CUBE 2024 Annual Conference

Keynote Speakers


 Erika Alexander 

Erika Alexander
Actress, Activist, Film Director, Producer

Erika Alexander is an actress, trailblazing activist, entrepreneur, creator, producer, director, and influential thought leader. Recognizing the power of storytelling, Erika believes that though content must be entertaining, stories have a tremendous capacity to create impact and meaningful social change. As co-founder of Color Farm Media, she is on a mission to bring greater equity, inclusion, and diverse representation to both media and electoral politics.

Erika is among the stars of the 2024 Academy Award-winning comedy-drama “American Fiction,” along with Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sterling K. Brown, and Issa Rae.

She is beloved for her many iconic acting roles, including Maxine Shaw (“Living Single,” for which she received two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series); Cousin Pam (“The Cosby Show”); Det. Latoya (“Get Out”); Abby Keegan (“Shining Girls,” the critically acclaimed Apple+ series); and Miss Carmen (“Earth Mama,” described as “a moving, intimate” film debut that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023).

Erika stepped boldly into the arena of film director with “The Big Payback,” co-directed by Whitney Dow. The documentary premiered at the Tribeca Festival and debuted on PBS on Martin Luther King Day 2023. It chronicles the story of the first reparations bill for African Americans in U.S. history.

Erika is the creator/writer/producer of the 2022 Audible Original and duPont-Columbia University award-winning podcast, “Finding Tamika.” Additionally, she is the producer of the Emmy-nominated Best Documentary and winner of the NAACP Best Documentary film “John Lewis: Good Trouble.”

A steadfast advocate for racial and gender equity and leadership, Erika serves as a board member for One Fair Wage and is highly involved with social and racial justice organizations, including The Poor People's Campaign, Color of Change, NAACP, and the United Negro College Fund, among others.

Kim Coles

Kim Coles
Motivational Speaker, Coach, Host, Author, Actress, Comedian

Kim Coles is an award-winning actress, comedian, and television personality who has captivated audiences with her infectious energy and undeniable talent. She quickly made her mark in the entertainment industry, leaving an indelible imprint on small and big screens.

Kim rose to prominence with her breakout role as the lovable and vivacious Synclaire James-Jones on the popular Fox network sitcom "Living Single" in the 1990s. Her portrayal of Synclaire, the kooky and quirky aspiring actress/receptionist, endeared her to audiences worldwide and showcased her incredible comedic timing and versatility.

Kim began her career as a stand-up comedian, honing her skills and captivating audiences with her quick wit and relatable humor. Her comedic talent allowed her to connect with people on a deep level, making her performances funny but also heartfelt and inspiring.

In addition to her success on "Living Single," Kim has appeared in numerous television shows and movies, including “Days of Our Lives,” “The Surreal Life,” Frasier," "In Living Color," "A Black Lady Sketch Show," and “A Jenkins Family Christmas.”

Beyond her on-screen work, Kim has made a significant impact as a motivational speaker, using her platform to empower and spur others. She has traveled the world, delivering powerful messages of self-love, confidence, and personal growth. Through her uplifting speeches and workshops, she encourages individuals to embrace their uniqueness and overcome obstacles, inspiring them to live their best lives.

Kim also is an accomplished author. Through her writing, she shares her experiences, insights, and life lessons, connecting with readers. I'm Free, But It Will Cost You is a humorous memoir that explores her journey of self-discovery in the often wild dating world. The visionary author of the Open Your G.I.F.T.S. anthology series, Kim has led over 90 authors to bestselling status.

Kim Fields

Kim Fields
Actress, Director, Producer, Entrepreneur

Kim Fields is a veteran actress with an eminent household name, having starred in two long-running series, NBC's "Facts of Life" and "Living Single" on Fox. Both shows remain in worldwide syndication, reinforcing her place as a global pop culture icon.

An esteemed and versatile performer in front of and behind the camera, Kim currently stars in the hit Netflix comedy series, "The Upshaws." Co-starring Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps, Kim plays Regina Upshaw, wife of Bennie (Epps), as the couple raise their blended family in Indiana. The series, launched in 2021, became an instant hit, landing as the streaming service's #1 new show and earning an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. Kim received an ASTRA Award nomination for Outstanding Comedy Actress in a Streaming Series.

In 2021, Kim starred in "Adventures in Christmasing," a romantic action-adventure film from Viacom-MTV Entertainment Studios. Along with performing the lead role, she also co-created the story, served as an executive producer, wrote a song for the soundtrack, and tackled her own stunts, which included zip lining, jumping from a helicopter, repelling down a mountain, and chasing wild animals.

Kim has accumulated numerous additional roles in TV movies, series, and independent feature films over her 40-year career, including the critically acclaimed "A Question of Faith." She continues to be lauded for her successful runs on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" and "Dancing with The Stars."

Behind the camera, Kim has directed episodes of the BET+ drama series "All the Queen's Men," “Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne,” and HBO's “Insecure” season three show-in-a-show, “Kev’yn,” among others.

Kim created, produced, and hosted the nationally syndicated radio special, Holiday Love, garnering over a million listeners annually.

Her autobiography, Blessed Life, was published in 2018.

 Michael D. Smith

Michael D. Smith
Chief Executive Officer

Michael D. Smith has dedicated his career to social justice by reducing barriers and expanding opportunities for children and families in underserved communities, like those where he grew up. Two U.S. Presidents have called on Michael to lead such efforts. He first served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Cabinet Affairs in the Obama White House, where he designed and led the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and federal task force. He went on to continue that work as executive director of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and director of Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. In 2021, Michael was nominated by President Biden and confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as CEO of AmeriCorps — the federal agency for service and volunteering. At AmeriCorps, Michael has sharpened the agency’s focus on equity, investing in what works and uniting communities through the power of service.

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Michael is a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Alumni Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed by the organization.