Staff Directory

Staff Directory

Staff Directory


2425 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Office: 317-923-8111
Fax: 317-923-8112

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Leadership Team

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.

Melanie Frazier, CFRE,  Senior Manager of Development
MATD, Roosevelt University | Certificate in Nonprofit Executive Leadership, IUPUI/SPEA
Melanie comes to CLD with over a decade of development and fundraising management experience serving youth development organizations. She oversees the strategic fundraising goals with a team of mission-committed professionals. Through the increased philanthropy of many, she is primarily tasked with increasing the organization’s revenue to help nurture hundreds more youth find their purpose, discover their talent, and become productive members of society. Email Melanie to find out how you can get involved here!

Whitney Johnson, Senior Manager of Programs
BA, Penn State University | MPA Non-Profit Management, Indiana Wesleyan 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.

Dr. DiAnna WashingtonDirector of the College Prep Institute
BA, Harding University | MBA and MA, Indiana Wesleyan University | M.S.Ed., Indiana University – Bloomington | Ph.D., Indiana University – Indianapolis
Dr. Washington is a student-focused professional education administrator with over 15 years of progressive experience in student development, family engagement, and program evaluation. She is committed to advocating for equitable education for all students from all backgrounds. Dr. Washington serves as the strategic leader and manager of the College Prep Institute. Her team is responsible for the planning, execution and delivery of preeminent college readiness programs and services.

Malybu WhiteManager-Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness
BS Business Administration, Indiana Wesleyan University | US Army, Honorable Discharge
Malybu ensures that CLD has effective operational controls, administrative procedures, reporting processes and people systems in place to grow the organization and to ensure operational efficiency.  She comes to the organization with over 10 years management experience serving vulnerable populations to include youth.  Malybu’s desire to continuing investing in people is fundamental in the overall mission and strategic direction of the Center for Leadership Development.

College Prep Institute Team Members

Monique Anderson, Administrator
As the College Prep Institute Administrator, Monique collects and tracks program data related to CPI services. Monique is responsible for scheduling all CPI services for counselors, tutors, and participants. She also assists with recruitment and training of program facilitators and volunteers.

Karen Bledsoe, Reading Tutor
B.S., Elementary Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
MA Language Arts, Indiana University

Aisha Bowen, Reading Tutor
B.A., English and Urban Secondary Education, Howard University, Washington, DC
MS, International Education Development, University of Pennsylvania

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.

Azhar Dalal, Science Tutor
B.S., Biology, Butler University, Indianapolis, IN

Donnesia Davis, Program Assistant
Donnesia helps the College Prep Institute Coordinator with preparing and planning for Emerging Scholars and College Prep. Her attention to detail and willingness to contribute to the team makes her an immense asset.  She believes that there is not enough that we can do for the youth to prepare them for their future lives, and hopes her work at CLD will impact the community accordingly.

Rolanda Hardin, Reading Tutor
B.A., Liberal Studies, University of Indianapolis, IN
MA Curriculum and Instruction, University of Indianapolis |
Transition to Teaching Certification, Butler University, IN

Kiran Jyoti, Math Tutor
Currently enrolled College Student/seeking B.S. in Computer Science, Minor in Mathematics from IUPUI

Jonas Smith, Math Tutor
B.S., Applied Mathematics, Marian University, Indianapolis, IN

Yuri Smith, (CLD ’01) Assistant Director
B.A., Franklin College | M.Ed. Indiana University
Yuri is an Indianapolis native who is very passionate and proud of his roots. He is a CLD Alumnus who has served in the field of education for over a decade. His previous experience consists of being a classroom teacher, dean, instructional coach and serving as an assistant principal. In 2014, Yuri was a nominee for CLD’s 35th Annual Minority Achievers Awards and Scholarship Gala. He is a firm believer in education and CLD’s mission.

Stacy Southward, Program Assistant
Stacy is responsible for assisting in coordination of CLD programs SAT Prep and Success Prep. Through her targeted work at the Center for Leadership Development, Stacy plans to make an everlasting difference on the youth of Indianapolis.

John C. Turner(CLD ’98) 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.

Aidan Washer, Science Tutor
B.S., Biology, Marian University, Indianapolis, IN

Vernice Williams, Administrative Assistant
With decades of managerial and Non-profit business experience, Vernice assists CLD on the administrative side of CPI. Vernice was awarded the national volunteer award, and held office of vice-president, program director, and treasurer while serving on the board of Indiana Black Expo for 26 years. Vernice is a mother of 6 children, a grandmother and great grandmother.

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.

Cory D. Graham, Sr.Alumni Relations Coordinator
BS, Indiana State University | MA, University of Indianapolis
Cory coordinates the alumni engagement plan with an emphasis on increasing alumni volunteerism and participation in programming.  With over 11,000 alumni of CLD’s self-discovery program, Cory is charged with elevating the CLD’s community impact through coordinating alumni support.  Cory has a continued interest and passion for supporting the success of our community’s youth, with over 10 years of experience serving the Indianapolis community through education. Email Cory to connect with the CLD Alumni Association and Task Force!

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

Dre Belton, Program Assistant
BS, Indiana State University
Dre serves as the Recruitment Assistant alongside the Programs team Born and raised in Indianapolis and the oldest of three children, Dre attended Broad Ripple high school, where he graduated with a degree in Communications. Dre has always been active in his church and has a profound passion for mentoring minority youth.

Demetrius Blue, Program Assistant
BS, Georgia Southern University
Demetrius brings high energy and a willingess to hit the ground running in an effort to ensure that today’s generation has the tools necessary to rise to a higher level of excellence. His areas of interest include agile leadership development with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Demetrius works in support of CLD’s Self-Discovery/Career Exploration Project, Project MR. and Role Model/Career Advisor programs alongside Joshua Webb.

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.

Joseph Fields, Administrative Assistant
BA, University of Indianapolis
Joseph provides administrative support to the programs team through data entry and integrity. Joseph’s passion for youth development started in college where he served as a mentor to incoming college freshman. Through his work at Center for Leadership Development, he hopes to build a bridge toward a common goal of helping one another and enriching the community in which he resides.

Angellica JonesPart-time Receptionist

Rachelle Jordan, Part-time Receptionist

Emmanuel Olofinkua, Database Coordinator
BS, IUPUI School of Informatics
With over four years of data management, analysis and reporting experience, Emmanuel brings seasoned IT wisdom and innovation to his role of Database Coordinator. Emmanuel has been featured in Indiana Business Journal (IBJ) and awarded for commitment to excellence and disrupting the status quo through innovation.

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.

Shirley Smith, Part-time Receptionist

Angelica Watts, (CLD ’13), Program Coordinator
BA, Ball State University 
Angelica serves as a  Program Coordinator at CLD. With over four years of program management experience, she leads exceptional programs for youth. Angelica is passionate about helping African-American youth grow and find their life’s purpose. She is responsible for the coordination and implementation of three programs that she oversees for students in grades 4 through 12. The programs Angelica coordinates are the Jr. Self-Discovery/ Career Exploration Project, Imani Book Club, and Precious Miss program. 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 Gabrielle 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.

Jeffrey Johnson
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.