CLASS OF 2017
Mohamed Jamal M. Mohamed Ayub is high energy, highly motivated, goal oriented individual with a special passion for eradicating poverty. His background of farmer’s family from deep-down south of India helps him appreciate hard working and dedication of fellow human beings. Jamal serves as Enterprise Director of Software Company, Imprezzio with primary focus on bringing strategic solutions and coordinated execution. He enjoys spending time outdoors especially playing and organizing cricket games. Jamal is blessed with a wonderful family, wife defined by her patience, two daughters best described as angels and only son who keep him really busy. His values are well defined by his faith which keeps him grounded and humble in reminding the value of gratitude. Jamal strongly believes in giving back to the land and the community which provided the opportunity to strive and thrive.
Kiowna Brown is a social butterfly, you can’t take her anywhere without her mingling with someone. She is known to be enthusiastic, encouraging and a servant at heart. Chicago is her hometown; this is where she grew the love for community, arts; song, dance, and writing. Kiowna studied at Devry University in Technical Management. She moved to Bloomington, Illinois 9 years ago to pursue her career. She has since married, a hardworking man with loving and witty children. She has a flamboyant son and contagiously sweet daughter. She is a servant leader in her Church; assisting with people, in prayer, street evangelism, community events and hospitality. Kiowna works for PATH as the Housing and Benefits specialist. She assists individuals in crisis with finding affordable housing and appropriate benefits for their family. She is excited for the next level of leadership and new beginning with the MCLP class of 2017.
Allie Browning was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. She attended Indiana Wesleyan University and graduated early with a Bachelor’s of Science in Media Communications and a Minor in Spanish. She has an inquisitive nature and is continuously learning as much as she can in her current work role and outside of work. When she’s not at work, Allie loves trying new foods and playing (and winning) games of all sorts. Her adventurous spirit has taken her rock climbing, white water rafting, and has gotten her injured on more than one occasion. She’s persistent, driven and her faith in Christ influences all aspects of her life. Allie currently lives with her husband and pets. She continues to be motivated by the quote: “Do something you don’t feel ready to do – that’s when you stretch and grow and learn.”
Michael Canada, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, Michael moved to Bloomington for a career development opportunity. He is a devoted husband and father of two who strives to be a positive role model for his children through his own actions. Michael is passionate about personal and professional growth and takes pride in his ability to consistently reach the goals he sets for himself. In his spare time, when he is not playing with his kids, Michael enjoys reading and cooking. Michael is excited about the opportunity to learn more about his newly adopted community and further develop his leadership skills and focus his talents on being a better servant leader.
Carol Christensen was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois. She came to Bloomington/Normal to attend Illinois State University and graduated in 1989. Carol has worked at Afni for more than 20 years where she is currently a Resource Manager. She is a detail oriented, practical problem solver. Carol always tries to look for the bright side of every situation, being grateful for what she has is much better than lamenting what she doesn’t have. She believes happiness is a personal choice and each experience is a learning opportunity. Carol enjoys walking, playing bunco, and laughing with friends and family. While she enjoys the time she has with her son when he is home from University of Illinois, she also enjoys her new found free time for self-improvement. She is excited for the new leadership and service experience that MCLP offers.
Jeffrey Crabill grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the oldest of three boys in a lower middle class family, being the first generation to graduate from college. He developed his love for reading with visits to the local library. Jeff’s enjoyment of exercise began when his dad took him jogging or bicycling. Through his faith and personal struggles, Jeff has cultivated compassion for others. Blessed with a wonderful family and a fulfilling career, he works to give back to his community by volunteering with his two girls at Home Sweet Home Ministries, serving as a board member for an Indianapolis non-profit Center of Wellness for Urban Women, teaching religious education at St. Patrick’s Church of Merna and taking on pro bono cases through Prairie State Legal Services. Jeff looks forward to his MCLP journey of personal growth and servant leadership.
Steve Grady was born and raised in Central Illinois and has called Bloomington-Normal his home since 2003. He is a very positive person and has an optimistic outlook on life. Recently, Steve’s desire has been to increase his involvement within the community and be a positive influence to those who are less fortunate and need help. He also has a desire and passion to increase awareness of environmental issues. Steve lives a very active lifestyle away from work that includes running, bicycling, golf and travel. He is blessed with a wonderful family including his beautiful wife Terri and 3 adult children who are the pride and joy of his life. His family is who inspires him to be a better person as he strives to be the best husband, father, son, brother and friend he can be.
