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2023 Award Recipients


Paulette R. Dillard, PhD – President of Shaw University is being recognized as the 2023 Emerald Award Honoree

for Services to Youth at our 13th Annual Emerald Award Program.

Dr. Paulette Dillard, the 18th President of Shaw University, has a rich teaching history having
taught biology for over 20 years at various institutions. Prior to her appointment as Shaw’s interim
President she served as Vice President for Academic Affairs.

During her tenure at Shaw University, Dr. Dillard served as the Dean of the College of Arts and
Sciences, Department Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and as an Associate
Professor of Biology. She also has served as Coordinator of undergraduate research
infrastructure; and Co-Director of the Academic Enrichment Programs for the National Institutes
of Health funded National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Research
Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) Project. Dr. Dillard was a research mentor for interns
as part of the Shaw in Jamaica-Mon International Student Research Training Project in
collaboration with The University of the West Indies. Dr. Dillard and the student research interns
spent 6 weeks during the summer in Kingston, Jamaica conducting research examining the
knowledge, skills, and attitudes of Jamaican men of African descent who had been diagnosed
with prostate cancer. This study was of interest to Dr. Dillard since it is well documented that
Jamaica men have the highest mortality rate from prostate cancer when compared with other
ethnic groups.

Dr. Dillard is a trained medical technologist certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology
and has over twenty-five years of experience working in the field of diagnostic laboratory
medicine. She began her career at International Clinical Laboratories in Nashville, TN. She went
on to be one of only a few African American women to hold senior positions at SmithKline
Beecham Clinical Laboratories and Quest Diagnostics. With that extensive experience in the
health care industry and medical diagnostics, she worked as a researcher at Clark Atlanta
University’s Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development. Dr. Dillard has served
as a guest researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research
Triangle Park, North Carolina. Her research interests involve the hormonal regulation of prostate
cancer development and progression, specifically the intracrine regulation of androgen receptor.
She has presented her research at national and international conferences and published in peer
reviewed journals.

Dr Dillard serves on the Board of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund the Dorothea
Dix Conservancy Board, and the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. She has been involved with the
Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and the Launch Raleigh initiatives since inception.
Throughout her career Dr. Dillard has served on the boards of a number of professional and
community organizations.

Dr. Dillard grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina. She earned the Bachelor of Science degree in
biology at Barber Scotia College in Concord, North Carolina and received the Master of Science
degree in biology from Tennessee State University. She went on to earn a MBA from the Jack

Massey School of Business at Belmont University and the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Clark
Atlanta University (CAU), Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Dillard completed postdoctoral training at the
Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutic Development at CAU. She was married to the late
Reverend Moses C. Dillard, Jr. a renowned musician and social activist. She is a member of First
Baptist Church, Wilmington Street.


Tamara Holmes Brothers, PhD – Deputy Director of the North Carolina Arts Council  is being recognized

as the 2023 Emerald Award Honoree for The Arts at our 13th Annual Emerald Award Program.

Tamara Holmes Brothers, Ph.D. was appointed Deputy Director of the North Carolina Arts 

Council in April 2020. As the first person of color in senior leadership and the first African American

Woman to hold this position, Dr. Brothers designs, developes, and implements agency programs;

recommends policies that realize the agency's mission of "arts for all people", works with the staff

and boards to create and implement strategic plans, and provides executive-level support to the

agency's Director. Dr. Brothers leads the work of assessing the effectiveness of institutional equity,

diversity goals, and outreach efforts. She works closely with the Department of Natural and Cultural

Resources leadership and other state and national arts organizations to prioritize and define

strategies that deliver resources to arts organizations and artists to encourage projects and programs

of public value—including revitalizing downtowns, helping youth succeed through creative approaches

to education in and beyond the classroom, and fueling a thriving non-profit creative sector.

Dr. Brothers also organizes and assists in leading the essential infrastructure to facilitate internal

and external community engagement, cultivates partnerships to bring about transformational

change, identifies and supports target areas to maximize the agency’s impact locally, regionally,

and nationally.

Dr. Brothers has experience in the fine and performing arts industry, grassroots marketing, and

governance in quantifying the value of brand and philanthropic outcomes. With a diverse

background, she previously served as Director of Development and Major Gifts at the Nasher

Museum of Art at Duke University, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations as well as the

Assistant Athletic Director for Development and Marketing at Fayetteville State University.

