Focus: Design, Strategy, & Visioning
In addition to conceptualizing and designing Mi Rialiti, von is a licensed architect. He provides oversight and leadership, directs all business areas such as client development, policy and procedure development, operations, design, and project implementation. He collaborates with diverse groups of consultants and clients to achieve common goals. As a result of his accomplishments, von is a respected and popular lecturer on urban design, housing & community design, leadership, public safety, and technology.
His regional work in housing affordability and equity work, led to his selection as a loaned executive in the Office of Recovery in Post Katrina New Orleans. He was tasked with embedding principals of equity into all recovery policy documents along with management of $30MM in CDBG funds while Interim Housing Director.
Through the not-for-profit he founded in 2012, the Institute for Local Innovations, Inc. (ILI) has agreements with NASA to support their movement of technology into the marketplace which ILI does through Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and other MSIs.
ILI also holds licenses to NASA technology for massive data processing which in collaboration with HBCU professors is focused on looking at climate impact in the the Caribbean and across the southern United States.
In addition to earning Masters Degrees in Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology and Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), von earned his first professional degree (B.Arch) from Hampton University, which gives him his strong commitment to HBCUs and their students.
Focus: Program Strategy & Planning
Originator of the practice of challenge-centric, performance-and-accountability change – an approach that has generated transformational shifts in whole fields/industries through cohort-based programs. Examples include affordable housing, anti-poverty through the Achieving Excellence program; and, journalism through the Media Transformation Challenge (formerly Sulzberger Program) as well as several “Table Stakes” programs in the United States and Europe.
Acknowledged as one of the world’s leading management thinkers and advisors, having contributed to performance results, innovation, strategy and change in scores of enterprises across more than sixty industries in the private, non-profit and governmental sectors. In the book High Impact Consulting, Doug’s work is cited as having the highest impact of any consultant referenced.
Books include Sources of the African Past (college-level 19th century African history); Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored The First Personal Computer; The Wisdom of Teams; The Discipline of Teams; Taking Charge of Change; Make Success Measurable; On Value and Values: Thinking Differently About We In An Age Of Me; and, Table Stakes: A Manual for Getting Into the Game of News.
Doug earned his B.A. from Yale University
Focus: Trauma Research & Education
Cirecie A. West-Olatunji serves as associate professor at Xavier University of Louisiana and director of the Center for Traumatic Stress Research. She is also a past president of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Association (AMCD). Nationally, Dr. West-Olatunji has initiated several clinical research projects that focus on culture-centered community collaborations designed to address issues rooted in systemic oppression, such as transgenerational trauma and traumatic stress.
Dr. West-Olatunji has conducted commissioned research under the auspices of the: National Science Foundation, ACA Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, federal Witness Assistance Program, Spencer Foundation, the American Educational Research Association, and the African-American Success Foundation. Her publications include two co-authored books, numerous book chapters, and over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to national presentations, Dr. West-Olatunji has delivered research papers in Eastern and Western Europe, the Pacific Rim, Africa, and the Americas.
Additionally, she provided consultation in a PBS initiative to create a children's television show focusing on diversity through KCET-TV in Los Angeles, CA ("Puzzle Place"). Dr. West-Olatunji has also provided consultation to the Center for American Education in Singapore and to the Buraku Liberation Organization in Japan to enhance their early childhood and counseling initiatives. More recently, coordinated disaster mental health outreach projects in post-Katrina New Orleans, Southern Africa, and Haiti.
Focus: Environment - Nature & Clean Water
Darryl is the Education Director, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA). Darryl has over 20 years of professional experience as an environmental scientist working for the consulting firm, Dames and Moore, as a principal investigator with USGS on a subsurface mapping project and as Environmental Specialist for the State of Georgia, Environmental Protection Division. Both Environmental Leadership Program and Toyota Together Green/National Audubon Society recognized him as a fellow and emerging leader in the environment and conservation movements.
He is also certified as a Project WET Trainer, an Interpretive Guide by the National Association for Interpretation, and is completing an Environmental Education certification program with Advanced Training for Environmental Education in Georgia (ATEEG); a nationally accredited, professional certification program for formal and non-formal educators. Darryl coordinates educational programs, community outreach, and citizen science research activities and participates in WAWA’s day to day operations.
Darryl holds a B.A. in Geography from Jacksonville University and a Master’s degree in Geoscience and Applied GIS from Georgia State University.
