Women In The Black New York Inc. is a Harlem based entrepreneurial organization created for the purpose of educating, training and supporting women business owners. Women In The Black is committed to educating and equipping women with the skills and resources necessary to start, build, lead and grow successful small businesses in their communities, primarily in the New York metropolitan area.
We are committed to strengthening our communities through fostering the growth of women owned businesses and promoting entrepreneurial excellence through innovative programing, extended learning and networking.
Entrepreneurship provides freedom to explore your passion while creating an opportunity to build a best-in-class Business. As entrepreneurship grows in this country women of color will account for the highest growth rate of all new entrepreneurs over the next decade.
While many will start low-entry, service and home based businesses they will continue to look for creative ways to enhance their business skill sets. These women owned businesses create new jobs for both themselves and others while bringing a unique management style to their industries.
Studies show that women of color face increasing obstacles as business owners; limited resources, competing demands on their time and access to capital. This greatly contributes to the underperformance and under capitalization of their businesses.
To provide women of color in underserved communities with the skill sets to open and build new businesses; to give them the encouragement to pursue non-traditional industries; to build a network of support around them to increase their business survival rates; and to highlight women business owners as an untapped important source.
- Financial Literacy
- Increase Annual Revenue
- Create Employment Opportunities
- Build Legacy Businesses
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
PRINCESS JENKINS, Founder
The Brownstone | Majestic Images
Entrepreneur, Business Consultant, Motivational Speaker
In 1998, Princess Jenkins founded Women In The Black with one goal in mind, to provide support and resources to female entrepreneurs like herself. She is the President of The Brownstone, Harlem's Contemporary Women's Clothing Boutique, which has been featured on Good Day New York, Good Morning America, Living It Up With Patti LaBelle and a host of other TV and Cable shows. She is a graduate from The College Of New Rochelle, where she is currently a professor in their CEO Program. She also hold a BA in Communications from The College of New Rochelle. Ms. Jenkins is an award winning business owner and is the recipient of many accolades including; Small Business Administrators Champion of the Year, Elliot Spitzer Small Business Award, the Crain's Magazine 8th Annual Small Business of the Year Award, the Harlem Chamber Small Business Award and the Stern School of Business-Business Plan Writing Award. She is the only African-American featured in a permanent exhibit on entrepreneurship at the Museum of American Finance on Wall Street.
PAT STEVENSON, Vice President
Pat Stevenson is the CEO, founder and publisher of the Harlem Community Newspapers, Inc., a Harlem–based corporation that publishes several community newspapers including; the Harlem Community News, Brooklyn Community News, Bronx Community News, and Queens Community News. The motto of her corporation is “Good News You Can Use.” More than twenty five years ago Pat noticed that Harlem was one of the few places in New York where there was no “free” community newspaper. She also observed that there was plenty of negative press given to Harlem, when in fact there were many positive things going on in the community. Therefore she pooled all her resources and began publishing the Harlem Community News, a publication focused on “positive” news and information concerning health, education, business, housing and events happening in the community. Later she expanded her efforts into the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn in areas with a predominantly African-American population.
Prior to owning her own publishing company, Pat's background was in the area of advertising and media. She has held positions as media director and vice president of advertising agencies in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, such as Rosenthal & Martin, The Advertising Agency, UniWorld Group, Inc., Chisholm-Mingo Group and J.P., Martin Associates. In positions in these companies she planned and executed national media campaigns for fortune 500 corporations such as Anheuser Busch, General Foods, General Motors and AT&T. She has also held positions in sales and administration at several newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television stations, including at NBC in New York and San Francisco.
