and has appeared on the Aspire Network. Her latest film, Mama Gloria, made its world premiere at the Chicago International Film Festival and will have its broadcast debut on PBS in April. Zainab is a life-long film enthusiast, who grew up in North Philadelphia, and earned a BA degree in Journalism from Temple University. She inspires writers, directors, cinematographers, and investors to collaborate on stories that transcend boundaries.
To visit ZAG Media Productions website click here
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Dr. Leslie A. Brown, MD
ABOUT DR. LESLIE
Dr. Leslie Brown is an African-American woman who has been practicing ophthalmology in the Philadelphia area since 1991, with her office and optical shop in Bala Cynwyd. Dr. Brown grew up in Detroit, MI where she was valedictorian of her high-school senior class. She then went on to attend Princeton University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. Following this, Dr. Brown received her doctorate of medicine from Stanford University Medical School. The final leg in her educational journey was completing residency at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia.
As a solo-practitioner, Dr. Brown specializes in treatment of cataract, glaucoma, diabetic eye exams, contact lenses, and routine eye exams, seeing patients of all ages. Dr. Brown is currently an attending surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital and is dedicated to teaching future residents and increasing diversity amongst future ophthalmologists. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, an associate examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology, a member of the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the Montgomery County Medical Society.
On a personal side, Dr. Brown is first and foremost a wife and proud mother of four. She is also a member of Penn Towne chapter of the Links Incorporated, and former member of the Montgomery County chapter of Jack and Jill of America.
Jatolloa M. Davis MSN, CNM
It’s not often you meet a teenager who knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up. Even rarer: That she actually does it. But the high school anatomy class that Jatolloa Davis took during her junior year clinched it for her. “I was blown away,” says Jatolloa of the whole sperm-egg-baby phenomenon. The Philly native decided to get her BSN from the University of Pittsburgh, then her master’s in nurse midwifery from the University of Pennsylvania. That initial scientific wonderment hasn’t eluded her. “I make sure my patients know how awesome they are…that they’re doing an amazing thing and growing a human.”
Midwifery is about empowerment. Jatolloa, now a Certified Nurse Midwife with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, provides midwifery services at six different sites around Philadelphia—and for her, the best part of her job is “bearing witness to folks gaining or finding their power.”
“I’m also there for some of the most vulnerable moments,” she adds.
“I’m there when someone hears their baby’s heartbeat for the first time, or when they don’t hear the heartbeat, and we find out the pregnancy ends up being a miscarriage. I’m there when someone makes an informed decision about their reproductive life and journey. I get to be there in the moment before a birth when the birthing person has nothing left, and then immediately after when they look at you and say, ‘I did it!’ I get to let people show up as they are.”
‘As they are’ is an important distinction—Jatolloa is dedicated to connecting with her patients in a way that is most effective for them. As a midwife, Jatolloa notes that midwives have the resources to bridge gaps in health care and “provide space for people to show up as full humans.” “As the midwives at Jefferson, formerly known as Hahnemann Midwives, we take care of a majority of health center patients. These folks are mostly black and brown, uninsured or underinsured. Black and brown women, in particular, are often overlooked and underserved. Those are the folks who deserve to have a provider that looks like them. They deserve to have care where systems are connected.”
Jatolloa is part of a midwifery revolution that is working to return power to people who have traditionally been disenfranchised by the health care system. Racist and biased health care and providers, and hospital systems concerned only with the bottom line have resulted in critical disparities in maternal mortality outcomes for Black and Indigenous women, particularly. The American College of Nurse-Midwives released its first position statement on racism and racial bias in May 2018, committing itself to eliminating racism and racial bias in the midwifery profession and race-based disparities in reproductive health care. “If folks do not know the care they deserve then they won’t know to expect it,” Jatolloa notes. “Depending on which site I’m at, I might be seeing clients for return prenatal visits or new OB visits, or—if I’m at the hospital—I might be guiding residents in what normal labor and birth looks like, as well as supporting the birthing person and their chosen family. We (midwives) assist in postpartum rounds and triage—we are super team-oriented while on labor and delivery, and ensure that everyone adjusts to the ideas that everyone deserves a midwife and that most people can benefit from a midwife being a part of their care team.” Making high quality care an expectation for Black and brown people is the goal.
In addition to Jatolloa’s work with birthing people, she is also drawn to addressing racism and Black maternal health through community work. “A client asked me to teach a health class about midwifery, health disparities in birth, and birth options, and it grew into community work with the main goal of education. In addition to lecturing at high schools and community centers, mostly in Pittsburgh, I also created a summer program that mentored high school students with regard to midwifery and women’s health in the hopes that they would choose midwifery as a profession to increase the number of providers of color. More recently, I helped to create a program that addresses racism and bias in health care providers.”
