David G. Wilkins, Esq. retired from The Dow Chemical Company in March, 2014, after twenty-five years as a lawyer and human resource leader. In his last role for Dow, Wilkins served as an Associate General Counsel and as the company’s Director of Ethics and Compliance. Previous roles included Vice President and General Counsel of the Union Carbide Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow, Director of Diversity for Dow, Division Counsel for Dow’s North American Operations, Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Secretary for Dow Agrosciences, and a variety of other legal and human resource roles across Dow’s U.S. Operations.
Wilkins also served as Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for the American Red Cross from 2003 to 2005. Following his retirement from Dow, he served as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer at SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc., in Montreal Canada, from April, 2014 until November, 2015.
Wilkins joined Dow in 1987 after ten years of private law practice in Chicago with the firm of Strauss, Sulzer, Shopiro and Wilkins. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, Magna Cum Laude, from Illinois Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois School of Law. He attended the Babson College Executive Education program in 1991. He served on the Board of Trustees of Illinois Wesleyan University until January, 2018, and is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court and an Emeritus member of the Michigan State Bar Association.
Wilkins and his wife, Lois Bright Wilkins, have four adult children and one granddaughter. David and Lois reside in Sarasota, Florida, where they both are active members of ASALH (Association for the Study of African-American Life and History) and Wilkins volunteers at the African-American Cultural Resource Center, located at the North Sarasota Library.
Mr. Giscombe, formally the Chief Financial Officer for a number of not-for-profit organizations, included The YWCA of the City of New York and Amnesty International, USA. His responsibilities included management of finance, human resources, information technology, facilities and publications at various organizations. He has been a leader in socially responsible investing. His skills include major system project management, assessing and running disaster recovery tests, domestic and international financial audits, as well as SEC reporting.
Mr. Giscombe has been a member of the Board Audit Committee for the New York City Housing Authority and has chaired the audit committee for a life insurance company. He has taught accounting at Westchester Community College and lectured on fiscal management for numerous organizations.
Gary, a NYS CPA, graduated from Central State University in Ohio, and has an MBA in Finance from PACE University, NY. A former Army Finance Officer having served at Ft, Knox and Vietnam. He is a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
Gary and his wife are active supporters of the West Coast Black Theatre Troup, members of Light of the World International Church in Sarasota. He and his wife have a son (Bryant), a daughter (Garian) and a grandson (Tristan). Gary and Bernice live in Bradenton, Florida while maintaining a summer place in Sag Harbor, New York.
Dr. Dorothy Libron-Green is a resident of Lakewood Ranch by way of Punta Gorda, FL and Connecticut. A native of Richmond, Virginia Mrs. Libron-Green is a retired Professor of Mathematics and chair of the Mathematics Department at Naugatuck Community College of Waterbury, Connecticut. Mrs. Libron-Green is a charter member of the Martha’s Vineyard Branch for Association for the Study of African American Life and History and is its immediate past president. Dorothy is a current or past member or officer of The Links, Inc., Lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Circle-Lets, Inc, Masala Giving Circle, and Zora Neale Hurston Book Club. Dorothy holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in mathematics and the degree of Doctor of Educational Leadership. Dorothy and her husband, The Reverend Larry C. Green, relocated to Florida in 2010. They are the proud parents of Laurette C. Green Flaute of Kettering, Ohio and Larry C. Green, Jr. of Alexandria, Virginia and six grandchildren. Dorothy enjoys reading, traveling, golf, photography, and playing Mahjong, Canasta, and Phase 10
Dr. Allen D. Morton, a retired educator, worked for many years at Western Connecticut State University where he was a finance professor, finance department chair and dean of the business school. He helped develop business plans and professional development programs for several organizations including AARP, the American Red Cross, Staples, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bellimo Corporation, and the Yutong Bus Company (China). Allen and his wife, Roberta, moved to Venice from Patterson, New York in 2014 and they enjoy the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, spring training baseball games, and the large numbers of speakers and entertainers that visit Sarasota-Manatee. A fan of lifelong learning, Allen stays mentally active by making presentations to the Sarasota Economics Club, taking on-line courses, and by challenging himself to learn new skills such as photography.
Dr. Lonnetta M. Gaines, a retired New York City educator, taught and advised graduate students at the Bank Street College of Education, consulted with principals and their teams nationally and internationally under the leadership of Dr. Lorraine Monroe, and counseled and taught freshmen at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She cofounded The Learning House, a community pre-school in Atlanta, Georgia and Education Arts, Inc. in Louisville, Kentucky. In NYC, she performed in the professional dance companies of Eleo Pomare, Dianne McIntyre, and George Faison. In Sarasota, she worked as Artist-in-Residence at the North Sarasota Library, and has performed as actor at the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and the Florida Studio Theatre. A member of the Unity Church of Sarasota and the Lambda Omicron Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Lonnetta is the author of Fia and the Butterfly: 7 Stories for Character Education, a book for children of all ages.
Marion Black-Ruffin was awarded the coveted “Product Introduction of the Year” award by PC Magazine after joining NEC Home Electronics where she was Manager of Corporate Marketing Communications for seven years. She then joined FCB (now Draft FCB Group) where she was VP Account Director for seven years responsible for clients such as Citibank, Coca Cola, Kraft and Illinois Bureau of Tourism. Marion followed that, with five years at Frankel (now Arc Worldwide) as Director of Digital Marketing. She was responsible for Internet based marketing strategy for Cars.com Target.com, McDonald’s, Frito Lay, Oldsmobile and US Postal Service. She managed online advertising and promotions for these clients and many more.
