Announcing the 2024 BlackStars Honorees

The action-packed celebration of culture, talent, and innovation will take place in New York City, November 6-9.

[New York City – June 19, 2024] – PanaGenius, the leading media company dedicated to amplifying the voices and achievements of the Black Diaspora, has announced the honorees for its prestigious annual awards, BlackStars!

The exceptional 2024 honorees, selected from a competitive pool of over 1,000 nominations, include globally recognized leaders and titans across tech, finance, media & entertainment, healthcare, sports, and more, who are driving significant change and transformation within their fields.

“BlackStars was established not only to recognize the outstanding talent and innovation within the Black Diaspora community but also to create a supportive and culturally relevant platform for learning, connections, and inspiration,” said Sandra Appiah, Co-founder of PanaGenius. “We are thrilled to welcome our new class of honorees, who embody the collective power of Black talent in shaping the industries of today and tomorrow, our communities, and the world at large.”

Some of the esteemed 2024 honorees include:

  • Rose Kirk, SVP & Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Verizon
  • Aaron Walton, Co-Founder & President of Walton Isaacson
  • Lakecia Gunter, Chief Technology Officer and VP, Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft
  • Roger G. Arrieux, East Region Market Leader and New York Managing Partner at Deloitte
  • Quita Highsmith, VP and Chief Diversity Officer at Genentech
  • Ronke Ekwensi, Chief Data Officer at T-Mobile
  • J. Ofori Agboka, VP, People eXperience and Technology, Global Operations at Amazon
  • Rick C. Wade, SVP, Strategic Alliances and Outreach at United States Chamber of Commerce
  • Kori D. Porter, SVP & Head of Business Operations, National Basketball Association
  • Akinyemi T. Akiwowo, Global Chief Operating Officer, Litigation at Morgan Stanley

View full list of honorees and their bios here.

The 2024 honorees will be celebrated at the prestigious BlackStars Awards Gala during BlackStars Experience, the action-packed four-day celebration of culture, talent, and innovation, taking place November 6-9 in New York City.

Building on last year’s success, which brought together nearly 1,000 attendees, the 2024 BlackStars Experience promises to be a landmark event with an expanded program including a full-day summit, exhibition and recruitment opportunities, networking, and the closing awards gala honoring the 2024 honorees.

BlackStars Experience 2024 is supported by Morgan Stanley, Verizon, Deloitte, T-Mobile, Henry Schein, Webster Bank, Per Scholas, Capemay Properties, and more.

To learn more, visit For sponsorship and partnership opportunities, email

About PanaGenius 

PanaGenius is at the forefront of connecting, informing, and empowering a new generation of African-Americans who embody the rich cultural diversity and experiences of today’s global Black community. Through initiatives like the BlackStars, PanaGenius continues to amplify the voices and contributions of the modern Black Diaspora, fostering a stronger, more connected global Black community.

Join Us 

Mark your calendar for November 6-9, 2024, and join us in New York City for the BlackStars Experience. This event promises to be a powerful gathering of professionals, leaders, innovators, and change-makers dedicated to advancing the Black Diaspora. For more information and to register, visit our event website.

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BlackStars Unveils Distinguished Advisory Board to Propel Platform’s Growth

BlackStars proudly announces the establishment of its inaugural Advisory Board, an esteemed group of influential leaders, visionaries, and trailblazers committed to steering the platform toward new horizons.

The Board members, carefully selected for their remarkable achievements and dedication to fostering positive change, will play a pivotal role in guiding BlackStars through its next phase of growth.

Sandra and Isaac Babu-Boateng, Co-Founders of BlackStars, express their gratitude to each Advisory Board member for their commitment to the platform’s vision:

“BlackStars is poised for a transformative journey of growth and impact, and we are thrilled to have such an exceptional group of leaders- who truly mirror the excellence we aim to inspire- steering us toward continued success.”

The Advisory Board will provide invaluable support, expertise, and strategic direction, elevating BlackStars to new heights and ensuring the platform continues to deliver on its promise to elevate and shape the future of Black excellence, leadership, and innovation across industries.

Get to know the inaugural Board members:

Aaron Aboagye

Aaron Aboagye is the Managing Partner of McKinsey & Company’s Detroit office.  Prior to his current role in Detroit, Aaron was based in McKinsey’s New Jersey office where he served clients in the Industrials (Semiconductors, Automotive, Materials) sector on strategy and operations topics. Aaron is also the co-leader of the NA Semiconductor practice. Beyond his client and office responsibilities, Aaron leads McKinsey’s Black Network (MBN) in North America with a focus on attracting and developing black talent at the firm

Sabina Dankwa

Sabina Dankwa is Global Head of Technology Communications, Marketing & Philanthropy at Morgan Stanley. Previously, she was  Vice President/Executive Director at Goldman Sachs where she led the Marketing and Communications function for the Engineering Division. Prior to this role, she was responsible for technology risk governance programs, focused on policies and standards, as well as regulatory and audit controls for the firm’s information and cyber security infrastructure.

Ron Taylor

Ron Taylor has over 20 years of experience leading DEI programs, primarily in the financial services industry. He recently served as Executive Vice President and Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for Natixis Investment Managers. In this role, he led the firm’s US DEI activities and programs, and served as a resource for affiliates in the region to support their DEI efforts. Before joining Natixis, he served as Managing Director, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Mizuho Americas. Prior to that, he worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Deutsche Bank, and KPMG.

Michele Ghee

Michele Ghee is the Co-Founder and CEO of Expectant Media, a Black Women-owned boutique Ad Tech and content agency. With a track record of generating over a billion dollars in revenue, Ghee has held pivotal roles at some of the world’s most influential media companies, including Allen Media Group, WME, CNN, A&E, The History Channel, and BET Networks. During her tenure at BET, she pioneered and oversaw the groundbreaking network for Black women, BETHer.

Nexus Sea

Nexus Sea is a Partner at O’Melveny & Myers, where he is a litigator and trial lawyer with significant experience representing Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, and pharmaceutical firms in a variety of disputes in state and federal courts. He is a founding member of “1844,” an association of African American male attorneys that focuses on promoting collaboration, business development, and mentorship among attorneys of color in Big Law.

Marcus Green

Markus Green is former Vice President & Assistant General Counsel for Pfizer, Inc., one of the largest global biopharmaceutical companies. At Pfizer, Mr. Green led the Government Litigation Group, where he worked with local, state, and federal prosecutors to defend Pfizer’s interest in government-initiated litigation and investigations. He was also responsible for several Pfizer initiatives, including civil justice reform, managing the attorney general outreach program and handling congressional inquiries and investigations. Before joining Pfizer, Mr. Green spent a decade in public service and was as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and later served as Executive Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff in the New Jersey AGs Office.