Dr. Lagena L. Smith

Dr. Smith is a visionary, a coalition builder, and servant leader who can connect with any individual on any level.  She has always been a strong advocate against injustices directed at disadvantaged individuals and is very passionate about economic empowerment, social welfare, and alleviating poverty in the community.  She founded Inspiring G-Style, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization with the mission of improving employability, aptitude skills, and life skills of disadvantaged individuals.  The vision is to better secure the success of disadvantaged individuals in the workplace and ultimately become economically self-sufficient.  She is now taking on “the call for action” to be a difference maker in the community by inspiring hope and providing the supportive services for the disadvantaged.  The driving force behind Dr. Smith’s passion for helping the underprivileged originates from her upbringing that taught her the importance of giving to the less fortunate.

Dr. Smith’s passion for motivating and empowering people to take charge of their life is evident from her past volunteer work and current vision. Having grown up poor, receiving welfare and Section 8, she can relate to the barriers and challenges that low-income individuals face daily. These barriers and challenges include a lack of motivation and self-esteem, a lack of employment and critical thinking skills most employers require, and the lack of an external support system to maintain a job. She attributes her success today to the scholarship assistance she received from a community nonprofit in 1996 (the Bernie Scholarship), which helped her pay for her bachelor’s degree program, when she was a participant in Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunities Commission’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program from 1994 to 1999. She returned her gratitude to the nonprofit by serving as a board committee member from 2010 to 2013.

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Since graduating from the FSS program, Dr. Smith has continued advocating for the poor. She has advocated on Capitol Hill, speaking with senators and lawmakers and convincing them to commit to funding for the nation’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Section 8 housing programs. In addition, she served as a Volunteer Case Manager and Mentor for Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunities Commission’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program from 2000 to 2012, where she was teamed with eight families to ensure the successful completion of short- and long-term financial, education, and personal goals according to the program contract. While serving in this role, The Washington Times newspaper ran a feature article (January 12, 2006) on her titled, “Climbing a Lifeline Out of Poverty,” where she talked about her personal struggles as a welfare and Section 8 housing recipient, being a poor, single parent, and needing emotional support. On March 23, 2007, Dr. Smith was asked to be one of several keynote speakers at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s Conference at the National Press Club. She delivered her story—a heart-wrenching, tear dropping speech on the lack of affordable housing and why it was vital to enact legislation to protect the HCV and Section 8 programs. On May 23, 2007, she received The Henry L. Dixon, Jr. Community Action Service Award for “outstanding service to the community in helping poor and low-income residents” from the Montgomery County, MD’s Community Action Board and County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett. In October 2013, she received a plaque from a public charter school in Ward 7 (Washington, DC) for the successful implementation of their first inaugural G.E.D. class for single parents. From this cohort, 9 out of 16 participants passed the OSSE-administered exam and received their G.E.D.

Dr. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in Pre-law and Business Management from University of Maryland University College (1996-2000), an Executive M.B.A. (magna cum laude) from Mount St. Mary’s College (2002-2004), and a Doctor of Management (2012-2017) from University of Maryland University College. She has served in various leadership positions in both public and private organizations of varying sizes. Her work experience expands several industries including a scientific consulting firm, a law firm for more than a decade, a start-up biotechnology firm, and a commercial real estate property management company. Dr. Smith is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the UMUC’s School of Undergraduate Studies (since July 2010). Her subject matter expertise includes: business management, performance and productivity, and organizational leadership. She helped design the conflict resolution curriculum, and most recently served as the SME for the redesign of one of UMUC’s business management courses. Since July 2015, she has served as volunteer mentor with the UMUC Mentoring Program.

Dr. Sharonda Hagans-Jones

Dr. Sharonda Hagans-Jones is a staunch advocate for the marginalized student, which is why she began her journey in the education sector as an Orleans Parish teacher in New Orleans, Louisiana.  She continued serving students of various academic levels in the state of Georgia as a PK-12 special education teacher, GED instructor for students recently released from incarceration; and as an Academic Coordinator and Adjunct Professor in Higher Education.  Sharonda then relocated to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where she held positions as a Special Educator and school administrator within the charter school system.  Mrs. Jones returned to New Orleans in order to continue to make a difference for those being underserved where she presided over curriculum and instruction as an Academic Dean at an alternative high school.  She is currently utilizing her skills as an Instructional Designer to engage in the research, development, and design of specialized curriculum and individualized materials that educate and instruct various populations. Dr. Jones received her doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University in (2020).

