Dr. Vivian Lewis

Dr. Lewis is the Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity, Deputy to the President and a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester. Her administrative position includes responsibility for leadership in the recruitment and career development support of faculty. Prior to this appointment, she served in a similar capacity for the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she has been a faculty member since 1991. Inspired by her research and experience with mentoring and coaching in academia, she attained coaching certification through the Leadership Coaching Certificate Program. As a graduate of Cohort XI, she has incorporated a greater focus on goal clarity, accountability and personal meaning into her coaching practice. Vivian has been a volunteer with WXXI, Hillside, United Way, Harvard Club of Rochester and Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester. She completed undergraduate study at Harvard College and holds a medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.


James Norman

James Norman has more than 45 years of leadership and management experience in the not-for-profit and public sectors. He is the immediate past President and CEO of Action for a Better Community, Inc., where he served in that role for over 25 years. In that time, he provided change leadership to the expansion of programming directed toward the promotion of self-sufficiency for individuals, families, and communities with low-incomes, in Monroe and Ontario counties. He has also served in leadership roles with numerous local, state and national boards concerned with community development, poverty reduction, human resources management, structural inequality, civil rights, racism, health care, community health improvement, higher education, arts and culture, volunteerism, program evaluation, organizational standards, disabilities, workforce development, juvenile justice, and leadership development.

James has been a consultant with Head Start federal program monitoring review teams and has participated as a speaker or workshop panelist at national and state conferences on topics such as Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA), advocacy, structural inequality, poverty trends, community action history, economic security, and not-for-profit governance. Since 2012, he has served as Co-Chair of Facing Race = Embracing Equity (FR=EE), a collaborative focused on dismantling structural racism in the Greater Rochester Community.

James is a graduate of LCCP Cohort I (2008-2009). His leadership style is informed by the principles of coaching, fully embracing the idea that the keys to one’s transitioning from a pattern of “rut stories” to a pattern of “river stories” lie within the story teller. James hold a bachelor’s in Psychology from Mercer University, and an MSW (with a concentration in Policy, Planning and Administration) from Western Michigan University, where he also completed extensive post-graduate coursework in Public Administration. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at Monroe Community College and an Emeritus RIT Minett Professor.


Amen Ptah

Amen Ptah is currently the Senior Health Project Coordinator for the U of R’s Department of Psychiatry’s Office of Mental Health Promotion. His work involves advanced community training, education, action and advocacy in mental health promotion in virtual and agency-based settings. He currently informs RCSD students on the importance of critical media literacy pedagogy, branding, and self-concept. Amen is a poet and has lead poetry and discussion workshops involving issues around stigma and historical trauma (at NCBI and U of R’s Diversity Conference). He has also facilitated group learning across diverse perspectives on race and privilege – in addition to coordinating Community Based Participatory projects around violence transmission and suicide prevention. As a graduate of LCCP Cohort XII, Amen has been able to assist community stakeholders in elevating their leadership capacity; provide students with tools that increases their capacity to mine for their optimal potential; all while advancing opportunities that encourages personal growth and development.

He is the previous Digital Media Specialist/Program Coordinator for the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County’s ImagineYOU teen digital media learning lab and was the lead trainer and Coordinator for LRNG Rochester. Mr. Ptah is also the founder of a small local multimedia business brand “APVisuals”; credited for producing informative products for Rochester Monroe Antipoverty Initiative, Community Place of Greater Rochester, Action for a Better Community, and several other notable nonprofit agencies. Amen has been involved with numerous community initiatives including the Gun Involvement Violence Elimination Program, Coordinated Care Services’ Cultural Competence and Linguistics Initiatives, and keynote speaker for ROC The Peace. In addition, Amen is the recipient of the SUNY College at Brockport’s prestigious Diversity Engagement Award.


Sherry Walker-Cowart

Sherry has been involved in enhancing quality of life issues for communities in and around Rochester, NY for over thirty years. Sherry is the former CEO of the Center for Dispute Settlement and The Community Place of Greater Rochester. Sherry was the Executive Director of Eastside Community Center and was instrumental in merging three separate community organizations into what is now known as The Community Place of Greater Rochester. Because of Sherry’s experience as a CEO, she finds both joy and reward in being an Executive Leadership Coach with the Leadership Learning Collaborative (Warner School of Business/University of Rochester, and Ramerman Leadership Group). Her particular passion is coaching new and emerging leaders.

As a trainer, Sherry has trained hundreds of individuals to be mediators as part of the New York State Unified Court system, Center for Dispute Settlement and the United States Postal Service. Being a trainer, mediator, arbitrator and Honored Fellow with the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, she has traveled throughout the United States and Canada training and mediating individuals and organizations who want to manage and resolve conflict. Serving on numerous board and committees, Sherry finds volunteerism a satisfying way of giving back to her community. She is, and has been, adjunct faculty at Nazareth College and St. John Fisher College. Sherry holds a Certificate for Social Change and Conflict Transformation from Colgate Rochester Crozier Divinity School, Master of Science Degree from Keuka College and Master of Arts Degree from SUNY Brockport.