Black History Month: Lisa Egbuonu-Davis and Tanisha M. Sullivan are Building Legacies

Feb 21, 2017 10:55 AM ET
Campaign: Sanofi US

Lisa Egbuonu-Davis: Supporting Gifted Students from Underrepresented Minorities and Socioeconomic Disadvantaged Groups

For Lisa, advocating for gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds (from underrepresented minorities and/or low-income groups) has long been a passion – one with its origin in her own childhood on Long Island, New York. There, teachers recognized and nurtured her strong science and math skills and gave her opportunities not consistently available to youth from low-income families like hers.

Today, Lisa is working to support talented students from underrepresented minorities and lower economic brackets through her service on the Johns Hopkins’ School of Education National Advisory Council.  An alumna of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, she’s also advised previous School of Education deans on their STEM education-related programs.

“Even as people of color and those from lower economic brackets represent growing portions of our society, the pipeline for developing people to succeed at the highest levels — future physicians, PhDs and corporate leaders — is dwindling,” she says. “People need to see the excellence gap as an area of public need. Focusing only on basic competency means that there won't be another generation of people like me.”

Lisa channels her personal passion and gifts to support the research of Jonathan Plucker, a nationally recognized education policy expert who works with the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.  Read more about Lisa’s support of Dr. Plucker’s work by clicking here. 

Tanisha M. Sullivan Elected President, NAACP Boston Branch

Tanisha M. Sullivan says three factors led to her becoming the President of the NAACP – Boston Branch: the power of service, her exposure to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) at an early age and the leadership of the women who came before her.

From an early age, Tanisha was convinced of the power of community service. “Through service, I have the opportunity to do life- affirming work for the betterment of my community,” she explained.

Tanisha was introduced to the NAACP through its advocacy work and its youth-focused programming when she was a child. The president of her local branch at the time was a woman, and there were several other women in leadership roles. ”In many ways, the organization was affirming to me, as a young black girl, that I came from a rich legacy of achievement and that I, too, could be a leader in civil rights and social justice,” she said. “That left a lasting impression on me. I never set out to be president of an NAACP branch, but when the opportunity presented, I knew I was prepared to take on the challenge because I saw women who looked like me perform well in the role.”

The NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization in the United States and the Boston Branch is the organization’s oldest chapter, with just under 1,000 members and approximately 100 leader volunteers.  “For me, this is a great honor and tremendous responsibility because the issues we work on ─ voting rights and eliminating racial health disparities, for example ─ are so important to the communities we serve,” Tanisha noted.