Anthony Watson

Board Chair

Anthony is an accomplished senior leader with expertise in program development, human relations, and program management. Extensive background in staff recruitment and retention, with 18+ years of experience in managing both youth and adult programs. Currently, Anthony is the Executive Director of the Manhattan Educational Opportunity Center where he is responsible for all areas of institutional operations and development.

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Dr. Joseph Tait

Board Director

Dr. Joseph L. Tait, a University of Pennsylvania-trained Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc., its subsidiaries, and affiliates from September 2004 until September 2020, when he retired. Under Dr. Tait's leadership, Harlem Commonwealth Council initiated programs that focused on investing in the human capital of the Harlem community. Among its initiatives, Harlem Commonwealth emphasized fostering the success of students in Harlem through healthcare-related scholarships to those pursuing careers in medicine, radiology, and nursing; orchestrating summer internships for high school juniors and seniors in private-sector business corporations; providing adult basic education for the emerging immigrant population in Harlem; and delivering entrepreneurial training programs as well as providing revolving loans and technical skills to existing and start-up businesses. His vision and goal have always focused on creating opportunities for human development and independence.

As an entrepreneur and CEO of a community-based organization, he provided educational opportunities and resources for young people in the community whom he feels should be a top priority.  His passion for providing youth with guidance through mentorship, and desire to see all underserved youth in the community excel, continues to be a driving force in leading him to establish educational scholarship assistance for bright, talented, committed young people striving for academic excellence with strong connections to the Harlem community. 

Dr. Tait contends that at the end of the day, it is not about what you have or even what you have accomplished….it is about who you’ve lifted up, who you have made better.  It is about what you have given back.  He would also like to impart the following quote, “As you grow older, you discover that you have two hands….one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”  Use both well.


Richard Shaw

Board Director

Richard serves as an SVP/client advisor with the Bessemer Trust Company. He has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry as a financial analyst. J.P. Morgan Chase, Mark Asset Management, and Scudder Kemper Investments are just a few of the firms he has worked with. Richard received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Boston University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School. He is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA), and has Series 7 and 63 licenses.


Michael T. Johnson

Board Director

Michael has worked in the real estate industry for over 25 years. He is a principal of Uptown Gambit, Inc., a real estate brokerage and development firm located in Harlem where he manages real estate sales, finance, and developments. Michael is a graduate of the University of Florida.


Zevilla Jackson Preston

Board Director

Zevilla is the principal and owner of J-P Designs, Inc. (JPD), an architectural firm developing real estate in Harlem for over 20 years. She is known for her sustainable designs and understanding of the socio-economic issues of urban communities. She graduated with a B.A in Architecture from the City College of New York and taught at the school. A thought leader, she founded the African-American Architects Roundtable for Entrepreneurs (A3 RE). She is also a member of The Children’s Art Carnival Board and the Municipal Art Society’s Planning Committee.


Aaron Migdol

Board Director

Aaron is a real estate operator, attorney, and co-founder of the Migdol Organization. The Migdol Organization helps to provide homeless shelter housing and social services to homeless families through a contract with the NYC Department of Homeless Services. Devoted to improving the lives of men, women, and children, he has also revitalized dozens of dilapidated brownstones and buildings in Harlem, which he has either sold on rented at affordable prices to Harlem residents. He is a board member of The Migdol Family Foundation, Friends of Public-School Harlem, Friends of Harlem Hospital, and Harlem YMCA. Aaron graduated with his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.


Jonnie Marshall

Board Director

Jonnie has been a community activist for over 30 years and volunteers with several major organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, Harlem Children’s Zone, and Salem United Methodist Church.


Michelle B. Hardy

Board Director

Michelle is a Senior Sales Executive with over 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and health care industry. She currently works with Merck & Co., Inc. and serves as a Senior Account Manager in the Surgical and Anesthesia division. Over the course of her career, she has worked in several institutions including the National Institute of Health, Harlem Hospital, and the New York City Department of Health. She has a special interest in addressing community health care disparities and barriers related to HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Nutrition, and Alopecia. Michelle is a certified trichologist and received her BA in Economics and African American History from Wellesley College and a Master in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.


Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm


Harlem Commonwealth Council is an economic development corporation determined to bring economic prosperity to Upper Manhattan, Washington Heights, and Bronx residents.

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Harlem Commonwealth Council, Inc.

361 West 125th Street

New York, NY 10027

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