Lift Every Voice
VCU Alumni presents Lift Every Voice – Black Alumni Across the Industries Panel Series to celebrate Black History Month. Attend one (or more) webinars in February to celebrate and discuss the unique voice Black professionals have in myriad industries from health care to politics. Panelists will share successes as well as lessons learned as they have navigated their careers and how their identity has played a role in their professional journey.
Health Care, Science and Research
Noon-1 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 4
AJ Jackson (B.S.’09/H&S; M.B.A.’12/B)
AJ Jackson started his career with Dominion Medical Associates in 2010 as a clinical researcher, where he coordinated and conducted patient visits, coordinated patient recruitment, executed study-specific procedures per protocol, and coordinated the management and monitoring of investigational medications among other things. After earning his master’s degree from VCU in 2012, he was promoted to director of clinical research, where he continued to gain experience across a range of specialties including pulmonology, internal medicine, dermatology, cardiology, podiatry and endocrinology. As director, he manages a team of researchers who gather data and monitor side effects and patient well-being in the laboratory. In 2016, he was officially certified as a clinical research professional by the Society of Clinical Research Associates. He and his team were honored in 2019 by Novartis and Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital for their work on two pivotal congestive heart failure studies involving the medication Entresto.
Lester Brown III (B.S.’09/H&S)
Lester Brown completed his degree at VCU in 2009, receiving a B.S. in Chemistry as a professional chemist with ACS certification. His background is in inorganic chemistry with a focus in materials characterization. Since graduation, he has worked in research and development ranging from small business innovation research to Fortune 500 companies. Those opportunities provided him diverse experience covering products such as magnetodielectric and ballistic materials, consumer packaging and consumer goods. Currently, he works at Tredegar Corp. in Henrico, Virginia, as an analytical scientist in the surface protection division focused on novel materials for display, automotive, speciality and foldable applications. He serves on the ChamberRVA board of directors and is a past chair of the H.Y.P.E. program focused on young professional development in the region. From this, he saw a natural progression in joining the VCU Alumni Recent Graduate Council connecting alumni and current students.
Ciaran Phillip (M.S.’13/H&S)
Ciaran Phillip is a forensic scientist and founder of Sure Science Consulting in Toronto. For him, science is all about finding answers to complex questions. He holds an M.S. in Forensic Science from VCU. He conducted research under the mentorship of associate professor Christopher Ehrhardt, Ph.D., and presented at conferences held by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the Mid-Atlantic Association of Forensic Scientists. He was the first civilian crime scene investigator in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and in 2018, he was appointed the inaugural manager of the county’s newly built national forensic laboratory. During his tenure, he worked on 700-plus investigations and testified as an expert witness for numerous cases. He currently consults for a Black-owned publishing startup in Toronto, writing about STEM innovators from diverse cultural backgrounds. He’s also delivered presentations on forensic science across the Caribbean, U.S. and Canada.
Toni-Marie Chandler, M.D. (B.S.’14/H&S; M.D.’19/M)
Toni-Marie Chandler, M.D., is a second-year internal medicine resident at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey. She earned her medical degree from the VCU School of Medicine in 2019 after graduating summa cum laude from VCU with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in chemistry. Her career aspirations are in improving health care disparities within minority populations, specifically in the field of gastroenterology and hepatology. She is currently a mentor with the VCU Alumni African American Alumni Council Mentoring Circle where she mentors pre-med students. She has spent the past five years advising and promoting STEM and health care careers to students in elementary through college. She believes that the STEM fields would greatly benefit from increased representation of minorities.
Communications, Marketing and Media
Noon-1 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 11
Melissa Stamp (B.S.’18/MC; Cert.’18/DVC)
Melissa Stamp is an assistant account executive at Edelman, where she works with consumer brand clients including Taco Bell, Volkswagen and H&R Block. She graduated from VCU in 2018 with a B.S. in Mass Communications and completed her M.A. in Strategic Communications from American University in Washington, D.C., in 2019. She is also the communications coordinator for Dress for Success Washington DC and a current member of the VCU Alumni Recent Graduate Council.
Marcus Momon (B.S.’17/B)
Marcus Momon is a diversity marketing coordinator with the Atlanta Braves focused on implementing change in baseball at the intersection of diversity, inclusion and equity. After spending years in marketing and community outreach, he knows the importance of supporting and reflecting diverse communities, addressing social justice issues and creating equitable balance in the sport and entertainment industry. He is skilled in developing multicultural marketing strategies, driving educational opportunities and growing community relationships. He also supports creating opportunities for the next generation of leaders. He holds two master’s degrees focused in business administration and sport business management from the University of Central Florida. He also holds his B.S. in Business Administration from VCU.
Bruce Fields (B.S.’10/B)
Bruce “Bo” Fields is a project lead at advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy working in their internal social agency, BODEGA. Over his career, he has worked in various marketing and advertising roles on brands such as Bud Light, Jordan Brand, the Marine Corps, U.S. Virgin Islands, FEMA, SCANA Energy, Transamerica, Pennzoil and many others. He also worked in sports marketing for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. For the past few years, he has managed a creative collective called the Field Mobb, an organization that provides mentorship and creative/marketing strategy guidance to rising creatives within music and the arts. An avid arts connoisseur, he serves as talent manager and rep for photographer Mark Clennon and music artist Eric Penn.
Melvin Roane (B.I.S.’11/H&S)
Melvin Roane is a savvy professional with more than 30 years of business and consulting experience. He is currently the managing partner of the highly respected firm Roane Consulting Group. Previously, he served as the director of sponsorships/development for Alonzo Mourning Charities, executing multimillion-dollar events for charitable causes. A native of Richmond, Virginia, and a graduate of VCU, he honed his skills as a consultant with some of the nation’s leading enterprises before becoming vice president for a leading mid-Atlantic advertising and public relations firm. He has created successful strategic programs for organizations such as the Jazz in the Gardens music festival and the We Are One Project, AT&T, Nike, Mercedes Benz, Pepsi, and the cities of Miami Gardens and Miramar, Florida, among others. Though he resides in South Florida, for the past 10 years, he has hosted the Roane Consulting Group Gift Drive that supports hundreds of families and senior citizens in central Virginia.
Noon-1 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 18
Check back for information on the panelists.
Politics and Public Service
Noon-1 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 23
Check back for information on the panelists.