Mr. Brooks is a senior advisor to the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color team and ACCESS to Financial Security for All, a project funded by the Ford Foundation’s Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime program. Prior to working for PolicyLink, Joe was a faculty member for inaugural black studies departments at two universities: University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco State University. He also edited The Review of Black Political Economy, published by the Black Economic Research Center in New York City. Joe served as President of the Emergency Land Fund, saving black owned land in the black-belt southeast. Joe was also a program officer for neighborhood and community development at the San Francisco Foundation, where he directed the foundation’s interfaith initiative, FAITHS. He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from San Jose State University. Additionally, Joe also works with a group of elders in Richmond, CA, who provide counseling to formerly incarcerated young black men who have been involved in gun violence. He is a mentor to scores of young people; is a commentator about politics, policy, and history; and likes to dance in his spare time.
Sister Marie de Porres Taylor is a Program Administrator and Educator with over 25 years of experience and service to communities in the East Bay region of Northern California. She is the former Director of Community Based Services of the Catholic Youth Organization, where she oversaw the agency’s diverse programs including its Foster Family Agency, Canal Family Services, Mission Day Care and CYO Athletics programs. She has lead aggressive and successful resource development campaigns for several community services agencies such as Oakland Housing Authority, Oakland Private Industry Council and the Office of the Mayor of Oakland.
Ms. Taylor was a Special Assistant to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and a Program Development Specialist for Alameda County Supervisor Mary King. She has also served as Executive Director of the National Black Sisters’ Conference, Oakland CA, a highly acclaimed organization promoting collaborative spiritual and service activities for black women. She has also served as the Department Chair of Home Economics at Holy Names High School, Oakland and as the Director of the Black Catholic Pastoral Center for the Diocese of the Oakland, CA.
Servant Brian K. Woodson, Sr. is the founding pastor of the Bay Area Christian Connection (BACC). BACC is an inner city church with a full service women’s treatment program called Covenant Sisters and a feeding program that this year has distributed over 453,000 lbs of food to the inner-city residents of Oakland Ca.
Brian K. Woodson, Sr. accepted the Lord Jesus Christ at a young age. His life’s purpose has always been to live a life that pleases his first Love and Savior our Lord Jesus Christ. Pastor Woodson desires most to be part of fostering the uplift of African Americans and other disenfranchised peoples. It is his sincere belief that this can most effectively be done through a continuing evaluation of exant economic and social oppression. He believes that in America’s diverse urban communities, this objective is best obtained through the proclamation of the Gospel and the development of fellowship and commitment in and to the church which would produce an empowered, proactive community.
Pastor Woodson’s educational training includes a Bachelor of Industrial Design Degree from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York; Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio; and most recently continuing studies in Old Testament at the Graduate Theological Seminary, University of California at Berkeley. He has traveled in Europe, Scandinavia, Israel and most recently to Burkina Faso, Africa.
While at United Theological Seminary, Servant Woodson was selected as the first Black Church Ministries Fellow to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree where he completed the four-year program in less than three years; received the Bert V. Flinchbaugh Award for excelling in the study of the Old Testament in the Hebrew Language; received the Robert E. and Mary Elizabeth Cramer Award for outstanding achievement as a middler student and was selected in a national competition to receive the Urban Church Ministries Fellowship by the Fund for Theological Education, Inc.
Prior to full time ministry, Pastor Woodson served as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force where he obtained the rank of Captain. During his military years he served as a designer, project officer and manager. Pastor Woodson has served as Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, London, Ohio; Assistant Pastor and Church Administrator at Third BaptistChurch, San Francisco, California; Executive Assistant to the Pastor at The Church by the Side of the Road, Berkeley, California; and Senior Pastor of The Church of the Good Shepherd, Oakland, California. He became the founding pastor of the Bay Area Christian Connection, Oakland, California in February, 1998. Pastor Woodson is married to Valerie McCann Woodson and is the proud father of three sons, Joshua, Josiah and Brian, Jr.
Chantal Reynolds is a Bay Area native (Oakland/Richmond). She has worked in public policy, public education, and in the private, non-profit, and public sectors of municipal and federal government in San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, California. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in History, where she also minored in Education and African American Studies. She earned her Master of Arts degree in History from the Federated Department of History at Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). Chantal has served as Congressional staff in the United States House of Representatives and as staff in the Oakland City Council. She has worked on public policy as a Program Analyst staffing a Commission for the City of Oakland. Chantal has also worked in the Field Operations Department for the Baltimore based National office of the NAACP providing direction and support to NAACP units operating within the Western Region of the United States. She has worked as an educator teaching in public schools in Oakland and Los Angeles, California and served on the Measure A Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee for Peralta Colleges and as a delegate for the State and County Democratic Party. Chantal is also a member of a number of political and civic engagement organizations in Oakland.
Mr. Gamble joined Blaylock Van in 2001 and has over 19 years of capital markets, sales & trading and market analysis experience. In addition to his responsibilities in capital markets, Mr. Gamble leads the BV summer internship program. Mr. Gamble is a Board Trustee of the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association, serving as the Vice Chair of the Investment Committee and Chair of the Audit Committee. Mr. Gamble is also a founding Board member of San Francisco Achievers scholarship program service African American men matriculating SF Unified School District. Mr. Gamble earned Bachelor of Science degrees in both Finance and Banking from San Francisco State University. He is a graduate of the Tuck at Dartmouth Diversity Business Program. He holds Series 7, 55, 66 FINRA licenses.
Brian McGhee is an Oakland native and has been working with youth and young adults for over the past 28 years. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley in 1991 and received a Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University in 2002. After receiving his BA in Social Welfare he spent the first 10 years as a Case Manager/Health Educator with the West Oakland Health Council where the focused was improving MEntal Health and Substance Treatment, Youth Employment, and Sexual Health Education in Oakland Public Schools. Mr. McGhee spent two years working as a Juvenile COunselor with Alameda County Juvenile Probation. Mr. McGhee is a first-generation college graduate and has and is regularly involved with the OAL Invitational Relays Committee, West Oakland Alliance Development and various alumni associations. His purpose is rooted in giving back to his community of West Oakland through education, music, culture, love, family, support, food, authenticity, mentoring, and celebrations.