While at the Nasher, Dr. Brothers supervised the museum’s development operations, providing

leadership for advancement programs and initiatives, and was responsible for planning and

directing all fundraising activities, including major gift cultivation and stewardship, individual

annual giving, membership programs, corporate giving, and sponsorships, as well as foundation

and government grants at the Nasher Museum of Art. In this position, she increased membership

by 8% during an uneasy nationwide economic atmosphere.

During her tenure at Fayetteville State University, she led the University’s corporate, foundation,

and athletic development efforts and played a central role in achieving University capital campaign

goals. Under her leadership, corporate and foundation dollars and the donor base increased yearly

with increases of 24% (donors by 23%) and 39% (donors by 27%) in the years leading up to her

transitioning to her next position. Giving back to her community, Dr. Brothers has served in

multiple capacities. She has previously served on the National Advisory Board for Museum Hue,

as the second African American female President of the West Fayetteville Rotary Club, a former

Board Member for the Second Harvest Food Bank, and a former Board Member of the NC Arts Council Foundation Board, Arts NC Board, the City of Fayetteville’s (NC) Historic Resources Commission, the

Partnership for Children of Cumberland County Board, Founding Steering Committee Member for

the Friends of African and African American Art at the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council

as well as the President of the Hampton University Museum Foundation Board. She currently serves

as Vice-Chair of the North Carolina African American Heritage Commission, a member of the

North Carolina National Register Advisory Council, the Advisory Council for the Fralin Museum of

Art at the University of Virginia, Preservation NC, and the Winston-Salem State University

Foundation Board.

Dr. Brothers is a native of Fayetteville, NC, and has earned a Bachelor's degree in Art from Hampton

University, a Master's degree in Sport Management from West Virginia University, a certificate in

Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University, a certificate in Historic Preservation from the

University of North Carolina at Greensboro, certificates in Curating and Art as an Alternative

Investment from Sotheby’s Art Institute, a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke

University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Management from Hampton University. 


Cheryl Williams – Founder and CEO, John T. and Mary Turner House is being recognized as the

2023 Emerald Award Honoree for National Trends and Services at our 13th Annual Emerald Award


Cheryl Crooms Williams is a self -described history enthusiast, continues a ten year volunteer

commitment to education, preservation and honoring the heroes in our community. Previous

Assistant Board Chair and Education Committee Chair of the Friends of Oberlin Village she has

spent her time building community partnerships, managing events that uplift the stories of

Historic Oberlin Village, participated in education and research program development.  Ms. Williams

is a descendent of enslaved people who decided to settle, build their home, worship their God and

raise their family in what was Historic Oberlin Village. Prior to her journey with the Friends of

Oberlin Village, Williams spent almost 30 years in financial services helping first time home buyers

secure their dream of home ownership. She worked for Bank of America and Chase Manhattan

Mortgage in California where she raised her family.  Williams started the non-profit, Historic Turner

House Foundation Inc in September 2022.

The mission of the Historic John T & Mary Turner House is to provide programs that educate the

community and history lovers of untold cultural and historic stories related to the Turner family

and others who resided in Historic Oberlin Village in Raleigh, NC.  The mission of the Historic Turner

House Foundation is to source funding to preserve/restore the physical spaces of this remnant of

a surviving Freedmans’ Village in North Carolina that grew out of a free black settlement during the Reconstruction Era. 


Our passion for history, education and humanity will enable us to elevate the preservation,

recognition and education of the Turner family and Historic Oberlin Village locally and nationally. 

We want to continue to build on past and current efforts in lectures, walking and digital tours,

historic projects and preservation projects to encourage cultural reconciliation and understanding.


Sandra K. Johnson, PhD – Founder & CEO, Global Mobile Finance, Inc. is being recognized as

the 2023 Emerald Award Honoree for International Trends and Services at our 13th Annual Emerald

Award Program.

Sandra K. Johnson is the Founder & CEO, Global Mobile Finance, Inc., a fintech startup company

in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. It has developed geeRemit, a relationship-driven

remittance mobile app for Africa. She is also the Founder of SKJ Visioneering, LLC, a technology

consulting company, and an Independent Director on the Board of Directors for Regional

Management Corporation (NYSE:RM). Dr. Johnson is the first African American woman to earn a

Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering. She has obtained many firsts in her 30+ year

technology career. She had a 26-year IBM career, including serving as the CTO, IBM Central,

East and West Africa, and CTO, IBM Global Small and Medium Businesses. She is a Master Inventor

with over 45 pending and issued patents and over 80 technical  publications. Dr. Johnson earned

B.S. (summa cum laude), M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering, from Southern

University, Stanford University, and Rice University, respectively. She is a member of the Institute

of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery

(ACM). She is also an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Engineer. 

