These change agents are committed to their faith, passionate about creating a just world, and driven to do good.
- CURRENT FELLOWS
- 2019 FELLOWS
- 2018 FELLOWS
- 2017 FELLOWS
AKOSUA LESESNEPhiladelphia, PA
Sisters in Education Circle ensures that Black children have a wide range of excellent Black teachers, school leaders, and other school-based personnel.
Akosua Lesesne is the vice president of programs and innovation at the Black Teacher Collaborative. A former high school social sciences teacher and experienced educational leader, she has expertise in an education for liberation approach to defend and inspire Black children, as well as the transformative characteristics of the Black teaching tradition. Akosua has sixteen years combined of teaching and district-level leadership experience in predominantly Black and Latinx urban school-driven districts.
Through Sisters in Education Circle, Akosua is working to amplify, preserve, and create repositories of the Pre-K-12 Black teaching tradition in the US, so that current and future generations of Black teachers will be able to access, innovate, and sustain this empowering and transformative pedagogical legacy. Currently, Black teachers make up less than seven percent of the US teaching population, while Black students comprise up to 90 percent of the student populations in some schools and districts in the nation. Akosua is passionate about addressing this problem because Black students, Black teachers, and their communities deserve to experience life in which the power among them to bring about a new world is fully actualized.
pilr trainingPhiladelphia, PA
I want to provide holistic sports-based youth development to female athletes by supporting them in their physical, mental, and spiritual growth.
Beulah Osueke has an extensive background in strategic organizational development, community organizing, and international network-building. Beulah is creating a social enterprise to offer elite level training and holistic development to female athletes from all walks of life. Witnessing firsthand the power of individual and collective transformation through sports, Beulah wants to offer integrative sports-based development on a national scale. Inspired by her journey as one of the few Black female championship and award-winning coaches in Pennsylvania, Beulah is passionate about cultivating a community of leaders that drives female athletes to be their best selves, on and off the field. Elite level training for female athletes is often inaccessible, and when available, primarily focused on physical outcomes. Beulah aims to optimize the impact of sports by training the heart, mind, and soul of the athlete.
ESTEE NENA DILLARD
ESTEE NENA DILLARDAtlanta, GA
Through ritual I create a spiritual roadmap for African diasporan people to identify what they need and curate the spiritual practices to obtain it.
Rev. Iyalosa Estee Nena Dillard is a spiRitualist scholar, ancestral storyteller, and queer sexologist. Her work harnesses the ways that theological formation, embodiment, sexuality, ancestral spiritual care, and ritual transform wellness. A proud alumna of Spelman College and Emory University, Estee is minister of ritual at Rize Community Church, a priest in the West African Orisa Tradition, a reiki practitioner, and a member of the Nation of Ndugu and Nzingha. She is also the founder of ENDless Spiritual Consulting, LLC a business that curates sacred space through Christian and African traditional practices to connect individuals, families, and businesses to the sinew of the generations within them and the endless capacity of their spirit. As a womanist practitioner, her passion to align people with the efficacy of both their grandparents’ prayers and ways is the roadmap to the liberative justice of wholeness. Estee resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her partner Brandisha and dog Reese.
San Leandro, CA
JENI WILLIAMSSan Leandro, CA
Social justice is the sector I have chosen to work in because seeking equity in education is my life’s passion.
Jeni Williams is a lifelong educator who currently works as an education specialist for students with mild and moderate learning disabilities in Hayward, California. In her two decades working with schools and after-school programs, Jeni noticed there was intense demand for individualized education support for students who were struggling in school. When she surveyed available out-of-school (OOS) programs in the region, she noticed that all available services were either at capacity or too expensive. To help meet these students’ needs, Jeni founded POI 4Ward, a comprehensive education support and enrichment program that is affordable and available for all families. Jeni believes POI 4Ward will be a game-changer in the fight for equity in education by targeting students who are currently left behind at school and left out of existing out-of-school programs.
My mission on Earth is to help others obtain peace of mind and alignment. For me, that is done through providing guidance and resources to help them reach that in their professional life.
Jennifer Borrero is a proud Latinx advocate whose work in career growth and development is rooted in social equity for people of color. In creating career coaching workshops at Georgia State University and leading workshops for the Atlanta Public School district, Jennifer has personally seen the disparities in tools and resources provided to marginalized communities. For Jennifer, technology and the developing workforce is an opportunity to provide career and educational opportunities that will enhance social equity and lead to the progression and well-being of society as a whole.
JOCELYN J. JONES
Oak Lawn, IL
JOCELYN J. JONESOak Lawn, IL
The work that I do is rooted in my desire to help others love life and embrace their journey by not allowing the pain from their past to hinder them from experiencing the promises of God.
