Martha Sylla Underwood is a highly accomplished software technology industry veteran who has built a storied career spanning from IBM in Florida to Silicon Valley, and now Birmingham, Alabama. With a background in developing enterprise solutions for insurance carriers, creating early versions of healthcare patient portals, and positioning startups for acquisition through her expertise in business modeling and product optimization, Martha is a true innovator in the industry. Today, she serves as the Founder and CEO of Prismm, a company dedicated to revolutionizing the wealth transfer process at the end of life through technology. By leveraging best-in-class digital practices, Martha and her team are taking a fresh, creative approach to handling documents and assets. The company recently partnered with award-winning actor Dr. Malik Yoba. Martha’s commitment to philanthropy and community engagement, combined with her expertise in business operations, women's advancement, and the impact of social programming on business interactions, has made her a highly sought after speaker, advisor, and consultant. She holds a BA in English with a minor in Technical Writing from the University of South Florida and is certified in Executive Management/Leadership from the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. When she's not working, Martha can be found cheering on her sons at their football and baseball games while her husband coaches them, or serving on various boards and professional organizations, including Innovate Birmingham (where she serves as Board Chair), Kiwanis of Birmingham, YMCA Metro Birmingham, GirlSpring, Bronze Valley C-Suite Advisory Board, Prosper Healthcare Accelerator Advisor, Tech Birmingham and
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
Accomplished network engineering and security professional with over 20 years of historical success within the
telecommunications and information technology industries. Extensive direct hands-on experience in
technical hardware, software, network technologies and security concepts. Exceptional diagnostic,
problellsving and analytic support skills.
Dickens Aubourg is a transformative business executive with over 20 years of experience driving sustainable growth for Fortune-ranked corporations. Known for optimizing service delivery and enhancing customer satisfaction, Dickens has successfully led teams at Paycom Software Inc. and EY (Ernst & Young), resulting in impressive revenue growth and client satisfaction. As an intuitive and insightful leader, he champions the value of people strategy, redefining talent equity and consistently maximizing value through improved products, services, and digital innovation.
Chelsea Contreras is the Program Associate at MHAMD. She support the Children's Mental Health Matters campaign, Mental Health First Aid, and the Older Adults program with data collection, volunteer management, social media, and public relations. Chelsea is pursuing her MSPH at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and looks forward to using her degree to strengthen the work she does. She is passionate about reducing health inequities specifically for birthing people and infants.
Leah Bentfield is an experienced facilitator and MHFA Instructor who has spent the last few years expanding and enhancing MHFA programs in Maryland. In March 2021, the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) enlisted a full-time MHFA coordinator to support the rapid growth of the program across the state. The coordinator, Ms. Bentfield has been serving as the main point of contact for Mental Health First Aid in Maryland since that time. Her role focuses on increasing access to Mental Health First Aid training, teaching classes, and collaborating with instructors across the state. The big audacious goal? Train everyone in Maryland in this life changing curriculum.
Prior to joining MHAMD, Ms. Bentfield spent years working with youth in alternative education programs, including positions with University of Maryland Baltimore, Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School, and Minneapolis Public Schools. She is passionate about in-person facilitation that amplifies perspective and has enjoyed the challenge of bringing that same intention into virtual spaces these past few years.
Stacey Jefferson is a Baltimore, MD native with over 10 years’ experience in community and legislative affairs. She is currently the Director of Policy and Stakeholder Engagement at Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB) where she is responsible for managing government and community relations. Prior to joining BHSB, she served as the Legislative Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Government Relations with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake Administration. Stacey is passionate about improving access to behavioral health care for communities of color. She uses her own experience as a family member to advocate and raise awareness. Stacey holds a Bachelor of Science from Randolph-Macon College and a Master of Business Administration from Strayer University.
Sonja O. Stills has been a respected, well-known staple within the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for the past 19 years, and on Jan. 1, 2022, she took over as commissioner -- becoming the first female commissioner in the conference's history, as well as the first female commissioner of a Div. I HBCU conference.
With a proven track record of accountability, efficiency, and passion, Stills has risen through the ranks within the MEAC, beginning with her tenure at the conference in October 2002. Stills has made a name for herself among her peers and other industry professionals for her never-ending dedication to the conference and its student-athletes, ability to grow and innovate, organization, team-first mentality, and goal-achieving initiative.
In January 2021, Stills was promoted to Chief of Staff/Chief Operating Officer of the MEAC. In her new role, she ensures that the Commissioner is carrying out the strategic objectives of the Council of Chief Executive Officers and the Delegate Assembly. Stills remains the lead on all hiring, strategic and long-range planning, re-branding, and marketing, NCAA Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), conference budget, the renewal of the MEAC Basketball Tournament with the City of Norfolk, and all special events and activities.
