2019 Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 Honorees

The Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 Awards, in its 4th year, recognizes local African-American professionals who inspire others through their vision, leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. They are individuals who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and integrity who continue to break the mold and affect change in their professions and community.

These young stars influence those around them to go beyond the norm and strive for greatness. They are champions of our economic empowerment and diversity, the backbone of our business, religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and service. In 2019, 40 new honorees will join the exclusive society of elite professionals who have previously received this distinction.

The 40 Under 40 Awards and induction ceremony is an elegant evening that commemorates the successes of our honorees attracting nearly 500 accomplished tastemakers, influencers, executives, heroes, and decision-makers from Southeast Michigan.

Join us in honoring the 2019 Michigan Chronicle 40 Under 40 honorees
DATE: Thursday, October 10, 2019 6 PM to 9 PM
LOCATION: International Banquet & Conference Center Detroit, MI

Sponsored By

2019 40 Under 40 Honorees

  • Emeka Amazu
    Emeka Amazu
    Senior Buyer, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain: General Motors
  • Hodari P.T. Brown
    Hodari P.T. Brown
    Public Affairs Specialist: U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Donovan Colquitt
    Donovan Colquitt
    Founder: The Scholar’s Key
  • Dr. Maegan E. Daughtery
    Dr. Maegan E. Daughtery
    Board Certified Pediatric Dentist: Dr. Amy C. Parker DDS, MS & Associates
  • Jewelette Estes
    Jewelette Estes
    Senior Project Manager: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Andre Gilbert II
    Andre Gilbert II
    Deputy City Clerk: City of Detroit
  • Shawn Green
    Shawn Green
    CEO & Principle Broker: Smart Realty & Investments Inc.
  • Maxcel Hardy
    Maxcel Hardy
    Owner & Chef: River Bistro & Coop Detroit
  • Jessica Hayes-Stallings
    Jessica Hayes-Stallings
    Founder: Skinphorea Facial Bar & Acne Clinic
  • Danielle Hughes
    Danielle Hughes
    Dream Director: The Future Project
  • Darryl Humes Jr.
    Darryl Humes Jr.
    Co-Founder: Mature
  • Tiffani C. Jackson
    Tiffani C. Jackson
    Founder & Executive Director: Eden Community Organization 
  • Yelitsa Jean-Charles
    Yelitsa Jean-Charles
    CEO & Founder: Healthy Roots Dolls
  • Mikiah Keener
    Mikiah Keener
    Minister: Triumph Church
  • Justin Kimpson
    Justin Kimpson
    National Program Manager Ford Men of Courage/Senior Director Ford Resource and Engagement Center Eastside: Gleaners Community Food Bank
  • Josh Landon 
    Josh Landon 
    News Anchor: WJBK/FOX 2 News 
  • Erika Lawrence
    Erika Lawrence
    Assistant Product Manager, Digital Innovation: General Motors
  • Amber Lewis
    Amber Lewis
    Director of Digital & Social Media: City of Detroit, Mayors Office
  • Whitney Lewis
    Whitney Lewis
    Director of Communications, Wayne County Department of Public Services
  • LaShauna Lowry
    LaShauna Lowry
    Executive Director Consumer Systems Team: Ally Financial
  • Drew Matthews Jr.
    Drew Matthews Jr.
    Owner & Executive Chef: Le Culture Café
  • David Merritt
    David Merritt
    Co-Founder: Narrow Way Café and Shop
  • Jonathan Merritt
    Jonathan Merritt
    Co-Founder: Narrow Way Café and Shop
  • Kiera Pack
    Kiera Pack
    Owner: Pareik Gallery & Pareik Studio
  • Dr. Danielle Penson
    Dr. Danielle Penson
    Clinician/Entrepreneur: Kaydense Galleria
  • Tameishia Pigford
    Tameishia Pigford
    CEO: Dream Celebrations, Inc.
  • Kenneth Porter
    Kenneth Porter
    President: Porter Media Group
  • Portia Powell
    Portia Powell
    VP-Manager of Municipal Banking Operations: Chemical Bank
  • Asia Rawls
    Asia Rawls
    Director of Software Education and Training: Trumble Inc.
  • Charli Rose, FD
    Charli Rose, FD
    Mortician/Funeral Director: Andrews Funeral Home
  • Kierra Sheard
    Kierra Sheard
    Singer & CEO: Drew’s Girl Productions & Eleven60 
  • Courtney Smith
    Courtney Smith
    Founder & CEO: Detroit Phoenix Center
  • Maria Stroud
    Maria Stroud
    Owner & President: MES & Co.
  • Lynita Taylor
    Lynita Taylor
    Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager: Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business
  • Angelique Turner
    Angelique Turner
    Industrial Engineering Manager/WO Pillar Lead: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Phaedra Wainaina
    Phaedra Wainaina
    Executive Director: Vehicles for Change Detroit & MACC Development
  • Daniel Wallace
    Daniel Wallace
    Global Diversity Initiatives Lead: General Motors
  • Meagan Ward
    Meagan Ward
    Co-Founder & CEO: Femology
  • Dwanette Williams
    Dwanette Williams
    Assistant Vice President/Financial Center Manager: Bank of America
  • Bianca Wilson
    Bianca Wilson
    CEO: Umbrellex Behavioral Health Services, LLC