Jocelyn J. Jones, MSW, is a storyteller, motivational speaker, and minister. She believes the world could be a better place if people healed from the painful events in their past and fully embraced God’s love in their life. Through Faith on the Journey Jocelyn helps people to experience both. Faith on the Journey provides practical resources, creates safe environments, and provides people with the support system they need to begin to heal. In addition, Faith on the Journey partners with churches to train them on how to conduct healing groups that address various issues of trauma that are often not talked about in church. Jocelyn is the author of Breaking the Power of the Mask and a facilitator with the Trauma Healing Institute. She earned her master’s degree from The University of Chicago in social work, and her master’s degree in theological studies from McCormick Theological Seminary.
LIZZY CASEVista, CA
I am passionate about using fashion as a force for good and supporting faith-driven clothing companies to align their moral commitments with material practices.
The clothing and footwear industry is responsible for eight percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, nearly the same as the entire European Union. However, concerns about clothing are often seen as less important than “real” environmental matters and too superficial for theological attention.
Lizzy Case believes otherwise. For her, being clothed in righteousness is a physical act as well as a spiritual mindset. She believes, through textiles, clothing production, and disposal, our clothing deeply connects us to one another and God. In 2021, her passion for using fashion as a force for good and her faith led her to start Arrayed. A consultancy that works with faith-oriented clothing businesses to implement sustainability and ethics into their supply chains, business practices, and communications strategies.
Concerns about sustainability and human rights injustices aren’t going away and will be a top challenge and opportunity facing fashion businesses in the near future. With the founding of Arrayed, Lizzy hopes to broaden her reach to help more faith-driven clothing companies align their moral commitments with material practices.
Lizzy lives in Vista, California with her husband and many houseplants.
I am passionate about helping people discern, follow, and thrive in their vocational call.
Rayce Lamb serves as the director of ministry and vocational exploration at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where he works with students who are beginning to discern and follow their purpose and call. In this role, Rayce has come to understand how important financial formation is to the success of future faith leaders in their ministerial endeavors.
According to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), 50 percent of recent graduates report having little to no savings. This, compounded with increased levels of student debt, an average of $44,500 at graduation, has required new faith leaders to take on an extra job, seek a higher paying job, and even postpone health care just to balance their monthly budget.
This has inspired Rayce to launch a financial formation platform called Faithonomics. The platform works alongside churches, divinity schools, and seminaries to provide holistic financial literacy education within a cultivated community of aspiring faith leaders who are committed to exploring the importance of financial wellness and the issues of economic injustice plaguing our society.
Mind-Refreshers is a non-profit organization that is part of the national movement of safe space conversations and building intergenerational relationships.
Founded by Shanice Turner, Mind-Refreshers is a non-profit organization that is part of the national movement of safe space conversations and building intergenerational relationships. Right now, the generational divide is greater than ever, and young people and the generations in between don’t have space or a dedicated place for mentorship, open conversations, or connection. Mind-Refreshers seeks to fill those gaps by focusing on wellness, professional development, and inspirational storytelling with people in the healthcare system and community. Our goal is to unite the two most important populations and “be the minds that change the world.”
Healing for Black Folx
Healing for Black FolxChicago, IL
Healing for Black Folx was created to equip Black church laypeople with simple, trauma-informed training for their leadership and personal development.
Yvonne D. Hawkins is a pastoral counselor and theologian, ordained clergywoman, professional life coach, and former newspaper journalist who is passionate about facilitating acts of emotional justice for Black folks. In 2018, she turned her journalistic love for telling the stories about Black people’s lives into helping Black people embody their own stories of racial healing. That same year, she launched Healing for Black Folx to equip Black church laypeople with simple, trauma-informed training for their leadership and personal development. Through her training and coaching system, laypeople become better equipped to know their own journeys and help others embody their faith and boost resilience, especially in the face of race-based stress and racial trauma.
Rochester Hills, MI
P.A.R. SolutionsRochester Hills, MI
P.A.R. Solutions aims to inspire and support growth in the Liberian agricultural sector by providing jobs that can stimulate the economy and teaching best practices for smallholder cashew farmers.
Alexander Merab was born in Liberia, a small country on the west coast of Africa. Due to the volatile situations created by the Liberian civil war, he and his family fled to Detroit, Michigan, where he was raised and currently resides. Over the last three years Alex and his brothers have focused on creating a business that they hope will help the people of Liberia and spark an economic change. Through trial and error they have created an agricultural plan focused on cashew farming and solar energy. It is their vision to create a successful cashew farming business that will not just employ Liberians but also teach and empower them to run their own small-scale farming initiative. Through classes on cashew farming and the use of solar energy, they strive to inspire Liberians to see the possibilities agriculture has for creating a bright future in their beautiful country. Since the war, Liberia’s lack of infrastructure has been exploited by those in power. Alexander and his brothers hope to change that.
