Yes…the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) continues to build on the work we began in 2015 to improve the economic well-being of the Black community in Massachusetts. We are pleased to announce the expansion of our board from 5 to 11 directors! This important step increases the diversity of representation on our board and gives us more volunteers to move forward. (A brief bio for each board member is below and under About Us>Board Members on our website www.becma.org.)
We also completed our filing with the Internal Revenue Service for tax exempt status. We appreciate the guidance of Denzil McKenzie of McKenzie & Associates, P.C. to ensure compliance.
Building a sustainable organization takes time, energy and resources. We are pleased to share these important steps…and have many more steps to come. Stay tuned…and join our efforts by becoming a BECMA member or donor today!
Mukiya Baker-Gomez (Director) was born and raised in Roxbury. She has over 45 plus years working in civil rights, particularly as it pertains to minority business and economic parity for folk of color. She just recently retired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as the former Director of Compliance for the Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and was the former Director of Civil Rights for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Director of the State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA), and was the former Women Business Coordinator for the Contractors' Association of Boston (CAB). Ms. Baker-Gomez also has extensive expertise in the field of political campaigning and has worked for a number of candidates of color. Her most recent campaign was that of City Councilor Charles Yancey. She is married and the mother of two and resides in the Mattapan/Hyde Park section of City of Boston.
Bithiah Carter (Director) is the President of New England Blacks in Philanthropy. She is a former Executive Director of Grand Circle Foundation, and Senior Director in the Community Impact division of United Way, and Program Director at the Girls' Coalition of Greater Boston. She as also served as a consultant in the philanthropic sector focusing on the needs of children and families in the Greater Boston community. Before entering the non-profit world, she worked for nearly ten years in the financial services industry in New York City and Boston. In addition, she serves as a member of the board of directors of several local and national non-profit organizations.
Louis A. Elisa II (Clerk) is a former Presidential Appointee, a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES). Regional Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Region I, successfully oversaw the federal efforts in response to regional and national disaster training for the six New England States in preparedness, response and education. He also served as the United States Permanent Representative to the Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) on the North Atlantic Council, and Advisor for Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) to the U.S. Ambassador at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels Belgium. U.S. expert to the Civil Protection Committee (CPC) he coordinated policies and programs between the various civil, military and political committees within the Alliance; provided civil logistical and resource support to the military and helped to develop programs and policies that assured domestic tranquility and continuity of government during times of crises and war. Mr. Elisa worked with the Partnership for Peace (PFP) and the Russia/NATO Permanent Joint Council (PJC) enhanced Alliance efforts in the areas of European Security, program integration, interoperability and operational transparency for the various CEP activities. Mr. Elisa played an integral role in the design and establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordinating Center (EADRCC), NATO's first PFP cooperative venture. He traveled throughout Europe and Africa speaking at universities and forums on issues of public policy, emergency management, disaster mitigation, civil/military cooperation, preparedness and training.
Mr. Elisa attended Alexander Hamilton Vocational Technical High School his studies focused on Architectural Drafting and Design. New York City Community College, and the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury received a BA in Urban Studies and African Affairs; Mr. Elisa is an EPA Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design and Kennedy School of Government, received a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning. He has a post-graduate certificate in health care administration, Harvard's School of Public Health, certifications in the fields of environmental health and emergency management.
Keith A. Greenaway (Director) currently serves as Director of the Boston Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center and Managing Director of Opes Capital Partners, Ltd. He is a Mergers and Acquisitions specialist and entrepreneur who has leveraged hard-earned legal expertise in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions to cultivate competencies that today are essential in advising SMEs in growth strategies. Over the course of his twenty-year legal and business career, Keith has been exposed to a broad range of sectors and has served at the fulcrum of the conclusion of several domestic and cross-border transactions. Over the arc of his career starting with his formative days as a broker-assistant at Lehman Brothers, Keith has accumulated an experiential knowledge base of timeless principles, methods, and tactics that have served exponential corporate growth historically and continues to serve as the bedrock for unleashing full business and human potential. He is a true disciple of the philosophy of essential quality of strategic plans, strategic partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions as indispensable components to meaningful SME growth. Mr. Greenaway is an alumni of Georgetown University Law Center and Boston College where he studied Political Science and Philosophy.
