Founder & CEO/Board Chair: Maria I. Melendez
Maria has served as the master trainer and instructor of personal development programs and workshops for young women over the last seven years serving hundreds of students. Through her entrepreneurial endeavor of Embrace Her Legacy, she has also given dozens of talks to high-school and collegiate level students. She has been coined “the OG Mentor” and is a social entrepreneur, motivational speaker & spiritual teacher, author of Take the Limits Off Your Legacy, producer, and women’s leadership advocate– she has embraced her mission of empowering others to live a life that embraces a limitless legacy.
After leaving her high-profile career in the music business to pursue her purpose of empowering others to live life in purpose, give birth to their dreams and define their legacy, Maria (who has been deemed by clients and peers as your personal “Goals Girlfriend”) has proven that she is the essence of living a purpose and legacy driven life in order to inspire others to follow suit. Featured in the ESSENCE magazine, Latina.com, Heartandsoul.com and recipient of several notable accolades, she is an influential leader whose faith, zealous drive, experience, framework, story and impact are key to the leadership development in women and girls around the world. Her contemporary style of transparency, authenticity, wit, humor and positivity are key to in her message of transformation. She received her Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Hofstra University and her Executive Master’s of Public Administration at New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Vice President: Sean Hutchinson
Prior to joining iCrossing in 2019, Sean spent one year at a construction project management firm where he worked with BMW, Ted Baker and LEGO. This experience helped Sean build a deeper understanding of full project lifecycles as well as gain a deep understanding of managing multi-million dollar accounts. Sean also spent two years working as a Marketing Project Manager in the E-commerce space managing multiple product launches per year. Sean received his B.A. in Marketing from Hofstra University and is PMP certified. A native of Jamaica, Sean enjoys traveling and exploring all the activities that NYC has to offer.
Secretary: Stephanie Bennaugh
Stephanie Bennaugh brings more than ten years of expertise in marketing and communications. She has a deep understanding of what it takes to craft content that engages broad audiences and evokes discussion. Stephanie currently leads membership engagement for the Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) program, which imparts principles and tools to stimulate changes in clinical practice to achieve patient-centered nursing care for older adults in healthcare facilities. Stephanie is completing her Master’s in Public Administration at NYU Wagner. Upon graduation she hopes to pursue a doctorate in Organizational Behavior focused on power and race, and their impact on interpersonal workplace relationships. The combination of her enthusiasm and passion for education and equity is the perfect catalyst for success as an Embrace Her Legacy board member.
Board Member: DeAnn Thompson
DeAnn Thompson is a Family Nurse Practitioner and also the CEO of Happy Face Design, LLC. For over a decade, DeAnn has provided healthcare services to underserved areas within the New York City Mental Awareness programs and has spearheaded multiple teaching initiatives to further educate the public about Mental Health. As a passionate educator and leader, DeAnn also trains new nursing graduates to become prepared to sit for state-wide certification exams. Happy Face Design LLC, a company that provides design services throughout the Retail, Commercial and Residential platforms was created as an homage to her late father. The company gave her the opportunity to expand her creativity and communicate her ideas through her innate vision for changing spaces. DeAnn’s background allows her to work in both areas in which she and her clients can share unforgettable experiences.
As a firm believer in the Power of Change, she recognizes that change is inevitable and both beneficial to our newer generations. As she embarks on some new ideas, DeAnn still keeps a close relationship with her community to encourage change. She is a part of Brooklyn’s Generation X African American Entrepreneurs. She is dedicated to her family and her work. She has no intentions of slowing down the pace of her talent. DeAnn enjoys the fruits of her labor and can often be found traveling, exercising, socializing and hosting super game nights. Tune in for her next major project coming to a community near you.
Angela Love – Board Member
Founder of the Daymark Group, Angela Love has decades of experience in Fortune 500 corporation management, consulting, and coaching. As a trusted advisor, leadership development expert, and executive coach to leaders and boards, Angela works with clients to maximize effectiveness in areas such as leadership, change management, communication, and high-performance team development.
During her previous career at AT&T and then Marquette Medical/GE, Angela gained intensive experience in the areas of operations, team-based management, global business account management, marketing, and information technology systems. Her global management experience provides her with in-depth knowledge of diverse industry business operations with an understanding of key organizational and leadership development principles.
Junior Board Member/College Ambassador
Biana Speed is a soon-to-be graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing a bachelor’s in Communications with an emphasis on rhetorical studies and human behavior. Throughout her career as a student, she’s always looked for opportunities to enrich her leadership experience to better serve the women and youth in her hometown of Chicago. Embrace Her Legacy, was the perfect place for her to strengthen her passion for service and deepen her understanding of the positive social impact community programing has on young women . During her free time, she enjoys DIY projects and having round-table discussions with her book club.
Interested in joining our board of directors or other volunteer opportunities? Learn more here.