CARRILEA HALLStatesville, NC
Given that 80% of persons with disabilities are unemployed, I want to start a food truck business that will employ persons with disabilities while also nourishing people’s bodies and souls in the community.
Carrilea Potter Hall is ordained clergy in the United Methodist Church (UMC) serving part-time as associate pastor of Broad Street UMC as well as part-time at Scotts Chapel UMC in Statesville, North Carolina. Several years ago she helped to create an annual weekend retreat for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and it has since become her favorite weekend of the year. Inspired by this work and the needs of the community, Carrilea is passionate about cultivating a community that celebrates and empowers persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be their best selves. Given that 80 percent of persons with disabilities are unemployed, Carrilea has set out to start a food truck that will employ persons with disabilities while also feeding the community. This business will provide the opportunity to nourish the soul of the community and build a longer table where all are welcome and celebrated.
Faith Bynoe is an integrative chaplain who believes wellness is the balance of our physical, mental and spiritual health. She’s the owner of Syncretic Wellness (SyncWell), a company that incorporates traditional healing techniques to support holistic wellness, address trauma, and improve community care. Faith has worked with diverse individuals, companies, and communities providing spiritual support and racial equity consulting as well as facilitating self-care workshops and healing circles throughout the US and internationally.
Offering a larger platform, Faith designed the SyncWell Meditation as a curated crowdsourcing app to provide culturally relevant meditations and mind-body medicine techniques from the Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian diasporas. Users will be able to improve their wellness and spiritual practice as they safely explore their feelings and increase their self-awareness.
JOY SMITHChicago, IL
Educating about the healing properties of essential oil-based products is the ministry God has placed inside of me. I want to provide education and personal care products, with a therapeutic benefit and free of hazardous ingredients.
Joy M. Smith is a licensed pharmacist and certified aromatherapist in Chicago, Illinois, who believes in the healing power of essential oils. She is launching an essential oil education company that creates handmade body care products free of toxic ingredients for black and brown families seeking healthier personal care products. Her passion for developing these products was ignited when she discovered an alarming statistic while researching the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database which uses a hazard rating system to analyze personal care products.
An analysis of over 1,100 ingredients in the products marketed to black and brown women revealed that about 1 in 12 of those products were ranked highly hazardous. Many of the hazardous chemicals are carcinogens and hormone disruptors masked by the word “fragrance.” A vast majority of people purchase personal care products based on scent or popularity without paying attention to the hazard ratings of the actual ingredients. Her company wants to change that by offering personal care products that have low hazard ratings and therapeutic benefits.
SHELLEY BESTHartford, CT
I want to help ‘soulprenuers,’ or spiritual entrepreneurs develop social enterprises to meet the needs of communities.
Shelley D. Best is the founder and chief curator of The 224 EcoSpace, a place where change-makers work, create and lead. It is a social enterprise located in Hartford, Connecticut, launched by The Conference of Churches.
The EcoSpace hosts social entrepreneurs involved in health and wellness, performing arts and social profit. Her business idea is to develop, Air, a multi-sensory training and human development company that produces high-quality experiences designed to elevate the lives of individuals and businesses. According to recent Census data, Hartford is the fourth poorest city in the country. Air will help individuals who’ve been down-sized and need to pivot or re-tool as well as those who need to elevate their lives.
Shelley is an ordained minister, pastor, visual artist and yoga instructor. Her passion is to help people and distressed communities find their purpose. Air will be the vehicle her organization uses to make that happen.
Nary Resort Wear
Long Island City, NY
Nary Resort WearLong Island City, NY
I want to create sustainable women’s luxury resort wear, ethically made by survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia to restore their hope and dignity, provide employment, and revitalize the traditional art form of weaving.
Stephanie Mayer is developing a business concept to sell sustainable women’s luxury resort wear, ethically made by survivors of human trafficking in Cambodia. Research has shown that as much as 50 percent of rescued victims return back into the cycle of human trafficking due to a lack of resources. Long term employment provides the means for them to stay out of the cycle and restore their hope and dignity. It is Stephanie’s faith and her compassion for the vulnerable that has led her to create a business with a social mission. She believes that she is called to, “do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” (Book of Isaiah 1:17a). Her brand is an ode to her mother who survived the massacre of the Cambodian people in the late 1970s. The business is inspired by her mother and others who have survived or are currently undergoing unspeakable horrors.
Village Life Reentry Support
Village Life Reentry SupportBrooklyn, NY
I want to heal our communities and reduce recidivism by creating a holistic support system for returning citizens that addresses the trauma of mass incarceration, police brutality, and gun violence.
Anthony Sandusky is a preacher, visionary leader, and social justice advocate. He works as an adjunct professor, social entrepreneur, Courage & Renewal facilitator, and organizational consultant. Anthony founded the Village Life Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire hope, renew courage, and cultivate wholeness among populations facing moments of crises across America’s villages. The Village Life Reentry Program works with communities devastated by violence, mass incarceration, and poverty.
