Meet the CBT 2017 Alumni Co-chairs
Drawing from its legacy of quality alumni programming, the Office of Program Development promises an outstanding weekend for CBT 2017, Sept. 14-17. There will be mentoring and networking workshops, cultural events and performances, as well as plenty of opportunity to unwind, reminisce and socialize.
Those efforts will be assisted by the talents of co-chairs Gwynne Wilcox ’74 and Jesse Mejia ’97.
Wilcox, a partner in the New York law firm Levy Ratner, has been involved with CBT since its inception, having helped plan the first reunion in 1983 with the late Wayne Brown ’78, Walter Braswell ’71 and Alfreda Mayer ’78, under the direction of Robert Hill.
Wilcox earned her law degree at Rutgers School of Law in Newark. Determined to use her law degree to fight for social and economic justice, she started her legal career as a Legal Services attorney and then with the National Labor Relations Board, before joining Levy Ratner. Wilcox is associate general counsel of 1199SEIU, a 300,000-plus member health care union, and devotes much of her practice to representing 1199 and other unions before administrative agencies and in arbitration, collective bargaining and litigation. She also represents Fast Food Workers, whose “Fight for 15” was instrumental in establishing a $15 minimum wage in New York City.
A recipient of numerous awards for her commitment to the labor movement and mentoring law students, Wilcox has also served on numerous boards and committees, including the Peggy Browning Fund, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Workers Defense League, AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, American Arbitration Association and American Bar Association.
“CBT has far exceeded the expectations from its inception and has grown into an important and positive gathering of African American and Latino alumni on such a broad scale,” says Wilcox. “It provides for mentoring opportunities, professional connections and developing deeper friendships among alumni from all classes. Importantly, CBT also provides excellent opportunities to connect Syracuse University students to alumni and help broaden their SU educational experiences.”
Mejia, who received the Chancellor’s Citation at CBT 2014, is the corporate strategy officer at Volkswagen Credit and is also the founder of Collegiate Catalyst and MBA Catalyst, consulting firms that advise young professionals on how to pursue business opportunities. A highly sought-after public speaker, Mejia has 15 years of corporate experience working for Fortune 100 companies, including Dun & Bradstreet, General Motors and the Volkswagen Group of America. He holds an MBA from Georgetown University.
Passionate about personal economic empowerment, Mejia is the author of “Dual Track: Graduating from College with Options” and “¡Rise Up, Mi Gente! A Roadmap for Latinos to Achieve Success in Corporate America.”
“CBT serves as a channel to promote and celebrate success within our own special SU community. We are able to bond, connect and reconnect with fellow alums,” says Mejia. “More importantly, many of the challenges we faced as students of color persist as professionals of color, and CBT provides a unique environment for us to network amongst ourselves to help address these concerns with people that we know and trust.”