Dr. Robin D. Butler

Dr. Robin D. Butler, PMP, CNE Fellow is a Full Professor and Doctoral Chair for the Northcentral University-School of Business, Project Management Specialization.  Her prior role was the Director of Clinical Affairs and Assistant Faculty for the School of Allied Health at Coppin State University (Health Information Management and Health Education and Sciences departments). As full-time Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Affairs, Dr. Butler has assisted in matriculating countless students, as well as placing and managing them in regional and global practicum settings.  Before the start of her full-time Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Affairs’ role, Dr. Butler served as the Inaugural Instructor for a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant at Coppin State University in 2010, which was funded by the National Information Technology Agency (NITA).  During this period, she has provided health literacy and workforce training for multiple Baltimore community residents.

Dr. Butler has a vested interest in workforce development, particularly with the growth of workforce members.  This interest led to the completion of her dissertation, “Thematic Analysis: Millennial Generation Retention in United States Public Sector Organizations” while attending the University of Maryland University College (Global Campus).  Dr. Butler is a member of AHIMA, NAHSE, HIMSS, and a current Fellow for the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise-Community Affiliate Network (CAN).

Dr. Theresa Odom

Dr. Theresa M. Odom is a highly qualified management professional with more than 20 years of managerial experience.  She received an Associates degree in Occupational Studies-Business Management from Bryant & Stratton Business Institute in 1999.  Dr. Odom continued her education at the College of Saint Rose where she received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (2005), a Master’s in Business Administration (2007), and a certificate of Advanced Study in Not-for-Profit Management (2007).  In December (2017) she earned a Doctor of Management degree from the University of Maryland University College.

Dr. Odom is an experienced professional with strong technical knowledge, substantial business qualifications, and exceptional leadership abilities ready to assist others.  She has served in various management positions in both the public and private sectors.  Her work experience expands several industries including a tax preparation firm, working at the oldest technological research university in the United States for more than seven years, a major home improvement retailer, and a consortium of human services agencies.  Dr. Odom is currently an independent contractor providing small business consulting.  Dr. Odom is passionate about educating and helping students who are struggling academically.  Since 2016, she has been a freelance tutor and has tutored courses in accounting, business, economics, statistics, presentation, study skills, and organization.  To meet the needs of her diverse client populations and to improve self-sufficiency.  Dr. Odom specializes in customizing instructional materials, learning instruction and approaches, and develops academic strategies and action plans.

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Dr. Odom has an impressive professional background in business management. She is a dynamic and motivated professional demonstrating exceptional communication skills and making critical decisions during challenges while coaching individuals to success. She is a transformational leader with the ability to work independently, create effective presentations, and is exceptional at cultivating opportunities that further establishes organizational goals and successes. Dr. Odom brings her coaching expertise to Inspiring G-Style, Inc. and looks forward to assisting residents and meeting their emotional support needs.

Shana Campbell, MBA

Shana Campbell is Chief Learning Strategist of ThinkLearnEngage, LLC, a consulting firm founded on the principles that great organizations are built with putting people first. We design and deliver solutions to enhance your team and key stakeholders, helping to address and close both knowledge and skills gaps.

With over 15+ years of experience assessing needs and designing and delivering results-based solutions in diverse settings, this has enabled Shana to establish a well-rounded appraisal to help address varying audiences and client needs. Prior to ThinkLearnEngage, Shana created impact for organizations such as the Association for Talent Development, National Quality Forum, and George Mason University.

One valuable achievement in Shana’s career is the development of ATD’s flagship assessment-based certificate programs that evaluated both knowledge and skill. These programs created a new tier of learning for the field, aligning with proven competencies, and creating a pathway from core learning through certification. Creating impact through learning isn’t something that Shana does, it’s the embodiment of who she is, which makes her an asset to the INSPIRING G-STYLE team of extraordinary professionals making a difference in communities.