 

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Emeka Amazu
Senior Buyer, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain: General Motors

Emeka Amazu is a Senior Buyer at General Motors (GM) where he currently helps the company execute strategic procurement initiatives in its global purchasing and supply chain organization. He is responsible for close to half a billion dollars in annual spend with GM suppliers. With over ten years of experience, his depth of expertise in procurement, negotiation, management, and business strategy spans across multiple domains including autonomous mobility and manufacturing, technology, sales, and transportation.

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Hodari P.T. Brown
Public Affairs Specialist: U.S. Small Business Administration

Hodari P.T. Brown, a military veteran, is a Public Affairs Specialist for the U. S. Small Business Administration Michigan District Office who helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses with valuable resources and exposure. His dynamic career spans more than 15 years of excellence in leadership, project management, public affairs and talent acquisition. Throughout his career, he has managed projects throughout key milestones for critical strategic initiatives and has helped bridge lines of communication between diverse groups and organizations.

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Donovan Colquitt
Founder: The Scholar’s Key

Donovan Colquitt, owner and founder of The Scholar’s Key, is a leading advocate for increasing college access and success for underrepresented minoritized youth. He is the author of “The Scholar’s Key: How You Can Unlock Your Dreams as a Teen,” which he wrote during his senior year of high school to motivate teens to apply for scholarships after winning $1.25 million in scholarships. Donovan mentors students on how to have their college education completely paid for through scholarships.

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Dr. Maegan E. Daughtery
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist: Dr. Amy C. Parker DDS, MS & Associates

Detroit native, Dr. Maegan E. Daughtery, a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Dr. Daughtery then worked for Dr. Amy Parker, DDS and was exposed to the business and clinical aspects of pediatric dentistry.  There, she was mentored by the best!

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Jewelette Estes
Senior Project Manager: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

As a project management professional for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Jewel Estes is committed to improving corporate culture and reengineering legacy processes. She has been presented with the “Be Radical” award for her ability to turn Blue Cross Blue Shield cultural beliefs into action in cross-functional areas.

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Andre Gilbert II
Deputy City Clerk: City of Detroit

Andre Gilbert II is a native Detroiter who has been dedicated to serving the City of Detroit for nearly a decade. After graduating from Mumford High School, Andre attended Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama only to return to Detroit for an opportunity to work in the Office of the City Clerk. He has served in various capacities within the Clerk’s Office, most recently being appointed to Deputy City Clerk.

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Shawn Green
CEO & Principle Broker: Smart Realty & Investments Inc.

Established in 2012, Smart Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company, with ten agents, specializing in single family investment homes, with over 500 closed transactions, since inception.

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Maxcel Hardy
Owner & Chef: River Bistro & Coop Detroit

Maxcel Hardy is a serial entrepreneur. He is a private chef  (Chef Max Miami catering company); designer of chef Coats (Chef Max Designs), a philanthropist and founder of One Chef Can 86 Hunger.  Author Chef Max began his culinary experience in the Culinary Arts Program at Wharton High School in Tampa, FL.  Working under the program’s Executive Chef, Edward Bujarski, Chef Max began catering events in the Tampa community. Recognized for his exceptional culinary skills and his talent on and off the basketball court, Chef Max was awarded a scholarship to attend Johnson & Wales University in Miami, FL.