Ms Stevenson has had an outstanding career and has won several awards, including: Young Outstanding Woman of America Award in 1980; Kizzy Award for Achievement as a Young African-American Woman in 1981; Outstanding Community Organization Award 1998 from the Greater Harlem Real Estate Board; The Cutty Award for being an associate in the Economic Empowerment of The People of Harlem 1997; Nguzo Saba Award “In the Spirit of Self Determination” from the Kwanzaa Foundation 2002; the 2005 “Spirit of Hope” award . and “The Percy Sutton Award” for excellence in media from the Harlem Business Alliance in 2005, The Media Excellence Award from the Harlem Arts Alliance 2006, the Excellence in Community Service award from Take Wing and Soar Productions in 2007, Excellence in Media award from The Grandparents Assoc in 2010, the .Women of Excellence award from the Women Chamber of Commerce in 2010, McDonalds Media Legend 2013, Healthfirst Community Service Award 2019.
Pat is a member of the 100 Black Women, Founder of the Harlem Tourism Board, on the board of the Bradhurst Merchants Association and was previously on the board of the Foot Center of New York.
Pat moved from her home Savannah, Ga. to New York in 1968. She has also lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and Denver. She graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in Queens in 1970. She attended Long Island University in Brooklyn, the American Institute of Banking, Taylor Business Institute, Marinello-Cormer School of Beauty in New York and Northwestern University in Chicago.
Pat is from a big family with nine sisters and brothers. She is currently a single mom and resides in Harlem with her son Dominic.
LIL NICKELSON, Treasurer
Lil Nickelson is an effective business professional that started college at 16 years old who received her BBA in Accounting from Adelphi University and her MBA in Finance from New York University. Ms. Nickelson held management positions with several global corporations in the insurance, financial news information and the consulting industries. Lil’s stand out organizational, people, verbal and written communication skills has helped her forge relationships associated with being a trusted resource and advisor to senior management teams and independent business owners.
Her passion for food led Lil to work in various roles within the industry: caterer, manager of operations at The Institute of Culinary Education, manager of 2Harvest Home farmer’s markets and chef at 2 Just Food’s farmers markets. Lil owned the Original Soupman franchise food business in Harlem for 3 years. Lil has written her food column “Dining with Miss Lil” since 2008. In 2016 she entered Columbia University’s Community Scholars program which she completed in 2018 and she continues to fine tune her Healthy Living for People of Color project, which strives to empower people to achieve and/or maintain healthy lives from childhood to our senior years. Lil has worked as her church’s comptroller since 2014.
Thelma Russell retired in 2000 from Chase Manhattan Bank, after 43 years of distinguished service to the community as Vice President/Branch Manager of the 125th Street, Harlem Branch. Thelma is currently a financial advisor consultant and part-time tax preparer at H&R Block.
Thelma is a graduate of Bernard Baruch College, she has a certificate from the American Institute of Banking, a certificate of Personal Development from Wabash Institute, a certificate for Credit Training from Manufacturers Hanover Trust, she has an Insurance license and a securities 6 and 63 license,
Thelma has been recognized for her excellence in the area of implementing bank policy and security procedures. She exceeded established goals in the area of sales, revenue, positive customer service and assisting residents and small business with finances to enhance the quality of lives in the community which she served.
Thelma is currently Chair of East Calvary Daycare Center Board of Directors, a position she has held for 25 years. . She was formerly director and on the board the Harlem Business Alliance, Treasurer of the Harlem Tourism Board, president of The African-American Network in the Poconos, and a board member of Greenhope Services for Women.
Russell has received numerous awards for her commitment to the community from, Senator David Patterson “Women in Industry” award. Boys Scouts of America, Greater Harlem Real Estate “Corporate Responsibility” award, Alumni Assoc. of City College “The Community Educator” award, The 125th Street BID “Community Service” award, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce “Community Service” award, American Cancer Society “Fanny Pierre” award, National Assoc of Negro Businesses “UJAMMA Corporate Economic” award and Professional Women “Corporate Hall of Fame” award.
