Late in 2007, I had the good fortune of traveling to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to meet with PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. As an avid golfer, meeting him was a win, but the winning didn't stop there.
While spending time with Commissioner Finchem, I also had the opportunity to talk about a topic that closely rivals my passion for golf: the presence of students of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in golf. What was scheduled to be a 40-minute chat turned into a four and half hour intense conversation with the commissioner and his executive staff about the importance of growth and increasing diversity in the golf industry.
Honestly speaking, Golf.My Future.My Game. was conceived during that meeting. Enthusiasm was high, and everyone who attended that initial meeting left ready to move forward with our plan to make golf a more inclusive sport. No one, however, anticipated the widespread devastation that our floundering economy would have on the country and, unfortunately, on some of the members of the Golf.My Future.My Game. team. But what we learned was that regardless of intervening circumstances, a concept this important -- one that had a potential to positively impact the sport and remove color as a barrier to entry -- could be delayed, but not denied.
With a lot of hard work, optimism, and collaboration, Golf.My Future.My Game. was finally born. And today, we are walking and talking, bringing the tradition, history and the sport of golf to young people, women and people of color, particularly those studying at HBCUs, through a series of programs designed to improve their game and help them build meaningful relationships with players, corporate partners, and philanthropists.
Craig Kirby, Founder
Golf.My Future.My Game
Craig Kirby, Founder
Craig Kirby is one of the nation's premiere political strategists. Mr. Kirby's thought provoking strategies galvanizing the "essence of uptown with the common sensibilities of downtown" has led to issue advocacy and electoral successes for candidates at all levels of government. Craig Kirby has worked to advance the Democratic Party’s strategic plan and political goals in a variety of high-ranking positions. In 2011 he served as Chief Strategist for the successful Alvin Brown for Mayor Campaign in Jacksonville, Florida.
Prior to Mayor Elect Brown he managed the successful re-election 2010 campaign of Congressman Steve Cohen (Tn-9) He served as Senior Advisor to Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner as well as Director of the Vice Chair’s Office at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where he oversaw the day-to-day activities of the Party’s four national vice chairs. Prior to this position, he was a Senior Advisor to Governor Howard Dean’s successful DNC Chair race.
In 2004, Kirby was among a select few of African-Americans to hold senior level positions on both presidential and senatorial campaigns. During the primary season, he served as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Edwards for President Campaign where he developed and implemented the campaigns political and communications strategies for all constituent groups. Afterwards, he managed the Peter Deutsch for U.S. Senate Campaign where he ran the day-to-day operations of a 25 person staff that helped Congressman Deutsch emerge as a top tier candidate in a crowded Democratic primary. As the DNC Southern Political Director in 2002, he helped the Party retain Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana and pick up a House seat in Georgia. Learn more at www.craigbenjaminkirby.com
HeavenNezCree, Director of Creative Content
With pure imagination describes the intent with which HeavenNezCree has approached her creative endeavors. Working in the arts, media and education she has connected organizational messages to the community using print, film, live performance and new media. She has united with companies like the Greenway Arts Alliance, multiple schools within the LAUSD, the Margo Davidson Campaign, TidBit Learning Center and individual clients to produce an array of marketing materials and entertainment pieces.
In December 2010 HeavenNezCree traveled to New Orleans with other artists to help rebuild homes devastated by hurricanes and flooding; she has written both book and music, and directed and choreographed the children’s musical “The Storyteller” which opened and played at Greenway Court Theatre in March 2011; directed and arranged The Beatnix - A Choroepoem, a project performed at The Original Farmers Market (LA) in which she wove together the poetry of Fairfax High School students presenting a beautiful look at the true meaning of fame (April 2011) ; writer and director of Words Like Rivers (June 2011 - Greenway Court Theatre) Principal Cinematographer on the D.Ryan Howard short film For Santa’s Who Have Considered Suicide (Dec. 2011); conceived and directed “Urban Moments” (June 2012) at the Original Farmers Market (LA) / The Grove; director and choreographer for "The Gingerbread Girl" written by D.M. Larson (WEHO Kid's Fair April 2013); director "Snow White and the Seven Kachus" (WEHO Kid's Fair April 2014); director "Rock, Sword, Firecracker" (WEHO Kid's Fair April 2015) producer "Romeo and Juliet, 3015 A.D." Greenway-Fairfax (May 2015). Writer, Producer of the Halloween short "Trick or Treat" (October 2017)
Member SAG-AFTRA and ASCAP.