Arthur Haynes is a native of Chicago’s South-side. He has resided in Bloomington for the past 20 years. After pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration at Lincoln College Normal. Arthur started two small companies and took up the title of Entrepreneur. Arthur is heavily involved in Community Activism and volunteers a lot of his time and resources to local nonprofit organizations. He also recently started his own community enrichment nonprofit. Arthur believes that it takes a village to raise a child. He lives by the motto of, “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”. Arthur is a very involved citizen; and parent to 3 beautiful children with whom he shares with his wife of 10 years. Arthur attributes his accomplishments to his tough upbringing in Chicago. He considers himself to be a success story for many. He is a true inspiration and plans to have a huge impact on the future of politics. Arthur is very assertive, and looks forward to the MCLP class of 2017.
Terri Helregel is from a small town in Central Illinois and moved to Bloomington 26 years ago. At first impression, Terri is quiet and reserved, but once you get to know her, she is welcoming and funny, with a passion to help others. In her work life, she is a disciplined (but still learning) project manager and has been with Country Financial for 24 years. In her home life, Terri enjoys spending time with her husband Steve, their ‘rescue’ Bischon named Cypress and good friends. Through the MCLP program experience, Terri wishes to learn to be a better wife to her much deserving husband, a better daughter, sister and friend. She is eager to be more active in the community through volunteerism with local non-profits. Terri views this opportunity as the next step in the journey of life and can only take her (and our community) to a better place.
Heather Johnson is a tenacious, caring, and friendly individual, committed to social justice issues. One of her favorite quotes is, “They tried to bury us, but little did they know, we were seeds.” She graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology from Judson University. During her senior year, Ms. Johnson participated in an urban study. She worked with refugees in Chicago as a job coach intern for Heartland Alliance, and established a support group for refugee women. Upon graduation, Heather worked for Children’s Home + Aid. In 2013, she began working at the Neville House. Also in 2013, Heather became a volunteer advocate with the Stepping Stones Program. In January of 2014, Heather accepted a Counselor position with the Stepping Stones Program. She has an extensive knowledge regarding trauma. In her spare time, Heather likes to read, draw, paint, learn, exercise, go to protests/demonstrations, and volunteer.
Sheena Keating recently moved to the Bloomington-Normal area from Gig Harbor, Washington, but is from West Virginia originally. She graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan with a degree in Business Management, and is a continuous learner with several professional designations in the field of insurance. Sheena is outgoing, energetic, a hard worker and loves to help others reach their full potential. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, networking, learning new things, and travelling. She is an avid runner, and is currently training to run a marathon.
Mark Killick grew up “across the pond” in the UK, living in both England and Ireland before moving to the US at the turn of the millennium. His worldly view on life and ability to connect with various types of people came as a direct result of his various moves. His passions in life include helping others realize their full potential, learning & sharing new perspectives, taking on new experiences, and being challenged to achieve more. Mark loves the outdoors (especially the mountains) and is an avid football (soccer) fan. Mark is a practical thinker driven by logic, but also has a compassionate heart with a unquestionable desire to make the world a better place.
Cherry Lawson is from a small town in Alabama. Her parents moved Cherry and her five other siblings to Detroit, Michigan in 1967 in the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Cherry was educated in the Detroit Public School system in the inner city area—it is still home to this day! Cherry doesn’t have any limits on those things that she enjoys, or have had experiences with. Her motto, “How do you know you like (or enjoy) something, if you never try it.” She has strong held Christian beliefs, and have a love and zest for life. Cherry enjoys art, music, cultural activities, sewing, and building— yes with tools, upholstering furniture, and writing poetry. Though she has many hobbies of which she tries to schedule time for, but her biggest commitment is her family.
Tommy Navickas is a tortured Chicago Bulls fan and two-time Redbird graduate who grew up in Austin, Texas. His first extensive volunteer work was to serve on the Multicultural Leadership Program’s (MCLP) marketing and technology committee, beginning when his wife Julie went through the program (Class of 2013). He also supports the For a Better Tomorrow (FBT) nonprofit in a similar role. Like most people, he is constantly trying to get better at life’s important challenges, like making his wife laugh, train his two disobedient dogs, and ready himself to be a first-time father (due October 10). In his free time, he writes, watches home improvement shows, practices poor carpentry, and spends as much time as possible with his family.
