Sons of Serendip is a musical group of four friends, who through a series of serendipitous events, came together in graduate school at Boston University. Micah Christian, a former teacher from Randolph, Massachusetts, is the lead vocalist of the group; Cordaro Rodriguez, a former attorney from Charlotte, North Carolina, is the pianist and guitarist; Kendall Ramseur, a former cello instructor from Charlotte, NC, is the cellist and vocalist; and Mason Morton, who is a former teacher from Atlanta, GA, is the harpist for the quartet. They have each been playing their instruments since childhood, but in 2014, they came together to begin what they know will be a long beautiful journey of creating music that touches people’s hearts. They hope that their music will resonate deeply with listeners and that, in some way, it will make their lives a little better – even if just for a moment.
Business & Career Coach/ Social Entrepreneur/Digital Media Strategist/ Brand Ambassador
Angelina Darrisaw is an international business and career coach, digital media strategist and brand ambassador. Angelina is the founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach, a groundbreaking career coaching platform that provides accessible professional development content and resources to diverse, millennial professionals. She collaborates with employers to create business solutions that empower and educate teams and facilitates transformative career workshops and experiences for working professionals and students. C-Suite Coach has a global client footprint with entrepreneurs and working professionals across the United States, Israel, Australia, Canada, and more. Angelina holds an M.A. in Management from Wake Forest University and a Certificate of Coaching from New York University.
Deirdre Avery was a product of the New York public school education system and attended Fiorella LaGuardia High of Music and the Arts (the “Fame” school). Having the aptitude for Art but loving Science and Math, she elected to attend Hunter College where she graduated in the early 80’s with a BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences. She became a Clinical Microbiologist and has worked at several prestigious institutions including Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and North Shore LIJ Hospital.
Resident Pastor | Director of Spiritual Support and Survivor Leader Program for New Friends New Life
Dr. Irie Lynne Session holds an undergraduate degree in Social Work; a Master of Divinity from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas; and a Doctor of Ministry in Transformative Leadership and Prophetic Preaching from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. With over thirty years experience in social work and ministry Dr. Irie’s expertise is preaching, teaching, and writing to empower and honor women and dismantle those forces (grounded in patriarchy) that inhibit them from believing they are indeed, GOD's Masterpiece. She has dedicated the last 14 years as the Resident Pastor & Director of Spiritual Support for New Friends New Life, a Dallas based non-profit whose mission is to restore and empower trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women and their children. As part of her ministry with New Friends New Life she also oversees the Survivor Leadership Program and Prison Outreach.
Jay Goldman is a presidential award-winning volunteer advocate and speaker. The past twenty years, he has created grassroots community organizations, volunteered thousands of hours for various not-for-profits, and has been a passionate, outspoken advocate for community service. His initiatives have been recognized in the New York Daily News, on radio, with examiner.com and various Internet blogs. Jay has spoken for charitable organizations such as The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Cross-Cultural Solutions, and Ashoka's Youth Venture. He was a founding team member of Lift Up Long Island, a grassroots organization that trains students to be social entrepreneurs. Jay works as Financial Service Representative for People’s United Bank in West Islip, NY. He heads the bank’s Community Outreach and Financial Literacy program for his market.
Deafness Consultant/Sign Language Interpreter
With nearly 30 years of experience in the field of deafness, Kathleen has a passion to ensure persons who are deaf/ hard of hearing have equal communication access & provided opportunities to reach their highest potential. She has experience as a Rehabilitation Counselor, Vocational Evaluator/Trainer, Domestic Violence Counselor, Mental Health Therapist, Director of an academic program for recent deal immigrants,Deafness Consultant and Sign Language Interpreter.
Lillie B. Crowder
Retired Architectural Engineer
Lillie B.Crowder received a B.S. in Architectural Engineering in 1958 from South Carolina State College. Lillie was the first woman employed as an Assistant Architect in residence at New York City -Central Board of Education Headquarters. She held key roles in the planning and development of Bronx Coop City, Bronx and Starret City, Brooklyn. She also served as the Senior Project Liaison for the housing-educational complex IS 89 at Battery Park City.
