OUR STAFF

President and Co-Founder

Mr. Kenneth Smith

VP - Job Coach & Ticket to Work Specialist

Mrs. Grace Smith

Family Self-Sufficiency Program, Supervisor

Mrs. Robin Craig

Job Plus Program, Employment Specialist 

Mrs. Sophie Underwood

Family Self-Sufficiency Program, Case Managers

Ms. Decora Cooper

Mrs. Sha'Tonia Chapman

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Tahkira Sampson-Pearson

Mrs. Venetha C. Jeffers

Marketing Specialist

Ms. Cherillee Lewis

Community Sepcialist

Ms. Markita Y. Smalls

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

Co-founder 

Mr. Kenneth Smith

President/Founder

Ms. Robin Craig

Supervisor

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.

Mrs. Sophie Underwood

Employment Specialist

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.

Ms. Decora Cooper

Case Manager

Robin Craig has served in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years, as program manager for homebuyer education and financial literacy programs for low-to-moderate income families. She joined Grace-Mar Services in May 2015 as supervisor for the Family Self-Sufficiency Program, administered by Charlotte Housing Authority. She has extensive experience and knowledge of best practices for homeownership program design, implementation, and organizational development. These are the forefront of her strength and talent within the Affordable Housing Industry. In her current position, she builds community partnerships and links referral services for family and housing resources, and administers programs and best practices for case managers, as well as participants. Over her lifetime, she has been blessed with a plethora of skills, knowledge, talents, and gifts. Her main objective in life is to serve the LORD. In doing so, she serves on the Women’s Leadership Team at her church home. In addition, Robin holds a Bachelor’s degree in management from Montreat College. She is a licensed real estate agent and a certified housing counselor.  Robin continues to encourage others and enjoys who God is in her life.

Mrs. Sha'Tonia Chapman

Case Manager

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. 

Born and raised in the urban community of St. Louis, Mo.  Mrs. Cooper relocated to Charlotte, NC in hopes of creating a better life for herself and her children. While participating in the Family self-sufficiency program, she completed her Associates Degree in Communications at CPCC in 2012. As an employee of the same, DeCora worked over 10 years in both the Financial Aid Department and Basic Skills Department. As an administrator at CPCC she assisted students with acquiring financial aid, GED, HiSet and ESL diplomas.  In 2014 she married and began living the American dream but there was still something missing. DeCora wanted to give back to her community and so she began a career in Human Services. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, DeCora accepted a position with Mecklenburg County Economic Services Department as a Human Service Specialist. As a recertification worker in the SNAP program she gained invaluable experience in case management.  Mrs. Cooper states, “As a previous recipient of the self-sufficiency program one of my goals was to be on the other side of the table. With prayer, perseverance, and the help of Grace Mar I now have the opportunity to begin working within my purpose.” 

“Three Jobs, Two Children, One Degree and One Determined Lady!” Is how DeCora was described in the May 2013 Edition of the CHA monthly newsletter. A former Boulevard Homes resident, DeCora received a Housing Choice Voucher when the Charlotte Housing Authority received a HOPE VI grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, allowing CHA to tear down those aging apartments and replace them with a vibrant mixed-income community, the Retreat at Renaissance property.DeCora also serves as a volunteer with the Guardian Ad Litem Child Advocacy Program, Answer Scholarship Alumni Association, and the Harvest Center Charlotte.

Mrs. Sha’Tonia  Chapman is a  native of Detroit, MI and has recently relocated to Charlotte, NC. Sha’Tonia has always had a passion for helping others since she was a youth. She takes pride in saying “I didn’t choose social work, social work chose me”. For over 15 years Mrs. Chapman has been an active and intricate part of her community and church. She has served her community as a social worker and educator. Sha’Tonia has been a social worker for at-risk- youth, women and  children of domestic violence, adoption and foster care, behavioral health, hospice and convicted felons. Sha’Tonia also has a desire to educate and have been blessed to impact the lives of youth as an educator at DPS (Detroit Public Schools) and CMS (Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools).  Mrs. Chapman acknowledges that without a solid foundation that includes; God, family, friends, community partners and countless opportunities to grow that she would not have had the support and exposure needed to fulfill her passion.

 Sha’Tonia is a mother of two  beautiful daughters and have been married to her high school sweetheart for 8 years. Some of her hobbies includes roller skating, shopping and hosting game nights for her family and friends. Sha’Tonia has her Associates Degree in Human Services, Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with a concentrate in Social Work and is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work.  Her favorite quote is “You may not always remember what someone said but you will always remember how they made you feel. –Maya Angelo”.  She wants every person she encounters to leave her office feeling valued, loved and that the sky is the limit.

Mrs. Venetha C. Jeffers

Administrative Assistant

Venetha C. Jeffers is the Administrative Assistant of Kenneth Smith at Grace-Mar Services Inc. in Columbia, South Carolina.  She joined the team with a background in mortgage and   Health Insurance. She takes great pride in being a team player and learning all that she can so that she can excel to the next level.  She has the ability to multi-task priorities within the workplace and when given a task she will see it through.

 

Mrs. Venetha is married with 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Her motto is “Enjoy each day because tomorrow is not promised”.  She is known for her sweet and kind spirit and willingness to help anyone she comes in contact with that may be in need. Becoming a part of Grace-Mar will let her shine in helping others that are in need.

Ms. Tahkira Sampson-Pearson

Administrative Assistant

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

Marketing Specialist

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.

Ms. Lewis has always loved the art of persuasion as it relates to marketing and curiously came up with the idea of testing her abilities by going door to door selling books. In a culture where most find it daunting to read a book, she was able to make $26,000.00 in 3 months selling health and religious books. She learned that her personal self-worth and confidence appear strong, even when she was not.

 

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.

Ms. Markita Y. Smalls

Community Specialist

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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.

615 E 6th Street Ste. 116
Charlotte, NC 28202

(980) 867-8675 ext. 1692

infogracemar@gracemar.org

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