BOARD OF DIRECTORS
LINDA L. JAMES COULTER -
BOARD ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Linda L. James Coulter has had a career in education which spanned over four decades. Although her focus was on K-5 mathematics, she has held a plethora of positions within the education sector including elementary school educator, curriculum resource teacher, educational specialist, and elementary mathematics consultant. Most recently, she served as a supervisor for teacher interns at the university level. Linda’s passion for helping young students develop a sound foundational understanding of mathematics led her to serve on various local and state committees to develop an elementary mathematics curriculum. Over the years, her work has touched the lives of many students and teachers. Additionally, throughout her career, she was dedicated to helping teachers reach their full potential. She has presented and conducted workshops at several educational conferences for teachers at the local, state, and national levels.
Linda continues to support education through her lifetime membership of the National Education Association. Linda is a proud South Carolina State University Bulldog where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Child Development and Pre-school Education and a Master in Education degree. She continued her education at the University of SC and Columbia College. She is a member of the Greater Columbia Chapter SCSU National Alumni Association. Since retirement, she spends days supporting various groups of interest and involving herself in activities to help keep mentally, physically, and spiritually fit.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
VANESSA JOHNSON -
BOARD MARKETING COORDINATOR AND YOUNG CEOS AND LEADERS OF TOMORROW CO-ADVISOR
Vanessa Johnson is currently a Senior at the Darla Moore School of Business at the
University of South Carolina double majoring in Marketing and Human Resource
Management and minoring in Advertising and Public Relations. She serves as a
Moore School Student Ambassador, Marketing Director of the Black Business
Student Association, Co-Director of the Student Alumni Board, and Committee
Chair in the Theta Gamma Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
She is the Co-Advisor of the Young CEO’s and Leaders of Tomorrow, and serves
on the Advisory Board, as well as Board of Directors for the Organization. She is
also the Marketing and Public Relations Director for the Organization. She has a
passion for assisting young people with their businesses, and their pursuit for
CANDACE SHIVER- Organization Attorney
Candace Shiver is an accomplished attorney with over 10 years of professional experience in law, business advocacy, policy and strategy. From representing corporations at a large national law firm in Columbia, to serving in key positions within the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Federal Government, Candace demonstrates a unique understanding of the intersection between Government Relations and Business Development.
In 2012, at the age of 30, Candace received a Presidential Appointment to serve in theObama Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, where as Senior Advisor to the National Director, she negotiated key strategic internal and external partnerships, and provided pertinent policy advice to enhance the growth and competitiveness of U.S. firms in the domestic and international marketplaces, resulting in increased contract opportunities and job creation. She helped to lead the agency on major internationally-focused, government-wide initiatives such as the Doing Business in Africa Campaign, the Look South Initiative, and collaborated on economic policies to build ties between U.S. minority and Indigenous communities abroad, which included the sharing of best practices with foreign nations under
significant bilateral agreements.
Previously serving also in the Bush Administration at the U.S. Department of Justice; onCapitol Hill; and as a lawyer in South Carolina, where she was honored as one of the “top 20 under 40” rising business stars, Candace has successfully navigated a professional career building relationships and coalitions on both sides of the aisle. She offers a bipartisan approach to business advocacy and representation, and draws on her experiences and relationships to help clients navigate complex public and private landscapes, and reach their business goals.
Pam Green serves as Director of the South Carolina Office of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification. In this role, she connects small, minority, and women-owned businesses with State contracting and procurement opportunities via the State’s certification program, training, individual consultations, and business forums. She works with over one hundred state agencies to implement and monitor contracting activities with minority businesses in accordance with applicable policies, laws, and regulations.
Ms. Green also spent over 25 years in financial services as a Vice President in the arena of business development, sales performance, team development, and training. She is a native of Anderson, SC, a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and the proud parent of two sons. She is an avid believer in “paying it forward” and believes her calling is to bring knowledge and awareness to others to help empower them to advance their cause to create and build healthy and prosperous environments in our communities.
Lasenta Lewis-Ellis is a Licensed General Contractor and Construction Manager in the State of South Carolina and a Quality Control Manager (CQM-C) from the U.S. Corp of Engineers and has been building and scaling businesses for more than 15 years. She is the President and CEO of LLE Construction Group, LLC, a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) that specializes in General Construction and Contracting, Construction and Project Management, and Facility Maintenance and Management. She is also a member of the prestigious Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a highly selective international organization for women presidents’ of privately held multi-million dollar companies. Before LLE Construction Group, Lasenta worked as a Project/Construction Manager with ENVIRO AgScience, Inc., S.C. State University, AMC Theatres, and a Project Coordinator at the University of South Carolina Design & Engineering.
