Read on to learn more about our esteemed keynote speaker panel and event emcee.
Felecia D. Henderson
Felecia D. Henderson is Table Stakes Coordinator for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She collaborates on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion issues in coverage and staffing with more than forty print and broadcast news organizations that participate in the Table Stakes digital newsroom innovation program.
Prior to joining the Maynard Institute in 2020, Henderson led a department of entertainment and lifestyle journalists for 18 years at The Detroit News. As Assistant Managing Editor, she was a member of the news organization’s senior management team responsible for newsroom operational planning.
Henderson began her career in Detroit, Mich., as a Page 1A/Special Section page designer/copy editor and editor of the weekly On Detroit section at The Detroit News. She was a member of the Society of News Design Board of Directors as diversity chair and a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Visual Task Force.
After 10 years at The News, Henderson was hired at the Detroit Free Press where she served as Assistant Features Editor for two years before rejoining The Detroit News as Features Editor in 2001. Six years later, she was promoted to Assistant Managing Editor. During her tenure at The News, she co-facilitated the largest newsroom change initiative as a key partner and advisor in realigning content during the transition toward a four-day single copy, two-day home delivery model in 2009. She was selected in 2018 to serve as a Pulitzer Prize juror, and the following year, she was selected as a Pulitzer jury chair.
A longtime member of the NABJ, Henderson was a two-term president of the Detroit chapter and the organization’s vice president-print. She currently serves on the executive board.
Her 35-year journalism career included stints at The Cincinnati Post and her hometown newspaper, the Courier-Journal in Louisville, KY.
In 2019, Henderson retired her editing pen to establish RAVE Strategic Communications LLC, a consulting company that assists clients who desire transformative organizational change.
The Louisville native has received numerous honors. In 2018, the NABJ Visual Task Force presented her with the Legacy Award. The following year, the Society of Professional Journalists Detroit honored Henderson and her late husband, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and radio talk-show host Angelo B. Henderson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She also has received awards from the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors, Society of News Design, SPJ Detroit, Michigan Press Association and the Gannett Corp.
Henderson has received community recognition as well. She was named a Female Powerhouse in Who’s Who in Black Detroit, an Esteemed Woman of Michigan, and a Woman of Excellence by the Michigan Chronicle. She is a four-time honorary Angel for Life Chair for the annual Gift of Life Michigan MOTTEP LIFE/Walk; serves on the board of Detroit Coaching Forward; a lifetime member of the NAACP and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc; and Triumph Church in Detroit.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV/Journalism from Murray State University in Kentucky, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2019. She earned a Master of Organization Development from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
Henderson has one adult son, Angelo Grant Henderson, who is founder and creative director of Greatness The One, a brand that inspires people to be Great through fashion and design.
James Hill has been a journalist for more than three decades, literally starting in the mail room – as a copy boy at The Detroit News – back in 1986. Over the years, Hill has also worked at the New York Times, Newsweek magazine and spent nearly 10 years in the newsroom of the Chicago Tribune before coming to the Detroit Free Press in February of 2000.
In addition to his various reporting and editing roles, Hill writes an occasional column, has served on the Free Press editorial board and is the intern coordinator. Hill was born in Detroit and has a genuine love for his city, its people and its sports teams – especially the Detroit Lions.
Like so many true Honolulu Blue Lions fans, he says he just wants to live long enough to see his beloved Lions make it to – and hopefully win – a Super Bowl. When he’s not in the office, James can usually be found exploring Michigan – or some other state – with his family, biking through the streets, meeting with people in the community or classroom, or cheering on his favorite team.
Hill started his career at the Free Press as a reporter covering higher education, then Detroit City Hall, before becoming an editor. Hill has had many editing roles, including: assistant metro editor, suburban editor, deputy metro editor, metro editor, director of politics and public accountability. As senior news director, Hill now oversees the Free Press’ print operation, along with urban affairs news, suburban news, entertainment and features coverage, as well as conceiving and launching the newsroom’s latest initiative Detroit Is, which focuses on telling the stories of interesting people, life and issues in Detroit. He also supervises columnist John Carlisle.
