Black History TrailBlazers #11


Black TrailBlazers Making History

Frances O. Johnson - Elementary educator, Workforce Development professional, licensed insurance agent & business owner

Ep. 19 - Born in the early 1950s in Meridian, Mississippi to parents who suffered the indignities of the harshest forms of segregation and dehumanization, Frances and her siblings were brought north to southern Indiana by the start of primary school. Her parents were community leaders and business owners serving the Black community in Evansville, Indiana. They shared promoted positive messages on the value of education and entrepreneurship to Black families and the Black community. She embraced this message becoming a 2nd-grade teacher after college and transitioning to a career in workforce readiness and jobs placement for a few years before taking on the challenge of building her own State Farm Agency by her mid-30s. She holds dear the lessons from the past encouraging and mentoring women and minorities wishing to pursue insurance agency ownership and sharing resources where needed to advance the success of others.

Read more about Frances.

Iris Ann Cooper - Banking Executive, Barrier-Breaking Business Woman, Gubernatorial Appointee, Professor, Radio Host, Entrepreneur

Ep. 5 - Dr. Iris Ann Cooper came of age during the turbulent 1960s intent on achieving excellence in academics and closing the success gap for girls of color like herself. Her parents were role models in her local community with her mother's activity as a social worker including college recruitment for 1st-generation college students with admission to Indiana University in Bloomington. Iris knew that she could not disappoint her parents, and so she didn't, earning her MBA at IU and going on to become one of the first Black female retail, and then bank executive in Columbus, Ohio following college. As the bank officer with portfolio for lending to minority businesses she came to believe that she, too, could use her accumulated knowledge, skills and abilities to launch a business. And, so she did! Iris Ann Cooper became a co-founder of Glory Foods, the First ethnic food line to be manufactured to the preferences of Black families and the Firstethnic food line to be marketed to, and stocked in, national supermarket chains such as Walmart, Krogers, and others. This breakthrough food line made way for other ethnic food lines like Goya and Old El Paso, to be picked up by national grocers. At age 60, she returned to school to complete her doctoral studies in Business and Entrepreneurship.

Read more about Iris.

Monika Moss-Gransberry - Educator, Entrepreneur, Author

Ep. 159 - Monika K. Moss-Gransberry, best-selling author, self-mastery coach, and organizational consultant serves as President/CEO of MKM Management Consulting. A scholar and practitioner, Monika K. Moss-Gransberry, is a master facilitator and Gestalt practitioner and a generalist with expertise in personal self-mastery, aging, arts & culture, change management, community development, education, health care, marketing, leadership development, nonprofit management, organizational systems development, small business development, spiritual transformation, and youth development. She has worked with organizations of all sizes from small grassroots all-volunteer groups to large multi-national organizations with over 4000 employees in 54 countries around the world and has led multi-stakeholder community strategic planning initiatives.

Read more about Monika.

Paula J. Ward - Telecommunications Trailblazer, Higher Education Advocate for Women's Equity, Airport Operations Executive

Against the odds, Paula became one of the first young Black women hired as a local telephone operator in the deeply segregated Florida of the 1960s. This provided experience, credibility, and the opportunity to enter the supervisory ranks of telephone operations when relocating to California, and the upward trajectory that found her positioned to become an F&O (first-and-only) Black female executive when President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 199 on February 8, 1996, representing the start of a new era in telecommunications regulation in the United States. With each success, Ms. Ward used her voice and position to the benefit of other women. Yes, she has retired from the world of work, but never from the world of advocacy to the benefit of women and girls.

Read more about Paula. 



Jerrica Dodd - Entrepreneur, Health Professional

Ep. 150 - How do you decide how much water to drink a day, how much Vitamin D should you take? Jerrica Dodd answers these questions and more! Jerrica Dodd is a pharmacist, entrepreneur, and leader. She has been a pharmacist for 20 years and recently transitioned into full-time entrepreneurship after a 17-year career in the pharmaceutical industry. She’s the founder of Your Pharmacy Advocate LLC, which exists to close the gap on medication risks allowing prescribers and patients to manage health better. In this episode, Dr. Jerrica talks about the importance of prioritizing health, especially during the pandemic.

Read more about Jerrica.

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