ROI Influencers: People of Color 2020 (Difference Makers, H to K)

John Harmon is No. 1 on our list this year; see our writeup here.

Ryan Haygood, George Helmy, Jonathan Holloway and Jeh Johnson also appeared in our Top 25 rankings. View them here.

Bernel Hall
Invest Newark

Hall wasted little time making his mark in Newark, changing the name of the economic development corporation — while helping to build a procurement portal that will help connect small business in Newark to big opportunities.

Zenola Harper
Vice president, litigation, labor and employment
Horizon BCBSNJ

Harper has multi-industry experience in business counseling, litigation strategies and management, and cost management — and just as much experience giving back, serving with organizations including NJ LEEP, a college readiness program for Newark area high school students. 

Shané Harris
VP of inclusive solutions, head of social responsibility and partnerships, and president of the Prudential Financial Foundation
Prudential Financial

Harris oversees the distribution of over $62 million in grants and charitable contributions, as well as managing Prudential’s skills-based volunteering and multicultural partnership programs.

Natasha Hemmings
Girls Scouts Heart of New Jersey

Hemmings is the first African American women in the council’s history to lead the organization. A longtime advocate of girl empowerment and leadership, she has served for a total of over 20 years between two Girl Scout councils in the state.

Marcus Hicks
Department of Corrections

Hicks heads the Department of Corrections, which disproportionately houses people of color. He was involved in all discussions concerning the safety of inmates during COVID-19, including the release of some to help battle fear of an outbreak.

Rosemari Hicks
RHC Consulting

Hicks is a board member at the NJEDA. And a good one. She is a constant thorn in the side of the leaders — in a good way — advocating for microbusinesses and minority-owned businesses while making sure no one forgets about South Jersey, either.

Janus Holder
EJE Duty Free 

He turned a family retail business into a million-dollar venture at Newark Liberty International Airport, where he owns and operates the duty-free shops. That business has slowed, but his desire to mentor and provide scholarships for underserved communities has not.

Jamel Holley
Assemblyman (D-Union)
State of New Jersey

Holley was part of the group of legislators who successfully pushed to make Juneteenth a state holiday in New Jersey. Holley is like that — always pushing for what he feels is fair and equitable. He can face pushback, but he never backs down.

Jason Holt

Holt’s high-profile career includes previous stops as corporation counsel to the city of East Orange, where he oversaw the broad spectrum of the city’s legal affairs — as well as serving in a variety of municipal and Legislative staff positions.

Ali Houshmand
Rowan University

Houshmand has long established himself as a top thought leader in higher education — someone who runs Rowan like a business. Those attributes have been tested during this pandemic. Houshmand, however, has continued to lead by example, even finding a way to cut tuition.

Jessica Jadue
Estimating executive
Gilbane Building Co.

It’s not just her technical skills that have helped alter the building landscape across the state. Jadue is the embodiment of Gilbane’s core values, as evidenced by her engagement in the company’s Employee Resource Groups as well as volunteer causes.

Robert Johnson
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Johnson, a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, serves as the dean of the state’s oldest medical school, where he also is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine.

Robert Johnson
Partner and chief diversity officer
Gibbons P.C.

Johnson is a corporate attorney focusing on mergers and acquisitions, and a former assistant counsel to Gov. Chris Christie from 2010-12. He also heads up the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Leroy Jones
Principal founder
1868 public affairs

Jones is the principal founder of 1868 Public Affairs, a top lobbying firm in the state. He also is one of the strongest Democratic county chairmen in the state and expected to be the next state Democratic chair.

Sarah Jones
Director of government affairs
Horizon BCBSNJ

Jones commands respect at both the state and federal level for her political acumen and ambition. Jones has worked for U.S. Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) and is a valuable asset to the state’s largest insurer, handling all issues in Trenton. 

Jean Jordan
Vice president of oncology services
Holy Name Medical Center

During the past 25 years, Jordan has held senior leadership positions in clinical care, operations, finance, education, strategic planning, business development and faculty/physician recruitment at several of the most prestigious health care institutions in the world.

Donita Judge
Associate executive director
Center for Constitutional Rights

Judge, a New Jersey resident and Rutgers Law grad, has held numerous state and national positions involving social justice. She was co-counsel in multiple national voting rights cases, including the 2016 landmark North Carolina voter suppression case.

Andy Kim
U.S. Representative (D)
3rd Congressional District

Kim, a Korean American, is a first-term congressman representing the 3rd District, but, as the first Asian American congressman from the state, he represents one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in New Jersey. (But he is facing a tough reelection fight).

Kris Kolluri
CEO and president
Cooper’s Ferry Partnership Inc.

Kolluri is an expert in economic development, infrastructure management and operations with experience running multibillion-dollar public transportation/economic development agencies. He previously has served in leadership roles throughout the region.

David Kountz
Co-chief academic officer and VP, academic diversity
Hackensack Meridian Health School of Medicine

Kountz coordinates education programs and research across the network and with the leadership team from the school. He also was part of the Remdesivir advisory group to the state regarding its allocation from the federal government.

Maurice Kuykendoll
Vice president, transformation finance lead
Prudential Financial

Prudential’s transformation  is a key focus for Kuykendoll, who serves as the finance lead for Prudential’s transformation office. For the past three years, he also has served as the national co-director for Prudential’s Black Leadership Forum business resource group.

To view the entire list, click here.