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S8 Ep 11 – Empowering Futures Northwestern Mutual’s HBCU Connection Scholarship

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In this episode of The 411 Live, we highlight the HBCU Connection Scholarship Program, which aims to assist students who plan to continue their education at an accredited Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and address social and racial disparities faced by young people in Milwaukee. Beverly Taylor is joined by Steve Radke, President of Northwestern Mutual Foundation, and D’Essence Johnson, a scholarship recipient at Miles College.

We discuss the importance of realizing the full potential of talented individuals and the positive impact it can have on the community. D’Essence shares her experiences of starting college, the emotions she has gone through since leaving home and life lessons she has learned.

This episode explores the importance of cultivating the talent pool in Milwaukee and the potential impact it can have on the city. Tune in for real talk and insights into this important initiative.

[00:03:30] HBCU Connection Scholarship.
[00:05:27] Importance of HBCUs
[00:09:15] Breaking generational curse.
[00:12:48] Building relationships beyond money.
[00:18:28] Brain drain and future leaders.
[00:21:44] Overcoming struggles and finding strength.
[00:24:18] Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s impact.

Contact Info

Northwestern Mutual Foundation
Corporate headquarters
720 East Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 271-1444

Meet the 9 Recipients of Northwestern Mutual’s HBCU Connection Scholarship
Northwestern Mutual Hometown HBCU Connection Scholarship


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Beverly Taylor is a prober, listener and talker. She utilized all those skills as an anchor and reporter at WITI-TV (Fox 6 News). During her 21 years there, Beverly became a very recognized face in southeast Wisconsin. The most rewarding aspect of the job for her was telling stories that make a positive difference in people’s lives and stories that bring awareness. That included multiple stories about sex trafficking, which makes this podcast about the subject a logical fit.

For her efforts, Beverly has received a lot in return. She’s met people in different stages of life: during their most joyous times, their most vulnerable times, and their most painful times. These people have given Beverly tremendous examples of courage, generosity and determination.

Beverly has received many honors for her reporting, including three EMMY nominations. The University of Tennessee graduate also has a Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution from Marquette University. She left TV news in December of 2019. Resolving conflict is another way she hopes to make a positive difference in the lives of others. She is a video production contractor, voice-over artist and podcaster.

Putting God first is a constant aim for Beverly. She is a member of New Testament Church of Milwaukee, and loves hanging out with her husband Julian and son, Nate.

Lashondra Scott, Producer/Senior Editor

LaShondra Scott is a visionary leader on a mission to change the conditions, mindsets and attitudes of community residents through transformative and mission-driven films, television shows and new media.

LaShondra, a production executive for over 15 years, has produced and directed television programing, documentaries, video and radio content that has been broadcasted on a variety of outlets including, MPTV, radio 1290 WMCS and cable outlets. Scott, President and CEO of Neo Soul Productions also creates inspiring videos for business, organizations and non-profits.

LaShondra’s keen interest in her community and an intense desire to change the conditions so many of her fellow citizens experience, help her focus her eye on films that make a difference. With God’s guidance, she seeks to completely transform the mindsets and attitudes of individuals as wells as provide a sense of direction and purpose for all who share her vision.

“Always live life with a purpose” is Lashondra’s motto. She strives to make at least one person smile everyday because, as she says, “You never know what that person is going through, and making them smile could change their mood and make life just a little better.”

At an early age, Lashondra saw her life through the lens of a camera. She was 16 when she decided that television/video production would be her vocation. With that in mind, she attended Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and earned an Associate’s Degree in Television/Video Production. She then earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University in Glendale, WI.

She is on the programming committee of the Milwaukee Film Makers Alliance and is part of the Human Trafficking Taskforce of Milwaukee and Sojourner’s Family Peace Center’s human trafficking task force.