Meet the SBAN Executive Committee
Timothy P. Harrison '87
Tim Harrison is a senior policy advisor in the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP) where he provides leadership, oversight, and support on a range of programs, policies, and activities in response to the U.S. domestic HIV epidemic and related issues. He has worked to develop and implement new strategies to increase the access of racial and ethnic minority communities, including sexual minorities within, to HIV prevention, care, and treatment services; to address HIV-related health disparities; and to improve health outcomes by enhancing targeting and priority setting. Prior to joining OHAIDP, Tim worked as a policy analyst in the areas of low-income housing, welfare, and workforce development, and was an adjunct professor of government at Georgetown University. During his years at Swarthmore, Tim participated in the Gospel Choir, track and field, a production of The Wiz, the a cappella group Sophisticated Gents, and was a member of SASS. Tim holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University and a B.A. in political science from Swarthmore. Tim happily resides in the District of Columbia.
Nicole O'Dell Odim is a multimedia journalist with a strong focus on humanitarian and impact journalism. For nearly twenty years her work has spanned local, national, and international platforms and can be seen in outstanding programming such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning documentary “Bad Medicine.” She began her work in local news and has served in numerous roles including as a reporter and associate producer. Freelance clients have included Rachael Ray, the CBC, and the BBC. She has recently been traveling the country interviewing hundreds of people in an effort to create an accurate litmus test of America’s progress in race relations. Nicole is formerly a member of the advisory board of the Junior League of Brooklyn and continues her work on the board of Brooklyn’s Dodge YMCA, which she joined more than 15 years ago. She has also dedicated time serving Swarthmore in numerous capacities, including as a member of the Alumni Council, the Board of Managers, the Executive Committee of the Swarthmore Black Alumni Network, and Swarthmore’s Council of Presidential Initiatives. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Swarthmore College with a concentration in economics, an M.S. in Biology from New York University, and an M.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She and her husband, Onuoha Odim '85, have three daughters Rebecca, Chinyere '17, and Wrenn '20.
Robin Bennefield '91
Associate event coordinator
Robin Bennefield is Editorial Director of Global Content Marketing at Marriott International, leading editorial storytelling and content strategy across Marriott Bonvoy brands. She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Marriott’s online magazine telling good travel stories that inspire exploration of the world’s greatest destinations. Bennefield comes to this role with 25 years of experience as a journalist and digital media producer, encompassing work as a reporter for U.S. News & World Report, travel writer and expert for TravelChannel.com, as well as executive producer and editorial director of several Discovery web sites, including Discovery.com, TLC.com and AnimalPlanet.com. Bennefield is a graduate of Swarthmore College (Class of 1991), where she majored in English Literature with a concentration in Black Studies and started her journalism career on the staff of the Phoenix. She earned her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Harold Buchanan '69
Harold Buchanan is an accomplished semi-professional photographer from Burlington County, NJ, who specializes in nature and travel photography and photo editing. He has been photographing for over 40 years and has photographed throughout the United States and internationally. Harold is a retired information systems professional with over 30 years of experience in server management, project management, desktop configuration, and troubleshooting, as well as application development and database design, serving the paper manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. Harold earned a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from Swarthmore and a Master of Education from Temple University. He was one of the first students to complete a concentration in Black studies at Swarthmore. He worked briefly as an academic advisor at Temple University before entering the information systems field. He began his career as a programmer and later gained expertise in many aspects of the industry, including systems analysis, database design, software development, project management, management of local area network servers, and network security.
Marissa Colston '00
Marissa Colston has been working in education for 20 years. She is currently the Dean of Diversity and Inclusion at Westtown School and works with faculty, staff, students and families. Marissa has lead and created workshops on diversity, equity and inclusion topics to help build better understanding and empathy among members of a community. She has presented at conferences including the National Association of Independent Schools annual People of Color Conference, Pennsylvania Association of Independent School Conference, the Friends Council on Education and Friends Association of Higher Education conference. She is also a trained Courage and Renewal Facilitator and leads Circles of Trust which help participants slow down to hear their inner voices and help reunite their souls with their vocations. She brings a passion for social justice to her work and seeks to ignite the spark for change in us all.
