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Leadership Empowerment Project celebrates Black male mentors in Atlanta

Pictured: Emcee – Tyisha Fernandes and CEO Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson
Photo provided by Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson

On October 13, 2018, the Leadership Empowerment Project hosted its second annual celebration gala. The event took place at Atlanta’s Grand Hyatt Buckhead and was an incredible success, bringing together over 100 attendees. The event was hosted by Atlanta’s WSB-TV news anchor Tyisha Fernandes and honorees Rayshawn Brady (Human Factor Psychology), Isaiah Garner (Physical Therapy Management), and Donnell Henry (Aviation Management and Piloting) were awarded for their participation in the LEP.

The Leadership Empowerment Project was founded by Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson. It is a 501c (3) organization that focuses on leadership development of young African American men at the freshmen and sophomore college levels in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The objective is to recruit students who have demonstrated a desire to overcome disadvantages and barriers that threaten their path to lifelong opportunity. Participants will meet criteria outlined by LEP. To be considered, participants must be identified and recommended by a college professor, dean, president or representatives of community faith-based institutions.

“We are empowering a new generation with men of color to lead and shine as college graduates. This event was truly a wonderful opportunity,” stated Wilkerson.

The gala was developed to honor LEP mentors and thank them for their continued support and commitment to the organization. The second annual event also gives attendees the opportunity to learn more about the organization, its mentors, mentees and the Atlanta community.

“This has truly meant a lot to me. It has reopened my mind and pushed me to achieve the dreams and aspirations I had as a child growing up. By showing me how to use my leadership skills deep within me, LEP has fostered growth in areas deep within. Thus far, LEP has been one of the most influential and integral parts of my development as a young man. My mentorship by far has been the most impactful and essential part of the program. My mentors Mark Ciez and Greg Evans have been at the leading edge of my development in the field of aviation. By being a guide to my path and exposing me to various facets of opportunity in the world of aviation, it became easy for me to make my aspiration into a reality. Throughout my mentorship, I can say the relationship between Mark Ciez and me has grown from more than just a mentor and mentee, but rather [he is my] life coach and a father figure. I have truly been blessed to have received a mentor [who] seeks to bring out the very best of me in everything I do,” stated honoree and mentee Donnell Henry.