the team

the team

founder + ceo

Tammie Jones brings her razor sharp mind and intrinsic passion for lifting up people to this work. After completing her MBA at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Tammie built upon her nonprofit experience in youth development to establish portfolios of work across multiple domains impacting children, from schools to parents/caregivers to neighborhoods. Her career has spanned nonprofits and philanthropy, with senior positions at Detroit Parent Network, The Skillman Foundation and United Way for Southeastern Michigan. For two years, Tammie served as an Executive in Residence at EarlyWorks, llc, helping to provide executive counsel, strategy development and implementation support to nonprofit organizations and community-based groups.

Tammie is honored to serve as a board member at the BFDI Training Institute.

project consultants

Marcus Jones is a social entrepreneur who has helped to seed an array of programs, services and businesses to improve the lives of Detroiters. Marcus helped to found the Detroit Training Center, a vocational education center that trained over 10,000 students in the areas of construction, heavy equipment, commercial trucking, landscaping, and diesel mechanics. Since then, Marcus has helped develop the ReBuild Detroit program with SER Metro, engaging unemployed youth and returning citizens in skilled trades training. He has also created a hospitality training program as a talent pipeline strategy for Detroit Pizza Bar, which has helped the restaurant recruit and hire high-quality employees residing in the nearby Bagley and Fitzgerald neighborhoods. Marcus obtained his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Georgia and his Masters in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development and a Masters of Science in Environmental Policy and Planning from the University of Michigan.

Carla Wellborn is a dynamic youth development professional born and raised in Detroit, who is now pursuing her Ph.D. as a student in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University. Previously, Carla served as the Director of Programs for Winning Futures, an organization committed to empowering students in and around the city of Detroit to succeed through workforce prep and mentoring programs. Carla led all program design, implementation, and evaluation. This work earned her multiple recognitions as an Esteemed Woman of Michigan (2017), as one of Wheaton College’s 30 alumni under 30 who are impacting the world (2019), andas a recipient of the Sam Cupp Legacy Award (2020). Before entering the non-profit realm, Carla taught English Literature and Reading Enrichment in Detroit and Chicago. Carla earned her bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Secondary Education from Wheaton College and received her M.Ed in Urban Pedagogy through a teacher-residency program in Chicago, IL.

John Ray is a skilled education leader who’s provided services to students and communities across the country with a focus on bringing equity to historically underserved areas. As a nonprofit leader he worked to bridge the STEM opportunity gap in partnership with institutions including University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Google, and General Motors. He specializes in program development, implementation, and assessment. John is an experienced facilitator trained in Design Thinking and applies DEI strategies through content, virtual/in-person sessions, learning opportunities, and coaching. John is a former classroom teacher and school leader in Detroit, MI, and Houston, TX. He holds his Master of Arts in Education from University of St. Thomas-Houston and Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Sociology from University of Michigan.

Carmen Thomas, principal of Capacity Solutions LLC, has more than 20 years of experience in community development, financial compliance and nonprofit management. Carmen’s specialties include organizational development and capacity building, project management, administering grants/contracts per federal rules and regulations and/or specific grant/contract language in collaboration with multiple partners. Over the last ten years, Ms. Thomas served as financial consultant for several major federal and state grants.


capacity building consultants

Monica Marie Jones is nationally-renowned for her facilitation, which supports adult learning in a myriad of styles and formats. Her work spans corporate, government and nonprofit sectors, where she helps to create transformational programs that reconnect leaders and teams to their careers with passion and purpose.

Jeannine Gant of Gigantic Concepts has a lived perspective on the unique challenges facing leaders of color. She possesses 32 years of nonprofit experience with deep knowledge in the areas of board governance and engagement, resource development, individual, corporate and foundation giving, strategic planning, operations, and program growth. 

Kaino Phillips is Pontiac born and raised. He is the son of the late Mayor and Michigan House of Representative Clarence Phillips and lifelong educator Lorene Phillips. Kaino has been in the field of corporate sales and management for close to 22 years. Currently, he serves in the position of President/CEO of the Clarence Phillips Ascend Foundation

n8 Mullen brings his artistic sensibilities to his work as a consultant and coach, helping to bring a strong human-centered design lens and a focus on somatic practice. Somatic practice helps leaders to recognize where they feel different emotions in their bodies and strengthening their leadership skills in response.

Tekiendria Batts is an experienced leader and connector with a demonstrated history of relationship-building, developing and exceeding team goals. She currently serves as the Executive Director, Health Education at Wayne State University, and has previously held leadership roles with Covenant Care and the Detroit Medical Center. A strong service professional, she is skilled at providing staff development in the areas of operations, customer service, business process improvement, and health administration. She is particularly skilled at helping organizations (1) develop and document their standard operating procedures, (2) align these to recruitment and training of staff, and (3) collect performance data and engage in continuous improvement.