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Leadership With A Conscience: Meet Our Newest Change Agent Fellows

Have you ever dreamt of changing the world? These new change agents have. Being a change agent is a pretty powerful title that leads to a lot of responsibility. The most effective agents of change can recognize the need for change and create a strategy for action. In many cases, a change agent implements the change they envision throughout a business, community, or another type of social group.

These change agent fellows were selected to join a community of changemakers committed to enacting real, lasting social change in their communities. They deal with more opposition, rejection, and challenges than the average person. Yet, a change agent has an unstoppable drive to connect and organize others for the most significant advantage of all those involved.

Meet the new Change Agent Fellows of Black Girl Ventures:


Renai Ellison serves as a Reconciliation and Leadership Coach, Consultant, & Facilitator. She is the Founder & CEO of EMBRACE LIFE Enterprises and leads with love rather than fear. Renai earned a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in Organizational Leadership at Stockton University and is currently studying Diversity and Inclusion at Cornell University.

Devon Caudle is a Philadelphia native who is passionate about community engagement and ethical development. She leveraged her career experience in multi-family property management and leasing to create her own boutique property management company.

C&C Property Management stands for community and care. The goal is to assist minority homeowners with real estate asset management while providing low to middle-income renters with safe and affordable housing.

Loretta Gary is the Founder and designer behind a bold art and gift brand called Radical Hearts Print Lab, committed to creatively supporting everyday activism. A self-taught graphic designer from Philadelphia, PA, Loretta holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology & Anthropology and Film & Media Studies from Swarthmore College. Loretta believes deeply in collective power, and economic justice is a prominent theme throughout everything she does.


Dr. Calisha Brooks is a Detroit native, Fisk University alum, and a champion for Black Mental Health. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Tennessee State University and received her training from the University of Notre Dame and Vanderbilt University. She believes that “our community is our immunity” and teaches her daughter using words and actions to build a legacy.

Alice Msachi is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the principal owner of NKC Accounting, offering tax preparation, tax planning, tax resolution, accounting, and QuickBooks® consulting services. Alice is passionate about guiding entrepreneurs to save money on taxes and take charge of their cash flow by implementing best practices to create a solid foundation for a financially sustainable business.

Alexis Williams is the co-owner of Selfie City Cincy, located in her hometown Cincinnati, OH. After obtaining her B.S. in Public Relations, she returned to Cincinnati to further her education at the Ohio Media School. Alexis is the Co-host of Concrete Rose the Podcast and serves on the High Achievers Aim High Nonprofit board.

Stepping out on faith, Dr. Terri M. Hurdle established T Marie Consulting, where she serves as the Executive Director. She is the former Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Mount St. Joseph University and Instructor for the Center of Ethical Leadership’s Pathways program.

Cyrina Thomas utilizes her background in chemical engineering and tech to democratize the plastic industry. As Chief Plastic Officer at Precious Plastic Cincy, Cyrina is creating a global movement by One Army to Tackle the Plastic Waste Problem. Precious Plastic Cincy started as a workspace to bring the same movement to Cincinnati. Cyrina graduated from FAMU and currently resides in Cincinnati.

Erikka Gray is a charismatic entrepreneur, passionate about entrepreneurship, diversity, and community. Erikka is the owner of District 78, a Mood Co. specializing in elevating every space through hand-poured luxury candles, houseplant, and hand-selected adornments by other Black-owned businesses. District 78 manufacturers candles for boutiques and niche retail spaces. Erikka is also co-owner of PAUSE, an alternative collaborative wellness space in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Ticina Williams is an author, business consultant, and community leader from Chicago, IL. She is an alumnus of Chicago State University (Business Administration/Management) and the owner of Creativiti Custom Designs and Events LLC., an event planning, design, and party supply company. Ticina’s purpose using her talents and skills to provide resources and opportunities to disinvested communities.

Lakeeta Williams is the Founder and CEO of Keeta’s Place Inc., a life coach program for middle school and high school-aged girls in low-income and underserved communities. You can always catch her saying things like give us your ordinary girls of today and let us turn them into the extraordinary Women Of Tomorrow. Lakeeta is a genuine Change Agent.

