Executive Committee

Marc Battle, Chair
Marc is the Region Vice President at Pepco Holdings Company, where he manages public policy and stakeholder relations with D.C. government officials, community leaders, and business, consumer and nonprofit organizations. A 1999 graduate of the University of the District of Columbia, and 2002 graduate of the Howard University School of Law, Marc practiced law initially in the federal and local government, serving as Senior Counsel and Communications Director to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, and later as Counsel to the Committee on Government Operations for the Council of the District of Columbia. Marc is admitted to practice law in D.C., Maryland and New York. He serves as a board member of the Greater Washington Urban League, Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School and After School All-Stars DC as well as Chairs the Board of Step Afrika! Marc is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and is a life member of the University of the District of Columbia Alumni Association.

 

Brady Birdsong, Vice Chair
Brady is a Senior Consultant at Berry Dunn – Assurance, Tax and Consulting. Previously, Brady worked as the Chief Information Officer for the District of Columbia’s Department of Behavioral Health from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, he worked for more than 15 years with DC’s Child and Family Services Agency, serving in several roles within the IT department. Brady has a BA in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma and a MS in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

 

Ran Borgersen, Treasurer
Ran is the Senior Director, Head of Multifamily Marketing for Freddie Mac. He is an accomplished business leader with expertise in marketing for large, complex B2B enterprises. With complementary experience in information technology and strategy consulting, Ran specializes in transforming marketing organizations by selectively applying the latest methods, technologies and insightful analytics to create value—and driving cultural change to sharpen brand. Prior to joining Freddie Mac in 2003, he worked for Accenture, Fannie Mae and CGI. Ran graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic University with a BS in Computer and Systems Engineering and a Master of Engineering. He also holds an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School.

 

Angela Wiggins, Secretary
Angela currently works as a Consultant and Client Relationship Manager, providing contract-based strategic communications, marketing and fundraising services. She has extensive experience in corporate affairs and grant portfolio management. From 1998 to 2017, Angela held various corporate affairs and communications positions at Marriott International (Senior Director of Corporate Communications), Kraft Foods (Associate Director, Corporate Affairs), The Kraft Heinz Company (Senior Manager, Community Development) and Hasbro Children’s Foundation (Senior Program Officer). She has also worked as a Development Director for The Children’s Health Fund and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Angela serves on the Boards of Step Afrika!, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the National Child Development Institute. She received a BS in Business Management from Hampton University and a MA in Association Management from George Washington University.

 

C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Director
Brian is a graduate of Howard University and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Chapter. After living in Africa, he began to research stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized American art form and founded Step Afrika! in 1994. Williams has performed, lectured and taught in Europe, South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and throughout the United States. He is a founder of the historic Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Under Brian’s leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s newest cultural exports and inspired the designation of Step Afrika! as Washington, DC’s official Cultural Ambassador. Brian has been cited as a “Civic/Community Visionary” by NV Magazine and “Nation Builder” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. He is featured in Soulstepping, the first book to document the history of stepping, and several documentaries discussing the art form. Brian is also a recipient of numerous awards including the Mayor’s Art Award for Innovation in the Arts and the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance.

 

Board of Directors

Lamont Akins
Lamont was appointed to the Executive Office of the Mayor by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in 2015. He currently serves as the Director of the D.C. Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, where he manages and provides guidance for the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs to implement the Mayor’s Fresh Start vision for constituent engagement and outreach in all eight Wards across the District of Columbia. Prior to joining the Bowser Administration, Lamont served as the Director of Constituent Services/Community Outreach for D.C. At-Large Council Member Anita Bonds. Prior to working with D.C. government, Lamont worked in Housing and Community Development for AARP, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority and the Dallas Housing Authority. Lamont served two terms as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC 4D01 and previously served as Director of Conventions for the Eastern Region of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a MS in Community Development from Delta State University.

 

Kimberly Bassett
Kimberly was appointed to serve as the Acting Secretary of the District of Columbia by Mayor Muriel Bowser in December 2018. In this role, she is the custodian of the Seal of the District of Columbia and manages the City’s ceremonial services; government document publishing and issuances; notary commissions and authentications; international and diplomatic activities; and public records and archive maintenance. She previously served as Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives. She is also the former Executive Director of The Wireless Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate of CTIA-The Wireless Association, and Director of External Affairs for Verizon Washington, D.C. Kimberly has extensive experience in community engagement, government relations, employee advocacy and management. Kimberly holds a BA from North Carolina Central University and MA from North Carolina A&T State University.

 

Ann Belkov
Ann is the retired Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Museum. She had a 25-year career with the National Park Service that also included her positions as Superintendent of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana and Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Park and Russell Cave National Monument in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. A D.C. native, she also worked for the D.C. Department of Recreation for nine years. Ann took a civilian assignment with the U.S. Air Force in the Far East during the Vietnam conflict. She is the recipient of the Freedom Foundation Award and the Department of Interior Superior Performance Award. She retired in 1996 and has since been active in the D.C. arts and nonprofit scene, as an active board member of both Step Afrika! and the Atlas Performing Arts Center. Ann also serves on the Board of the U.S. Park Police Foundation.

