President, Ruth Mayner
Ruth Mayner was born in South Carolina, however, the family relocated shortly after her birth to Jersey City, NJ where she remained for many years. Ruth currently channels her 30+ years of retail experience as a manager for a Fortune 500 company in her current home city of Atlanta, Georgia where she’s been a resident for the last six years.
Ruth during her more than 40 year residence in Jersey City, NJ occupied several roles within the community including entrepreneur, activist, and small business community leader. Having a passion for children, Ruth owned and operated two child development centers, Kids City and DJ’s Child Development, respectively which sought to provide compassionate, holistic, and family-centered care to the hardworking families of the community. Possessing a keen business sense and ambitious nature led her to open her first women’s shoes and accessories boutique, Sole Mates Shoes and Accessories in February 2007.
In addition to her small business community ties, Ruth was determined to live a life of purpose and sought to do that through empowering young girls in the community. This dedication to strengthening underserved communities came to fruition in the development of My Journey Youth Development. My Journey Youth was an educational and social program for girls aged 10-18 which provided leadership workshops, college access programming, fundraising opportunities, and culture exploration activities. Participants were taught life skills as well as exposed to a variety of cultural experiences including camping, theatrical performances, etc.
In her spare time, Ruth enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with family, and planning for her return to entrepreneurship in late 2017.
Board Vice President, Tamara Charles
Tamara Charles is Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Sisters In Charge, a nonprofit organization for battered women with children
based out of Georgia, that gives women a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. Ms. Charles takes her vision and makes it reality through sound strategy development.The
mission of Sisters In Charge is to provide a safe shelter, and a variety of educational, recreational and social services to address the essential and changing needs of the families in Georgia and
surrounding communities. Ms. Charles, who was Born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, came into the U.S in 1986, at the age of five years old. She was raised in Lynn, MA and Brooklyn, NY. She is the daughter
of Carol and William Charles. Ms. Charles is the oldest out of four sisters and two brothers, all of whom she cared for while both parents worked to make ends meet.
Ms. Charles has a set of twins (boy and girl ages 19) who are now in college, as well as a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, all of whom she raised as a single mother. Despite being a single mom and working two jobs, Ms. Charles also worked hard to further her own education. She attended Marian Court College, where she obtained an Associates in Science in 2011, and a BS in Business Administration, with a minor in Health Care Management in 2014. She is currently working towards her MBA in Health Care Human Services with minor in nonprofit organization, from Strayer University.
Tamara Charles is a survivor of domestic violence and is currently living with multiple sclerosis. Her personal experiences allow her to understand the physical and psychological barriers that prevent many women from leaving their abusers. Ms. Charles also understands the potential fatal nature of domestic abuse, which makes seeking assistance imperative. By providing, a home where battered women and their children may seek temporary shelter, Ms. Charles hopes to help these women understand they are not alone. Her shelter will be designed to provide a safe space where victims may share their stories and meet other survivors to support them in their journey. Additionally, she hopes to provide these women with resources to help them gain control over their lives.
Kathy is originally from a small town outside of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania called Aliquippa. Upon graduating from high school, she went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh. After 2 years of college, she relocated to Atlanta. Kathy felt the calling of Atlanta from a young girl in high school. After visiting a family friend, she decided to make Atlanta her home.
During her early residency in Atlanta, she occupied a job working for Bell South Telecommunications for 6+ years. She resigned from Bell South to complete her degree in Accounting. Kathy has a BSA in Accounting with over 22 years of accounting experience specializing in nonprofits.
With a passion for numbers and helping people with their finances, she founded and started her own accounting firm for small businesses and nonprofits. She has helped several nonprofits get compliant with outside agencies by streamline and straightening out their accounting operations.
Kathy is the oldest of 2 children, I brother and the mother of 2 beautiful children, 1 boy, 1 girl. Both of her children were trained in her business and now have careers in accounting as well. In her spare time, she really enjoys traveling, reading, looking after her father, who suffers with dementia, and spending time with her family and friends.
Social Media Manager, Nicole Blake
Nicole is CEO & Account Director of NUBIA Media + Marketing, a boutique agency specializing in marketing for startups and small businesses. She has an extensive background in digital marketing as well as traditional PR and manages a growing roster of fashion brands, tech start-ups and non-profits. Prior to launching NUBIA Media + Marketing, Nicole was a senior account executive at Cramer Krasselt Public Relations. She spearheaded strategic planning and media relations initiatives which resulted in top tier placements with Forbes, Food & Wine, People and NY Times. Nicole also ran publicity campaigns for USO concert tours and events which featured celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson, Boyz II Men, Alfonso Ribeiro, Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Tichina Arnold, Carrie Underwood, and more. Before joining Cramer Krasselt Public Relations, Nicole managed media relations for B2B, retail and non-profit accounts at Stanton Communications Inc. and began her career at Island Def Jam Music Group. Nicole holds a BA in Communications with a specialization in advertising and public relations. She graduated cum laude from The City College of New York. She was named PR Professional of the Year by ACHI Magazine in 2016. Nicole resides in Johns Creek, Georgia with her daughter and son.
Activities & Events Manager, Melinda Yao
Melinda “Sam” Yao was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, however, the family relocated shortly after her birth to St. Louis, Mo. where she remained for years, after graduating high school and 1 year of college, she relocated to Queens, NY. Sam recently retired after 42+ years of work experience in her current home city of Atlanta, Georgia where she’s been a resident for the last 25 years.
Sam during her more than 25 year residency in Atlanta, Ga. occupied several jobs/roles within the community including entrepreneur and small business owner. Sam has a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration, and an Associate Degree in Fashion Design / Merchandising. Having a passion for fashion and design, Sam owns and operates a graphic concept and design business on a consultant basis, and a Personal Concierge business.
Possessing a keen business sense and ambitious nature led her to open her Independent Travel Agency “Way To Go Travel Co”, specializing in group and international travel.
In addition to her small business ties, Sam is determined to live a life of purpose and sought to do that through empowering seniors in the community. This dedication for strengthening senior communities come from a desire to support life skills as well as expose seniors to a variety of cultural experiences including aging gracefully and with a purpose.
Sam is the oldest of 8 children 6 brothers (1 of which has gone to heaven) and 1 sister who has also transitioned to heaven. She’s the mother of 1 Son and she has 4 beautiful grandchildren. In her spare time, Sam enjoys traveling, dancing, laughing, spending time with family, and friends.