13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women

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A lauded communications and media strategist, Kelly brings more than a decade of experience managing public information, branding, crisis and issues management, social advocacy and thought leadership campaigns. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Dress for Success Worldwide, where she oversaw brand strategy for the international organization which serves disadvantaged women in more than 130 cities and 15 countries around the world.When not focused specifically on her work to empower women and girls, Kelly also serves as a principal for Kelsher Communications, a video production and public relations company that specializes in the intersection of business, public affairs and social change.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Kelly Smith Betty

A lauded communications and media strategist, Kelly brings more than a decade of experience managing public information, branding, crisis and issues management, social advocacy and thought leadership campaigns. Most recently, Kelly served as Vice President of Marketing & Communications for Dress for Success Worldwide, where she oversaw brand strategy for the international organization which serves disadvantaged women in more than 130 cities and 15 countries around the world.When not focused specifically on her work to empower women and girls, Kelly also serves as a principal for Kelsher Communications, a video production and public relations company that specializes in the intersection of business, public affairs and social change.

Maura began her career at the age of thirteen as a professional actress and has since held positions as a 360 Marketing and Branding intern for Viacom Media Industries-BET, a media intern for both the Bronze Lens Film Festival and the Black Women’s Film Network, and later served as a creative intern for True Story Agency where she brainstormed and assisted in content development for major brands. Upon completion of her B.A. at Spelman College, Maura set out to fill a void she felt was present in the corporate world.  After graduating, she discovered that tremendous potential lied in being the change she wanted to see in the world and hiring herself. This lead to Glitter & Hustle being born which  prides itself on an unparalleled work ethic and uniquely crafted visuals that aid in the first-hand development of every client’s vision.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Maura Chanz

Maura began her career at the age of thirteen as a professional actress and has since held positions as a 360 Marketing and Branding intern for Viacom Media Industries-BET, a media intern for both the Bronze Lens Film Festival and the Black Women’s Film Network, and later served as a creative intern for True Story Agency where she brainstormed and assisted in content development for major brands. Upon completion of her B.A. at Spelman College, Maura set out to fill a void she felt was present in the corporate world. After graduating, she discovered that tremendous potential lied in being the change she wanted to see in the world and hiring herself. This lead to Glitter & Hustle being born which prides itself on an unparalleled work ethic and uniquely crafted visuals that aid in the first-hand development of every client’s vision.

Cierra is a 2014 graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and has completed Yale University's Women's Campaign School. Last year she was a Running Start Walmart Star Fellow for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and this spring she was a White House Communications Intern for the Chief of Staff's Office.Cierra is a personal witness to the negative effects of war as a military child. Her story as a military child has been featured on Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Campaign and was shared widely via social media. She currently works with many military children and family advocacy organizations including the Congressional Military Family Caucus. After obtaining a JD in Environmental Law with a Masters in Environmental Sustainability, she plans to run for Congress.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Cierra Jackson

Cierra is a 2014 graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and has completed Yale University's Women's Campaign School. Last year she was a Running Start Walmart Star Fellow for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and this spring she was a White House Communications Intern for the Chief of Staff's Office.Cierra is a personal witness to the negative effects of war as a military child. Her story as a military child has been featured on Michelle Obama’s Joining Forces Campaign and was shared widely via social media. She currently works with many military children and family advocacy organizations including the Congressional Military Family Caucus. After obtaining a JD in Environmental Law with a Masters in Environmental Sustainability, she plans to run for Congress.

Kiesha Knight Pulliam C’01 is an American actress. She is known for her childhood role as Rudy Huxtable, the youngest child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92) and as Miranda Lucas-Payne on the TBS comedy-drama Tyler Perry's House of Payne (2007–12). When The Cosby Show went off the air in 1992, Pulliam decided to focus on her education. She attended the Foxcroft School, a preparatory school in Middleburg, Virginia and then continued on to Spelman College where she  graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001. While attending, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In 2011, she founded Kamp Kizzy at Spelman College, as a means for empowering young girls.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Keshia Knight-Pulliam

Kiesha Knight Pulliam C’01 is an American actress. She is known for her childhood role as Rudy Huxtable, the youngest child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–92) and as Miranda Lucas-Payne on the TBS comedy-drama Tyler Perry's House of Payne (2007–12). When The Cosby Show went off the air in 1992, Pulliam decided to focus on her education. She attended the Foxcroft School, a preparatory school in Middleburg, Virginia and then continued on to Spelman College where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2001. While attending, she became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. In 2011, she founded Kamp Kizzy at Spelman College, as a means for empowering young girls.

