MCLP Class of 2019 Graduation

Phani Aytam

The 10th graduation of the Multicultural Leadership Program (MCLP) will feature an address from MCLP founder Phani Aytam, presentation of two Community Leadership Awards, and a celebration of the 15 MCLP Class of 2019 graduates.  The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Illinois State University’s Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom. Reservations are $50 per person and may be made at

Graduates have successfully completed a nine-month, intensive leadership development journey comprised of two learning events per month, individualized mentoring, and team project work for local non-profits Mission Mart, the Salvation Army, Vladimir-Canterbury Sister Cities Association and 261 Fearless of Bloomington-Normal.

“Our participants really have to work hard and stretch beyond their comfort zones.  They polish their leadership skills, improve their self-awareness, and learn to work effectively in very diverse teams” said MCLP Executive Director Linda Bollivar. “It is always a gift to watch their personal transformations as well as see the positive impact their project work has in the community. 

MCLP Class of 2019 graduates include Karthikeyan Baluswamy, Beth Bradford, Marianela Diaz Hidalgo, Tura Dover, Nayoka Griffis, Court Hruska, Swati Khanna, Lori Marmion, Sarah Moravec, Tiara Randle, BreAune Sajna, Alag Santhalingam, Katherine Sawyer, Sharon Ware, and Julia Zuñiga Alzamora. Class facilitators included MCLP alumni Terri Helregel, Jeff Crabill, and Angel Terrell.

Phani Aytam, whose vision inspired MCLP, will speak on the theme of Serve to Lead. In addition to his work with MCLP, Aytam serves on the boards of For A Better Tomorrow and United Way. He says, “My wife Sandeepa and I consider ourselves blessed to work for a great organization like State Farm, to live in a wonderful giving community like Mclean County, and to serve alongside amazing individuals whom we are very fortunate to call friends.”

Also honored at the event will be two MCLP Community Leadership Award Recipients, Len Meyer and Rell Richards.  Meyer, Downstate Community Engagement Manager of Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Founder of Central Illinois Pride Health, will be honored for their advocacy for LGBTQ+ adults and youth.  MCLP Alumnus Rell Richards will be recognized for his leadership roles in the Multicultural Leadership Program, 100 Black Men, BCAI, Milestones Early Learning Center, and Miller Park Zoo.

As the Class of 2019 draws to a close, MCLP is accepting applications for the class of 2020 as well as community project proposals. For more information on the graduation event, or the class of 2020, visit, or contact MCLP Executive Director Linda Bollivar at 309-556-3651 or

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