She then joined United Airlines as a member of the direct marketing team to cost effectively market to the Mileage Plus member base and the united.com new customer base. She developed the email-marketing program at United Airlines and converted email marketing to a revenue-generating program. Marion joined Orbitz.com as Director of product marketing, Cross-Site Initiatives. She was responsible for making sure the customer experience was the same across all online marketing channels. She developed online loyalty programs for previous supervisors from both Frankel and United Airlines. Marion left Frankel and went to Oracle where she was Sr. Strategic Consultant for Oracle Corporation. At Oracle she developed strategies for corporations such as Hawaiian Airlines, Jet Blue, Goodyear and Hotmail to name a few. Marion moved to Sarasota area from Chicago last year. She thanks Lois Wilkins and David Wilkins for finding her a beautiful home and she is loving the weather in Sarasota. She looks forward to fulfilling her role as corresponding secretary for ASALH.
Mary ‘Jackie’ Davis is a retired Registered Professional Nurse, Educator, Administrator and Consultant who has lived in Sarasota for 25 years. She is a widow, mother of two adult children and one adult grandchild.
Educational background: Graduate of K.B. Reynolds School of Nursing in Winston Salem, N.C. ; Baccalaureate and Masters Degrees from Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, N.Y.; and Educational Administration from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Mary has lived and practiced nursing in North Carolina and New York. After retiring from the New York City Board of Education where she was a teacher, assistant principal, and nursing program director, she became a consultant.
Since arriving in Sarasota she has been the secretary to the Executive Board of the Former UNIFEM, which is now UNWOMEN; ASALH Historian and Trip Organizer; Sarasota Duplicate Bridge Club Social Committee co- Chair, Treasurer and Vice President; Treasurer of the local chapter of The Holidays, Inc., a National Bridge Organization; Active in her church, St. Wilfred Episcopal, and treasurer for the Daughters of The King, an Episcopal Religious Order. Her hobbies include golf, bridge, traveling and reading.
A native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, Robert J. Catineau and his wife and partner Carole Jackson Catineau have lived in Florida for 20 years after retirement from county and federal governments in the Washington, D.C area. Bob and Carole have a son and granddaughter living in Massachusetts. Mr. Catineau graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture and received the degree Master of Public Administration from Northeastern University in Boston, Ma. Bob has a long and varied career in park design, urban and regional planning and economic development. During his career, he designed inner block parks in Harlem Park, Baltimore, Maryland, developed plans for the reconstruction of areas damaged during the 1968 rebellion in Washington, D.C., acted as Regional Policy Officer for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston, Ma., and as founding partner of Connery Associates, consulting planners, wrote zoning by-laws and fair housing plans for a number of Massachusetts cities and towns. Living in Florida, Bob enjoys playing golf with the “Bobby Jones group” and being a keen member of ASALH.
Rita B. Smith, has been a Realtor since 2000 with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, where she was ranked in top 30% worldwide. Her tagline is “Leading The Way Home.” She is a native of Manatee County. She attended schools in Manatee County, holding an AA, AS and Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Florida in Interdisciplinary Social Science. She also studied graduate courses in Educational Leadership at University of Florida in Gainesville. Prior to becoming a Realtor, she worked over 23 years in the public sector.
Professional affiliations include serving on the Housing Opportunity Committee and has served on the Diversity Committee of the National Association of Realtors; served on the Board of Directors of the Realtors Association of Sarasota and Manatee; served on the Board of Directors for Florida Realtors Association; Graduate of Florida Realtors Leadership Academy; Graduate of Leadership Manatee.
Rita is passionate about her community and it shows in her daily community service. Rita spends countless hours volunteering in her community in numerous capacities and has received numerous awards and accolades. Some of which include the Community Service Award from the Realtors Association for her tireless community work; recipient of the Realtist of the Year Award from the National Association of Real Estate Brokers; recipient of the Mover and Shaker of the Year Award from Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce; recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award from Donate Life Florida (organ donations), a cause she is very passionate about; recipient of the Greater Good Award from Biz941 in Community Service; finalist of the Manatee County Chamber Champion Award.
Community affiliations include serving as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness; served on the Board of Directors for Bradenton Kiwanis, served on the Executive Committee for the Florida State NAACP Conference; served on the Manatee Boys and Girls Club Corporate Board, serve on Executive Committee of the Manatee NAACP Branch; serve on the Board of Directors of Eternity Temple Washington Park CDC; past Board Chairperson of the Manatee Community Action Agency, founding member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Initiative, lifelong member of the Mt. Carmel MB Church. She has been a Senior Correspondent with Tempo News for the past 24 years.
Travels abroad include trips to Dubai, Europe, London, Paris, Hawaii, Jamaica, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and others.
Designations include GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute); CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist); TRC (Transactional Realtor Certification); AHWD (At Home With Diversity Designation); RSPS (Resort and Second Home Specialist), SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialists), and SSRS (Short Sale Residential Specialist).
Rita is the 7th child of the late Rev. Moses and Rosalee Newsome. She has three children, 11 grands and 1 great grand.