Determined to
Educate, Inc. |
2015 Awards

November 5, 2015 - 6:00pm-9:30pm


Determined to Educate, Inc. is honored to welcome our 2015 Honorees and present them with awards in our humblest gratitude. Prepare for an extraordinary and very inspirational evening.

Pauletta Pearson Washington

Actress, Singer

Over the years, Pauletta Washington has worked with some of theater's biggest names such as Jules Styne, Jerry Herman, Phyllis Newman, Betty Comden and Adolf Green, Carol Hall, Tommy Tune, and Leslie Gore to name a few. She was part of the original cast of “Jerry's Girls,” and was later asked to join the touring cast. When the show went to Broadway, Pauletta was pregnant with her first child and had to turn down the Broadway opportunity, leaving the role to Leslie Uggams.

Pauletta’s stage credits also include roles in the second Broadway Production of "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Sophisticated Ladies," “Shakespeare's Cabaret", "The All Nite Strut," and understudy to Lynn Thigpen in "Tintypes." She has created many roles at several of the major Off-Broadway houses, has appeared in Debbie Allen's "Soul Possessed" at the Kennedy Center, co-starred with Bebe Winans in Otis Sallid's "Spirituals,” and was featured with Natalie Cole in the recent production of “A Christmas Show” at Lincoln Center. Pauletta also shared the stage with Amy Grant, Michael McDonald, Sheila E and many others in the Production of "Something" at Carnegie Hall and in 2010 worked with the legendary Chaka Khan and the late, great Teena Marie in "Diva's Simply Singing."

Pauletta’s on-screen credits include "The Wilma Rudolf Story," starring Cecily Tyson and Denzel Washington, and "Purlie" starring Melba Moore, Sherman Hemsley, and Robert Guillaume. Pauletta was a series regular on the TV sitcom "The Parkers," starring Monique, and appeared in "Beloved,” starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. She was a featured vocalist on the soundtrack of "Philadelphia," starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington and a featured pianist in the soundtrack of "The Antwone Fisher Story." Pauletta has created and performed her “One Woman Show” for both domestic and international audiences. After a hiatus from the stage to raise her four children, Pauletta has reemerged to continue her acting career, most recently performing in the Off-Broadway production of Nora and Delia Ephron’s, "Love Loss and What I Wore."

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels

Iconic Hip Hop Artist, 1/3 of RUN DMC/JMJ

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels changed music and made history when he broke down cultural barriers 25 years ago with his legendary band Run-DMC. 30 million record sales later he continues to inspire & impact the world...

Darryl “DMC” McDaniels is a legendary music icon who first impacted the world over 25 years ago. From the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone to the first to appear on MTV, Grammy nominated Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language and made American history. It would be hard to overstate his influence on popular culture.

30 million record sales later, and more than ten years after the untimely death of his bandmate Jam Master Jay, DMC still continues to create, inspire and motivate. In 2009, as a member of Run-DMC, he was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.

But the music for DMC continues to inspire! He recently released two singles, “Attention Please” featuring Pauley Perrette and “Noise Revolution” featuring Static X in advance of a new album to be released in 2015. When he’s not in the studio he’s on the road with his rock band performing around the globe.

He just launched a comic book company called Darryl Makes Comics, a new journey that helps bridge the gap between the worlds of hip-hop and the fantastic adventures he got wrapped up in as a youth. darryl-dmc-mcdaniels-reinvents-himself-as-a-comic-book-mogul-superhero/ The full length graphic novel just hit stores in October 2014!

He is the co-author of the critically acclaimed autobiography entitled, King of Rock; Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC (St. Martins) and the award winning solo album Checks, Thugs & Rock and Roll.

That album featured the hit single “Just like Me” with Sarah McLachlan, a song DMC wrote after discovering he was adopted, that spoke to his new revelation and began his journey down another life path, in search of his birth mother. While his search struggle was captured in the 2007 Emmy Winning VH1 documentary DMC: My Adoption Journey, the process gave DMC tremendous insight and purpose, prompting him to become an advocate for adoption and children in foster care.

In between his work as a musician, published author and speaker, DMC co- founded the Felix Organization- a nonprofit that works with adoptees and foster children. McDaniels has been invited to the White House by President Obama to address various youth groups on responsibility during a Father’s Day celebration and has appeared before Congress and various State legislatures in support of adoptees and foster children.

He has received various awards including the Hard Rock’s Love All Serve All Award for his numerous philanthropic endeavors, Doing Art Together (DAT) Honoree for his contributions to helping under-served communities in NYC in the classroom and life, and has received the coveted CHILDREN’S RIGHTS Champion Award for his tireless work on behalf of foster children through his FELIX ORGANIZATION/ Adoptees for Children, as well as his work providing other year-round opportunities for children in foster care. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The Garden of Dreams Foundation , a non-profit charity that works closely with all areas of The Madison Square Garden Company, including the Knicks, Rangers, Liberty, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, to make dreams come true for children facing obstacles.

In between his graphic novel adventures, his philanthropic work, and performing/recording with his band, DMC has recently been featured on various other artists’ projects including new music by Grand Rapid’s Pop Evil and Mexico’s Molotov to name a few.

He is currently working with Chuck D on an upcoming release for Chuck’s new album and has been in the studio working with Tim Armstrong (Rancid, Tim Timebomb & Friends) on new material for his upcoming album.

