Meet the 2018 Augusta Fellows
(back to NLC 2018 Fellows)
Co-Founder/Urban Planner, Cornerstone Consulting & Investments Group
Jonathan Burke, a native of Brooklyn New York, now residing in Atlanta, Georgia is a passionate Entrepreneur, Urban Planner, Social Activist, and Educator. As a result of Jonathan’s zeal to make the world a better place by working on the local policy level to implement change in his community, he has held various positions in city government, education and non-profit sectors. Jonathan holds an MPA with a concentration in planning and economic development from Georgia State University and a BA in American Urban Studies from Metropolitan College of New York. Outside of his professional career, Jonathan is a varsity basketball coach at Tri-Cities High School, is a classically trained musician and serves as the Worship Pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church. In 2017, Jonathan co-founded Cornerstone Consulting & Investments Group. Which is a multifaceted urban planning and strategic consulting firm that specializes in neighborhood planning, transportation planning community building and public engagement campaigns for local municipalities and private clients. Jonathan has strong analytical research, advocacy and policy knowledge with a genuine passion for people.
President, Carkhum Consulting & Linkage
Shanna Carkhum graduated from Morris Brown College in 2002, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media Communications with a focus in Film. Shanna later attended Augusta Technical College in Augusta, GA, in 2008, majoring in Architectural and Engineering Design. Shortly after receiving her diploma in drafting, Shanna received her first job as an architectural drafter for Hull Storey and Gibson, one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the nation.
In 2011, Shanna shifted from architectural to mechanical drafting when she worked for Morgan Thermal Ceramics. She was introduced to an entirely new industry in refractory insulation but was able to apply classroom knowledge and skill to perform the tasks.
After working in mechanical drafting for two years, Shanna shifted gears again and worked as an architectural drafter and project manager for Larry L. McCord Design Build, a construction company. Construction evolved her understanding of the design build process, where her drafts became blueprints. Working as a project manager allowed her to see her designs built in the field.
Today Shanna is the president of Carkhum Consulting & Linkage, LLC, a project management company. Shanna Carkhum presides over the company goals and strategic plans, including construction management, marketing media, project operations, and business development.
She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army and dedicates her time and talent to help others find their path in life.
Erica Ferguson is a native of Augusta, GA. Upon graduation from Lakeside High School she attended Spelman College in Atlanta. Erica majored in Biology with a concentration in Pre-Medicine. During her time at Spelman, she participated in numerous healthcare clubs as well as the outdoors club. After graduating she moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue a technology role at Oracle Corporation. During her time at Oracle she decided to pursue a Master of Public Health Degree with a concentration in Health Informatics. She plans on graduating in May 2018.
Senior Compliance Specialist, ADP
Jerome Ferguson was born in Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Aiken, South Carolina. Jerome attended school in the Aiken County public school system and graduated from Aiken Technical college with an Associate of Arts degree. A few years later, Jerome received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Jerome spent more than eleven years in the customs brokerage industry and is currently a certified healthcare reform specialist working in the health care reform environment. Jerome is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Damita Glaude was born in San Antonio, Texas and has spent the majority of her life in Augusta. She has a bachelor's degree in communication, with a focus in journalism and emerging media, from Kennesaw State University and was also inducted into the Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society in her time there. She hopes to continue her education and earn a masters in journalism. Glaude was an editorial intern at Georgia Shift, a non-profit dedicated to the civic engagement of young people, this past summer and desires to continue writing about the political and social issues young people are currently facing. She also focuses on mental health and cultural stigma in her writing. Having returned to Augusta after college, Glaude noticed a distinct lack of media representing the voices of young people and people of color. She believes that listening to the perspectives of diverse groups of people help build and strengthen community and that there needs to be more avenues where people can express themselves and connect. Glaude hopes to create a magazine that features the unique, creative voices of young people living in Augusta and believes the NLC fellowship will give her the tools to begin the process.
Creative Services Coordinator, News 12/NBC 26
Emily Greene works in Creatives Services for News 12/NBC 26, is an administrative assistant at the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, and consults on a wide array of social media platforms for various organizations. She is the Communications Director and Women's Caucus Chair for the Young Democrats of Georgia, the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Augusta-Richmond County, and Membership Chair and Women's Caucus Chair for the Columbia County Democratic Party.
An active advocate for women's rights, she is a volunteer victim advocate for Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services, and is a contributor to a women's and girl's empowerment blog, Live Your Dream. She has sat on committees for both Sexual Assault Awareness and Domestic Abuse Awareness Months, and is currently finishing a second degree in Women's Studies, Criminal Justice, and English from Washington State University, having already acquired a Bachelor's in Art from Augusta State University.
