Chéree Thomas M.L.S., C.D.M. is currently serving as Program Manager for MCEDSV. She has been working in the field of domestic and sexual violence for over 15 years. She is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a degree in Liberal Studies and a concentration in Women and Disability Studies. She recently earned a Masters in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Diversity and Multicultural Studies. In 2011, she authored a book entitled, “See Me for Who I Am” that addresses issues faced by African American women. She’s provided consultation and training on the issues of domestic violence, sexual assault, and diversity and inclusion. She has been a trainer for Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards as well. Chéree serves as board chair for the Society for History and Racial Equity and was recently featured in an exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum called, “Voices for Social Justice.”
Sharon is Director of the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Center. She serves as Secretary of the Kalamazoo County Historical Society, is a Vice President of the Board of the Michigan Historical Society and a member of the Stuart Avenue Neighborhood Association and the Kalamazoo County Genealogical Society.
Sharon joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2012 and continues to serve with SHARE.
Janene is former Executive Director of the Glen Oaks Community College Foundation in Centreville, Michigan. She serves as 2nd Vice President and board member of the Three River's Women's Club.
Janene joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2012 and continues with SHARE.
Angela D. Anderson currently serves on the Health Equity and Quality Improvement Councils at Kalamazoo County’s Health & Community Services. She is the Community Education Coordinator - with the Kalamazoo County Community Action Agency. Angela holds a BA degree with a concentration in Family Life Education and several certifications.
Angela serves as the Health Committee Chair for the Metropolitan Kalamazoo NAACP, is the past Executive Board President for Open Doors Kalamazoo and current Coordinator of Kalamazoo County Project Connect. She also advises and sits on several community planning committees including SHARE’s Summit on Racism, the Northside Preschools Liaison Committee, and WMU School Suspension Project. Angela is also a local radio personality, programming producer and host of talk and variety show “Speak On It” and weekly commentary “Health Notes” for Midwest Communications "The Touch" radio.
Angela joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2014 and continues with SHARE.
Curtis Bell II, Member Emeritus Appointed to Kalamazoo County Probate Court, 2005 the Honorable Curtis Bell serves in the Family Division of the Circuit Court. He was managing partner in private practice at a law firm located in Kalamazoo, 1994-2005, an adjunct professor at Western Michigan University, Haworth College of Business, and a former Oshtemo Township Deputy Supervisor. Judge Bell served as president of the Kalamazoo County Bar Association, from 2008-2009, president of the Southwest Michigan Probate Judges Association, from 2007-2008, and secretary from 2006-2007.
Judge Bell became a member of the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2007 and continues emeritus status with SHARE.
Jennifer Gregor received a BA in Social Studies as well as a teaching certificate for secondary education from Western Michigan University. She has worked for Comstock Public Schools, Portage Public Schools and teaches for the Upward Bound Program through KPS and WMU every summer. She is currently working with Battle Creek Public schools in their 21st Century Program. Her passion centers on history, particularly oral histories and working with diverse populations of students and igniting their interest in history. Jennifer began her relationship with SMBHS as an intern in 2011. She joined the board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2015 and continues to serve with SHARE.
Ed is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Administration in 1977.
Ed has served as Technical Director of Cardiac Laboratory Studies and Administrator of Borgess Medical Center. Upon retirement in 1983 he established Physicians Planners Consulting where he served as medical consultant to numerous medical practices throughout southwest Michigan. Ed has served on the board of directors of several organizations, including the State Hospital, the Youth Advancement Academy, the Douglas Community Association, and Allen Chapel AME Church. In 1981 Ed co-founded the 100 Men of Kalamazoo, an organization devoted to serving as examples and mentors for young African American men.
Ed joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2014 and continues with SHARE.
Dr. Phillips has been a member of the Kalamazoo/Portage community since 1968 when he accepted the position that led to his becoming the first tenured African American professor at Kalamazoo College. He has played an active role in community arts and political organizations, having served as the president of the Kalamazoo Chapter of the NAACP, as a member of the Portage City Council, and as a performer in the Kalamazoo Bach Festival, the Kalamazoo Singers, and other music ensembles.
Dr. Phillips was a founding member of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society and continues his emeritus status with SHARE.
Henry C. McCain III., M.A., TLLP, is the Student Engagement Intervention Coordinator (SEIC) for the Kalamazoo Center for Youth and Community (KCYC) where he develops programming designed to keep youth engaged in the school process. He also serves as an instructor at Western Michigan University. Henry holds a B.A. from Kalamazoo College and an M.A. in Psychology from Western Michigan University. His background includes work as a substance abuse counselor at Victory Clinical Services and as a teacher in Detroit Public Schools, Grosse Pointe Schools, and Kalamazoo Public Schools. Currently, Henry is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University
Michael Smith has been a resident of Kalamazoo for more than 30 years. Michael’s experience includes positions as news reporter and photojournalist for WKZO-TV (which is now WWMT-TV) , and Director of Public Affairs served at Channel 3 News. In addition, he has worked in corporate communication departments at Haworth Inc. in Holland, at the Amway Corporation in Ada, Michigan, and at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, where he was the Assistant Director of Executive Communications and served as the chief speechwriter for University President George Ross and other senior members of the administration.
Today, Michael is a member of the marketing and communications team at Borgess Health, where he helps manage public relations, internal communications and external communications for the health system.
Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development and a master’s degree in management from Spring Arbor University.
Steve received his BA in Public History from Western Michigan University. He is a member of the Michigan Historical Society, the Kalamazoo County Historical Society, the Michigan One Room Schoolhouse Assoc., and the Sons of Union Veterans. His areas of specialization include oral history and the history of Southwest Michigan.
Steve joined the Board of the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2012 and continues with SHARE.
Executive Director - Staff
Donna Odom, Executive Director Donna Odom is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She received her B.A. at Kalamazoo College and her M.A. at Loyola University of Chicago. She founded the Southwest Michigan Black Heritage Society in 2003. She retired from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum in 2010, where she coordinated history programs and special projects. Donna was a member of the steering committee for the Southwest Michigan RACE Exhibit Initiative, is a board member of the Kalamazoo County Historical Society, the Historical Society of Michigan, and the Michigan Oral History Association. She writes and lectures on regional African American history and the Underground Railroad.
Caitlin is the Reference and Law Services Librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library. She serves as Co-Chair for KPL’s Antiracism Transformation Team.
Byron was born and raised in New York City, and attended Howard University Washington, DC, and Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, from which h earned a BS Degree in Business Management. He has also served his country in the U.S. Air Force, and is a Vietnam veteran.
Byron Foster’s professional career has consisted of diversified industry human resources positions, executive search vice president, and Managing Director of Inroads/Chicago. He was a Student Advocate at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC’s) for five years.
Byron is currently a member of the Community Investment Committee at the KalamazooCommunity Foundation, a board member of Ministries with Community, and serves on the advisory committee for SHARE, a past member of the Douglass Community Association Board and past chair of the Board’s Personnel Committee. Byron joined the Board of SHARE in 2016.