ViNiceia has a passion for addressing systemic and social disparities in communities and in the education system. Through her work as an outreach worker and intern at various social service and government agencies, she has worked with and witnessed the challenges of those impacted by disparities in some of the country’s largest institutions.
Prior to working at Elevate, ViNiceia worked as an Admissions Recruiter for the MSW program at University of Maryland, Baltimore. There she created new and grew existing internal and external partnerships and strengthened essential recruitment-related relationships. She also worked with prospective students as they explored the MSW program while assisting in the development of a concrete plan for students to actualize their career in the field of Social Work. Before her time as an Admissions Recruiter, ViNiceia spent five years with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) working as a Project Support Specialist for the Cancer and Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). During her time at GDIT, she provided administrative and logistical support for CPRIT’s proposal development, peer review, and grant funding process and assisted applicants as they navigated the peer review and grant process.
ViNiceia holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from The University of Maryland, Baltimore with a focus in Community Action and Social Policy, and earned her BA from University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Social Work with a minor in Psychology. ViNiceia proudly graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society until May 2022.
When ViNiceia is not working, you can find her outdoors hiking with her dog, roller skating, or listening to her favorite podcasts.
Laura has over 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector. She is passionate about supporting individuals and organizations through periods of change. She spent her early career as a therapist, working first at a community mental health center and then at a shelter for women and children survivors of domestic violence. She went on to become the director of a preschool, where she put her training and experience to use in different ways. Laura is a longtime supporter of the arts, and spent the last several years working as a development coordinator at a multidisciplinary contemporary arts center. In this role, she performed background research for new projects and initiatives, managed the organization’s grants program, and refined the organization’s development strategy.
Laura holds an MA in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University and a BS in Psychology from Guilford College. Her training in active listening, conflict resolution, and group dynamics has served her well in all of her professional roles.
Laura loves to travel: Costa Rica is next on her wish list. When she’s at home in Memphis, she can be found trying out new restaurants, seeing live music shows, and browsing through her favorite vintage stores in search of mid-century furniture and the wildest 1960s and 70s dresses she can find.
Pronouns : she / her / hers
Jaime has worked in the nonprofit development sector for over a decade, specializing in grants consulting for most of her career. She’s passionate about helping organizations achieve their missions, developing systems that increase efficiencies and impact, and supporting colleagues to achieve shared goals. Jaime brings project management and strategic grant program planning expertise to Elevate and has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from multi-state hospital systems to small social service agencies.
Jaime graduated from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) with a BA in Political Science and Environmental Conservation. While in college, she worked at the UNH Writing Center as a writing fellow and academic writing tutor, solidifying her love for the written word. She currently volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem, advocating for children who have experienced abuse and/or neglect.
While not working, Jaime enjoys trying to replicate recipes she discovered on TikTok, traveling with her family, and spending countless hours singing to her dogs (even though she can’t carry a tune).
Pronouns : she / her / hers
Johnisha has a passion for working to strengthen the missions of nonprofits strategically. Most recently, as the Development Manager for The Nashville Food Project (TNFP), she successfully secured foundation, corporate, and government grants to support programming that alleviates food insecurity, builds community and creates a more just and sustainable food system. She also helped lead the organization on matters of Diversity, Inclusion, & Equity. Largely due to her efforts, TNPF launched a new standing committee composed of both Board and staff members to drive a comprehensive, organizational approach to DEI.
Previously, Johnisha managed a community-based culinary nutrition program active in 10 major cities that focused on the health of individuals of African descent. In addition to forging vital new community partnerships and conducting trainings for new community leaders, she wrote and piloted a new children’s version of a six-week culturally relevant curriculum. As a practicing attorney at a top 50 law firm in DC, she devoted hundreds of hours to pro bono legal work to a host of nonprofit causes. As a law student, she worked on behalf of criminal defense advocacy nonprofits seeking post-conviction relief for clients sentenced to death.
Johnisha is on the Board of Directors for Shattering Glass, a nonprofit organization devoted to combatting gender discrimination and fighting for gender equality and inclusion. She was a recipient of the Center for Nonprofit Management’s Sam Howard Empowerment Fund for emerging leaders of color in the nonprofit sector. She has published articles on Yes! Media. She holds a JD from New York University School of Law, a BA from Harvard College, and an AAS from Johnson & Wales University.
