Edolphus “Ed” Towns – Chairperson
Chairperson, Edolphus “Ed” Towns
U.S. Representative (ret)
Hon. Edolphus Towns, JR., a Senior Advisor at Gray Global Advisors, is instrumental in the development and execution of successful strategies on behalf of the firm’s clients and provides strategic direction to its business development, advocacy, and communications initiatives.
He served in the United States House or Representatives from 1983 to 2013, representing two congressional districts based in Brooklyn, New York, during which he chaired the Congressional Black Caucus ( 1991-1993) and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ( 2009-2011).
Archbishop David J. Billings – Vice Chairperson
Holy Orthodox Church
Bishop Billings received his undergraduate training at Howard University. At the City College of New York, he completed his graduate work, and at the Cornell University he completed his Ph. D. He performed his postgraduate work at Manhattan Bible Institute and attended postgraduate sessions at the Institute for Religious and Social studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. In addition, he received a Ph.D. from Wayne Theological Seminary and Ph.D. from Trinity Hall College and Seminary of Springfield, MA.
He is a member of many organizations such as International Kiwanis, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, The President Task Force of Neighborhood Government and the Council of Churches of New York, Brooklyn Division and numerous other organizations.Read More
Bishop Billings was appointed the Secretary-General of the Churches of God in Christ International in August of 1976 in Norfolk, Virginia. He was later appointed Bishop over the Floridian Diocese of the Churches of God in Christ International and in August 1977 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was appointed Bishop of the Louisiana Diocese. He was the Adjutant General and Treasure of the Fellowship Jurisdiction of the Church in Christ International. Bishop Billings was consecrated a Vicar Bishop in WROCC in Apostolic Succession December 1999. Later he was elevated to Archbishopric in the ICHCOC. Currently, he is the overseer of the Ephesus Church of God in Christ and the National Cathedral of Christ Ministries.
Rev. Dr. Billings is the founder and Chief Apostle of the United Fellowship of Churches International. He is the National Treasurer of the World Bishop Council (WBC) and founding member of the New Life Tabernacle in Brooklyn, New York.
Doug Naidus – Vice Chairperson
CEO and Founder, World Business Lenders, LLC
Doug founded World Business Lenders in 2011. He has over 28 years of business-building and risk management experience in the financial services industry, during which he has focused on the development, structuring, trading, hedging and distribution of financial products on the retail and secondary markets.
As Managing Director and Global Head of Residential Lending and Trading with Deutsche Bank, Doug successfully executed and managed business activities on five continents, including high-profile transactions in the United States, Colombia and Saudi Arabia. Prior to this role, Doug served as the Chairman and CEO of MortgageIT, which he founded in 1999, led through a successful IPO on the NYSE, placing it among the 10 largest mortgage banks in the United States, and sold to Deutsche Bank in 2007. Doug also founded and served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPI Skyscraper, which became the largest mortgage broker in the Northeastern U.S. before its private sale.
Bob Beamon – Advisory Board Member
Olympic gold medal winner & world record holding track & field athlete
No name is as synonymous with the Olympic long jump as that of Bob Beamon. Nearly a half century after his gold medal performance at the 1968 Mexico City Games, reporters still attach the label “Beamonesque” to one of the greatest exploits in all of sports.
However, the story of Bob Beamon did not start at the Olympics. Born in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, Beamon was surrounded by a world of unsavory activity. Beamon became engulfed by the culture of the time. By the age of fourteen, he was rarely at school and involved in gang life, eventually becoming a gang leader.Read More
With the help of positive goals developed through sports, Beamon turned his life around. Athletics were the catalyst that fueled this transition. Bob was a New York state record holder and Junior Olympian. He won the 1965 National High School Triple Jump and High Jump awards. In 1967, he won the Indoor AAU Long Jump Championship as well as the Silver Medal at the Pan American Games Outdoor Long Jump Championships.
Beamon made the shift from hanging out on the corner to attending college. After beginning his NCAA career at North Carolina, A&T, he transferred to the emerging track powerhouse program at the University of Texas El-Paso. While competing at UTEP, Beamon proved to be a man of unparalleled principle. As a college student at the time of the civil rights movement, Beamon and fellow African-Americans boycotted a track and field meet held by a university with insensitive racial practices. His decision had major repercussions, costing him his scholarship and coach mere months before the Olympic Trials.
