CENTER FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
2425 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Dennis E. Bland, Esq. (CLD ’82), President
BA, DePauw University | JD, Indiana University McKinney School of Law
Dennis leads the direction of and manages the operations of CLD to accomplish organizational goals and long-range strategies. His passion is driven by a concern for plight of African American youth and community.
Gail A. Bradford, CPA, Accounting and Human Resources
BS, University of Arizona
Gail helps insure that CLD is an excellent steward of all financial assets. She prepares financial reports and assists in budget preparation, grant proposals and reports. She also provides human resources support for CLD staff.
April Ervin (CLD ’86), Senior Manager of Development
BS, Northwestern University | MBA, University of Michigan
April oversees the Development team and is responsible for supporting the long-term financial sustainability of the organization. With over 20 years of experience, she is committed to leveraging her background to ensure CLD continues to thrive as one of the most preeminent centers in the nation dedicated to transforming the lives of minority youth. As a CLD Alumna, April has a personal passion for helping all children receive the highest quality education and opportunities she believes were afforded to her. April’s team includes the areas of grant writing, alumni and community relations, fund raising and marketing.
Erika Huber, Director, College Prep Institute
BA, Barat College | M.Ed, DePaul University
Erika oversees the College Prep Institute. In her 20 plus year career in education, she has developed a firm belief that education is the key to unlocking the door to opportunities that advance and enhance quality of life. In this belief, she is committed in producing quality programming and services that allows students to have the opportunity to pursue their higher education ambitions and goals.
Whitney Johnson, Senior Manager of Programs
BA, Penn State University
Whitney oversees CLD programs and initiatives. She comes to the organization with great passion and experience from Baltimore schools and youth serving agencies. Whitney leads the Programs Team in achieving the ultimate goal of creating and delivering quality curriculum that empowers youth. Whitney’s team includes the areas of program coordination, administration, evaluation, recruitment, and data management.
Carolyn Ladd, Office Manager
BS, Martin University | MBA, Indiana Wesleyan University
Carolyn organizes and coordinates office operations and procedures in order to ensure organizational efficiency and effectiveness. She is the Executive Assistant to the President. Carolyn is the mother of a CLD Alum.
College Prep Institute Team Members
Karen Bledsoe, Reading Specialist
Mahogany Brown, Program Coordinator
BSW, Indiana University
Mahogany is responsible for coordinating CLD’s SAT Prep and Success Prep programs. Serving as a program coordinator in the College Prep Institute, Mahogany oversees the preparation of all program communications and acts as a liaison between participant’s parents, students, facilitators and volunteers. Mahogany’s interests in community organization and minority youth support the development and advancement of her programmatic portfolio.
Joni Clark, Program Coordinator
BA, Wilberforce University | M.Div. Interdenominational Theological Center | PhD, Indiana University
Joni is responsible for planning, organizing and implementing CLD’s Business Orientation Project and College Prep programs. Committed to empowering minority students to enter higher education prepared, Joni also assists in several one-day opportunities including the College Prep Institute Workshop Series and Lilly Summer Experience.
Jade Dueñas, Administrator
BSW, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
As the College Prep Institute Administrator, Jade collects and tracks program data related to CPI services. Jade is responsible for scheduling all CPI services for counselors, tutors, and participants. She also assists with recruitment and training of program facilitators and volunteers. Jade’s interest in data, effective communication skills, and passion for minority youth career development are essential in supporting her work at CLD.
Jordan Finch, Math Tutor
Aaron Parker, Math Tutor
Shirley Smith, Receptionist
John C. Turner, College Success Coordinator
BS, Indiana State University | MS, Indiana State University
Serving as the College Success Coordinator, John coordinates collaborations with CLD college and university partners, along with community institutions to ensure necessary college campus resources are utilized, students are aware of how to access those resources, and intentional support is provided to increase college 4 year graduation rates and career success. John’s Higher Education and Community Service background are integral parts of his work with educating students and in working as an educator, researcher, and connection for community members to resources that will help them reach their dreams.
Development Team Members
Ronald Brown, Development Manager
Ron plans, organizes, and manages the major development events and is the lead CLD grant writer. Ron is directly responsible for the awards granted at the Minority Achievers Awards and Scholarship Gala and is in his 21st year at the Center for Leadership Development. His interest and passion come from a desire to see African American youth succeed at unsurpassed levels to affect change in their lives, their family’s lives and the life of their communities.
Hope Hampton, Alumni and Community Relations Coordinator
BSW, Indiana University
The Alumni and Community Relations Coordinator is responsible for executing CLD’s Alumni and community re-engagement strategy for nearly 20,000 CLD Alumni and CLD’s numerous community partners. In this role, Hope serves as primary liaison to all CLD Alumni and the Alumni Association and community and corporate partners with a focus on strategic partnership development and volunteer management. Hope’s passion for youth and their long-term success empowers her mission of supporting the CLD Alumni Association mantra of “Educate! Participate! Advocate!” Hope also brings a wealth of experience as a community builder and connector. Email Hope to set up a collaborative opportunity with your organization!
