A. Shuanise Washington
Ms. A. Shuanise Washington is the president and chief executive officer of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF).
Ms. Washington oversees CBCF’s public policy, research, educational and fund raising initiatives, most notably the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), a four-day, policy gathering in Washington, D.C., that draws prominent figures from across politics, business, entertainment, academia and other sectors each September.
Ms. Washington has deep ties to CBCF. For more than 15 years, she has played a variety of important roles, serving on the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Corporate Advisory Council and as a corporate funder. She was the board’s chairwoman from March 2012 – February 2013 and its vice chairwoman from 2010 – 2012.
Prior to her appointment as president of CBCF, Ms. Washington led Washington Solutions, LLC, a firm she founded in 2008 after a long and successful career working at the highest levels of corporate America. The firm provided strategic counsel to businesses of all sizes, governments and non-profit organizations, filling a critical range of needs for them, including political outreach, coalition building and grassroots advocacy.
Ms. Washington’s most recent corporate position was as Vice President, Government Affairs Policy & Outreach for Altria Corporate Services. In that role, she oversaw offices in Washington, D.C. and New York as the liaison between Altria’s government affairs teams and key constituencies, including public policy advocates, lawmakers, business leaders and groups representing diverse communities around the country.
Ms. Washington also led the efforts to enhance the company’s profile in a number of areas. Through the company’s Stakeholder Management Systems, for example, Ms. Washington employed traditional grassroots approaches, as well as internet and database technologies, to gain support from various stakeholder groups in both political and nonpolitical campaigns. She also managed Altria Group, Inc.’s political action committee and directed strategic external relationships with business groups, trade associations, public policy groups, and legislative and regulatory organizations that represented key stakeholders and constituencies for Altria Group, Inc.
Prior to that, Ms. Washington served as Vice President, External Affairs for Altria Corporate Services where she was responsible for managing community relations programs and activities throughout the United States.
Ms. Washington previously served as Director, Washington Relations for Philip Morris Management Corp. In this capacity, Ms. Washington was responsible for outreach to legislative caucuses in Congress on issues related to food, tobacco and beer. Before that, she held the position of District Director, State Government Affairs for Philip Morris Management Corp. In this role, she directed the planning and strategy development of State Government Affairs programs and activities in 21 states. Ms. Washington joined Philip Morris USA in 1987.
Prior to joining Philip Morris USA., Ms. Washington worked at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina, where she worked as Box Office Assistant and worked her way up to Assistant Director. Ms. Washington also worked for the Lieutenant Governor’s office in Columbia as the Assistant Director for the South Carolina Program Assistance Line.
Ms. Washington has long had a deep belief in philanthropy and civic engagement. In addition to numerous charitable efforts she undertakes, Ms. Washington also serves as a commissioner on the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, is the immediate past chair of the board for the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. and is a member of The Future PAC, Community Foundation Prince George’s County and The Links, Incorporated. She has received numerous awards and has been featured in various national and local publications.
Ms. Washington holds a Bachelor of Science in Humanities and Social Sciences from the University of South Carolina, and a Cognate in Mathematics.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Ms. Washington and her husband, Donald, currently reside in Mitchellville, Maryland.
Tasha L. Cole
Tasha Cole is the vice president of resource development of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF).
Ms. Cole has more than 10 years of experience in fundraising development, targeting and attracting new donors and expanding donor commitment. She has managed cultivation events from the planning to implementation stage, as well as identified key stakeholders, strategic planning methods, and new sponsorship opportunities. Her work and exposure to national politics has translated into a valued network of activists, coalition groups, corporate executives, community leaders, newsmakers, and elected officials at every level of government.
Ms. Cole transitioned her communications background into a career in politics and fundraising as constituency outreach director with the state Democratic Party in Florida where she worked on a number of statewide and presidential campaigns and three national Democratic conventions, including the director of political affairs for the 2008 Democratic Convention. Most recently, she worked as the chief of staff to U.S. Rep Frederica Wilson. Prior to joining Rep. Wilson’s staff, Ms. Cole served as communications director and later senior advisor for Rep. Kendrick Meek. Ms. Cole comes with a broad knowledge of congressional and third-party organizations and operations, having served most recently as a consultant in the areas of Congressional Affairs and resource development to a number of organizations including the CBCF and the MLK Jr. Memorial Foundation.
Ms. Cole is an Emmy award winning television journalist with a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism from Florida A&M University. She is the recipient of honors including the Grand Prize in Florida Bar Media Awards and the Women in Communications Rising Star Award. Currently Ms. Cole serves on the board of directors for Running Start, a national organization whose mission and vision is to engage young women in politics. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc and a member in the C/Maryland/Virginia FAMU Alumni Association.
Marjorie A. Innocent, Ph.D.
Dr. Marjorie Innocent is the vice president of programs of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF). She leads the strategic development, implementation and evaluation of CBCF's initiatives in the areas of health, education, economic development and leadership education.
Dr. Innocent has several years of experience in evaluation and research related to public health and education, as well as examining policy and practice issues in the delivery of health and social services to low-income youth. Dr. Innocent has served as an evaluation specialist with the Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland; a research associate for the Center for Applied Research and Technical Assistance, Inc.; director of the Maryland School-Based Health Center Initiative and health policy research coordinator for the Maryland Governor’s Office for Children, Youth, and Families.
Dr. Innocent holds a doctorate in Health Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and French Literature from Columbia University. She currently serves on the Health Equity Leadership Commission of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, the planning committee for the Annual National Conference on Health Disparities led by the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Board.
The daughter of Haitian immigrants, Dr. Innocent is fluent in French and Haitian Creole.
Samuel Rodriguez is the senior director of finance and administration of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF).
Mr. Rodriguez provides the leadership to ensure the timely and accurate reporting of the finances to internal staff, the Budget and Investment Committee and the board of the CBCF.
Prior to joining the CBCF in May 2003, Mr. Rodriguez served as Controller of Ancillary services of Adventist Healthcare for 15 years.
Mr. Rodriguez has more than 27 years experience in the financial sector in both the profit and nonprofit arenas. He is experienced in bond financing and re-financing for capital projects. He also has experience in growing companies from zero to over 100 million in sales. Mr. Rodriguez has been involved in numerous regular, State, City, Medicare and Medicaid audits with the same results, unqualified opinions.
A native of New York City, Mr. Rodriguez has been involved in several church boards and finance committees. He also served on the board of SEEC, a Maryland non-profit whose mission is to serve the needs of the physically disabled by training them to be productive in the community by job placement and housing placement.
Mr. Rodriguez holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Atlantic Union College and a Master of Business Administration from Mount Saint Mary’s College located in Emmittsburg, MD. He also is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Maryland.
Krisa Haggins, MBA, CMP, CEM
Krisa Haggins is the vice president of external affairs of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). Ms. Haggins has served as Director of Meetings and Events for CBCF for seven years. She is the lead planner for the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), host to nearly 10,000 attendees from across the country and around the world.
Prior to joining CBCF, Ms. Haggins was the Associate Director of Exposition at the American College of Cardiology, and the Associate Director of Meetings for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) where she was the lead planner for the organization’s largest and most high profile conferences and events.
Prior to joining the events and exposition industry, Ms. Haggins worked as an Emmy award winning television producer for Maryland Public Television.
She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola University of Maryland’s Executive MBA program and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM). She is an adjunct professor at Howard University teaching convention management and event marketing.