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Jessica Hayes-Stallings
Founder: Skinphorea Facial Bar & Acne Clinic

Jessie Hayes has created a name for herself in the beauty industry by taking her passion for skincare and founded the first facial bar and acne clinic in Metro Detroit. Skinphorea is the new concept facial bar for the person on the go that has no time to disrobe and can get professional skin care services for $59 with no appointment needed. Skinphorea has over five thousand clients, 200 monthly VIP’s and a wait list for their popular 90-day acne bootcamp.

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Danielle Hughes
Dream Director: The Future Project

Pledging daily to be the person she says she needed when she was younger, the astute social entrepreneur, author and proud Detroit, MI native, Danielle D. Hughes makes it her mission to make an impact in the lives of youth across the nation. As a Dream Director, for The Future Project she is responsible for igniting passion, possibility and purpose into the young people she services in the Detroit Public School District (DPS) through one-on-one coaching and mediation. Her revolutionary work in education landed her a spot on the Forbes Under 30 list as well as being named one of the most influential African Americans by The Root.

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Darryl Humes Jr.
Co-Founder: Mature

Darryl Humes Jr. has established himself as a blazing upcoming entrepreneur, successful businessman, and community servant. Darryl’s extensive management consulting experience has helped him navigate through his entrepreneurial journey. In 2017, Darryl and his brother took a leap of faith and launched Mature; a menswear clothing store for individuals who pursue a balanced wardrobe for an elevated lifestyle. Their online-based store has participated in many pop-up shops across the metro Detroit area and finished in the Top 10 of Hatch Detroit and a winner of the Retail Bootcamp Pitch Contest. Their unique brand message and concept has created the anticipation for the launch of their first flagship store in Detroit this upcoming winter (maturelook.com).

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Tiffani C. Jackson
Founder & Executive Director: Eden Community Organization 

Tiffani C. Jackson launched her career at the University of Michigan earning a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations/Corporate Communications and a Master of Arts in Public Administration.  She aptly juggled the rigors of studies and full-time employment focusing on community relations, content creation, project management, operations analysis and much more.  She went on to successful assignments at Wayne County Third Circuit Court, Wayne County Management and Budget onto Wayne County Department of Public Services where she is a Contract Manager.

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Yelitsa Jean-Charles
CEO & Founder: Healthy Roots Dolls

Yelitsa Jean-Charles never had a doll that looked like her growing up. At the Rhode Island School of Design, Yelitsa redesigned Rapunzel as a brown girl with beautiful kinky hair. She then saw the opportunity to address the demonstrated need for more diverse toys. With a grant from the Brown University Social Innovation Fellowship and 674 dedicated Kickstarter backers, Healthy Roots was born. A toy company that creates dolls that celebrates curl power and teaches natural hair care.

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Mikiah Keener
Minister: Triumph Church

Mikiah Keener is a 21 year old from Detroit, MI.  She accepted the call to ministry back in 2015 in her senior year of high school. Mikiah is a minister at Triumph Church, where she serves under the leadership of Pastor Solomon W. Kinloch, Jr. She has been in ministry for over four years now, and was just licensed by her pastor in March of 2019.

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Justin Kimpson
National Program Manager Ford Men of Courage/Senior Director Ford Resource and Engagement Center Eastside: Gleaners Community Food Bank

Justin Kimpson is national manager of Ford Motor Company Fund’s Men of Courage program that since its start in 2015 has advanced positive narratives of black men through grassroots initiatives in communities throughout the United States. Justin also serves as senior director of the Ford Resource & Engagement Center eastside location in Detroit where he oversees operations, program management, partnership development and food mobile distribution. Justin brings to his current position more than 15 years of diverse experience in the fields of philanthropy, education and workforce development.

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Josh Landon 
News Anchor: WJBK/FOX 2 News 

Josh Landon is very happy to be back home in the city of Detroit. Born in the City of Detroit, raised on the City’s east side, Landon graduated from Denby High School, and earned an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism from Eastern Michigan University. Go TARS!!! Go EAGLES!!!