Terry Spicer 1.JPG

Terry W. Spicer – Global Publicist, Sisters Inspiring Sisters Incorporated is being recognized as

the 2023 Emerald Award Honorees for Health and Human Services at our 13th Annual Emerald

Award Program.

A progressive brand strategist and highly sought after global Publicist, Terry W. Spicer is the CEO

of Epiphany Public Relations, LLC. She practices the principles of Public Relations as an effective

and strategic business development tool critical to the development, implementation and

execution of business goals and directives with optimum outcomes. With a global portfolio, she

masterfully weaves a story telling tapestry that captures attention, builds vision, and bridges goals

and brands to targeted and cross appeal markets that deliver winning and sustained results.

With a genuine heart of service, she is the Founder and Executive Director of The Sisters Inspiring

Sisters Incorporated, (The SISI), a 501c3 charity that provides Transportation Assistance to cancer

patients to get to lifesaving and sustaining chemo, radiation, and medical appointments
toward survivorship. The SISI now celebrates ten years this year and they have helped 1407 cancer

patients in all 100 counties of North Carolina and 16 states nationally. Terry was recently appointed

to the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research National

Women’s Health Advisory Board. She was a guest speaker November 1-2, 2022, at the National

Mayo Clinic Community Partnership Summit in Phoenix, Arizona where she presented on the

global stage to experts on the disparities of transportation and cancer patients; one of the biggest

moments of her career and the committed and ongoing work of The SISI. Transportation is the

number one barrier of patient care and should not be a hindrance to lifesaving and sustaining care.

This is why The SISI “Fights Cancer One Mile At A Time!TM” She is hosting the Treasure Her
Elegance Grand Tea that honors and celebrates Breast Cancer Patients, Survivors and Caregivers,

Saturday March 25th at Prestonwood Country Club. The 10th Anniversary Black Tie Gala will be held

Saturday, August 26th at the Windham at Brier Creek with proceeds to benefit the work to

help cancer patients.

The SISI launched a national initiative and clarion call to action “Lift Your PEARLS And Check

Your Girls” to bring national awareness, action and support of Black Women who die of Breast

Cancer at a 42% higher rate than their white counterparts. This yearlong movement is working with organizations, hospitals, sororities, churches and communities around the nation to help

ONE MILLION Black Women get mammograms to help break the cycle of high morbidity.

More than 400 women around the country have already taken the pledge and gotten their

mammograms since the launch and The Rickey Smiley Morning Show and other media outlets

picked up the effort and lifted visibility for this important effort. Terry was a guest on the Show

several times to discuss the disparities and advocation for Black women to become more proactive

in their breast health. Women are stepping up because a diagnosis of breast cancer doesn’t have

to be a death sentence. Mammograms help to position those diagnosed with a better start toward

treatment and hopeful eradication of the disease.

Terry is also the Founder of The SISI Small PEARLS Lead Academy, a leadership development

Mentoring Program for girls ages 7-17 and has gifted nineteen Scholarships to high school graduates

of the Program to further their excellence in higher learning. Five seniors graduated in the Class

of 2022, four of them received a full academic scholarship. PEARLS is the acronym for “Preparing

Elegant And Ready Leaders for Success!TM” One of her Small PEARLS served as the Keynote Youth

Speaker at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Interfaith Prayer Breakfast this year at the Sheraton Hotel

and delivered a masterful presentation that she wrote to the theme of the Breakfast. Her Small

PEARLS hosted an incredible Black History Month Program in February via Zoom
with peers in The Gambia, Africa in partnership with The Boss Woman organization located there.

The Honorable Machelle Baker Sanders served as the Guest Speaker and spoke to the theme,

“Owning the Power of Hue We Are” and a favorite chapter of the book, “The Small PEARL In Every

Girl” a roadmap of leadership for black and brown girls, women, and millennials to help them

navigate the journey of life successfully at every level. Terry also launched her first Chapter of The

Collegiate PEARLS Leadership Academy at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in May 2022. She is

honored to have served as Author In Residence at Lincoln University for the academic year of

2021-2022 for the Department of Student Success, Health and Wellness. The proceeds from the

book directly benefit the work of The SISI.

