2021 Achiever Profiles

Ms. Risala Allen
Executive Administrative Partner to the President and Board of Trustees
Kansas City Kansas Community College

Risala Allen currently serves as the Executive Administrative Partner to the President and Board of Trustees at Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC). She provides project management support to the President and President’s Cabinet, as well as the Board of Trustees. Risala facilitates students, faculty, staff and community members by resolving challenges through connecting people with the vast number of services provided at KCKCC.

Risala holds a Bachelor of General Studies in psychology with minor in sociology from the University of Kansas.

Risala received the “Rookie of the Year” Award 2016 for outstanding contributions to Supply Chain and Logistics/Trades Department (CE), Johnson County Community College; She served as Exhibit Volunteer for The Vizazi Art Group; a board member for Center for Spiritual Living Crossroads from 2016 through 2019; and a Lead to Read Mentor for 2018 – 2019 school year.

Risala wishes to acknowledge her parents, Keith and Tina McHudson, and partner, Rick Esteban.

Mrs. Nakisha Bausby
Senior Manager, Diversity Equity Inclusion
JE Dunn

Nakisha Bausby is the Senior Diversity Equity Inclusion manager at JE Dunn Construction. She is also charged with developing and executing DEI programming which advocates change for minorities and women with regards to workforce, small business, and community involvement.

Nakisha holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and is a Contract Compliance Administrator (CCA).

Nakisha currently acts as the KCPS, KCKPS, and Cristo Rey High School intern administrator. She served on the boards for Big Brothers/Big Sisters (DEI advisory board), Board of Directors of the Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, I Am King Foundation, Wyandotte County Contract Fairness Board, KIPP KC Real World Learning advisory board, and is a member of the Hot Stilettos shoe club which supports Newhouse, a safe house for battered women and children.

Nakisha wishes to acknowledge is her spouse, Hosea Bausby, Sr. and two children, Zaeon and Zaevier.

Mr. Olushola “Lusha” Bodie
Vice President, Technology and Digital Workplace
Hallmark Cards

Olushola Bodie is the Vice President of Technology and Digital Workplace at Hallmark. Olushola is responsible for Data Center operations and all digital workplace services across Hallmark domestic.

Olushola holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oklahoma.

Olushola is member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF). He has also served as a board member of Variety KC and The Family Conservancy.

Olushola wishes to acknowledge his parents Lloyd and Gloria Bodie and child, Jayla Bodie.

Mrs. Dachia Busch
Faculty Intern Program Coordinator
Metropolitan Community College

Dachia Busch is the Faculty Intern Program Coordinator at Metropolitan Community College (MCC). Dachia assists with leading the college’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategic initiatives and establishing a strategic framework for the institution, regarding DEI in collaboration with faculty, staff, administration, and governance bodies.

Dachia holds a Bachelors in Social Work and two Master degrees in counseling psychology and sport administration.

Dachia serves as a member of Cultural Competency Collective of Greater Kansas City (CCCGKC), The Open Table Kansas City, KC Race, Equity and Inclusion Project and The Legacy Group Online.

Dachia wishes to acknowledge her spouse, Darnell Busch.

Ms. Shannon Cade
Director & Senior Corporate Counsel

Shannon Cade is the Director & Senior Corporate Counsel for Cerner. She practices employment law.

Shannon holds a Bachelor in business management from University of Missouri – Columbia and law degree from Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, Illinois.

Shannon serves on the Board of Directors for DEBATE-Kansas City. Previously, Shannon served as a Commissioner for the Board of Parks and Recreation for the City of Kansas City. Through her service on the Board of Parks and Recreation, Shannon also served on the Board of Directors for the Kansas City Museum Foundation, Mill Creek Park Association and on the Board of Directors for R.U.B.I.E.S., Inc., an organization whose mission is to educate, equip and empower underserved girls with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed. She is also a member of the Jackson County (MO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Shannon received the Friends of Yates Black Woman of Distinction Award, Nefertiti Award Winner for law and public service from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of Societas Docta, Incorporated and was recognized as an Emerging Leader in Who’s Who in Black Kansas City.

Shannon wishes to acknowledge her parents, Mr. Everidge and Dr. Janice Cade.

Mr. Myon Caruthers
Senior Project Analyst
Honeywell FM&T

Myon Caruthers is a Senior Project Analyst at Kansas City National Security Campus Managed by Honeywell. Myon leads engineering technology maturation projects to enable and deploy technology solutions in support of the Digital Engineering Enterprise.

Myon holds an Associate in engineering and certification in Construction Project Management, Digital Thread: Implementation Certification, Digital Thread: Components Certification, Digital Manufacturing & Design.

Myon leads the youth Christian mentoring ministry at Grace Baptist Church of Greater Kansas City, MO. He also serves as an volunteer in City Union Mission, Grace Baptist Church Men’s Evangelism Ministry and Harvesters Food Pantry events.