Charles "Kip" Davis '75
Kip has worked in various capacities in the market research industry in New York City for over 30 years. He currently works for Ipsos, a publicly-held firm based in Paris. In his current position, as Director of Insights for the Audience Measurement Group, Kip is the primary author for insight and thought leadership pieces on the affluent market in general, and affluent African Americans in particular.
Among Kip’s ventures outside of market research, he was a co-creator of the opera “X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X” which had its premiere in 1986 at New York City Opera, and has spent many years in leadership roles for neighborhood, educational, and youth sports organizations including block associations, the Hunter College Campus Schools, the Manhattan Soccer Club and the Harlem Little League. Kip is currently the board chair for Replications, an educational non-profit serving under-served middle and high school students in the New York City public schools.
His Swarthmore efforts include being a founding member of SBAN, a former member of the Alumni Council and its executive committee, a class of ’75 reunion chair and a recurring participant in the Lifelong Learning courses in both New York and Boston. During the 2016-17 academic year, Kip returned to the college to complete his Senior Thesis in Sociology and Anthropology and graduated along with the class of 2017. In the Spring of 2020, Kip was given the Joseph B. Shane Award recipient for his service to the College.
Hernease Davis '04
Arts and culture coordinator
Hernease Davis (’04) is a photo-based artist and educator. She uses photograms, cyanotypes, sound, performance and craft to emphasize notions of self care. The solo exhibition of her ongoing series, A Womb of My Own (Mistakes Were Made in Development) opened at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. Her work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. including the Houston Center for Photography, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, the International Center of Photography and Transformer Station. Her work has also been profiled in Lens Culture, Front Runner and Musée magazines. Hernease is on faculty at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY (SUNY Brockport) and has served as a Visiting Lecturer at ICP-Bard College where she lead a course exploring empathy through art practice. She also has worked with the Joan Mitchell Foundation as a mentor/advisor to young emerging artists. Hernease earned her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore and her M.F.A. from ICP-Bard College.
Chelsea Hicks '14
Finance and development coordinator
Chelsea Hicks is a project manager and consultant at Fairmount Ventures, a social impact consulting firm serving the non-profit sector in Philadelphia. She advises non-profits through strategic planning, program design, and board development processes grounded in the principles of equity. Originally from Harleysville, PA, Chelsea previously worked at Swarthmore College, where she served as the special assistant for presidential initiatives to President Valerie Smith. She began her career at Swarthmore in the Investment Office supporting the $2.0 billion endowment fund. Chelsea serves on the Steering Committee of the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle and serves on the DEI Committee for Impact100 Philadelphia. Chelsea was a McCabe Scholar and majored in Economics and minored in Philosophy.
Marilyn Holifield '69
Marilyn Holifield is a partner in Holland & Knight LLP, an international law firm that traces its Florida history to the 1890s. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in economics and a concentration in Black studies from Swarthmore and her Juris Doctorate from Harvard University. Marilyn was born in Tallahassee, Fla. where she was one of three black students to desegregate Leon High School. Her legal career began at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York City, where she litigated class action employment and prison reform lawsuits. She was general counsel for Peter Edelman at the New York State Division for Youth and worked as a law clerk for Judge Paul H. Roney of the United States (former) Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. She joined Holland & Knight in 1981 and became a partner in the firm in 1986—the first black woman partner of a major law firm in Florida. Marilyn serves on the Swarthmore Board of Managers, executive committee of Board of Trustees of University of Miami, Board of Governors of University of Miami Hospital, advisory committee to Harvard Memorial Church, Board of Directors of the Harvard Club of Miami, and the Federal Judicial Nominating Commission for the Southern District of Florida. She has served on the directors committee of Holland & Knight, executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Alumni Association, Chair and Co-chair of the HAA Global Month of Service, and two terms as chairperson of the ABA Conference of Minority Partners in Majority/Corporate Law Firms. She is consistently listed as a top lawyer in The Best Lawyers in America, Florida Trend's Legal Elite, and Super Lawyers, and has received numerous professional and civic awards. While growing up, outreach by Florida A&M University supported her involvement in the arts (music, visual arts, dance, and children’s theater). Her continuing involvement includes her collection of artwork from the African Diaspora, which expresses vibrancy, reflects beauty, provokes controversy, or inspires tranquility.