Bourgeois BabyPhoenix, AZ
I am inspired to develop environmentally safe, quality, and affordable baby products to close the access gap for low-income parents.
Baiyina Abdas-Salaam resides in Phoenix, Arizona and works to provide psychological education and concrete resources to families through the Family Preservation model of the Department of Child Safety. Founder of Bourgeois Baby and mother, Baiyina is passionate about creating affordable baby products that are beautiful, environmentally safe, and quality-made. Baiyina is also exploring the use of technology to make baby products smarter.
She Tried It
San Leandro, CA
She Tried ItSan Leandro, CA
I want to build womxn’s courage and confidence by providing opportunities to try unconventional experiences curated with the intention of breaking social norms and challenging gender stereotypes in a safe space.
After moving to Oakland, CA to work in tech, Chasma Smith realized being in male-dominated spaces highlighted some repercussions of female discouragement—lower pay and under-representation particularly in leadership, and imposter syndrome. Chasma was inspired to develop She Tried It, which helps womxn find courage by providing curated experiences that disrupt social norms and challenge gender stereotypes. She Tried It aims to create widespread women empowerment that promotes authenticity, equality, and self-love.
JULIUS JESSUP PETERSON
JULIUS JESSUP PETERSONDecatur, GA
I believe that I am called to teach, facilitate, and build in response to the violence that is occurring in our world.
Julius Jessup Peterson is a Afro-futurist, abolitionist, psychotherapist, innovator, and ordained clergy in the United Church of Christ. Julius has over 10 years of experience as a mental health provider and is the owner of Roots, Seeds, and Branches (RSB). Located in Decatur, GA, RSB is a mental health and social justice practice that offers evidence-based and culturally sensitive psychotherapy for survivors of trauma without re-packaging outdated theories that reinforce the violence in their lives. The impact toxic institutional power has on marginalized communities motivates Julius to develop a virtual reality simulation (VRS) that addresses racial violence and trauma. This VRS has a unique focus on potential perpetrators whose perception of threat could create actions that inflict harm on people of color.
Mending Life Concepts Empowerment Group
Mending Life Concepts Empowerment GroupCartersville, GA
I want to help people work past trauma toward resilience by mending wounds and relationships that are detrimental to the healing process.
Margaret Conley is the founder of MLC Consulting and Mending Life Concepts Empowerment Group. With a focus on emotional wellness, Margaret seeks to provide faith communities with better access to spiritual and clinically trained professionals in times of distress.
GoHealth Kids Fitness Deck
GoHealth Kids Fitness DeckDetroit, MI
I believe the greatest responsibility of any productive society is stewarding the lives and futures of the next generation.
Dr. Ryan Powell, M.D., a native of Detroit, is known for his driven personality, love for people, and authentic passion for health and wellness reform and revitalization. He has over 14 years of experience in disease prevention, health/wellness, fitness, weight loss/management, and digital health innovation. Nearly 1 in 3 children in the U.S. are overweight or obese. This heartbreaking statistic fuels Ryan’s passion to improve youth engagement around health and fitness through his mobile app and augmented reality playing cards—GoHealth Kidz Fitness Deck.
Cross-Continental ConnectionsLebanon, PA
I desire to bridge the gap among women of the African diaspora to improve social, cultural, and economic relations and to create sustainable models of engagement.
The Reverend Tabitha Ssonko is pastor of the Monumental AME Church located in Steelton, PA. Inspired by her experiences in Uganda and Rwanda, Tabitha is passionate about creating experiences for women of the African diaspora to educate, engage, and support one another in developing financial independence. She is the founder of Cross-Continental Connections, a curated web platform that brings together women in the African Diaspora to create communities of social entrepreneurs through the mutual exchange of capital and ideas.
VELMA LOVEYork, SC
I want to leverage the power of storytelling for social change initiatives that addresses social division and disconnect in our communities.
Dr. Velma Love is a story practitioner who consults on the art of cultural development and community engagement. She uses stories to inspire and guide social change. Velma has over 30 years of experience in community cultural work, participatory action research, and non-profit management. A narrative coach, she is the owner of Story Catalysts Coaching & Consulting, LLC and Story Swap Supper Club. She currently resides in York, SC, where she produces the Kaleidoscope Community Storytelling Series, a monthly gathering at a local restaurant, designed to build radical empathy and address the problem of social division and disconnect.
Backyard FarmsMinneapolis, MN
I pragmatically envision how diverse neighborhoods can grow food abundance where all people are nourished and embraced.
