Our Guest Speakers

In addition to our core group of faculty and coaches, we work with motivational speakers who bring a wealth of industry experience in working with our youth. We draw on their wisdom and talent to inspire and energize the room by sharing their life stories, providing advice, and helping young adults see the world from a different perspective.

Aaliyah Polite is a native Washingtonian and has been working in the District of Columbia for the past six years. She began her career in the District as a behavioral specialist at Ballou Senior High School.

She now works as a youth and family case manager where she helps coordinate the links between the families of DC and the services that would propel them out of hardship. Aaliyah has been a speaker with Community Family Life Services to educate individuals on the problem of youth incarceration in the District of Columbia. 

Recognized as Forbes 30 under 30 for achievements on and off the field, Amobi Okugo is a first generation Nigerian American, professional soccer player, founder of Frugal Athlete, philanthropist launching the Ok U Go Foundation, content creator on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Apple Podcasts. Consulting athletes, brands, and companies to leverage their opportunities, increase their network, and upscale their marketing skills, Amobi’s passion for excellence, self-growth, and entrepreneurship have made him a linchpin for business development ideas. He loves cultivating strategic partnerships bringing success and value to all his clients.

Darryl “D.Rey” Reynolds is most known for his contribution during Villanova’s 2016 National Title run but has spent the last few years pursuing the Arts. After a career halting injury in 2018, he was forced into what seemed to be an early retirement. He immediately started coaching at his Alma Mater as the Director of Player Development while building a presence in the media with his show “Stay Tuned with D.Rey”. Once the show landed guest spots on FS1 and NBC Sports Philadelphia, he decided to pursue a full time career in entertainment after leaving Villanova in October of 2019. Over the next 2 years he built up a presence on the East Coast through his company Stay Tuned Network. After being a part of the making of the Netflix film ‘Hustle’,  he ultimately decided to move to Los Angeles in pursuit of a filmmaking career. Now, an actor, TedX Speaker and self published artist, D. Rey uses his athletic background to fuel his Art driven future.

Herbert R. Tillery is the Founder and retired Executive Director of the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia, a non-profit that provides low-income, underserved students the academic, social, emotional, and financial support they need to graduate from high school on-time, complete college and thrive in life. Herb served his country with distinction for over 26 years and retired with the rank of Colonel, U.S. Army. He has held various senior executive leadership positions, most notable, Deputy Mayor for Operations, Government of the District of Columbia; A 2017 winner of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement Gelman Rosenberg and Freedman, Excellence in Chief Executive Leadership (EXCEL) Award, Mr. Tillery’s past community service included Board of Directors, Greater Washington Urban League; the Board of Directors, Washington DC Police Foundation; member, Leadership Greater Washington and, an inductee to the North Carolina A&T State University ROTC Hall of Fame. He is also a Life Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Kena Cofield-Jones has over 30 years of progressive Human Resources experience that includes management, talent acquisition, business process reengineering, and training. Kena has served in various senior management positions within the public sector as a key HR advisor and strategic business partner. She was also the adjunct professor at Trinity University – Washington, D.C., where she taught undergraduate and graduate level courses in business and human resources. Kena holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Virginia State University, a Master’s of Business Administration with a concentration in Management from the University of the District of Columbia and has a Master’s Degree of Philosophy from Walden University. Additionally, she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change at Walden University.

Strong is one distinctive word to use when describing Khadija Jones. As a foster care youth, Khadija rose above statistics, labels, and stereotypes. Khadija uses her voice to empower women to share their stories, dismiss stigmas, and focus on healing. By day, you can find her managing rental properties in the nation’s Capital while simultaneously educating, encouraging, and inspiring women to speak up and tell their stories. Khadija received her B.A. from Morgan State University and is an activist and advocate for young mothers experiencing barriers. She is a former foster care youth, a doula/lactation consultant, and Certified Property Manager.

Paul Taylor is a native Washingtonian. He currently works at DC Department of Correction under the College and Career Readiness Division as a Program Specialist where he spearheads a Cognitive Thinking Course called “Thinking for a Change. Since joining DOC Paul has had his footprint all over the agencies from recruiting, inspiring, mentoring, enlightening and encouraging residents about the importance of taking advantage of the innovative programs being offered at the Jail. During FY18 11,000 inmates have taken advantage of the programs. Before joining DOC Paul used to be the Site-Lead at King Greenleaf Recreation Center where he helped to transform that Center into one of the most utilized and productive Centers in the city. Paul is also the founder and Executive Director of the Southwest Comm-Unity Forum (SWCF) – a non-profit organization that provides an array of mentoring, educational, and recreational activities for SW youth.

Pernether (MS. P) Pratt  is the CEO at PJ Relocators, an 8(a) certified moving company, located in Maryland. Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. Skilled in Management, Customer Service, Leadership, Project Management, and Microsoft Office. Pernether graduated from Prince George’s Community College, and is passionate about helping youth to live up to their greatest potential.

Portia Obeng is a social media strategist with over 10 years of experience in social media strategy and content management. She started before Snaps were chatted, Instagram had stories, and Tiks were toked; and her current specialties are Instagram and LinkedIn. She works to help people and organizations understand how they can use social media, not let social media use them. She encourages them to step away from continuous mindless scrolling and figure out how to use social media to enhance their work, lives, and personal brands. She loves letting people know that they don’t have to be on every platform and they don’t have to dance on TikTok to gain brand awareness and generate leads!

Precious L. Williams is a 13-time national elevator pitch champion who has also successfully appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” CNN, Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Black Enterprise Magazine. She has even slayed 2 TEDx Talks!

Precious, through her pitching skills and talents, has also watched her clients win millions of dollars in pitch competition money, secure lucrative speaking and corporate training contracts, and launch their next beautiful NOW! 

Shae Harris is the Mid-Atlantic Region Director for Corporate Responsibility at JP Morgan Chase. In this role she leads strategic engagement among consumer, business and nonprofit leaders while promoting community centered solutions to address persistent drivers of economic inequality in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Strategy and Project Manager for the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice (DMPSJ). 

While there, Ms. Harris played an integral role in standing up the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE). Her leadership and energy were instrumental to the success of several key projects, including the launch of the inaugural Women’s Empowerment Conference inside the DC Jail, and the establishment of The READY Center, which serves as a one-stop shop for returning citizens. Her ability to bring stakeholders to the table did not go unnoticed: in 2019 she became the recipient of the 19th Annual Cafritz Awards Program for Distinguished DC Government employees.