Stills also serves as the Director of Esports, a new, cutting-edge initiative that began in the summer of 2020, as the conference and world continued to deal with the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. She took charge in this new position, serving as the key driver in developing regulations for the MEAC Esports Community and developing the MEAC’s esports strategy. Her goal is to enhance awareness of the MEAC’s esports initiative by working with industry business leaders to encourage growth.
Much like overseeing the addition of esports to the MEAC’s portfolio, Stills looks to enter a new tenure for the conference while continuing to bolster the respect, traditions, and love of the MEAC. She looks to deepen the communication with the member institutions, alumni, fans, and community, to express the strong desire and support for the success and sustainability of the Conference that transparently articulates its vision and strategy. The intention is to create a collaborative process in which the “new vision” for the MEAC is a shared vision that is all inclusive athletically and academically.
Holloman is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University, where he majored in Communications and was a football and track team member. He holds a Master of Sports Science degree from the United States Sports Academy. He also earned the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Gwynedd Mercy University and holds a Certificate of Fund-Raising Management from the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Mr. Holloman is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., 100 Black Men of America, Chair of the Athletic Director’s Council for the SIAC, CASE Committee on College and University Foundations, Member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chamber Commerce, and a newly appointed member of the Board of Directors for the Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“Dr. Holloman’s background as an athletic director and as a VP for advancement makes him the perfect person to serve as the next Commissioner of the SIAC. His HBCU experience in several institutions over the years will help him recognize the numerous issues that occur within the university setting and will lead to good relationships between the conference office and all of the institutions within the SIAC. To have the opportunity to lead this conference is an honor and privilege, and I want to thank Dr. Ernest McNealey and the entire search committee for their confidence in my ability to advance the mission and vision of the SIAC,” said Holloman. “This is an exciting time for my family and me. Wholeheartedly, I embrace the challenge of managing and growing the SIAC while positioning the league for its next chapter of growth as a collection of regionally, nationally, and globally recognized institutions.”
The former starting college quarterback and coach will cover the NFL Draft from many angles, including around marquee games throughout the college football season, deep dives leading up to, during and following college all-star games and the NFL Scouting Combine, in the midst of breaking news time periods, and adding mock drafts leading up to the annual event each year.
“Joining ESPN is a pinnacle moment for my career,” said Reid. “Growing up, I would watch the NFL Draft from start to finish, as the occasion fascinated me from a young age. Now, being able to provide fans stories and content surrounding the event throughout the year for ESPN brings me great excitement. I can’t wait to get started with the current team to provide the best draft coverage possible.” Reid has been a writer and scout for The Draft Network since 2019, contributing on multiple platforms. Prior to his shift to media, the newest ESPN contributor was coach at his alma mater, North Carolina Central University, from 2014-18, helping the Eagles win three MEAC titles. His move to coaching followed his playing career at the school (2010-13), where he started for three seasons at quarterback and achieved the school record for completion percentage, a mark he still holds today.
Kyle Adams has a background in coaching, higher education student engagement, and leadership development. As the Deputy Director of Athletics at Delaware State University, he is responsible for various areas, including student-athlete welfare, risk management, compliance, recruiting, and community engagement. Adams also serves as the Principal and Chief Strategist of itsBIGGERthantheball, LLC, where he provides leadership development resources and facilitates transformative learning experiences for coaches, educators, and organizations.
Through itsBIGGERthantheball, Adams has worked with multiple colleges and universities, conducting team-building workshops and providing consulting services. He has collaborated with institutions such as Maryland Eastern Shore, College of Charleston, University of Delaware, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, and East Stroudsburg University, among others. He has also partnered with organizations such as Georgia Southern University Coaching Education, University of Washington's Center for Leadership in Athletics, and the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University.
With over two decades of coaching and higher education experience, Adams has held coaching positions at various universities, including Delaware State University, North Carolina Central University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and his alma mater, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He has also contributed to student diversity and advocacy as the Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at the University of Rio Grande.
Adams has been recognized for his achievements and contributions throughout his career. He received the Mentor of the Year award from the Cheyney University National Alumni Association in 2016 for his leadership, community engagement, and fundraising efforts. He was selected as one of the 30 Head Coaches to participate in the Center for Coaching Excellence by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association in 2015. The NCAA also chose him to participate in the ACE leadership development program at their headquarters in 2014.
Beyond his professional endeavors, Adams has conducted basketball clinics internationally and served as a skill development trainer for the Disney biopic "Rise," based on the experiences of NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family. He has published a book titled "Discarding the Mask: The Soul Sacrifices of a Coach" and hosts the itsBIGGERthantheball podcast.
Adams holds a B.A. in Psychology from Cheyney University and an M.Ed. in Athletic Coaching and Leadership from the University of Rio Grande. He is actively involved in various professional associations, including the Cheyney University National Alumni Association, Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated (Epsilon Pi Chapter).