Myon wishes to acknowledge his parents, Marion and Mae Caruthers, spouse, Carmen Caruthers and children, Montel Caruthers and Shantae Pitts.

Mr. Daniel Ekwue
Lead Electrical Engineer
Honeywell, Kansas City National Security Campus

Daniel Ekwue is the Lead Electrical Engineer at the Kansas City National Security Campus Managed by Honeywell. As a member of the senior staff, Daniel assists the manager with departmental vision. He is also a mentor and role model officially mentoring 6 individuals and unofficially 3 others.

Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering.

Daniel volunteers as an youth league baseball assistant coach for Tee-ball and Machine Pitch boys head coach. He is an adult basketball coach within the church ministry, youth mentor for high school and middle school boys at the church for multiple years and directed a High School/Middle School Summer Camp. Daniel also serves on the Graceway Church Board. Daniel received 3rd Place Presentation Award Winner of Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Research Scholarship and acts as Vice President – NSBE (UT Dallas Chapter).

Daniel wishes to acknowledge his parents Samuel and Patience Ekwue and siblings.

Mr. Laron Evans
Director, Business Diversity
Burns & McDonnell

Laron Evans is the Business Diversity Director at Burns & McDonnell for the Transmission & Distribution (T&D) Group. He works directly with some of the largest utilities in North America to formulate plans and strategies that promote diversity, business equity and inclusion in all business activities.

Laron holds a Bachelor in electrical engineering from Iowa State University. He is a registered professional engineer in Iowa and Alberta, Canada.

Laron serves in a full-time capacity as minister for the Swope Parkway Church of Christ where he champions a number of outreach programs for area youth, the needy and the community at-large. He currently serves as the president of the Kansas-Missouri chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy. He also devotes his time speaking to inner city youth to expose them to STEM related careers.

Laron wishes to acknowledge his spouse, Jessyca Evans, and child, Gabrielle.

Mr. Maurice Gay
Contract Vendor Specialist Coordinator/Buyer
Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

Maurice Gay is the Contract Vendor Specialist Coordinator/Buyer at Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA). He is the current Project Manager for the B2Gnow Software and oversaw the implementation of the software’s new modules and reviews and approves all new vendor registrations.

Maurice holds an Associate of Applied Science in computer-aided drafting and design. He is also a certified Biblical instructor through the Sunday School Publishing Board.

Maurice serves on the Board for the Entrepreneurial Unity Internship (EUI) which has developed a relationship between Haskell Indian University and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), this internship offers Juniors and Seniors who have expressed a desire to start their own business after graduation, the opportunity to intern with KCATA. Maurice serves as the Executive Secretary to the Convention United Thrust (C.U.T) ministry of the Missionary Baptist State Convention of Missouri, whose focus is on evangelism, home missions, drug and prison ministry, homeless ministry, and community outreach. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Derrick Sims Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Maurice wishes to acknowledge his spouse, Andrea Gay, and children, Kameron (in memory), ReKesia, and Amauri.

Mrs. Karmen Gooch
Manager, Process & Training
Hallmark Cards

Karmen Gooch is the Process and Training Manager at Hallmark Cards responsible for directing and overseeing a team of trainers and engineers who create a high-functioning, engaged, stable part-time workforce through successful recruiting, onboarding, retention, process development & documentation, and training practices.

Karmen holds a Bachelor in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering from Kansas State University.

Karmen is currently Chair of the African American Employee Resource Group at Hallmark and has been on the steering council for several years. She volunteers with Junior Achievement, Harvesters, AIDS Walk KC, and Operation Breakthrough. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and serves as the Mid-Western Regional Technology Co-Chair and her chapter’s Technology Chair enabling continued service to the community with forums, scholarships, and mentorship virtually during the pandemic.

Karmen wishes to acknowledge her parents, Kevin and Lisa Harris and spouse, Kerry Gooch.

Mr. Claude Harris
CEO and Founder
College Coaching Network

Claude Harris is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of College Coaching Network an educational technology company geared towards helping students obtain private scholarships, endowments, and early college education (associates degrees and high school diplomas simultaneously).

Claude holds a Bachelor in accounting from Pittsburg State University. Claude has also obtained Securities Licensed Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance certifications.

Claude is a multiple YMCA College Prep Award Winner, Digital Sandbox grant recipient, Sprint Accelerator Inductee and MIT College Business Mentorship Member.

Claude wishes to acknowledge his parents, Sheryl and Arthur Walston, spouse Roxanne Harris, and children, Rachel and Trinity Harris.

Mrs. Jauqua Preston Wilkins
Vice President, Programs and Operations
Urban League of Greater Kansas City

Jauqua Preston Wilkins is the Vice President of Programs and Operations at the Urban League of Greater Kansas City. She works to offer strategic vision to help the company produce high-quality programs and meet its grant outcome goals including finding creative ways to manage external relationships.