Levorn Mackins, Grants Coordinator
BS, Northern Illinois University
The Grants Coordinator is responsible for management and oversight of grant research and submission processes to ensure the effective coordination of all proposal and report submissions. With over 20 years of grant development and management experience, she is also the mother of a CLD alumnus.
Kelsey R. Taylor, Development and Marketing Coordinator
BCJ, Indiana University
Serving as the Development and Marketing Coordinator, Kelsey coordinates event-related development activities and opportunities with an emphasis on donor retention and engagement, grant research, sponsorship solicitation, reporting, collateral creation and marketing. Kelsey’s fundraising expertise and visual communications background are pivotal in supporting her passion of youth development. Email Kelsey with your request for comment or to inquire about marketing opportunities!
Programs Team Members
Jeanette Caston, Receptionist
With over 20 years of customer service experience, Jeanette services CLD guests via phone and/or face to face inquiries. She provides general information regarding the organization to customers and assists in general administrative and clerical support.
Rahja Ford, (CLD ’12), Program Assistant
Rahja serves as administrative support and assists in the effective planning, coordination, delivery and evaluation of the following CLD programs: Imani Book Club, Jr. Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Project and Precious Miss. Having participated in several CLD programs, including Precious Miss, Success Prep and College Prep, Rahja appreciates what CLD has to encourage youth in the community. Rahja has a passion for helping the young people she serves find happiness and success.
Deborah Ross, Manager of Program Evaluations and Administration
BS, Indiana University
Deborah manages the coordination and delivery of all administrative program functions for efficient planning, delivery and data management of all programs. Prior to joining the CLD team, Deborah and her husband volunteered for the organization. They are proud parents of 3 CLD Alumni.
Angelica Watts, (CLD ’13), Program Coordinator
BA, Ball State University
Angelica serves as the Program Coordinator for Precious Miss, Jr. Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Project, and the Imani Book Club programs. She comes to CLD with over four years of experience in program management. Angelica has a passion for implementing impactful programs that stimulate the growth of minority youth. As a CLD alumna, she is excited to be involved with CLD’s programs in a different capacity.
Joshua Webb, Program Coordinator
BS, Loyola University Chicago
Joshua Webb serves as the Program Coordinator for the Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Project, the Role Model/Advisor Experience, and Project MR. (Male Responsibility). Joshua seeks to provide superior programming for the children and youth of the Indianapolis area and empower those youth to become successful students and effective leaders. Joshua is motivated by his belief that building strong, capable children today will make for a more equitable, just, and prosperous tomorrow.
Gabrielle White (CLD ’11), Recruitment Associate
BA, Purdue University | M.ED, McKendree University
Serving as the Recruitment Associate, Gabrielle builds awareness of CLD throughout the Greater Indianapolis area with the goal to enroll more parents and students in CLD programs, initiatives and services. Gabrielle brings higher education and student affairs recruitment experience from many colleges and universities, including her alma mater Purdue University, and has a passion for making college acceptance and successful matriculation attainable for all. Email Gabby to schedule a visit to your school from CLD!
Meet our Licensed Guidance Counselors!
Linda Bingham (Ms. B)
BA, Indiana University | MA, Butler University
“Teaching is my passion! I knew at an early age that I wanted to be an educator. I taught for 7 years with Indianapolis Public Schools’ Crispus Attucks and Northwest High Schools. I was a school counselor for 21 years in Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township Lawrence North, and McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology. I retired from Lawrence in June 2013 after 28 years as an educator. I had the pleasure of becoming a Licensed Guidance Counselor for the Center for Leadership Development in February 2013 and it feels as though I am living my dream!”
Ms. B specializes in: exceptional learners, organization and time management, study skills and habits and career counseling.
Magdalene Gates (Nita)
BS, Indiana State University | MS, Indiana State University
As a CLD guidance counselor within the College Prep Institute (CPI), Nita provides academic, career and college counseling services for students and their parent and/or mentor. With more than 8 years of experience, Nita’s passion is helping families with testing and finding scholarships and affordable institutions. She is currently a high school counselor in Washington Township.
Nita specializes in: high school preparation, college preparation, college readiness, test preparation, scholarship research, diploma types, test anxiety and college searches.
BA, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma | MA, Indiana University | MS, Butler University
“From the age of 10 I always wanted to work in schools! For 24 years I have taught history and English in grades 7 through college. I returned to school myself when my daughter entered college, and I earned a M.S. in School Counseling in 2014 after doing my internship at CLD. I was immediately impressed by CLD’s caring staff and their commitment to excellence. In addition to my work here, I currently teach high school history, and I also work as a K-8th grade counselor for Horizons, a summer academic program for at-risk students in Indianapolis.”
Jeffrey specializes in: study skills, time management, success in the classroom, college preparation, growth mindset, college and scholarship searches and application essays.