Shana actively learns and contributes to the field through efforts such as the Professional Development Committee for the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE), and as a contributing author and speaker at client and industry events. Shana holds an MBA and MS in Project Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus. In addition, she is a designated ATD Master Trainer, Instructional Designer, and Expert Coach.

Valerie M. Ross

Valerie M. Wilson Ross was born in 1959 in the inner city of Detroit, Michigan.  Her mother was a devoted teacher and would often allow Valerie to help her grade her students’ assignments.  Valerie’s grades soared throughout grammar and secondary school.  However, after the first two years of high school, her grades began to wane.  It was her counselor, Ms. Vunies High (sister of legendary boxer, Joe Louis), who saw fit to keep her in as many accelerated classes as possible.  In fact, it was Ms. High who spearheaded her admission into Michigan State University.

Ms. Ross matriculated at Michigan State University.  It was there she came to realize how inferior her former education was, after being placed in remedial reading, writing and math courses.  These courses prompted her to enroll in additional non-credit courses to improve her reading, reading speed and reading comprehension.  She went on to graduate from Michigan State University in 1982 in the field of Packaging.  She went to work for Philip Morris’ subsidiary company as a Quality Control Analyst for 10 years.  During that time, she wed and entered motherhood and the passion to teach her then-toddler aged children, as well as the other toddlers in the area was revealed. She began teaching toddlers the fundamentals of reading, writing and math.  By the time they entered kindergarten they were working on the first grade curriculum.

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In 1993, she relocated to Maryland and opened a Just For Kidz Child Development Center, where her students continued to amaze kindergarten teachers with their advanced reading, writing and math skills. Valerie affectionately became known in the community as the “Reading Lady.” To this day, she continues to operate a small preschool, where she continues to produce strong readers, writers, illustrators and lovers of math. Valerie recently completed a book in the form of a memoir. It is entitled, “Have Your Cake and Ice Cream Too!”

Valerie’s devotion and commitment to providing disadvantaged individuals with a high caliber of academic skill sets will further enhance Inspiring G-Style, Inc.’s mission to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged individuals.

Dr. Gilbert (“Chip”) Jones

Dr. Gilbert Jones earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland – College Park in 2012, a Master of Science degree in Intelligence Management in 2013 from University of Maryland University College (UMUC), and a Doctorate of Management from UMUC in 2017. He is currently employed as the chief systems engineer for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R) Ground System for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In his spare time, Dr. Jones is active in the Christian Education Ministry at Fort Foote Baptist Church, where he volunteers as a tutor for mathematics, physics, and core engineering classes to students of all ages.

Jacquelyn Lee

Jacquelyn Lee has lived, worked, and was educated in the Bronx, New York. Ms. Lee holds a Master of Science in elementary education. Upon graduating from Herbert H. Lehman College, she had a divine intervention from God to continue pursuing a career in education. She has been a teacher of K-6th grade students for more than 28 years. She has a passion for continuing education and learning and educating others, which has made her successful in the field of education. Her undergraduate degree was in elementary education and Black Studies. Since 2006, Jacquelyn has been teaching elementary education in the Prince George’s County Public School System. Her background education and expertise in curriculum development, education leadership, and instruction will specifically helps support our G.E.D. training program.

Johnetta Grimes

Johnetta Grimes is a versatile, performance-driven business professional with more than 25 years of management experience in successfully implementing strategic planning initiatives. She is versed in conducting research, providing analytical insight to various problems and is an excellent problem-solver. She is skilled in team building and employee motivation. Johnetta is our program assistant and helps coordinate program services.

Ms. Grimes earned a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from the University of Phoenix in 2011. She is one out of millions of Americans who had dropped out of college and returned to school in later years to earn an undergraduate degree. Her life’s journey shaped her worldview and unleashed a passion within her to fight for economic empowerment of the disadvantaged and at-risk populations that are growing exponentially within our communities. Inspiring G-Style’s mission of improving employability, aptitude skills, and life skills of disadvantaged individuals create the perfect avenue for Johnetta to channel her devotion.