News Ticker

Dr. Belinda Miles & Rev. Richardson Make Westchester Power 50 List

City & State's List Of The 50 Most Influential People In The Hudson Valley

In a special issue of City & State, they take a close look at the most influential people in the Hudson Valley and compiled a list of movers and shakers of Westchester County. City & State is the premier multimedia news organization dedicated to covering New York and Pennsylvania’s local and state politics and policy.

They partnered on this project with Suzanne Colucci, an award-winning television journalist based in Westchester and reached out to insiders and experts to compile this list, ranking each person based on their accomplishments, their sway in political and policy matters, their economic clout, their philanthropic efforts, their ties to powerful politicians and the constituencies they represent. It’s worth noting that the people on it are predominantly white and male, which simply reflects our best attempt at identifying the power structure as it is but that said two prominent African-American makes the Westchester Power 50 List.

President of Westchester Community College, Belinda Miles makes the Top 10 in this list of the most influential people in Westchester. She comes on at number nine. Dr. Belinda S. Miles was installed as the 3rd president of Westchester Community College. The first African-American to be appointed to this prestigious assignment. Her inauguration was on Friday, Oct 2, 2015.

City & State wrote, Miles is deeply committed to student success and completion, having worked with faculty and staff to achieve a 42 percent increase in the community college’s three-year graduation rate and has overseen the largest graduating classes in its 72-year history. Since taking the reins of the SUNY school in 2015, her leadership has contributed to WCC being selected as a member of the Achieving the Dream network of community colleges committed to improved student outcomes and as one of two institutions selected nationally for a $1 million award in support of accelerated associate degree programs.

Miles is deeply involved in the community as well, serving on many boards, including The Business Council of Westchester and the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board. Miles has been described as a great motivator who gets results. She is a highly regarded regional and national presenter on a range of topics, including community colleges as a disruptive innovation in academia that fosters an equitable and inclusive democracy.

Dr. Miles was appointed to the position of President of Westchester Community College in November. The State University of New York Board of Trustees voted to make the appointment official during their meeting in New York City, approving the Westchester Community College’s Board of Trustees proposed selection of the new president. Miles is currently provost and executive vice president of Access, Learning, and Success at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). This nationally known academic leader will start in her new position as the leader of Westchester Community College in January. Miles has nearly three decades of experience in higher education, primarily at the community college level.

The other prominent African-American to make the list of 50 most influential individuals in the Hudson Valley is Reverend  Dr. W.  Franklyn Richardson.

A longtime community builder and organizer, Dr. Richardson has played a pivotal role in the grass root efforts of reestablishing a cultural bridge between community and education. He is singularly responsible for leveling the ground by fighting for equitable opportunities in public education in the Mount Vernon community and he has manned the front lines in the battle for just an affordable housing development. His steadfast efforts have resulted in two Grace Church related Community Development Corporations which have constructed more than 100 million dollars in affordable housing to date.

Dr. Richardson served as General Secretary for twelve years of the eight-million-member National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., which thrust him into the international arena of the World Council of Churches where he served on its prestigious Central Committee. The World Council represents more than 400 million Christians in 150 nations. He also served on the boards of the Congress of the National Black Churches, the National Urban League, and the Constituency for Africa. A life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Dr. Richardson is also a member of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.

This distinguished theologian is an internationally sought-after preacher, lecturer, and facilitator, having preached on several continents. For the past thirty years, he has been heard throughout the tri-state area on WVOX radio and is viewed on national television every Sunday morning. He is the author of the widely acclaimed, Power of the Pew, and has written extensively on faith-based community developments. Of note: “Mission to Mandate,” in the National Urban League’s State of Black America.  In addition to such articles, Dr. Richardson’s most powerful sermons can be found in publications including, Keep the Faith (Welcome Rain Publishers) and Joy to the World (Simon & Schuster).

City & State wrote: One of Westchester’s most dynamic leaders, the Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson is the longtime senior pastor of the historic Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, preaching to a congregation that has grown to more than 4,000 members. Since taking the helm in 1975, Richardson has fought for equitable public education and affordable housing in Mount Vernon. He’s also known nationally, serving as chairman of the National Action Network and the Conference of National Black Churches, and is a radio host on WVOX.

The list of most influential people in the Hudson Valley also includes Barry McGoey – President of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 628 in Yonkers (#32), Louis Picani – President of Elmsford-based Teamsters Local 456 (#18), Tim Rooney Sr. – President of Yonkers Racing Corp. – Yonkers Raceway & Empire City Casino (#27), Bill O’Shaughnessy – President and CEO of Whitney Global Media, WVOX, a Westchester institution, for nearly 60 years (#45), Shannon Powell – Co-founder of Indivisible Westchester (#50), Alisa Kesten – Executive Director of Volunteer New York (#42), Nick Spano – President of Empire Strategic Planning & former state senator (#8), Rob Astorino – CNN contributor and former Westchester County Executive (#20), Maggie Timoney – the first female CEO of White Plains-based Heineken USA (#30) & Janet Langsam – CEO 0f ArtsWestchester (#49).




About AJ Woodson (2375 Articles)
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company. AJ is a Father, Brother, Author, Writer, Journalism Fellow, Rapper, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian and A Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine and several others.
%d bloggers like this: