Hope Inc.

Board Members

Kenita Smith – President/CEO, Founder

Kenita Smith graduated from the American Intercontinental University of Buckhead with a B.B.A concentrating in Healthcare Management in 2007, and also obtained a M.B.A concentrating in Healthcare Management from the same University in 2008.

As founder and chief executive officer, her responsibilities encompass the overall leadership and development of the organization. In addition to her vocation, Mrs. Smith is a published author and stays actively involved in the local church as she serves as a leader for many church functions.

John Bowers – Board Chair

John is a native of Savannah, GA and graduated from Georgia Tech. He has spent the majority of his career in business development and sales leadership roles, and has spent the last several years in the BPO industry. He is part of the sales team for Salelytics, an outsourcing firm that specializes in inside sales and tele-sales services in B2B and CPG.

John has been a longtime supporter of HOPE Inc, and is excited to be our newest member of the board. He is passionate about helping others, and doing so in a manner that provides a good example to his two daughters, Peyton and Blair.

Marion Quaye – Treasurer

Marion D. Quaye is a native of Winston-Salem, NC and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from East Carolina University in 1998 and Master of Business Administration from Meredith College in 2004. She currently works in the financial services industry and is responsible for the risk management oversight of a commercial real estate portfolio with over $1 billion in exposure.(LIHTC).

Over the course of her career, Marion has held various positions in Wealth Management, Commercial, Corporate and CRE lending/ risk management and also has experience working with Affordable Housing and Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Lisa White – Secretary

Lisa Larry White is a native of Bessemer, Alabama, and has resided in metro-Atlanta since 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), receiving a B.A. in Mass Communications and Journalism with a minor in English. Over the course of her career, she has worked in various industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, property management, and currently in tax and financial education. She currently works as the Office Manager for Protax Plus Financial Services, LLC, a full-service tax preparation and accounting firm, located in Stone Mountain, Georgia. She also serves as the Vice President of Operations for the firms’ satellite offices in Alabama, Virginia, and South Carolina. Lisa was recently promoted to EVP Platinum with myEcon, the Personal Financial Success Company, located in Snellville, Georgia.

Lisa is passionate about her community and uses her life experiences and “gift of gab” to motivate others. It is her desire that through her written and spoken word, people are inspired, encouraged, and strengthened as she shares her knowledge. She works tirelessly to ensure that the community is educated on matters that impact their daily lives in the areas of taxes, credit repair, and financial literacy. She is also a motivational speaker, writer, editor, and entrepreneur. Lisa is the mother of three young adult children; D’Lisa, Davida, and David Jr.

Desha Jason – Board Member

Desha Jason earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resources Management from Florida State University as well as the Chartered Life Underwriter designation from The American College. Working as a leader in the insurance and financial services industry for more than two decades, her responsibilities have focused on hiring, training and developing employees within her organization.

Desha is passionate about “paying it forward” and as such seeks opportunities that allow her to give to others as she’s been blessed in her life. In this effort, she brings prior experience as a non-profit board member and is currently a youth guest services volunteer at her local church.

Steven Dowdley – Fundraising Chair

Steve is a seasoned healthcare executive with broad experience in management, regulatory affairs, quality assurance, business development and R&D. He currently serves as Global Director of Regulatory Affairs for a medical device firm, where is responsible for setting the strategic regulatory direction for the company and leading a global team of professionals who work with health authorities around the world. He also serves on several international industry boards, focused on proactively influencing healthcare policy and establishing industry guidance.

Steve is passionate about helping others and believes that life is too short to not live it to its fullest. He believes that everyday give us a second chance to live, laugh, love and learn better than we did the day before.

Parris Smallwood – Board Member

Parris is originally from Wilson, NC and graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with degrees in Environmental Science and Spanish. He started his career with Deloitte Consulting in 2013, completed an MBA at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2018, and joined Atlanta-based, employee-owned SEI (Systems Evolution Incorporated) in 2020 as a business and technology strategy consultant.

Parris brings to H.O.P.E learnings from his prior service on the boards for Scholars Latino Initiative and Junior Leadership Durham. He lives in Brookhaven, GA with his wife, Simone, and their two dogs, Boone and Nellie.