Focus: Social Justice & Student Success
Since 2004 Dr. King has served as the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership and Professor of Educational Policy Studies in the College of Education at Georgia State University.
Previously, Dr. King held senior academic affairs positions as Provost at Spelman College, Associate Provost at Medgar Evers College, CUNY and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Diversity Programs at the University of New Orleans. She was Director of Teacher Education for twelve years at Santa Clara University and the first Head of the Ethnic Studies Department at Mills College. She completed two prestigious leadership programs: the American Council on Education Fellowship at Stanford University with the President, the Vice President for Planning and Management, and the Office for Multicultural Development. As a W.K. Kellogg National Fellowship recipient, Dr. King also studied women’s leadership and grassroots participation in social change in China, Brazil, France, Kenya, Japan, Mali and Peru.
Widely respected in the fields of Urban Education and the Sociology of Education, Dr. King’s research has contributed to the knowledge base on preparing teachers for diversity and curriculum theorizing through her scholarship, teaching and leadership. She served on the California State Board of Education Curriculum Commission. She has published in the Harvard Educational Review, The Handbook of Research on Black Education, The Handbook of Research on Teacher Education and The Handbook of Urban Education. She organized and edited a landmark book, Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda for the New Century that was published for the American Educational Research Association.
She has served as co-editor of the top-ranked Review of Educational Research, and her concept of “dysconscious racism” continues to influence research and practice in education and sociology in the US and other countries. A recent book produced in collaboration with teacher educators and classroom teachers is: “Re-membering” History in Student and Teacher Learning: An Afrocentric and Culturally Informed Praxis. Dr. King holds a Ph.D. in the Social Foundations of Education, a BA in Sociology (with Honors), both from Stanford University, and the Harvard Institute in Educational Management Certificate.
Focus: Equity, Environment, & Ecology
Valerie is the CEO/Founder of Hill Rawls Marketing Consultants (HRMC), since 1986, HRMC has provided marketing communications, strategic planning, project management, and stakeholder engagement services for Chicago based Fortune 1000-Mid tier corporate organizations and start-ups in the public, philanthropic and business sectors; Financial Services, Transportation, Healthcare (B2B and B2C), Education, Telecom, and Retail.
Valerie has (i) led numerous consulting projects for Fortune 1000-Mid tier organizations, Allstate, Allegiance, Baxter Healthcare, Computershare, FedEx, University of Chicago, Visa, and Wells Fargo, (ii) led client teams in planning, implementation and evaluation of strategic sourcing and supplier diversity programs, (iii) successfully generate over $450MM of new sales for telecom client, (iv) led customer focused sales force strategy, improved customer satisfaction, and significantly increased profit margins, (v) diversity supplier value strategy, annualized savings in millions, enhanced corporate image in minority communities.
In 2013 this discovery led Ms. Rawls to assemble group of blue-chip community development public, private, and philanthropic subject matter experts from health and wellness researchers, economists, master planners, architects, commercial and residential real estate advisors to redefine how people of diverse social, economic status, and ages, live, work, play, learn and age in place. This collaborative team developed the framework for a master-planned EcoDistrict to empower citizens, the public and private sectors, and entrepreneurs to understand community needs and assets to manage the future built environment.
Valerie has been engaged in sustainability initiatives ranging from; Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD), Clean Energy Public Policy, Ecotheology, Eco-Justice, Environmental Justice, Corporate Social Responsibility, Community-Based Social marketing in the Southeast region. Respect for ethical values, people, planet, and place informs her scope of work.
Ms. Rawls received a B.A. degree in Marketing Communications from Illinois State University.
Focus: Community Development
MIT Center for Constructive Communication
Professor of the Practice of Community Development
Ceasar L. McDowell holds an Ed.D. (88) and M.Ed. (84) from Harvard. Ceasar's current work is on the development of community knowledge systems and civic engagement. He is also expanding his critical moments reflection methodology to identify, share, and maintain grassroots knowledge. His research and teaching interests also include the use of mass media and technology in promoting democracy and community-building, the education of urban students, the development and use of empathy in community work, civil rights history, peacemaking, and conflict resolution. He is Director of the Global Civic Engagement Organization, Dropping Knowledge International, MIT's former Center for Reflective Community Practice (renamed Co-Lab), Co-founder of The Civil Rights Forum on Telecommunications Policy, and founding Board member of The Algebra Project.
