Biographies






Biographies

APRIL WALKER

Consultant in Process, Workflow, Clinical, Billing, People Soft and Fashion

April Walker is a game-changer and one of the trailblazers and a savvy business woman that inspired a street wear fashion lifestyle category into becoming a multi-billion industry. As the creator of “Walker Wear” apparent in the early ‘90’ her brand was one of the first to implement product placements and secure celebrity endorsement from tupac to Notorious BIG to bearls and Butt-Head. Also the brand was one of the first open department store/ chain store distribution for street wear and command millions in sales.


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ERICA CANDLEY

CEO & Founder, Tart Enterprises

Erica Candley is the CEO and Founder of TART ENTERPRISES an Independent 360 Degree Marketing Consulting Firm in Houston TX. Erica Candley is driven by her cerebral approach and insatiable hunger for success. With over 12 years’ experience in marketing, tv, radio and digital media, management, leadership, and business development; Her career started with SMG World, then the former New Orleans Hornets, AT&T Mobility, Reach Local, KPRC- Chanel 2, and Radio One Houston. Erica consults entrepreneurs and businesses by helping them develop a strategic marketing plan that ensures short and long term success and ROI. Erica is known for elevating businesses to new heights by teaching them how to make their business boom in this digital era as a social media and brand influencer.

Now her focus is on developing and opening Houston’s first State of the Art Digital Beauty Salon. Erica knows that we live in a society that is heavily influenced by millennials; she empowers them to pursue their passion and challenges the youth to be positive role models in their community. Standing on her leadership principals, she strives for excellence and leads by positive example. She is one of passion and her work ethic is impeccable. Erica is a social butterfly and her positive aura is contagious. Erica more recently was recognized as the Marketing Genius behind Slim Thugs Annual Boss Life, and she is also the Marketing Director of H.E.R Community, a non-profit that uplifts women torn down by adversity and life challenges. As the owner of TART ENTERPRISES, Erica knows her business will serve as an empire to many business ventures. She has mastered the keys to the social media era hence; it is a free outlet to make money and build your brand. To learn more about her business, personal interests and hobbies visit www.tartenterprise.com and follow her on IG @missericamor


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MITCHELL ELEGBE

CEO, Interswitch Group

Mitchell founded Interswitch in 2002. Under his leadership, the company has diversified its business, broadened its distribution channels, expanded into new markets and delivered strong growth in revenue and profits.

Mitchell is an Electrical/Electronic Engineer from the University of Benin, Nigeria. He is also an alumnus of the IESE/Wharton/CEIBS Global CEO Program. He is consummate people-centric leader who believes in motivating his colleagues at Interswitch to have confidence in their value as individuals; in the value of the work they do; and in their value as team members. He is relentless in his pursuit of sustainable value for stakeholders.

Apart from leading Interswitch to win numerous coveted industry awards, Mitchell’s leadership abilities have earned him several awards, including the CNBC/Forbes All African Business Leader (AABLA) for West Africa, and Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Mitchell enjoys mentoring young entrepreneurs. He is a Bishop Desmond Tutu fellow of the African Leadership Institute.


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SIPHO DLAMINI

MD South Africa & Sub-saharan Africa at Universal Music Group

Mr. Sipho Dlamini has been Managing Director of South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa at Universal Music Group, Inc. since March 2016. Mr. Dlamini has a strong background in strategic brand marketing for the telecommunications industry, film investment and television production.


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DR. NADIA LOPEZ

Principal at NYC Department of Education

An education powerhouse, Dr. Nadia Lopez is pioneering a path of inspired leadership to show the world how under-privileged communities can beat the odds and create positive institutions that have a global impact. As the founder and principal of Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a New York City Public School, Dr. Lopez’s story became a viral sensation as millions of people around the world became impressed with the positive learning environment, high expectations, and growing success rate at a school right in the middle of one of the most underprivileged communities in America. As a result in 2015, a Humans of New York fundraiser earned $1.4 million to take her scholars on college trips that include Harvard University, provide Summer STEAM programs, and college scholarships for alumni. The success story was shared through numerous media outlets and resulted in her guest appearance on the Ellen Show, visiting President Barack Obama at the White House, and receiving the Medal of Distinction from Barnard College.

In addition, Dr. Lopez was honored alongside First Lady Michelle Obama with the Change Agent Award at the Black Girls Rock show hosted on BET Networks, a Top 50 finalist in the Global Teacher Prize, and has delivered “Why open a school? To Close a Prison”, a powerful talk on the education revolution at TED with over a million views. The author of The ‘Bridge to Brilliance’, a personal account of what it takes to transform education, and the co-author of ‘Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’, Dr. Lopez continues to provide the blueprint for leadership excellence.


