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Meet the 2016 Broward Fellows
Caleine Ajusma, Certified School Counselor, School District of Palm Beach County
Caleine Ajusma is a native of South Florida with Caribbean roots. She received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences from the University of Florida. Caleine is passionate about women’s issues and advocating on their behalf. She has worked as a client advocate, researcher, and counselor for at-risk girls in the community. She has traveled to Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee, FL to advocate for programming for girls that are gender-specific and gender-responsive as well as awareness for human trafficking. This experience led her to completing a Master of Education in School Counseling at Florida Atlantic University. Caleine is a Certified School Counselor for the School District of Palm Beach County. In addition to her full-time career, Caleine is the Founder and Chief Inspirer of the Isaiah Sixty1 Project. A grassroots organization dedicated to the prevention, education, and advocacy efforts against sexual abuse. Caleine is a social entrepreneur who aspires to be the change she wishes to see in the world. In her spare time, Caleine enjoys international cuisines, creative arts, reading, and traveling.
Robert Beringhaus, Sales Manager, ThyssenKrupp AG
Rob Beringhaus hails from Colorado and has enjoyed making South Florida his new home for the last six years. As a first-generation college student at the University of Georgia, Rob majored in Journalism and International Affairs. Upon graduation, Rob moved to South Florida to join a small family start-up and it quickly grew from three to over thirty-five employees. Rob currently works as a sales manager for ThyssenKrupp AG in South Florida. This opportunity allows Rob to participate in several of South Florida’s largest development projects and mentor a talented sales and operational team. Rob has a deep love for his community with a passion for the water spending everyone moment of his free time kiteboarding, sailing, surfing, and diving.
Karen Cherry, CEO, Refresh Live Foundation
Karen Cherry is a graduate of St. Thomas University Law School and holds a BA degree in Organizational Leadership & Group Communications from Trinity International University. She is co-owner of Refresh Live Cafe, Refresh Live Foundation and Bring Organics Back, Inc, companies formed around her work combating food and economic inequality. Karen is a seasoned businesswoman and managed her first corporation with her father, Frank, at the age of fifteen. Within two years, Karen had founded her own company based on his principles. She gained experience in the non-profit sector working as a community organizer and program manager fighting against inequality and increasing awareness about issues affecting families. She is the first Chairperson for Communities of Promise Health & Wellness Solution Coalition which was formed to address various issues affecting community residents in the 33311 area of Fort Lauderdale. Her mission in life is to give hope and empowerment to individuals and communities. She is wife to Chef Chad Cherry and the honored mother of three, Kytana; Kyrsten & Zyon.
Chad Cherry, CEO/Executive Chef, Refresh Live Cafe
Chef Chad has been in the restaurant/ food service industry for more than fifteen years. His journey in the culinary field began after he was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and spent a month in the hospital on what he calls an “unplanned vacation”. Chef learned, first hand, the challenges of living with a disease and finding prepared meals that support healthier eating. His search for better quality food led him to purchase one of the first organic restaurants in Miami’s Design District, The “A” Miami Café. Chef became very popular and was awarded numerous accolades, including, the 33 Emerging Creative Minds of Miami Award at Art Basel 2010, Washington Post “Must Visit” in Miami and the Best Natural Food Award by New Times Magazine. After completing a bike tour around the State of Florida, Chef realized how many communities were suffering because of food inequality and founded Bring Organics Back as an answer to the issues he witnessed. He has been personal chef to a number of celebrities and also had the honor of feeding President Barack & Michelle Obama. He is a regularly featured Chef at the coveted Food Network/ Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival every year. Chef's latest endeavors, Refresh Live Cafe and Refresh Live Foundation, are dedicated to providing Farm-to-Table and Organic lifestyle community education, programs and initiatives. They are hyper-focused on “Nourishing the Soul of the Community”.
Adam Dean, Associate Professor, Barry University
Adam Dean is an Associate Professor of Communication at Barry University. He teaches multimedia storytelling and focuses his research on new media production and theory. His service mission is based on intercultural civic education through media, bringing together students and non-profits to create television documentaries, podcasts, short videos and social media campaigns that serve the community.