Jauqua holds a Master in education, Bachelor in business administration and biology from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff along with certifications in financial coaching and project management.

Jauqua serves as a volunteer to the UMKC Digital Equity Working Group, Promoting Equitable Neighborhoods, STEM+KC, YMCA People Services Council and NIC: Strengthening pathways from high school to 4-year STEM degree attainment. She is a Board Member of Metropolitan Leadership Institute, Inc., sits on the University of Missouri Extension and Engagement Advisory Committee, KC Chamber Centurions Leadership Program and is the current President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc – Mu Omega Chapter.

Jauqua wishes to acknowledge her spouse Brad Wilkins, and children, Bradley and Ryan Wilkins.

Mr. Wayne Reed
Lead Electrical Engineer
Honeywell FM&T

Wayne Reed is a Lead Electrical Engineer at Kansas City National Security Campus Managed by Honeywell. Wayne actively leads technical discussions with the sponsor and supplier base and provides guidance on microelectronics fabrication to assist in resolving design, development, production, and acceptance issues.

Wayne holds a Bachelor of Science from Kettering University and Master of Business Administration. He is also certified as Project Management Professional.

Wayne serves as a volunteer for STEM Outreach through PREP KC, Girls Ignite, and Christmas in October. He has received awards for First Robotics Mentor (2010 – current). Wayne is currently the Vice President of Midwest Afro-American Genealogical Interest Coalition (MAGIC), a Kansas City based nonprofit that focusing helping grow interest in genealogy and family history activity.

Wayne wishes to acknowledge his spouse, Lisa Reed, and siblings.

Mr. Michael Roberson
Operations Supervisor
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City

Michael Roberson is an Operations Supervisor in the Membership department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (BCBS). Within 3 years of starting at Blue K.C. he accepted the position of Membership Supervisor where he oversees between 15 to 20 employees.

Michael holds a Master of Arts in counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University. He also received certification as a Licensed Practicing Counselor (LPC) and National Certification for Counseling (NCC).

Michael is also owner and founder of Vulnerable Choice Counseling, LLC. His practice in Attachment-Based Approach focuses on building trust and rapport within the client-counselor relationship as they take the journey to healing and wholeness. Both Michael and his spouse volunteer through couples and family outreach ministry serving the needs of their local community.

Michael wishes to acknowledge his spouse, Tiffanie Roberson, and children, Mariyah, Micah, and Myles.

Mr. John Stafford II
Associate Professor of Music
Kansas City Kansas Community College

John Stafford II currently serves as an Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Co-Coordinator of the Music Department at Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC).

John holds degrees from Millikin University (music business), Bowling Green State University (composition), and has done additional doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (choral conducting).

John is a past recipient of the John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award for outstanding teaching and leadership at the community college level, and the 2020 Henry Louis Award for Teaching Excellence at KCKCC. He serves as the Jazz Chair of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and Commercial/Contemporary Music Chair of the Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. He is a member of the National Association for Music Educators, Jazz Educators Network, and American Choral Directors Association. John is the Choral Director of Community Christian Church, the Artistic Director of the m-pact Vocal Festival at KCKCC and directs, The Standard, the award-winning contemporary vocal jazz ensemble from Kansas City Kansas Community College. The ensemble is considered one of the best community college vocal jazz ensembles in the country. In June 2022, he will give his New York City conducting premiere at Carnegie Hall as part of MidAmerica Productions.

John wishes to acknowledge his spouse, Bonnie Stafford, and child, Karina.

Ms. Michele L Watley
President and Founder
The Griot Group

Michele Watley is the Founder and President of The Griot Group, a public affairs and strategic communications firm. Michele has contributed to some of the region’s most transformative issues like the largest general obligation bond in City history and candidate campaigns. She has developed a nationwide political, government and private-sector network, and has worked with clients such as the University of Nebraska and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Michele holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication and Master of Science in organization development from Avila University. She also interned in Public International Law and World Politics (LL.M) while studying at Leiden University in The Netherlands.

Michele founded Shirley’s Kitchen Cabinet (named in honor of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm), a nonpartisan nonprofit based in the Midwest that is dedicated to amplifying the voices and power of Black women to position them for seats at decision-making tables. Michele also serves as a KC Star Advisory Board Member, Kansas City Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund Advisory Board Member, and the Avila University Board of Counselors. Michele’s two recent recognitions, American Association of Political Consultants’ 40 under 40 award and the Rising Star award in politics from Campaign & Elections magazine made her the first Black and the first woman to be honored with both national awards in the same year.

Michele wishes to acknowledge her mother, Carolyn Watley, siblings, and nieces and nephews.