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Board of Directors 


Lailanie Cappola

Board Secretary

Lailanie serves as the Executive Administrative Assistant in USC Student Affairs Office. Before coming to USC, Lailani was the Office Manager for a local non-profit foster family agency. Her duties included supporting social workers, community relations, fundraising, and special events. Lailani espent eight years as the Office Manager/Community Relations Representative for Special Event Venues. Her responsibilities included community relations, customer service and related administrative duties.


Karen Fleshman

Karen is a workshop facilitator, coach, public speaker, entrepreneur, feminist, activist, survivor, attorney, mentor, mentee, blogger, proud San Franciscan, and a single soccer mom. In 2014 she founded Racy Conversations, a workplace workshop facilitation company, to inspire the Antiracist Generation. Karen is striving to build and support a community of people committed to love, learning, accountability, and action on race in America. To do this, Karen co-facilitates workshops on race nationwide and online. She teaches people how to relate across difference as equals, respect, and learn from each other. Karen holds a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, a M.A. from the University of Texas, and a J.D. from New York Law School. She is a cofounder of San Franciscans for Police Accountability and serves on the workgroup overseeing US Department of Justice recommendations on ending bias at SFPD. She is the cofounder of the Interracial Sisterhood Coalition, the Collect Our Cousins LinkedIn live series, and Moms Allyship Against Racism. She is writing her first book, “My Name is Karen and I am an Antiracist” and posts frequently to Medium and LinkedIn.

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Ulysses “Jack” Howard

Ulysses “Jack” Howard Assistant Secretary, Office of Business Enterprise Administration in the Maryland Department of General Services, a recipient of the Government Champion Award from the National Association of State Chief Administrators (NASCA). NASCA, an association devoted to state Chief Administrative Officers and their senior leadership, presents the award to honor an individual that champions the critical role of efficient, effective, equitable operations and demonstrates a passion that good government operations and programs will enhance the customer and citizen experience. In this leadership role, he is responsible for managing several state programs with a total value of over $2 billion dollars. Those programs include the State Capital Grants and Loans division, Inventory and Fuel Management Standards, MBE & Small Business Outreach and Training, Marketing, the state’s Federal Surplus Program and the state’s Mailroom Operations. As the head of the State Capital Grants and Loans Program, he oversees over 1,400 active capital grant projects that are valued at over $1 billion dollars per year. Mr. Howard has the distinct honor of being appointed to serve in the Gubernatorial Administrations of the past three most recent Governors of Virginia where he served in positions of leadership in state government as a Regional Bureau Chief and as Statewide Director of Marketing, Outreach and Public Affairs for the Governor’s Office of Small Business and Supplier Diversity and he also served as a Policy Analyst for the Virginia Department of Public Safety. In his role with Governor’s Office of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, he was responsible for leading the development and implementation of the agency’s marketing plans, its statewide Public Affairs and Outreach efforts and he also implemented and managed the agency’s internal marketing activities, marketing research efforts, outreach projects, and the advertising campaigns that were developed to reach Small, Women-owned and minority-owned businesses. He also provided Management Consulting and Technical Assistance, including assisting with the implementation of Business Development Plans for the state’s database of over 20,000 state and federally-certified Small, Women-owned and Minority-owned businesses. He also developed and executed marketing, communications and outreach strategies and managed the regional staff and operations in the Hampton Roads region for The Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity. Skilled in successfully developing and cultivating strategic alliances on a corporate and organizational level, this is an essential part of his success plan.


Crystal Lutton

For years Crystal Lutton has been an author, speaker, teacher, and engaged in active ministry. She is the author of two books (Biblical Parenting and Grace-Based Living) about parenting and how understanding grace can change your parenting and your entire life. Now that her children are all adults she is enjoying them, their spouses, and grandchildren. Crystal invests her time seeking to help heal injuries and remove obstacles that Western Christianity has put in so many lives, by insisting that some people just aren’t welcome at the table, ’so that others can more clearly see God. She also spends a lot of time engaged in fiber and mixed media arts as meditation and contemplative prayer as a way of centering herself , she feels that so much of the world seems to be off kilter. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of partnering with God to bring heaven to earth. Crystal Is the administrator of White Women Against Racism.