While at Augusta State University, she organized a successful counter-protest against the KKK, and brought attention to deficianices in the college's Disability Handbook, which were subsequently changed to fit ADA requirements. When not busy advocating for social justice, Emily can be found as a published writer, artist, and national award-winning baker.
Credit and Special Order Sales Coordinator, Lowe's of Evans
Ashely Harris relocated to Augusta, GA in May 2015 from the Tidewater region of Virginia. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her Juris Doctorate at Charlotte School of Law. She currently serves as the Credit and Special Order Sales Coordinator at Lowe's of Evans where she manages business and corporate credit program activities.
Ashely also worked for several years with the Target Corporation. She is dedicated to serving the public having working as an advocate for nationally accredited child advocacy centers in both Charlotte, NC and Augusta, GA. She served individuals with disabilities at Walton Options Center for Independent Living and Tri-Development Center of Aiken County Inc., where she explored her love for developing opportunities and identifying resources for those with unique needs.
In less than three years, Ashely has also learned so much about her new community. She worked in hospitality to learn what brings visitors to Augusta in an effort to understand possible development trends. She is involved with several local organizations and has many ideas about promoting Augusta’s continued growth.
Despite her work in the corporate sector, Ashely remains committed to serving the under-served. She is still a passionate advocate for individuals with disabilities and volunteers to assist families navigating the special education system. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling with her family to new places, and experiencing new cultures.
Military & Family Life Counselor, MHNGS
Alexandria Horton is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Georgia and has been working in the mental health field for over 10 years. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University. After graduating she returned to her hometown of Atlanta to obtain a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University. Additionally, she is a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor (CPCS), helping students and newly licensed clinicians gain techniques and skills that will guide them in making a positive impact in the communities they serve.
Alexandria has a passion for empowering individuals, couples, and families by helping them develop strategies that will allow them to flourish in their daily lives. She began her career working with at-risk youth in juvenile detention centers and alternative school programs. Alexandria then worked as a mental health clinician, eventually becoming the Outpatient Coordinator, at a Community Service Board in Middle Georgia. There she managed the clinical staff and daily operations of the multi-site comprehensive behavioral health program serving individuals dealing with an array of issues. Currently, Alexandria uses her counseling skills to support military members and their families. As the spouse of a military veteran, she knows firsthand the unique concerns and stressors associated with living a military lifestyle.
Alexandria is a member of the Licensed Professional Counseling Association of Georgia and is an Illustrious Woman of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. Outside of providing therapy, you can find her relaxing with her husband and their children, reading, or spending time with family and friends.
Corporate Communications Specialist, MOSAIC Technologies Group
Erica Littles has over ten years of communications and marketing experience since the completion of a Masters in Sports Administration from Georgia State University and Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from Georgia Southern University. She has imparted her creative talents of graphic design, script writing, and web design in the journalist, sports, technology, and government industries. Currently, she is a Corporate Communications Specialist with MOSAIC Technologies Group responsible for the overall web modernization for a Department of Defense agency in Georgia.
Five years prior to her current position, Erica served in the United States Army as an Intelligence Analyst. The analytical experience and marketing background has merged to create a proven track record of increasing revenue for organizations by developing creative promotional campaign strategies. Strategies are developed from mining large quantities of data, analyzing the results, and identifying the best methods for improving the customers’ products and services. Erica began her career as a Promotions Assistant with Augusta’s local television station, WRDW News 12, and later worked for Georgia Tech Athletic Association, WNBA Atlanta Dream, Newman Tennis Center, and Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Development Center. Her most notable awards include the United States Joint Service Achievement Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the 2005 & 2007 Georgia Association for Broadcasters Award for Community Service. The awards are a recognition of the service she loves to give to her community.
Erica used her love for service as her platform in 2015, when she represented Georgia at the American Elegance Nationals pageant in Chicago, IL as Ms. Heart of Georgia. She believes that in order to effectively serve, or have a positive impact on people’s lives, you must embody a sense of high moral responsibility to yourself, to your community and everyone that you come into contact with. There must be a willingness to selflessly serve others.
Manager, Faculty Support Services Augusta University
Michelle Mims was born in Augusta, Georgia. Due to the military service of her father, she lived in several locations during the early years of her life before relocating back to Augusta and settling down in 1984. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Southern Wesleyan University and has worked in the administrative field for over 20 years in various industries. During that time, she has learned how important it is to take a job and to make it your own. She is a hard-working, dependable individual that goes above and beyond to do exceptional work and she is always eager to learn new things and to take on additional responsibilities. She is currently the Manager of Faculty Support Services, a section within the Human Resources Department at Augusta University.
Michelle is very passionate about doing what she can to help others to achieve their goals. Her current position allows her to be the expert on the subject matter of all things related to faculty and to serve as the liaison between the Human Resources Department and the various colleges and departments throughout Augusta University. Michelle’s desire as a NLC Augusta fellow is to gain the skills to help build her self-worth and to find her voice to make a big impact within Augusta University. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading and writing and she hopes to one day publish a book.