In 2003, Mrs. Lewis-Ellis started her first company, Quality Facility Services (QFS). In 2011, she started LLE Construction Group, LLC, and in 2015 re-launched Need-A-Lift Transportation Services, LLC, a transportation company which provides safe, reliable, and trusted transportation for children to and from their many extra-curricular activities and appointments. Lasenta is a graduate of Midlands Technical College, the University of South Carolina, and Webster University, and she’s completing her doctoral studies from the University of Phoenix in the Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership. She’s currently working on her dissertation focusing on a study on Women-Owned Small Businesses and federal government contracting.
Enterprising Women magazine honored Lasenta Lewis-Ellis with the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Award. The award, then in its 14th year, is widely considered one of the most prestigious recognition programs for female business owners. Lewis-Ellis received the award in the “over $1 million and up to $2 million in annual revenues” category. To win, nominees must demonstrate that they have fast-growth businesses, mentor or actively support other women and girls involved in entrepreneurship, and stand out as leaders in their communities. Many of the honorees also serve as leaders of key organizations that support the growth of women entrepreneurship.
In addition to her professional ventures, Lewis-Ellis is fiercely dedicated to community service and mentorship. In June 2015, she partnered with three local, well-known business owners to host Beyond the Lemonade Stand Entrepreneur Camp for Girls. The camp was an initiative to bring awareness and ignite a desire for entrepreneurship to young girls ages 9 to 17. As a mentor to entrepreneurs, it is her passion to assist women business owners and start-ups with developing strategies that move them from concept to market in powerful ways.
DR. AKIL ROSS
Dr. Akil Ross is currently an Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina and is author of the book, Empowering the Heart: Reviving & Renewing Today’s Education . He started HeartEd LLC to share strategies to further his vison of a future where every community Empowers every child.
KELLI SIMONE REMBERT
Kelli Simone Rembert oversees branding, marketing, and communications and manages our website.
Following her dreams and passion for branding and marketing designs, Kelli launched her first graphic and web design business: The Web Bar, LLC., a web and graphic design company created to provide exclusive branding development for companies and individuals. The company provides digital interfaces and customized branding solutions through creativity, innovation, color, graphic designs, and coordinating typography. The Web Bar offers a variety of graphic and web design solutions to assist professional clientele in developing a signature brand or individual digital style via company branding, social media marketing, and promotional advertisements.
Kelli Simone has years of teaching experience in Business, Technology, and Computer Science. She has taught several courses that include: Social Media & Marketing, Apple Applications Development, Web Design and Development, Graphic Designs and Photo Editing, Marketing, Foundations of Animation, Business Computer Technology, Entrepreneurship, Careers, Economics, and Multimedia.
She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from the University of South Carolina Aiken, gained an accredited teacher’s license in North Carolina and South Carolina, obtained a Master’s of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Winthrop University, and earned her National Board Certification after her first year of candidacy.
She has taught in Charlotte, as well as Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools, where she was named First Year Outstanding Teacher of the Year and District Teacher of the Year for the West Learning District. She currently teaches in Richland District 2 in Columbia, SC as a Computer Science Instructor, teaching Apple App Development and Social Media & Marketing within her district’s new Technology Innovation School named R2i2.
ANITA B. DANZLER
Anita B. Dantzler has owned a number of businesses. She has over 30 years of experience as a professional photographer. As the publisher of a South Carolina bridal magazine Jumping the Broom, she distributed the magazines to five counties in South Carolina for five years. Anita was also the founder of the state's first multi-cultural bridal show.
Anita has more than 15 years experience in public relations and is currently the Community Relations & Outreach Director at the SC Human Affairs Commission.
Wylondria “Faye” Jefferson is Prospect Research and Sponsored Programs Coordinator at Benedict College. Wylondria has been employed at Benedict College for 22 year and has held the positions of Recruiter, Coordinator of Recruitment, Tours, & Telemarketing, Scholarship Coordinator, and Corporate Research Coordinator.
Wylondria is originally from Timmonsville, SC; now lives in Irmo, SC, and graduated from Timmonsville High School. After graduating high school, she went to Benedict College and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Child and Family Development, then received a Masters of Art in Organizational Management from the University of Phoenix and a Masters of Art in Education w/Concentration in Family and Community Services.
Wylondria has a daughter “Tyra”, a young Entrepreneur and busy business owner. Therefore, she spends a lot of time managing, coordinating, and conducting what’s needed to make her daughters businesses a success.
Hello, I am Tyra Jefferson; the Owner/CEO of Tyra’s BIG World of Flavor and a Young Entrepreneur. I am 14 years old, attend Irmo High International Arts School (9th grade), and live in Irmo, South Carolina. To tell you a little about myself: I am a Personal Chef, Caterer, owner Author, Actress, Cooking Demonstrator, Motivational Speaker, and Inspirational Dancer. However, my first focus is Motivational Speaker, Chef, Personal Chef, Cooking Demonstrator, and Food. My goals are to have my very on Radio Show or Podcast, act in stage plays and the big screen, become a Food Truck owner to make my meals more mobile, open a Restaurant, and give back to my Mom for all that she sacrifices to help make my dreams and goals come true.