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Damarea Parker


Damarea Parker is a former foster youth who was born and raised in Perris California, Damarea holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Master of Science in Higher Education from California State University Fullerton. With over 10+ years of experience in higher education, he has served in multiple roles pertaining to student leadership and development, campus programs, engagement, and involvement at CSU Fullerton, CSU San Bernardino, Cal State LA, and SJSU. Currently, Damarea serves as the Center Supervisor for the Black Cultural Center at the University of Southern California (USC). Damarea is committed and passionate about exploring the issues of cultural enrichment, financial literacy, Real Estate, Entrepreneurship, Self-development, and education through works of speech, workshops, music, and acting. Damarea has a passion for helping foster, low-income, and minoritized men and women. Thus, he became the founder and CEO of an Inspirational and motivational speaking company called Legendary Speaks to help men and women live their legendary lifestyle along with his upcoming first book. He is a proud member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated, co-founder of Black Scholars Matters, Black & Brown Economic Empowerment Partnership (BEEP), and an active member in the Riverside and San Bernardino community. Damarea joined Iota Phi Theta in the Spring of 2012 and is a charter member of the Theta Gamma undergraduate chapter at his alma mater at CSU San Bernardino. He has been an active and engaged member since and has held multiple leadership roles through his undergraduate and graduate experience, which include Polaris/President, Vice Polaris/President, Secretary, State Director, and Regional Secretary. Currently, Damarea serves on the regional board as Director of Intake and is the current Beta Zeta Omega Polaris/President. He is known as a brother who is innovative, dependable, motivational, and always willing to lend a hand and teach and develop brothers in the fraternity. Currently, Damarea serves as the Assistant Director for the Black Cultural Center at the University of Southern California (USC). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Master of Science in Higher Education from California State University Fullerton. Damarea is committed and passionate about helping foster youth, low-income, minoritized men and women, cultural enrichment, financial literacy, real estate, entrepreneurship, self-development, and educating through works of speech, workshops, music, and acting. Thus, he became the founder and CEO of an Inspirational and motivational speaking company called Legendary Speaks to help men and women reach the fullness of their potential along with his upcoming first book.

Dr. Tonea Stewart

Actress and Professor, Dr. Tonea Stewart, a native of Greenwood, Mississippi, has lived in Montgomery Alabama since 1990. She is a professional actress, play director, national museum exhibit director, tenured Professor and the Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Alabama State University. She was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU School of Theatre and the first McKnight Doctoral Fellow in Theatre Arts. During her study at FSU, Tonea also received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As an actress, Tonea is perhaps best known for her recurring role of "Miss Etta Kibbee" on in "The Heat of the Night". She earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for her role in the film adaptation of John Grisham's A Time to Kill and a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award for the narration of Public Radio International's series "Remembering Slavery". Tonea began her acting career in 1969 and became the first African American to direct and star in a leading role on stage at New Stage Theatre, the most prestigious equity theater in Mississippi. Since then, she has directed major museum exhibitions such as the Rosa Parks Museum, African American Museum of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and The International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, N.C. Stewart has performed in Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Scotland, Turkey and throughout the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Tonea has served as spokesperson for "One Church, One Child" of Alabama and for NOSAP, a Texas-based organization aimed at youth development. She was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, and she holds honorary doctorates from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas, and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Tonea is a member of the Order of The Golden Circle, a life member of the NAACP, SCLC, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and a dedicated member of Hutchinson Missionary Baptist church. She is married to Dr. Allen Stewart. They have three children and five grandchildren.


Renita Thomas-Franklin 


Renita is a quintessential southerner in decorum and hospitality, born and raised in Yazoo City, Mississippi, these attributes have served her well in creating an eclectic employment background. Renita's diverse employment sectors includes: Hospitality (hotels), Construction as well as the Front Office “voice” and “face” of several distinguished Investment Banking Firms and in Education (private schools) as the assistant to the Director of Admissions. The combined skills and knowledge gained from these valuable experiences afforded her the ability to interface effectively and efficiently with all levels of management, employees, clients, and vendors. She began her career with the Trojan Family at USC Shoah Foundation for 4 years having held several positions there: Assistant in the Executive Office, Interim Assistant to The Executive Director, and most recently the multifaceted role of the Visitors Experience Coordinator. These skills are invaluable in performing the role of the administrative assistant for the Office for Residential Education. Being the quintessential Southern lady, Renita adds her own “southern charm and hospitality” in her approach to her work by drawing on years of administrative service and support experience gained from her multi-facet career background, all intersecting to create a unique level of customer service and administrative skills. Renita is creative and enjoys creative writing, performing in the theater, and attending theatrical and musical performances. Also, a theatrically trained actress, she is a member of SAG and enjoys performing on stage and in film whenever opportunities and time permits. However, she gets the most joy in spending quality time at home and/or traveling with her husband of 24 years D’Andre, and their son Makai, an up-and-coming music producer/artist. They are the most important part of her life. "Family is EVERYTHING". ​ Education: BS, Theater/Communication, Jackson State University (JSU) AA, Visual Merchandising/Marketing Communications, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandise (FIDM)

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