Fayola Delica, Founder/President/CEO, Payola Delica, LLC.
Fayola Delica is a native of South Florida. She is a Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Award winning International Speaker, Author, Business and Life Coach and a Radio Host. She is Founder/President/CEO of Fayola Delica, LLC, a motivational speaking company and Founder and CEO of The 360 Evolution Academy, a holistic etiquette school. She enjoys working with the youth in various capacities. Fayola' s passion is impacting her community through advocacy as a Community Leader. For the last three years, she has enjoyed volunteering for both Junior Achievement (JA) of South Florida as a JA Fellow and an iCon Consultant and Democracy in the Americas Symposium (DITAS). In addition, she is very active in her local church. Currently, Fayola holds the following roles: Vice-Chair Elect of the Broward County, FL Human Rights Board; Vice President of Education (VPE) for the Weston, FL Area Toastmasters of Toastmasters International; United Nations Association (UNA)-USA Southeast FL Chapter of United Nations- Communications Chair and Human Rights Day Chair 2015; Board Member of Davie, FL Democratic Club and Education Committee Member for the Broward County Democratic Party. In addition, she is nominated for Woman of the Year 2016 for the South County Palm Beach, FL Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a fundraising campaign to raise funds for research and a cure for blood cancers. Some of the awards she has received for her work are Cornerstone Advocacy Award from Emerging African Leaders Conference (EALC) and Awards 2015 and Volunteer of the Year 2014 by Junior Achievement (JA) of South Florida presented by OnHands Broward. She is an alumna from the University of Florida (UF) after attending for three years and graduated in 2003 cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Health Science Education (BSHSE) and a minor in Community Health. While at UF, she was very active in a number of campus organizations and activities. Then, she graduated from the University of Miami (UM) in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN, RN). While at UM, she was very active in the community. Her professional background is in the healthcare industry for over a decade. Her main nursing expertise were in Cardiac and Critical Care. Her career aspirations are to become a legislator and a legal professional.
Patrick Ferguson, Attorney at Law; Event Organizer
Patrick was born in St. Louis Missouri and moved to Ft. Lauderdale with his family when he was 10 years old. He graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale and went on to attend The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. for undergrad from 2008-2012. Patrick graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and was an NCAA Academic All-Conference football player during his time at CUA. Patrick went on to attend law school at Nova Southeastern University where he received his Juris Doctorate in 2015. Patrick interned at the Broward County Public Defenders Office as well as the City of Ft. Lauderdale’s Attorney’s Office during his time at NSU law school. After being admitted to the Florida Bar in September Patrick channeled his passion for progressive issues by organizing and leading “Stand for Sustainability,” which was the Fort. Lauderdale arm of the Global Climate March that took place worldwide on November 29th ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris. Patrick aims to build off the success and experience of the “Stand for Sustainability” event to form a non-profit organization called Flowvolution Florida. Flowvolution Florida will partner with local businesses and progressive organizations to bring more progressive events to Broward County and encourage Broward citizens to take action for progressive causes. Patrick is currently engaged in his own general practice of law as a solo practitioner in addition to exploring other career opportunities in the legal field.
