Photo from Facebook

Danielle Wilson

Cincinnati Chamber USA

Eric Ellis, Kala Gibson, Gee Horton, Crystal L. Kendrick, Sonia Jackson Myles, David Kirk and Tyran Stallings. Photos provided

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber announces the 2021 ‘We Are Making Black History’ honorees presented by Frost Brown Todd and Ohio National Financial Services.

Throughout February, the Chamber will recognize seven Black leaders living and working in our region, making Black history, and creating legacies today.   

The tribute will culminate at a future virtual event. Details will be announced later in February.

Black History Month is an opportunity for every citizen to reflect on our nation’s history and recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by African Americans. It should also be a time when we look around in our community and honor the leaders in our region who are currently making Black history and creating a path for others to follow,” said Danielle Wilson, vice president of marketing with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “We hope these stories inspire everyone to discover new ways to advance inclusivity in their workplaces and open more pathways for Black leadership in our region.”

The 2021 class of “We are Making Black History” honorees:

Eric Ellis is president and CEO of Integrity Development Corp., a firm that helps to build organizational cultures where Diversity, Inclusion and Respect flourish, which drives sustainable, improved business results. He is viewed as a thought leader who effectively collaborates with internal diversity practitioners and HR Leaders to develop and implement innovative D&I solutions. Eric is also the author of the book Diversity Conversations, 3rd edition.

Kala Gibson serves as executive vice president, head of Business Banking and chief enterprise corporate responsibility officer. In Business Banking, he oversees strategic planning, operations, sales force, credit fulfillment and product development for Fifth Third clients with annual revenues up to $20 million. In December 2020, he added oversight of the Bank’s Community and Economic Development efforts, including Community Reinvestment Act lending and investment, and environmental, social and governance efforts. He’s also chairman of the Bank’s Executive Diversity Leadership Council.

Gee Horton is a self-trained Hyperrealist visual artist who has recently transitioned from a career in the corporate world to focus primarily on making art and building communities. His current work makes a connection between his African roots and their juxtaposition to American attitudes on the social and emotional development of the African American experience. Gee is currently working on a series of work entitled, “Coming of Age”. The series is autobiographical and offers a complex multilayered conversation about black-male adolescence and their search for identity, acceptance, purpose, and love.

Crystal L. Kendrick, President of The Voice of Your Customer, has more than 25 years of global and domestic marketing experience specifically targeting hard-to-reach, underserved, international and niche populations. The Voice of Your Customer is a marketing firm that assists clients to penetrate niche markets using assessments, focus groups, media campaigns, mystery observations, and survey research. Under her leadership, The Voice of Your Customer was named the NMSDC National Supplier of the Year and the Cincinnati PRSA Small Agency of the Year.

Sonia Jackson Myles has over 20 years of experience in corporate America, working for top Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Company, The Gillette Company, and Procter & Gamble. She is the Founder, President & CEO of The Sister Accord LLC dba The Accord Group LLC.  She is also the Founder & CEO of The Sister Accord Foundation.   Her global movement, titled The Sister Accord, has 3 areas of focus:  Educating girls and women, Enlightening girls and women of the Power of Sisterhood and Eradicating bullying and violence against girls and women. She is on a mission to have 1 Billion girls and women learn how to love themselves and each other. 

David Kirk is a licensed architect in five states with over 30 years of diverse architectural experience on public and commercial projects. Since 1986, he has been President/CEO of DNK Architects, Inc.(DNK). Through David’s leadership as Principal-in-Charge, his firm has completed a portfolio of projects that are diverse in both size and scope. David worked with the National Organization of Minority Architects (past Mid-West VP) to develop programs to introduce the profession of architecture to African American youth around the country.

Tyran Stallings is an educator, philanthropist, investor, and business owner. As a former educator, Stallings’ need to broaden his impact on Black children led him to founding The DAD Initiative, Inc., a non-profit focused on the development of African American youth through mentorship, cultural and career exposure, and innovative programming. The organization has served thousands of young men and women in the Greater Cincinnati area, their families, and communities. With his partners, Tyran also launched Buildwell Development Group, a minority owned residential development company.

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