Staff and Board | grace-marservices


President and Co-Founder

Mr. Kenneth Smith

VP - Job Coach & Ticket to Work Specialist

Mrs. Grace Smith

Job Plus Program, Employment Specialist 

Mrs. Sophie Underwood

Community Specialist

Ms. Markita Y. Smalls

Administrative Assistant

Ms. Tahkira Sampson-Pearson

Marketing Specialist

Ms. Cherillee Lewis

Construction Manager 

Mr. Richard Butler

Business Developement Partner/Job Developer

Mr. Kenneth Robinson

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




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.

Mrs. Sophie Underwood

Employment Specialist

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

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.

Mr. Richard Butler

Construction Manager

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.

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.

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.


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. Kenneth Robinson

Business Development Partner/Job Developer

Kenny Robinson is proof that given a second chance, most people with some determination can become successful. Kenny Robinson comes from a troubled childhood that lead him to selling drugs at the age of 13 years old and eventually landed him in federal prison for nearly a decade. Kenny Robinson went to prison at the age of 24 years old and left 5 children between the ages of 4 and 9 years old, determine to be a better father Kenny spent the majority of his time in prison reading over 1000 books and serving as a mentor to other men in prison while completing over two dozen programs and creating two programs with other role model men in prison. Upon his release Kenny didn’t waste any time seeking training and employment, Kenny went to many different programs in the Charlotte area seeking resources and assistance before finally getting his first job which he was very proud of even though it was at minimum wage.

Kenny Robinson continued to take programs and pursue better employment, after taking a 2 week training course in automotive sales Kenny was hired as a salesman at a franchise dealership. In 6 months Kenny quickly rose to top salesman in the store and within a year was top salesman for Mazda in Charlotte. Kenny has worked for brands such as Mazda, Hyundai, Honda and BMW. Kenny was promoted to finance manager and then new car sales manager where he has completed many certifications in sales training and finance compliance. Kenny Robinson was able to go from federal prison to making a 6 figure income which allowed him to assist all 5 of his children through high school, and even found time to go back to the same programs he took and inspire the men and women to stay the course on their search for employment, it is here that Kenny found his passion and decided to retire from the automotive industry and serve those in the community who have been released from prison and desire to make a positive change. Kenny Robinson is active in his community and is a founding member of his church, he enjoys spending time with children and 5 grandchildren.

Contact Us

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

(980) 867-8675 ext. 1692

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