The Black IDEA Summit
Keynote: Margaret O'Mara
Margaret O’Mara is the Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor of History at the University of Washington and a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times. She writes and teaches about the growth of the high-tech economy, the history of U.S. politics, and the connections between the two.
O’Mara is the author of Cities of Knowledge (Princeton, 2005), Pivotal Tuesdays (Penn Press, 2015), and The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (Penguin Press, 2019). She is a coauthor, with David Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen, of forthcoming editions of a widely used United States history college textbook, The American Pageant (Cengage). In addition to her opinion pieces in The New York Times, her writing also has appeared in The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Foreign Policy, the American Prospect, and Pacific Standard.
At the University of Washington, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in U.S. political and economic history, urban and metropolitan history, and the history of technology. She is the Washington co-chair of the Scholars Strategy Network, a co-founder and current faculty affiliate of Urban@UW, and a board member of HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington State history. In addition to her teaching, she speaks regularly to academic, civic, and business audiences.
O’Mara is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and a past fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. She received her MA/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Northwestern University. Prior to her academic career, she worked in the Clinton White House and served as a contributing researcher at the Brookings Institution. She lives outside Seattle with her husband Jeff and their two daughters.
Reverend Matthew Watley
The Reverend Matthew Lawrence Watley is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Kingdom Fellowship AME
Church headquartered in Silver Spring, MD. The church was established out of Reid Temple AME Church,
where he served as Executive Minister for 20 years. Kingdom Fellowship began with more than 5000
members with Rev. Watley preaching three services each weekend. In addition to the thousands that attend
worship in-person, thousands more stream through the church’s app, Facebook live portal, and website
Under Pastor Watley’s leadership, the church completed several business transactions, including the
acquisition and development of a 125,000 square foot office tower where it leases space to the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration and other businesses producing an alternative revenue stream to support the work
of the ministry. The church also owns a 12-acre office park in Calverton, MD, where currently, a state-of-
the-art worship center is being designed and developed to replace its Silver Spring location. The Calverton
site includes an additional office tower that is being redeveloped for ministry, community, and commercial
Additionally, Rev. Watley is Chair of The Black Idea Coalition whose mission is to fulfill the promise of
diversity and inclusion by empowering organizations and institutions to achieve Black parity in
employment, investment, and contracting.
A third-generation preacher, author, businessman, lecturer, and professor, Pastor Watley is nationally and
globally recognized for his extensive work in ministry and his experience in leadership development. He
served on a Special Commission sponsored by the Ford Foundation to evaluate Non-Governmental
Organizations in the Republic of South Africa. Pastor Watley also served on the General Board of the AME
Church and the Board of Trustees of Howard University as a graduate student. Rev. Watley has spoken
for Ch2Mhill, Prudential, Industrial Bank, The American Institute of CPAs, the U.S. Department of
Transportation, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, and the National Society of Black
Engineers to name a few. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. He has
lectured at other institutions of higher learning, including Howard University, Alabama State University,
Wilberforce University, Cornell University, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Wiley College.
Pastor Watley is the author of Ignite, 50 Days of Prayer that Will Change Your Life and co-author of Poems
of a Son, Prayers of a Father with the Rev. Dr. William D. Watley. His writings have also been included
in James Washington’s Conversations with God; Beyond the Frontier by E. Ethelbert Miller and Mr.
President – Interfaith Perspectives on the Historic Presidency of Barack H. Obama by Darryl Sims.
Rev. Watley holds a B.A. in Political Science and a Master of Divinity from Howard University in
Washington, D.C, where he also served as a Graduate Assistant at the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial
Chapel. Rev. Watley earned an Executive Master’s in leadership from the Georgetown University,
McDonough School of Business in 2009. In the summer of 2015, he received a Master of Arts in Education
and Human Development from The George Washington University. Rev. Watley is presently a candidate
for a Doctorate in Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA.
Rev. Watley is married to the former Ms. Shawna Francis, Senior Policy Advisor, in the Government Group
of Holland and Knight. They are the proud parents of the beautiful and talented Miss Alexandra Elizabeth.
