Divas of Distinction (Former Workshop Facilitators)
The Dynamic Ms. Joni Holifield!
Founder & President at HeartSmiles, a non-profit for at-risk youth.
Founder & President at Leading 4 Longevity, a leadership consulting company.
Joni Holifield has over 15 years of leadership experience and is mostly known for growing and mentoring other leaders. Having helped dozens of aspiring leaders and non-executive leaders achieve their goals in leadership, Joni is considered an expert coach, motivator and trusted instructed when it comes to building strong leadership teams. The tragic and heartfelt aftermath of the Freddie Gray riots was what ultimately pushed Joni out of her comfort zone in corporate America and into a space where she is now able to share her gifts and talent with at-risk youth teaching them core skills around leadership and entrepreneurship through her nonprofit organization, HeartSmiles.
Because HeartSmiles is a grassroots organization that has not yet received any government or outside funding, Joni again pushed herself even further by creating a leadership training and development consulting company, Leading 4 Longevity, where she and her team help businesses of all sizes provide effective professional development for their non-executive leadership teams. Aside from individual contributors, Leading 4 Longevity is the primary funding source for the nonprofit and helps to keep these much needed services available for youth in our communities. In addition to these, Joni is a new up and coming motivational speaker encouraging leaders from all walks of life to live their dreams out loud. Her ultimate goal is to provide services and products that motivate, inspire and empower people to BMORE.
The DIVA Effect, Inc., is so honored to have Ms. Holifield as our speaker of the hour for the orientation of the 2017/2018 program year. To subscribe to Ms. Holifield's YouTube channel, please click here.
The Lovely Ms. Lenese N. Stephens,
LCPC-S, NCC, MAC!
Lenese Stephens is a graduate from Argosy University’s Community Counseling graduate program. She is currently completing the educational requirements for her doctoral degree within the Counseling Education and Supervision program
(graduating in October 2018).
Ms. Stephens has had extensive experience within the counseling field. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Maryland. (LCPC) and DC (LPC). The extent of her clinical experience includes providing counseling services to adults and adolescents living with mental illness within detention centers and community settings. Along with working within detention centers, Ms. Stephens does some consulting work with a local women's shelter and a child and family services agency, provides clinical supervision to counseling students, and present at various workshops and conferences on the topics of generational trauma, domestic violence, body image perceptions, emotional development impairments and many more topics relevant to the African American community and counseling profession .
Ms. Stephens is currently seeking to extend her work experience to teaching emerging counseling students within higher educational settings.
The DIVA Effect, Inc. is honored to have Ms. Stephens as our Emotional Wellness and Health workshop facilitator!
The Beautiful Ms. Brandi Skinner
Brandi Skinner is a licensed financial service professional whose focus is to empower communities through financial literacy. She has worked in the field for over 5 years, and during that time she has serviced countless families by helping them meet their personalized financial goals.
It is her desire to educate individuals in the community on financial principles, while providing highly rated services that help them meet their retirement, educational savings, budgeting, asset protection, property protection and income protection needs.
Brandi Skinner has volunteered at community events that focus on family bonding, and financial empowerment. During her career, she has also received a Commissioner’s Citation for her work at the Women’s prison for implementing institutional programs that were geared towards women empowerment.
Thank you Ms. Skinner for ensuring the women of our program have a better more financially secure future!
The Graceful Ms. Gwendolyn Poteeat
Ms. Gwendolyn Poteeat is a true woman of strength and courage. A survivor of 13 years of violent domestic abuse, she is now committed to bringing awareness, education, and help to women in need of tools and reources for escaping abusive relationships.
Presently, Gwendolyn is the executive assistant for the Transforming East Baltimore Community Development Coporation and LIVE. There, she organizes training sessions, assist with fundraising, and help develop conferences. Additionally, Gwendolyn is an AARP Advocate Board member, member of the Baltimore Chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, Black Girls Rock DMV, vice president of SISTERS, one of the founders of Raising Awareness in Red (for domestic violence), and volunteers as a grief supporter for Roberta's House. A member of Mount Pleaseant Church and Ministry, Gwendolyn is very passionate about women empowerement and personal growth. Please come, hear, and enjoy this dynamic speaker as she shares her story of survival.