Her work with health care providers is crucial for forging a more just health care environment. “I’m excited to be involved with medical student/resident education. We are able to help shape the physicians who will care for pregnant folks in the future—and we are shaping what midwifery will look like in a major health care system like Jefferson.”
Random fact: Jatolloa loves singing camp songs at the top of her lungs, and has been a camp counselor every summer since she was 15.
Marquita Robinson Garcia
Chemical formulator, Marquita Robinson-Garcia, trained and worked professionally in the beauty industry for major chemical companies including BASF and DowDuPont designing skin care products for global brands including Chanel, NARS and bareMinerals. After being promoted and ultimately transitioning from the lab to business development, she left her management role in 2017 after over a decade of corporate success with a mission to launch her own natural skin care line with a major focus on skin care customization.
One of my most rewarding services is helping people who have been let down by traditional personal care products but can't find a better option. Having worked extensively with synthetic and natural ingredients, I have learned the best care is derived from the earth's simple resources. With over ten years of corporate industry experience; transitioning from experimenting in the lab to leading business development, I can confidently say natural products deliver equally effective—if not superior—results when compared to traditional retail products.
Functioning behind the scenes, I worked for raw material suppliers, which supply the ingredients to manufacturers that create personal care and beauty products. I gained insight, strategically planned with global beauty brands, and in part, influenced the direction of mass-marketed products that would reach households all over the world. I experienced the good, bad, and ironically, the ugly of the industry first-hand. It provided me with incredible knowledge about personal care and cosmetics. Yet, I was disappointed in the products (which use tons of synthetic chemicals) and marketing messaging (which promote impracticable beauty ideals to convince people to buy the products). It all felt toxic to the mind, body and spirit.
I felt out of touch with the people and families who rely on the industry for their hygienic needs and wellbeing. From my tenure as a chemist and formulator, I could personally attest to the excitement of designing and creating personal care products. I yearned to share my experience with others on an individual level. Personal care should be just that-PERSONAL. Care and attention were missing from the mass market, retail beauty equation. I had to find a way to prove we could create products for individual needs. Don't get me wrong; I loved my line of work. The roles I served gave me a backstage pass to the theatrics and fantasy and false ideals promote by the beauty industry we know today. The personal care industry offered me exciting prospects for career growth but the methods and messages didn't align with my core beliefs about beauty and self love. This caused my 2017 separation from corporate, sparking a chain of events leading to DVINITI Skin Care’s foundation. Opening my own skin care company in 2018 materialized my vision. DVINITI's mission is our specialization: INFORM, EMPOWER, CREATE.
It's based on the philosophy of providing plant-based, carefully crafted skin care for an individual's unique skin chemistry. The DNA of the DVINITI brand name itself is spiritual. It serves as a reminder of my higher calling to self and community to operate in our innate divinity. True beauty doesn't exist in a physical state. It can neither be boxed nor contained. Beauty is an inherent virtue, birth right and extension of love that preserves life and serves the greater good. We encourage our community to trust nature's recipe for feeling and looking our best. We guide each client by identifying and creating unique blends, teaching them how to choose quality ingredients, and gain the confidence to manage their skin care needs over time. DVINITI Skin Care continues to educate our community and customers and LOVE their skin and promote self care practices to enhance wellbeing and feel beautiful everyday.
Bonkosi Alyssa Horn
Co-founder and creative director of freedom apothecary, a lifestyle and wellness brand with an emphasis on representation and accessibility with 10+ years in brand strategy, community-building and experiential design at both local and global scales; a mother of 2 superhero boys and a radical little lady; inherent ultra-connector of people, community-builder, innovator and serial entrepreneur in constant pursuit of growth, bringing people together and making the world a better place.
To visit Freedom Apothecary's website click here
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Owner, Co-Founder, and Formulator at Freedom Apothecary where her mission is to not only offer the best there is to offer in clean beauty products, but to bring diversity to the beauty and wellness industry and provide a platform for female + black-female-founded brands. Freedom Apothecary holds space for women to uncover themselves and be authentically, holistically, and unapologetically themselves. In addition to this, Morrisa is a mother of two girls, a serial entrepreneur, and a licensed esthetician.
To visit Freedom Apothecary's website click here
Find Morrisa & Freedom Apothecary on Instagram!
Nile Livingston is a native of Philadelphia whose ancestral roots in the city go back three generations. They hold a BA in Studio Art from Kutztown University, where they studied large scale metal fabrication and now they work across an array of media, including mural arts. Livingston founded Creative Repute, LLC Graphic Design Agency in 2017, where they work with a deep bench of specialists in graphic design, website development, and brand identity.
