CBCF's New Leader Plans for 'Flawless Execution'

Denise Rolark-Barnes | 9/11/2013, 3 p.m.
A. Shuanise Washington’s first impression of the Congressional Black Caucus came when she was a teenager.
A. Shuanise Washington, President and CEO, CBCF (Courtesy photo)

Washington described it as “experiencing another blessing” that lead to her decision to take the position and this year on February 13 she said she was welcomed by the CBCF board, 31 staff members and nine interns with “a bouquet of flowers, a beautiful card and they’re commitment of support.”

On September 18 -21, Washington will not be a guest of the 43rd Annual CBCF Legislative Weekend. She won’t be there handing over the big check to the CBCF representatives. Instead, she will be the host, doing her best to make sure that the nearly 10,000 attendees of the more than 40 town halls, workshops, luncheons, breakfasts and, of course, parties, have as meaningful experience this year, as they have in the past 42. She will be the one hoping the commitment she made while in corporate America will be replicated by those who are in those positions today and that donations will continue to flow to support the programs of the CBCF.

“My biggest challenge is resources,” she added. “We will need to keep our expenses low and make sure that the dollars are going to the right purposes.”

“This has been a watershed year,” Washington said. “Significant events including the Supreme Court decision on voting rights and the Trayvon Martin decision, along with the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington remind us that we have a lot to be proud of, but it is also a huge realization that our work is not done.”

It is no surprise that Washington suggests that a highlight of this year’s CBCF Annual Legislative Weekend will be the Enterprise Pavilion. “There have always been large corporations present who’ve supported our annual job fair, but this year we will include a small business component that will focus on best practices and procurement. We don’t want to just focus on having jobs, but creating jobs with small businesses, as well,” Washington said. Over 200 exhibitors are expected.

This year's theme, It Starts with You, is a call to action for the average citizen to be and lead the positive change needed in public policy.

“We encourage everyone, be they political figures, leaders in industry and non-profit organizations, celebrities eager to lend their voices to a cause, or citizens with a desire to obtain information to uplift their communities, to come together to exchange ideas and create solutions to the unique issues facing African Americans today,” said Washington.