Armel Martin is a sustainability and renewable energy consultant and helped to develop New City Backyard Farms, which operates out of New City Church (Minneapolis, MN). Backyard Farms uses the power of backyard farming to build healthy livelihoods and nourish the neighborhood. In addition, this effort raises and connects a cooperative network of farmer neighbors in the Phillips, Powderhorn, and Central community.
I stand within a tradition that has long attempted to work toward justice in the present as guided by Jesus’ ministry of inclusion and rejection of Empire.
Callid Keefe-Perry is a traveling minister within the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and lives in community in Arlington, MA. He is an organizational consultant, retreat leader, and teacher of discernment deeply influenced by both Quakerism and Ignatian spirituality. He currently serves as the executive director of ARC. ARC is a collaborative community for those who cultivate embodied and just ways of knowing and being through creative and spiritual practices. This organization envisions a just world where creativity and spirituality work together to promote the flourishing of all creation.
DWIGHT FORDDavenport, IA
My wife, Kit, and I want to create a space of hope for women healing from violence and abuse.
Rev. Dwight Ford is a church planter and the pastor of Grace City Church in Rock Island, IL. He partnered with his wife, Dr. Kit Evans-Ford, to establish Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, which is a safe space where free services are offered daily for women healing from violence and abuse in the greater Quad Cities area. In addition, Argrow’s House is also a social enterprise where women healing from violence and abuse create beautiful bath products that provide a living wage for themselves in a safe space that celebrates who they are.
ELIZABETH LE'ANANI COFFEE
Valley Learning Lab
San Antonio, TX
ELIZABETH LE'ANANI COFFEE
Valley Learning LabSan Antonio, TX
I am passionate about the local church and exploring creative ways to sustain work in ministry.
Elizabeth Le’anani Coffee grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She is Hawaiian and was raised to value, appreciate, and live out the culture of both her family and her city. San Antonio’s primarily Hispanic population, Mexican food, spirit of fiesta, and cultural emphasis on “familia” all resonate with her. She has a passion for community, the local church, and exploring creative ways to sustain work in ministry. She created the Valley Learning Lab in San Antonio, a 5-day program that challenges people to re-think community, enterprise,
Creative WeekendsDallas, TX
I want to create space and a healthy model for communities to come together to exercise creative muscles and discover new abilities.
For over 12 years, Greg Kauper has been working in the field of landscape architecture and designing outdoor environments in cities across the globe. His passion projects are Creative Weekends and the Let Us Make publication. Creative Weekends create space in a busy world that typically stifles people and their ability to pursue the creativity that makes them come alive. These weekends build community, provide practices that unlock people’s untapped creativity, showcase artistic creations, and celebrate what is being created in the community.
Little Sisters Speak
Little Sisters SpeakWashington, D.C.
I am committed to manifesting a world where women, particularly Black Women, are free.
Hazel Cherry is a free-spirited creative writer, theatre actress, minister, and advocate. She desires to create opportunities for women and girls of color to produce, write, and direct their own films and media productions. Her interest lies at the intersection of womanist theology, film and media, and popular culture. She is committed to manifesting a world where women, particularly Black Women are free. It is her hope to use Sisters’ Speak, a non-profit media production to tell the stories of women and girls of color—for them and by them.
Joseph Kitchen Project
Joseph Kitchen ProjectWashington, D.C.
I am driven by my deep passion to connect to and support those who often are ignored and seen as a threat or the source of a problem instead of the solution.
Joseph Kitchen was a native Californian living in the Washington, DC area. As a kid growing up in Fresno, California, Joseph was passionate about community organizing but lacked connections and knowledge needed to make many of his ideas thrive. Having served in a number of senior leadership roles throughout the country, Joseph wanted to connect the kids from his childhood neighborhood with the tools they need to transform their own communities. He was the founder of The Joseph Kitchen Project, which identifies young people in areas of Fresno struggling the most, provides them with a week-long training on social innovation and community development, and trains them to launch local initiatives addressing neighborhood challenges.
KIT EVANS-FORDDavenport, IA
I am driven to bring forth love, hope, and peace to women healing from violence and abuse.
Dr. Kit Evans-Ford is passionate about nonviolence, God, and serving others. She is a professor, spiritual director, and founder of Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope. Argrow’s House is a safe space where free services are offered daily for women healing from violence and abuse in the greater Quad Cities area. In addition, Argrow’s House is also a social enterprise where women healing from violence and abuse create bath products that provide a living wage for themselves in a safe space that celebrates who they are.
LAKISHA LOCKHARTRichmond, VA
The young people I work with inspire me to create a world in which they are represented, reflected, and have their voices, bodies and entire beings matter.
Lakisha Lockhart is a playful womanist educator and practical theologian who lives in Richmond, VA. She is the assistant professor of practical theology & director of STREAM Youth Theology Institute at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University and currently serves as president of ARC. ARC is a collaborative community for those who cultivate embodied and just ways of knowing and being through creative and spiritual practices. The organization envisions a just world where creativity and spirituality work together to promote the flourishing of all creation.
LYVONNE BRIGGSOakland, CA
I am fiercely committed to addressing the taboo and stigma attached to childhood sexual abuse (CSA) in the Black community.
Minister Lyvonne “Proverbs” Briggs, a New York City native, is a preacher, speaker, poet, educator, and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of beautiful scars, a boutique storytelling agency focused on trauma, healing, and resiliency. The online platform, beautiful scars, is for Black Christian women who are also survivors of childhood sexual abuse and/or male sexual violence. The platform is a tool for spiritual Black women to integrate their sexual violation into their healing journeys through the lens of their faith. By harnessing the power of narrative, Lyvonne is aiding survivors and communities to shift from silence to storytelling in order to eradicate gender-based violence.
NEICHELLE GUIDRYAtlanta, GA
I want to curate safe, supportive and empowering spaces for Black women.
Rev. Dr. Neichelle Guidry is the creator and lead curator of shepreaches, a virtual community and professional development organization that aspires to uplift African-American millennial women in ministry through theological reflection, fellowship, and liturgical curation. Shepreaches exists to demolish racism, patriarchy, and ageism in the (Black) church and is guided by theological reflection, liturgical curation, and fellowship/mentorship.
I want to build eco-justice oriented tiny houses for lower socioeconomic African American families.
Nikki Hoskins is a PhD student in Christian Social Ethics at Drew University. She is founder of Thres(hold), a project focused on providing environmentally conscious and affordable tiny homes that help African American build equity. She believes her purpose is to help communities be responsible for God’s vision on earth. Her work focuses on African American families who historically have been (and continue to be) subjected to unjust housing practices such as residential segregation, blockbusting, redlining, and restrictive covenants.
SHONDA GLADDENIndianapolis, IN
I want to cultivate communal spaces, curate stories and create resources to inspire ALL—particularly marginalized people—to live fully into their best selves.
Shonda Nicole Gladden, founder of Good to the SOUL, is committed to living life doing good in the “spirit of universal living” (SOUL). A Washington, DC native, Shonda and her post-millennial daughter, currently reside in the Midwest. As a mother, philosophical theologian and scholar-practitioner, addressing impediments to human flourishing is her passion. Through the primary work of cultivating spaces where human flourishing is central and individuals are invited to attend to the healing and well-being of their souls, Good to the SOUL seeks to become an interdisciplinary, consulting, and emerging media enterprise, producing theologically informed and creative resources, influencing change.
Backyard FarmsMinneapolis, MN
I am dedicated to making sure that neighborhoods can become safer and greener without displacing the poor and people of color.
Rev. Tyler Sit is the church planter of New City Church, which focuses on environmental justice. He is the co-founder of New City Backyard Farms, which operates out of the church and uses the power of backyard farming to build healthy livelihoods and nourish the neighborhood. Backyard Farms raises and connects a cooperative network of farmer neighbors in the Phillips, Powderhorn, and Central community. By growing in backyards, he believes that we can not only feed each other, but also create economic prosperity to build a healthy, diverse, and welcoming neighborhood for all.
ELAINE ROBINSON BEATTIE
ELAINE ROBINSON BEATTIEAtlanta, GA
I want to encourage individuals to be moral leaders, to bring God to work, and to take bold, courageous actions to impact communities for good.
Elaine Robinson Beattie is a management consultant, coach, and facilitator specializing in organizational, workforce, and leadership development, human resource management, and business coaching. Her expertise expands across corporate, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations with over 30 years of experience in leadership and management.
She is passionate about developing her clients to be effective, efficient, and profitable in their organizations while maintaining a healthy life rhythm.
In addition, Elaine has served on the Board of Directors of community, religious, and professional organizations. She attends Ben Hill UMC and is the chair of the Ben Hill Institute.
Elaine is a graduate of Emory University’s School of Theology with a master’s degree in religious leadership. She is a registered corporate coach through the World Association of Business Coaches.
Elaine is married to Rev. Dr. Charles M. Beattie II, who is also a blues musician and entrepreneur. They live in Atlanta, GA, with their beloved dog, Miss Ella Fitzgerald Robinson Beattie.
ERIN REIBELRichmond, VA
I encourage leaders to have a deep understanding of how they can positively impact the world, connecting their faith and values to every aspect of their life.
Erin Reibel has over 18 years of experience in ministry, working in a variety of positions, from youth leader to lead pastor. As a coach and mentor, she loves helping people connect theology to the practical aspects of day to day life. Erin is passionate about working with others to uncover their vision and mission so that they can take their next faithful step to positively impacting their world.
J. HOWARD KUCHER
J. HOWARD KUCHERBaltimore, MD
My work in social enterprise stems fully and completely from my conviction that it is a better way to live out my faith in caring for my fellow human and restoring human dignity.
