Staten Island's Most Influential
People & Organizations

Evelyn Cooke

Evelyn R. Cooke is a Pastry Artist, Marketing Expert and Scholarship Founder based here in Staten Island.  Born and raised in Park Hill, Evelyn had the vision early on for a life full of impact.  After graduating from Howard University completely debt-free in 2015, Evelyn decided to give back to the island by launching her very own scholarship and mentoring program for black and latin graduating high school seniors.  To date, with the help of partnership with Staten Island ACHIEVE Dollars for Scholars, Evelyn has been able to give over $19,000 to deserving students in our community.  When she is not meeting with her scholars, Evelyn runs her very own home-based Pastry business where she not only caters local events, but has an online store shipping thousands of chocolate confections around the country annually.  Through all of her work, Evelyn remains dedicated to speaking life into our youth and community so that each person she comes across finds the freedom to reach for their wildest dreams.

Cletus Emokpae

Cletus Emokpae is a Staten Island, New York native by way of Nigeria. At a very young age, his parents had instilled in him the importance of education as a bridge to all of his dreams. Emokpae received his bachelors’ degrees from the SUNY University at Buffalo, where he graduated as a triple major in International Trade, Geography and Communication.

While at UB, Emokpae was a social media and diversity intern for University at Buffalo’s School of Management, was responsible for rebranding the School of Geography’s Center of Trade, Environment and Development, creating and cohosting one of Buffalo’s top radio programs, created an events company that curated safe spaces for on average 600-800 students of color, was an Active member of the National Association of Black Journalist, and the campaign manager for the winning student association party, Voice of Change, which placed the second ever Black and Afro-Latino president and vice-president since the organization’s inception. These students were responsible for a budget of 4.2 million dollar student activity fee budget, which is the largest in the SUNY System.

Although impressive, Emokpae biggest accomplishment of his undergraduate experience was creating a scholarship foundation for minority Staten Island High school students, who were financially in need and wanted to pursue a higher education. Since 2016, Emokpae has been able to give out over $3,000 in scholarship money to 5 women of color to pursue a higher education.

Emokpae is now a graduate with a Master of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Grambling State University, where Emokpae made history by becoming one of seven national recipients of Google and Beyonce’s, BEYGOOD Scholarship. After graduating, Cletus returned back home to his beloved borough where he volunteered as an assistant basketball coach at P.S. 44, worked in the Mariner’s Harbor Community Center as a Prevention specialist, worked at Concord High school implementing social-emotional learning and is mentoring at the Gerard Carter Center as a Young Men’s Initiative Mentor.
Currently, Cletus is also working along side his mother at the only Black and Woman owned deli Staten Island, Peace International Market, while producing the World’s Realest Podcast entitled Talk Ain’t Cheap and consulting small businesses and creative under his company, The Cletus Group.

Michael Carr

Michael Carr was born in Newark,New Jersey. He graduated from Malcolm X Shabazz High School. Mike is a graduate of St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has received a degree in Sociology, Social Welfare and a minor in Criminal Justice.

Michael moved to Staten Island in 1983. He was appointed to the New York City Police Department. His assignments included Community Policing, Task Force, Warrant Investigations, Anti-Crime, and Criminal Investigations. He received the Cop Of The Month Award in October of 1999 and in January of 2002. The Staten Island Advance and Chamber Of Commerce honored him, for his community service. Mike served twenty years with the Police Department receiving twelve Excellent Police Duty commendations and three Meritorious commendations before retiring as a Detective in January of 2004.

Michael is currently working as a Community Outreach Coordinator at Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health. His responsibilities include serving as a liaison to the community for the purpose of creating improved channels of communication and needs identifications. He promotes wellness through creating programs that enhance health and education in the community. He enhances partner relationships through serving on community-based committees and partnering to produce health care programs. Mike is a community resource, frequently going the extra distance to improve health care access, whether it is through identifying providers, locations, educational programs, grants, insurances, or health information.

Michael is a member of the Executive Board of the NAACP and Chairperson of the Health Committee, a member of the Staten Island Partnership Committee, and serves on the Hospitals’ Community Advisory Board. He previously served on the Staten Island Council for Alcohol and Substance Abuse and the Gear Up Program at the College of Staten Island. 

Michael has been awarded the Community Service Award from Stapleton U.A.M.E. Church, the Public Service Award from Central Family Life Center, Inc., Certificate of Recognition for Public Service from Senator Diane Savino, Certificate of Merit for outstanding community service from Assemblyman Matthew J.Titone and the Council City of New York Proclamation for his public service from City Councilwoman Debi Rose.

