2022 Breakfast of Champions
The African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin’s major fundraising event is aimed at bringing the Greater Milwaukee community together to support its mission of championing growth and honors local business leaders who are passionate about economic development and wealth creation in the African American community.
2022 Business Champion
Gregory M. Wesley, JD.
Gregory M. Wesley, JD, is Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Business Development for the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), a private medical school, pharmacy school, and graduate school of sciences that serves as the largest research center in eastern Wisconsin.
Wesley possesses more than 25 years of experience as a lawyer and executive in the private, nonprofit and academic sectors. He previously served as a private-practice lawyer from 1997-2016. He has also served as an MCW Trustee from 2009-2017. In his current role with MCW, Wesley serves as a key strategic leader, ambassador, and advisor, responsible for ensuring the execution of MCW’s strategic initiatives and projects through established and emerging partnerships with the aim of supporting and creating opportunities for MCW’s long-term growth in Milwaukee and communities partnered with its regional campuses in Green Bay and Wausau.
Joyful Drake, Actress
Joyful Drake leads the 8-episode drama series HUSH for streamer ALLBLK premiering December 1. Creator Angela Burt-Murray describes the series as, “a sexy drama about four dynamic women who will stop at nothing to get what they want.”
She starred as the much-loved Tasha on the iconic BET comedy series Let’s Stay Together is on the scene in a big way. She is having a delicious time as the super sexy step-mom in a recurring role in Starz’s P-Valley. Joyful starred alongside Karen Pittman in Unthinkably Good Things for Hallmark’s new Mahogany banner. The film, shot on location in Italy will debuted on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries earlier this year.
Joyful starred opposite DJ Qualls in November Rule, opposite Ryan Phillippe in the Catch Hell and was Sean “P. Diddy” Combs’ girlfriend in Judd Apatow’s Get Him To the Greek Her other notable film roles include Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah, Phat Girlz with Mo’Nique and she starred as a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship in the independent drama feature Bad Ass opposite Danny Trejo and Ving Rhames. She has also guest starred in television episodes of Jane the Virgin, One on One, Cuts, The Game, The Exes and The Quads.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, she is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. While in college, Joyful experienced her first brush with the entertainment industry. For two and a half years she had an exciting time as a dancer for the NBA Milwaukee Bucks, she remains an avid fan and also loves the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. After graduation, she moved to New York to pursue an acting career. Her first job was a recurring role on the hit Showtime series Soul Food.
Joyful makes her home in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter Beau.
2022 Legacy Award – In Memory Of
Wallace White served as former chairman of the board for the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (2007-2013) and played a role in the organization’s transformation.
The African American Chamber of Wisconsin honors Wallace White’s service to the organization and commitment to championing the growth and sustainability of African American owned businesses.
Mr. White passed away on Saturday, June 11, 2022.
2022 Young Pioneer
Lauren Feaster, CEO
In August 2020 Lauren was appointed CEO of Professional Dimensions, a leading women’s professional association in the Milwaukee area whose mission is to unite women leaders in the relentless pursuit of better.
Prior to joining Professional Dimensions, Lauren served in various executive capacities within the NPO education realm with both City Year Milwaukee and Teach For America Milwaukee. During her tenure, she has led community partnerships, fundraising, staff management/coaching, training, program evaluation, strategic planning and business operations. As an advocate for leadership, education and collective impact, Lauren remains engaged in community through her service on City Year’s Regional Board, the Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy Board, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee Board, HYFIN Advisory Committee and as co-chair of the K12 Civic Response Team via Greater Milwaukee Foundation. Additionally, she works to advance equity and inspire leadership as a member of Milwaukee Urban League YP, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and as a Character Coach with Alverno’s LACCS Program.
Lauren’s commitment to Professional Dimensions is rooted in her desire to ensure women, especially women of color, are embraced, elevated and compensated for every “professional dimension” they lead with and every area they add value. We will win when every woman in the PD network can realize and actualize their full power. We will know we’ve been successful when every member in our network can consciously contribute to the PD microcosm that both proves what is possible when women unite (from a sense of innovation, inclusion, joy, revenue, etc.) and reclaims community in ways that we’ve never fathomed.
Dr. Lia Knox, AACCW Chairwoman
Dr. Lia A. Knox is the Founder & CEO of Knox Behavioral Health Solutions (KBHS) and Co-Founder of the non-profit Black Space Inc.
Dr. Knox received her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. She received her master’s degree in Counseling Education from Concordia University in Mequon, Wisconsin, and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.
Dr. Knox is a Mental Wellness Expert specializing in Cultural Competency and Organizational Health. She provides culturally relevant consultation, training, workshops, forums, and coaching for the community, corporate, local, state, and government organizations.
Dr. Knox is a highly skilled licensed professional counselor with more than 25 years of experience providing quality mental health care to underserved and under-resourced populations throughout the United States and abroad.
Dr. Knox is a dynamic and charismatic public speaker who has been featured on The Today Show with Carson Daley, TMJ4 News, VOA News, PBS with Black Nouveau, Spectrum News One, Shepherd Express, Healthy Start Community Journal, Urban Milwaukee, WUWM-National Public News and various other media outlets. She is the author of “The Use of Media by African American Women to Acquire Mental Health Knowledge” and has been a featured author in “Special Education Practices: Personal Narratives of African American Scholars, Educators and Related Professionals,” The Journal of Contemporary Issues in Education & Research, The Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health, Black Women 50+ Health & Lifestyles Magazine, Jet Magazine, GIRLFRIENDS Health Guide for Women of Color and UMOJA Magazine.
Dr. Knox currently resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She serves on several professional boards and committees, including chairwoman of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (AACCW), board member of Volunteers of America-WI. & MN.