Director of Development
Nadia is a marketing and non-profit executive with experience handling mid-level to large-scale accounts. She has over 10 years of experience in the world of non-profits, marketing, community development and working with community organizations. Previously, she was an independent consultant working in the areas of sales development, partnerships/collaborations, and marketing.
Jaia Terry, Administrative Officer
In addition to her cheerful disposition, Jaia brings with her project management, employee training, and data analysis skills to Golf. My Future. My Game. These processes often called for interfacing with a diverse set of stakeholders to provide creative solutions to business problems unique to programs and organizations.
Jaia continues to have a passion for writing, business process improvement, knowledge management, & organizational strategy, and is currently working as an analyst at the Universal Service Administrative Company, an organization dedicated to the provision of telecommunications service to every American.
Alexis M. Herman
Dr. John A. Newman
Sen. Mark R. Warner
Ron Kronthal, Esq.
Joseph F. Johnson
THE HONORABLE ALEXIS M. HERMAN - FORMER SECRETARY, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
At the age of twenty-nine, President Jimmy Carter's appointment made her the youngest director of the Women's Bureau in the history of the Labor Department. And on May 1, 1997, Alexis M. Herman was sworn in as America's 23rd Secretary of Labor and the first African American ever to lead the United States Department of Labor. She also served as a valued member of the National Economic Council. As Secretary, she focused on a prepared workforce, a secure workforce, and quality workplaces.
Under her tenure unemployment in the country reached a thirty-year low and the nation witnessed the safest workplace record in the history of the Department of Labor. Alexis Herman's actions as Secretary were a reflection of her understanding of the needs of America's workers and the challenges they faced as this nation approached the 21st Century. Currently, Ms. Herman serves as chair and chief executive officer of New Ventures, LLC and is the Co-Chair on the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee. She has continued to lend her expertise and talent to a vast array of corporate enterprises and nonprofit organizations.
A recipient of more than twenty honorary doctorate degrees from major colleges and universities around the country, Herman serves on the Board of her alma mater, Xavier University of Louisiana and is a trustee of the National Labor College George Meany Center. Presently, she chairs the Toyota Diversity Advisory Board and the Sodexho Business Advisory Board, is a member of the boards of directors of Cummins Incorporated, Entergy Incorporated, MGM Mirage, and The Coca-Cola Company, and is the former chairwoman of the Coca-Cola Company's Human Resources Task Force. Her nonprofit work includes the National Urban League and the National Epilepsy Foundation. Active in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, Ms. Herman now serves as Co-Chair of the Bush Clinton Katrina Fund.
DR. JOHN ALLEN NEWMAN - BOARD CHAIRMAN, JAXPORT / JACKSONVILLE PORT AUTHORITY
John Allen Newman, political, business, community and faith leader in the Jacksonville Florida area for over 30 years. He is not only the Senior Pastor of The Sanctuary of Mt. Calvary Church but also chairman of the board of directors of the Jacksonville Port Authority, an organization impacting approximately 127,000 jobs and $27 billion in income for the North Florida region.
A member of Fix The Debt, a bi-partisan group working to resolve the national debt and fix the economy. A frequent visitor to Capitol Hill on debt and economic issues. Is called upon for political advice locally and nationally. Passionate about job creation and social justice.
SEN. MARK R. WARNER (D) - SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM VIRGINIA
Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget, and Intelligence committees. During his time in the Senate, Senator Warner has established himself as a national leader in efforts to find bipartisan consensus to create balanced solutions to reduce the federal debt and deficit. He also has been a champion for military men and women, their families, and our military veterans. Senator Warner also is a leader in Congress in efforts to promote private-sector innovation and to help our nation's small businesses and start-up companies succeed.
From 2002 to 2006, Senator Warner served as Governor of Virginia, where he worked in a bipartisan way to turn record budget deficits into a surplus. Governor Warner also focused on improving public education and expanding economic opportunity in every region of the state. He recruited 135,000 new jobs to Virginia during his four-year term. When Governor Warner left office in 2006, Virginia was consistently recognized as the nation’s “best-managed state," the “best state for business” and the state offering the best educational opportunities to its young people. Before entering public office, Senator Warner was an early investor in the cellular telephone business. He co-founded the company that became Nextel, and ultimately made early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that have created tens-of-thousands of private sector jobs.
