Judges | Judges 2017

Tebabu Assefa, a native of Ethiopia, has studied photography, film production and communication at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Professionally, Tebabu has an extensive experience working as a cultural promoter, communications and marketing consultant. As such, he has provided promotional and marketing support to community based enterprises and organizations engaged in social and economic development in the U.S. and Africa.

Since 2002, Tebabu’s work has been complimented by Sara Mussie (his wife & partner). Working jointly, they have co-foundered the Annual Ethiopian Festivals in Downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, and have organized the first three festivals, from 2011 to 2013. Each festival showcased a community cultural and craft market and an all day music & culture shows that attracted over 20,000 attendants.

Tebabu and Sara have gained recognition, received awards and Congressional citations for a pioneering social business and international trade they created and branded as Virtuous Exchange (VE) - better than Fair Trade, which is inspired by their conviction that the growing US-African Immigrant communities have massive untapped human and financial resources to positively impact social and economic development in Africa. To execute the VE model they founded and introduced Blessed Coffee (BC), that is based on a “farmer to your cup" direct market link and is geared towards development in coffee growing regions in Ethiopia as well as in communities in the US where the coffee is sold. As such, BC offers investment and profit sharing partnership to 323,000 coffee farmers in Ethiopia, (representing over 1.5 million families,) organized under a small coffee famers cooperative union.

Tebabu and Sara are also the Co-founders of the US-African Diaspora Business Council (USADBC), developed to inspire, inform, encourage and support US-African Immigrant entrepreneurs to follow suit and duplicate the VE model. To this end, they developed the Benefit Corporation for Africa Initiative (BCAI) and organized a Congressional Briefing in Corporation with Congressman Jamie Raskin to present BCAI to policymakers, the African Diplomatic community, International Development Organizations, African Immigrant & Diaspora community, and the Media.  

Benefit Corporation is  a new legislation authored by Congressman Raskin and first enacted by the Sate of Maryland, is a hybrid of for-profit and nonprofit models designed for community benefit as well as profit. BCAI aims to establish an infrastructure to support the growth of the Benefit Corporation movement in the United States linked to the business in Africa, ultimately aiming to facilitate trade opportunities amongst American Benefit Corporations and African enterprises to leverage the power of business to achieve social and economic development in Africa and the US.

Tebabu is a recipient of the 2012 “Champions of Change” award from the Obama administration and several Congressional Citations from members of the US Congress. Tebabu has served on the boards of several community organizations and advisory boards, including the Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's Commission on African Affairs, the Montgomery County Executive African Affairs Advisory Group, and the Takoma Foundations. Awards Tebabu received includes the 2008 Community Activist Award by the Takoma Foundation, the 2014 “Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award” from StartUpAfrica and the 2016 Bethesda Magazine’s Green Business Award. Tebabu makes his home in Takoma Park, MD with his wife and partner Sara, their son Yared, and daughter Helina.


Richard W. Glover III, Founder/CEO of the International Renaissance Society. Mr. Glover exemplifies the epitome of a modern day renaissance man. He is a virtuoso of many subject matters. His noteworthy accomplishments include Celebrity Wine Sommelier, Radio show host, Master Emcee, Publisher, Entertainer, Entrepreneur, Musician, Former National Director of Operations Miss InterConntinental Pageant for DC/MD/VA, Regional Director for DC/MD/VA Miss Bikini US, Miss Globe US, Miss Latina World, Educator, and Athlete. Meanwhile, he maintains a distinguished and sociable persona. Richard W. Glover, III possesses a wealth of experience, in business, finance and investments, as well as an adept acumen for the art and science of luxury living. Richard has received a double BA degree in Music and Political Science from George Washington University and a Masters in Music Studies from Shenandoah University.

Richard W. Glover received his certification from the International Wine Guild as an Master Wine Sommelier in  2015. He has developed a prestigious portfolio as an Advanced Wine Sommelier in Washington D.C., New York, Maryland, and Florida, Georgia, by hosting and conducting upscale Signature Wine Tasting events

Richard Glover, is currently, hosting Pageants, Wedding Receptions, Fashion Shows, and other events up and down the East Coast. While maintaining his Monday night Wine Rsdio show on "The Cellar with Richard Glover". 

June Daguiso - Writer,Producer,Director, Actor
Founder of World Music and Independent Film Festival & MJD Productions
IMDB Resume: 

 World Music and Independent Film Festival (WMIFF) will be showcasing and screening music videos and independent films from around the world. Be a part of this history & set sail with us on this exciting adventure. In 2009, June Daguiso started working on the creation of World Music & Independent Film Festival. “My mission and objective was to create a platform not only for the DC, Maryland, and Virginia Indie filmmakers, but to also provide a platform of achievements for international cinema artists. We are dedicated to building a global film community and supporting emerging filmmakers.”Since the early beginnings, WMIFF has continued promoting filmmakers and musicians to a global audience till the present. 

 He is dedicated to building a global film community and supporting emerging filmmakers. WMIFF has continued to strive and improve on its mission to promote and provide opportunities for artists of all genres to hone their skills and gain access to opportunities 

Sofia Davis is the Chief Executive Publisher of Fashion Avenue News, Model World Magazine and The Fashion Dynasty magazines. She is also a successful Fashion Week Show Producer. She is a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology. With an energy matched only by Oprah, she has created a Fashion Media Conglomerate. Sofia has loved fashion from the time she could reach the Chanel No. 5 on her mother’s dresser. Before attending FIT, she won the Uptown Saturday Night evening wear designer award with a Black Feathered “Bob Mackie” type Cocktail Dress.

