Judges

Antoinette Edwards
Director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, City of Portland

Antoinette has spent most of her lifetime engaged in community activism. She co-founded the African American Alliance Community Unity Breakfast and founded the first African American PFLAG Chapter in the nation. Antoinette also served as the first Director of Diversity at the Oregon Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross. Antoinette is featured on Portland’s Women Making History Mural and has received numerous awards including the 2009 Gladys McCoy Citizen Involvement Award, the 2013 Social Justice Fund Northwest’s Jeanette Rankin Award for being a tireless, lifelong activist, the 2015 Equity Foundation “Women Who Lead” award, and the 2012 Big Brothers and Big Sisters Northwest Organization “Community Impact” award. Antoinette currently serves as the Director of the Office of Youth Violence Prevention with the City of Portland.

 

Michael Lewellen
Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Engagement, Portland Trail Blazers & Rose Quarter

Trail Blazers Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Engagement, Michael Lewellen, APR, has directed the Trail Blazers’ corporate communications, business communications and public engagement strategies since 2012. Lewellen’s award-winning career over the past 30-plus years includes senior positions with Nike, Turner Sports, Fox Sports Net, Black Entertainment Television, NBC Universal, Heart of Florida United Way and other iconic brands in media strategies, reputation management, sports and entertainment publicity, crisis response and brand communications. A native of Jonesboro, Ark., Lewellen holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Arkansas State University and is an accredited public relations practitioner through the Public Relations Society of America and International Association of Business Communicators. In 2009, the 58th Annual Southern Regional Press Institute at Savannah State University bestowed upon Lewellen the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications. The National Black Public Relations Society honored Lewellen in 2005 with its highest honor – the Founders Award – for his achievements in the public relations profession.

 

Michelle Burch
Performance Teams Manager,  Portland Trail Blazers

Michelle is the Performance Teams Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. She is a Portland native and graduate of Jefferson High School and Portland State University. Michelle attended Southern University A & M before transferring to PSU where she received her B.S. in Speech Communications. Most of her professional career focused on working with children in the non-profit sector including companies such as the Columbia River Girl Scout Council, Self Enhancement, Inc. and the I Have a Dream Foundation. While working with these companies, Michelle was also a BlazerDancer for the Trail Blazers. After teaching Dance and managing the PCC Study Lab at Jefferson High School, Michelle returned to work full time for the Trail Blazers managing all of the performance groups including the BlazerDancers and the Blazers Stunt Team. Michelle is inspired by her parents and family who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others through their work in N/NE Portland. Her family is deeply rooted in Portland’s African American community and continues to develop business opportunities, community building and political activism.

 

Sharitha McKenzie
School Counselor, Jefferson High School

No stranger to the world of pageantry, Sharitha started competing in pageants at the age of fifteen (after seeing her younger sister “Netty” compete). During that time she won many titles and competed in over 50 pageants nationally. She was a Rose Festival Princess for Benson High School in 2001 and in 2007 Sharitha captured the title of Miss Oregon USA 2007. She then went on to represent Oregon during the Miss USA competition on NBC, live from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California. She has judged numerous local, state and national pageants and stays involved in pageantry by helping young women prepare to compete; serving as a stage, interview, make-up, wardrobe, and fitness consultant.  Sharitha graduated with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 2007. After a short stint as a TV news reporter and anchor, in 2013 she earned a Masters of Education (MEd) degree from Lewis & Clark College. She is now a Licensed Professional School Counselor at Jefferson High School.

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