We Are All Marquette

Sheena Carey

Makda-Fessahaye Nkozi Knight Black Alumni Association logo

We Are All Marquette: Celebrating Black Alumni Leadership in Our Community


Presented by

  • Sheena Carey, Jour ’81, Grad ’83, internship director and lecturer in communication studies, Diederich College of Communication, Marquette University
  • Makda Fessahaye, Law ’14, Director of Employee Relations, City of Milwaukee
  • Nkozi Knight, Prof St '08, Assistant Director- CLR/Standards & Governance Distribution Services, Northwestern Mutual and President of the Marquette University Black Alumni Association

Beyond MU: Lifelong Learning is pleased to present a new series, We Are All Marquette, celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) leaders and initiatives in Marquette’s community. Marquette is committed to fostering a culture that values, respects, welcomes, and promotes a sense of belonging for all community members. Join us to learn how Marquette’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners are making a difference every day for underrepresented and minority populations.

Launching in conjunction with Black History Month, the first program is co-hosted by the Black Alumni Association and will highlight highly accomplished young alumna Makda Fessahaye, Law ’14, in conversation with Sheena Carey, Jour ’81, Grad ’83, College of Communication, Marquette University. Makda was named as the recipient of the 2020 Wisconsin Women in Government Rising Star Award and named to Madison365’s Most Influential Black Leaders List.

Sheena and Makda will explore Makda’s Marquette experience, career path, and volunteer efforts in the community, including her work with the Marquette University Law School’s Diversity Recruitment Committee. They will also be joined by Nkozi Knight, Prof St '08, President of the Black Alumni Association, to speak to the many opportunities available through the BAA.

More about this session

Sheena Carey, Jour ’81, Grad ’83, serves as internship director and lecturer in communication studies for the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University and is a consultant in the areas of intercultural communication, cultural sensitivity and workforce diversity, small group dynamics, and teambuilding. Sheena is currently leading the Diederich College of Communication Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion strategic planning and implementation, and is also serving as a moderator for a podcast series that grew out of the Marquette University mural project: Our Roots Say That We're Sisters. Additionally, she is a Faculty Fellow for the Marquette Center for Teaching & Learning for inclusive teaching and a co-chair for the Womxn of Color Employee Resource Group. She has worked in creative collaboration with Coyaba Dance Theater in Washington, DC. and the Ko-Thi Dance Company in Milwaukee, WI. She wrote narrative poetry and performed spoken word for the dance productions. She is a graduate of Marquette University's Master of Arts program in Speech Communication and completed post-graduate coursework in Rhetorical criticism, Literary theory, and Africana Philosophy.

Makda Fessahaye, Law ’14 serves in Mayor Tom Barrett’s cabinet as the City of Milwaukee’s Department of Employee Relations Director. As the City’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Makda is responsible for the oversight and direction of the City’s civil service system, recruitment and retention, classification and compensation, compliance, and employee relations matters. She is responsible for advising the Mayor and fellow cabinet members on employment matters, regulatory compliance, and best employment practices. Makda previously served in Governor Evers’ administration as the Administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections’ Division of Adult Institutions, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of 36 correctional facilities in the state. She previously served as Legal Counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, primarily practicing employment law, open government law, and privacy law.

Makda serves in several leadership positions in the Milwaukee and Madison community, including serving as the immediate Past President of the Wisconsin Association of African-American Lawyers, as a member of Marquette University Law School’s Diversity Recruitment Committee, as a member of Dominican High School’s Alumni Board, and as a member of Women in Focus.

Makda has been recognized for her efforts and accomplishments by various organizations. In 2018, Makda was named one of Marquette University Law School’s “Rising Stars”. In 2019, she was named Dominican High School’s Young Alumni of the Year and as one of 2019’s Up and Coming Lawyers by the Wisconsin Law Journal. Most recently, Makda was named as the recipient of the 2020 Wisconsin Women in Government Rising Star Award and named to Madison365’s Most Influential Black Leaders List.

Makda received her undergraduate degree in 2011 from Northwestern University in Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science, and her Juris Doctor from Marquette University Law School in 2014.

Nkozi Knight, Prof St '08 is the manager of Investment Client Services of Northwestern Mutual and responsible for the management and employee development of the account maintenance team.

Nkozi joined Northwestern Mutual in April 2019 as manager- Investment Client Services as part of NMIS. Prior to his appointment as manager with NMIS, Nkozi served as the Regional Operations Manager overseeing the construction loan division of U.S. Bank. Prior to his career in banking, he served in the United States Navy as a Fire Controlman responsible for the Command Center weapon and operation system maintenance.

Nkozi has a passion for exercising a “servant leadership” style that helps individuals and nonprofit organizations achieve their goals through his own organization Knight Investment Group. He loves helping people grow both personally and professionally. He is a graduate of Marquette University with a B.A. in Law Studies where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also has a graduate certificate from Marquette University in Community Leadership and is pursuing an MBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Wisconsin. He currently serves as the founding President of Marquette University’s Black Alumni Association.

As a city native, Nkozi and his wife Jessica currently reside North of Milwaukee in the Village of Germantown with their 6 children. In his free time he enjoys leading volunteer opportunities designed to increase financial literacy in inner-city communities along with coaching basketball at the youth and high school levels.



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