Sheryl King Benford

Since April 2000, Sheryl King Benford has served as the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's General Counsel and Deputy General Manager for Legal Affairs. GCRTA was named North America's Best Public Transit System by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in 2007. She supervises a staff of 35 employees who handle litigation, labor issues, workers' compensation, risk management, safety, and the office of equal opportunity.

Attorney Benford was the first African American to serve as Law Director for the City of Shaker Heights. She was the first African American woman to serve as Assistant Dean at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

She is a past president of the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association, Cleveland Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and the Cuyahoga County Law Directors Association. Ms. Benford was the first African American to serve as President of the Ohio Municipal Lawyers Association. She is currently President Elect of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA). Ms. Benford is also a member of the American Public Transit Association (APTA) Legal Affairs Committee.

Ms. Benford is affiliated with a number of volunteer organizations. She is Secretary of the Board of the Cleveland Sight Center and is the first woman and the first African American to serve as Chair of the Board of The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio (formerly NCCJ).

She has received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Cleveland-Marshall Law Alumni Association, was named a "Woman of Note" by Crain's Cleveland Business, and was listed in the "Top 500 Most Influential Women in Northeast Ohio" by Northern Ohio Live Magazine.

Ms. Benford received the Charles Rhine Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in local government law from IMLA; The George B. Davis Distinguished Alumni Award for her service to Cleveland State University. She has been recognized for advocacy and commitment to fair housing by both The Housing Research and Advocacy Center and Cuyahoga Plan of Ohio.

Save the dates!

October 24, 2014

Annual Trailblazer Luncheon at 11:30a.m. at The Marriott Downtown. Go to "Events" for information on how to register today!

The Annual Trailblazer Recognition & Scholarship Luncheon

"Blazing Trails from the Community, the Bench, & the Boardroom!"

                                                Join us as we recognize our 

Community Trailblazer: Reverend Dr. Stephen Rowan, Bethany Baptist Church;

Bench Trailblazer: Honorable Melody J. Stewart, Ohio Court of Appeals- Eighth District; and

Boardroom Trailblazer: Michelle Johnson Tidjani, Deputy Chief Legal Officer at The Cleveland Clinic.

Date: October 24, 2014

Time: 11:30am-1:30pm

Place: Marriott Downtown

Registration: Go to "Events" for information on how to Register on-line, via mail or email!


SPONSORSHIP LEVELS: click here ----->Sponsorship Commitment 

AD SPECIFICATIONS: click here---->Program Ad Sizes and Specification

Click for Invite:


Upcoming Events

AUGUST 6, 2014
Community Orientation Program
SEPTEMBER 16, 2014
Diversity & Inclusion Career Development Workshop
OCTOBER 24, 2014
Annual Trailblazer Luncheon
View full calendar >

Community Outreach Activities

NSMBA Family and Friends Reunion & Picnic

Thanks to everyone who came out to the First NSMBA Family Friends & Reunion Picnic at The Chalet Metroparks Recreation Area! A great time was had by all!!

Huge Success!- Panel Discssion with Stokes Scholars & Minority Clerkship Students- on July 2nd

NSMBA and CMBA co-sponsored a panel discussion with Students from two CMBA programs- Stokes Scholars and the Minority Clerkship Programs on July 2nd! The students were extremely engaged and appreciated the opportunity to network with our members! Thanks to CMBA for hosting this event! A special thanks goes out to our panelist who did an outstanding job!

CONGRATULATIONS to Juwan Shabazz and our own Ronald V. Johnson, Jr. & Zakiyyah N. Ashshaheed!

The Region VI MLK Drum Major for Justice Advocacy Competition was held in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday, June 14th.  This year’s topic was “If Martin Luther King, Jr. were alive, would he advocate to revise Section 4 of the Act to include a new formula for deciding which state and localities warrant federal monitoring based on their histories of discriminatory anti-voting rules?” 

Juwan Shabazz of Cleveland, Ohio won the local essay and regional advocacy competitions and will move on to compete at the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia in July.  Juwan is a rising senior at Gilmour Academy.  He finished his Junior year of high school with a 3.6 GPA.  His extracurricular activities include the Gilmour Mock Trial team, Speech and Debate, Lacrosse, Football, Investment Club, Drama Club, Courage to Act Crew and Model U.N. He hopes to begin his undergraduate studies at Kenyon College in the fall of 2015.  Please join us in supporting Juwan as he moves on to the next phase of the competition.

The 2014-2015 regional officers were elected during the Regional VI Conference.  The Norman S. Minor Bar Association congratulates Ronald V. Johnson, Jr. and Zakiyyah N. Ashshaheed who will serve as Regional Director and Treasurer.  Ron and Zakiyyah have served Region VI since 2011 as Special Projects Coordinator and Assistant Treasurer and are looking forward to their new roles within the organization.  We wish them continued success as they take office later this year.

The 2015 Region VI Conference will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Details will be forwarded as they become available.


Attorney Bari E. Goggins: The Executive Board of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, on behalf of its members, extends its deepest sympathy, love, and support to the family and friends of Attorney Bari E. Goggins, who passed away on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

Magistrate Ruben Pope: The Executive Board of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association, on behalf of its members, extends its deepest sympathy, love, and support to the family and friends of Attorney Ruben E. Pope, III. We submit this Resolution on his behalf.