Pronouns : she / her / hers
Letese has over 20 years of experience in Human Resources. As the VP of Personnel at Elevate, Letese is responsible for leading the Personnel Department and managing organizational development projects that enhance Elevate’s talent and culture management. She has a strong desire to strengthen the Elevate culture by focusing on inclusion, diversity, and equity.
Before joining Elevate, Letese was an HR Manager at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, where she managed employee relations for 8500 employees.
Letese has served as a board member of the NAAAHR (National Association of African Americans in HR) and NAHSE (National Association of Health Services Executives). Letese is an active member of the Southwestern PA United Way Women’s Leadership Council. Letese is a Tuskegee University graduate, where she received s BS in Business Administration. She also earned a Master of Business Administration from Trinity University and is SPHR and SHRM – SCP certified.
You can find Letese binging-watching movies, listening to audiobooks, taking a dance class, or being silly with her kids when she is not working.
Pronouns : she / her / hers
Amy comes to Elevate with diverse experience in education and the private sector. In these roles, Amy has worked on collaborative teams to achieve various types of goals including, reaching financial milestones and exceeding learning objectives. Amy is passionate about advocating for those with unheard voices, including individuals with disabilities and those negatively affected by the criminal justice system.
Amy holds a master’s degree in Grant Writing, Management, and Evaluation from Concordia University Chicago. Additionally, she has a master’s degree in Education from the University of South Alabama and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Troy University. Amy volunteers with animal rescue shelters to secure funding to reduce pet overpopulation and euthanasia rates.
During Amy’s off hours, you can find her tending to her cat sanctuary, currently numbered at 21 furry felines. She also enjoys exploring bookstores with her daughter and diving into comic
book movies with her partner.
Edgar has a lifelong passion for community outreach and political activism. Before joining the Elevate team, Edgar spent a year working as a writer and political telefundraiser. He joined the Elevate team to work with nonprofit organizations trying to give back to their communities.
Edgar continues to volunteer in voter outreach and believes in taking an active role in upholding democracy. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baylor University, where he also received the Charles G. Smith Award for Academic Excellence and Noble Character. Edgar intends to continue his education with Law School in the future.
Beyond supporting our grant writing teams, Edgar enjoys reading comic books, drinking iced coffee, and listening to a thought-provoking podcast.
Sarah came to Elevate with a drive to continue her career in public service and a passion for supporting programs and organizations that improve the quality of life for people around the country. Sarah has worked in local government in North Carolina with the Town of Boone and the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission, a regional Council of Governments. During her time in local government, Sarah worked closely with municipalities to encourage economic development, cultural resource management, and regional advocacy. Sarah has written grant applications for a variety of state and federal agencies including the Appalachian Regional Commission, FEMA, and HUD to name a few.
Sarah has her Master of Public Administration and BSBA in Marketing from Appalachian State University. A true “Boonie” at heart, Sarah can usually be found enjoying the outdoors via a kayak or hiking trail. Go, Mountaineers!
Sarah also enjoys spoiling her dachshund, Stella, and baking in her spare time. Her favorite baked good to share with friends and family is her nana’s famous pound cake.
Joshua joined Elevate with a drive to continue his career in the nonprofit sector of DC through a client services and development role. After completing his graduate education, he set his sights on continuing to pursue his professional interests in client stewardship, operations, and database management. Prior to joining the Elevate Operations Team, Joshua worked for the Miami City Ballet as a Customer Service Representative, where he helped to manage client data and acted as the first point of contact for the organization with the box office team.
Joshua earned an MA in Philosophy from Boston College and, prior to that, a BA in Philosophy from Florida International University. Throughout college, Joshua was highly involved with a variety of academic organizations and honor societies. He also worked as a DJ for Florida International University’s radio station WRGP — The Roar Miami.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Joshua enjoys reading, tending to his plants, and exploring new music.
Taryn has a passion for learning and making the world a better place for everyone. During her time at Elevate, she has worked with a variety of educational, environmental, health, and advocacy organizations. Her prior grants experience includes working with clients ranging from large hospital systems to small homeless shelters, as well as assisting university faculty to develop state and federal proposals. She has also worked in museum administration, educational technology, and launched her own nonprofit to support independent journalism.
Taryn holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher University and a BA in Humanities from Roberts Wesleyan College. Her volunteer service has included literacy, environmental, and social justice causes, and she now serves on the board for the Shoals Nonprofit Center, which provides professional development opportunities for nonprofits in Northwest Alabama.
Outside of work, Taryn enjoys making collage and assemblage art, researching genealogy, and shopping at vintage and antique stores.