Dr. J. Howard “Jim” Kucher is a thought leader in social entrepreneurship and the faculty program manager of the Graduate Research Innovation District at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), where he also serves as a senior lecturer in social innovation. Prior to joining UMB, Jim was an assistant professor in the Brown School of Business and Leadership at Stevenson University, where he taught courses in social and commercial entrepreneurship, marketing, management, sales, project management, and product development.
Previously, Jim was the founding executive director of Entrepreneurship Programs at the University of Baltimore, where he led the Baltimore Social Enterprise Collaborative – a program that was nationally recognized for its innovative curriculum and helped over 60 area nonprofits develop new models for meeting the needs of their constituents while increasing the sustainability of their organizations. In addition to his teaching duties, Jim is a consultant to leading and emerging social benefit initiatives to help them improve outcomes and increase sustainable revenues. He has successfully secured over $70M in working capital on behalf of mission-oriented enterprises and assisted over 100 area nonprofits and social enterprises in developing new models for meeting the needs of their constituents while increasing the sustainability of their organizations.
Accuracy Auto Glass
Accuracy Auto GlassAtlanta, GA
I want to encourage entrepreneurs to build profitable business models while implementing global improvements in society.
James Young has over 25 years of extensive consumer goods experience with a focus on entrepreneurship, financial planning and analysis, and strategic planning. He has worked with all levels of management from CEO’s to line managers in addition to cross-functional teams in sales and operations. James successfully built his first acquisition into a profitable full-service automotive glass replacement company in the Atlanta metro area, which has been in operation for over 35 years.
JERMAIL SHELTONAtlanta, GA
I have a strong desire to empower people to believe in their wildest dreams and goals while standing up to their internal fears and self-doubts.
Jermail Shelton and his wife Brandi are the proud owners of Just add honey tea co, which was established in 2006. Just add honey’s retail shop is located inside The Sweet Auburn Curb Market. They most recently opened their second retail location on the Atlanta Beltline in January 2019. During his downtime, Jermail enjoys spending time with his family, taking hikes, and reading.
KEVIN L. NICHOLS
KEVIN L. NICHOLSOakland, CA
Given my commitments and Catholic background, I want to support and empower faith-based entrepreneurs who want to create a positive impact.
Kevin L. Nichols is the founder of The Social Engineering Project, Inc., an Oakland based Google and Microsoft funded social impact venture with Stanford University designed to address the lack of diversity in the tech industry. He has worked in multifaceted capacities at law firms across the country, including Morrison & Foerster, Paul Hastings, and Holland & Knight. His interest in diversity and technology began while he was a mechanical engineering/diversity intern at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Kevin has become a social networking expert and full-time consultant specializing in litigation technology (eDiscovery), diversity, and social media marketing for the legal industry. He has been featured on LinkedIn’s Hall of Fame, Yahoo’s Blog, in the Examiner, CNN Money, Reuters, MarketWatch, and the Wall Street Journal.
KHALIL & NICOLE THOMPSON
KHALIL & NICOLE THOMPSONAtlanta, GA
As entrepreneurs, we are driven by our faith, serving others, and being an example to our children so they see us living a life of purpose and a life without regret.
Khalil and Nicole Thompson have been happily married for nearly 10 years and are the parents of two beautiful and precocious little girls, Selah (seven-years-old) and Syrai (two-years-old). Khalil is a creative visionary who has a passion for helping others unearth imaginative ways to express themselves and to solve problems in the world around them. He graduated from
However, in 2018, Khalil and Nicole answered a different path when they were inspired by their daughter Selah to start the Empowered Readers Literacy Project, a non-profit organization with a vision to turn the tide of the illiteracy epidemic in the city of Atlanta and eventually nationwide. Through their mission, Empowered Readers aims to help families build strong reading rituals and get kids excited about books.
Empowered Readers officially launched with their Inaugural March to 20Hundred Thousand Books: A Children’s March for Literacy on January 19, 2019. Through the Children’s March, Empowered Readers united Atlanta communities and children to join together to shed light on the epidemic of illiteracy and its proximal side effects on society, all while empowering children to reclaim their narratives, tell their own stories, and get excited about reading.
KIMBERLY BUTLERAtlanta, GA
I help creative entrepreneurs define their mission and vision, set goals, and refine business/personal rhythms and processes to promote healthy work-life patterns.
Kimberly Butler is the founder of The Whiteboard Room and is a business coach to creative professionals rising to the top of their industries. Kim makes it her daily mission to propel entrepreneurs and brands into their full potential for greatness. Located in Atlanta and working virtually with clients all over the world, Kim walks alongside companies and business owners to help them uncover their calling, develop purpose in daily life, and hurdle past fears and barriers to live fully alive. She accomplishes this through one-on-one coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements.
