Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees

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Jeannelle Wallace has been in public service as a municipal government employee in Prince George's County for over 42 years. She has served as the Director of a Youth and Family Services Bureau, City and Town Manager for five different cities, and is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, a Smart City of Excellence. She prides herself on leading by example, ad accountability in government.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Jeannelle Branson-Wallce

Jeannelle Wallace has been in public service as a municipal government employee in Prince George's County for over 42 years. She has served as the Director of a Youth and Family Services Bureau, City and Town Manager for five different cities, and is currently the Chief Operating Officer for the City of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, a Smart City of Excellence. She prides herself on leading by example, ad accountability in government.

Jetheda Hernandez has been seen as a national advocate for entrepreneurship and economic mobilization for over 15 years. As a successful business owner and philanthropist, Jetheda has created a buzz for her business savvy, natural leadership, and selfless organization. She serves as a Strategic Alliances Lead for the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency where she sustains relationships with top corporations and organizations around the country on behalf of Minority Owned Firms. She also serves as a part-time adjunct business professor at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. Jetheda has provided marketing and strategic consulting solutions for notable corporations around the country, to include Sony Entertainment, Black Entertainment Television, BMG Records, MTV, Viacom networks and countless large and small businesses around the county.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Jetheda Hernandez

Jetheda Hernandez has been seen as a national advocate for entrepreneurship and economic mobilization for over 15 years. As a successful business owner and philanthropist, Jetheda has created a buzz for her business savvy, natural leadership, and selfless organization. She serves as a Strategic Alliances Lead for the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency where she sustains relationships with top corporations and organizations around the country on behalf of Minority Owned Firms. She also serves as a part-time adjunct business professor at Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. Jetheda has provided marketing and strategic consulting solutions for notable corporations around the country, to include Sony Entertainment, Black Entertainment Television, BMG Records, MTV, Viacom networks and countless large and small businesses around the county.

Lidia Soto Harmon has a proven track record of success in the corporate, non-profit and government sectors. On August 25, 2010, she was appointed CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, after serving six years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital is the largest council in the country and serves as the area’s preeminent leadership organization for girls. With 87,000 girl and adult members (girls in grades K-12), the Council covers the Greater Washington Region, which includes the District of Columbia and 25 counties in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Lidia Soto-Harmon

Lidia Soto Harmon has a proven track record of success in the corporate, non-profit and government sectors. On August 25, 2010, she was appointed CEO of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, after serving six years as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. The Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital is the largest council in the country and serves as the area’s preeminent leadership organization for girls. With 87,000 girl and adult members (girls in grades K-12), the Council covers the Greater Washington Region, which includes the District of Columbia and 25 counties in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

As a municipal trailblazer, City Manager Teresa Wilson leads the executive team for South Carolina’s capital city. Columbia is a fast-paced city that is growing and developing on a daily basis, but City Manager Teresa Wilson is up to the task and she is focused on taking the city’s operations to the next level. On a daily basis, she works diligently to address the needs of residents in the community, while also focusing on public safety and economic development initiatives. Teresa Wilson is a proven leader and has hands on experience working with the business community to develop projects that will be catalysts for future economic growth. Prior to her role as Columbia’s chief executive officer, Wilson served in various professional capacities including her role as the Government and Community Relations Coordinator for the University of South Carolina’s Office of the President. When she transitioned into municipal government, Wilson served as the Chief Lobbyist and Director of Governmental Affairs for the City of Columbia. She was later named the City of Columbia’s Assistant City Manager for Community Programs, Economic Development and Government Services. In 2016, Wilson shepherded a one-year strategic planning process that yielded focus areas and goals that will propel the City of Columbia towards the future
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Teresa Wilson

As a municipal trailblazer, City Manager Teresa Wilson leads the executive team for South Carolina’s capital city. Columbia is a fast-paced city that is growing and developing on a daily basis, but City Manager Teresa Wilson is up to the task and she is focused on taking the city’s operations to the next level. On a daily basis, she works diligently to address the needs of residents in the community, while also focusing on public safety and economic development initiatives. Teresa Wilson is a proven leader and has hands on experience working with the business community to develop projects that will be catalysts for future economic growth. Prior to her role as Columbia’s chief executive officer, Wilson served in various professional capacities including her role as the Government and Community Relations Coordinator for the University of South Carolina’s Office of the President. When she transitioned into municipal government, Wilson served as the Chief Lobbyist and Director of Governmental Affairs for the City of Columbia. She was later named the City of Columbia’s Assistant City Manager for Community Programs, Economic Development and Government Services. In 2016, Wilson shepherded a one-year strategic planning process that yielded focus areas and goals that will propel the City of Columbia towards the future