Magazine Mogul, Sofia Davis is the Chief Executive Publisher of Fashion Avenue News, along with 12 other fashion & lifestyle publication. She is also a successful Fashion Week Show Producer. She is a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology. With an energy matched only by Oprah, she has created a Fashion Media Conglomerate. Sofia has loved fashion from the time she could reach the Chanel No. 5 on her mother’s dresser. Before attending FIT, she won the Uptown Saturday Night evening wear designer award with a Black Feathered “Bob Mackie” type Cocktail Dress.
Sofia noticed a need in the Fashion Industry to include models of all sizes, heights and weights, which lead her to create her own model management company. She came to the attention of a Producer from the World Famous Apollo Theater and was hired as Director of the Apollo Models. She held that title for 10 years. Every Wednesday she would provide 15 models, hair stylists, fashion designers and makeup artists. While at the Apollo she created BTE TV (Beauty Television & Entertainment). The Fashion TV show aired daily reaching an audience of approximately 750,000 viewers.
Constantly looking to improve the quality of opportunities for fashion models of all sizes, in 2009, Sofia began publishing Fashion Avenue News magazine. A GLOBAL, LUXURY BRAND, different from the rest. She would feature UNKNOWN models of all sizes on the cover and in the editorials. This was an instant hit, as local models and designers were looking for a platform. Sofia explains “I never go after the celebrity, although we have had plenty on our covers, this magazine is for the undiscovered fashion industry talent”.
With the growth of Fashion Avenue News, from 0 to 770,00 (email subscribers) 4 years later she created Model World Magazine, a publication that focuses on models and their careers, a year after that she created The Fashion Dynasty, now, where people can embrace their Uniqueness – a lifestyle magazine that features numerous topics and editorials. All of the publication can be purchased on Magzter.com, which is the largest global digital publication platform, reaching 46 MILLION as well as on www.FashionAvenueNews.com
Sofia is the Producer of Fashion on the Hudson, an independent Fashion Industry show similar to NY Fashion Week. This show, now in its 22 year, registered over 32,000 attendees.
Sofia is also known as the Black Anna Wintour and the First Lady of Fashion – always wearing her signature Bling Sunglasses. This led her to create Bling Darling Couture, a collection of Swarovski Embellished Couture Sunglasses, for people that love Bling.
Continuing her creative streak, she has created a line of couture garments, and opened The House of Sofia. This collection embraces women of all sizes, ages and heights. Unlike traditional on-line boutiques, The House of Sofia has a physical location where woman can try on the collection before they purchase. The great idea about this is if one size does not fit, you can try on another size, or get another garment from the collection, whereas if you purchased on line you would have to return the garment, wait for the larger size and hope it fits. We want our customers to have a happy shopping experience, this why we developed our “Private Shopping” showroom.
Sofia has covered Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris & Milan and Black Paris Fashion Week. She is known as the Fashion Mother as she is constantly mentoring models and designers.
Feel free to contact Sofia at SDavis@FashionAvenueNews.com – she is always interested in hearing from you.
Nell Merlino is the President of Count Me In Revival, a not for profit community of business women determined to survive and thrive in a post COVID world. www.countmeinrevival.org. Nell mobilized millions of people through her creation of Take Our Daughters to Work Day in 1993.
To advance the cause of women’s economic independence Nell launched the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business competitions in 2005. Nell served as a Pathways Envoy for the U.S. State Department promoting women’s entrepreneurship across Central America and served on the development committee for the Walmart Women’s Economic Empowerment program. Through her media appearances on every major news outlet, Nell has generated over 2 billion media mentions focused on the progress of women and girls. She is the author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want it Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work”.
Link to website: https://countmeinrevival.org/
Board of Advisors
MARIA GRAZIA CAVENAGHI
Born and raised in Milan Italy, after graduating lived and pursued her studies abroad. Speaks 6 languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish, Danish and Swedish.
She obtained her College Degree in Languages from the ETI - UNIVERSITY of GENEVA (Switzerland) and the ‘Certificate in Commerce and Shipping’ from MORLEY COLLEGE, London (UK), as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Conference Interpretation Techniques from THE POLYTECHNIC OF CENTRAL LONDON (UK), among others.
