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Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement

The event honored several distinguished individuals for their contributions
inroads
INROADS Honoree, Joan Higginbotham, flanked by CEO, Forest Harper and Reba Simmons, Senior Vice President – Succession Development Partner, PNC, Bank, INROADS National Board Vice Chair (photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)

The INROADS Benefit Gala, held on May 2, was a memorable night. It was marked by a dazzling display of Black excellence at historic Union Station. The event started with INROADS students greeting attendees, setting the stage for an evening of celebration and recognition.


Esteemed Emmy and Peabody Award-winning journalist Angela Hill graced the gala as Mistress of Ceremonies. The night was further illuminated by the participation of INROADS students, including Brian Gardner and Kennedy Harrison, who shared their transformative experiences with the organization, highlighting the confidence and skills they gained.


The event honored several distinguished individuals for their contributions and achievements:

  • Joan Higginbotham, an INROADS alumna and retired astronaut who is the president and founder of Joan Higginbotham Ad Astra, LLC, received the Corporate Social Responsibility & Equity Partner of the Year award.
  • Saaima Khaliq, managing director and private equity CFO at New Mountain Capital celebrated for managing a significant private equity portfolio, was named Alumni of the Year.
  • Evan Malbrough, organizing manager at Our Turn focused on education equity, former Research Fellow at the U.S. Department of Defense serving at the Pentagon, received the Rising Star Award.
  • Dollar General was presented with the Frank C. Carr Award for its substantial support of INROADS programs, and Dr. Johne E. Battle accepted the award.

The evening also honored the late James Edward Tolliver, whose legacy in fundraising for INROADS was honored. Philanthropist Arthur Whiley’s generous donation of $100K surpassed the fundraising goal, contributing to the gala’s success. Artist Patrick Hunter, known as “Patcasso,” captivated guests with a live painting performance, later auctioning the artwork for charity.


The gala was not just an event but a radiant celebration of INROADS’s impact and future. Visit their website for more information about their mission and programs.

Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
INROADS CEO Forest T. Harper (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
Angela Hill, mistress of ceremonies (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
INROADS CEO Forest Harper, far left;  Zuleemah Edwards, national director strategic alliances, third from right and INROADS students (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
INROADS Honoree Evan Malbrough (photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
INROADS Honoree Joan Higginbotham; flanked by CEO Forest Harper; and Reba Simmons, senior vice president – succession development partner, PNC, Bank, INROADS national board vice chair (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
INROADS Honoree, Saaima Khaliq (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)I)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
Frank C. Carr Honoree Dollar General Awards. Accepted by Johne. E. Battle (Photo Credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)
Illumination of excellence: The INROADS benefit gala’s night of achievement
Rolling out CEO Munson Steed, flanked by Cara Everett, rolling out; and INROADS marketing director Yolanda Smith (Photo credit: Pepe Gomez, Pixelme Studio)

One Response

  1. As an Inroads Alumni this is a proud moment of excellence. Keep growing and achieving greatness one life at a time”.

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