David Kwabena Wilson, Ed.D., is the 10th inaugurated president of Morgan State University—Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University. For more than a decade, Dr. Wilson has not only been a transformative president at Morgan but has emerged as a leader among university presidents nationwide as well as an effective advocate for HBCUs and the role they play in developing leaders and serving the needs of their community, state, and nation.
Dr. Wilson has a long record of accomplishment in his more than 30 years in higher education administration. A newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S) and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), he also serves on the Lumina Foundation Board of Directors, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) Board of Directors, and the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors. Dr. Wilson is the former chairman of the HBCU/China Network, and in 2010, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
Dr. Wilson has also served on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology, the Board of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), the Board of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), and as a member of the National Science Foundation Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering.
Among the many recognitions received throughout his professional career he has been awarded the Maryland Senate’s First Citizen Award and the Transcendent Order of the African Eagle Award. In addition, Dr. Wilson has been named as a Baltimore Business Journal Top 10 CEO, an AFRO Newspaper ‘Person of the Year,’ a Baltimore Sun Business and Civic Hall of Famer, and one of the Maryland Daily Record’s ‘Power 30’ in Higher Education. To his credit, Dr. Wilson was named in Forbes as a “Top Black Higher Ed CEO to Watch in 2023.” He has also authored two books and more than 20 articles in scholarly journals and other publications.
Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Wilson served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin Extension; vice president for University Outreach and Associate provost for Auburn University; assistant and associate provost for Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (Camden); and director for the Office of Minority Programs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.
Dr. Wilson received his bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s in education from Tuskegee University, and master’s and doctorate in education from Harvard University. He was also bestowed with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater Tuskegee University.
His educational philosophy is to put the students’ experience first. As a leader, he is a consensus builder and a strong believer in transparency of process. Dr. Wilson’s goal is to make Morgan a leader in producing the next wave of innovators in the U.S., further cementing its call to action of Growing the Future, Leading the World.
Ms. Arrington has a long career as a financial aid professional. For over twenty years she served as Corporate Director of Financial Aid and Title IV Compliance for Strayer University (“Strategic Education- STRA”), during which time the University grew from two to nearly sixty campuses. Ms. Arrington has been an active member in student financial aid professional organizations for many years. She is Past President of the District of Columbia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, past member of the Executive Council of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and has been a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, and the Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators where she served as Co-Chair of VASFAA's Minority Affairs Committee. On May 27, 2010, she was inducted in the Washington DC College Bound, Inc. Hall of Fame. The award is given by The Board of Directors, College Bound, Inc. to salute individuals, and/or community groups that have demonstrated on-going support for the mission and services of College Bound, Inc. Ms. Arrington performed as a Senior Adviser of Higher Education Services at Cooley PLLC. She assisted attorneys in the firm's higher education services practice to provide client institutions and organizations with expert assistance, technical analysis and guidance in the management and evaluation of student financial assistance services, with a particular emphasis on the Title IV student financial assistance programs. Currently, Ms. Arrington serves as the Director of Financial Aid for Office of Financial in the Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Division at Coppin State University, Baltimore, Maryland. She received her B. A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Enjelica Reid is the Sr. Relationship Manager for Outreach and Recruitment at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), in Washington, D.C. and leads engagement efforts for the $190 million funded Fidelity Scholars Program.
As a vital member of the team, Enjelica plays an important role in managing outreach and recruitment activities for over 400 scholarships and programs at UNCF and is responsible for giving overall leadership and supervision for the UNCF student ambassadors program, connecting 37 member HBCU institutions to scholarship and internship opportunities at UNCF.
A Tennessee native and graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Enjelica is passionate about educating and connecting African Americans and other underserved communities to the resources and opportunities that will improve their overall quality of life. .
Lamar Danley is a Spring 2023 graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Political Science by way of West Memphis, Arkansas. Lamar Danley is a Spring 2023 initiate of Phi Beta Sigma, Fraternity, Inc., Alpha Chapter, and the former Executive Vice President of Alpha Kappa Psi, Professional Business Fraternity, Psi Tau Chapter at Howard University. With a passion for education advocacy and a drive for the combination of Policy, Education, and Technology, he is an incoming analyst at Accenture Federal Services as a Strategy Consultant Analyst for Policy and Tech, a member of the UNCF Educational Alumni Council, and has been featured by top Political Media Outlets: The Atlantic Magazine and The Hill Newspaper as well as completed Branding Sessions for HBCU students at the UNCF National Alumni Conference, Blog and Interviews for the Walton Family Foundation and collaborated on a recent project, "Turn The Page Project" sponsored by the Walton Family Foundation telling his educational journey and the importance of educational justice. His Famous words are always "Confidence speaks louder than fear"