 

Dyonicia “Dy” Brown
Dy is a Nonprofit Executive and Connector, who received an MSA in Organizational Development from Trinity University and BBA in Marketing from Howard University. Her background is embedded in a commitment to civic engagement, philanthropy, celebrating the arts and encouraging purposeful travel. She currently serves on Krewe of Pyros, Coalition for the Homeless, Step Afrika! and Walker’s Legacy Board of Directors and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi. Dy originally hails from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and continues to keep strong ties with that community.

 

Beverly Burke
Beverly is an experienced Board Member with a demonstrated history of working in the performing arts industry. As a Board Member, she brings a depth of experience in nonprofit organizations, public speaking, trials, civil litigation and corporate governance. She is a currently on the Boards of Step Afrika! and the University of the District of Columbia. From 1992 to 2011, Beverly worked for Washington Gas in various roles including Vice President and General Counsel. Before joining Washington Gas, she was a Division Head in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia for 10 years. She received a BA in American Civilization from Brown University and a JD from the George Washington School of Law.

 

Jacqueline Francis
Jacqueline is a pediatrician and medical officer in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Device Evaluation in the Division of Surgical, Orthopedic and Restorative Devices (DSORD) in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Branch. She provides pediatric device consultation to other surgical branches in DSORD and is on detail in the Office of the Center Director serving as the Acting Chief Pediatric Medical Officer. Previously, Jacqueline worked as a clinical consultant in the microbiology branch of the Office of In-Vitro Diagnostic Devices. She graduated from Cornell University and received her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine. She performed her internship, residency and fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology at Georgetown University. She completed her training at Johns Hopkins University, where she received her Master of Public Health for a Preventive Medicine residency.

 

John W. Hill
John is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of J Hill Group, a professional services practice that helps clients improve their management operations. Prior to starting his consulting practice, from 2004 to 2012, John served as CEO of Federal City Council, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the Nation’s Capital. He serves as a Trustee of Chesapeake Lodging Trust, a publicly traded REIT. Previously, John served as a member of the audit committees of various public companies, including Highland Hospitality Inc., and various private entities, including Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He also serves as President on the DC Public Library Board of Trustees, as Treasurer on the Shakespeare Theatre Company Board of Trustees, and as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Minority AIDS Council. John received a BS in Accounting from the University of Maryland, passed the CPA exam and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1977.

 

Patricia Howell
Patricia is actively involved in the D.C. arts and nonprofit arena. She currently serves on the Boards of Step Afrika!, CityDance and Washington Performing Arts. She and her husband, Lloyd Howell, have supported programs and events at St. Albans School, Sitar Arts Center, N Street Village, among others.

 

Jeffery D. Kennerly
Jeffery is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management in Tysons Corner. For more than a decade, Jeffery has held leadership roles in advising business clients, managing various aspects of their operations as well as providing risk management consultation on behalf of industry leading corporations. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Jeffery was a Director with Management Resources at Robert Half International. He holds a BS in Accounting and MBA from the University of New Haven.

 

Kymber Lovett-Menkiti
Kymber is the Regional Director for the Maryland/D.C. region for Keller Williams Realty International and President of Sales for The Menkiti Group. Kymber directs growth for 19 Market Center offices and is the first African American woman to hold as high a position in the company. Washingtonian Magazine named Kymber a Top Real Estate Agent multiple years. In 2015, she was recognized by Washington SmartCEO as a 2015 Brava award winner for distinguished achievement as a member of Greater Washington’s top women business leaders. Kymber is a charter member and Board Chair of the CPMG Foundation, which supports housing, education and entrepreneurship needs in the D.C. area. Kymber is also a founding member of the Board for DC WISE, (Women in Solidarity for Empowerment). Kymber holds two Master’s degrees in Social Work, and Law and Social Policy from Bryn Mawr College. 

 

Allen Orr
Allen is an immigration attorney and the founder of Orr Immigration Law Firm PC, a minority-owned law firm based in D.C., focusing on U.S. corporate compliance as well as global corporate representation and assistance on immigration issues. He previously assisted in building one of the leading global immigration practices at a large global law firm, where he developed an international network of immigration practitioners, government officials and business leaders. The recipient of the 2009 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyer Award for contributions made in the immigration law field from AILA, Allen is listed in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers. He has served as the Immigration Section Chair for the National Bar Association and as an elected member of the AILA Board of Governors. He is a Senior Editor of the Immigration and Nationality Law Handbook and an Associate Editor of AILA’s Global Immigration Guide: A Country-by-Country Survey, April 2005. Allen received a BA in Philosophy from Morehouse College and a JD from Howard University’s School of Law. He is an active member of the D.C., Virginia and National Bar Associations.

 

Troy Patterson
Troy is a real estate agent with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. He came to Washington in 1987, when he was stationed in the U.S. Coast Guard. He graduated from the University of North Carolina and American University, which led to extensive work fundraising in the nonprofit sector. He raised funds for Studio Theatre, Georgetown University, The National Building Museum and The National Association of Home Builders. Troy continues this work through his support of such organizations as The Victory Fund, The Human Rights Campaign, Step Afrika!, The Young Playwrights Theatre and the United Methodist Church. His diverse career in non-profit fundraising and management led to a love of real estate, which he has been successfully practicing for the last 14 years.

