For nearly 20 years Rhonda Willingham has been advocating for the unemployed, underemployed, and underserved who are primarily black and brown men. She is Founder & President of MenzFit– a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure gainful employment, job interview preparation, professional apparel, mentorship as they seek and achieve employment to support themselves and their families.
Prior to starting the MenzFit, Ms. Willingham’s work experience had been in the areas of public relations and community outreach and has focused primarily on children, the senior population, and military families. She served as a political appointee in the Clinton/Gore Administration at the Department of Labor, where she was a Special Assistant responsible for community outreach and public affairs.
She has received several honors: First Runner Up for the Madame CJ Walker Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women; The Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper Leaders Award; Women of Excellence Award Shero Award by WDAS FM radio in Philadelphia; Woman of Substance & Style Award from Joan Shepp retail store in Philadelphia; recognition from Essence Magazine during the National Day of Service in 2012 to Honor First Lady Michelle Obama; the Next Generation of Leaders: Rising Stars from Philadelphia City Council; the NAACP’s 100 Influential Black Women Award; Community Service Award from the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs; and Bank of America’s Neighborhood Excellence Award as a “Local Hero.”
She is a native of Philadelphia and holds a Masters Degree in Journalism and Communications from American University in Washington, DC. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Public Relations from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania, and is a fellow of Leadership Philadelphia, class of 2011. Ms. Willingham is also a trained professional image consultant specializing in self –improvement.
"There is nothing more critical to a person’s self-esteem and sense of worth than work. Getting disadvantaged men back to work means for them to be self-reliant, produces a new set of relationships that offer them an alternative to their past, and promotes a connection to their community."