Areas of Interest
Conflict, Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Participatory Planning, Social, Inclusion, and Diversity Planning
Focus: Public Health, Health, & Evaluation
Trained in preventive medicine, public health, and internal medicine, Dr. Ayanna V. Buckner has extensive experience in community-based health education, outreach, and evaluation. Prior to founding Community Health Cooperative, Dr. Buckner served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine, where she also served as Associate Director of the Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program, leader of the department’s Undergraduate Medical Education Unit, and director of the yearlong Community Health Course for first year medical students.
Dr. Buckner’s civic contributions include service on the board of the Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA, Steering Committee of Project Jump Start at the Young Family YMCA, the Atlanta BeltLine Equitable Development Plan Advisory Group, AID Atlanta’s African American Women’s Outreach Program Community Advisory Board, the Rollins School of Public Health Community Advisory Board, and the Health Students Taking Action Together (HealthSTAT) Board of Advisors.
Dr. Buckner is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine and was a 2010 recipient of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship. A native of the New Orleans area, Dr. Buckner received a Bachelor of Science degree from Xavier University of Louisiana. She received a Doctor of Medicine degree from Meharry Medical College and completed a combined residency program in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine at Griffin Hospital, an affiliate of the Yale University School of Medicine. She also received a Master’s Degree in public health, with an emphasis in Health Management, from Yale University.
Dr. Buckner holds faculty appointments at the Morehouse School of Medicine (Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine), Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University (Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management), and Tulane University School of Medicine (Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine).
Focus: Strategy, Equity, & Public Health
As the principal of The Genius Group, Milano has deep interests in the leadership effectiveness of next-generation leaders in the American South, the organizational strengthening of movement building organizations, and ethnic philanthropy.
Before beginning his practice, while working at the American Hospital Association, Harden co-founded Imago Dei, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to improving young men’s and boys of color social condition, educational attainment, and psychological wellbeing.
Harden serves on several boards and committees including Chair, Governance Committee, Langeloth Foundation, New York, NY; Vice-Chair, Board of Directors of the International Community School, Avondale Estates, GA; the Steering Committee of the Southeastern Network of African Americans in Philanthropy (SNAAP!); the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Program; The YMCA of the USA’s Activate America National Expert Panel on Communities of Color; and Member, New Leaders Council of Atlanta’s Curriculum Committee.
Harden has been honored with several fellowships including Harvard University as an Administrative Fellow for high potential administrators of color on staff at Harvard.
Harden holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and a graduate degree in Leadership & Organizational Behavior from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Focus: Facilitation & Community Engagement
Mr. Saslow has decades of subject matter expertise regarding policy, the design of collaborative processes and facilitation of multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Mr. Saslow well understands the interactions between the sectors and the principle of interest based negotiation. He prides himself on creating “safe spaces” for people to make their own best decisions.
He has led workshops, public meetings, public hearings and large scale, long term policy dialogue. Recently, Mr. Saslow has been the Senior Consultant and Facilitator for the Trash Free Waters Program with recognized successes nationally, in the mid-Atlantic and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. He has facilitated complex and charged dialogue on a variety of issues concerning underserved and underprivileged communities in Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama and elsewhere.
Mr. Saslow is clearly expert in these areas and as a neutral broker of policy agreements, well positioned to catalyze action across all sectors – and move the needle on practices that benefit the environment, the economy and community as well.
Adam earned his MS Yale University
Focus: Finance, Education K-12/Higher Ed
Don is the Principal of Roman Consulting LLC, an Atlanta, Georgia-based legacy and business consulting firm. Over a thirty year period, Roman provided a broad range of advisory services designed to help owners of growing or transitioning business enterprises reach their long term wealth goals. Combining expertise in law, business and finance, Roman guided his clients through a rigorous process to turn business success into financial success leading to sustainable generational wealth.
Roman began his career as an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee where he specialized in corporate finance, ERISA and estate planning. He was a law clerk in the United States District Court, Western District of Tennessee, and founded what is often cited as the City’s first minority “corporate” law firm.
Since 2016, Roman has focused on a broad range of consulting assignments in the areas of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Based upon insights and expertise developed during a legal career as a minority lawyer in a majority law firm and a financial planning career with a Fortune 500 insurance company, he is using these skills to advance a more equitable society for communities of color.
Don earned his B.A. from Yale University and his Law Degree from Harvard University.