 

Conrad Woody
Conrad is a Partner and Head of Odgers Berndtson’s U.S. Corporate and Government Affairs Practice in Washington. His portfolio of search work includes advising clients on government affairs, corporate communications/public affairs, economic development, trade association CEO and leadership roles. Prior to joining Odgers Berndtson, he was a Principal at Korn Ferry and a key member of the firm’s Government Affairs Practice. Before this, he was with Goldman Sachs, where he was a member of the campus and diversity recruiting teams. He began his career as a staffer on Capitol Hill. Conrad has a degree in political science from Howard University.

Administrative Staff

C. Brian Williams

C. Brian Williams

Founder and Executive Director

Brian is a native of Houston, Texas, and graduate of Howard University. He first learned to step as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. – Beta Chapter, in the Spring of 1989. While living in Southern Africa, he began to research the percussive dance tradition of stepping, exploring the many sides of this exciting, yet under-recognized American art form and founded Step Afrika! in 1994. Williams has performed, lectured and taught in Europe, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and throughout the United States. He is the founder of the monumental Step Afrika! International Cultural Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Through Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s newest cultural exports and inspired the designation of Step Afrika! as Washington, D.C.’s official “Cultural Ambassador.” Williams has been cited as a “civic/community visionary” by NV Magazine, a “nation builder” by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and a “minority business leader” by the Washington Business Journal. He is the recipient of numerous Artist Fellowships; the Distinguished Arts Award from the Coalition for African-Americans in the Performing Arts; the Pola Nirenska Award for Contemporary Achievement in Dance. He is also featured in Soulstepping, the first book to document the history of stepping. He also earned the 2008 Mayor’s Art Award for Innovation in the Arts and has led the company to multiple Metro DC Dance Awards for “Outstanding New Work”, “Excellence in Stage Design/Multimedia” and “Outstanding Group Performance.” In 2018, Williams received the Mayor’s Arts Award for Visionary Leadership from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

Lamar Lovelace

Lamar Lovelace

Deputy Executive Director

As Deputy Executive Director for Step Afrika!, Lamar Lovelace is responsible for external and internal management of the organization’s board relationships, communications and marketing strategy, fundraising and financial operations. Previously, he was the Director of Public Programs and Events for Columbia University’s Office of University Life, producing large-scale, humanities-based programming opportunities to engage students, faculty, and staff. Prior to that, Lamar created arts-based social justice programs and exhibitions at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and managed community-based partnerships and special events for Columbia University’s Office of Government and Community Affairs. He holds Master’s degrees in Arts Management and Oral History from Carnegie Mellon and Columbia, respectively, and a BA in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Connie L. Perez

Connie L. Perez

Director of Institutional Relations and Research

Connie L. Perez is Step Afrika!’s Director of Institutional Relations. In this role, Connie secures grant funding from foundations and government agencies, conducts prospect research, and manages the Company’s database. Connie has more than 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector, writing grants and securing funding for a variety of missions from the arts to human services to the environment. Before joining Step Afrika! in December 2018, she wrote grants for two major Washington, D.C.-area cultural institutions, Shakespeare Theatre Company (2007-2013) and Folger Shakespeare Library (2013-2017). She holds a BA in Journalism and Psychology from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Connie is a member of the Grants Professionals Association.

Alorie Clark

Alorie Clark

Senior Manager, Arts Education & Community Programs

Alorie Clark is Step Afrika!’s Senior Manager, Arts Education & Community Programs. She joined Step Afrika! in November 2014. Alorie manages all local programs and performances for Pre-K through 12th grade students. Focusing on expanding Step Afrika!’s arts education initiatives, she also develops new programs and continues to evaluate and improve existing efforts. Alorie earned a Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts Administration from Howard University, and a Master’s in Arts Management from American University. A native of Philadelphia, Alorie has lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for 15 years.

Ashon T. Mask

Ashon T. Mask

Creative Communications Associate

Ashon T. Mask is a native of Lansing, Michigan, and a graduate of Howard University, where he earned a BFA in Theatre Arts Administration. He joined Step Afrika! in March 2019 as the Creative Communications Associate. In this role, he manages the social media, website, e-communications, and print marketing. Prior to joining the Step Afrika! team, Ashon held positions in accounting at Dance/USA and the International Association of Blacks in Dance.

Kristen L. Taylor has more than a decade of performing arts management experience that includes international tours, and performances at The Kennedy Center and The White House. As Step Afrika!’s Company Manager, Kristen coordinates logistics with national and international presenting organizations, manages artists’ travel, and supports the Company with other special events. She is a member of the Washington Performing Arts Junior Board and the Washington DC Gospel Music Heritage Committee. She is a Howard University alumna with a Bachelor’s degree in History.

Step Afrika!
c/o Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street, NE
Washington, DC  20002

Phone: 202-399-7993 ext. 111
Fax: 202-399-6761
Email: info@stepafrika.org