Josiah Graham, Assistant State Attorney, 17th Judicial Circuit
Josiah Graham, Esq. is a Fort Lauderdale native and community leader. He currently serves as an Assistant State Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida, where he prides himself as being one of only six black male attorneys in an office of over 250 lawyers. He attended the University of Central Florida where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2010. Graduating a semester early, Josiah decided to teach in Orlando’s inner city high schools before attending the Florida State University College of Law where he obtained his Juris Doctorate degree in 2014. During law school, Josiah was an active member of the Mock Trial Team and received the “Best Advocate Award” during a national competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon receiving his law degree, he returned to his Fort Lauderdale neighborhood with hopes of making a difference. He joined the TJ Reddick Bar Association and was appointed to the position of Community Pulse Committee Chair. He subsequently joined the Urban League of Broward County’s Young Professionals Network and was appointed to the position of Civic Engagement Committee Co-Chair. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Priority One Credit Union. Josiah had a difficult upbringing. After his brother committed suicide at the tender age of twelve, in one of Fort Lauderdale’s predominantly black neighborhoods, Melrose Park, Josiah began to have issues with law enforcement. He was arrested at twelve years-old and became very familiar with the criminal justice system. It was these experiences that influenced his decision to make a fundamental impact in Broward County’s criminal justice system; and, he began to align his career path in order to reach that goal. He served in the Juvenile Division of the State Attorney’s Office where he was able to have a meaningful impact on youth who were going down the wrong path. He currently volunteers with the Guardian Ad Litem of Broward County where he mentors foster children.
Ruby Green, Assistant Public Defender, Law Office of the Public Defender
Ruby Green is a lead Felony Attorney at the Law Office of the Public Defender. She completed both law school and undergrad within five years. She is an alumni of The Florida State University where she doubled majored in criminology and psychology and attended Florida Coastal School of Law where she won the school their first mock trial victory within the history of the school. Currently the President of The T.J. Reddick Bar Association, Incorporated she promotes themail professional excellence and general welfare of all citizens in Broward County.
Carrie Kashar, Natural Resources Specialist, Broward County
Carrie Kashar is a community resilience specialist for Broward County’s Energy & Sustainability Program focusing on climate and energy. She holds a M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University’s Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, and is an accredited LEED Green Associate. Prior to returning to Broward County government, Carrie led the Office of University Sustainability at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami for nearly four years where she developed a sustainability education program, a campus housing charity donation program, and completed FIU’s first sustainability benchmarking rating submission. Carrie’s professional experience began with coordinating a community volunteer litter prevention and removal program in Broward County, and managing Keep Broward Beautiful. Her approach recognizes the combined roles of individuals and institutions in creating a sustainable future, and the need for local government to take a leadership role in both educating residents for sustainability, and incorporating sustainability practices into day-to-day operations. Carrie is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education, and serves on the Advisory Board for IDEAS For Us.
Saad is currently completing his Masters of Public Administration at Nova Southeastern University. Saad was born and raised in South Florida, and has lived in Miami-Dade, as well as Broward County. Saad attended Cypress Bay high school in Weston, FL, and Nova Southeastern University for undergrad. In 2014 Saad worked as a Field Organizer with the Charlie Crist for Governor campaign. Carrying out campaign activities in SW Ranches, Pembroke Pines, and Miramar, exposed Saad to the diversity of people and ideas in Broward County. Afterwards, Saad accepted an offer to become the South Florida Regional Coordinator for Emerge USA, a national civic engagement focused nonprofit. In this capacity, Saad crafted the organizations Get Out The Vote campaign for the 2016 election. He also worked to advocate for minority communities in a limited capacity.
Shaundas Knighton, ESE Specialist/Administrator, Broward County Schools
Shaundas Knighton has been involved with education and social services for over 10 years. She first began as a special education teacher at Dillard High School in Broward County in 2004. As a special needs teacher, Shaundas developed a independent skills curriculum to ensure her students were prepared for post school adult living. She left her teaching position in 2006 because she believed that in order to reach the minds of the youth, they must be provided support through mentorship, community resources to enhance their environment. Thus, Shaundas began working in social services. She has coordinated many after school programs through grants from the Children’s Services Council and JM Family Enterprises. This work led her to become actively involved in Ascension Community Team, a non-profit organization started by her parents, Charles and Lydia Knighton, in 1990. Shaundas has since returned to education. She is currently an Exceptional Student Education Specialist at Olsen Middle School. In addition, she serves as the administrator for the Advanced Achiever’s Academy at Olsen. In her current role she facilitates professional development for teachers, coordinates community resources for scholars and their families. Shaundas graduated from the University of Florida in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science. She recently received a Masters in Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University through Broward County’s PROPEL (Principal Rapid Orientation and Preparation in Educational Leadership) program. After graduation, Shaundas has participated in Education Advisory Council meetings in the city of Dania Beach to represent leadership at Olsen Middle School. She also facilitates the Unity4Teens after school program in collaboration with Hispanic Unity of Florida. Additionally, she supervises the implementation of the Dating Matters curriculum for students and parents at Olsen in collaboration with Broward County’s Health Department. Shaundas continues to be a strong voice for education reform in Broward County.