The year of the 1968 Olympics, Bob had 22 wins in 23 events, which landed him a spot in the Olympics. Nothing less than gold was expected of Beamon in Mexico City and his jump was nothing short of miraculous! Just 22 years old, he landed a jump of 29 ft. 2½ inches, destroying the existing world record by 1.8 feet. His Olympic record still stands today, nearly a half-century later. It is currently the longest standing Olympic record in the history of the modern Olympic Games. He is also in the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, New York Track & Field Hall of Fame as well as ESPN’s top 100 athletes in history. Beamon has been honored by every single major Olympic organization in the world as part of his many sports accolades.
His story also did not end at the Olympics. Following his uncharted success, he went back to school to complete his degree, graduating from Adelphi University in 1972 with a degree in Sociology. Now, Beamon takes lessons from his own life to positively affect American youth. As the Associate Commissioner of Parks in Miami-Dade County, Bob Beamon, along with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, organized the South Florida Inner-City Games for at-risk kids.
He was Chairman of the Bob Beamon United Way Golf Classic, which benefited youth-related programs for the United Way. In addition, he has gone on to pursue new dreams. He operates his own corporation, Bob Beamon Communications Inc., in Central Florida as well as Las Vegas, Nevada where he now lives with his wife, Rhonda A. Beamon. He collaborates with several organizations to facilitate scholarship fairs in the Central Florida area. More than 35 colleges and Universities award over $10 million in scholarships to qualified high school seniors. He is also an exhibited artist, designing and marketing a successful line of neckties and scarves. He is one of the first athletes ever to receive a license to use the United States Olympic Committee rings and logos on his merchandise. As with the USOC, Beamon has a line of apparel that can be purchased online at the International Olympic Committee website as well. Bob spends much of his time as an inspirational speaker and corporate spokesperson. He has developed his own motivational program, The Champion in You, in which he describes how, “Champions are made by the things you accomplish and by the way you use your abilities in everyday life situations.” Beamon is also on the Jessie Owens Foundation Board of Directors and is the newly named Global Ambassador for Special Olympics. Bob remains very active in the Olympic movement and recently received the Jesse Owens Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Smithsonian Museum this year. Bob Beamon is a man with a humanitarian’s heart. All he touches, it seems, turns to gold.
Rev. Dr. Byron L. Benton – Advisory Board Member
Senior Pastor Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church
The Rev. Dr. Byron LeaVance Benton is a native of Greensboro, North Carolina and a proud graduate of NC A&T State University. Pastor Benton completed his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (Princeton, New Jersey) with a focus on Homiletics and Pastoral Care and has a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University (Philadelphia, PA).
Pastor Benton’s gifts extend beyond the classroom and the sanctuary. He is a gifted percussionist and served as Chaplain of the A&T State University Band. As an undergraduate student, Pastor Benton instructed an urban charter middle school drum line at the Imani Institute in North Carolina. While an Associate Pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY, Pastor Benton founded the Berean Community Drumline (BCD) through the Berean Community and Family Life Center. The award winning drum line has performed at various venues and events.
Shirley Frye – Advisory Board Member
Mrs. Shirley Taylor Frye was born and raised in Fremont, NC, and graduated valedictorian of Friendship High School. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina A&T State University with high honors in education and English. She later received a Master of Science degree with honors in psychology and special education, from Syracuse University.
Mrs. Frye is the recipient of over 25 honors and awards, including the 1985 Governor’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, 2003 WFMY-TV Community Champion Award, 2005 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Bennett College, 2006 American Judicature Society (AJS) National Justice Award, 2006 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from UNC-Greensboro, and the 2008 Greensboro Partnership Distinguished Citizen Award.
Mrs. Frye started her professional career in Greensboro, NC, as a public school teacher. She taught second grade and exceptional children. She taught briefly at Bennett College and later returned to Bennett as a special assistant to the president and director of planned giving.Read More
She has worked at NCA&T in three different capacities including assistant vice chancellor for development and university relations and most recently, a special assignment as executive assistant to the chancellor. One of the most exciting and rewarding jobs to Mrs. Frye was vice president of community relations for the Greensboro CBS affiliate, WFMY-TV.