Tracy Litthcut (Director) most recently has decided to pursue his passion of being a major player in the “behind the scenes” work in Boston’s political climate. Mr. Litthcut is consulting on a $30 million project with Tenants Development Corporation, one of the oldest African American nonprofit affordable housing groups in the nation in partnership with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He also developed a strategic and capital plan to develop a community center on Lenox Street that will also accommodate TDC’s Corporate Offices and residents in the Lower Roxbury/South End area of Boston. Mr. Litthcut’s organizational skills have produced progressive opportunities and resources for TDC that have developed into long term partnerships with government and private sector corporations. Mr. Litthcut was the Campaign Director in Roxbury and Advisor for Charlotte Golar Richie’s successful rise to national acclaim in her pursuit of becoming Boston’s Mayor. He was a deputy campaign manager in the colors of community for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign and campaign manager for Senator Ed Markey successful victories. Mr. Litthcut is a major player in the leadership decisions made in the Communities of Color regarding future development, governmental initiatives and projects, workforce development, and strategic planning with all interested parties. His membership in a leadership capacity with the largest and strongest political action groups in Boston position himself, his team and community for future progressive action in the communities of color. The groups include The Leadership Forum, Freeze Frame Boston: Black Inclusion and Communities of Color.
Mr. Litthcut served on numerous community agency boards throughout Boston as well as numerous committees statewide. He has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Morgan State University where he attended on a basketball scholarship and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Boston University. Mr. Litthcut is also the father of three beautiful children and the author of six feature film scripts and a twelve episode made for cable television series. He is also a member of the IOTA PHI THETA Fraternity.
Glynn Lloyd (Chairman) is the Founder and President of City Fresh Foods, an innovative food service operation that daily provides healthy meals to Elders, School Students, Child Care and other institutional clients. Glynn has been actively involved in the Boston’s urban community for the last three decades. From organizing local million man march initiatives to board chairing innovative nonprofits such as Sportsmen’s Tennis Club, the Food Project, Red Tomato and Four Corner Main Streets.
Glynn founded City Growers LLC, a business focused on creating self-sustaining urban farms and then assisted in the creation of The Urban Farming Institute, a nonprofit supporting the development of the new urban farming industry in Massachusetts. He currently sits on various boards such as Roxbury Community College, NACA, CommonWealth Kitchen and Project Bread. After 20 years at the helm of City Fresh Foods, Glynn Joined Boston Impact Initiative, a social impact investment fund, as Managing Director in 2015. Glynn and his daughter reside in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
Darryl Settles (Director) is President/Managing Partner of Catalyst Ventures Development (CVD) and is Proprietor of Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen (DCBK), a Southern inspired restaurant in the historic South area of Boston. An appreciation for Boston’s diverse communities, a passion for the rich culture the city produces, and the creativity of an entrepreneurial spirit have led Settles to establish Catalyst Ventures Development, LLC, a real estate development and investment firm dedicated to enriching Boston living. As founder of CVD and co-founder of the former WiSe Urban Development (partnership with Winn Development), Settles seeks to address the need for housing in urban communities. In partnership with local non-profit owners and public and private stakeholders, Settles is committed to creating vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods by developing attractive housing that people are proud to call “home.” He has developed many residential projects in Boston’s South End, Roxbury, and Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island over the last 20 plus years. He was also the founder and driving force behind the establishment of the BeanTown Jazz Festival (2001), a weekend of national and local music, food, and art (now produced by Berklee College of Music since 2008).
Today, as a partner with Melnea Partners, Settles’ hospitality and real estate development experience is culminating in a mixed-use development in Lower Roxbury, Massachusetts. It will feature a 150-room hotel, retail space, and 55 market rate and affordable apartment units, offering Boston another exceptional destination. A graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a BS in Engineering, he also attended an Executive Education Program at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, a Digital Equipment Sales Development Program, and a Carnegie-Mellon University’s Engineering Program. Settles is married with two children and resides in Newton, Massachusetts.
Ronia Stewart (Director) is a seasoned leader with more than 20 years of corporate experience in the financial services and legal arena. A committed professional, she has dedicated her talents and skills to improving the social, emotional, educational and economic well-being of the citizens of greater Boston area and beyond. Ms. Stewart is the President & CEO of Garden of Eden & Associates, Inc., a privately funded non- profit organization that conducts seminars and workshops that provide practical life building and leadership development skills to individuals and organizations. She served as the Director of Development at Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC), a Latino first-generation-to-college readiness program. While there, she led a team in meeting the organizational development, public relations, marketing and branding needs.
Stewart has held leadership positions at Eastern Bank, Citizens Bank, Companion Health Services, MFS Investment Management and worked at The Law Office of Sanford A. Kowal and Morrison, Mahoney & Miller. She has earned a Paralegal Certificate from Northeastern University. She is also an active participant on several non-profit boards, including Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury and the West Roxbury YMCA. She is the President of the board for Nubian United Benevolent International Association (NUBIA) and Treasurer of the board for Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. An important part of her life is her three children (Rasheida, Ronia and Clifford). She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, entertaining, reading and traveling.