Leah Castleberry is the Founder & Chief Strategist of LYC Strategies, LLC. Leah is passionate about using her business acumen to support entrepreneurs and small business owners in achieving their business goals. As a business strategist and tech equity advocate, she explores how innovative technologies create a more equitable future for marginalized communities.

Dana Todd Pope is a Chicago-based mompreneur, visual artist, & author. She's Fearlessly Hue's founder, which provides wall art prints, pillows, and clothing highlighting Black children & the author of "Know Money, Grow, Money," a children's picture book.

Shanté Elliott is passionate about education, college access, and servant leadership. She's the founder of TasselTurn, a social impact company that uses technology to match foster care-involved youth to post-secondary opportunities at colleges. Shanté channeled her lived experience into a solution that provides youth in foster care the opportunity to meet their collegiate aspirations, build wealth, and dream again.

Ariel DeNey Rainey is a Global Creative Strategist and Urban Family Advocate dedicated to changing the world. She has also worked with brands such as American Black Film Festival, MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters organization, and BET as a Creative Strategist for their digital and non-digital needs.

Ariel DeNey is the mastermind behind the Hustle Mommies nonprofit organization and movement. She has connected hundreds of mothers to careers, personal development, celebrity engagement, grants and scholarships, and a plethora of other resources. Her Facebook community of over 58,000 moms has become a social media hot spot for urban moms seeking to promote their business and elevate their parenting skills.

During the 2020 pandemic, the Hustle Mommies helped bury five kids affected by inner-city gun violence. It led to the creation of the initiative PAINT THE HOOD ORANGE to support the Hustle Mommies in the Trenches program. Her work with the Hustle Mommies movement led to her cannabis startup, “The Mary Jane Group,” where the company’s goal is to provide quality products and to ensure equity by making sure Hustle Mommies and their families can work within the cannabis industry.

Under her leadership, the Hustle Mommies organization has received awards from Mayor Aja Brown and the City of Compton, President Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President, the WNBA Chicago Sky basketball team, and received recognition from the Obama Foundation. She is the proud mom of The Mogul Kids, a creative collective of her children Morgan and DJ, and currently resides in the Chicagoland area.


Lisa M. Wilkinson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (LMFT), turned behavioral health business strategist, and serial entrepreneur. Lisa is the owner of LMW Therapy Services and Behavioral Health and Wellness Consulting Group. Lisa’s passion is helping others start, improve, and revitalize their behavioral health and mental health businesses.

Benita C. Gordon is the owner of Global Education Concierge, LLC. A concierge service that provides coaching, consulting, training, recruitment, retention, and relocation services. Working with educators, educational institutions, and community stakeholders to any and eliminate roadblocks in the world of education. She runs Global Education Academy online grades K-12 and a podcast, The Education Concierge Podcast. GGEC focuses on progressive education.

Anita Francois founded the Black Travel Summit with the mission to support, expand, and enhance the voice of Black travel industry professionals, travelers and influencers through live and virtual events year-round.


Krista Martins is the Founder of Wukkout!®, a high-energy Caribbean Dance Fitness class designed to make you sweat and have fun just like you would at a Caribbean Carnival. She also created the nationally accredited Wukkout! She's also developed an instructor training program where she's a business coach for fitness and wellness professionals and other entrepreneurial dreamers ready to grow their brand and take action in their business.

Ama Gordon is CEO and Co-founder of Global Fertility Connections which provides education, support, and concierge services for women and families who seek egg freezing, IVF, and surrogacy. After graduating from Magna Cum Laude from Temple University, she later earned an MBA from Fordham University and has since pursued her passion for helping others realize their dreams and building their families.

Shavonne Marshall-Wells is the Founder of MLNNNYC. After graduating high school with honors in broadcast journalism and film production, Shavonne went on to study International Trade and Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Shavonne formed a distinct group of creatives through her advocacy for sisterhood within the community. Love, transparency, and mastery have been the guiding words on her journey.

BGV is excited to be working along with some phenomenal women this year for the next nine months. We are incredibly honored and thrilled to facilitate them to grow as individuals, grow as leaders and change-makers in their communities. We look forward to supporting seeing their businesses thrive.

Subscribe to the Digital Orange Juice for juicy ideas and the people who fund them. You can find out about our next pitch competitions here. Also, be sure to join our new community BGV Connect!

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