Advisory Council

Lisa Harris

Lisa Harris is the founder of LA Harris, Dare to Bear Fruit, LLC. Dare to Bear Fruit has two divisions. One division is business consulting and executive level coaching. The focus is on leadership and strategy development, professional development, curriculum development, and analyzing structures and systems to improve belonging, diversity and inclusion in academia and global business operations. The second division focuses on her motivational speaking, writing, Facebook, and internet radio programs: LA’s Landscape on WBGR Radio in Maryland and Lunchtime Leadership Lessons with Lisa every Wednesday on Spreading the Gospel Network. In August, she started her own show leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion on Gospel Television

She received a BA in Broadcast Communications and Journalism from Hampton University and an MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management.  Her career began at Ford Motor Company in sales and marketing- Regions: (Memphis, Atlanta, NJ, NY, – Pittsburgh), call center for small dealers, Heavy Truck, Human Resources, Minority Dealer, FIECO (bought dealers), One of her greatest honors while in the region was being voted as an Outstanding Leader by her peers three consecutive years while the Region moved from 14th to 1st place.

She was recruited by American Express to be Vice President of Client Management and Retail Trade and VP of Global Training. In the VP Client Management role, she led a team which negotiated $80M contracts with airlines like American, United, and others. She was selected to develop the national and global sales consultant training for client manager’s in driving revenue and strengthening partner relationships. It was ranked as one the best sales and leadership programs created for the organization.

Her career as an academician began as an adjunct professor at Kean University from 2009-2019. She instructed MBA, Executive MBA and undergraduate students in leadership, business ethics, human resource, labor unions and management, and business management. She is passionate about developing leaders who are ethical, strategic, and critical thinkers.  

Currently, she is a Sr. Learning & Development Consultant at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She inspires leaders through curriculum and coaching services to faculty and staff at the University and UVA Health Systems. Her coaching includes executive level leadership to middle level managers. She also leads strategic efforts for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Her work in the DEI space includes curriculum, coaching, leveraging technology, performance management, leadership programs, recruiting/retention, and creating experientials to maximize the knowledge. These efforts have earned her a powerful reputation as a leader who is creative, cares, challenges and gets stuff done with great character.

Lisa shares her passion for transformation through volunteering and mentoring. She was a guest speaker on Sirrus XM  Satellite Radio to discuss Branding, Charlottesville Chapter of the Women’s Network, and the College Ambassadors program for UNCF where she talked about Branding and coaches students.

In August of 2021, Lisa released her first poetry and art book titled, More Blessed Than Me, JESSE (Journey, Exacerbate, Spirituality, Sovereignty, and Ecstasy) Volume 1. It is a collection of 88 poems to thank God for speaking into her life. It is dedicated to her parents, Barbara and Charles Harris. She hopes this first collection encourages, inspires, creates discussion, heals, liberates, and causes readers to say “yes” to their journey! Her books can be purchased through her website and/or major book retailers. She remains grateful to those who purchased the book and have shared amazing life stories.

Among her favorite statements/quotes are“ Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” and Audre Lord, “When I dare to be powerful — to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

Darlene Hayes

Darlene is a three-time Emmy award television winner producer with over 30 years in the entertainment business.  She produced and directed for the Food Network, Montel Williams Show and the Phil Donahue show.  Additionally, she contributes to enriching the  lives of African American in arts and culture

Rev. Dr. J.R. Norwood, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. J.R. Norwood, Jr. is an ordained Christian clergyman and a citizen of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation. He served his tribe as an elected Tribal Councilman (2004-2019), the first Principal Justice of the Tribal Supreme Court (2013-2019), and as the senior minister to the Nanticoke-Lenape Tribal Christian Prayer Circle Ministry. Dr. Norwood regularly represents his tribe at the national and international level.  He is the Co-Chair of the Task Force on Federal Acknowledgement of the National Congress of American Indians and the General Secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes.  Since 1992, he has served as the senior pastor of the Ujima Village Christian Church of Ewing, NJ, and is also the founder and director of the Christian Mission School of Theology. 