Vincent D. McCraw
Vincent D. McCraw is a journalist with more than 40 years’ experience in print and digital media. He has covered news stories on municipal government, politics, civic and community affairs in the Detroit, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. media markets.
A native of D.C. and a 1980 graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta with a B.A. in mass communications, McCraw started his journalism career as an intern at the Atlanta Journal in 1980. From 1981-1985, he was as a reporter and city editor at The Atlanta Daily World, one of the nation’s oldest Black newspapers.
During a 15-year career at The Washington Times, McCraw covered the mayoral administrations of Marion Barry and Sharon Pratt Kelly. He covered D.C. politics, government and community affairs and frequently covered Congress and the White House on issues that affected the District of Columbia. In his later years at the Times, McCraw was an assistant city editor directing a team of reporters covering the District government.
In 1999, McCraw joined the Metro Desk of The Detroit News as an assistant city editor directing a team of reporters covering Detroit government, politics and community affairs. He served in several roles at the paper including slot editor on the copy desk, and assistant city editor for the Neighborhood News weekly tabloids that offered coverage of communities in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.
In 2008, he joined the News’ Digital Breaking News Desk as an editor-producer and in February 2019, he accepted a buyout offered to eligible News employees, ending a 20-year career at the paper.
McCraw joined the National Association of Black Journalists initially through its Atlanta chapter in 1980 and has been a member of the national and local chapters in Washington, D.C. and Detroit. In 2015, he was elected Vice President-Print of the Detroit chapter of NABJ. In that role he managed the chapter’s social media platforms.
In 2016, he was appointed president of Detroit NABJ and a year later elected president, the position in which he currently serves. As the chapter’s president, he is the public face of the organization that advocates for diversity and inclusion in newsrooms in metro Detroit and sponsors skills-oriented programs for its members, students and emerging journalists. In 2018, he and a team of Detroit NABJ officers and members were instrumental in the planning and execution of the annual national convention of the National Association of Black Journalists in Detroit after a 26-year absence. The convention attracted 3,016 journalists and media professionals to the city and ranks among the top five in attendance of NABJ’s conventions in the past 10 years.
Rochelle Riley ended a nearly 20-year career as a nationally syndicated, award-winning Detroit columnist in 2019 to become the City of Detroit’s Director of Arts and Culture. In that role, she guides the city’s investment in the arts and creates opportunities for transformative innovation. Her most recent project was the nation’s first city-wide memorial to victims of Covid-19: 15 funeral processions that circled Belle Isle past 907 photo billboards of victims.
The author, essayist and arts advocate travels the country hosting conversations about the burden that America still bears by refusing to deal with the aftermath of American enslavement. She was just appointed to co-chair Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Black Leadership Advisory Council.
Riley makes frequent television and radio appearances, including on National Public Radio. She worked previously at The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, The Dallas Morning News and The Washington Post.
She received the 2017 Ida B. Wells Award from the National Association of Black Journalists “for her outstanding efforts to make newsrooms and news coverage more accurately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve” and the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
She was a 2016 inductee into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame and a 2019 inductee into the North Carolina Media and Journalism Hall of Fame.
Charlie Ramirez is a staff reporter for The Detroit News. He covers breaking news for the newspaper’s online desk.
Ramirez, 50, first joined The News as a labor reporter in 1995.
He briefly left the paper in 1998 to join MCN Energy Co. as a communications specialist. A year later, he returned to The News as a technology writer on the paper’s Business desk.
In 2004, Ramirez moved to The News’ Macomb County Bureau where he covered the county’s government, education, courts, cops, general assignment news and the city of Warren.
Before joining The News, he was a reporter for Automotive News, the national auto industry weekly, and Crain’s Detroit Business. While at Automotive News, Ramirez served as the publication’s first Mexico City correspondent.
In addition, he was a writer for news radio station and local CBS affiliate WWJ as well as AAA Michigan’s public relations department.
Ramirez earned a bachelor’s degree from the Journalism Institute for Minorities at Wayne State University in Detroit.
He, his wife, Auria, and their son, Andrei, live in Roseville.