In 2020, Creative Repute was awarded a silver medal from the Global Indigo Awards for exceptional work and has been recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Livingston's work as an artist has been recognized by Rad Girls, an organization that celebrates women's accomplishments; The Colored Girls Museum, the only institution in the US exclusively dedicated to the history of black girls in America; and Mural Arts Philadelphia, the nation's largest public art program.
Also in 2020, Livingston was ranked amongst Philly Magazine's list of the 76 most influential people in the city. In their spare time, Livingston's civil involvement includes serving in the Walnut Hill Community Association in their neighborhood.
Shannon Maldonado is the founder and creative director of YOWIE, a creative platform and design studio founded in 2016. After over a decade working in fashion, she created the storefront and design studio to showcase emerging artists and create spaces that evoke emotion and discovery. Shannon sits on the board of directors at Fleisher Art Memorial and seeks to build an intersection between art and community. Past collaborators include the Philadelphia Museum of Art, CB2, Fleisher Art Memorial, Ubiq, ICA Philadelphia, Ethel's Club, and The Deacon. In 2022, YOWIE is evolving into a multi-floor platform for creativity, bringing hospitality, design, retail, and community engagement into one interconnected space. The new concept will be a place to stay, shop, create, and collaborate with YOWIE.
To visit YOWIE's website click here
Find Shannon & YOWIE on Instagram!
In 1985, Charita Powell launched Amazulu Collections by traveling to fairs, shows, and special events throughout America. A staple at the historic Reading Terminal Market, her designs are a mix of unique, custom-designed, high-quality sterling silver jewelry and stunning home decor items from other countries.
Inspired by her grandmother’s entrepreneurial spirit as a property owner in South Philadelphia, Charita started a business at age nine by cleaning marble steps for her neighbors. She continues to have the same ambition and has now gained vet status in Philadelphia.
In 2016, Charita expanded on the success of Amazulu by launching Urban Karma Wear, a fashion line for people who desire an aesthetic beyond the uniformity of mass-produced clothing. She describes Urban Karma Wear as “wearable-art”, designed to make unique statements whether male, female, androgynous, or non binary representing.
In 2020, despite the pandemic crisis, Amazulu Collections launched three new brands- Crown Beauty Head Couture, Magnetic Seduction Lashes, and Body Love Waistbeads to further expand into a multi-partner collective. She is building upon her success and the success of others by joining together female artists, both locally and nationally, to support each other as creative entrepreneurs.
Experienced senior consumer goods executive most recently in beauty and publishing with a proven track record of changing the trajectory of organizations, inspiring teams, and reinventing business models. Named by WWD as a woman to watch in ethnic beauty. Strong interpersonal skills resulting in successful accomplishments in business, civic leadership, and philanthropy. High profile speaker, frequently quoted in local and national markets.
Find Desiree & BLK/OPL on Instagram!
Dr. Heather Ruddock
ABOUT DR. HEATHER
Dr. Heather Ann Ruddock is a Philadelphia and South Jersey based board-certified Pediatrician and aspiring child yoga instructor. After graduating from Columbia University, where she was an Ivy League track & field champion and 400-meter record holder, she earned a medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Ruddock completed medical residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and later served as a Clinical Attending and Assistant Professor in the Emergency Department.
During her residency, Dr. Ruddock contributed to community and wellness focused community-based programs including volunteering at the Woodstock Homeless Shelter and Shape Down, an adolescent weight loss program created by fellow residents. After completing residency, she continued to pursue her passion for community pediatrics, addressing unmet medical needs and disparities in underserved communities and serving as a role model as the Clinical Medical Director at Greater Philadelphia Health Action's Woodland Avenue Health Center in Southwest Philadelphia.
She joined Advocare West Deptford Pediatrics in April 2011, where she combines her love of community pediatrics with her interests in physical and mental wellness. An avid fitness buff, Dr. Ruddock was inducted into the Columbia University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018 and received her yoga teacher certification in 2019. She hopes to complete her 6th marathon in 2021 and run in her 1st Master's race in 2022.
She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania.
Delores F. Sapp
“I’m motivated by how many people I helped through my journey called life but more fascinated by who carried me on their shoulders to fulfill my dreams.”–Delores F. Sapp.
Delores Sapp is a community advocate with a legacy of over 40 years serving the communities of Philadelphia. She is a retired United States Army Reserve Staff Sergeant and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She is an alumnae of Northampton Community College.
Delores Sapp received a letter of appreciation from the former President Barack Obama congratulating her for her “Make a Senior Happy Day” program that is held annually in September. This program inspires others to participate in providing inspirational letters, meals, conversations, and outings to seniors.