Immediately after college, in 1982 she was hired by the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (the Congress of the EU) in Luxembourg and Brussels where she started as CONFERENCE INTERPRETER, then became EDITOR & PRESS OFFICER and finally was nominated DIRECTOR OF THE INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION OFFICE in MILAN (IT) and later in MARSEILLE (France).
In 2013 Mrs. Cavenaghi left the Parliament and moved to NYC where she became the LIAISON OFFICER between OCCAM (UNESCO ONG) and the UN.
OCCAM organizes every year the ‘INFOPOVERTY WORLD CONFERENCE – IWC’ on the use of ICTs (Information & Communication Technologies) to promote Sustainable Development, in accordance with the UN Millennium Development Goals.
Among the many illustrious speakers Mrs. Cavenaghi brought to the conference: ILYASAH SHABAZZ, Amb. SUZAN JOHNSON COOK and CHERYL WILLS.
She is currently the International News & Entertainment Editor for Harlem News www.harlemcommunitynews.com
Since 2019 she is producing and hosting her own TV Show "MY HARLEM PORTRAITS" about Black Excellence and the importance of the African American contribution to the building of the US.
Airing: Saturdays at 12.30pm on Spectrum channel 1993 and Streaming live on MNN.org, channel 5 HD
Norma Jean Darden has had a long and versatile career in the food and fashion worlds. As a Wilhelmina model, her photos appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Glamour, Ladies Home Journal, Esquire, New York Magazine, Life, Newsweek and The New York Times. She was a favorite model of Essence Magazine and also worked for European magazines, such as Italian Vogue, Italian Bazaar and Elle.
Darden is also co-author, along with sister Carole, of the Award-Winning Doubleday book “Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine, Recipes and Reminiscences of a Family”. The book is a Historical Collection of Family Heritage, including recipes handed down for generations. The work became the first cookbook to come to the live stage when Darden toured the country with her one-woman show, Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine, for over a year.
Today Ms. Darden owns and operates SPOONBREAD INC. which includes SPOONBREAD CATERING, New York’s largest African American owned catering company and Landmark Restaurant Miss Mamie’s Spoonbread at 366 W. 110 St. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Spoonbread has a diverse and impressive client list, ranging from Fortune 500 majors like Time Warner, Microsoft, Viacom and Citibank to individual celebrity clientele and long time personal devotees. Oprah Magazine called owner Norma Jean Darden the “Secret Weapon Of Some Of New York’s Savviest Party-Givers”. The company is on the “Approved Caterer” list for many of NY’s hottest venues including The N.Y. Public Library, N.Y. Historical Society, M.O.M.A. and the Brooklyn Museum. Darden has appeared on TV’s Food Network, The Today Show and on Martha Stewart Living. Darden’s SPOONBREAD INC. worked as consultant with New York’s largest caterer, GREAT PERFORMANCES, on the opening of Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, one of three performances venues at the world class Jazz at Lincoln Center Facility in the new Time Warner Center in New York City.
Ms. Darden sits on the Board of the Salvation Army and recently co-chaired, along with sister Carole, Community Access’ Annual Gala benefiting homeless men and women with mental illness.
EUGENIA C. FOXWORTH
Eugenia C. Foxworth began her career in real estate accidentally. She was an art gallery owner, looking for another space and the agents she dealt with took her to all the wrong places. This experience is where she made a pivot in her career. In 2000 she started out as a sales agent before becoming a Realtor with the former Coldwell Banker, Hunt Kennedy (NYC), who she worked with for 7 years. During this time she was in the top 13% of CB and received several awards from Coldwell Banker, CBHK and CB, the parent company and FIABCI-USA.
She became an active member of FIABCI-USA (International Federation of Real Estate) in 2003. In 2005 she was elected as the FIABCI-USA’s Local Council president for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and served for 18 months. In 2007, after taking the brokers course, she changed associations and worked at Warburg Realty as an Associate Broker for 13 months and decided to hang her own “shingle”.