Through my journey of sharing food, I also share my journey and influences. Which has motivated me to start The P.U.S.H. – T.H.R.U. Movement (Powerful, Unique, Successful Heroes That Have Risen Untouched). P.U.S.H T.H.R.U. is a Movement I founded that will help people overcome the struggle of living without a father, mother, in foster care, bullying, drugs, depression, etc.… and still becoming successful. This Movement will share research and my personal stories through my Podcast and YouTube Channel “P.U.S.H.-T.H.R.U. Talk” and “Tyra’s BIG World of Flavor” YouTube Channel; as well as, seminars, broadcasting and even more to spread the word to encourage and uplift others. I will be sharing my story and those of others that have gone through struggles but have overcame them. (I also have a goal to interview individuals whom would like to share their own story from their struggles to get the word across).
I have also appeared on two (2) different shows on Food Network, where I was a finalist on each show. The first show was Food Network Star Kids, and I was 1 of 10 Finalist and made 4 of the 6 episodes aired in August 2016. I then received a call to audition for Kids BBQ Championship Season 2, where I was casted and this show aired May 2017. Since these shows, I have started my own business, Tyra’s BIG World of Flavor...”Where My Southern Flair Comes to Life”, and have been booking events ever since. Some of my honors are as follows:
Junior Marshal in Timmonsville Christmas Parade
Lexington-Richland 5 School Board (received the Golden Ruler)
(2016-2019) Catered for DJ Swearinger Celebrity Basketball Game
2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year with Auntie Karen Foundation
2018 YESCarolina Young Entrepreneur 1st Place winner (for children that own a business)
2019 Living The Legacy Award (National Council of Negro Women, Inc.)
2019 LIVING LEGEND Award (William S. Sandel Elementary School)
2019 Brookland Girls Rock “Go-Get-Her” Award
2019 State Champion at the YESCarolina State Business Plan Presentation Competition
2019 YESCarolina Student Entrepreneur of the Year
Won the Contract to Cater the 2019 KAPPA Diamond Ball (1,600 people)
NICOLE WATSON BERRY
Nicole Watson Berry is a native of Columbia, SC. Nicole is married to Eric Berry and has two beautiful and brilliant daughters. As a member of Brookland Baptist Church, Nicole has served on the 2014 Women’s Day Committee, Treasurer for the Youth Choir, and former Vacation Bible School teacher.
Nicole has been employed for 17 years at a Telecommunications provider, where she was a member of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) and National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications). Nicole also served on the Employee Relations Committee and assisted in organizing several initiatives such as Toys for Tots, local back-to-school supply drives, and holiday food collection efforts.
Nicole serves her community as an Advisory Board member of Lynn Brown Inspires.
In addition, Nicole manages Simone’s Scrubs, which is owned by her teenage daughter, Nia. Nicole also supports her youngest daughter’s, Hannah, love of gymnastics and music.
NIA SIMONE BERRY
Nia Simone Berry is the CEO of Simone’s Scrubs. Simone’s Scrubs offers handmade aromatherapy body scrubs and lip scrubs. Nia has always been creative and began making beauty products to use on herself several years ago. Three years, Nia decided to make aromatherapy body scrubs to give to family members as Christmas gifts. When they told her how much they loved the scrubs, the idea of selling them came to life. After successful completion of YESCarolina’s Youth Entrepreneur Camp in 2018 and competing in their Statewide Business Plan competition, Nia’s business grew substantially. Nia, along with several students across the state, is named in the City of Charleston’s proclamation of October 11, 2019 as YESCarolina Day.
Nia is an Honors student at Dutch Fork High School. She serves as a member of the IT team, DECA, and Chick Fil A Leader Academy. Nia is also a member of Brookland Baptist Church where she serves as Junior Usher.
Nia is also very active in her community. She is the Vice President of Young CEO’s of Tomorrow and, she is also an advisory board member for Lynn Brown Inspires.
Nia, a former dancer with Carolina Ballet, participated in the Nutcracker and other productions spanning approximately six years. She was also a Lady-in-Waiting for the UOO Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s Emeralds of Excellence Cotillion in 2016.
Nia has a younger sister and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Nia also enjoys dancing, shopping, and reading.
