Board Members

SECRETARY: Syrena Bodden-Alexander is currently an assistant principal for Chicago Public Schools.  She also served the school district as a school psychologist for approximately 12 years.  Currently, she is pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership at National Louis University.  She presides as the board president for the Gloria J. Taylor Foundation that was recently awarded a multi-million-dollar TRIO grant.  Additionally, Mrs. Alexander served as board secretary for AAA Alternative School for approximately 5 years.  She is passionate about education, the development of young people and the development of her community at large. Mrs. Alexander is a Christian who has served her church family as a Sunday School teacher for over 10 years. She strives to live with her hand open to help others, as the famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King suggests, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing to help others?”


VICE- CHAIR: Christina Smith is an emerging thought leader in the field of organizational impact and leadership development. Consulting with non-profits through her affiliation with the Morton Group, Chris Smith advises agencies on issues ranging from strategic planning and systems design to leadership performance, program evaluation and change management.  She co-founded Affinity Community Services,, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has organized and advocated on behalf of Black lesbians and LGBTQ youth for over two decades. Committed servant leader, Ms. Smith has served as a board member for the Crossroads Fund, a Chicago based foundation for social change and on the Advisory Council for the Office of Lesbian and Gay Health administered by the Chicago Department of Public Health.  A credentialed licensed social worker with an MSW and BA and a PhD in Community Psychology.


TREASURER: Anita Welbon, Ph.D., has worked with not-for-profit organizations her entire adult life, primarily through higher education. In addition to teaching at The School of the Art Institute for 24 years, she has served on the Board of Directors of Insight Arts (a not-for-profit arts organization), directed a $150,000 multicultural grant from the Lily Foundation for Barat College, and is currently President of the Board of Directors for Rocky Ledge Cooperative, Inc., a residential cooperative that has an annual operating budget of over $400,000. Dr. Welbon has been on the Rocky Ledge Board of Directors for thirteen years, serving as President for the last nine years.


CHAIR: Yvonne Welbon is Founder & CEO of the Chicago-based non-profit, Sisters in Cinema and a Senior Creative Consultant at Chicken & Egg Pictures. She is an award- winning independent filmmaker and has produced and distributed over 20 films which have screened on HBO, BET, PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, Sundance Channel, Netflix and iTunes and in more than 100 film festivals around the world. Raised in an Afro-Latin Honduran household on the South side of Chicago, Welbon received a B.A. in History from Vassar College and then spent six years in Taipei, Taiwan, where she learned Mandarin and founded her first business, an arts magazine which she ran for five years that was the first of it’s kind in the nation. Welbon has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and chaired the Journalism and Media Studies Department at Bennett College. She completed an M.F.A. in Film/Video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Ph.D. in Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women.