Shannon LaNier

Co-Host of Arise 360 on Arise TV

A veteran television host, media personality, and author, Shannon LaNier has been keeping audiences tuned in his entire life.

Shannon currently co-hosts “Arise Entertainment 360,” a daily culture and entertainment series that airs on BET's sister station, Centric, and cable providers globally. “Arise 360” is part of Arise News, a network seen in over 175 million homes in more than 50 countries throughout the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Africa. LaNier can also be seen as a correspondent on Black Enterprise Magazine’s nationally-syndicated shows: “Black Enterprise Business Report” & “Our World With Black Enterprise.”

As a teenager in Cincinnati, Shannon got his first television job on “Real Exchange,” an Emmy Award winning talk show focusing on issues important to young people. After graduating from Kent State University, he made his New York City debut as a segment producer for the CBS2 Morning Show. But he didn’t waste any time getting in front of the camera. His next job saw him take on the One-Man-Band role of journalist, writer, director, editor, videographer, and producer of News 12 Networks. Soon thereafter, he took a similarly comprehensive role at Fios1 News.

Shannon is also a writer, having co-authored the Random House Inc. book Jefferson’s Children: The Story of One American Family along with photojournalist Jane Feldman. The book follows his journey to uncover the history behind his heritage as a 9th generation direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings. Jefferson's Children received a Best Books Award by the American Library Association.

Additionally, Shannon has inspired audiences across the globe with captivating speaking engagements that touch on everything from his presidential lineage to his career in media. Most recently, he participated in the White House's National Entrepreneurship Tour, bringing his signature brand of motivational humor to packed live audiences around the country.

Gifted with undeniable charisma and an energy that electrifies the stage, Shannon truly comes alive in the spotlight. Whether he’s hosting a TV show, speaking to a packed auditorium, or emceeing an event—this is one Renaissance man who can’t help but draw a crowd. A former executive at CBS said it best: “Once Shannon’s “on,” the audience is glued. He’s born to be a star.”

Despite his full schedule, Shannon remains an active member of his church, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., and the National Association of Black Journalists. He currently lives in NYC with his wife/college sweetheart Chandra and their two daughters.

Eugene Kelly

VP, Diversity and Inclusion, Colgate/Palmolive

Eugene Kelly is Vice President, Global Diversity & Inclusion for Colgate-Palmolive, a $17.3 billion consumer products company serving people in more than 200 countries and territories. In this role, Eugene’s focus is on furthering Colgate’s efforts to attract and retain the best people from a diverse and broad base of global talent. In addition, Eugene leads the Corporation’s focus on Global Diversity while actively supporting its commitment to its’ Managing with Respect principles and ensuring that Colgate provides a most inclusive work environment for all people.

Eugene joined Colgate in 2001 as Human Resources Director, Global Finance & Legal. There, he provided HR leadership in the areas of succession planning, competencies/career tracks, staff development, performance management strategies and organizational change management. He was later named Human Resources Director, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals, where Eugene led all Human Resources initiatives for business with particular emphasis on people development. Prior to Colgate, Eugene spent four years with AOL/Time Warner where he served as Associate Director, Human Resources for Money, Mutual Funds, and Fortune Small Business Magazines During his career, Eugene has also held Human Resources leadership positions with PepsiCo, Wendy’s International and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Eugene currently serves on the Global Diversity & Inclusion Councils for the Asia Society and the Conference Board and has been recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the Top Executives in Diversity for the last two years. He has also received the World Diversity Leadership Summit’s (WDLS) Global Diversity Leadership Award.

Eugene is a graduate of Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations.

Talana Bradley

Principal , Young Women's Leadership Academy

Shawn Bradley

Dean of The Lorge School

Shawn Bradley. Shawn Bradley committed himself to students with special needs upon earning his BA from Lehman College in 1996. In 1997, he found a home at The Lorge School, a non-public school for children with severe emotional and learning disabilities located in New York City. There, he worked as a Crisis Interventionist and Assistant Dean for 8 years. In 2005, he was promoted to Dean of Students and continues to lead the team of crisis intervention staff in assuring that the physical and emotional needs of all children are met so they may focus on learning and reaching their goals. He is the “fixer”, providing essential external assistance to the teaching staff, social workers, the administrative team, students, and parents when the challenges of the work become overwhelming. Shawn is often referred to by staff, students and colleagues as the glue that holds the school together. He has the patience of a saint and has a natural gift for being both firm and gentle. Over the past 18 years, Shawn has serviced over 1,000 students and their parents. He is seen as a father to many. He is a Brooklyn native and still resides there with his wife of 15 years, Talana Bradley, and their two blessed sons who have him for a dad.

Talana Bradley.  Talana Bradley began her education career as a social studies teacher and department chairperson in Nassau County after obtaining her BA at Long Island University Post and her MA at CUNY Brooklyn College. In 2004, she joined the New York City Leadership Academy and spent a year as a principal resident at The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem. After completing her residency she was chosen as the principal of Bronx Expeditionary Learning High School, an innovative learning model rooted in authentic experiences and project- based learning. In 2008, Talana became the founding principal of The Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS) of Brooklyn, which has thrived under her creative and entrepreneurial leadership. The school graduated its first class this past June with a 100% graduation rate. Talana is also a member of the Board of Directors for the European Association for Single Sex Education (EASSE). Education ‘runs in the family’ as her mother is also a retired New York City principal. She and her husband, Shawn Bradley, are currently building a family business and raising their two wonderful sons in Brooklyn, New York.