Shenā Nicholas is a woman of many talents. From a Minister of Dance to presenting artwork at local galleries. Born and raised in Chicago, IL., Shenā’s fascination with the arts has led her to experiences primarily housed in dance performance. She took that on as a major at Illinois State University and received her B.A. degree. As time went on, her palate for the arts expanded to include graphic design. Shenā has recently obtained her M.S. degree in Arts Technology at ISU. During this time, she discovered her passion for digital painting. From Shenā’s quiet and reserved spirit to her gentle soul, you will find that she has plenty to offer when she is allowed to express herself in a safe and constructive environment. Shenā plans to travel around the globe because “the world is but a canvas to (her) imagination,” as she has plenty to paint for the world.
Carla Ramos was born in Morelia Michoacán Mexico. She is grateful to God for her life and her family. She considers herself positive, open minded, enthusiastic, and funny. She values and respects other peoples’ cultures and beliefs. Carla has two beautiful and smart daughters and they are her daily inspiration to succeed. Raising them as a single mother has been a challenge but she is grateful that it happened that way because it made her be a better person, a hard worker and dedicated mother. Carla is compassionate, sensitive to the needs of others and she does her best to support her mother and family. She loves to help and volunteer with church and the community. Carla loves Bloomington-Normal and she looks forward to making a difference with her MCLP team.
Laura Severs was raised in a rural town in northern Illinois. She made her way to Bloomington-Normal, where she attended Illinois State University. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science she began working at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center. Shortly after beginning her career she returned back to school at the University of St. Francis, where she was awarded her Master of Science-Health Administration. Laura enjoys cooking, being adventurous, and spending time with her family and friends. Laura is a compassionate, driven, and detail oriented person who truly believes that life begins outside of your comfort zone. She strives to be the best in all that she does, and is excited to venture into the journey of self-discovery through the Multicultural Leadership Program.
Justin Vickers is an Illinois native who spent a decade in New York City, making his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 25. The classically-trained opera singer performed around the world before earning a Doctor of Musical Arts (A.Mus.D.) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying musicology and voice. He maintains an active performance and recording career. Justin is passionate about the music and life of British composer Benjamin Britten and his contemporaries. An avid writer of scholarship on British music, his first book is forthcoming (Boydell Press, UK). Justin loves reading biographies and histories, serial note-taking and idea journaling, and the art of research. An Assistant Professor of Music at Illinois State University, Justin encourages the dreams of his students, embracing them as his own; he teaches voice, opera, and song literature. Justin firmly believes in the transformative power of the arts in society as an expression of our freedoms, and welcomes the opportunity to grow and establish fine arts organizations in the United States.
Eleisha Whitney-Olson grew up in the mountains of Oregon where people lived off the land and survival required hard work, creativity and knowledge. She believes education, the ability to be self-sufficient and dedication to kindness are key elements in creating a better future for all. A devoted mother, she took in many homeless children. On any given evening you could find her leading a group of kids in discussions on literature, social issues or conducting science experiments. She translates her need for creativity and her love of people into an award winning passion for cooking. Eleisha believes in the goodness of humanity. She is gentle, curious, kind, intelligent and vibrant. As a Family Service counselor she is able to be there for people when tenderness and compassion are desperately needed. She believes the meaning of life is service to others; through this we find joy.
Joceyln (Joy) Winnell, a native of Bloomington /Normal, Jocelyn (Joy) Winnell, is deeply invested in our community having grown up a frequent patron of our local markets, arts festivals, and businesses. As a professional in our local industry, she has developed a passion for the arts, serving her community, and helping people. This has fueled her participation in the McLean County Arts Center where she participates on the board as well as chair of the Community Partnership Committee, starting her own business creating bespoke cards and candles, and working at a pharmacy in her free time. In these endeavors, Jocelyn is served by her formal education at Bradley University where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Advertising. Her education has taught the disciplines of communication, public relations, and marketing. In her spare time, Jocelyn enjoys gardening, DIY home projects, spending time with friends and family, and playing with her furry children.
Susan Wright is a native of Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from DeVry University-Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems, she moved to Bloomington to start her career as a Systems Analyst. Susan is hard-working, organized, compassionate, enjoys learning new things and is a natural coach/mentor to her peers and youth. She loves spending time with her husband of 22 years and their two children. She volunteers as a Girl Scout troop leader, in the Unit 5 Music programs and Home Sweet Home Mission. Susan enjoys attending her children’s school events, cooking, reading and DIY projects. She has never met a hobby she didn’t like! Susan is thankful to be a part of the MCLP program. She is looking forward to making new connections as well as learning and growing as a leader in the community.