Black Power 2019: Wisconsin’s 49 Most Influential Black Leaders, Part 5


    This is the fifth of a five-part series.

    Byron Adams is the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Originally from Chicago, Adams came to Oshkosh when he was 18 years old to attend college. He would go on to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UW Oshkosh in Communication, Business Administration and Educational Leadership. As Program Manager for Student Engagement and Retention in the Division of Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence, Adams served as a student retention specialist, co-advised the Black Student Union and coordinated the Lawton Undergraduate Minority Retention Grant.  

    Lonnie Brigham is the director of community relations at the Boys and Girls Club in Janesville. He is also the former chairman of the Janesville Police Department African American Liaison Advisory Committee. As a committee member, Brigham worked to create dialogue that enhanced a mutual respect and trust between citizens and the police department. He also implemented the first-ever community and school outreach program for students and resource officers in Janesville.

    Jenene Calloway is the director of talent for Schreiber Foods. In this role Calloway is responsible for the recruitment, development and retention of new employees. Calloway is also the partner development team leader, and coordinates company-wide leadership development and training strategies. In addition to that, Calloway has been featured on panels, including the African Heritage Emerging Student Leaders Institute, where she spoke to college students about what they needed to do now and later to get the jobs they wanted. She is also Chapter President of the Northeast Wisconsin Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

    Kristen Hardy is director of the Milwaukee Bar Association, was appointed to the Judicial Selection Advisory Committee by Governor Tony Evers and is the most recent past-president of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers — quite a lot of accomplishments since she graduated from Marquette Law School just five years ago. In 2019 alone she received three awards: Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40, Up and Coming Lawyer and Milwaukee Business Journal’s Top Corporate Counsel: Rising Star. She started a networking organization called Brunch of Professionals “to foster meaningful conversations around professional and personal development,” according to her Linkedin profile.

    Winnie Karanja is the Founder and Executive Director of Maydm, a Madison-based organization focused on equipping girls and students of color with the technical skills and experiences to become innovators and technology leaders. In just three years, Karanja has grown the nonprofit organization to become a well known name in the Madison area for teaching third through twelfth grade girls and programming and computer science fundamentals. Maydm partners with Madison Metropolitan Schools to lead workshops, semester long projects, in addition to individual mentoring, tutoring and other activities. Her background is in education, technology and workforce development. Karanja has worked on national data projects, has led economic development initiatives and holds a Bachelors in education and Masters in development studies from the London School of Economics and Political science. She was named to the 2019 M List by Madison Magazine in partnership with Madison365, which celebrated innovators in diversity and inclusion, and to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

    Reggie Moore is the director of the Office of Violence Prevention in Milwaukee, part of the city’s health department. The organization works with government, nonprofit and faith based institutions to reduce violence in neighborhoods, families and schools. He is known for fostering safety with “therapeutic interventions instead of police punishment,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also founded the Center for Youth Engagement in 2012, which increases the quality and accessibility of opportunities for underserved youth, according to the website. 

    Gaulien “Gee” Smith opened Gee’s Clippers more than 20 years ago, starting off with four barbers on the Northside of Milwaukee in 1995. Since, he has employed dozens of barbers and stylists. On Sunday June 14, 2015, Mayor Tom Barrett proclaimed it to be Gee’s Clippers and Hair Design Day throughout the entire city of Milwaukee. Gee’s Clippers has partnered with organizations like the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative (MFI) and continues to provide a space for open conversations among Black men.

    Zina Haywood is executive vice president and provost of Gateway Technical College in Racine, where she has served its 20,000 students on nine campuses for 14 years. Haywood has held various other positions in her 22 years at Gateway including Vice President for Student Services. She previously worked as Director of Student Financial Aid and Employment at Milwaukee Area Technical College, and as Manager of Student Loans and Scholarships at Oakland University. Haywood earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Michigan, her Master’s degree in public administration from Oakland University and PhD from Cardinal Stritch. She has served on the Racine County Workforce Development Board and the Board of Directors of the Kenosha/Racine Community Action Agency, and was president of Wisconsin Women in Higher Education.

    Carl Hampton is Senior Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the University of Wisconsin System, based in Madison. Hampton came to this position in 2016 after many years practice and service as an attorney and high-ranking federal, state and local government official in the State of Wisconsin, including as a policy adviser to and legislative liaison for Gov. Jim Doyle. Hamption earned his undergraduate degree in political science at Stanford and his law degree and PhD both from the University of Wisconsin. He serves as a volunteer mentor for 100 Black Men of Madison, a Rotary Club of Madison Racial Equity Inclusion Committee Member and Member of the Board of the UnityPoint Health Foundation.

    Ed Holmes is the Vice President for Equity and Innovation at Overture Center for the Arts in Madison, one of the largest and most active performing arts centers in the nation. Prior to joining Overture in 2016, Dr. Holmes spent 38 years in community-based and public educational programs, including ten years as Principal at Madison West High School. In that capacity he is credited with keeping West High School consistently ranked as one of the top public high schools in the State of Wisconsin for a decade through composite SAT and ACT scores, number of National Merit finalists and Presidential Scholars; successfully implementing a $1.2 million U.S. Department of Education Smaller Learning Communities grant; closing achievement gaps between ethnic minority students and their white student counterparts over a three-year span while raising achievement scores of all student sub groups; and restructuring the school to create opportunities for 250 faculty and staff to engage with 2,200 students daily through the West High Lunch and Learn Program. In 2019, he helped Overture bring the second annual Wisconsin Leadership Summit to Madison, hosting nearly 600 leaders of color from across the state for discussion, professional development, networking and community-building.

    Who should be on next year’s list? Email your suggestions to

    Browse previous lists:

    Black Power 2015

    Black Power 2016

    Black Power 2017

    Black Power 2018