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Erika Lawrence
Assistant Product Manager, Digital Innovation: General Motors

Erika Lawrence, Assistant Product Manager, Digital Innovation at General Motors (GM), leads eCommerce strategy and execution for consumer-based solutions to enhance shopping and buying experiences. Erika leverages design thinking methodology to ideate solutions being implemented on a national and international scale.

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Amber Lewis
Director of Digital & Social Media: City of Detroit, Mayors Office

As a Detroiter who stayed to be an agent in changing the narrative, Amber M. Lewis is the Director of Digital & Social Media for the city of Detroit that embodies being “Social N The City”. She directs and produces content, develops and implements strategies, campaigns and digital media buying plans.

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Whitney Lewis
Director of Communications, Wayne County Department of Public Services

Whitney Lewis is a passionate communications and marketing professional with over a decade of experience creating strategic campaigns for organizations within healthcare, nonprofits and governments. She was appointed by Wayne County Executive; Warren C. Evans in 2017 and serves as the Director of Communications for the Wayne County Department of Public Services. The Department of Public Services is Wayne County’s largest department including Parks, Roads and Engineering divisions. Whitney is responsible for the department’s communication and marketing strategy, crisis management and functions as the lead media spokeswoman.

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LaShauna Lowry
Executive Director Consumer Systems Team: Ally Financial

LaShauna Lowry is an Executive Director of Consumer Systems at Ally Financial. In this role she is the auto servicing business lead on the company’s IT and Digital transformation initiative. This includes creating processes and restructuring a team to support the various system transformations allowing for more flexibility and effectiveness in the business processes. Previously, Lowry served as a Senior Director of Compliance Monitoring at Ally where she was responsible for managing, overseeing and providing strategic direction for Ally’s Compliance Monitoring Program. She has also held roles at Ally in Audit and Operations. Lowry began her career as an Assurance Associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. She graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

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Drew Matthews Jr.
Owner & Executive Chef: Le Culture Café

Drew Matthews Jr. was born and raised in Detroit, MI.  He is recognized as a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. After obtaining a GED Drew always knew he wanted to live in his purpose and make a difference by setting an example for millennials. Drew always had a passion for supporting the metro Detroit community through his philanthropist efforts. Drew is also a board member for the non-profit organization Pure Heart Foundation.

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David Merritt
Co-Founder: Narrow Way Café and Shop

David Merritt was born on February 26th, 1986 in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in West Bloomfield, MI and attended West Bloomfield High School, where he graduated with academic honors and was an All-State basketball player. Merritt then accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Michigan, and later was selected as a walk-on to the Men’s Basketball team in 2006.

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Jonathan Merritt
Co-Founder: Narrow Way Café and Shop

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Kiera Pack
Owner: Pareik Gallery & Pareik Studio

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Dr. Danielle Penson
Clinician/Entrepreneur: Kaydense Galleria

Dr. Danielle Penson is a native of Detroit, Michigan, and a progressive byproduct of the Detroit public school system.  Indeed, she is a testament to the infamous inquiry of the greatness that can, and has emerged from an Urban Utopia. Against all odds she has obtained an earned doctoral degree in counseling which she has used to establish several active community programs.

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Tameishia Pigford
CEO: Dream Celebrations, Inc.

Tameishia Pigford, affectionately known as Meisha, is a certified wedding planner & event designer who creates over-the-top premium experiences for her clients that leave them saying WOW! After working in Human Resources (HR) where she developed her people skills and helped organize corporate events, Meisha designed her own wedding, sparking her love of event planning. Meisha now owns an award-winning planning and design firm, Dream Celebrations, Inc.

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Kenneth Porter
President: Porter Media Group

Ken Porter serves as President of Porter Media Group (PMG) in Detroit. PMG is a leading communications company that specializes in corporate print, conference marketing, and brand development. Last year PMG was nominated for the prestigious Supplier of the Year award by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and also featured in Forbes-Japan for their partnership with JPMorgan and the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund. One active assignment his company is engaged with is the new Gordie Howe International Bridge project.

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Portia Powell
VP-Manager of Municipal Banking Operations: Chemical Bank

Portia Powell, Vice President and Manager of Municipal Banking Operations at Chemical Bank is a 15-year banking leader. Born, raised, and educated in Detroit she has deep ties to the community and uses her influence to support organizations and the citizens of the Metro Detroit Community. The division of the bank that she helps manage has a portfolio of over 2.5 billion dollars in assets and recently became the official bank of The City of Detroit.

