History-Making UNCF Director Announces Transition At Twin Cities MLK Breakfast
MINNEAPOLIS – Jan. 19, 2017 – On Monday, Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, former Regional Development Director of UNCF Twin Cities Area Office, announced her departure from UNCF to run her own diversity workforce recruitment and retention company, the rae mackenzie group. During her speech at the 27th Anniversary Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast to over 2,000 guests and thousands more watching at home, Smith-Akinsanya shared fundraising triumphs and solidified her transition from employee to partner with UNCF, the nation’s largest scholarship organization.
Smith-Akinsanya has been instrumental in creating and producing wildly successful events that have raised millions of dollars to help low-to-moderate income area youth attend college during her eight years with UNCF. A notable example was the breakfast itself; this year’s event-a UNCF and General Mills partnership-was the first in the breakfast’s history to be a fundraising event, raising an estimated $130,000 to benefit UNCF. Smith-Akinsanya and her company will continue producing the regionally renowned UNCF Twin Cities Masked Ball, now in its fifth year and poised to raise $1 million in one night on May 13, 2017.
The rae mackenzie group is ardently moving the needle to make Minnesota a great place to live, work and play for everyone. In October 2016, Smith-Akinsanya founded and produced the first People of Color Career Fair to help close the gap of unemployment and underemployment in Minnesota. The event was a triumphant success with over 1,000 job-seekers and 28 employers in attendance. Now the career fair will take place twice a year in April and October with the support of Gov. Mark Dayton, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, James Burroughs, chief inclusion officer for the state, and corporate partners, U.S. Bank and Midco.
Please stay-tuned for the release of the new rae mackenzie group website.