Mrs. Frye has been involved in over 100 former and present associations and affiliations. She has been a member of Providence Baptist Church for over 50 years. She has served on boards not only in the Greensboro area but state and national levels, as well. She is a member of, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc., 100 Black Women, Women Administrators in Higher Education, and a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Gerville “Gerry” Gibbs – Advisory Board Member
Founding Principal, Capital Impact Group, Member, African American, Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
Gerry is a founding principal at Capital Impact Group (CIG), a Trenton based Public Affairs and Business Development firm. Gerry is a highly respected figure in public service with over two decades of legislative, policy and political experience at the local, state and federal level. Gerry’s areas of focus are business development and financial services where he utilizes his extensive networks and expertise on behalf of his clients.
Prior to founding CIG, Gerry held high-level positions at the New Jersey Department of Treasury, serving under as Assistant State Treasurer and Director of the Legislative Affairs Unit which assists and oversees the annual budget process. Working with Republicans and Democrats alike, the legislative unit also handled legislator’s constituent requests. While at Treasury, he helped implement the State Alternative Investment Program which invested a portion of the State’s $70 billion pension portfolio to outside money managers and oversaw the Division of Public Finance, Pensions and Investments.
Gerry was a presidential appointee in the Clinton Administration from 1996-2000. He has also has extensive political campaign experience serving as senior adviser to many legislative and gubernatorial candidates and national advance staff member for President William J. Clinton’s re-election campaign.
John Harmon – Advisory Board Member
Founder, President and CEO,
African American Chamber of
Commerce of New Jersey
John E. Harmon, Sr. IOM, has served as the Founder, President, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, since 2007. Harmon is the former President and CEO of the Metropolitan Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce (MTAACC). Under his guidance, MTAACC grew its membership substantially, forged alliances with business associations/organizations and government, and forged strategic partnerships in the public and private sectors to benefit African American businesses throughout New Jersey.
John Harmon also is the Former Chairman of the Board for the National Black Chamber of Commerce; there are 150 Affiliate Chapters of the NBCC and over fifteen international affiliates. He is the Founder and Chairman of the New York State Black Chamber of Commerce (NYSBCC).Read More
Additionally, Mr. Harmon is a Board member of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce (NJCC), New Jersey BPU, Supplier Diversity Development Council (SDDC), Opportunity New Jersey, Better Choices Better Care NJ, Chairman of Crime Stoppers of Greater Trenton and a former Board Member of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), First Book, Minding Our Business (MOB), a youth entrepreneurial initiative in affiliation with Rider University.
Lastly, he is a member of The US Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, Harmon was recently acknowledged in South Jersey Journal’s inaugural list of the “Twenty-five Most Influential African Americans in New Jersey”, for the second consecutive year. Harmon was selected for Return on Information-New Jersey (ROI-NJ) “2018 Power List of Influencers. Harmon is also recognized as a Center of Influence (COI) for the United States Army and was recently selected as a participant in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC) hosted by the Secretary of Defense. The JCOC program is the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense. Harmon was selected as one of 40 individuals (out of 230 applicants) to attend JCOC18. In addition, Harmon is the only attendee from the State of New Jersey.
Harmon was the first individual selected as a member of the host committee for NFL Super Bowl XLVII held in New Jersey 2014. Mr. Harmon holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Mercer County Community College and Burlington County College, and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management, Fairleigh Dickinson University, 1983. Mr. Harmon also successfully completed a one-year Fellowship on Regionalism and Sustainability sponsored by The Ford Foundation and completed the Minority Business Management Seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 2009. Additionally, Mr. Harmon completed a four year Chamber Executive Management Program, at Villanova University, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in 2014.
Prior to his twenty year career as a chamber executive, Mr. Harmon was previously employed at The Bowery Savings Bank in New York City where he managed the bank's Residential Real Estate Department overlooking major mortgage loan transactions; and at Chemical Bank where he managed third-party loan originations for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. While working at Chemical Bank, Mr. Harmon established The Affordable Housing Loan Program. Following his banking career, Mr. Harmon founded a transportation company in 1989, called Harmon Transfer, Corp. The company transported foodstuff, perishable commodities, and products throughout the Northeast United States and Canada. Mr. Harmon has three sons, John Jr., Joshua, and Justin.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee – Advisory Board Member
Three names, a competitor in four different Olympic Games, winner of six Olympic medals, including three Olympic GOLD medals, and one remarkable story. Though voted Sports Illustrated for Women’s greatest female athlete of all time is deserving, it is her off-track efforts and service to others that are even more compelling. Mrs. Joyner-Kersee is the first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the heptathlon, the first African American woman to win an Olympic Medal in the long jump, and the first woman to score 7,000 points in the heptathlon. Today, Jackie Joyner-Kersee remains the world record holder in the Heptathlon.