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Asia Rawls
Director of Software Education and Training: Trumble Inc.

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Charli Rose, FD
Mortician/Funeral Director: Andrews Funeral Home

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Kierra Sheard
Singer & CEO: Drew’s Girl Productions & Eleven60 

Kierra Sheard, is a native of Detroit, Michigan, Grammy nominated recording artist that has a voice that gives every listener goosebumps. She has shared her expertise as a judge on the 8th and 9th seasons of BET’s singing competition ​Sunday Best. ​In addition, Kierra portrayed her mother, Karen Clark-Sheard, in the upcoming Lifetime film production, ​“You Brought the Sunshine​“, a story about the world-renowned gospel group – The Clark Sisters​. Kierra continues to transcend traditional rules and draw people of all ages closer to Christ through her heart, music and transparency. She also continues to mentor through her ​SistHER ​mentorship launched in 2018.

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Courtney Smith
Founder & CEO: Detroit Phoenix Center

Raising the standard of civic virtue in the face of poverty throughout the city of Detroit, Courtney Smith is a champion for youth, leading not only by choice, but by nature. She serves as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Detroit Phoenix Center, a human service organization that provides critical resources, support and a safe, nurturing environment for youth who are street connected.

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Maria Stroud
Owner & President: MES & Co.

Maria Lizi Stroud is a patented inventor/product developer from Detroit, Michigan. Maria has quite the inventive spirit with few granted patents, Utility & Design Patent in the USA and China, with more patents pending. She has a few prototypes and two products currently being developed, “DoggyLoveDoll & Mirari Mirror” with another 25 concept ideas that keep her very busy.

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Lynita Taylor
Diversity & Inclusion Program Manager: Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business

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Angelique Turner
Industrial Engineering Manager/WO Pillar Lead: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Angelique Turner attended Bates Academy and Cass Tech. She then went on to receive a Bachelor of  Science in Industrial Engineering and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan. Turner is currently an Industrial Engineering (IE) Manager and Workplace Organization Pillar Lead at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. She has worked at FCA for the past seven years holding the positions of Stamping IE, Assembly IE Supervisor, and Stamping IE Supervisor.

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Phaedra Wainaina
Executive Director: Vehicles for Change Detroit & MACC Development

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Daniel Wallace
Global Diversity Initiatives Lead: General Motors

Daniel Wallace is a multifaceted professional with nearly 15 years of progressive experience in communications and human resources with several Fortune 50 companies. At General Motors, he is the Global Diversity Initiatives Lead, where he manages GM’s African American portfolio. He is responsible for driving the engagement strategy for diversity programming, defining philanthropic allocations within the African American community, building brand awareness through local and national programs, and serving as the company’s diversity subject matter expert.

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Meagan Ward
Co-Founder & CEO: Femology

Powerfully poised in entrepreneurial activism and global empowerment, Meagan Ward is a strategist and branding maven positioning women for greatness in business and life. Ward has created an enterprising network of women as owner of branding agency Creatively Flawless and Co-founder of FEMOLOGY, Detroit’s first female-focused co-working space.

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Dwanette Williams
Assistant Vice President/Financial Center Manager: Bank of America

Dwanette Harbin Williams is an Assistant Vice President at Bank of America (BAC). She has worked in the financial industry, nearly 20 years, developing high achieving sales and client focused teams, coaching and training successful employees, and educating diverse communities in financial centers across Michigan.

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Bianca Wilson
CEO: Umbrellex Behavioral Health Services, LLC

Bianca Wilson is a licensed master’s level clinical social worker currently working with community organizations such as Oak Park School District and The Guidance Center. Through her work as a school social worker, she developed an unrelenting passion for helping students succeed. By performing goal oriented individual behavior plans, conducting behavior workshops and class presentations, coordinating events and assisting with life skills, her work has improved the lives of students growing up in adversity. As a Crisis Screener with The Guidance Center, she services Wayne county hospital adolescent Medicaid recipient patients whom are encountering suicidal or homicidal ideation and/or acute/chronic psychosis.

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