Charles Horton '96
Charles Horton is a talented businessman who has been successful as a corporate executive in Fortune 100 companies, as an entrepreneur who has built companies whose clientele included many Fortune 500 companies, and with an overall broad business background that pulls from his experience in consulting, consumer packaged goods (CPG), financial services, real estate, telecommunications, business development, operations, procurement, marketing, and retail. Charles grew up in Syracuse, N.Y. where after high school he started his undergraduate education at West Point (United States Military Academy) on a Congressional appointment. After receiving an honorable discharge, Charles completed his undergraduate career at Swarthmore with a degree in economics. Through his collegiate career, Charles was also an accomplished football and lacrosse player where he received numerous team and conference awards. After working at an entrepreneurial venture that consulted with medical groups across the country and provided diagnostic imaging equipment to physician offices, Charles attended Wake Forest University and graduated with an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship and marketing. In addition to his business success, Charles is committed to the community. He currently is or has volunteered and/or served on numerous boards, including the Charlotte City Club, Urban League of Central Carolinas, United Way of Central Carolinas—Mooresville/Lake Norman, Piedmont Wind Symphony, Samaritan Ministries, 100 Black Men of Charlotte, and Wake Forest University’s Alumni Council. Charles has also been recognized for his business prowess as he has received the CIAA Man of the Year Award and was selected as part of Charlotte Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40.
Jaky Joseph '06
Jaky Joseph is vice president in public finance investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he has worked since 2010. Previously, he worked at Public Financial Management, Inc. in the Quantitative Strategies Group, where he advised on complex bond transactions and built proprietary financial models. A double major in economics and mathematics while at the College, Jaky received an M.S. in quantitative finance from Rutgers University in 2010. He was a member of Alumni Council from 2010–15, serving as co-chair of the student working group from 2013–15. He is currently on the board and steering committee for the Richard Rubin Scholars Program.
Cindy Kynard '89
Outreach and membership coordinator
Cindy Kynard is a marketing leader who’s mission is to connect audiences with businesses through brands, cultural events, and education, for raised awareness and social impact.
As a strategist she advises how to best build brand voice across digital, social, event and retail media, to drive revenue. For consumer ( e.g., L’Oreal, Mars Chocolate) and non profit (e.g., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Youth INC) brands alike, Cindy leads teams via audience, stakeholder and sales trends analysis to create the best solution or plan.
Being a NYC native and 1st generation college graduate she knows the value of cultural pride, community and education for it’s been integral to her own success. And as a Black woman she’s especially endeared to helping people of color and women achieve their best. Hence her work as an adjunct professor and mentor.
Cindy received her M.S. from Northwestern University, B.A.from Swarthmore College and resides in NYC with her family.
Two mantras she lives by:
- "The way to achieve your own success is to be willing to help somebody else get it first." - Iyanla Vanzant
- "America is grappling with cultural diversity, and I just want to put a show on that represents the world in which I live." - David Alan Grier
Sabrina Martinez '92
Sabrina Martinez serves as Workforce Analytics and Reporting Manager for Memorial Hermann Health System. Prior to this position, Martinez held a myriad of Human Resources roles in functions such as benefits, recruiting, talent management, employee engagement and strategic workforce planning. Rounding out her professional interests, she is the co-author of three books, a coach and workshop facilitator and a travel agent.
An exceptionally dedicated volunteer, she serves as a board member for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Houston and Swarthmore College. She also serves in various volunteer capacities for The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Theater Under the Stars, The Alley Theatre, Sight into Sound, The League of Women Voters and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. She received the Presidential Service Award every year since 2014 for the hours that she spends volunteering.