Born and raised in East St. Louis, Jackie is committed to ensuring that all children have access to high quality after-school programs, safe recreational places within their communities, and caring adults to help them achieve their dreams. Jackie is the Founder, heart and soul of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, and serves as living proof that kids in East St. Louis can dare to dream big and if they have integrity, humility and determination, they can accomplish anything they desire.Read More
A passionate supporter of youth potential, her youth programs – called the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Winning in Life programs – empower students to succeed through believing in themselves. Inspired by her own experiences, these character education and physical activity programs provide the discipline and flexibility to ensure every child receives optimal benefits from participation. It is not often that one of the most famous athletes in the history of sport are willing to stop by a local school, but this is who Mrs. Joyner-Kersee is. She is a humble, kind and caring woman who believes in ALL kids and so makes time to ensure students know that they are capable of being a true winner in life if they always remember the most important skills are how one behaves and the choices one makes, and not just the talents they were born with.
Axel Miranda – Advisory Board Member
Founding Principal, Axel Miranda & Associates, LLC.
Axel is a founding principal at Axel Miranda & Associates, LLC Axel is a seasoned and proven professional, versed in External Relations; a Strategic & Business Development individual in sync with the ever-changing dynamics and economics of the times. Miranda also has expertise in specialty areas such as Small Business Development, Healthcare and in Latino Affairs.
Miranda is also able to, by drawing on years of experience and relationships in the public and private sector to help companies expand their operations and customer base. One of Miranda’s highest achievements was serving as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor of the State of New Jersey in 2003, he was proud to be the highest ranking Latino appointment in the history of the state’s executive office. Miranda works to develop a platform that enhances his ability to apply his passion to the initiatives he is involved in.
Trey Burton – Special Advisory Board Member
National Football League – Chicago Bears
Trey is an American football tight end for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Florida and was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014.
Burton accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida, where he played for coach Urban Meyer and coach Will Muschamp’s Florida Gators football teams from 2010 to 2013. Originally recruited as a quarterback in Urban Meyer’s spread offense, he played several positions for the Gators, including wide receiver, tight end, fullback and quarterback. As a freshman in 2010, he broke Tim Tebow’s team record for touchdowns in a single game with six. In 50 career games with Florida, he had 720 rushing yards, 976 receiving yards, and 20 total touchdowns.Read More
He received an invitation to the NFL combine and attended as one of 22 collegiate tight ends. His multiple positions through college made it difficult for scouts and analysts to determine what position he would play professionally. Standing at 6’2″, he tied Tennessee State’s A. C. Leonard as the shortest tight ends at the combine and was the lightest by 11 lbs. Burton finished with the fastest 40-yard dash time, tied for second in the three-cone drill, and fourth in the short shuttle among his position group at the combine. On March 17, 2014, Burton opted to participate at Florida’s pro day, along with Dominique Easley, Solomon Patton, Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison, Ronald Powell, Jaylen Watkins, and two other teammates. He performed the vertical jump (33″), broad jump (9’5″), short shuttle (4.31), three-cone drill (7.01), and running back drills for the representatives and scouts from 32 NFL teams. Burton lowered his time in the short shuttle and three-cone drill, while also increasing his broad and vertical jumps from the combine.
Derrick Chambers – Program Manager
African American Chamber Fund / World Business Lenders
“Derrick studied at the University of Florida where he was captain of the football team for two consecutive years. He played in the National Football League (NFL) for 3 years with the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. He also served with the Jaguars for Children at the Burn unit at Baptist Medical Center.
After his time in the NFL, Derrick studied at the University of Oxford in England. There he wrote in politics, philosophy, and history. He was a member of the Oxford Rugby team at St. Peter’s college.Read More
He is a member of the All Souls Codrington Library, a private college at Oxford for scholars from around the world. He studied at Oriel College Oxford, which was founded in 1324 by Edward II.
Derrick then went on to study at Princeton Seminary where he served as a Princeton Academic-Athletic fellow at Princeton. The academic-athletic fellows are made up of faculty and administrators who mentor student athletes at Princeton.
A member of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Delivered speeches and lectures in a variety of organizations, from high schools and universities to federal correctional facilities and religious institutions. Mentored youth in New York City and on a Navajo reservation in Shiprock, NM.”