Alejandra Castillo, Esq.
Co-founder and Managing Director, OPES Global Strategy Group, LLC
Ms. Alejandra Y. Castillo serves as managing director of OPES Global Strategy, a full service consulting firm providing design and strategic economic development efforts focused on building inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystems anchored through Public-Private-Partnerships, social impact investment strategy and technology and innovation industry engagement.
A seasoned professional with over two decades of work experience in the areas of federal policy, law, and management, she has served in two presidential administrations and has been instrumental in the design and execution of key programs and policies. An experienced attorney, working in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, Ms. Castillo is well recognized for her ability to work collaboratively among diverse stakeholders and perspectives, as well as for her keen ability to manage large budgets and important projects under pressing deadlines and complex dynamics.
Ms. Castillo served as the national director of the Minority Business Development Agency and was a key member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Executive Management Team. Appointed by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in 2014, she led the Agency’s strategic efforts to enhance the growth and global competitiveness of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Under her leadership, the Agency expanded its effort to help MBEs grow and succeed through access to capital, contracts, and markets. She is also recognized for developing key policy and programmatic partnerships in support of the Agency’s Inclusive Innovation Initiative designed to build greater access to federal R&D, technology transfer, and commercialization opportunities for MBEs.
A native of New York, Ms. Castillo holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook; a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; and a Juris Doctorate from American University - Washington College of Law.
President, Peachtree Investment Solutions
Pete Davis is the president and managing principal of Peachtree Investment Solutions, LLC, a company formed in 2008 to meet the advisory and consultancy needs of clients in the private equity, real estate, and investment banking sectors. Davis has a storied career in financial services having served as a managing director at Credit Suisse’s Global Real Estate Division and as president of two subsidiary businesses. Business activities for these entities included originating multi-family mortgage debt for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA (HUD), syndication of tax credit equity, and various investment banking activities in conjunction with Credit Suisse’s renewable energy platform.
Prior to Credit Suisse’s acquisition of Guilford Capital Corporation in 2005, Mr. Davis served in numerous leadership roles at Guilford where he had direct involvement in development and syndication. In addition, Mr. Davis served as a financial services officer at Regions Bank in Montgomery, AL, and held several positions within the University of Mississippi.
Mr. Davis was educated at the University of Mississippi and holds a Master of Education in Education Leadership and Management and a Bachelor of Arts in English. Mr. Davis is a board member of the National Multi-Housing Council and the National Housing and Rehabilitation Association.
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson
Senior Advisor, First Data
Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Honorable Alphonso Jackson currently serves on the International Advisory Board for First Data, a global leader in payment technology and services solutions, where he assists with implementing the board’s mission to expand the corporation's growth in new and existing markets. He previously served First Data as a senior advisor for government and public affairs. In that role, he was responsible for strengthening First Data’s relationships with government entities, advocating for the corporation’s public policy initiatives, and maximizing business opportunities. Additionally, he helps to expand and support First Data’s many diversity efforts.
Appointed the 13th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in March 2004, Secretary Jackson was nominated by President George W. Bush, and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate based on his strong background in housing and community development and expertise in finance and management.
Secretary Jackson’s previous positions include vice chairman of Consumer & Community Banking at JP Morgan Chase, professor and director of the Center for Public Policy and Leadership at Hampton University, and president of American Electric Power. Additionally, he has held various leadership responsibilities within city governments and housing authorities throughout the U.S.
Secretary Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in education administration from Truman State University. He also has a law degree from Washington University School of Law.
founder, head and heart philanthropy
Ms. Christal Jackson is the founder of Head and Heart Philanthropy, a social impact agency focused on improving social, economic, and educational outcomes for communities of color.
Nearly ten years ago, she became an entrepreneur by launching Jackson and Associates Group, LLC, a boutique fund-development and branding firm focused on serving the philanthropic needs of socially conscious people and community organizations.
An EBONY magazine Future 30 Leaders of America, Ms. Jackson’swork in the social impact sector has garnered numerous awards and recognition. She is the author of Women of Color Pray: Voices of Strength, Faith, Healing, Hope, and Courage, and serves on multiple boards including the Harlem Tech Fund, the Howard University School of Divinity-Board of Visitors, and the Motown Museum of National Leadership Council.
Ms. Jackson holds a dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and religion from Spelman College and a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University.
Managing Director, Sika Capital Management
Eric Kyereme is the managing director of Sika Capital Management, LLC where he focuses on managing individual portfolios composed of equities, bonds, real estate, business ventures, and commodities. Prior to founding Sika, he was a portfolio manager responsible for absolute return portfolios at Kalman Kushnir Capital, and an asset manager at Capital Asset Management.
Additionally, Mr. Kyereme is involved in numerous leadership roles in the U.S. and abroad as chair of the investment committee for Parkway Investment Management, as a board of chairman for M-Tech, and as a board member at Restore Flow Allograft.
Mr. Kyereme is founder and president of The Milly Battered Women's Shelter located in the Bronx, NY, and assists in developing and funding scholarships for talented young adults across the Northeast. He actively serves on the Rising Leaders’ Council of Christ the King Jesuit College Prep School and on the Rush Associates Board for Rush University Medical Center.
A graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Statistics with a concentration in Actuarial Science, Mr. Kyereme also holds a Master of Business Administration.
Nicholas Sansone, Esq.
Principal, Sansone Group
Nicholas Sansone is a licensed attorney and principal at the Sansone Group, a nationally recognized St. Louis-based commercial real estate firm that specializes in property and facility management, brokerage, and the development and redevelopment of retail, industrial, office, and residential properties. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association as well as an active member of numerous professional organizations.
As an active member of the St. Louis community, Mr. Sansone currently serves as a member of the board for Friends of Immigrants & Refugees in St. Louis and BackStoppers of St. Louis. He is also passionate about The Mission Continues, a charitable organization formed to assist veterans in continuing their missions through community service projects, and formerly served as chair of the leadership committee. In 2011, he was the recipient of The Mission Continues Compass Award for Trust.
Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Webster University in 2001, Mr. Sansone went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from The John Marshall Law School in 2005.