The Watleys are committed to the arts with Lady Shawna serving on the Board of Trustees of Arena Stage
and having been a producer of “Colored My Mind,” which won the Independent Film Award at the Cannes
Film Festival. Rev. Watley served as a script consultant for the T.V. One Movie “For the Love of Ruth,”
and together, they were producers of the Tony-nominated Broadway play “StickFly.” In addition to being
lifelong tithers, they are honored to support The National Museum of African American History and Culture
as members of the 2015 Society, The King Memorial, and of course, their beloved alma mater Howard
Along his journey, Rev. Watley has received numerous ecclesiastical, academic, and civic awards.
Concerning these and other accomplishments, he submits that the challenge of servant-leadership is not to
win acclaim or to amass honor, “but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.” Micah
Dr. Karl W. Reid
Dr. Karl W. Reid is the Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and author of “Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life.” Prior to joining NSBE, he was the Senior Vice President of Academic Programs and Strategic Initiatives at UNCF, one of the nation’s largest educational support non-profits in the country, and former Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director of Engineering Outreach Programs at MIT. He enjoys speaking, writing, and advocating for increasing college access and opportunity for underrepresented and underserved students, and about diversity and inclusion. His research has focused on successful African-American male students, high-achieving African American and Chicano high school students, and his interests continue to be in getting more of these students into the sciences, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Shawna Francis Watley
Shawna Watley is a senior policy professional and strategist with more than 16 years of experience in public policy, political, legislative and regulatory counseling, and creative solutions to corporate, nonprofit and governmental issues at the federal level. She has cultivated working relationships on the federal, state and local levels of government. This includes professional relationships with the Obama administration, leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate, moderate Democrats and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Ms. Watley forges and maintains working relationships with key elected political leaders, appointed officials and corporate executives. She has extensive experience representing public and private interests in numerous issues, including financial services, transportation, homeland security, healthcare, energy and education.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Watley was the principal owner of the Francis Group LLC, where she was retained by clients to lead efforts in government relations and develop strategy, programming and implementation for federal policy initiatives. She also previously served as director of congressional affairs for the Democratic Leadership Council and the Public Policy Institute, where she was responsible for the development of strategy, programming and implementation for the Congressional Affairs Department. During her tenure, she designed the “Meet the Freshmen” series, the weekly congressional newsletter, the Global Economy Project and the organization’s Congressional Agenda for the 21st Century, which included several major ideas and reform policies. As the primary point of contact with members of Congress, Ms. Watley has extensive working relationships with moderate Democratic senators and representatives, as well as senior staff. As a former legislative assistant to Sen. Robert Kerrey (D-Neb.), she gained a keen understanding of the workings of Congress.
David Bowers is vice president and Mid-Atlantic market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. His work includes
facilitating affordable housing and community development transactions and policy implementation in collaboration with
public and private sector stakeholders in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. His office provides access
to financing, capacity building and technical assistance to local developers. Enterprise’s Mid-Atlantic office also participates
with local coalitions advocating for increased resources for affordable housing and community development.
Since David joined Enterprise in 2004, the organization has invested more than $750 million in capital to support affordable
housing efforts in the Mid-Atlantic region, preserving or producing more than 10,000 homes. During David’s tenure, the
office has been a co-initiator and co-convener of the Greater Washington Housing Leaders Group, initiated several efforts
including its Faith-Based Development Initiative, a transit-oriented preservation/resident displacement prevention initiative
(GreenPATH) and the D.C. Green Communities Initiative. He currently serves on the board of the Washington Regional
Association of Grantmakers, the Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance and The National Low Income Housing
In 2004, David completed his service as a program manager for a single-family housing program at the AFL-CIO Housing
Investment Trust. Prior to joining the trust, David was a financial and program advisor at the Community Development
Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. In that position, he developed and managed CDFI’s compliance monitoring review system.
Before that, he worked in the office of U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, at the time the ranking member of the Senate VA-
HUD Appropriations Committee. David served as the senator’s senior legislative assistant, responsible for analyzing and providing policy recommendations on legislation pending before various appropriations subcommittees.
David earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his Master of Divinity degree from Howard
University. He is an ordained minister and the founder of the all-volunteer NO MURDERS DC movement, launched in 2000.