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BANKY WELLINGTON

Entertainer | Philanthropist

Banky W born Oluwabankole Wellington and credited in film as Banky Wellington, is a Nigerian singer, rapper and actor. He was born on 27 March 1981. His singing career began at the age of 8, singing in his church choir. After his Secondary School Education, he got a scholarship to study at a college in Newyork. Banky W has a degree in Engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic institute. While in college, Banky W, came to limelight when he won the Albany Idol competition. Banky W later established the Empire Mates Entertainment(E.M.E.) in order to project his music.

Banky W’s release in 2003 titled “undeniable” was sold on the internet and from the trunk of cars. The success of his marketing strategy got Fox 23 News, New York, to cover him and this got him a distribution deal with Trans World; one of North America’s largest music distributors. The song later became one of the top-selling independent records, which won Banky W the 2003 R&B/Soul Artist of the Year at the Urban Independent Music Awards.

In 2005, Banky W ‘s first album titled “Back in the Building” containing the award-winning song “My Regret” got him many awards and accolades. On the strength of this award-winning single, he won the US Songwriting award in 2006, the Nigerian Entertainment award for the R & B/Soul artist of the year and in 2007, the International single of the Year. In 2008, however, Banky W moved to Nigeria with the aim of promoting African music to the world. Banky W is founded the “I am Capable” Scholarship fund which provides tuition, room, and board for indigent undergraduates who met the foundation’s requirement.


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WILONDA PREVILON

Digital Content Creator/influencer at Wilonda Previlon LL

•Born In Haiti

•Currently Resides In Atlanta, But Home State Is Florida

•Started Off In The Dental Field

•Own A YouTube Channel (Since 2013) Focused On Makeup For Black Woman, Natural Hairstyles, And Fashion •Been An "Influencer/Digital Content Creator" For Over 4 Years Now.

• Actively Working Full Time As An "Influencer/Digital Content Creator" For 1 Year, And Pursuing Acting •Worked With Many Brands Such As Sally Beauty, BET, bareMinerals, WeTV To aame a few.


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LAOLU SENBANJO

LAOLU NYC Artist

Laolu Senbanjo is a Nigerian bred, Brooklyn based performance and visual artist, singer, songwriter, musician, human rights lawyer, and activist. Having started his career in law, Laolu has always had a desire to help others and reveal their truth. He does this in a way that comes mot natural to him: through his artwork. After practicing law for 3 years, he moved to New York City where he has been creating ever since.

Laolu is guided by the idea that all things: be it paper, walls, people, buildings, cars you name it are his canvas. By placing his artwork on just about any and everything he can get his hands on, Laolu seeks to leave a part of his art and Yoruba heritage wherever he goes.

Laolu has worked with those such as Taraji P. Henson, Lupita Nyongo Alicia Keys, Swizz Beats, Danielle Brooks, and has had his Sacred Art of Ori body ritual featured on Beyonce’s 2016 Grammy award winning “Lemonade”. Laolu has graced the cover of the New York Times alongside having features in the Fader, Vogue, Vice, CNN, BBC and more. His ever growing list of collaborations currently include those such as Kenneth cole, Nike, Equinox Fitness, Starbucks, Belvedere, Bvlgari, TED, and many More.


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UCHENNA AGU

Actor | Media Personality

Uchenna Agu has had an amazing life. After the devastating loss of his job at Enron and the complete exhaustion of his family’s life savings, he found a unique way to get back on track: He entered and won the CBS reality challenge show The Amazing Race. On the heals of his success on the Emmy Award winning CBS show, he became a motivational speaker – giving speeches on teamwork, Adventure Travel and Living Boldly. He is regularly invited to give motivational talks to Fortune 500 companies, which include Procter and Gamble, GE, ConAgra Foods, The Four Seasons Hotels and M&M MARS. He’s also been invited to speak and co-host television and radio shows across the US.

Still, Uchenna remains grounded with a strong affinity for community involvement. He has found a way to use his 15 minutes of fame for philanthropic endeavors in Houston. While his desire to help others has always been in his heart, his travels around the world, competing on The Amazing Race really brought action into focus. Uchenna’s global travels exposed him to the joys and pain of humanity, including poverty, hunger and homelessness. Seeing these same issues in his own backyard made it clear where to start. “After circling the globe twice, my view of the world and my role in it was changed forever. Hunger being one of our most wide spread issues, we set out to raise awareness, inspire action and create change in our community, using reality entertainment to gain tangible results in the community through (Fun)draising™ and volunteerism”. In 2009, Uchenna developed and produced a new “home grown” reality show, The Great Raise, an adventure challenge for charity. The first installment aired in Houston TX, in the fall on KHOU-CBS affiliate. The show ultimately raised $10 million for the Houston Food Bank. The Great Raise proved to be a “win-win” for the Houston community, the sponsors and the charity.

