Who We Are

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. -Andrew Carnegie

D’shawna Charisa Bernard

A recognized young emerging leader in her community, D’shawna Bernard’s passion for international development and public service has helped to create the unique portfolio she acquires today. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, D’shawna attributes her love for politics and people to her culturally diverse West Indian upbringing. She attained her undergraduate degree at the School of Public Affairs, American University in Political Science with a minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree at the University of Baltimore. Being on one of the most politically active campuses in Washington DC, American University became D’shawna’s training ground, where she openly raises issues of race, diversity and social inclusion.

Her passion and commitment to excellence has afforded her opportunities to expand her portfolio early in her career. Her work and track record has allowed her own her own consulting business, BCD Strategies by the age of 25 and she uses that platform to advance issues close to her heart. Currently, she works for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party as the Deputy Get Out The Vote Director .

Deeply rooted in the principles of servant leadership, D’shawna has served as a volunteer for Americorps, served as the Chair of the Africa Committee for the United Nations Association for Young Professionals — Capital Area and most recently she has volunteered as an English Conversation teacher at the Gilchrist Christ Center for Cultural Diversity in Montgomery County, Maryland.

An avid supporter of women in politics she has successfully joined the alum of the dynamic We Lead program based in Washington DC that is geared towards encouraging more women to run for public office. Since her completion of the program D’shawna has worked with other women to spear head initiatives that focuses on the importance of the Caribbean American vote.

Founder of the Student and Professional Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, D’shawna continues to seek ways to bridge the gap among today’s millennials and seasoned professionals. An advocate for the Caribbean community she was recently appointed as Vice-Chair of Communications for the Caribbean Political Action Committee which is the political voice of Caribbean Americans across the metropolitan area.

The resume she has built for herself provides only a snapshot into the world of this future leader who is simply determined to walk in her purpose.

Akila Noguera-Devers

Akila Noguera-Devers is a professional from Cascade, TT. She was originally born in the Bronx, NY but at the age of 4 her parents moved the family to Jamaica. At 7 she moved to Trinidad and attend both primary and secondary school there. After form 6, she left Trinidad and Tobago to pursue a degree in International Business at Howard University. At Howard she participated in various extra-curricular activities, namely acting as the Vice President for the Caribbean Students Association. While being active at school, she also focused on building her career. She interned at Morgan Stanley for her three summers at school and earned a scholarship from the company. At graduation, however, she decided to change course and joined the PEPSICO team where she continues to make strides in her career.

Khadijah Bishop

Khadijah Bishop is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. She attended Howard University where she double majored in Health Education and Political Science with concentrations in community Health and International Relations respectively. While at Howard, Khadijah served as Executive President of the Howard University Caribbean Students Association, one of the founding members of the Society of Future Diplomats and as the Student Relations Officer for the Student and Professional Organization of Trinidad and Tobago, for which she still serves. Khadijah is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, the Caribbean American Intercultural Organization and works as a patient care volunteer for Children’s National Medical Center. Khadijah is a former intern with the Congressional Black Foundation where she worked in the United States Congress in the office of US Rep. Denny Heck (WA10). Presently Khadijah is employed at the Embassy of The Republic Of Trinidad and Tobago . Khadijah is passionate about the sustainable development of the Caribbean region, global health, youth leadership, women’s right’s and engagement of undeserved communities around the world.

Adam Raffoul

Adam Raffoul is a businessman specializing in the home improvement industry. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from American University in International Relations with minors in Political Science and Business Administration. He has done a range of short courses online and at local universities. Mr. Raffoul is an active blogger and in his spare time, he volunteers at a local think tank to come up with solutions to our country’s many problems.

Jiselle Granderson

Jiselle Granderson born on April 18th is young woman who seeks to make her mark in the world, one step at a time. Jiselle, an avid fan of life, a fitness enthusiast and a lover of nature and books takes every challenge that is presented before her and creates opportunity.

Jiselle, completed both her Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations (COSTAATT) and her Bachelors of Arts in Media and Communications (University of Greenwich) while pursuing other academic courses such as Project management, Marketing and finance. She is currently pursuing her Associate Degree in Foreign Languages for Business: Spanish.

Focusing on making a difference wherever she goes, Jiselle is always willing to learn. In August 2015, she was nominated by the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development as a Youth Ally. Her focus over the last few years has been in volunteerism, youth, sustainable development and strategic management; while trying to master the corporate world. With these passions, she is the Director of International Relations at the Volunteer Centre of Trinidad and Tobago (VCTT) and a member of TEDx Youth arm (TEDx Port of Spain). At VCTT, her focus is on building regional projects, fostering relationships with regional & international networks and volunteerism through civic engagement. In 2008, she started a community project in her community, to teach young adolescents on Etiquette, of which she was a participant.

Jiselle in 2014, wrote and published a book and was honored by NALIS as one of their first time authors-2014. She has represented her country at international events, such as the CARICOM Youth Programme (HIV/AIDS), DYLTS, Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force and the Candice Clarke Dance Academy. Most recently of her work, Jiselle was the Project Lead at the Caribbean Volunteer eXchange 2015 in Trinidad and 2016 St. Lucia where under her portfolio at VCTT saw the project to a successful end with partners from Volunteer St. Lucia (VSLU) out of the Office of the Prime Minister St. Lucia. In July 2016, she was chosen to co-lead a team of 12 teenagers from different islands and countries as their Trip Leader on Marti Expeditions- which took these international students to Grenada to engage in travel, community volunteerism projects.

A multi-talented and ambitious young woman who focuses on seeing the good in the world and people while creating engaging environments; Jiselle seeks to be fluent in Spanish while building her career in the fields of tourism, strategic development, business and community.

Mikhael Simmonds

Mikhael Simmonds is a full-time NYC reporter, who uses photography, videography, audio, print and design to tell compelling stories. He now runs the Harlem Focus media lab at the City College of New York and freelances for the historic Amsterdam News. He has reported on and edited various stories on a wide array of topics including Malians in Manhattan struggling to reach family back home to Dominican immigrants sending remittances to help family back in the DR.

Mikhael hails from Trinidad and Tobago but has lived in New York City since 2007. In 2011, he graduated from City College of New York with a Bachelor’s degree in international affairs, and shortly after earned a Masters degree in journalism with a focus on multimedia coverage, in 2013.

His multimedia experience has also been put to work at International Y (formerly the YMCA) where he taught teenagers how to create mini-documentaries and report on issues in countries such as Senegal, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, as well as for NGO sector of the United Nations’ Department of Public Information. He has applied his skills in website design, social media branding and promotion with Democracy Now! and education-focused NGO Seeds of Africa, based in New York and Adama, Ethiopia, among other organizations.

When he’s not busy writing stories or editing videos you can find him behind turntables, attempting to practice Taekwondo or butchering the French language.

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