Eugenia C. Foxworth, Owner/Broker of Foxworth Realty, opened her boutique real estate brokerage company in September 2008 in the New York Women’s Chamber of Congress on135th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in New York City after returning from the International Federation of Real Estate (FIABCI) Regional Congress of the Americas & Asia Pacific, held in Hawaii. During this time, Foxworth Realty grew as others closed.
During the volatile economy at the time, she gave back to the Harlem and Brooklyn communities by assisting owners of brownstones from foreclosure of their homes. She rented to them, went to court and guided several owners through the ordeal in 2008 and has had a 100% success rate in doing so.
Foxworth Realty is local, national and global, specializing in marketing, sales and rentals of exceptional residential properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Riverdale (New York) along with leisure properties internationally in Costa Rica, Acapulco, Mexico, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. Through her advocacy and seeking creative ways of satisfying her clients, she is known for thinking out of the box, not having borders and getting the deal done.
Eugenia Foxworth has achieved many firsts in her career.
From 2005-06, she was the first African American woman to hold the office as President of the FIABCI-USA NY, NJ and CT Local Council, since its inception. In 2012 she was appointed by the FIABCI-USA president to be on the Executive Board of Directors for the USA, a first in 64 years. This is monumental for a “good ole boys club”.
She has served on the Executive Board of Directors at various times.
In March 2018 she was recognized as a special guest of the first Real Estate Summit in Cancun. In May 2019 she was appointed as the first Vice President of the Executive Board of Directors for FIABCI-USA and is the Vice President of The Americas-ORG. Throughout her membership, Eugenia has sponsored many events throughout the country including Mexico and Hawaii and served on many committees including the original Strategic Planning Committee, Marketing Committee and served as a Vice-President of the Americas with FIABCI-ORG.
In June 2020 she was invited to be a Trustee on the FIABCI-ORG Scholarship Foundation 2020-23. Eugenia was elected in June 2020 as the President Elect for FIABCI-USA 2020-21 and will be sworn in as the first African American to be President of FIABCI-USA in May 2021.
Eugenia is a member of REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York), CIPS, (International Property Specialist), NYRS (New York Residential Specialist) a NYS licensed Real Estate Broker and a certified MWBE with the city of New York and NYS. Foxworth Realty is a member of NAR (National Association of Realtors), MANAR (Manhattan Association of Realtors), REBNY, NYSAR (New York State Association of Realtors), HGAR and a certified NYRS (New York Residential Specialist) and FIREC. Eugenia has been an active member of the International Real Estate Federation since 2004. She is on the USA Executive Board of Directors and was FIABCI-ORG International’s Vice President of Marketing.
Prior to her life in real estate, Eugenia was a mentee of Bayard Rustin who followed her journey after she graduated from Drexel University. She worked for the Commandant of the 4th Naval District in Philadelphia, she became a flight attendant with Eastern Air Lines, during which time she was hijacked to Cuba (where they first used a molotov cocktail). As a flight attendant with EAL, she did special promotions and advertisements for them. She also did television commercials, print modeling and voiceovers for Air Jamaica. During this time, Eugenia was crowned Miss Yorkville and ran for Miss New York State. She also opened “Ugenia” a Mexican boutique located on east 70th street in New York City.
As a multipotentialite with a passion for art, she took leave without pay and opened Foxworth Gallery, a fine arts gallery located on east 65th street between Madison and Park Avenues in NYC in 1983. It was at her gallery’s Benefit for the National Council For Culture and Art, an organization that helped African-American artists who are in need of housing and economical support that Bayard and she reunited. That was the year that Alvin Ailey was honored and was presented the award at the Dinner at Shubert Alley. Eugenia also developed and was the Director of SOHO20, a woman’s not-for-profit art gallery from 1988 to 1992 and her interest in women’s health and personal care motivated her to develop a skincare line called “Dermcente Noire” for healthy black skin in 1992.