From 2013-2015 David served as the mayoral appointee as chairman of the District of Columbia Housing Production Trust
Fund Advisory Board. David is a founding member of the Greater Washington chapter of 100 Black Men and a member of
Leadership Greater Washington (’09). David formerly served on the boards of Thrive DC, City First Enterprises, City First
Homes and Jubilee Housing. He is a former member of the District of Columbia’s Board of Real Property Assessments and
Appeals and the District of Columbia’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.
As executive director of the Gallup Center on Black Voices, Camille leads Gallup’s research initiative devoted to studying and highlighting the experiences of more than 40 million Black Americans. The center tracks and reports the progress on life outcomes regarding topics such as justice, health and wellbeing, economic opportunity, jobs and work, education and community, and environment.
As a senior consultant, Camille provides thought leadership on multi-year evaluation contracts, international research projects, custom-design quantitative and qualitative research studies, and leadership and management consulting projects. Camille’s areas of expertise include criminal justice, community preparedness and resilience, workplace and worker rights issues, and program and policy evaluation.
Before joining Gallup, Camille worked as a research professor at George Mason University. She has co-authored several book chapters on best practices in juvenile justice education. Camille co-authored the article “Procedural Justice, Police Legitimacy, and Helping the Police Fight Crime: Results from a Survey of Jamaican Adolescents,” which was published in the Police Quarterly. Camille is a member of Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research and leads Gallup’s Human Research Protections Program.
Bernard is the Chief Diversity & Engagement Officer at Gusto where he leads the Employee Engagement team which encompasses the diversity, equity and inclusion, employee relations and people integrity/governance/compliance functions. Prior to Gusto, Bernard led diversity efforts at Uber and before that, directed Hillary for America’s HR and D&I efforts, and was the first ever Chief Diversity and HR Officer in U.S. history for any presidential campaign. His insights have appeared in Inc., Forbes, The New York Times, TIME, TechCrunch and USA Today. Bernard holds an M.B.A. from Trinity University, a B.A. in psychology from Hampton University, a Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management certification from Georgetown University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.
For the past nine years, Natalie Robinson has served as Head of Strategic Sourcing
and Supplier Diversity for CBS Corporation, America’s most-watched television network.
Natalie achieved strategic objectives by creating and leading effective strategies on the
value-add of supplier diversity enterprise-wide and educating stakeholders, ensuring
consistent application of policies and processes. Other responsibilities included
providing access, growth, and development opportunities for qualified, diverse suppliers
who meet specific CBS procurement requirements. She has demonstrated an
entrepreneurial mindset by expanding her role to focus solely on sourcing opportunities
for diverse suppliers, resulting in significant spending with diverse-owned businesses.
Natalie has applied her operations expertise by presenting analytics to key leaders
ensuring buy-in and support of organizational strategy and development of optimal
By leading a team of enthusiastic, change agents committed to diversity and inclusion
reporting directly to the Chief Sourcing Officer, Natalie spearheaded efforts to
implement preferred vendor programs, encouraging CBS business units to utilize
established discount rates and promotions across brands, including CBS Corporation,
CBS Sports, CBS News, Showtime Networks, and Simon & Schuster, Inc. She assisted
the CBS Strategic Sourcing Department in key enterprise-wide projects that supported
the annual goals, contributing to enterprise commitments to diversity, inclusion, and
corporate social responsibility.
Before joining CBS in 2011, Natalie began her professional career working for IBM
Business Consulting Services and Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Natalie has over 15 years
of strategic sourcing and supplier diversity experience.
Natalie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Logistics Management from North
Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. In 2007, she obtained her Master
of Science degree in Project Management from the School of Business at The George
Washington University located in Washington, D.C. Natalie served as an active
member of the CBS Corporate Diversity Council alongside senior executives advising
and driving diversity & inclusion strategies across all divisions. She was also a member
of the Institute of Supply Management, Women Business Enterprise National Council,
Women of Color in Communications (ColorComm), National Association of Multi-
Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Chairman of the Advertising, Entertainment,
Media and Sports Industry Group for the National Minority Supplier Development
She currently resides in New York City and is a member of one of the Manhattan
chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.