FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

AALF is helping emerging African American leaders take the next step in being the change they want to see in the Black community

MINNEAPOLIS, April 17, 2020 — the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), an organization of over 1,500 leaders, is excited to announce our 2020 cohort for the Josie R. Johnson Leadership Academy (JRJLA), which includes: Mychal Batson, Alexander Bourne, Porsha Brown, Brianna Carey, Mondo Davison, Hana Dinkut, Georgia Fort, Jewelean Mni Jackson, Phil McGraw, Ashley Oolman, Dario Otero, Jazlynn Paige, DAngelos Svenkeson, Dr. Charles H. Watson, Chaz Sandifer, Chauntyll Allen, Robert P. Dixon Jr., Domonique Mechelle Jones, and Brittany Lynch Wright.

The Leadership Academy is an unprecedented opportunity for emerging Black leaders and innovators from across the Twin Cities to experience a year long hands-on path to personal and professional discovery directed by facilitators, mentors, developmental tools, and experiential learning opportunities. During their time in the program, fellows begin the process of building new ways to voice their purpose and passion fully engage in the community and bring about change.

Fellows are aware of the challenges facing the African American community, proficient in fulfilling specific leadership roles that match their skillset and have a passion for helping make Minnesota a better place to live for African Americans. Fellows are chosen for the Leadership Academy through a closed application process. Candidates must be nominated by an AALF Board Member or JRJLA alum in order to apply.

About the 2020 Cohort

Mychal Batson: Mychal, or @MycDazzle, is a strategist, designer, illustrator, storyteller, and creative consultant based in St. Paul, MN. He graduated with honors from Augsburg College in 2010 with a degree in Creative Writing. Alexander Bourne: Alexander is a Twin Cities native raised in East St. Paul. Alexander is the founder of Bourne Strategies, a consulting firm that provides business solutions to entrepreneurs and nonprofits alike, as well as policy development & political consulting services. Porsha Brown: Porsha Brown is a mental health therapist for an agency named Youthlink. Youthlink helps youth ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness. When Brown isn’t at work she considers herself a holistic healer!

Brianna Carey: Brianna is a 2018 Excellence in Leadership recipient and a 2019 Young Women’s Innovator through the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. Mondo Davison: Mondo, most notably known as ‘The Black Tech Guy,’ is on a mission to inspire a generation of Black males to pursue a life in tech. Hana Dinkut: Hana has spent the majority of her life in Minnesota but considers both Minneapolis and Addis Ababa her home. In addition to serving as the Director of the Pan-Afrikan Center at Augsburg University, her purpose and mission are to build strong communities and empower the Black community through education.

Georgia Fort: Fort is a media personality and video storyteller. Most recently she co-directed and edited the award winning documentary Rondo: Beyond the Pavement, which is now on Amazon Prime. Jewelean Mni Jackson: Jewelean is an Elder Community Servant with the philosophical thought of life-long learning and learning from the cradle to the grave. Phil McGraw: Director and health advocate Phil McGraw elevates the voices of individuals through his lens. His community-centered vision brings healing and illuminates the path toward justice through the arts community.

Ashley Oolman: Ashley, founder & inclusion consultant of Allied Folk, transforms workplaces through evidence-based best practices, product development, and progressive thought leadership. Dario Otero: Dario is the owner of Youth Lens 360, a company providing creativity and consulting services through the lens of youth ages 12-25. Jazlynn Paige: Jazlynn is a School Psychologist and Special Education Consultant. Jazlynn started her career in 2014 at several charter schools while completing her doctoral internship.

DAngelos Svenkeson: DAngelos, 32, is the Founder and CEO of NEOO Partners Inc., a commercial real estate and urban planning solutions firm serving the public and private sector. Dr. Charles H. Watson: Dr. Watson grew up straddling two worlds (as the scholarship boy from the inner-city learning in one world while living in another). Chaz Sandifer: Founder/Owner of theNEWmpls which focuses on fitness, nutrition, wellness and helping others heal from the inside out through a holistic approach. theNEWmpls specializes in group fitness classes, diabetes prevention programs, meal prep planning and operates/owns the Camden Farmers Market.

Chauntyll Allen: Educator, activist, youth advocate (and now St. Paul School Board member) Chauntyll Allen brings a lifetime of experience to her social justice work. Robert P. Dixon Jr: Robert is a servant leader and community advocate. He learned these key elements from growing up in New Orleans, LA, while attending St. Augustine High School — an all African American male Catholic Institution. Domonique Mechelle Jones: Domonique has over five years of experience in managing learning communities and over 10 years in development and project/program management. Brittany Lynch Wright: Brittany is a DJ, poet, and entrepreneur who fiercely advocates for families in communities of color. Her work exists at the intersection of media, music, social justice, healing justice, and birthing justice.

Email AALF Associate Director Ernest Comer III with questions at ernest@aalftc.org. Learn more about the Leadership Academy.

The African American Leadership Forum mobilizes and activates dynamic groups of committed and passionate African Americans to influence the social, economic and political landscape that impacts our daily lives.