For over a decade, Eugenia Foxworth has been recognized for outstanding achievement both professionally and as a respected leader throughout her community and abroad.
Since 2003, the publication Unique Homes, has selected Eugenia as a member of Elite’s top real estate professionals in the world for marketing and sales. Sharon K. Young, President (2012) of FIABCI-USA presented the Jack Sharp Memorial Membership Award and the President’s Award in May to Eugenia at the Spring 2013 Annual Meeting and Celebration Dinner in Taichung, Taiwan during the 64th Annual International Real Estate World Congress Awards. She has been published and contributed to many books on the subject of real estate and had a featured segment on HGTV’s “House Hunters”. In 2018 she was instrumental in Columbia University’s Manhattan Project receiving the second prize for the Prix d’Excellence in Real Estate nationally from FIABCI-USA which was accepted by LaVerna Fountain, the first African-American to be a Vice President at Columbia University.
She’s on the Board of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce and served for 5 years as the Vice President of the Harlem Tourism Board. She submitted the Kalahari/MIST for the FIABCI-USA 2014 Grand Prix de Excellence, one of the most prestigious real estate awards in the country. The Harlem Tourism Board President and Eugenia accepted the award in Georgetown, DC at the high-level International Conference of Real Estate Professionals. In March of 2016 (post-President Obama) the Harlem Tourism Board, along with Congressman Charles Rangel, were a part of the Harlem Delegation to Cuba and Eugenia was the invited real estate delegate.
In April of 2019 she was recognized as a “Woman of Courage” and received an award from the Harlem Community News and HealthFirst. Eugenia received a Citation from the New York State Assembly District 70th, Assembly Member, Inez E. Dickens and a Certificate of Appreciation from Gale A. Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President in recognition of her dedication and service to the Harlem community. In June 2019 the Real Estate Weekly recognized her as one of the “Leading Ladies in Real Estate”. On September 2019 she was honored as a “Woman of Excellence” by the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce and in October 2020, Real Estate Agent Advisor highlighted Eugenia as “One of the Phenomenal Women in Real Estate”.
Eugenia is on the Senior Advisory Board for Community Affairs in Harlem and on the Board of The New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce. She served on the Board of Directors for White Box, an alternative international art gallery and sat on the Board of the Uptown Dance Academy, a youth dance troupe in Harlem that performs “The Black Nutcracker” founded by Robin Williams, during the time that the Artist Formerly Known As Prince, donated a quarter of a million dollars and Misty Copeland (of the ABT) performed as a guest principal ballerina at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Eugenia has a long history of philanthropy and working with inner city youth, mainly in the arts for many years, which continues to bring her personal satisfaction and joy.
DR. MARCELLA MAXWELL
Civic and Community Leader
Dr. Marcella Maxwell is a renowned educator and champion of social justice, with an extensive background in addressing issues of intergenerational health, community development, fund development and government relations. She has distinguished herself as a civic leader in the engagement and empowerment of women.
Currently, she is a geriatric educator who enables New York City seniors to meet the challenges of aging healthy and gracefully. In this regard, she has organized dozens of seminars, workshops and conferences with distinguished guest speakers who share their expertise to help empower our city’s seniors. Dr. Maxwell was a founding dean and clinical supervisor of teaching fellows at Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of New York. In this role, Dr. Maxwell trained and mentored teaching fellows to foster their professional development. She organized collaboration among principals, teachers and other faculty, spearheaded team-building seminars, curriculum design and development, and initiated instructional strategies and methods.
Dr. Maxwell also distinguished herself as a Commissioner of Human Rights and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women under New York City Mayors Koch and Dinkins.
