For over a decade, Dr. Boyd has utilized evidence to ensure policies and institutions value fathers as assets to their children, families, and communities. His research primarily examines how the life course events of African American men shape their experiences as fathers. As a National Home Visiting Resource Center Advisory Committee member, Dr. Boyd is also helping to establish national standards for effectively engaging African American fathers in home visiting programs. Dr. Boyd has co-authored several articles, book chapters, and policy reports on his work with African American fathers. His broader research interests focus on urban sociology, African American history, race and ethnicity, and inequality. Dr. Boyd earned his Ph.D. in sociology at Georgia State University, while receiving support from the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being and ZERO TO THREE Fellowship. Dr. Boyd is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University.
Harry Alston, Jr., Ph.D. Vice President Strategic Planning & Development – Safer Foundation, excels in working as part of inter-disciplinary teams where he can contribute the full breadth of his experience as consultant, professor of higher education, scholar practitioner, and creative problem solver in service to building group-centered leadership solutions to issues of social & economic justice. During his career, he has established a track record for programs and initiatives that increase business capacity develop organizational infrastructures and strengthen human resource capability. His areas of expertise are strategic planning, program development, project management, process improvement, and capacity building in community-based organizations.
Dr. Alston completed his Ph.D. in Leadership and Change at Antioch University where his emphasis was on leadership and community development. He is Vice President Strategic Planning & Development for Safer Foundation. Safer is a $26 million nonprofit agency which serves nearly 6,000 clients per year and is one of the nation’s largest providers of services exclusively for people with criminal records. In this role, he provides leadership and strategic direction to extend the impact of Safer to offer workforce development and personal empowerment solutions addressing the challenges of mass incarceration. Mr. Alston earned a Bachelor of Industrial Administration degree from General Motors Institute of Technology (marketing and organizational behavior) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Indiana University (Fellowship Award – Consortium for Graduate Study in Management). He is Level II Certified in the TMZ/Berlitz Cross Cultural Orientations Approach. Other certifications include: certified Master Facilitator & Trainer (“New Work Habits for A Radically Changing World”, Pritchett & Associates); certified Facilitator & Trainer (Lead Diversity Program, First Card Corporation).
Michael Bennett is an associate professor of sociology. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that focus on urban planning, community development, economic and social policy, race and ethnic issues. In addition to his teaching, Dr. Bennett has served as executive director of the Monsignor John J. Egan Urban Center (EUC) at DePaul University (1997-2008). He received his BA from Kent State University, and his MA and PhD from The University of Chicago.
Joseph Mason is a program manager that truly cares for his staff and client’s. After spending two decades in state government he has returned to where it all began. Joseph knows what it truly takes to run a successful social services program. Working in state government as an administrator for the Illinois Department on Aging, Illinois Department of Human Services, and the Illinois Department of Public Aid, has provided Joseph with exceptional experience on developing programs and policies.
Dr. Jerry Watson is currently an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Social Work program at the University of Memphis. Watson, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker received the MSW degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago, MBA from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois, and Ph.D. in Higher Education from Jackson State University. His research focus continues to be diverse ranging from offender re-entry, community violence interruption and prevention, and African American Men’s health disparities to cultural and linguistic competency.
Jerry taught at DePaul University, Aurora University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Mississippi, Rust College, and currently at the University of Memphis. Dr. Watson is a scholar-practitioner. Jerry has over five decades of combined experience teaching, working in various community and clinical positions leading health and wellness programs and initiatives targeting African American Men and boys. Dr. Watson’s experience spans broadly across community development, including the following domains: housing, community organizing, business development, asset-based community development, mentoring, cultural activism, African American fatherhood, families, and youth, crime and safety, violence intervention and prevention, trauma-informed care, the “digital divide,” race, culture, and poverty.
Sequane Lawrence is Co-Founder and Co-Designer of Fathers, Families, and Healthy Communities and currently serves as the organization’s Director. Mr. Lawrence is a community economic development, workforce development, and youth development practitioner. He has also served as executive manager, program director, and manager of community-based institutions, city, and state departments.