Vernisha Crawford, CEO
From a young age Vernisha has always been extremely motivated and determined to be successful in life. She received her first scholarship in 2nd grade, where she wrote an essay to receive funding to learn a second language, Spanish. In middle school, she became the Student Council President, in high school she was involved in TCGC (Teens Changing Gaston County), MYLC (Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council), and participated in various other community initiatives.
Vernisha graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology; making her a first-generation college graduate. She was involved in student organizations in college including; Student Alumni Ambassadors, Emerging Leaders, Black Student Union, H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Excel), United Black Professionals and more. She went on to climb the corporate ladder, moving from NC to SC to TX, and essentially traveling across the country for her career, where she worked as a Regional Performance Director for one of the largest property management companies in the U.S.
She has accumulated over 8 years of training experience, 6 years of management experience and has recently earned her Master of Science Degree in Leadership from Grand Canyon University; making her the first person in her family to receive a graduate degree. She has also earned her certification as professional life coach as well as her small business consultant certification.
As the Founder of B.Y.E. LLC, Vernisha serves as Chief Executive Officer, where she oversees business operations. Vernisha has worked with organizations such as the Mayor’s Youth Employment Program, Community Foundation of Gaston County, Habitat for Humanity, SMS-Advisors, Communities In Schools, and more.
Jamal Tate, President
Facing many of the hardships that fatherless minority youth experience today, Jamal Tate should have been dead or in jail years ago. In sixth grade, he was kicked out of school for behavioral challenges and continued down a path of self-destruction. There were slim chances that he would make it to high school, let alone graduate. Arrested on multiple occasions, Jamal struggled to find himself and succumbed to negative peer pressure. He surprisingly managed to graduate high school with a 1.67 grade point average.
Life turned around for Jamal when he enrolled in a summer bridge program at Central Piedmont Community College. A renewed passion for education prompted Jamal to enroll full time where he later obtained an Associates of Arts degree. Before transferring to Queens University of Charlotte, Jamal studied Spanish abroad in Peru for a summer. Living out the motto “not to be served but to be serve” Jamal created the nation’s first ever Communities in Schools Alumni Chapter, lead his Collegiate 100 minority men’s group to national chapter of the year, and began a national speaking career. He graduated from Queens with a bachelor of arts in Organizational Communication, and a minor in Business Leadership.
He has over seven years of public speaking experience combined with leadership development. Pulling from experiences in working with organizations such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and 4H, Jamal is able to create a safe space where participants aren’t judged for how they think, feel, believe, or may have behaved in the past. He is a professional life coach who’s been featured in Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, and airports across the country. Jamal also has experience teaching drug, alcohol, and substance abuse classes. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Jamal was an alumni engagement and annual giving fundraiser as well as college admissions recruiter.
Today, Jamal serves as President for B.Y.E., LLC, where he is responsible for business development. Locally, Jamal sits on the boards of Communities in School North Carolina, Keep Charlotte Beautiful, and Playing for Others. This former delinquent is now inspiring youth to become self-motivated and experience positive outcomes in life.