Uchenna has involved himself in expanding the global experience of elementary school children thru EarthTrek. A curriculum supplement for 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students that simulates his Amazing Race journey while including Math, Reading, science, Social Studies and Geography. Learn more at http://earthtrekgames.com. Uchenna has accumulated over 20 years, of sales, marketing and business building experience, with KING-NBC, Phillip Morris, Emery, Level(3) Communications and ENRON. With his extensive business building experience, he has enjoyed consulting small and midsize businesses executives to “Next Level Growth” thru his firm the UEA Group. Even after receiving two City of Houston Proclamations and an official day in his name, he’s always on the lookout for his next great adventure; Uchenna Agu is “Still Racing”


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DAKORE AKANDE

Actor | Singer | Prodcuer

Dakore Omobola Egbuson Akande Popularly known as Dakore Egbuson is a famous Nollywood actress, model and a television personality. She is very creative, gifted, skillful and talented in acting and interpretion of movie roles. She knows how to interpret her roles very well and can fit in any character given to her by movie directors and producers. Dakore Egbuson was born in Bayelsa state in the south southern part of Nigeria but grew up in Lagos state in the western part of Nigeria but Bauchi in the northern part of Nigeria respectively. Dakore is originally from Bayelsa State in the south southern part of Nigeria.

Dakore joined the Nigerian movie industry ( Nollywood) in 1999 and started attending movie auditions and acting as minor character in movies. In 2005, Dakore rose to fame after starring in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Final Game” a movie that brought her to limelight.

Dakore Egbuson has acted in more than 150 Nollywood movies which includes Final Game, peace of Flesh, Men Do Cry, Emotional Crack, Shattered Illusion, When the Going Get Tough, Playboy, Oracle, Hole in the Heart, Silent Tears, Emtional Cry, Caught in the Middle, Journey to Self, Lunch Time Heroes, Fifty, Isoken etc Dakore has earned herself a reputation as a multiple award winning Nollywood actress, performing artiste and a multi-brand ambassador.

Dakore Egbuson was nominated for Brand Ambassador of the year at the ELOY Awards. Dakore Egbuson is currently a brand Ambassador for Amnesty International, Amstel Malta, MTN, Oxfam of America. She is currently one of Nollywood celebrity that has the highest brand endorsement deal.

Dakore Egbuson in the cause of her acting career has won several awards which includes Most Promising Actress in Nigeria at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, best Actress in a Leading Role at the City People Entertainment Awards, Best Actress of the Year at Nollywood Movies Awards and Most Prominent Actress in Nigeria at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.


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ALEXANDER “LEXX” ORE

Film Maker | VP in Finance

Alexander “Lexx” Ore is a thought leader in financial services, and a current VP in retail banking with over 14 years of banking and finance experience. Lexx specializes in all things banking from small business lending, growing bank revenue to people management.

Lexx is also an award winning filmmaker and scriptwriter. He received the Actor Danny Glover Leadership Award for his feature length film, The Dance Movie Project (#TDMP), Africa’s First Afrobeats Dance Movie. Lexx self funded his debut film, TDMP, and then partnered with one of the largest film distribution companies in Africa, Filmone Filmhouse for a muti-region theatre release across Nigeria. TDMP was picked by several international Film Festivals, and is currently showing on DSTV - Africa Magic showcase. DSTV is the largest cable provider and media company in Africa. With DSTV, TDMP is currently showing in over 50 countries across Africa.

Lexx has been featured in the Huffington Post, Microsoft News, Ariana Huffington’s Post, Vanguard, Tribune, NTA News, and Bella Naija. Presently, Lexx is working on his next film project.


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LELEE LYONS

American Singer

Leanne “Lelee” Lyons is a Bronx native, born in 1973. Credited with founding SWV in 1992, she struggled after the group disbanded, but with the love and strength of her family, she persevered through difficult times. Lelee lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her two children. Growing up in the Bronx for Lelee was about survival. Her father left the family when she was 10 years old and her mother struggled to raise five children. An eviction notice left Lelee on her own at age 15, she moved in with her boyfriend and soon became pregnant. Although she was an excellent student, Lelee dropped out of high school at 16 so she could support herself, her family and her newborn daughter, Margaret. A year later, Lelee was the mother of two at age 17. Her son Khiry was born and she was determined to give her children a better life. Inspired after watching "Star Search", Lelee asked her friend Coko to join her in an all-female singing group. Coko introduced her to Taj and SWV was formed. Lelee’s cousin knew people in the music industry and the girls recorded a demo for the song “It’s About Time”. The demo caught the attention of producer Kenny Ortiz and his involvement led to a remarkable 8 record deal with RCA Records.

