By Jequetta Bellard
The Riverside African-American Historical Society and The Group will present the graduation ceremony of the 2007 inaugural class of the Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy on January 28, 2007 at 2:00 PM. The Parkview Founder's Center was chosen as the graduation site and is located at 3885 Jackson St., Riverside, CA 92504. This term's graduates are: Lolita Barnard, Jequetta Bellard, Alex Bowier, Jacqueline Bowier, Christina Duran, Equilla Edwards, Tim Gachago, Elisha Hall, Lisa Jarman, Pilar Jones, Hazel Lambert, Sir Isaac Lindsey, Kevin Randon, Bennett Reid, Ralph Rivers, and Gloria Willis.
The keynote speakers for this term's graduation are Lisa Marie Platske and Robert Byrd, Auditor-Controller, County of Riverside. As the President and Chief Excellence Officer of Upside Thinking, Inc., Lisa Marie Platske brings passion and excitement to her work every day. Committed to transforming organizations, Ms. Platske teaches professionals how to develop a clear leadership vision, increase their sphere of influenced and achieve long-term growth and steady profits. An energetic and inspirational trainer, leadership coach and certified True Colors facilitator, she has influenced the lives of entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate executives with her "call to commitment", challenging individuals to create a plan for excellence.
Active in the community, Lisa Marie generously gives her time, knowledge and expertise to help others. She serves on several committees and boards for the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, is the current Director for the For You Network-Moreno Valley and on the Corporate Affiliates committee of the National Association of Women Business Owners-IE. Lisa Marie is also a member of the American Society of Training & Development and the National Association of Female Executives. She enjoys volunteer work and serves as the Vice-President, Fundraising for non-profit 501 (3) (c) organization which provides emergency relief services to families in need and as the local coordinator for an organization that helps couples prepare for marriage.
Robert Byrd was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He has had the privilege and honor of being married to the former Patricia Robinson for 24 years. The Byrds have two children, a son Robert, 22 and a daughter Kailah, 14. During his time-off, Mr. Byrd enjoys music, sports, coin and stamp collecting, and working with advanced technology. He also enjoys playing the trumpet and lead and bass guitars in a music ensemble, in which his wife is also a member.
For more than three years preceding 2002 he served as the Assistant Auditor-Controller in Riverside County's Auditor-Controller's Office. Today, as the elected Auditor-Controller he is responsible for the policy, operations, and vision of this office, which consists of four divisions and an administrative section.
The emcee for the program will be Jack B. Clarke Jr., Esq. Mr. Clarke is a partner in the Litigation Department of the Riverside office of Best, Best & Kreiger LLP. He joined the firm after graduating from law school in 1985. He is involved in litigation concerning education law, special education disputes, business torts, public agency litigation, and he has developed expertise on defending defamation issues for clients. Mr. Clarke has successfully defended school districts and other education clients in Orange and Riverside counties in student disciplinary matters, civil rights and Constitutional claims, special education matters, and business litigation.
In law school, Mr. Clarke was elected to the Order of Barristers, a national honorary society for outstanding achievement in courtroom advocacy, and he served as a staff writer on the Legislative Review of the Pacific Law Journal. He also received the United States Law Week Award for Outstanding Contributions to the law school community. Currently, Mr. Clarke participates in several community activities.
The Eleanor Jean Grier Leadership Academy project was funded in April 2006 by a $90,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation. This private, nonprofit grant making foundation is dedicated to expanding opportunities for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, inclusive, and successful society.
Community volunteers served as speakers and presenters for academy classes. Experienced elected and appointed leaders made presentations on their leadership experiences, what motivated them to become involved in their respective areas and the mission of their organization. They shared the challenges and benefits of leadership as well as advised the participants on how to prepare to become a successful leaders. Volunteers mentored participants to assure their success as new leaders.
The next term will begin February 15, 2007 at 6:00 PM. Shirley Coates is the Project Coordinator and can be contacted at 951.628.5306 or via e-mail at EJGACADEMY@SBCGLOBAL.NET
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