Strategic Sourcing Manager, allnex
Makieshiem Smith-Anderson is a valued and trusted business partner, with an instinct for knowing when to listen and when to contribute. She is enthusiastic, accessible, and full of great ideas! She works collaboratively with suppliers to achieve a common goal and has a unique ability to customize her approach to different personalities. Makieshiem has been described as “an employer’s dream … professional, yet genuinely personable, honest, tactful, and motivating.”
She is a versatile professional with 10+ years’ experience in shaping strategy, building teams, leading cross-functional initiatives, optimizing supply chains, improving profitability, and delivering unparalleled customer service, and making friends. Makieshiem’s unique and wide-ranging skill set has enabled her to successfully contribute in a variety of roles, including procurement, project management, and strategic sourcing.
She is currently employed with Allnex where she is responsible for providing strategic planning, supplier development, contract negotiation, supply chain infrastructure, and outsourcing models to both the North Augusta and Langley, SC facilities. Makieshiem holds a Master of Business Administration in Project Management. She is currently pursuing her certification in Supplier Diversity from the Institute for Supply Management.
Makieshiem currently resides in Hephzibah, GA with her family. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and Women in Manufacturing. When not working, Makieshiem enjoys reading, drawing, and spending time with family and friends.
Leah Taylor Best
CEO, The Bridging Principles
Leah is a creative and highly responsible diversity and inclusion professional with more than 8 years of experience in project management, research, writing, curriculum development, training, facilitation, and supervision.
As CEO for The Bridging Principles, a diversity communications training company, Leah's driving force in life is to help create opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to collaborate, creating a more prosperous and peaceful world for all based in mutual respect.
Her academic and professional work reflects this personal passion, focusing on globalization issues, international development, redressing socio-economic disparities, and advocating for Indigenous sovereignty. Her international experiences in places like Jamaica, Namibia, Peru, and the United States have gifted her with unique insights into the importance of having strong intercultural communication skills to build bridges for success in business and beyond. Currently she is also an adjunct professor of cultural anthropology at Augusta University in Georgia, U.S.A.
Leah has a Masters Degree in Globalization Studies from McMaster University, with an undergraduate degree in International Development Studies, and is a SSHRC Scholarship and Millennium Scholarship recipient. When she's not busy building bridges across cultures, Leah loves to be out walking in the woods with her life partner, or relaxing with her pet family: two dogs, a horse, and a California Kingsnake.
Employment Specialist, AmericanWork Inc
Tatanisha is employed as an Employment Specialist for those with mental disabilities and addictive diseases. She assists them with obtaining competitive employment, by advocating on their behalf to employers in the area. Tanisha is also employed part-time as a Senior Communications Officer for the Augusta 911 Center. Currently Tatanisha is in her senior year at Ashford University majoring in Human Resources Management. She is the creator/operator of Busy Lady Bible Study and Busy Lady Accountability Group. Tatanisha uses this platform to encourage women in their personal walk with Christ, through positive words and interactions. At Lighthouse Community Outreach Center Tatanisha is the Director of Community Services where I am tasked with creating programs and trainings to assist displaced persons as well as single mothers in becoming self sufficient. Tatanisha has also created a pilot program entitled Let’s Go To Work. This program teaches job readiness skills to those entering or reentering the workforce. This program teaches interviewing skills, appropriate work attire, and workplace behavior. Tatanisha has a passion for promoting self-sufficiency in the community because of her own personal story and triumphs. Born and raised in Augusta, Georgia Tatanisha is the mother of 3 daughters. The family attends Breakfree Christian Worship Center and Lighthouse Community Center.
Operations Manager, Augusta Blueprint
John C. Williams, III, (Trai) is a native of Reidsville, Georgia. He currently resides in Augusta, Georgia as a proud South Augusta Resident and is currently the Operations Manager at Augusta Blueprint.
From youth, Mr. Williams knew that he would be venturing into the corporate and political arena. As a young boy he had the opportunity to serve his home state by becoming a Page for State Senator Jack Hill (R), District 4. Through this early experience Trai realized that he was destined to be a servant of the people. He has been a vital component in various local campaigns, serving as a behind the scenes strategist and consultant.
With over twelve years experience in the business world and the political sphere, Trai has constantly proven to possess extraordinary business acumen and political prowess to be a new leader.
Along with being the Chairman of the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Community Development Corporation, he is a member of the NAACP, board member of Creative Impressions, Inc., and deacon and worship leader at Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Baptist Church.
Mr. Williams has been married seven years to Felicia L. Williams and is the father of two sons and one daughter: Tre’mon, Jonavon and Madison Williams.