Biographies: BOARD OF DIRECTORS
CRYSTAL D. LIFE, Founder & President of It’s A Girl Thing
Crystal D. Life was born in Washington, DC, and raised in Gainesville, Florida. She is married to Lamont Life, a retired US Navy Chief and they are the proud parents of three children: Kayla (24) who graduated from Spelman College and now resides in Brooklyn and is a college advisor at a local charter school in Harlem; Jazmyne (14) who is a sophomore at Atlantic Coast and Jerry “JJ” (10) who attends Impact Academy and is in the 5th grade. She has always felt that her ministry was to encourage and empower women and young girls. She became a Youth Leader at her current church, Impact in Jacksonville, Florida and it was then after spending two years with the youth that she knew she needed to do more for young girls aged 11 to 18. Hence, the birth of It’s A Girl Thing came to pass. Through this girl empowerment group, her hope is to help young girls dream and dream big and to show them anything is possible if they believe in themselves. Our focus is to help them discover and walk in their purpose this will be accomplished through workshops, conferences, etc. centered around self-development, leadership skills, community service, entrepreneurial skills just to name a few. It is her sincere prayer that each girl that leaves this group feels better about herself and empowered to change the world, by recognizing that she indeed is a QUEEN.
Crystal loves people and winning souls for Christ. Currently, she is employed with the Federal Law Enforcement Center in Brunswick, Georgia.
Tovia Smith, Vice President of Operations
Hello! My name is Tovia Smith. I was born in Saginaw, Michigan and my family relocated to the Mid-South when I was around 10 years old. After graduating from West Memphis High School, I joined the ranks of many other soldiers in the US Navy. I did a tour of five years of service then I separated with an Honorable Discharge in 1998.
My personal mission in life has always been to serve others in a way that will leave a positive, long-lasting impact on their lives. I have found that to be true and evident through my many involvements in church and personal volunteer efforts across many different platforms over the last 20 years or so. One of my personal goals in life is to be known for my service to the community. Long after I have left this earth, I want the memories of me to be simply-She served others well and she made a huge impact on my life.
One of my professional goals is to be a successful entrepreneur with multiple streams of income. In other words, I want to be my own boss! Hard work and dedication are a few of my strengths. So, I know with my degree in Project Management, coupled with a little structure and discipline added to the equation-it’s in the very near future.
My current hobbies include working, watching TV and spending time with my husband. We are working on building a monumental empire together, so our shared hobbies include quality time and getting to really know each other.
As a current full-time employee and entrepreneur, I have found that multi-tasking is one of the strongest skills that I possess. I have also found that I am very detail oriented, structured and firm. Having these skills has proven to be very important in keeping me on track with tasks and making sure that my deadlines are being met. At the end of the day, I want to see the job successfully completed…
JENNIFER GRIMES, Secretary
With over fifteen years of teaching experience, mentoring, and educating future leaders of the next generation serves as Jennifer’s passion. Observing the increased influx of students with disabilities in the general education classroom compelled Jennifer to pursue a master’s degree in special education. As a special education teacher, she is dedicated and committed to providing a positive learning environment in which every child’s learning style and abilities are addressed and learning activities are designed to fulfill their emotional, intellectual, and social growth. Through her teaching, students are instilled with the love of lifelong learning which prepares them to be successful, productive citizens beyond graduation.
Jennifer’s willingness to mentor future leaders expands beyond the classroom. She is dedicated to her community serving as a proud board member of “It’s A Girl Thing” organization, mentoring, encouraging, and motivating young girls to discover their purpose, walk-in excellence, and live a life as strong, confident, successful leaders.
KHALISHA MITCHELL, Director of Volunteer Services
Khalisha Mitchell, is a healthcare Administrator, where she manages the operations for Ascension St. Vincent’s Lung Institute, the largest Pulmonology group in Florida. With over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and leadership, she has earned a reputation for developing people and producing results. Aside from her day job, she and her husband own a Mobile Automotive Repair business that serves over 300 customers throughout central Florida.
Her strong faith and belief that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” is what she contributes to her success. Khalisha enjoys letting her hair down by spending time with her husband, two daughters, traveling, shopping, and trying new restaurants. Her favorite scripture is Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
TAMIKA SMITH, Director of Community Events
Passionate about people, Tamika has always loved giving back to others. Her drive to help people of all ages and abilities find their voice, build self-confidence, and motivate them to strive and achieve what may have been told or perceived as impossible and make it possible. Tamika has held many leadership positions in corporate and non-profit charitable groups, helping to mentor and train others to be future leaders. Tamika's greatest love and care are working with young people and people with disabilities. A passion that is close to home, she is a voice for them when they feel they have none. Sharing and empowering others is her continued purpose.
TANGIE TAYLOR, Asst. Director of Community Events
Tangie Taylor currently serves as an Internal Audit Manager for Information Technology and Operations at Corporate One Federal Credit Union. Tangie has worked within the financial industry for more than 25 years and more than 15 years in the field of internal audit. Tangie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Florida A&M University and a Master of Business (MBA) degree in Accounting from Saint Leo University. She is also a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). Through various organizations, Tangie continues to demonstrate her passion and commitment to positively impact the lives of children and youth. She and her husband are the proud parents of two beautiful girls.
In order to Succeed, your Desire for Success has to be Greater than your Fear of Failure.
CARLEEKA BASNIGHT-MENENDEZ, Asst. Director of Fundraising
Carleeka Basnight-Menendez is an Award-winning Life Coach and your Accountability Partner. She helps single women to eliminate fear and gain clarity so that they can start their entrepreneurial journey. She knows that overcoming the barriers of self-doubt, rejection, fear, and perfectionism will help women to be committed to fulfilling their purpose. She loves serving and impacting her community.
While raising her family and working a full-time job, Carleeka obtained degrees in Biology Pre-Med and Histological Technology. She has facilitated numerous workshops, spoke at conferences, retreats, and more. In her free time, she loves to travel with her family, sing, and act. Today Carleeka offers coaching programs and services - from individual and group coaching, to seminars and keynote speeches. She knows that when you change your perspective, you will change your life!
LAKECIA WALKER, Board Member
A woman defined by her faith, femininity, allure, and style, LaKecia is passionate about all matters of empowerment. As the creative and visionary leader of Simply Ke’Say Boutique, she specializes in providing a space where fashion and inspiration go hand and hand. Launching online in 2015, she worked her way into a physical location in 2016, introducing her unique fashion approach to a community of savvy, chic-minded women in Jacksonville, FL.
With a heart for young people and the community,
LaKecia expands her message of empowerment by mentoring and inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold.
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