"Painting is an instrument of war." Picasso's words excavate the soul of Lisa Whittington—daily. Art was Lisa’s weapon and shield that helped her assault the issues that surrounded her as a child and kept her alive. Now she uses art to help others.
Dr. Whittington’s rich artistic seeds were first rooted in her birthplace, Harlem, NY where she was exposed her to rich visuals, vibrant colors, and cultural experiences that show up in her art and inform her practice. Art and education were Lisa’s escape to a better life.
Lisa has worked as an art teacher in Atlanta Public Schools for 25 years making the craft of teaching art one of her masterpieces. Teaching is just as important as any painting she could create. She endeavors to reach as many students as possible through art education. Her research at the University of Georgia “Teach Me How to Urban” seeks to improve the understanding for quality art education in urban schools.
Born and raised on Long Island, three-time Chopped Champion Marc Anthony Bynum comes from a household where cooking was a source of joy. Watching his mother cook for the family was what initially drew him to the culinary world. Growing up in
Farmingdale, his only form of training came at a vocational school while in high school. Bynum was forced to rely on his palate and diligent studying to master this craft. His professional culinary career began at a L.I. Marriott as a sous chef, followed by a position at Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage as the executive sous chef. Chef Bynum found himself leading the kitchens at Four Food Studio, Rookies Sports Club, Prime American Kitchen,Tellers, and Venue 56. In July of 2016, Chef Bynum opened Hush Bistro in his hometown of Farmingdale, earning 3 stars in the NY Times and a rating among the top LI restaurants 2015 & 2016. In July 2016, he launched SouporHero Kitchen followed by Bynum on Wheels, a food truck available for private events.
Rob Goldman is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and lecturer whose work seamlessly synthesizes art, education and social action. He is an internationally published photographer and author of Shooting From The Heart: Creating Passion and Purpose in Your Life and Work. Rob Goldman is the founder & director of the Center for Creative Development in Huntington, NY, home of the Just Like Me & "I Matter" projects. He is also founder of the Stepping Stone Gallery for Contemporary Photography.
Internationally acclaimed multi-lingual artist,Robbi Kumalo has crafted a career spanning nearly 30 years. Her powerful lyric soprano has graced TV commercials for Coca Cola, Lincoln Mercury, & GE. As a backup singer, she has performed with Aretha Franklin, Jewel, Diana Ross, Rod Rod Stewart, Mary J. Blige,Harry Belafonte & others. She hasappeared on Oprah, 60 Minutes, Rosie, Live with Regis & Kathy Lee, The View, The Today Show, VH1 Storytellers, & The Late Show with David Letterman.
CEO, Campaign for Black Male Achievement
Shawn Dove serves as the CEO of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement (CBMA), a national membership organization of more than 4,700 leaders representing over 2,600 organizations nationwide that seeks to ensure the growth, sustainability and impact of leaders and organizations committed to improving the life outcomes of Black men and boys. He launched CBMA at the Open Society Foundations in 2008 and spun it off into an independent entity in 2015.
Dove has demonstrated catalytic leadership in helping to establish and develop the emerging field of Black Male Achievement. He has served as a lead organizer of the Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys & Young Men of Color; brokered a partnership between Open Society Foundations, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the City of New York to launch the Young Men’s Initiative (YMI); helped seed the launch of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and other national and local initiatives advancing Black male achievement.
Graduate Student, NYU
Thandiwe Weza graduated from Spelman College in December 2014 with Magna Cum Laude honors, academic awards and scholarships. She is currently in graduate school at New York University on a full scholarship. Thandiwe is an up and coming young professional. She’s worked as a junior publicist, worked as a claims analyst trainer at Travelers and most recently worked as a defined benefits delivery specialist for the international firm AON. Thandiwe is also an entrepreneur and economic empowerment activist. At AON Thandiwe managed pension funds for the company’s multi million dollar clients. This experience raised her consciousness about saving, investing, budgeting, and sound retirement planning. Hence, she began a social media economic empowerment campaign. She hopes to empower others through her workshops by educating them about economic issues and financial literacy. On a macro scale, she hopes this will contribute to economic justice, racial and gender equality, and poverty eradication.