Jaunice Sills is Vice President, Program Scheduling & Promo Strategy at REVOLT TV, the #1 name in music, founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs. Prior to her current role, Jaunice was the Manager of Program Planning at BET Networks in New York City, strategizing long-term and short-term schedules of all original series/ movies including The Game, Being Mary Jane and The Real Husbands of Hollywood.  A proud alumna of Spelman College, Jaunice graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in English and minor in Management and Organization. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and NAMIC. In 2016, Jaunice was selected as a Rising Leader in communications by WICT (Women In Cable Telecommunications.) She is also on the executive board for the Black Women Film Network, and for the last 2 years has served as Director of the Black Women Film Summit in Atlanta.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Jaunice Sills

Jaunice Sills is Vice President, Program Scheduling & Promo Strategy at REVOLT TV, the #1 name in music, founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs. Prior to her current role, Jaunice was the Manager of Program Planning at BET Networks in New York City, strategizing long-term and short-term schedules of all original series/ movies including The Game, Being Mary Jane and The Real Husbands of Hollywood. A proud alumna of Spelman College, Jaunice graduated cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in English and minor in Management and Organization. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and NAMIC. In 2016, Jaunice was selected as a Rising Leader in communications by WICT (Women In Cable Telecommunications.) She is also on the executive board for the Black Women Film Network, and for the last 2 years has served as Director of the Black Women Film Summit in Atlanta.

AJ has appeared on a number of television series, and her feature film roles include House Party, Skin Deep, The Inkwell, Assassins (with Sylvester Stallone), Dying Young (with Julia Roberts), Sister Act (with Whoopi Goldberg), and John Singleton’s critically acclaimed feature Baby Boy. Her father’s words from his deathbed lead her to redefine her life’s purpose, dedicating herself to wellness education and training.. When AJ is not molding the hottest minds, bodies and souls of Hollywood, she is creating a global movement towards wellness as the president of her lifestyle coaching firm, The AJ Zone.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
AJ Johnson

AJ has appeared on a number of television series, and her feature film roles include House Party, Skin Deep, The Inkwell, Assassins (with Sylvester Stallone), Dying Young (with Julia Roberts), Sister Act (with Whoopi Goldberg), and John Singleton’s critically acclaimed feature Baby Boy. Her father’s words from his deathbed lead her to redefine her life’s purpose, dedicating herself to wellness education and training.. When AJ is not molding the hottest minds, bodies and souls of Hollywood, she is creating a global movement towards wellness as the president of her lifestyle coaching firm, The AJ Zone.

Walker who attended Spelman from 1961 to 1963, is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. After college, Walker worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. She became active in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equality for all African Americans. Her experiences informed her first collection of poetry, Once, which was published in 1968. In the fall of 2015, the Spelman College Office of the President created a unique opportunity for students to engage in a collective literary program where Walker spent three days engaging students about writing and social justice issues
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Alice Walker

Walker who attended Spelman from 1961 to 1963, is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. After college, Walker worked as a social worker, teacher and lecturer. She became active in the Civil Rights Movement, fighting for equality for all African Americans. Her experiences informed her first collection of poetry, Once, which was published in 1968. In the fall of 2015, the Spelman College Office of the President created a unique opportunity for students to engage in a collective literary program where Walker spent three days engaging students about writing and social justice issues

Theia Washington serves as the Executive Director of the City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) where she oversees the totality of services offered by the WEI, including the development and operational structure of its incubator. She works collaboratively with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the WEI advisory board to galvanize synergistic support from the public, private and education communities aimed at leveraging the initiative’s objectives. Theia is also active on several boards and community initiatives, including the Grady Health Foundation Ambassador Force, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs’ Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurship (WISE) and the Invest Atlanta Seed Equity Initiative.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Theia Washington

Theia Washington serves as the Executive Director of the City of Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) where she oversees the totality of services offered by the WEI, including the development and operational structure of its incubator. She works collaboratively with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the WEI advisory board to galvanize synergistic support from the public, private and education communities aimed at leveraging the initiative’s objectives. Theia is also active on several boards and community initiatives, including the Grady Health Foundation Ambassador Force, Georgia Institute of Technology’s Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs’ Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurship (WISE) and the Invest Atlanta Seed Equity Initiative.

Rosalind Brewer is president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a members-only warehouse club channel with revenues of $57 billion for fiscal year 2016, 110,000 associates and more than 650 clubs. She has implemented a growth strategy focused on technology and innovation, exciting and local merchandise and an expanded footprint, accelerating the growth of new clubs. Throughout her career, Roz has focused relentlessly on revenue growth and customer satisfaction and has extensive expertise in turn-around assignments. Roz is also known for building strong teams, inspiring mentoring networks and having a passion for improving communities.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Rosalind Brewer

Rosalind Brewer is president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a members-only warehouse club channel with revenues of $57 billion for fiscal year 2016, 110,000 associates and more than 650 clubs. She has implemented a growth strategy focused on technology and innovation, exciting and local merchandise and an expanded footprint, accelerating the growth of new clubs. Throughout her career, Roz has focused relentlessly on revenue growth and customer satisfaction and has extensive expertise in turn-around assignments. Roz is also known for building strong teams, inspiring mentoring networks and having a passion for improving communities.

An advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life, Marian Wright Edleman is best known for her legal advocacy for African-Americans in the 1960’s. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s as the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and director of the the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1968. She then moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years, she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in 1973 began the Children’s Defense Fund.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Marian Wright

An advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life, Marian Wright Edleman is best known for her legal advocacy for African-Americans in the 1960’s. A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, began her career in the mid-60s as the first Black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar and director of the the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1968. She then moved to Washington, D.C. as counsel for the Poor People's Campaign that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began organizing before his death. She founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. For two years, she served as the Director of the Center for Law and Education at Harvard University and in 1973 began the Children’s Defense Fund.

Eniola Mafe serves as the Program Manager for NDPI, responsible for advocacy and outreach activities and as well as supporting the design, enhancement, monitoring and evaluation of NDPI and PIND activities. Mafe joined NDPI in 2013 after serving as program manager on Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C. focusing on organizational development, entrepreneurship and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Mafe was named one of the 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33, or the “99 Under 33,” by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in 2011 and one of 13 Young Africans Business/Economic Leaders to Watch in 2013 by Ventures Africa Magazine.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Eniola Mafe

Eniola Mafe serves as the Program Manager for NDPI, responsible for advocacy and outreach activities and as well as supporting the design, enhancement, monitoring and evaluation of NDPI and PIND activities. Mafe joined NDPI in 2013 after serving as program manager on Africa at Vital Voices Global Partnership in Washington, D.C. focusing on organizational development, entrepreneurship and economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Mafe was named one of the 99 most influential foreign policy leaders under the age of 33, or the “99 Under 33,” by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy in 2011 and one of 13 Young Africans Business/Economic Leaders to Watch in 2013 by Ventures Africa Magazine.

An influencer, public speaker, media personality and entrepreneur, Tai engages women around the world with her genuine approach celebrating inner and outer beauty. A publishing industry veteran, Tai’s expertise in media, fashion and beauty was solidified through her experience as a beauty and fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and at Vibe Vixen Magazines. Followed by years of consulting with her mentor, international philanthropist Ray Chambers, Tai launched her media company, Tai Life Media, LLC to more holistically connect style and empowered.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Tai Beauchamp

An influencer, public speaker, media personality and entrepreneur, Tai engages women around the world with her genuine approach celebrating inner and outer beauty. A publishing industry veteran, Tai’s expertise in media, fashion and beauty was solidified through her experience as a beauty and fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, O, The Oprah Magazine, Seventeen and at Vibe Vixen Magazines. Followed by years of consulting with her mentor, international philanthropist Ray Chambers, Tai launched her media company, Tai Life Media, LLC to more holistically connect style and empowered.

Kelli Coleman is an award-winning marketer, advertising executive, and expert in consumer connection turned serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and speaker. With a gift for connecting and encouraging through speaking, Kelli often engages audiences on topics including entrepreneurship, female leadership, personal development and self-care, marketing and advertising trends, branding, and business development. Additionally, Kelli is the founder of She Who Dares, an initiative created to empower women by highlighting the importance of personal development and the power in harnessing vulnerability to reach one’s full potential. She is also the Founder of The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit, MI and has had the distinct privilege of being selected to interview Oprah amongst only nine other women for the tenth anniversary issue of O Magazine.
13 Successful Spelman Alumnae Who Are Blazing the Trail for Professional Women
Kelli Coleman

Kelli Coleman is an award-winning marketer, advertising executive, and expert in consumer connection turned serial entrepreneur, investor, advisor, and speaker. With a gift for connecting and encouraging through speaking, Kelli often engages audiences on topics including entrepreneurship, female leadership, personal development and self-care, marketing and advertising trends, branding, and business development. Additionally, Kelli is the founder of She Who Dares, an initiative created to empower women by highlighting the importance of personal development and the power in harnessing vulnerability to reach one’s full potential. She is also the Founder of The TEN Nail Bar in Detroit, MI and has had the distinct privilege of being selected to interview Oprah amongst only nine other women for the tenth anniversary issue of O Magazine.

Spelman College is home to a wealth of legacy and history. As a global leader in the education of women of color, alumnae of Spelman are missioned to make a difference in business, technology, policy, media, and beyond.

In honor of Spelman Homecoming and the University Women Campus Power Moves Tour coming campus on November 1, 2016, we highlight 13 alumnae who are trailblazers in their own right!

Walker's Legacy University Women

Walker's Legacy University Women

Walker's Legacy University Women is missioned to provide a foundation of entrepreneurial and professional support to help guide the career trajectory for college women of color.

 

Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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