Kairo Communications LLP was founded in 2000 by Deborah Blanks and Geraud Blanks. Element Everest Blanks joined the partnership in 2015. This family-owned business focuses primarily on organizational development and culturally responsive education. In recent years, Kairo Communications has provided services to the Milwaukee County Department of Health and Human Services, the City of Milwaukee Collaborative Community Committee, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s African Diaspora Council, and the National Sojourner, Inc
During the past 20 years, Geraud Blanks has contributed to the Milwaukee community in various capacities. Dating back to his time as a student programmer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), Blanks has produced large-scale cultural events throughout the state of Wisconsin. As an event promoter, contributing music writer to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and co-founder of the Milwaukee Film Festival’s Black Lens program, Blanks has been a leading supporter of local artists. In addition to his work in the arts, Blanks also has a long history in community service.
A former community organizer for Milwaukee anti-crime initiative Safe & Sound; outreach coordinator for homeless shelter Hebron House; and domestic violence caseworker for Wisconsin’s largest anti-domestic violence agency, Sojourner, Blanks has committed much of his life advocating for marginalized groups.
Blanks is currently the Chief Innovation Officer for Milwaukee Film—responsible for leading organization’s audience, brand, and content development. In 2019, he created the Cultures & Communities initiative to showcase different cultural perspectives, experiences, and representations through film and event programming. Blanks is also a dissertator in Communication Studies at Northwestern University, where he teaches public speaking.
Dr. Deborah Clements Blanks served as Director of the Procurement Division for the City of Milwaukee, Director of the Minority Business Development Division at Milwaukee County, CEO of the Social Development Commission, and assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Blanks has also worked in the criminal justice system, child welfare system, and commercial insurance.
Dr. Blanks possesses Master’s Degrees in Education and in Public Administration from the University of Illinois, Champaign- Urbana and a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Blanks has authored two books, Weaving Diversity into the Fabric of America, and, In the Arena: The Story of Community Action in Wisconsin.
Element Everest Blanks is a quality assurance specialist, having achieved ISO 9001 and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certifications and participated in research, ethics, and compliance training through the Collaboration Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program.
Blanks has worked in the public and nonprofit sectors primarily in quality control and contract compliance. At the Social Development Commission, Blanks conducted quality control audits for Welfare to Work (W-2), Head Start, and Food Service programs to ensure compliance with federal and state standards. Blanks identified compliance issues, monitored implementation of course correction plans, and evaluated progress.
At the State of Wisconsin Unemployment Department, Blanks managed a caseload and conducted investigations to determine eligibility for benefits, assess long-term employment liability, and identify separation and non-separation issues. At Milwaukee Center for Independence, Blanks focused on de-escalation of customer grievances reported to government entities, conducted internal audit to ensure achievement of service standards, and designed improvements to compliance investigation reports and processes.
Blanks also has significant experience in developing creative tools to communicate effectively with customers and the public.