Tamara Prather is a purpose-driven leader with a love for people, a passion for justice, and a history of building and leading effective teams to impact transformative change. Tamara currently serves as the Chicago Executive Director of The Surge Institute. She is setting and executing the vision and direction for the organization, ensuring an exceptional fellowship program, building and maintaining relationships
with partners and funders, and cultivating an intentional organizational culture
representing the Surge values. Tamara brings over 18 years of combined experience in the private sector and education through her past work at GE
Capital, Kraft Foods,Chicago Public Schools and A Better Chicago.
As an African-American first-generation college graduate, Tamara is intimately aware of the opportunities education
affords and is passionate about leading change grounded in race and equity that makes quality education
accessible to all. Tamara holds a BS in business administration from Ohio State University, an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at NorthwesternUniversity, and an M.Ed in education leadership from the Broad Center for Management of School Systems.
Using his motto "The Gatekeepers Are Gone," Lamar has leveraged social media to move the website BlackandMarriedWithKids.com from a small personal blog to an international brand with 540,000 Facebook fans and 42 thousand customers in all 50 states and 43 countries.
Among the recognition received for his work, Lamar, along with wife Ronnie was named one of Ebony Magazine's Power 100, a list of the top 100 movers and shakers in the black community, finalists for Black Enterprise's Family Business of the Year, finalists for Infusionsoft’s Small Business ICON award and winners of the ClickFunnels Two Comma Award.
Lamar currently trains entrepreneurs how to leverage digital marketing strategies to scale their businesses with his Traffic, Sales & Profit (TSP) brand.
Recognizing the need for positive images of black marriage in the media, Ronnie founded BlackandMarriedWithKids.com (BMWK) in 2007 along with husband Lamar.
Over the last twelve years, she has grown the site from a personal blog shared by one couple to an international brand with over 600,000 total social media fans.
Under the couple’s Tyler New Media company umbrella, Ronnie has co-produced seven films that deal with the challenges and triumphs of marriage and family in the black community. The couple was named one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 in 2011 and 2012.
Prior to running BMWK, Ronnie spent 17 years with IBM as a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) managing projects with 30 million dollar budgets and up to 30 developers spread across 4 continents. She now uses her skills and expertise to manage 7-figure product launches and events for Tyler New Media, LLC.
Ronnie holds a Bachelors of Mathematics from Spelman College and a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.
Chika Umeadi is the co-founder of tiphub, a firm specialized in supporting African and African Diaspora focused startups at the intersection of technology and impact. Since its inception in 2014, tiphub has engaged over 100 companies through programs, funding, mentorship, and technology assistance yielding to top partnerships with companies like the NBA, Uber, Google, and State Farm and $10 million USD raised by companies to date.
While he’s not working with start-ups through tiphub, Chika heads project and product development at kohactive, a mobile and web development agency based in Chicago, Illinois. He also advises and supports Cornell Pharma, a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey with operations in Nigeria and Kenya. Cornell Pharma’s mission is to bring cost-effective oncology and anti-infective therapeutics to underserved markets leveraging innovative manufacturing and delivery mechanisms.
Chika received his MBA from the Kogod School of Business at American University and his Bachelor’s degree from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.