At the core, her faith is foundational in all she does—she desires to stand in the corner of fellow Christians to help them use their gifts and platforms to do good.
LINDA KAY KLEIN
LINDA KAY KLEINBrooklyn, NY
It is a deep honor for me to hold space for world-changing social entrepreneurs to chart their paths forward and advance. I do it because if they are successful, the world advances, and all of us with it.
Linda Kay Klein is the author of PURE: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free, and the founder of Break Free Together, an organization that helps people to release shame and claim their whole selves. She was previously the founding director of the Work on Purpose program at Echoing Green in New York, New York. Echoing Green is a global social entrepreneurship nonprofit that unleashes next generation talent to solve the world’s biggest problems.
With an extensive background in social entrepreneurship, social innovation and storytelling for social good, Linda’s work has been featured by NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Vice, Elle, Good Housekeeping, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, Fox News online, and other major media outlets. A regular speaker and teacher,
Linda was awarded the NYU Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship for her work on religiously rooted sexual shame and judged the Forbes 30 Under 30 faith-based initiative, and the Echoing Green, AshokaU and NYU Reynolds Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship competitions. She has experience on the advisory boards of the New York University’s Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life and Our Inner Lives, the board of trustees at the Forum for Theological Exploration, and is a founding board member of the Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts and JumpStart Academy. In addition, she has served as the director of communications and the program officer for The Sister Fund, a foundation supporting gender equality in the world’s major religious traditions.
LUKE KELLERClarkston, GA
From an early age, I was taught that it is the responsibility of those who have access to means to serve those faced with injustice. Ultimately, what I create—in business or for pleasure—will come from my desire and commitment to serve.
Luke Keller grew up in the Atlanta area and attended Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After school, he worked in business development for Lauren Engineering and Construction, based in Texas. Later he founded The Lantern Project (now Tekton Career Training) training refugees in construction skills such as welding, pipe fitting, masonry, carpentry, and electrical. Over 200 men and women have graduated the program since inception. Luke also served as partner and president of Amplio Recruiting. Amplio Recruiting helps great companies get connected to the reliable refugee workforce. In 2018, they helped over 300 men and women obtain full-time jobs in Atlanta, Raleigh, Houston, and Dallas. Currently, Luke is working for Samara—a leader in the technology industry. Samara aims to increase the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the operations that power our economy.
Commercial Real Estate Advisor
Commercial Real Estate AdvisorAtlanta, GA
A strong community is built from healthy and mutually beneficial relationships. I hope to add value to entrepreneurs in a specific way that fits their needs.
Mahzé is a licensed commercial real estate advisor at T. Dallas Smith & Company, who represents fortune 100 companies to local business in office & industrial transactions. A dual degree Georgia State alumnus, Mahzé received a BBA in Real Estate & Finance while pursuing his current career in commercial real estate. He has a strong passion for helping clients and others with his problem solving and analytical skillset.
MATT ELSBERRYAlpharetta, GA
Life is too short to separate the good you want to do in the world from the paid work you do to sustain yourself.
Matt Elsberry is an explorer and adventurer who loves working and interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds. He currently serves as the president of Livful, a company that has created a technology that powers products to repel biting insects to fight disease, save lives, and transform communities around the world. After helping a nonprofit expand from three to 80 countries in six years, Matt decided to dedicate his life to blurring the line between social impact and business. Inspired by his faith, he and his wife spent five years in Jakarta, Indonesia, where they increased the Bumi Raya Group’s profitability through their three companies and several private ones. While there, he worked with a team of leaders to start the Kingdom Entrepreneurship Academy, an incubator that encourages entrepreneurs to restoratively serve others in a sustainable (profitable) way. He sees his work at LivFul as a shining example of how a company can address important societal needs while building a profitable business.
SCARLETT ROSIERAtlanta, GA
Entrepreneurship is a rewarding journey, but it can also be a lonely one. I want to be a trusted sounding board, offering support to ensure that at least one more person can follow their dreams.
Scarlett Rosier joined forces with her business-partner-in-crime, Karen McKenzie, to form Rhyme & Reason Design in late 2008. More than a decade later, she has become a force in traditional and digital marketing strategies. Through her work with community and association clients, Scarlett has become an expert at synthesizing customer needs and developing campaigns focused on awareness and engagement.
A firm believer in a research-first approach, Scarlett and her account team are able to effectively partner with clients to bring their marketing objectives from big ideas to beautiful results.
Beyond day-to-day operations and client management, Scarlett also speaks and blogs about the importance of building a values-based business culture, the impact of positive client/employee relationships and of course, the ever-changing world of marketing and communications.
Scarlett earned a bachelor’s degree in Advertising and a master’s degree in International Advertising from the University of Florida.