In Lelee’s words, SWV’s split left her, “Depressed and all over the place. I didn’t know who I was. I had no drive, no light.” Her small savings was soon depleted and when she saw a hotel bill slipped under her door while staying in Times Square, she knew she had reached bottom. Tormented and in a very dark place, Lelee stood on the ledge of the hotel’s 17th floor, ready to make the ultimate choice to give up. She called her sister to ask that she continue to take care of her children and thankfully her sister answered the phone. Without Lelee saying a word, her sister simply said, “Come home.”

The years following her dark day of contemplating suicide turned out to be Lelee’s happiest years. When Taj told her she had taken a job earning $9 an hour at a coffee shop, it was a wake up call. Lelee realized that her old life was over – “We gotta do what we gotta do.” She earned her GED and got a 9 to 5 with an accounting firm. Lelee finally stopped caring what anyone might say about her – she felt normal for the first time in her life. Out of the blue, in 2005, Lelee got a call from Coko’s gospel manager who said that Japan was interested in booking SWV. Financially, it was an easy decision. One week in Japan compared to an annual salary doing data entry.


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GREG CUMMINS

Fine Artist

Gregory Cummins is the founder of Pintar Worldwide, an art advisory and contemporary artist representation agency. Pintar's focus is to nurture the strategic relationships between artists and brands. The boutique agency is responsible for negotiating countless worldwide art licensing deals. Product collaborations for its artists include commercial partners such as Nike, Microsoft, Pepsi, Jansport, Puma, Fiat and many more.

With a background in Art and Communications, Cummins has also gained a reputable following for his curatorial efforts in group shows and art fairs worldwide.


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SHEILA O.

Actress/Host/Producer

Sheila Okonji-Ashinze has established herself as an international businesswoman and entertainment mogul who is well respected for her contributions within the entertainment industry worldwide. Whilst at the University of Westminster in London, Sheila joined the first ever MOBO Awards, now the largest premier showcase for urban music watched by millions of people worldwide. This was to be a life-changing decision. She went on to graduate from the university with a BA in Marketing and Public Relations.

As she continued to help build and secure the future for the MOBO Awards, Sheila took on a new challenge. While working on various projects at the MOBO Awards, Sheila was constantly complimented on her speaking voice and tone. She was later asked to join Town FM a community Radio station in London’s Edmonton. She co presented a Saturday night show with a colleague and the duo worked so hard to increase a huge fan base. Town FM was Sheila’s first experience as a radio presenter. She worked as part of the team working hard to get Town FM an FM licence by working with them and promoting road shows amongst many marketing campaigns. In 2000, Sheila founded ZONS P.R UK Ltd, a company focusing on PR, Marketing, Media Advertising and Events Management.

The following year, she founded the international artist booking agency, ZONS TOURS, which opened a niche in Africa where international A-list artistes are taken to tour the continent in conjunction with many corporate blue chip companies. A previously untapped market, Africa became the host to a series of high profile concerts, despite the doubts of many around her, Sheila quickly became convinced she had made the right move and continued to tour a long list of other international stars, including R. Kelly, Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Nas, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Nelly, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, Wyclef Jean, Akon, Joe, Usher, Sean Paul, 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj, Dionne Warwick, Migos and many more.

The great success of these bookings has led ZONS TOURS to look into more possibilities and opportunities for African artist. Zons as an umbrella company has played a major role with many music collaborations between American and UK artistes and African artistes. The success of these bookings also led to Zons creating the first ever Best African Act category for the MOBO Awards. MOBO was the first to host this category before all other main stream Award shows world-wide.

Movies: Sheila O was casted to play her self in sensational movie Canal street, A film by Rhyan Lamarr. This opportunity would lead to Sheila O seeking and training herself for more major acting roles. Recently, Sheila O made history as the first international female personality to create and host an Afrobeat radio show in the United States on major FM platforms. AfroZons is a ‘groundbreaking’ two-hour weekly radio show that fuses today’s hip hop with Afrobeats’ and highlights the latest in global urban trends.

Leading a movement to bring the African culture to American audiences AfroZons with Sheila O will feature an array of African artists, DJs, designers, activists and entrepreneurs. As the ‘hottest’ new musical genre Afrobeats offers a rare opportunity for hip hop stations to catch the new wave featuring such artist as Black Coffee, whiz Kid, Yemi Alade and Davido After enjoying ratings success in 2017 airing weekends on Power 92.3 in Chicago the show debuted April 2018 in Washington, DC, Houston, Miami, and SiriusXM HURVoices Channel 141.


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