Martinez is a Lifetime Member of the National Black MBA Association. Additionally, she is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management and the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources.
She earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Swarthmore College and an MBA with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Steve McFarland '15
Social justice and community coordinator
Steve McFarland currently serves as the Pardons & Commutations Director for the chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons Lt. Governor John Fetterman. Steve oversees all outreach and assists Pennsylvanians in navigating the Commonwealth’s clemency process. Recently, he served on PA Governor Tom Wolf’s Covid-19 Health Disparity task force. At Swarthmore, Steve was a Gates Millennium Scholar and majored in Political Science and Educational Studies. On-campus, Steve served as a Co-President of SASS. After college, Steve taught English at an all-boys school in West Philadelphia while getting his master’s in education at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Steve served on current Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s Millennial Advisory Council where he advised on millennial issues around reentry in the city. He also worked on Governor Tom Wolf’s 2018 reelection campaign and on his subsequent Inaugural Committee. Steve resides in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Dilcia Mercedes '15
Media & Communications coordinator / newsletter editor
Dilcia Mercedes (they/them) is a data journalist at Big Local News. Their work combines the worlds of investigative journalism, data wrangling and computer science to produce data-driven stories with potential for replicability. At Swarthmore, Dilcia majored in Sociology & Anthropology. As part of SBAN's executive committee, they will serve as Media and Communications Coordinator and our News Editor.
Chinyere Odim '17
Young alumni advisor
Chinyere (she/hers) is a doctoral student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education; her research is focused on the experiences of Black girls in independent schools, with an emphasis on the ways in which they develop a sense of racial identity in spaces with few role models who look like them. Chinyere obtained a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and education and a minor in Chinese from Swarthmore and, on campus, she served as a Resident Assistant, Co-President of Swarthmore African-American Student Society, and interviewed Swarthmore applicants as a Senior Admissions Fellow. After graduating in 2017, Chinyere served as an English teacher, soccer/track & field coach, and dorm parent at Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts while working toward a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania. Chinyere also serves on the Board of Trustees at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, N.Y. and co-chairs the Black Graduate Student Association at UC Berkeley. While Chinyere considers Brooklyn her true home, she currently resides in Oakland, Calif..
Tracey Patillo '90
Tracey Patillo serves as Global Director of Finance and Accounting/Deputy Chief Financial Officer with World Resources Institute (WRI) where she oversees Finance, Accounting, Grants & Contracts, Cost & Pricing, Financial Systems and Special Projects. She served as co-chair of Swarthmore Black Alumni Network from 2006 to 2020. Since graduation, she has had extensive involvement with Swarthmore serving on the Board of Managers for four years, extern workplace host, Admissions Office interview volunteer, and class reunion planning chair. Tracey is also a certified personal trainer and Jazzercise instructor for more than 20 years. Tracey graduated with honors in economics from Swarthmore. She also received her Masters of Public Policy from the University of Michigan.
Taylor Tucker '20
young alumni advisor
Taylor is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in the Urban Teaching Apprenticeship Program and partnered as a School District of Philadelphia Teaching Resident. In May she will graduate with a M.S.E.d and a secondary teaching certification in English, and will afterwards begin a three-year tenure as a teacher with the School District of Philadelphia. Her master’s capstone focuses on the impact of better aligning her teaching practices to her students’ life goals. Taylor graduated from Swarthmore in May 2020 with high honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Black studies and education. Her undergraduate honors thesis research focused on the educational experiences and racial and gender identity formation of Black women with incarcerated family members. While at Swarthmore, she served on the executive board of SASS (Swarthmore Afro-American Student Society) as Secretary and Co-President, a Writing Associate, a SAM (Student Academic Mentor), and a founding member/core leader of STAR (Students for Transformative Justice, Abolition, and Reform). Alongside serving the Black alumni community at Swarthmore, Taylor also serves as a founding member/core leader of the Black Alumni Collective at her high school alma mater Archmere Academy in Claymont, DE. She grew up in both Wilmington, DE and Delco (Delaware County, PA), and now happily resides in Philadelphia, PA.