As the Michigan District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Constance is responsible for the implementation of the SBA's programs and services in Michigan's 83 counties. She also oversees SBA's resource partners throughout the state, including 11 regional Small Business Development Centers, nine SCORE Chapters, three Women's Business Centers, a Veteran's Business Outreach Center and seven Micro-lenders.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Constance Logan

As the Michigan District Director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Constance is responsible for the implementation of the SBA's programs and services in Michigan's 83 counties. She also oversees SBA's resource partners throughout the state, including 11 regional Small Business Development Centers, nine SCORE Chapters, three Women's Business Centers, a Veteran's Business Outreach Center and seven Micro-lenders.

Tishaura Jones is the chief investment and cash management officer of the city. The Treasurer also oversees and manages the city’s parking division. Since becoming Treasurer, Tishaura has increased transparency in city government, streamlined and modernized the parking division, improved returns on the city’s investments, increased the overall financial health of city residents by reducing the number of unbanked households, and started a citywide children’s savings program. Treasurer Jones is a Henry Toll Fellow, a Rodel Fellow, a graduate of the Center for Advancement of Leadership Skills, an Alumnus of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and is a member of the NewDEAL Leaders, a group of pro-growth progressive rising stars in the Democratic Party. Born in St. Louis, Ms. Jones has a Master’s degree in Health Administration from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hampton University, and is a graduate of the Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to being elected Treasurer, she was employed as Vice-President of Municipal Finance for Blaylock Robert Van and as an adjunct faculty member at the Anheuser-Busch School of Business at Harris-Stowe State University. She is the proud mother of Aden.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Tishaura Jones

Tishaura Jones is the chief investment and cash management officer of the city. The Treasurer also oversees and manages the city’s parking division. Since becoming Treasurer, Tishaura has increased transparency in city government, streamlined and modernized the parking division, improved returns on the city’s investments, increased the overall financial health of city residents by reducing the number of unbanked households, and started a citywide children’s savings program. Treasurer Jones is a Henry Toll Fellow, a Rodel Fellow, a graduate of the Center for Advancement of Leadership Skills, an Alumnus of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and is a member of the NewDEAL Leaders, a group of pro-growth progressive rising stars in the Democratic Party. Born in St. Louis, Ms. Jones has a Master’s degree in Health Administration from the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Hampton University, and is a graduate of the Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Prior to being elected Treasurer, she was employed as Vice-President of Municipal Finance for Blaylock Robert Van and as an adjunct faculty member at the Anheuser-Busch School of Business at Harris-Stowe State University. She is the proud mother of Aden.

Inez Long has served as President/CEO of the Black Business Investment Fund, Inc. (BBIF) since 1991. BBIF is a mission driven, not-for-profit, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that focuses on providing capital to Black, minority and underserved small businesses. Under Mrs. Long leadership, BBIF has invested and leveraged $55.2million in community economic develop projects, provided over $47.6 million in loans to over 406 Black and minority businesses, created and sustained over 12,906 jobs all while maintaining a historical loan loss rate of approximately 4 percent. She holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Accounting from the University of South Florida.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Inez Long

Inez Long has served as President/CEO of the Black Business Investment Fund, Inc. (BBIF) since 1991. BBIF is a mission driven, not-for-profit, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that focuses on providing capital to Black, minority and underserved small businesses. Under Mrs. Long leadership, BBIF has invested and leveraged $55.2million in community economic develop projects, provided over $47.6 million in loans to over 406 Black and minority businesses, created and sustained over 12,906 jobs all while maintaining a historical loan loss rate of approximately 4 percent. She holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Accounting from the University of South Florida.

Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes is the Interim Director of The Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES).  In her role as State Labor Commissioner, she is directly responsible for more than $150M in local, federal and specific-purpose funds administered by the District of Columbia and the federal government for workforce development programs and training, unemployment compensation, universal paid leave administration and labor standards enforcement along with more than $80M in active capital projects. Previously, Dr. Morris-Hughes was the Chief Strategy Officer for DOES. She is credited with the successful turnaround of the agency’s federally-funded workforce programs. Appointed by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to assist the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO), Dr. Morris-Hughes was named Special Assistant & Assistant Director of DOES in 2016. Within 18 months, she removed the agency’s youth programs from a federal watch list. The turnaround effort was a major accomplishment for the agency, marking a highlight of Dr. Morris-Hughes’ career
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes

Dr. Unique Morris-Hughes is the Interim Director of The Washington DC Department of Employment Services (DOES). In her role as State Labor Commissioner, she is directly responsible for more than $150M in local, federal and specific-purpose funds administered by the District of Columbia and the federal government for workforce development programs and training, unemployment compensation, universal paid leave administration and labor standards enforcement along with more than $80M in active capital projects. Previously, Dr. Morris-Hughes was the Chief Strategy Officer for DOES. She is credited with the successful turnaround of the agency’s federally-funded workforce programs. Appointed by Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to assist the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO), Dr. Morris-Hughes was named Special Assistant & Assistant Director of DOES in 2016. Within 18 months, she removed the agency’s youth programs from a federal watch list. The turnaround effort was a major accomplishment for the agency, marking a highlight of Dr. Morris-Hughes’ career

Irma Esparza Diggs serves as the Director of Federal Advocacy for the National League of Cities, the nation’s oldest and most representative association of municipal governments. She leads the organization’s grassroots and lobbying efforts to ensure the 1,700-member cities have a voice in Washington, D.C. She has more than 17 years of experience in public service and issue advocacy across various sectors of federal and local government. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan and John King. Prior to joining President Obama's Administration, she led the U.S. House Democratic Caucus as Executive Director. Irma earned her BA from The Catholic University of America and an MPA from American University.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Irma Diggs

Irma Esparza Diggs serves as the Director of Federal Advocacy for the National League of Cities, the nation’s oldest and most representative association of municipal governments. She leads the organization’s grassroots and lobbying efforts to ensure the 1,700-member cities have a voice in Washington, D.C. She has more than 17 years of experience in public service and issue advocacy across various sectors of federal and local government. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan and John King. Prior to joining President Obama's Administration, she led the U.S. House Democratic Caucus as Executive Director. Irma earned her BA from The Catholic University of America and an MPA from American University.

Constance Mitchell-Jefferson is the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Officer for the City of Rochester, NY. She has ignited the fire of the MWBE program within the City of Rochester and has established herself as a knowledgeable resource and advocate for Minority and Women-Owned businesses. Connecting herself regionally and statewide with some of the key players in the MWBE and small business arena, she founded the MWBE Consortium of Upstate New York a think-tank for MWBE and Economic Development Professionals representing Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, NY areas.
Meet the 2018 Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Honorees
Constance Mitchell-Jefferson

Constance Mitchell-Jefferson is the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Officer for the City of Rochester, NY. She has ignited the fire of the MWBE program within the City of Rochester and has established herself as a knowledgeable resource and advocate for Minority and Women-Owned businesses. Connecting herself regionally and statewide with some of the key players in the MWBE and small business arena, she founded the MWBE Consortium of Upstate New York a think-tank for MWBE and Economic Development Professionals representing Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, NY areas.

Walker’s Legacy is proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Women in Business and Civic Leadership Awards held in partnership with the African American Mayors Association. Recipients of the Women in Economic Development and Civic Leadership Awards are recognized as champions of policy and programs to advance economic development, entrepreneurship ecosystems and job opportunities within their respective communities.

Meet our 10 recipients and join us as we honor them at the 2018 Women in Business and Civic Leadership Awards Luncheon held in Washington, DC on September 13, 2018 at the Hamilton Live. The program will include featured remarks by notable female elected officials and is held in partnership with the African American Mayors Association.


The event is sponsored by Microsoft and Verizon and is produced by Walker’s Legacy and the Walker’s Legacy Foundation. For more information on our honorees and to attend the Awards Luncheon, please click here.

Walker's Legacy

Walker's Legacy

Walker’s Legacy is a digital platform for the professional and entrepreneurial multicultural woman and exists to inspire, equip, and engage through thought-provoking content, educational programming, and a global community.

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