Heidi Ledgister-Richards, Program Manager, Broward College
Heidi Ledgister - Richards is a Program Manager at Broward College, where she plans, develops, and implements program curriculum. She also recruits and evaluates adjunct faculty and collaborates in the planning, development, and implementation of marketing strategies for the department. Heidi has more than ten years of private and public sector experience, including higher education, government relations, and fundraising. Previously, she was an Analyst at the City of Fort Lauderdale and an Adjunct Graduate Professor in the School for Public Affairs and Administration at Metropolitan College of New York. She was recently listed on MSNBC as a leader making a difference regarding key issues on campus and in bridging the gender gap in politics as the VP of Legislative Affairs for the Student Government Association – Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University. She was also selected for the Broward County Academy 2015, Class IV, an interactive program that raises public awareness about County programs and services, and also increases community involvement and participation in local government. Previously, she was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor society and was listed in the American Society for Public Administration newsletter as a student who exhibits both scholarship and leadership in the field of Public Administration. Furthermore, she was elected as a Board Member and Fundraising Chairperson for the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), at the New York Metropolitan Chapter and is a member of the Urban League of Broward County Young Professionals Network. Heidi currently holds several degrees including a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Temple University and a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Metropolitan College of New York. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Organizational Leadership at Nova Southeastern University.
Mary “Ali” Macia, Customer Service Specialist, B&A Food Sales
Mary “Ali” Macia is a South Florida native from Weston and attended Cypress Bay High School. Following high school, Ali graduated from Florida State University (GO NOLES!) with a Bachelor of Science in International Affairs and Political Science in 2014. However, her predilection for foreign policy and affairs started when she was in Cypress Bay after she took an International Affairs class. Her passion exuded beyond the classroom so much so that she joined her school’s Model U.N. club, and soon rose through the ranks to become Vice President.
At Florida State she was involved in various organizations, like Empower Women Globally and tutoring international students at the Center for Intensive English Studies. In her later years, Ali got accepted into one of the more rigorous and difficult programs study abroad programs, the International Affairs in London program. It was there that Ali’s affinity for European politics and U.S. foreign policy took root. She applied to the U.S. Department of State’s internship program and was accepted in to work at the United States consulate in Edinburgh, Scotland. During her final semester at FSU, she completed a directed independent study during her time there on multiculturalism in the United Kingdom (with perfect timing too, as the in-out referendum was being voted on).
Immediately after graduation, Ali worked as a Field Organizer on the Charlie Crist campaign in the Aventura area. She is currently working at a brokerage company as a Customer Service Specialist & Executive Assistant and is involved with a woman’s empowering organization, Suits, Stilettos, and Lipstick, in Ft. Lauderdale. She plans to attend graduate school to continue to pursue her career in foreign policy, with the goal of securing a position with the Department of State. Ali enjoys spending her time volunteering and is extremely excited to undergo this journey with NLC to grow Broward County.
Chandrally "Chun" Majahan
Born and raised in sunny South Florida, "Chun" graduated valedictorian of Nova High School in 2009 and completed her Bachelor's in Boston shortly after. Returning to her hometown in 2011, Chun has exemplified superior service by building her community and working as a Medical Assistant and Healthcare Management Consultant to bridge the gap between healthcare physicians. Her versatility to work in a team and as an effective leader has placed her at the forefront of revitalizing community efforts in Dania Beach, FL. Chun aspires to be a physician and is highly motivated to help others with her compassion, knowledge and strict work ethic.
