Meet the Board…
A progressive, community focused, high-powered and passionate group comprise the Project Karma Board. These engaged and diverse community members meet regularly to review Project Karma progress, and provide input on strategic issues. The Board includes expertise and talent from a wide variety of community sectors, and benefits from the collective wisdom of years of experience in community giving and service.
Deneta Howland Sells, M.D. Intown Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, P.C., Chair, Founding Member
Dr. Sells graduated from Harvard College in 1992 with a degree in Sociology. She received her medical degree from the University Of Tennessee College Of Medicine in 2003, and completed her residency in pediatrics at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Sells founded Intown Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in September 2006.
Dr. Sells’ personal philosophy is to be a true “neighborhood” doctor: involved in community activities, offering convenient appointment times and after-hours advice. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and participates in the Section on Early Childhood Education & Childcare as well as the Section on Complementary, Holistic & Integrative Medicine. Dr. Sells lives with her husband Bryan Sells, a civil rights attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, and their gray tabby, Scout. They are big baseball fans; enjoy sampling Atlanta’s great restaurants and going out to hear live music. They can usually be found Sunday mornings at the Flying Biscuit counter in Candler Park.
Renee E. Turner , Esq. US Virgin Islands
Renee Turner is a newly admitted attorney in the State of New York. Currently residing in the US Virgin Islands, Renee is a long-time board member, she has worked tirelessly behind the scenes of Project KARMA since its’ inception. Renee hails from New York City, and has developed her passion for helping young people through her work with KARMA. Renee is a recent newlywed, and hopes to continue a legal profession that involves her love of the arts, and for community service.
Brandi Decker-Hunter, Keller Williams Realty
Brandi is a seasoned real estate professional and luxury property consultant with Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Classic, with a history full of achievement. As a graduate of the University of Georgia, she was a member of the women’s basketball team that earned two SEC Championships and adorned Final Four honors in 1995 & 1996. She obtained her real estate license in her hometown of Chicago, and achieved Million Dollar status in her first year at Coldwell Banker. Since moving back to Atlanta in 2006, she has had the opportunity to establish a luxury and elite clientele, and has assisted buyers and sellers throughout metro Atlanta and surrounding areas. She is the proud mother of 3 beautiful sons and in her spare time enjoys working out, volunteering, attending social events around Atlanta and being with family and friends. Brandi is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the Atlanta Board of Realtors, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a life member of the UGA Alumni Association.
V. Kottavei Williams, MA., Artist, Kottavei
Artist, free spirit and parent to five young equally talented boys, Kottavei is a writer, painter and creative force and mentor. She comes to our Project KARMA family as a true advocate for young people, and for how the arts can change lives and transform communities. Kottavei has experience in multiple artistic mediums and is a group favorite because of her skills as a teacher, and her giving energy and spirit.
Spinxx Jones, Verbal Slick –Poet, Artist, Founder, Verbal Slick Kids
Spinxx Jones is the founder and creative force behind Verbal Slick. Originally from Chicago, IL., and an accomplished poet, and artist, Spinxx crested Verbal Slick as an entertainment and arts multimedia event that stimulates and challenges both the mind and senses. Whether your affinities and tastes run toward the aesthetic appreciation of art, the insight of poetry, the lyricism of hip hop, the warm feel of soul music, the raw honesty of an acoustic set, or the raucous energy of rock & roll, Verbal Slick is your one stop listening and viewing venue for the best of it all. Verbal Slick Kids is his new NPO that seeks to connect young people and the arts through some of the insight he has gained through his years of poetry, spoken word, and arts event planning.
Danielle M. Edwards, MSW
This group of community, and non-profit pioneers have been assembled to be ambassadors and network builders to this mission and vision. This group includes past board members, and other community minded volunteers that believe in, and support the work of the staff and governing board.
Dana D. Chestnut, The Chestnut Company, Founding Member
Mr. Chestnut is a founding board member of Project KARMA. He is the President and CEO of The Chestnut Company, a real estate consultant company with interests in Florida, and Georgia. He brings his years of real estate, banking and investment expertise to our KARMIC mission. Dana is an avid sportsman, and enjoys spending time with his wife Gaya, and family, son Miles, and daughter Karrine.
Ansley A. Abraham, Ph.D., Southern Regional Education Board, Founding Member
Dr. Ansley Abraham is the founding director of the Southern Regional Education Board State Doctoral Scholars Program in Atlanta, GA. Under Dr. Abraham’s direction, the board has developed one of the nation’s best-documented and successful programs for producing minority Ph.D.s who seek faculty careers. The Doctoral Scholars Program has produced more than 450 graduates, 80 percent of whom are employed in education. More than 330 scholars are currently progressing toward the Ph.D. The Doctoral Scholars Program annually sponsors the Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, a nationwide effort of state, federal, and private agencies and organizations committed to faculty diversity that brings together more than 1,000 minority Ph.D. scholars and their mentors to provide skills and knowledge for the successful completion of the doctoral degree and transition to an academic career. The Institute is the largest gathering of minority Ph.D. students in America.
Yaacov Petscher, Ph.D. Florida Center for Reading Research, Founding Member
Yaacov Petscher, Ph.D. is an Associate in Research at Florida State University and the Director of Research at the Florida Center for Reading Research. Dr. Petscher is an expert in measurement and quantitative methods and has published in the fields of psychometrics, student reading development, gifted identification, effectiveness of interventions, and grief and loss. In his spare time, Dr. Petscher enjoys the blessing of helping his wife raise their two daughters, and is active in his community teaching about his Christian faith.
Courtney E. Olivari, CEO Custom Cakes & Novelties, LLC.
Courtney’s journey with Project KARMA began with a cake…An Oscar The Grouch cake that made one of our first community events a huge success. For several years, Courtney Olivari has produced outstanding culinary creations for the most discerning clientele. CEO Custom Cakes was started by Courtney with the intention of providing gourmet desserts to the Atlanta community. Her belief that special events deserve special desserts is why she is much sought after in Atlanta. Her cakes and confections are moving area events from plain sheet cakes from ordinary to spectacular. Courtney’s background is very different than most expect it to be. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology from The University of Michigan and two Master’s degrees, an MBA and a Master’s degree in Healthcare Mgmt. Because she always loved to cook, it was easy to come back to her true passion. Courtney is a self-taught cake decorator/designer who prepares every order personally, using her keen attention to detail to assure clients that their orders will be perfect in every way. When not creating culinary masterpieces, Courtney is the devoted mother to son, Quincy, and is married to Gerald Olivari.