With a relentless commitment to excellence, impact and winning results she is a successful and

sought after global Publicist. She served as the Publicist for ASALH, the Association for the Study

of African American Life and History founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History, in

Washington, DC and worked closely with the Obama Administration. Her agency was the first

official Public Relations firm for the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., under the tenure of Dr. Antonio

F. Knox, Sr., 40th Grand Basileus. She recently served on the National Board of Directors of

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, appointed by Beverly E. Smith, 26th National President

and CEO, and she is the Immediate Past Chair of the National Information and Communications

Committee. She was one of the three National Public Relations Co-Chairs for the National
Centennial yearlong celebration. She served as the Publicist for the 7th Annual National

Commemoration of the Mother Emanuel AME Martyrdom in Charleston, South Carolina. Her client

portfolio is diverse across corporate, nonprofit, entertainment, authors, HBCUs and businesses,

many owned by Black women. Her clients have appeared in Black Enterprise, Essence and Jet

magazines, radio and print mediums, Good Morning America, the CBS Morning Show, NBC Today,

CNN, ESPN and more. She is a professional mentor to many women minority owned companies

and business leaders. She has received numerous honors and awards professionally for her leadership

and tireless community service activism. She recently received the Women of Excellence Award for

“Health and Healing” from the Capital Area Section of the National Council of Negro Women at the

19th Annual Harambee. She is married to Stacey L. Spicer, Sr., Co-Founder of The SISI, a five-year
Cancer SURVIVOR, and they have one son, Stacey, Jr.

2022 Emerald Award Recipients

Valerie Lynn Willis, Services to Youth
Lakeshia T. Reid, The Arts
Omisade Burney-Scott, National Trends and Services
Siobahn Day Grady, PhD, International Trends and Services
Marie Georgette Debnam, MD and Marjorie Lynette Debnam, MD, Health and Human Services

2021 Emerald Award Recipients

Jacqueline L. Mims, Services to Youth

Nneena Freelon, The Arts

Yvonne Lewis Holley, National Trends and Services

Felicia Browne-Lherrison, International Trends and Services

Gayle Bridges Harris, Health and Human Services


2019 Emerald Award Recipients

Doris J. Bullock, Services to Youth

Monét Noelle Marshal, The Arts

Dawn Blagrove, National Trends and Services

Tsegga S. Medhin, International Trends and Services

Regina Y. Petteway, Health and Human Services


2018 Emerald Award Recipients

Syliva Wiggins, Services to Youth

Dr. Cicely E. Mitchell, The Arts

Jessica Holmes, National Trends and Services

Juni Asiyo, International Trends and Services

Dr. Wendy Brewster, Health and Human Services


2016 Emerald Award Recipients

Raquel Battle, International Trends and Services

Dr. Elsie Leak,  Services to Youth

Nancy Pinckney, The Arts

Dr. Portia W. Rochelle, National Trends and Services
Dr. Kamala Latori Uzzell-Jones, Health and Human Services)


2015 Emerald Award Recipients

Kelly Starling Lyons, Services to Youth

Eleanora E. Tate, The Arts

Betty Camp, National Trends and Services

M. Iyailu Moses, Ed. D., International Trends and Services

Belinda Pettiford, Health and Human Services


2014 Emerald Award Recipients

Iris Peoples Green, Services to Youth

Lonieta Cornwal, Ed. D., The Arts

Cassandra Deck-Brown, National Trends and Services

Esteria J. Woods-White, International Trends and Services

Laura I. Gerald, Health and Human Services


2013 Emerald Award Recipients

Joyce Robinson, Services to Youth

Dr. Patricia Caple, The Arts

Octavia Rainey, National Trends and Services

Dr. Sheila Smith McKoy, International Trends and Services

Dr. Sharon Elliott-Bynum, Health and Human Services


2012 Emerald Award Recipients

Brenda High Sanders, Services to Youth

Beverly McIver, The Arts

Andrea Harris, National Trends and Services

Helen Asemota, PhD, International Trends and Services

Leah Brown, Health and Human Services*

*In 2012, Health and Human Services was added as an additional National Facet.


2011 Emerald Award Recipients

Symonetta Higgs, Services to Youth

Zelda Lockhart, The Arts

Eva Clayton, National Trends and Services

Yvonne Coston, PhD, International Trends and Services


2010 Emerald Award Recipients 

Calla Bethel Wright, Services to Youth

Jaki Shelton Green, The Arts

Barbara Pullen-Smith, National Trends and Services

LaHoma Romocki, PhD, International Trends and Services

“Linked In Friendship, Connected In Service”
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