Dr. Beverly Scott Introduces Bev's Open House:
A Spotlight on “WOMEN of COLOR – Community Builders”.
“Community Builders” – who are doing remarkable work in their respective organizations and in communities across the country – making local, national, and in some instances, international impact. Shapers for a “new, just and sustainable economy” – centered with an “equity lens”.
Women of color who are fully equipped today to perform at the highest levels of management, business, our highly skilled infrastructure workforce, and on corporate boards – across the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Women who are vitally important to our civic leadership pipeline. And, by any measure, when compared with other groups continue to be significantly under-represented in STEM professions.Learn More
Upcoming Guest - Interview
Director of Urban Programs, The National Main Street Center, Inc.Co-Chairperson, Equiticity Board of Directors (Chicago, Illinois)
Dionne has years of experience in project coordination in the fields of urban economic development and commercial district revitalization. She has extensive expertise connecting resources to access opportunities for under-invested places, engaging community stakeholders, identifying and implementing projects in conjunction with...Learn More About Featured Guest
Past Guest - Interview
Mary Skelton Roberts
Mary is a globally recognized leader in harnessing the power of philanthropy and community building to design cities that are sustainable, inclusive, and vibrant. A strategist, change maker, and climate defender, Mary travels widely to bring globally pioneering strategies to the United States to improve mobility and resiliency for...Learn More About Featured Guest
COMMUNITY BUILDING is “WE” Work!
As I reflect on the arc of my personal professional career --what’s missing? In a nutshell – “COLLECTIVE SUCCESS”. I’ve had my share of the proverbial “ups” and “bumps” -- including, considerable individual professional achievement and recognition. I would say – one of the “trailblazers”. But, at the end of the day, personal accomplishment without collective success is at best – hollow!
Spotlight A Community Builder
A special invitation to each of you to join us! And, take the time to share the work of a “Community Builder” who is a woman of color “working in and with” historically under-represented groups and under-resourced communities to help advance positive change(s), i.e., quality educational access and life success skills, good jobs creation and retention, environmental sustainability and resilience, healthier communities and lifestyles, better mobility and access, economic empowerment, meaningful civic participation, social justice.
We invite you to share information about a "Community Builder” in your area whose work (and story) you would like to spotlight.Click Here to Submit your "She-Roe"
Moving beyond traditional lists and validators to be certain to include the important voices of women of all ages -- on the front lines in communities across the country – with tremendous knowledge, “learned experience”, and “street credit”.
ALL an important source of inspiration, motivation, knowledge, and experience.
Buffie PurselleA third generation, tax practitioner, Buffie is an entrepreneur with over twenty years of expertise in the financial field.
The founder of Buffie, LLC, she is a highly sought-after national tax and personal finance expert seen on HLN, CNN, and CNBC, and entertainment personality. Buffie joined the ladies of Bravo’s “Married to Medicine” in their 7th season. Her success derives from her professional and innate ability to demystify the daunting world of taxes, personal finance, and small business management. The Vice Chair of Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure, Inc. (Iyai+), active youth mentor and coach, Buffie is passionate about helping youth understand the importance of financial literacy, technology, developing and “practicing” their life success skills.
Jannet Walker-FordWith over two decades of public and private sector leadership experience in the critical infrastructure sectors, Jannet is Senior Vice President for AECOM’s Transportation Strategy, Growth & Key Accounts for the Design and Consulting Services Americas, Jannet is responsible for driving an integrated transportation business line strategy for growth and innovation across all market segments for one of the world’s premiere infrastructure firms. Just this year, Walker-Ford was elected Chair of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation and as Vice Chair of the WTS International Board. She is nationally recognized for her work to advance STEM education for young women and girls.
Katie Joaquin, Deputy Director of JMA A founder and leader of the California Domestic Workers Coalition that helped win the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, Katie has been organizing to build power in low-income and immigrant communities for over 15 years. As Deputy Director for Jobs To Move America (JMA), she is leading and supporting national work to transform public spending and corporate behavior using a comprehensive approach that is rooted in racial and economic justice, and community organizing.
Afia S. Zakiya, Ph.D.An African-centered political and cultural scientist, eco-activist, international educator, facilitator, and global sustainable development professional working to create a more socially just, egalitarian world. Afia is a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, former Sr. Fellow, Water Infrastructure & Workforce Development, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), Inc.; and Vice Chair, of the African Heritage Studies Association (ASHA). Before joining the CBCF, she was formerly Country Director for WaterAid, Ghana, Sr. Program Manager, Legislative Strengthening, Civic Advocacy & Constituency Outreach, West Africa with the National Democratic Institute based in Nigeria, and was a distinguished Investing in Women in Development (IIE/IWID) Fellow/Gender advisor for the USAID Africa Bureau, in Washington, DC.
Naomi DavisFounder/President of Blacks in Green (“BIG”) in Chicago, an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. An author and national lecturer, Naomi serves as a bridge and catalyst among communities and their stakeholders in the design and development of green, self-sustaining, mixed-income, walkable-villages within black neighborhoods – so that every household can ultimately walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play – and neighborhood dollars can circulate locally to limit the greenhouse gases over our planet.
Citlalli TrujilloA senior at the University of Illinois at Chicago, biochemistry major, and L@S Ganas Research Fellow, Citlalli’s focus is on water equity, sustainability, and affordability in low-income communities – wastewater/water sector community education; and green economy innovation and inclusive economic development. This past summer, she served as Iyai+’s Assistant Program Manager, for its 2020 Summer Youth Program Professional Development Partnership at the Chicago Transit Authority.
A Tribute to Juanita Jones Abernathy
At Iyai+, we were honored and tremendously blessed to have the late Dr. Juanita Jones-Abernathy as a Founding Iyai+ Board Member.
“Affectionately known as our Mrs. A” -- beyond a force of nature – a life of courage, perseverance, and giving back. An educator, accomplished businesswoman, and long-time public transportation Board Member at MARTA, she understood the importance of going beyond the traditional STEM/STEAM classroom experience to reframe the narrative around infrastructure careers to one of “community-building” -- its impact on people, communities, and outcomes (particularly for historically under-represented youth). And, deepening the connection to important societal “values” and “outcomes” that matter. The true determinants of success -- environmental, economic, and social equity; and the development of lifetime “readiness” and success skills, i.e., continuous, meaningful civic participation; lifetime learning and sharing; and generational responsibility for community-building.