Dr. Maxwell is committed to volunteerism, as demonstrated in the leadership roles she has played as a platinum (50-year) member of the Greater New York Chapter of The Links, Inc., lifetime member of the NAACP and as an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s North Manhattan Alumnae chapter and its National Social Action Commission. She is also the NGO representative for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at the United Nations. She successfully completed the extensive Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Dr. Maxwell received a master’s degree in elementary education from Long Island University and her doctorate in education from Fordham University.
REGINA LYNN SMITH
A life long resident of Harlem, Regina Lynn Smith has always been deeply committed to community empowerment having been raised in a politically active household. She advocated in 1980 for homeownership through the acquisition of city-owned brownstones for Harlemites. Along with concerned residents Ms. Smith founded Harlem P.R.I.D.E. to combat the siting of a correctional facility in a landmark neighborhood. She ran for City Council and also for the Community School Board where she was twice elected with the highest plurality.
Ms. Smith served as a member of the Consortium on African American Education, the African American Leadership Summit and the Coalition for Excellence in Black Education. She also served on the boards of Operation Open City, the Harlem Red Cross, the Harlem Education Roundtable and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Ms. Smith is President of the West 130th Street Homeowners Association.
Regina Smith gained both private, public and non-profit sector experience while employed in various capacities at Union Carbide, Revlon International in Paris, the NYC Housing Partnership, the Harlem Commonwealth Council and the Harlem Business Alliance (HBA). As HBA’s Executive Director, she continuously advocates for Harlem’s small businesses and seeks to provide entrepreneurs with cutting edge instruction and one-on-one technical assistance from subject matter experts.
Ms. Smith attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Business School. She has a daughter who also graduated from Wharton Undergrad.
Moss is a results-oriented, political consultant and business savvy leader with an extensive background in economic development (assisting with over 1 Billion Dollars of development in a span of under 3 years across five boroughs of NYC starting with recovery of Hurricane Sandy), and providing strategic/vision development across public, private, and governmental sectors. Her efforts have further led to the cultivation of over 5,000 jobs throughout the five boroughs through the businesses she has assisted.
She has proven success in driving organizational growth and revenue with a reputation for exceeding expectations and goals by establishing and developing strong partnerships and collaborations. Her demonstrated success has spanned Strategic Plan Development, Economic Development, Fund Development and Grant Writing, Marketing, Event Coordination, Volunteer Development, Management, Research, Media production and development, and overall Organizational Development.
Mari Moss serves on Community Board 10 in Central Harlem, The Neighborhood Advisory Board of Harlem, the School Leadership Team at the Talented and Gifted School and P.S. 175. She has been at the forefront of community focused concepts that have brought unification and has implemented and reinforced community involvement and engagement through events and ideas that bring about positive social change. Mari graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hampton University, and received her Master's Degree from Metropolitan College of New York in Public Administration. Her thesis was focused on a new economic theory known as “Ethical Gentrification” developed through a process on Manhattan Community Board 10 economic development committee. Mari loves to sing, act, write and read in her spare time and has three little Harlem girls who are sure to take after their mother and change the world in positive ways.
Acknowledged as the nation’s foremost expert in Audience Development by the Arts &Business Council, Ms. Walker-Kuhne has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. She has raised over $23 million in earned income promoting the arts to multicultural communities.
Award-winning arts marketing consultant Donna Walker-Kuhne calls the process of engaging audiences “a journey of life.” Throughout her career of 35-plus years, she has relied on deep sincerity and understanding of the diversity of cultures, religions, lifestyles, race and ethnicities as keys to creating new audiences for the 21st century.
She is founder of Walker International Communications Group Inc., a boutique marketing, press and audience development consulting agency. Her team has over 45 years of experiences specializing in multicultural marketing, group sales, multicultural press and promotional events. Walker-Kuhne has gained unique insights into the challenges of initiating conversations and building meaningful partnerships with diverse constituents. Her company has developed a brand reputation among performing art patrons of exposing them to high-quality productions and unique experiences in a way that exceeds audience members and clients expectations alike. This comes at a time when arts organizations are struggling to adapt to a rapidly changing cultural landscape and shifting demographics – evidenced by the growth of Hispanic, African-American and Asian-American populations and the rising consumerism of Generation Y and Z.
