Board of Commissioners recognizes Oakland County residents with Black Excellence Award

Five Oakland County residents were recently honored with the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Black Excellence Award during a March board meeting. The program was part of the County Board’s commemoration of Black History Month, which also included proclamations recognizing the event. The awardees were nominated by the public, and all qualifying nominations were reviewed by a panel of commissioners that included Commissioners Angela Powell (D-Pontiac), Yolanda Smith Charles (D-Southfield), and Linnie Taylor (D-Southfield).

“This award helps shine a light on the meaningful accomplishments of some very important people we don’t hear about every day,” Powell said. “Honoring these recipients during Black History Month reminds us that their contributions are valued not only in February, but also through the entire year.”

The honorees were chosen for their notable achievements and the strides they have taken to improve their communities.

“It is a privilege to join with my fellow commissioners in recognizing these five outstanding Black leaders who continually strive to reach their highest potential,” Smith Charles said. “Their efforts are admirable, and this county is better because of them.”

This year’s awards mark the third year the Oakland County Board of Commissioners has presented the Black Excellence honors.

“This year’s recipients embody Black excellence,” Taylor said. “Their professional and personal accomplishments, dedication to improving their communities and impressive qualifications are noteworthy and serve as a beacon to their Oakland County neighbors near and far.”

This year’s Black Excellence Award winners are:

  • Eisha Branner – A native of Pontiac, Branner has dedicated her efforts to building a more resilient community through empowering youth and parents. She is the founder and CEO of E-Community Outreach Services, which assists families in need through case management services, community resources, and other support services. Earlier this year, she also unveiled the Women in Business Working Center, a space dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs and fostering their success. She holds a master’s degree in human services and has four daughters.
  • Myka Burley – With work experience at Fortune 500 companies, Burley has long advocated for tech as a driver toward economic equity and facilitated more than $4 million in philanthropic digital inclusion investments and tech training programs. A resident of Southfield, she is an associate director for the skills team at Michigan Central and serves on NPower Michigan’s Regional Advisory Board, supporting the nonprofit’s mission of creating pathways to economic prosperity through digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities. She was also appointed to serve on Brilliant Detroit’s Engagement Committee.
  • Vivian Greenway – Greenway has more than 30 years of clinical experience and has championed healthcare case management’s role in healthcare outcomes. She helped secure a proclamation from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to recognize October 8-14, 2023, as Case Management Week in Michigan and currently serves on several national committees for the Case Management Society of America, including the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Committee. Greenway also serves on the Leadership Succession Committee for Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society and volunteers as a mentor. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Damany Ali Head – Founder, investor and mechanical engineer, Head (of Pontiac) has served as the chair of the Pontiac Regional Chamber since 2016. He is also principal officer for the Pontiac United Education Coalition, a nonprofit that brings together school district leaders, businesses, and community organizations to improve educational outcomes for children in Pontiac. Head’s Pathways to Prosperity program promotes lifelong learning for residents, and his service on the Oakland Literacy Council board helps advance literacy as a fundamental right throughout Oakland County. Professionally, he is the managing partner of Essential Recycling.
  • Christian J. Williams – Also a recipience of Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 Awards in 2023, West Bloomfield resident Christian J. Williams has made a significant mark on the career services field. He established CJW Consulting Group, an entrepreneurial professional development business that offers consulting for résumé development, cover letters, LinkedIn optimization and interview coaching. His firm has helped nearly 2,000 national clients, ranging from individual contributors to vice presidents and C-suite professionals, develop their careers. Concurrently, he serves as a supplier diversity consultant for Henry Ford Health, advocating for minority- and women-owned business enterprises. He is also a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

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