Meet the Keynote Speakers
Sharon Weston Broome
City of Baton Rouge
Sharon Weston Broome is a firm believer in achieving progress through inclusion, innovation and
information. Since taking office, Mayor Broome has placed a heavy focus on improving the quality of life for citizens while building resiliency through infrastructure improvements. She has focused on
addressing transportation, drainage, public safety, education, economic development and revitalizing
neighborhoods. Mayor Broome is the first female Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. She previously served as a Baton Rouge Metro City Council Member, a Louisiana State
Representative and a Louisiana State Senator.
United States District Judge in the Southern District of Texas (Retired)
In 1994 when Judge Vanessa Diane Gilmore was sworn in, she was then the youngest sitting federal judge in the nation. She grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. Gilmore decided to undertake a career in law after she represented herself and won a minor civil lawsuit. She graduated from the University of Houston Law Center in 1981. Gilmore has served on the boards of Hampton University, the River Oaks Baptist School and the First Tee of Houston. She currently serves on the boards of the DePelchin Children’s Center and Texas Children’s Hospital.
President & CEO
McKissack & McKissack
Deryl is president and chief executive officer of McKissack & McKissack, managing over $15 billion in projects nationwide. During the past 30 years under her leadership, McKissack & McKissack has managed such landmark projects as the new Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall, MGM National Harbor Casino, Navy Pier Centennial Projects in Chicago and served as the architectural firm of record for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC. As a licensed professional engineer and registered project management professional, Deryl is part of the fifth generation of her family to work in the design and construction field. McKissack & McKissack is a continuation of the nation’s oldest African-American architectural firm.
Featured Artist In Residence
Queen Cora Coleman
Author, Producer, & International Drummer
Queen Cora Coleman is an author, producer, business owner, scholar and international drummer who proudly hails from Houston, Texas (USA). Queen Cora graduated valedictorian of Kashmere High School (Houston, Texas) and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Howard University, where she is a Distinguished Alumnus. Her 20-year music career reads like a Who’s Who having performed in 40 countries, before hundreds of thousands of attendees and millions of viewers. In addition to her 5-year tenure with Prince and 3-year tenure as drummer and band leader with Beyoncé, she is the only drummer to play in 2 of the Billboard’s Top 5 Super Bowl Half Time Shows with both artists.
Meet the Moderators & Panelists