She is currently consulting as Senior Advisor, Community Engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center charged with developing and deepening relationships with targeted communities through partnerships, special events and group sales. She was formerly Vice President, Marketing and Communications for New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
A veteran of over 22 Broadway productions providing multicultural marketing and group sales most recently for Once on this Island, The Lion King, Aladdin, Smokey’s Joe’s Café Little Rock, HUGHIE, A Raisin in the Sun, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Gerswin’s Porgy and Bess, Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk, STICK FLY, Time Stands Still, Driving Miss Daisy and Ragtime. Her current non-profit clients also include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, The August Wilson African American Cultural Center, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Staten Island Arts Council and HARLEM WEEK.
She was an Associate Producer for George C. Wolfe’s Harlem Song at the Apollo Theater and co-producer for the 2004 AUDELCO Awards. She is co-founder of Impact Broadway, a socially and technology driven audience development initiative serving 300 African American and Latino students throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City. These students have participated in Broadway productions, social networking and participation in seminars and lectures. She was formerly Director of Marketing and Audience Development for The Public Theater and Director of Marketing for Dance Theatre of Harlem.
She provides consulting services to numerous arts organizations throughout the world and completed her fourth lecture tour to Australia in June, 2017. She also has presented lectures at the University of Berlin, Germany on the topic of audience development in 2008. In the fall of 2011, she was a guest lecturer in Moscow Russia as part of American Seasons, the U.S. Bilateral Presidential Commission. She conducted 12 workshops to theater directors, artists, students and professors on the topic of audience development in Moscow. She returned to Russia in 2013 lecturing in Sochi, site of the Olympics. In the fall of 2016, she co-curated a week-long certificate program in Moscow on the topic of Community Engagement sponsored by the United Nations Cultural Exchange Forum. In July 2015 she presented a keynote speech for the PIAD VRYSTAAT Arts Festival in Blomfontein, South Africa and the National Arts Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City, and in 2016, she presented a keynote in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the AMA Conference. Most recently in 2019, she presented a three day workshop on community engagement in Zagreb, Croatia.
She is co-founder of Bite the Big Apple, now in its 10th year, an annual multicultural audience development tour of Australian arts professionals to New York to experience diversity in cultural institutions.She is co-founder of Impact Broadway, a socially and technology driven audience development initiative serving 300 African American and Latino students throughout the 5 boroughs of New York City. These students have participated in Broadway productions, social networking and participation in seminars and lectures.
Ms. Walker-Kuhne is the recipient of over 50 numerous awards, proclamations and citations including the 2019 League of Professional Theatre Women Rachel Crothers Leadership Award, the 2019 SPAA Award for Community Service from Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration/Newark, the 2018 Support of Dance Award from Carolyn Dorfman Dance, 2015 Community Service Award from Women in Media, 2012 Women of Excellence Award from the National Action Network, Blacks on Broadway from The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce,2008 25 Most Influential Black Women from The Network Journal , 2009 Brooklyn College Managers for the Arts Salute Award and New York University Award for Teaching Excellence. She is an adjunct professor at New York University and Bank Street College. She was a facilitator for the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program for 15 years. She serves on several boards including Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Vice President of the Board for Newark Arts Council, HARLEM WEEK and The Harlem Arts Alliance. She is a member of The League of Professional Women in Theater and the National Theater Conference. Her first book, “Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to Arts, Culture and Community,” was published in 2005. She has a weekly blog, Arts and Culture Connections that explores cultural efforts to expand diverse audiences. She has completed her second book, “Champions for the Arts: Lessons and Successful Strategies for Engaging Diverse Audiences”. Ms. Walker-Kuhne is a volunteer with the SGI-USA, a world wide peace organization serving as Vice Director for New York.