She is also an accomplished international Bollywood dancer with over twenty years of experience who runs a nonprofit project known as, "Teach Me How To Bolly," and served as the Ikeda Youth Ensemble lead choreographer for at-risk youth through Soka Gakkai International. An Advanced Placement Scholar with Distinction (having excelled in all twenty-two Advanced Placement courses and earned over sixty Dual Enrollment credits in high school), she has mentored and tutored students across Broward County for over ten years in collegiate and standardized exam preparation. A 2009 Coca-Cola Scholar, she also currently serves as the Vice President and Treasurer of Dania Beach Kiwanis, President's Award recipient and most active youth member of the Dania Beach Lions Club.
Harold Pryor, Assistant State Attorney, 17th Judicial Circuit
Harold F. Pryor, Jr. attended the University of Florida where he graduated with honors with a degree in Political Science. He was awarded the Department of Political Science’s Multi-Cultural Scholar of the Year. While at the University of Florida, Mr. Pryor was a member of Florida Blue Key. Harold graduated from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center with a Juris Doctorate degree where he delivered the graduation commencement address. Harold comes from a family of civil rights and community advocates. Harold is currently an Assistant State Attorney with the Office of the State Attorney in and for the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
Chris Romano, Planner, Kittelson & Associates, Inc.
Chris is a Planner and Urban Designer in the Fort Lauderdale office who has worked on transportation and land use projects across the country. His passion is creating livable, equitable, and sustainable communities. He creates plans based on data analysis and community involvement to design places that suit the needs and desires of the residents, facilitate social interaction, and enable residents and visitors to share experiences and create memories. He has worked on corridor studies, demonstration site plans, regional plans, station area plans, multimodal transportation projects, transit studies, pedestrian/bicycle studies, neighborhood plans, and other transportation and land use plans. He has expertise in performing public involvement, transportation analysis, policy analysis, existing/future conditions analysis, graphic design, visual communication methods, context sensitive design, and developing innovative and implementable solutions to improve places for the people who use them.
Ayo Tillman, Private Wealth Manager, Merrill Lynch
A South Florida native, Ayo K. Tillman was raised in Pembroke Pines here in Broward County. A graduate of Charles Flanagan High, Ayo earned Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of South Florida. She is currently completing her residency requirements to earn her professional designation as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Professionally, Ayo has an extensive background in the Financial Services industry beginning in 2006 at MetLife Insurance as an Anti-Money Laundering Analyst where her responsibilities included oversight of government and institutional accounts for money laundering activity and conducting other FINRA and SEC regulatory testing and reviews. After transitioning to New York Life and Mainstay Investments in the same capacity, Ayo later began working directly with clients, where she found great joy in helping middle-income families create financial legacies for themselves, create and protect retirement assets, and most importantly teaching her clients about financial literacy. As a result of her success, Ayo accepted an opportunity to join the prestigious Private Wealth Management Group at Merrill Lynch where she specializes in Alternative Investments and debt leverage. As a Private Wealth Manager, Ayo implements various strategies to help her affluent clients accomplish their business, personal, and philanthropic financial goals. Outside of the office, Ayo has an equally broad record of civic engagement. In 2007, she was an active board member of the nationwide non-profit organization Project Downtown where she helped formally incorporate the organization and helped attain its tax-exempt status, as well as feeding the homeless and other homelessness awareness and advocacy. In 2009, Ayo worked with the Florida based F.A.C.E. Alliance where she helped organize statewide campaigns including “Get Out the Vote” and Fair Districts. In her role at F.A.C.E., was also responsible for turf cutting/mapping, helped oversee the deployment of door-to-door canvassers, and managed all human resource matters for campaign staffers. More recently, in 2013 Ayo was appointed as an Aide to the Commissioner of the largest, most ethnically, and economically diverse district in the City of Miami. In this capacity, she had the privilege of working with the Commissioner to address issues she is passionate about; including those relating to economic enfranchisement, access to jobs, disparities in economic development, and the allocation of resources. In her personal time, Ayo enjoys reading, exploring the new restaurants and areas of town, spas, travel and improving her golf game.