Delores Sapp volunteers for several non-profit organizations, such as The Verizon Pioneer, The Philadelphia NAACP ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics) and The Philadelphia NAACP Branch, Grands As Parents, and The Evoluer House, just to name a few. She is an excellent spokesperson for positive change in the neighborhood. She informs the community about summer jobs, wills, scholarships, and financial literacy programs, political and social issues. She works tirelessly in encouraging the youth to always be their best self and start by loving, respecting, and appreciating self-first. Her mission is to do everything in her power to assist them in having a better quality of life.
Delores Sapp has received numerous awards from The Philadelphia NAACP ACT-SO and The Philadelphia NAACP Branch. Also notably, she received several City of Philadelphia citations from former State Representative Vanessa L. Brown, The Verizon Pioneers, and Grands As Parents.
Dr. Tina Scott, LPC, NPC
ABOUT DR. TINA
Dr. Tina Scott is an accomplished psychotherapist, coach, speaker, and trainer who started her career in the Healthcare Industry. Through hard work, determination and faith, she became a senior health care executive and prevailed in several organizations for over 20 years. Dr. Tina has extensive experience running strategic operations for multiple high volume healthcare delivery departments. She has proven her ability to deliver measurable improvement outcomes while enhancing program success. Dr. Tina also has been consistent with implementing methods that promote a culture of service excellence.
In addition to her years of experience as a senior health care executive, Dr. Tina has always had a passion for helping people reach their full potential from the inside out. With her passion for psychotherapy and her commitment to business excellence, Dr. Tina merged her two skills and became an Organizational Psychology Practitioner, where her focus became human capital and retention. Dr. Tina is a college professor, a Certified Professional Coach, an approved Clinical Supervisor, and Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in breakups, self-esteem, loss, divorce, and independent living. She offers a highly personalized approach tailored to meet her clients' individual needs to obtain the personal growth they are striving to achieve.
Dr. Tina is a loving wife to a husband that she has been with for over 30 years and the proud mother of three awesome children. She is a loyal friend and a kind person who has loved, lost and learned a good deal about herself and life along the way. Dr. Tina works with companies, organizations, and individuals to eliminate stress, maximize success, and create extraordinary relationships at home, at work, and in the community. She diligently aids clients in deconstructing obstacles that hinder healthy living of the mind and spirit.
Dr. Tina serves as a contractor for the Wounded Warrior Program, where she offers clinical support to soldiers who have PTSD. Also, Dr. Tina is a contractor for the NFL to help them around transition, adjustment challenges and assist with success on and beyond the field. A well sought after public speaker, Dr. Tina led her expert insight on Old School 100.3 FM in a broadcast segment called "Moments with Dr. Tina" as well as on the viral Internet radio show, "Diva Docs." She guest host on the show, "Physicians on Air," and guest host with Thera Milling on WURD 900 AM. Dr. Tina offers her professional expertise on local news channels. In the community, Dr. Tina serves on the WIC board and has served on the board for Habitat for Humanity. She is the Clinician Think Tank founder that focuses on educating, empowering, and encouraging clinicians on all levels. In her church, she is a First Lady and a dedicated leader on the Women's Ministry. Dr. Tina's life scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Dr. Ala Stanford
Photo by Kimberly Paynter from WHYY!
ABOUT DR. ALA
Article: "Black doctors consortium takes COVID-19 testing into their own hands" by Katie Meyer; Published on 04/17/2020
Reposted from WHYY.org
Click here to view the article
Pediatric surgeon Ala Stanford says as the number of coronavirus cases have risen in Philadelphia in the past several weeks, she has been getting more and more worried about the city’s Black residents.
“In Philadelphia, African Americans represent 44 percent of the population, but at last check, 52 percent of the deaths,” she said. “For me, that was unacceptable.”
Stanford grew up in North Philly, and now runs a medical consulting firm and has a private practice in Jenkintown. She is also on staff at Abington-Jefferson Health.
She said as the weeks went by and more cases and deaths were recorded in the city, she began feeling increasingly frustrated.
She talked to people early in the pandemic’s rise who were under the impression African Americans were resistant to COVID-19, and she published a video trying to dispel the myth. And she kept getting calls from family, friends and friends of friends who were worried they had the virus but couldn’t get tested. Sometimes they didn’t have referrals or their doctors didn’t have tests. Some had a referral, but their only option was a drive-through testing site and they didn’t have a car.
That’s where the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium came in.
The group is a newly-formed arm of Stanford’s firm, an affiliation that includes a number of doctors and churches in Philadelphia’s Black neighborhoods.
Stanford had some testing kits on hand, as did several of her colleagues in the medical field, and so, she said, “we put our supplies together and we went out to the community.”
Additional Honorees Include
Cheryl Mayberry McKissack