The Z Summit provides a unique career exploration experience for our next generation of leaders. Through innovative career immersion workshops, inspirational keynote speakers, and exciting speed networking sessions, high school students from traditionally underserved communities are offered two priceless gifts: Exposure + Perspective
Inspire high school students to explore nonconventional career options that demand creative talents and energy
Connect the students with professionals who are excited about sharing the lessons learned on their personal journeys to success.
Give the students practical experience in navigating through a professional environment with confidence and grace.
This year's theme:
Check back soon for all the latest news on the 2018 summit.
Ulysses W. Burley III is founder of UBtheCURE LLC, a proprietary consulting company on the intersection of Faith, Health, and Human Rights. A native of Houston, Texas, Ulysses studied biology and Spanish at Morehouse College and medicine and public health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM) where he went on to train in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Ulysses then served as Program Director for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Strategy on HIV/AIDS, as well as Director of HIV/AIDS Programs at Heights Pharmacy.
Although his primary training is in medicine and public health, Ulysses is dedicated to a vocation of social justice advocacy through faith and community based initiatives. His primary work has been in the area of HIV and AIDS awareness, advocacy and capacity building, but also includes mass incarceration, LGBTQIA+, gender and racial justice, food security, and peace in the Middle East. He has been a guest at both the White House and United Nations for consultations on the intersections of faith and HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health rights, racial justice, and global drug reform.
Ulysses formerly served as a member of the United States Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) appointed by the Obama Administration, and made international headlines when he and 5 other members of PACHA resigned under the Trump Administration. Ulysses has also been recognized by the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) as a top 40 under 40 Minority Health Leader for his work in faith and HIV in communities of color, and has since been named to the NMQF Advisory Board.
Jovanne Grace’s vision for Z Summit is fueled by her passion for empowering young adults and connecting communities. She has a heart for service and leadership development. A former financial services executive, Jovanne now heads Seeds & Sprouts Culture Cultivators (seedsandsproutsllc.com) – a Chicago based consultancy that specializes in business transformation & change management, program & project management, and individual & team coaching solutions.
Jovanne received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where she primarily studied Managerial & Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University, where she studied Finance and Business Administration. Jovanne is a certified Prosci Change Practitioner, a Six Sigma Greenbelt, and a trained Foursight Facilitator.
Dreana Johnson (3 Snapz), (Author, Poet, DJ and Inspirationalist) is a brand of inspiration. Receiving her calling at a young age, Johnson always knew her purpose was to put positive energy into the world when she discovered the power of faith, determination, and commitment of overcoming obstacles and accomplishing goals. Johnson knew that those characteristics would take her far in her journey of changing the world, one person at a time. Born and raised in Chicago, Johnson is motivated to not only use her crafts to survive, but to also use what she has learned to become more than what she has witnessed. The brand of Dreana Johnson aims to inspire and motivate individuals to live life and chase dreams no matter the circumstances.
Dreana Johnson is the founder of Black Women Rock! at the University of Missouri, 2011 BET We Inspire Winner, Published Author, and well known DJ.
(Head of Diversity & Inclusion)
The Success Junkie
Illinois State Representative, 33rd District
(Co-founder + CEO)
Our community partners work tirelessly to invest in the hearts and minds of the next generation of leaders. It is our pleasure to come alongside them to support their incredible work.
Our generous sponsors allow us to create a phenomenal experience for participants in the Z Summit. We’re tremendously grateful that you chose to connect with our vision.
Carlton Gordon, Jr. is a Chicago-based Organizational Effectiveness Manager at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the largest customer-owned health insurance company in the United States. Carlton is a graduate of Morehouse College and holds an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Carlton is also President of the Chicago Area Morehouse Alumni Chapter and an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. In Carlton's spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.
Victoria Hefty is an MBA graduate from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with 10+ years of experience working in strategy and healthcare. As an independent consultant, she provides strategic guidance and market research for Fortune 100 companies. Victoria also has a passion for creating practical resources to help mothers navigate pregnancy, parenting, and professional challenges. Victoria is the author The Insider's Guide to Maternity Leave and host of Activate Purpose, a podcast about finding purpose while balancing motherhood and career.
Marquis Parker is a business leader, coach, advisor, and mentor. He has experience in formulating strategies and addressing mission critical issues for companies ranging from government and public sector entities to global private sector organizations. He has acquired a broad set of educational and career experiences grounded in Business Operations, Strategy, Professional Services, and Technology.
Currently, Marquis serves as Vice President of Business Services and Strategy for Management Recruiters International, Inc., one of the largest executive search and recruitment organizations in the world. In his role, he serves as a member of the company’s Leadership Team and is charged with driving a range of enterprise-wide initiatives that promote revenue and margin growth, optimize operational activities, and help the company to achieve its long-term performance goals. Earlier in his career, Marquis worked for McKinsey & Company, the global management consultancy, where he advised both private and public sector clients in several industries, including financial services, public infrastructure, and education.
Throughout his career, he has been recognized both internally and externally for his contributions and accomplishments. In 2014, Marquis was named by Diversity MBA Magazine as one of its 2014 Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leaders based on his professional experiences, educational background, and contributions to the community. Marquis holds an A.B. in Computer Science from Princeton University, an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, an M.A. in Education from the Stanford University School of Education, and a M.S. in Management of Information Technology from the University of Virginia.
Amiel B. Harper is the Founder & Principal of The Morpheus Consultancy, LLC. Morpheus focuses on strategy, branding, and business development for its clients. Amiel founded Morpheus Consultancy after years of growing brands on a global scale for some of the world’s largest and most favorite consumer brands including Gillette for Procter & Gamble, 5Gum for Mars-Wrigley, and Tyson Foods. He subsequently decided to refocus his talent and efforts on his own backyard and his clients now span the globe across a wide range of industries including professional services, manufacturing, agriculture, politics, technology, non-profit, and education.
He has been identified as a “Game Changer” and Top 40 Under 40 Business Leader by Ariel Investments and WVON Radio, as Entrepreneur of the Year for Business Services by the Chicago Urban League, a Fellow of the 2018 IMPACT program with University of Chicago’s Executive Education program, and as an Emerging Leader by the Business Leadership Council. He earned his B.S. in Finance from Bradley University, his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, and his M.B.A. from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. However, Amiel feels that his best work to date is being a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Tiffany, and a proud father to their son Ariel.