Michael is married to Valerie Carr, they are the proud parents of Michael Joseph, who graduated from Delaware State University with an Aviation Science Degree. He is a New York City Police Officer and assigned to the Aviation Unit as a pilot. In 2017 they received the Black Family Award from the National Council of Negro Women,Inc..

Choir Boyz

In 1984, a group of nine African American young men that had a longstanding bond of friendship and brotherhood joined together to form the “Choir Boyz”. In their respective careers as a now retired NYC firefighter, correction officer, police officer and court officer, members of the Choir Boyz were able to see firsthand the consequences of the lack of positive male role models on the youth in their community.

Fed up with seeing young men and women entrapped in the web of the NYC court and penal system, they began their mission to make a positive difference in the lives of teens by providing educational scholarships, mentoring and contributing to social programs for young people.

Presently, the Choir Boyz donate to HBCU College Tours, food pantries and afterschool programs in Staten Island. All to help improve the lives of the less fortunate.

In 2004, the Choir Boyz suffered a devastating loss when one of their beloved original members, Leonard (Peppie) Monroe, died unexpectedly. Peppie had been instrumental in planning the Choir Boyz’s annual community picnic for youth and their families.

In remembrance of Peppie the Choir Boyz annual outing to the NY Urban League’s HBCU football classic is now fondly referred to as “Peppie’s Day”; which has grown even larger, with many more community youth and their families attending.

Most recently the Choir Boyz Annual Scholarship Fundraising golf outing has become a premier event on Staten Island. With proceeds enabling them to assist economically disadvantaged high school seniors realize their dreams of higher education.

The Choir Boyz, Charlie, Edward, Jerry, Kenny, Lenny, Myron, Howard, Bobby, and Roosevelt, working together in harmony; leading by example and making a difference.

Tihesha L. Wilson, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Tihesha L. Wilson, M.D., F.A.C.S., is an experienced oncoplastic breast surgeon, who has practiced for more than 10 years. After receiving her Doctor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Dr. Wilson completed her general surgery internship and residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, NY. She then went on pursue both an advanced laparoscopic surgery fellowship and a breast surgical oncology fellowship.

Over the years, Dr. Wilson has exhibited her expertise in numerous ways. From 2005 to 2008, Dr. Wilson operated a private general surgery practice in Georgia. She then recognized her passion for women’s health and treating breast disease. This led her to complete a breast surgical oncology fellowship at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, MD. This was a combined fellowship program with Georgetown University and John’s Hopkins Cancer Center. Following fellowship, she joined Mercy Hospital in Miami, Florida as a dedicated breast surgeon.

A strong interest in the eradication of breast cancer while preserving optimal cosmetic results led Dr. Wilson to pursue additional training in oncoplastic surgery under the direction of Prof. J. Michael Dixon, a world renowned breast surgeon in Edinburgh, Scotland. In September 2012, Dr. Wilson assumed the role of assistant director at The Valley Hospital’s Breast Center in Ridgewood, NJ, where she had a robust practice treating thousands of women with breast disease and breast cancer. She also helped launch the hospital’s radiation seed localization and intraoperative breast radiation programs.

A diverse work history is not all that Dr. Wilson brings to the table. Beyond her clinical experience, Dr. Wilson has conducted breast cancer research and served as the principal investigator on multiple clinical studies. Additionally, she organized a world-class symposium that involved key thought leaders in breast cancer from across the nation.

Dr. Wilson holds a strong belief in integrative medicine and traveled the world studying integrative techniques that pertain to breast disease. She takes a holistic approach to patient care and helps patients identify complementary treatments that will assist in their journey towards healing and wellness.

Additionally, Dr. Wilson’s mastery of advanced surgical techniques, including nipple-areolar sparing mastectomy and rotation flap lumpectomy, help ensure that patients receive a level of care and cosmetic results that are second to none. She holds certification from the American Society of Breast Surgeons in breast ultrasound which encompasses minimally invasive breast biopsy.

Karyn Junne

Mrs.Karyn, known as “Ms.Karyn” born & raised in Jamaica Queens, as a young girl utilized her free time attending Bernice Johnson Dance school in Queens, where she developed her passion for Dance. Ms.Karyn is Founder of “Karyn’s Angels” Dance Team for past 14 years in the community. Her program is more then dance. she give young dancers a “safe haven” & the opportunity to express themselves through the fine art of dance, without the “high” cost of traditional Dance schools. Exposure, & Experience traveling competing out of state. Angels are also being taught: Self respect, Discipline, professionalism & how to be productive in the community.