Dr. Norwood is a theologian, tribal historian, cultural presenter, writer, drummer, and craftsmen. His tribal craftwork has been exhibited in museums and at art festivals. He has lectured at various academic institutions and testified before the United States Congress. His publications and research papers include “We are Still Here – The Tribal Saga of New Jersey’s Nanticoke and Lenape Indians” (2007), “The Historical Impact and Current Challenges of Christian Ministry Among the Aboriginal People of the Delaware Bay Region” (2015), Contextualized Worship Among the Nanticoke-Lenape American Indians (2017 in the peer reviewed academic journal “In die Skriflig”), “Complementarianism and the Ministry of the Church: A Brief Overview” (2019, World Reformed Fellowship), in addition to numerous other articles on Theology, American Indian history, culture, and current concerns. He has been featured in several documentaries on American Indian History, including: The Seven Ages of Britain (2010); Philadelphia: The Great Experiment (2014); Promised Land (2016); and, The King’s Highway (2016), and Bicentennial City (2019).


Dr. Norwood is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC (B.A. in Philosophy), Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ (M.Div. – with thesis), and North-West University in Potchefstroom, SA (PhD in Missiology). His professional credentials include a D.Min. (Pastoral Care and Counseling), D.P.M (Expository Preaching), and a diploma from the United States Army Chaplain’s Center and School.  Dr. Norwood is also an instructor with the Timothy Two Project International, has previously served as an instructor for the Eastern School of Christian Ministry (of Palmer Seminary) and as a field education supervisor for both Princeton Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He is a member of the Commission on Missions and Evangelism of the World Reformed Fellowship, the Evangelical Theological Society, board member of the Penn Treaty Museum, a Scholar Advisor to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center of the American Bible Society, member of the advisory board of the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education Center, and serves on the Princeton University Art Museum’s Advisory Group for Indigenous North America.


He is happily married to Tanya, his wife of over three decades, and they are blessed with three children and three grandchildren.

Claudette Roper

Claudette Roper is a media consultant with more than two decades of expertise in corporate communications and media production. Her client roster has included: Beaman Incorporated, YMCA, Sara Lee Corporation, Chicago Urban League, Black Entertainment Television, City of New York, and the White House during President Bill Clinton’s administration. Projects have run the gamut from educational endeavors, media training, DEI initiatives, special events, speech writing, philanthropic strategies, public relations campaigns, and television productions.

Roper began her career in media working in a variety of capacities for Multimedia Entertainment Productions. Through that association she worked on NBC’s TODAY SHOW and ABC’s THE LAST WORD with talk show veteran Phil Donahue, followed by a stint on the Emmy Award winning show, DONAHUE. She also held several positions with Carsey-Werner Company, including Director of Public Relations for its groundbreaking NBC series, THE COSBY SHOW. During one of the most poignant appointments of her career, she served as a key member of the team that produced the historic Yankee Stadium event to welcome Nelson Mandela to America, prior to his presidency of South Africa.

Roper has also established a career as an interdisciplinary artist. In 2006, she won the prestigious Albert P. Weisman Award for her thought-provoking multimedia installation on racism, other state (which premiered as a documentary a year later). In 2008, she created The Man Project — a documentary, multimedia installation, and interactive experience that explores an array of relationships from the perspective of more than 50 Black males. Her award-winning artistry has been featured at a variety of venues, including: Blanc Gallery, Brauer Museum of Art, Oak Park International Film Festival, Book & Paper Gallery, Elmhurst College, and United Nations Association USA Global Wake Up Film Festival. Currently, she is and writing a book on caregiving as well as documenting the multi-generational history of her family and African Americans on the near north side of Chicago.

Claudette Roper has served on numerous boards and is actively involved in organizations focusing on civic engagement, seniors, the arts, and social justice. She has a B.A. in Radio and Television and M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Media, both from Columbia College Chicago. Roper teaches classes on culture, media and intersectionality at her alma mater, in addition to conducting workshops in corporate and academic settings.