RON KRONTHAL, ESQ. - ATTORNEY AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVE
Ron Kronthal is a well-rounded attorney and business executive, experienced both in legal and operational business issues. As in house General Counsel, he has extensive experience advising and working together with senior management in the day to day endeavors of running businesses with annual revenues ranging from 50M to 220M annually, including but not limited, to activities involving corporate compliance, negotiating and drafting agreements, risk management, employment and human resources, managing outside counsel, and overseeing specialized sales and marketing programs.
Prior to assuming the role of General Counsel, Ron spent twenty eight (28) years in the private practice of law where he specialized in the litigation and resolution of diverse disputes of both commercial and personal natures. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association, a graduate of the Georgetown Law Center (L.L.M., 1978) and the University of Baltimore Law School (J.D., 1976), and is currently licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland.
JOSEPH F. JOHNSON - SENIOR STRATEGIST AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVE
Joseph F. Johnson, over his thirty years of service in the public and private sectors, has developed several major projects; foremost being the Johnson Companies, an alliance of related company focused in the area of corrections management, rehabilitation programs, and information technology services. He serves as the Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Johnson began his career as the Deputy Director of Southwest Healthcare System in Las Cruces, New Mexico. In the mid-1980’s he served as the Secretary of Health and Environment for the State of New Mexico. He relocated to Washington, DC in 1987, where he served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia. Mr. Johnson then joined the Rainbow Coalition as Executive Director where he developed and implemented a national fundraising program that provided a financial base for the organization.
Mr. Johnson is the Chairman of the Board of Homeland Security Corporation (HSC). In 2002, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded a contract to the Lockheed Martin Services team, with Homeland Security Corporation as its largest subcontractor, to train more than 30,000 airport security screeners at 429 airports across the country. HSC has existing training contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia.
The Johnson Companies’ latest endeavor, Robotics Management Learning System, provides distance learning software that makes use of advanced computer based training and technology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The system is also used to provide disaster preparedness support and training to communities.
A graduate of New Mexico State University (BA’76; M.P.A.’78), Mr. Johnson areas of expertise include corrections programming, health care administration, government relations, and legislative development.
CINDY REID - PROFESSIONAL GOLFER, AUTHOR, COACH, ENTREPRENEUR
26 years of experience in the golf industry as a player, coach, author and now entrepreneur, Cindy Reid has been heralded as one of the best golf instructors in the world. Prior to teaching this great game, she spent 7 years playing professionally on the Japanese LPGA Tour and the US Futures Tour. Playing in 12 LPGA Tour events she won 4 professional tournaments. As a Class A member of the PGA of America and former Director of Instruction at the PGA TOUR’s TPC Sawgrass, Cindy has instructed professional golfers including Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Sophie Gustafson, Fred Funk, Davis Love, Tom Kite, Deb Richard, Rocco Mediate and many, many more.
Over the past ten years she has worked with the US Golf Channel, provided on-air playing tips for CBS Sports, USA Network and NBC Sports. She also regularly contributes to the Global Golf Network, CCTV and the China Golf Channel which features her daily golf tips. Currently building the internationally respected Cindy Reid Golf Academy at Mission Hills in China, Cindy also provides golf instruction articles for over 30 publications and websites across the world, including CindyReidGolf.com, Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Golf Vacation. She has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. Cindy is the author of several golf instructional books, such as Cindy Reid’s Ultimate Guide to Golf for Women and Get Yourself in Golf Shape; foreword by Vijay Singh.
JOHN WOODLAND - CONSULTANT
Mr. Woodland is currently a consultant with the global firm of Booz Allen Hamilton. He provides guidance to Federal and Defense Agencies for national security related programs and policy. He retired in 2013 after 32 years with the federal government, where he managed numerous aerospace and engineering programs in over 35 countries. He was appointed First Secretary of a US Embassy in Eurasia in 2001 and advised the Ambassador regarding technical policy with the host and several other countries. He works to foster Science Technology Engineering and Math In our country by teaching adjunct in several universities and in Junior High and High Schools on behalf of the Maryland Business Consortium.
Mr. Woodland earned an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from Howard University 1986, An MBA from George Mason University and a certificate with Oxford University 2003 and was a Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Fellow2006
He enjoys working with youth and has coached and instructed in Tennis and Basketball in the Washington Metropolitan area and during his time living abroad. He is a volunteer youth instructor for the US Tennis Association and at the US Open Arthur Ashe Day annually. He enjoys spending time with his family and attending or participating in sports and athletic activities
With a career in public affairs, strategic communications and political management spanning 25 years, President and CEO (The Caraway Group) Yolanda Caraway has a proven track record of excellence that has made the agency a success. That success has resulted in The Caraway Group working with major clients like Microsoft Corp., MGM MIRAGE, Bristol Myers Squibb, MCI, Mitsubishi and Texaco. As one of the nation's top political strategists, Yolanda's extensive work for the Democratic National Committee and with major political campaigns has produced relationships with elite influencers and decision makers. Through these associations she has counseled government and nonprofit agencies such as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Center for American Progress, NATO 50th Anniversary Summit and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation Project.