Edwina Frances Martin, Esq.

Edwina Frances Martin, Esq., is a public interest lawyer experienced in Public Policy, Government Relations, Non-Profit Management, and Strategic Communications. She serves as the Public Administrator of Richmond County, responsible for the administration of estates of persons that have left no will, and where there are no qualified person(s) to administer the decedent’s estate. Duties of the position include: providing for burial arrangements when no close relative is available to do so; protecting the decedent’s property from waste, loss, or theft; and locating persons entitled to inherit from the estate and ensuring that legal distributes receive their inheritance.

Prior to her appointment as Commissioner and Public Administrator of Richmond County, Ms. Martin served as Deputy Chief of Staff for NYC Councilwoman Debi Rose (49th District); Director of Government Relations, Communications and Pro Bono for Legal Services NYC; and litigation associate with the law firms of Shearman & Sterling LLP, Herrick Feinstein LLP, and Van Lierop, Burns & Bassett LLP. She began her career serving as law clerk to the Hon. Lawrence W. Pierce in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Ms. Martin volunteers extensively within her home community and the New York legal community. Her volunteer work includes the NYS Bar Association (delegate, 13th Judicial District, House of Delegates; co-chair, President’s Committee on Access to Justice and Committee on Leadership Development); the Network of Bar Leaders (recording secretary); the Staten Island Women’s Bar Association (past president; co-chair, Diversity Committee); the New York Bar Foundation (board member); the Staten Island Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Chair, May Week Committee); and the American Association of University Women-NYS, Inc. (past president, state board; past Vice President, Staten Island Branch; member, national board of directors).

Ms. Martin graduated from New York University School of Law (Vanderbilt Medal, Arthur Garfield Hayes Civil Liberties Fellow, Convocation Speaker, and NAACP LDF Earl Warren Scholarship Fellow) and holds her B.A. in Art History from Williams College (Dean’s List, Art History Merit Award Winner).

Christine Hollie

Christine Hollie is the Senior Director of Community Health at Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health. As a seasoned health professional she knows that advocacy, leadership and partnering on health services, and other social determinates of health are needed to empower individuals and communities to enhance their lives. She assumes internal and external responsibilities to develop partnerships, and programs to connect Staten Island communities to resources needed to improve their health status.

Chris was born in South Carolina and relocated to New York as a preteen. She attended High School in Brooklyn and college at SUNY at Stony Brook, graduating with a degree in Cardiopulmonary Technology and Respiratory Therapy. She cares and shares her knowledge with those she serves. She practiced that art at the former Brooklyn Jewish Hospital for 10 years, the former Doctors Hospital of Staten Island for 16 years, and SIUH/Northwell health for the past 18 years. Her passion always was and is to be a bridge to those in need. On a tile in the lobby at SIUH, is inscribed, dedicated to making a positive contribution.

Chris Hollie is a member of, committees at Northwell Health and in the Community. Those at Northwell include the Wellness Committees, The Auxiliary, The Leadership Team, Go Red, and Adopt a Family. In the community she is a member of: The Staten Island Child Wellness Initiative, The North Shore Alliance. The SIEDC Health and Wellness Event Planning Committee, The Community Days Committee, The Maffeo Foundation Committee, The Staten Island Community Partnership Program, The Staten Island Perinatal Network; The Board of Directors of The Family Life Center; founding Board member and now committee member of The Community Health Center of Richmond. She is a Board member of Rochdale Village Social Services, Inc., which oversees a Senior Center and a NORC (naturally occurring retirement community) in Southeast Queens; and a Trustee at Jubilant Pentecostal Holy Church Inc. in Brooklyn New York; where she serves as President of the Ushers.

Mrs. Hollie is married for 43 years to the Honorable Ronald D. Hollie, a New York State Supreme Court Justice. Their daughter Jennifer and granddaughter Gabrielle, is the love, motivation, pride and joy of their lives. Christine Hollie has earned the trust and respect of her family, friends, colleagues and those she serves. Her awards, and recognition includes honors from, The US Congress, The State Senate, The State Assembly, The City Council, and The Staten Island Not for Profit Association, The VNA of Staten Island, The Family Life Center, The UAME, Celebrating the Dream Award, Community Days Award, and the SIEDC Health Hero award. She is very honored black and proud to be considered worthy of this recognition.