A Floridian for less than two years, speaker, creator and “soul connector” Chevara Orrin has already woven herself indelibly into the tapestry of her adopted home. The energetic change agent has been a featured presenter at events including TEDxJacksonville and is a popular host and emcee for occasions such as the Florida Black Expo, the Women’s Center of Jacksonville’s “Women, Words and Wisdom” speaker series, and The Bridge of Jacksonville’s Jazz Under the Bridge gala, which she cohosted with legendary entertainer Ben Vereen.
As a woman of color and child of the Civil Rights Movement, Chevara’s work in both the nonprofit and creative spheres has been shaped by her passion for equality, diversity and inclusion. In her current role as Chief Creative Catalyst for EQ3 Media, LLC, she is perhaps best known for having conceived and co-created We Are Straight Allies, a national advertising campaign to support LGBT equality and passage of an inclusive Human Rights Ordinance. The wildly successful campaign has drawn the participation of prominent figures such as feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Olympic gold medalist and civil rights attorney Nancy Hogshead-Makar, cultural and faith leaders, and superstars from the corporate world, including the CEOs of Florida Blue and The Haskell Company.
Chevara’s professional portfolio includes more than 20 years of successful leadership in the arts and education, sometimes both at once. As Director of Business Services at Winston-Salem State University, for example, she successfully managed a seven-department division, overseeing a large staff and negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts. At the same time, she served as co-owner of Winston Salem’s White Space Gallery, showcasing the talents of artists of color and mobilizing community support for worthwhile organizations and initiatives.
Given her commitment to servant leadership, it’s no surprise that Chevara has always been an active community steward. She is a member of the Citizen Editorial Board of The Florida Times-Union, the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville’s Cultural Services Grants Panel and the WJCT Board of Trustees. In addition, she has lent her support and creativity to arts and community organizations including the Ritz Chamber Players, the Jacksonville Urban League, OneJAX, JASMYN, the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, the Clara White Mission and the Cathedral Arts Project.
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Chevara is an outspoken advocate for the eradication of sexual violence against women and girls. In 2008, she founded WhiteSpace SafeSpace, a monthly support group and forum for incest survivors. Chevara also created MOSAIC: Experiences of Mixed Race People and Families to serve as a support forum, social network, and information and community resource.
Chevara has been recognized by the White House and the Human Rights Campaign as an emerging leader, advocate and ally for the LGBT community and featured in publications including The Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is also highlighted in John Blake’s 2007 book Children of the Movement, a powerful glimpse into the heart and soul of the Freedom Movement of the Sixties as seen by its children. Her numerous awards for community service include being named a “Forty under 40” Leader by the Triad Business Journal and Volunteer of the Year by the Winston-Salem Chronicle, and she is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Winston-Salem.
A native of Washington, D.C., Chevara was raised in Memphis, Tennessee and earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Memphis. Married to Marlon Hubbard, she is the proud mother of Michael, a graduate of Columbia University and trainer with the Posse Foundation, and William, an actor and college student who is currently filming “Wait No Longer,” the true story of the 1964 race riots in St. Augustine, Florida.