Honoree ~ Valeisha
Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the Global Head of Women and Black Community Engagement for Google and the Co-founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN). In 2018, Valeisha landed two deals and was named Global Ambassador for TUMI travel and Eileen Fisher, reaching audiences across the globe to further bolster the successful brands.
An award-winning activist, author and executive, Valeisha formerly served as the National Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration, as the Executive Director of Rush Communications and as the National Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association. Valeisha’s career started at HBO Sports and has spanned for two decades with proven community impact at the intersections of technology, politics, and entertainment.
Valeisha has been recognized by Forbes Magazine, Elle Magazine’s Top 10 Women to Watch, Essence Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, Harper's Bazaar, Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 (2x), TheRoot100 (2x), Glamour Magazine and others. Valeisha is a loving wife, mom, host of the podcast Off the Record with Valeisha and author of the highly-acclaimed book The Girlprint, a career mentorship guide for young women. Valeisha is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, a North Carolina native and now calls California home.
NBA champion, businessman and sports analyst ~ Dahntay Jones, a Trenton, New Jersey native, graduated from Duke University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Policy. He was a standout talent in basketball at Duke University, averaging 18 points per game his senior season leading the team in scoring.
Originally drafted by the Boston Celtics in 2004 as the 20th overall pick, Jones is one of the most respected players in the National Basketball League. Jones just completed his tenth season in the NBA and most recently played for the Atlanta Hawks. The 6’6″, 215lb, guard/forward has received numerous accolades including being named Honorable Mention All-American by AP in 2003, voted to All-ACC Defensive Team 2002/2003 and All-ACC 1st Team in 2003. In 2001, Jones won the Gold Medal at the World Championship for Young Men with the U.S. Team, earned All-Tournament honors in the ECAC Holiday Festival in 2000 and was named to the Big East All-Rookie Team in 1999.
Jones has proven to be a force on and off the court. He is the founder of the Dahntay Jones Foundation and provides underserved youth an opportunity to play competitive after-school sports. Jones also actively volunteers his time in each NBA city to inner-city programs targeting minorities, women and youth.
Lucille O'Neal is an American doctor, author, spokesperson, socialite and is the mother of former NBA center Shaquille O'Neal.
O'Neal graduated from Bethune-Cookman University with a bachelor's degree in science, and is the president and founder of the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players Association. After attaining her master's degree in organizational management at the University of Phoenix, she is the mother of four children.
O’Neal was born into a Christian home in Dublin, Georgia. She spent her childhood, adolescent years and early adulthood in the Central Ward of Newark, New Jersey. She has four children: former NBA center Shaquille nicknamed Shaq, Lateefah, Jamal, Ayesha and fourteen grandchildren: notably Taahirah, Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir, and Me'ara.
After 30 years of raising her children, O'Neal resumed her studies in an Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (June 2003). Most recently she completed her graduate program (Master of Arts in Organizational Management) at the University of Phoenix (March 2005).
As a newly appointed Board Member of Orlando’s Ovarian Cancer Alliance and a new member of MD Anderson’s Council of Governors, it is evident that her commitment and devotion to others is conveyed through her extraordinary volunteer efforts (past and present) and her involvement with numerous charitable organizations. Lucille’s dedication to diverse causes underscores her heart for humanity. She has made countless contributions to various charities and continues to be an inspiration to many people, young and old.
O'Neal’s gratitude to God for His mercy, grace and abundant blessing on the lives of her family has motivated her passion to help others that are less fortunate. Her sincerity is evidenced by her involvement in numerous youth oriented and community projects. Lucille’s straightforward attitude and ability to adapt to any situation has equipped her with a tireless ability to serve. Whether chairing fundraising events like “Shaq’s Mama Said Knock You Out!” (an annual premier event featuring a variety of celebrity hosts, including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott, to benefit The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund; named in memory of her Mother) or rolling up her sleeves to assist other organizations at the grass roots level, Lucille gives her all for the cause.