Recognizing the need, Quienna Broadnax founded Santa Barbara Young Black Professional (SBYBP) in July 2016 with the goal to launch an organization that facilitates advancement, networking, and community service amongst the Black millennials living and working in the Santa Barbara area. With the assistance of other founding members, Nikia Acy and La’Conya Cobb, and the input of countless others, that vision has evolved into a group that not only shares resources and encourages quality social interactions, but empowers its participants to thrive while making a difference in beautiful Santa Barbara. The organization has attracted a diversity of participants, who hail from all over the world and country, work in a wide range of professions, have a variety of interests and hobbies, and don’t prescribe to a singular form of Blackness. We wholeheartedly appreciate, celebrate, and foster the synergy and camaraderie of our participants while working to make a lasting impact in Santa Barbara and beyond.
MEET OUR BOARD:
Get to know our team from Left to Right
Quienna Broadnax, President
Quienna Broadnax, a UCSB alumna, has been working for the County of Santa Barbara in the Assessor’s office since 2014 as a certified Property Tax Appraiser with the State of California. Outside of work, Quienna has been involved with many civic activities, her church and local community organizations. Most notably, she ran a marathon and a couple half marathons as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s local chapter of Team in Training, which raised funds for research and to heighten awareness of life-threatening blood disorders. Quienna has enjoyed living in Santa Barbara since 2008. Her current focus has been finding ways to educate and connect millennials in Santa Barbara as the community grows and becomes more diverse, which led her to start Santa Barbara Young Black Professionals in 2016.
Nikia Acy, Vice President
Nikia Acy, multitalented New York native and SBYBP Vice President relocated to Santa Barbara in August 2014. Previously a professional dancer, Nikia has trained with Alvin Ailey, performed with the Oscar nominated group IMPACT Repertory Theater, and performed in several charity events. Currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Organizational Communication while working in the Hospitality industry, Nikia is the driving force behind the social media and marketing of SBYBP. She is also active in the community by assisting the connection and collaboration of community based organizations and volunteering. Nikia's current focus is creating professional development opportunities for college students preparing to conclude their undergraduate career. She enjoys avid traveling, fitness, and photography in her spare time.
Warren Ritter, Financial Director
Warren B. Ritter is a manager for Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Barbara, California. Warren has been in management and held leadership positions in business and finance since 2011. Prior to Wells Fargo, Warren served as a researcher for the Small Business section of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce where he worked with lawyers, judges, and lobbyists on issues affecting the state of South Carolina. He is a graduate of Wofford College earning a B.S. degree in Psychology in 2012. Warren enjoys playing piano in his free time.
Ogechi Nwaokelemeh, Board Member
Ogechi Nwaokelemeh, Ph.D is a Kinesiologist who has a passion for promoting health in under-served communities. She earned a BS in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin, a MS in Exercise Physiology from Howard University and a PhD in Kinesiology (Physical Activity and Health) from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She recently contributed to a chapter in the textbook titled, ‘Physical Activity in Diverse Populations’ that went to press this year. Dr. Nwaokelemeh’s research interests include obesity prevention and physical activity promotion in children and adult populations alike. She is currently a professor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA.
Jewellisa Bolden, Secretary
Jewellisa Bolden, our Santa Barbara native studied psychology at Howard University. Post schooling she has found her career as a corporate buyer for a large staffing company. She enjoys the part she plays in supporting a company that helps 100,000 Americans find work each year. Keeping busy, she is also a manager at Lane Bryant in Santa Barbara where she enjoys changing her clients lives through fashion. In her fleeting spare time she enjoys lending her skills to the Santa Barbara Young Black Professionals as our webmaster. She enjoys event planning and is always ready to throw a party. She is also a country buff and enjoys getting out to line, two step, and swing dance.
La'Conya Cobb, Secretary and Community Service Director
La'Conya Cobb is a trailblazing young professional who transplanted to Santa Barbara from Georgia in August 2014. La'Conya is a Rehabilitation Counselor and has a passion for individuals with disabilities and veterans. She takes an active interest in the welfare of her community, and dedicated to raising awareness of mental illnesses in the Black community. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. In La’Conya’s spare time she enjoys reading.