Quinn Hayes is Development Manager for Harvest Hope Food Bank and her and her family moved here to South Carolina from West Palm Beach, Florida three years ago. Mrs. Hayes has an extensive background in donor relations, events, health education, chronic disease prevention and management. By means her work, she’s led and been instrumental in getting policies, systems, and environmental changes adopted to help build and foster healthier communities. Though new to South Carolina, Quinn Hayes was named an innovative leader and Community Leadership Corp member by the Obama Foundation in 2018. Since then she has remained an integral part of her community by working with My Brother’s Keeper Alliance of South Carolina (Spartanburg), she serves as the Leadership Director for Lynn Brown Inspires summer camp, serves as North Columbia Youth Empowerment Initiative (NCYEI) committee member, works alongside community stakeholders on the Rise Up Richland committee to address social determinants of health and so much more collectively, as well as, serves on many other boards as a subject expert, is well-known internationally as an educator, master trainer, advocate, and motivational speaker. In her spare time, she empowers those trying to regain power, she works with underprivileged youth and young advocates who are passionate about changing health outcomes in her community as well. You would also never guess that she’s been married for 20 years, has a freshman in high school, writes poetry, and lived in Japan; where she climbed Mt. Fuji (which by the way takes 7hrs. to climb up and 4 hrs. to climb down the mountain) and can even speak Japanese.
ANTIWAN D. TATE
Antiwan Tate is a consummate motivator for today’s evolving quintessential youth. Antiwan has defied the odds by overcoming barriers as a youth stemming from inner-city disparities, and self-esteem. Antiwan is a graduate of Spartanburg Methodist College & the University of South Carolina.
Antiwan is equipped with years of experience serving education, faith-based, government, and the non-profit sector with a quaint ability in the areas of youth development, and community engagement.
After years of service incorporating a plethora of initiatives Antiwan launched the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance of South Carolina a community based organization that serves youth and families from all backgrounds and socio-cultures through recreation, character education, coaching, evidence based curriculums, and mentorship.
As an active leader in the community, Antiwan serves on various boards and initiatives advocating for youth and a better community. Antiwan has been recognized throughout the state and nation for various youth development, professional, and leadership achievements.
Motto: “Well Done Is Better Than Well Said"!!!
SHARON GRUNDY LYNN
Sharon Grundy Lynn is a Key Account Manager in the Customer Service & Strategic Partnerships group at Dominion Energy South Carolina (formerly South Carolina Electric & Gas Company). She is responsible for maintaining good customer relationships by conducting annual account reviews, performing energy market analysis, leading rate discussion, reviewing and negotiating contracts and agreements for electric/natural gas service and managing customer expansion and other construction projects with the company’s largest industrial customers. In the nearly 16 years with SCE&G, she has worked as a Power Systems Reliability Engineer in System Control and a Planning Engineer in Transmission Planning.
Mrs. Lynn holds a B. S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of South Carolina, an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of South Carolina. She has worked for DuPont at the Savannah River Nuclear Station; IBM in Large Systems Field Engineering, Networking Hardware and Software Support Engineering and Global Services Networking and e-Business Consulting; and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. In addition, she has spent time as an independent consultant and entrepreneur, most recently with Banneker Engineering Consultants.
Her Father was in the Air Force so she was born in Arkansas and has lived in Utah, Germany and South Carolina. Her Mother is a retired educator but always encouraged her to do her best and strive to achieve greatness. She is married to Barry Lynn, formerly of Hartsville, SC and they reside in Irmo.
Latanya Wright is a Cost Accountant at Shakespeare and the owner of Gift Baskets & More. She believes in setting goals and working diligently and being persistent until your goals are achieved. Furthermore, she believes the best way to get something done is to do it. Latanya puts God first and knows that with God all things are possible. She encourages herself by acknowledging that you never know what will happen until you try. She encourages you to go for it!
She enjoys helping and serving others through the various mission projects of the Young Woman’s Auxiliary. Latanya holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Webster University, and a DBA in Business Administration from California Intercontinental University. When she can, she likes to spend time with family and travel.
JONA' L. HODGES
Jona’ L. Hodges is an alumna of South Carolina State University, a historically black university in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and a Master of Arts in Teaching English degree. She is a 2020 Alissa Fountain Burse Scholarship for Public School Teachers awardee. Jona’ is a member of Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and Golden Key International Honour Society. Jona’ is a native of the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she lived her formative years in Colleton and Charleston counties.
She has also lived in Dorchester County. Jona’ is the proud mother of two sons. Currently, Jona’ resides in Irmo, South Carolina, where she has served the residents of the midlands for many years as a former award-winning realtor and insurance agency owner. Jona’ is presently employed as office manager of The Law Firm of Carl B. Grant, P.A.. She is also a member of Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina, where she serves as a member of the Senior Ushers Ministry.
Jona’ is a member of the Columbia (SC) Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., The Junior League of Columbia, where she serves on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She also serves as a Guardian ad Litem for Richland County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and South Carolina Department of Aging-Vulnerable Adult Program. Having a heart to help others, Jona’ serves her community as a member of The Rotary Club of Lake Murray-Irmo, National Association of University Women, Greater Columbia Chapter of SCSU National Alumni Association, and South Carolina Capital Unit Parliamentarians.