Richard L. Taylor (Director) currently holds dual professional assignments as the Chairman of the Taylor Smith Group where he manages multiple real estate business entities including a Development Company and their real estate Commercial Brokerage Company. Simultaneously, he serves as the Founding Director of the Center for Real Estate at Suffolk University. But Mr. Taylor's academic and professional business assignments only tell part of the story of his portfolio of interest. His current positions have leveraged his corporate business interests, his civic engagement activities and his public service. After graduating from Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School he began his career at the internationally known Boston Consulting Group providing strategic planning services to a wide range of industries at Fortune 500 companies. He has also served as Vice President for Development for the giant mutual fund company Fidelity where he worked to secure the development rights for the Commonwealth Pier property and the Commonwealth Flats. These locations are now occupied by the World Trade Center, the Seaport Hotel and the Fidelity office buildings. He was subsequently recruited to serve as Division Vice President for Central and Western Massachusetts where he led the sales, service and operations for all health insurance clients from Framingham to Pittsfield. His division managed over $400 million dollars in premiums. Mr. Taylor was eventually promoted to Division Vice President for National Accounts managing in excess of $900 million in premium sales. He also Chaired the Sales Compensation, Marketing and Advertising Committees.
Public service and civic engagement have been a continuous thread in his life. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where he worked with Fed President Dick Syron on the "redlining study" that transformed community banking in Boston. A long time Board member of the Boston Branch of the NAACP he also served as Chairman of the Board of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts and helped to bring the National Conference of the Urban League to Boston. He was the Founding President of the Minority Developers Association, past President of the Boston Ballet where he served as Chair of the Building Committee to build the current Ballet Studios on Clarendon Street. A former Chairman of the Partnership and former Trustee of his undergraduate alma mater Boston University, where he became the first Rhodes Scholar in the history of the university. Additionally, he served as Trustee of Cambridge College and Overseer of Wentworth Institute of Technology. Mr. Taylor has also served on the Board of Higher Education for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In recognition of his private sector successes and his public sector service Mr. Taylor has been awarded two Honorary Degrees. He was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Engineering Technology by Wentworth Institute of Technology and the Honorary Doctor of Public Service from Bridgewater State College. His public and private activities have been possible only with the support, guidance and assistance of his wife of over 40 years, Kathy, with two wonderful adult children and two grandchildren.
Reverend Liz Walker (Director) is Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, a small dynamic church with a 130 plus year history of making a difference in one of Boston’s most challenging neighborhoods. In addition to its traditional ministries, RPC under Reverend Walker’s leadership is home to the Cory Johnson Trauma Education Project, an innovative program that addresses the epidemic of post-traumatic stress in a low income African American community too often overrun by violence. The Trauma Education Project works to increase community awareness of PTSD as well as improving access to mental health services, and empowering community members with the skills to cope with and respond to PTSD.
A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Reverend Walker has long been actively involved in many community service organizations and projects. She helped found the Jane Doe Safety Fund, a multi-million dollar statewide anti-violence initiative that works on policy and supports domestic abuse shelters and safe houses around the Commonwealth. She is a member of the Core Strategy Team of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization and serves on the Board for the New England Chapter of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for Andover Newton Theological Seminary, the Tufts Health Foundation and Board of Overseers for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Reverend Walker has been awarded honorary degrees from numerous institutions including University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, Boston College, Simmons College, Salem State University and Bridgewater State University. She is the mother of three and grandmother of two.
Teri Williams (Treasurer) is President and Chief Operating Officer and serves on the Board of Director of OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in the U.S, with headquarters in Boston. She is responsible for implementation of the Bank’s strategic initiatives, as well as the day to day operations of the bank, including all retail branches, marketing, compliance, lending, information technology, customer support, legal, and human resources. Under her leadership, OneUnited Bank has consolidated the local names and product offerings of four (4) Black-owned banks to create a powerful national brand supported by innovative products and services. She believes the financial services industry has not connected with urban communities to fully support economic development and wealth building.
OneUnited Bank is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and serves as a bridge for low-to-moderate income communities by offering affordable financial services and financial literacy workshops. Ms. Williams brings 25 years of financial services expertise from premier institutions such as Bank of America and American Express, where she was one of the youngest Vice Presidents. Ms. Williams holds an M.B.A. with honors from Harvard Graduate School of Business and a B.A. with distinctions in Economics from Brown University. She served as Treasurer of Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, Massachusetts for over 5 years. Ms. Williams is author of I Got Bank! What My Granddad Taught Me About Money (Beckham Publishing) a financial literacy book for urban youth. Ms. Williams has received numerous notations and awards for her contribution to urban communities including from the Urban League, NAACP and the National Black MBA Association. Ms. Williams is married and has two children in college at Brown University and Boston College.