Sofia noticed a need in the Fashion Industry to include models of all sizes, heights and weights, which lead her to create her own model management company. She came to the attention of a Producer from the World Famous Apollo Theater and was hired as Director of the Apollo Models. She held that title for 10 years. Every Wednesday she would provide 15 models, hair stylists, fashion designers and makeup artists. While at the Apollo she created BTE TV (Beauty Television & Entertainment). The Fashion TV show aired daily reaching an audience of approximately 350,000 viewers.

Constantly looking to improve the quality of opportunities for fashion models of all sizes, in 2011, Sofia began publishing Fashion Avenue News magazine. A GLOBAL, LUXURY BRAND, different from the rest. She would feature UNKNOWN models of all sizes on the cover and in the editorials. This was an instant hit, as local models and designers were looking for a platform. Sofia explains “I never go after the celebrity, although we have had plenty on our covers, this magazine is for the undiscovered fashion industry talent”.

With the growth of Fashion Avenue News, from 0 to 430,00 (email subscribers) 4 years later she created Model World Magazine, a publication that focuses on models and their careers, a year after that she created The Fashion Dynasty – a lifestyle magazine that features numerous topics and editorials. All of the publication can be purchased on Magzter.com, which is the largest global digital publication platform, reaching 30 MILLION as well as on www.FashionAvenueNews.com

Sofia is the Producer of Fashion on the Hudson, an independent Fashion Industry show similar to NY Fashion Week. This show, now in its 20th year, registered over 32,000 attendees last year. She gives back to the Fashion Community with a FREE New Year’s Party at the Holiday Inn.

Sofia is also known as the Black Anna Wintour and the First Lady of Fashion – always wearing her signature Sunglasses. This lead her to create Bling Darling, a collection of Swarovski Embellished Couture Sunglasses, for people that love Bling.Sofia has covered Fashion Weeks in New York, London, Paris & Milan and Black Paris Fashion Week. She is known as the Fashion Mother as she is constantly mentoring models and designers.

Feel free to contact Sofia at SDavis@FashionAvenueNews.com – she is always interested in hearing from you.


Wayna is a GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the suburbs of Washington, DC. She worked as a writer for the Clinton White House before self-releasing three solo albums, garnering two Billboard-charting singles and a Grammy nomination in the R&B Best Urban Alternative category. Wayna has performed across the US and abroad – including shows at the Lincoln Centerthe Kennedy Center, Essence Fest, and the White House.  In 2015, she joined the iconic Stevie Wonder as a vocalist in his live band, touring extensively with the Songs In the Key of Life Tour and in various performances throughout the US, Canada, the U.K., and Mexico.

Stevie Wonder says “She’s incredible.”

Essence Magazine says “Wayna is one to watch.”

Billboard Magazine calls her “a standout on the indie front.”

USA Today called Wayna’s GRAMMY-nominated remake “Lovin You (Music) f. Kokayi” a refreshing take on the Minnie Ripperton classic.”

“The Expats” is her third and latest LP, and the Washington Post calls it “brilliant.”



Biographical Sketch

Ms. Alfred is a naturalized citizen of the U.S.A, a resident of Maryland for more than 48 years.  In her professional life, she has worked with the following national organizations, local, and Federal government agencies:

White House Liaison for the Democratic National Committee; National Medical Association; National Bar Foundation; D.C. Consumer Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture-University Affairs; Andrew Brimmer & Company; The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFL-CIO); AID Atlanta; City of Atlanta-Department of Housing and Economic Development; L-3 Communications Analytics Corporation; and Vice President/ Secretary of VFH Insurance Company of Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, she is the President of KELEA Professional Services, LLC., serving the DC Metropolitan area in Information Technology and Executive Staffing since March 2006.

Ms. Alfred was appointed by the City Council and served for three years as one of the Human Rights Commissioners and later appointed to serve a three-year term as one of the Montgomery County Consumer Protection Advisory Board Members for the State of Maryland.  She also served on 18 different coalitions and organizations, as board of directors representing herself and/or the labor union (AFSCME).  She is a lifetime member of the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and The Ethiopian Community Center of Washington. D.C.  She has received several awards from various national organizations. To name a few: the State of George, the City of Atlanta, the Ethiopian Community Center for her hard work and contributions to society.

In particular, for eight years, Ms. Alfred served on the Board of Directors and as its Chairperson for the Building Fund for the Ethiopian Community Center of Washington, DC.  Since 1966, her tremendous contribution and hard work for the Ethiopian Community in the Washington Metropolitan Area have been invaluable. Here are just a few examples: Ms. Alfred sponsored over 100 friends, relatives, and children of family friends to come to the US for higher education and to seek for a better life.   In all these years, she has been known for providing free consultation on how the system works and what an individual needs to sacrifice or share in order to enter the main stream of the American society. She gave moral support and guidance to hundreds of Ethiopian newcomers.

Ms. Alfred holds a B.A.(Double Major) in Economics and Business Management. In addition, she has acquired numerous advanced educational certificates and diplomas.

She has one daughter from her previous marriage to Mr. Joseph Edward Liggins, Jr., Miss Kedist “Kiddy” Liggins.