President and Co-Founder
VP - Job Coach & Ticket to Work Specialist
Job Plus Program, Employment Specialist
2018 Board Members
Ms. Kelley Eaves Boykin (1st Term)
MBA Director of Career Services, Brightwood College
Mr. Jacques Jean (3rd Term)
Nurse Practitioner, Advent Health Solutions/Novant Health
Mr. Dominique Camm (1st Term)
ESQ, The Freedman Law Firm
Ms. Sherreka Tharps (2nd Term)
Human Resources Business Partner,
Roundpoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation
Ms. Donna Johnson (2nd Term)
Director of Training,
Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services
Mr. Billy McDowell (1st Term)
Formal Vice President Alliance Bank & Trust
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TEAM
Mrs. Grace Smith
A passionate servant in the community, as well as a licensed and certified teacher, Grace spent more than 20 years educating youth in some of the most challenging communities in Charlotte; Cleveland, Ohio; and Toronto, Ontario. Grace has an Associate's degree in liberal arts and two Bachelor’s degrees - one in sociology and the other in education. Grace also serves as the community outreach leader for her church and sits on the church’s Board of Directors. As a former Division I athlete, Grace turns her competitive nature into service for the betterment of others. Grace’s favorite bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strength’s me.”
Mr. Kenneth Smith
Kenneth spent 25 years in various positions in the corporate world working for some of the world’s most prestigious companies, including Wells Fargo Financial, American Express and General Electric. He has won numerous awards in the areas of sales and customer service. Kenneth has an Associate's degree in accounting and a Bachelor’s degree in finance. He also has certificates in non-profit management and business and has completed six sigma green belt training. In addition, Kenneth is an author and a church deacon and serves on his church board. He and his wife are community outreach leaders and Kenneth serves as the board chair for the church's pre-school. In his spare time, Kenneth enjoys taking long walks with his wife and dog, cooking and spending time with their two boys, Kenneth Jr., 19, and Emmanuel, 12.
Mrs. Sophie Underwood
Mrs. Underwood is employed with Grace-Mar Services, Inc. as an employment specialist for the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Southside Job Plus Program. Prior to this position, she was the WorkfFirst program manager for the Urban League of Central Carolinas. Sophie decided to follow her passion of helping people to live better lives after ending a 30-year career in benefits administration with Duke Energy Corp. She then received her A.A.S. degree in human services from Central Piedmont Community College, where she was an AmeriCorps participant and a member of Phi-Theta-Kappa Honor Society.
Sophie also assists her husband with their transitional housing program, New Life House, Inc., and has volunteered with multiple community efforts, including the Domestic Violence Speaker’s Bureau, Beauty for Ashes Ministry, Charlotte Men’s Shelter, Return Ministries, and Jacob’s Ladder Job Center.
Ms. Markita Y. Smalls
Ms Smalls is a business professional that has been in banking and finance for over 20 years and has been responsible for leading, coaching and developing teams while focusing on achieving sales goals and all operations of financial centers. She graduated from Antioch University, Yellow Springs, Ohio in 2004 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Humanities with an emphasis on Religion and Classical studies.
Markita lived in Dayton, Ohio for 22 years before relocating to Charlotte, NC in 2015 with her 10 year old son. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership. She now sits on two Boards to include Princess Pearls and the Epilepsy Foundation of the Miami Valley. Through her education and experience her passion lies in helping people to meet both their personal and professional goals. She is currently working with Grace Mar as a Community Specialist where she is able to realize her passion for people on a daily basis.
Ms. Tahkira Sampson-Pearson
Tahkira Pearson is the Assistant of Kenneth Smith at Grace-Mar Services Inc. She joined the team with a background in Business Communications. She takes pride in her ability to multi task priorities within the workplace and has always known that she wanted to work for a non-profit organization that targets benefiting the community. Now landing an Assistant roll under Kenneth Smith at Grace-Mar, she believes that with time she will do exceedingly well.
In addition to Ms. Pearson's Business Communications background, she has also taken interest in Sociology to understand the cycle of human development. Her favorite motto is “In order to see results, you have to take action”. Tahkira applies this motto to her everyday life to ensure growth. With a sincere passion to help people, she feels as though Grace-Mar is a unique fit for her career.
Ms. Cherillee Lewis
Cherillee has always taken pride in her ability to outshine and complete tasks exceedingly well. This became evident to her when she repeatedly won "Best Photo" at her University’s photo exhibition two years in a row. Yet, she is best known for her independence and her charisma in motivating others to step up and have confidence in taking action.
Since becoming more aware of her talents, Ms. Lewis has been taking classes to be certified as a National Apartment Leasing Professional. She is fixated on achieving her every goal and approaches them with diligence and dedication. She is committed to sharing her passions with those around her and helping their passions flourish.
Mr. Richard Butler
Richard D. Butler was born and raised in Ware Shoals, located in Greenwood County, South Carolina. He has always had an enthusiasm, and involvement in the construction industry working at a young age as a carpenter for two uncles who owed their own residential contracting business. Mr. Butler has always been personally involved in outreach and construction programs in the community and have worked in Education for over 30 years teaching Industrial Technology, Engineering, Drafting, Architecture, and Construction.
His professional certifications and licenses includes:
Professional Teachers Certification in North Carolina in the area of Industrial Technology
OSHA Authorized Construction Trainer
I am proficient in computer use of various educational software and platforms
Curriculum development in implementation of training and learning programs
Mr. Butler’s philosophy of education consists of a belief that all individuals can learn and for education to be meaningful it must be relevant, and better preparing the individuals to be productive citizens in a rapidly changing technological society.