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.
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.
Steven Dowdley – Board 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.
Wassia Kamon – Board Member
Wassia graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor’s degree in accounting. Since then, she accumulated over a decade of progressive experience in corporate accounting and finance, with a focus on strategic planning, financial analysis, and business process improvements. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), with a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA). She currently serves as Associate Director of Finance for a Pharmaceutical Company.
Aside from work, Wassia enjoys gardening, cooking, and of course eating, while trying to keep up with her 2 young children. She believes that happiness is a choice and loves to spread positivity around her.
Shannon Brooks – Board Member
Shannon Brooks is a native of small-town Indiana, growing up on a working farm. She headed south and attended college at Auburn University, graduating with honors and dual degrees in Marketing and Psychology. Her career started in project management in an advertising agency and grew from there. Since then, she has accumulated decades of experience in process development, management and training programs, budget and forecasting development, and organizational restructuring. She currently runs her own consulting firm as a Fractional COO focused on helping business owners and leadership teams turn their visions into action.
In her free time, she’s an animal lover, nature seeker, and amateur photographer. Growing up in a multi-generational teaching family also made her a lifelong learner. She truly believes in the power of post-secondary education to exponentially multiply the opportunities at one’s disposal, sending ripples of potential prosperity through the community to benefit many more.
Diane Baker – Board Member
Diane holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Mercyhurst College, located in Erie, Pa. She has earned the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) designation administered by The Institutes, the Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS) administered by the International Risk Management Institute, Inc. (IRMI), and Life Coach Certification as certified by Transformation Academy. With over twenty years of experience in commercial lines insurance, Diane has broad experience in workers compensation claims handling, commercial lines underwriting, and business development. Diane is a commercial lines Underwriting Director with an insurance company that provides specialty and standard commercial lines insurance products. She is known for driving growth through strategic planning and for her results-oriented approach.
Diane is dedicated to giving back. For several years, and going, she has purchased new winter coats in which she donates to homeless families residing in homeless shelters. She is excited to be a part of H.O.P.E., Inc. and looking forward to giving back to the community in a way that the community has blessed her.
Leilani Johnson – Board Member
Leilani earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Arts in History from Clark Atlanta University, Master of Science in Information Science from Drexel University, and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. Her strengths lie in her ability to merge strategic business planning with a high level of emotional intelligence. Her career has focused on organizational structure, building, and leading teams, and championing positive, inclusive company cultures.
A native of Arizona, Leilani has lived in the Atlanta area for 25 years. She is a wife and mom to a teenage son. When she isn’t working, she enjoys cooking, reading, and camping. A firm believer in the power of mentoring she is active in numerous mentoring programs and lives by the motto, “do for one what you wish you could do for all.”
April J. Martinez – Program Director
April J. Martinez grew up in Savannah lived in Atlanta, GA for twenty-one years. She has a 17-year-old son who is enrolled in high school and is currently working on her Master’s degree in Counseling. She has been in social services for twenty years and has worked for nonprofit agencies, private foster care agencies, the Department of Family and Children Services, as well as, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta throughout the years. April holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, she is certified in forensic interviewing and certified in crisis prevention. “My purpose is to work with and support families to help them become successful.”