Since founding The Caraway Group in 1987, she has led her team in the counseling of a number of well-known Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and high-profile individuals in every aspect of communications strategy. She is a nationally recognized public relations and public affairs strategist who is known for policy-making, political management and public relations work in government and the nonprofit and private sectors. www.thecarawaygroup.com
René Redwood, CEO of Redwood Enterprise, LLC, is one of the nation’s foremost diversity experts and advocates. Her consulting practice uses a cooperative business model to provide strategies and structures to support the client’s mission. For more than 20 years, Ms. Redwood has informed the debate on access, inclusion and equal opportunity while directing initiatives for public, non-profit and private sector organizations.
She is often described as smart, strategic and energetic, and has been featured in publications such as Time Magazine, Black Enterprise, American Editor, Elle Magazine, and Essence Magazine. She served on the court appointed Oversight Task Force for Coca-Cola North America to oversee the corporation’s compliance with a historic discrimination settlement agreement, and served as Executive Director of the Presidential Glass Ceiling Commission (Civil Rights Act of 1991, Title II).
Her career also includes serving as Director of Political Operations for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, District Office Director for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Director for Administration for the Center for Policy Alternatives, Executive Director for Greenberg Lake: The Analysis Group, and Staff Assistant for U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd (CT). www.redwoodenterprise.com
With almost 30 years experience in the political arena, Licia has served as the Chief of Staff or District Director for three former members of the U.S. House of Representatives. In her many capacities, Licia has also served as the chief political operative and as a liaison with federal, state, city, county and school district governmental entities. Prior to the inception of WSG, Licia was Managing Director for Apex Advisors, a strategic planning consulting firm headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Licia also previously served as the President & CEO for Cherish Our Children International, an international children’s non-profit that develops and funds programs for vulnerable children and their communities around the world. Licia is highly active in volunteer efforts nationally, as well as the state of Texas and the greater Houston community, serving on numerous boards and committees. www.watermansteele.com
Albert Morales uses his years of experience working for the Democratic Party to help his clients achieve their advocacy and profile-raising goals. Mr. Morales has an extensive network of relationships, which allows him to secure timely intelligence, and gain rare insight into federal decision-making processes. Prior to forming Albert Morales Strategies, Mr. Morales served as a Vice President for Cassidy & Associates.
During his years with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Morales maintained relationships and communication with the members of congress, state and local elected officials and various advocacy groups. Through the DNC 50 State Strategy Morales developed and managed the implementation of new models for how the DNC interacts with the Hispanic electorate in the run up to the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary Election. Also at the DNC, Mr. Morales served as the Regional Political Director for the Committee’s 2000 Redistricting Project. In this role, he developed a political strategy to work with state parties to promote favorable redistricting plans, and worked with house and senate caucuses in state legislatures to advocate for consensus on redistricting maps.
In between stints with the DNC, Morales worked for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) as Federal Liaison and Policy Advisor to DGA Chairman Governor Bill Richardson. Mr. Morales advised the Governor on policy, and supported the efforts of Democratic Governors with regard to fundraising and strategic campaign initiatives. He also served as DGA liaison to Democratic Governors in the Hall of States and the National Governors Association.
Currently a Partner with Longstreet Ventures, LLC leading its Emerging Markets and Social Enterprise Division. Jerry lead the strategic repositioning and ultimate sustainability of a half-billion social enterprise portfolio, nationwide. Past assignments include OpenDoor Housing Fund, Washington, DC (2007-2013); the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise, Inc. TN. and the Chattanooga Community Development Financial Institution ( 2003-2006).
His practice of real estate law highlights counsel and consulting services in the areas of corporate finance, property and asset management, and commercial real estate transactions. Jerry’s past Board service includes: Neighborhood Capital Corp. , The Tennessee Housing Development Agency, the Community Foundation of Chattanooga, Inc., the Chattanooga Urban League, and the Fannie Mae Southeast Regional Advisory Board.
Jerry received his B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park, Md., and his J.D. from the Howard University School of Law, Washington, D.C.