Empower My Hood Team Member Bios
Ayana K. Cole-Price MD, MSc
Chief Operating Officer
FUN FACT: Ayana co-hosted a weekly radio show on WHCR 90.3FM, Health in Harlem, featuring health professionals from Harlem hospital, to educate her 16,000 listeners on topics ranging from heart disease to medical insurance.
Dr. Ayana Cole-Price, the founder of Empower My Hood, Inc. is a plastic and reconstructive surgery resident physician at the University of Michigan.
Determined to address the need for college access in her hometown of Southeast Queens, in 2011 Ayana founded Empower My Hood Inc. (EMH) as a way to provide high school students in underserved communities with resources for college preparation. EMH is a growing non-profit organization, comprised of young black professionals, that aims to equip students and families with resources for college planning. In an effort to guide our community’s college-aspiring youth through the college planning processes, Ayana’s team provides a range of services, such as career planning workshops, seminars, coaching, and mentorship to students in their community. As the founder and Chief Operating Officer of EMH, Ayana continues to lead and grow a dynamic team of individuals who work collectively to develop innovative strategies to improve college access in underrepresented communities.
Ayana’s passion for addressing health disparities in underserved communities stems from her undergraduate and pre-clinical training at The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education (SDSBE). Sophie Davis is a 7-year BS/MD program at The City College of New York, a program dedicated to increasing the diversity of the physician workforce. Through her experience working in local community clinics, Ayana learned to develop relationships with her patients to provide effective patient-centered care.
During her undergraduate studies, she remained dedicated to serving and educating communities that are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases. While attending Sophie Davis, Ayana often took on several extra-curricular community service activities. As a health-journalist for Amsterdam News, Ayana obtained and published stories regarding the state of health among Harlem residents. Through several community fellowships, such as The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership’s Partners For Change Fellowship and The Zahn Innovation Center Fellowship, she engaged with local organizations focused on providing students with access to educational resources. In 2017, Ayana graduated Summa Cum Laude from Sophie Davis and enrolled in NYU Grossman School of Medicine to complete her clinical training.
At NYU, Ayana continued to grow her clinical skills as she discovered her favorite place in the hospital – the operating room. She immersed herself in the field of surgery, developing an interest in surgical oncology and reconstructive surgery. Taking her interest a step further, she enrolled in NYU’s Dual-Degree MD/Masters in Clinical Investigation program to obtain formal clinical research training. With the support of the Hansjorg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, Ayana has developed a unique ability to explore a new clinical research idea, develop an effective research plan, collect and analyze data, and convey her findings in a clear and succinct manner. In 2020, her continued hard work and resilience earned her membership in the esteemed Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
In May, 2021, Dr. Cole-Price graduated with her Medical Degree and Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation & Translational Research from New York University Grossman School of Medicine. With a desire to combine her love of critical thinking, teamwork, creativity and service, Ayana is presently pursuing her dream of becoming an innovative and compassionate Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon.
Delonie A. Plummer, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
FUN FACT: In college, I was President of my step team.
Delonie A. Plummer is Assistant General Counsel at New York University, where she advises human resources and business partners on labor and employment matters. Prior to that, Delonie worked as Counsel, Global Employment for Vice Media Group. Delonie started her practice as an Associate Attorney at Jackson Lewis P.C., where she represented large corporations, small business, and higher education institutions in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. Through her practice, Delonie hopes to advocate for cultural awareness in the workplace.
Delonie graduated cum laude from Pace University School of Law. At Pace Law School, Delonie served as the Vice-Chair of the Northeast Regional Black Law Students Association, through which she organized networking and community service-based events for minority law students. Delonie also served as a Senior Associate on the Pace International Law Review for which she authored an article on Intellectual Property developments in Caribbean countries. As a law student, Delonie interned for a federal judge in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester Supreme Court, and WNET Channel 13. Prior to law school,
Delonie also graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany. There, she majored in Criminal Justice and minored in English Studies. In her major, Delonie conducted research and authored a thesis on the role of child informants in wrongful convictions, and served as a Legislative Assistant in the New York State Assembly.
Shanté N. Freckleton, Esq.
FUN FACT: I stood on stage with Barack Obama when he was campaigning for his first election.
Shanté N. Freckleton is a Compliance Officer at American Express, where she handles consumer practices related matters in accordance with the UDAAP regulation. She also is the owner of S. Freckleton Law, PLLC which focuses on virtually-based estate planning. In addition to her role with the EMH organization, she also provides ad hoc legal consulting services to O. Christine, a travel and wellness-focused blog. After graduating law school, Shante was an Associate Attorney at a boutique firm in Long Island where she oversaw the in-house collections department for six years prior to her departure. Shante is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey and graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law. While in law school, Shante worked with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), General Counsel Office and with the New York Police Department (NYPD), Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). Prior to law school, Shante attended Boston University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, minor in Political Science
Chanei Patterson, M.S.Ed
Director of Education
FUN FACT: In high school I was on a team that competed on a televised academic game show called "The Challenge"
Chanei earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from City College of New York in 2015. She recently earned her Master's in Education: School Psychologist and Advanced Certificate: School Psychologist from Brooklyn College in 2020 and 2021, respectively. She became a New York State Certified School Psychologist in 2021 and currently works in a middle school on Long Island. Chanei has held a variety of leadership roles that reflect her passion for school psychology and secondary education. She has previously worked with the Summer Kids Interactive Program (SKIP), as a co-leader, followed by a sole leader. The program services students with a wide range of social abilities. Here, she assisted with program goals by facilitating activities that focused on team building and appropriate social interaction. She has also served as a counselor for an after-school program known as Gateway Youth Outreach, where she provided students with help on assignments, and facilitated recreational activities where students learned the importance of sportsmanship. Chanei is involved in many organizations aimed at giving back to her community, such as her high school alumni group. She is passionate about education, tutoring, mental health, social justice, and dismantling the school to prison pipeline.
Sadé Batchelor, M.Ed, M.A., LMHC
Director of Mental Health Resources
FUN FACT: I love to travel!! In my last semester of undergrad, I lived in Argentina and traveled South America for 3 months.
Sadé is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of New York. She currently works as Senior Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Specialist and Consultation Team Manager for Northside Center for Child Development. In this role, Sadé works closely with early childhood centers across New York City to promote equity, wellness strategies and positive relationships in the classroom and home settings. Through her clinical work, she provides therapy services in both English and Spanish to a variety of clients ranging from early childhood to adulthood in areas of relationships, mood disorders, trauma, identity development and behavioral concerns. Sadé is the Director of Mental Health Resources for Empower My Hood Inc. She received her M.A and Ed.M in Mental Health Counseling, with a concentration in Bilingual Latina/o Mental Health, from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2018. Sadé has a passion for educating and empowering youth to explore holistic wellness. As a result, She founded the @HeySade_Therapy Instagram account. This account highlights the importance of self-awareness, self-love and self-care to foster a safe space in social media to normalize mental health in the BIPOC community.
Atira B.E. Pressley, M.A.
Director of Brand Strategy
FUN FACT: In undergrad, I was the captain of a dance team and made our uniforms from scratch using hot glue
Atira is a Brownsville, Brooklyn born Creative + Brand Strategist. She received her BA’20 in Media & Strategic Communications from Iona College as well as her MA’22 in Public Relations. She serves as the Digital Media & Communications Aide for NYS Senator Zellnor Myrie representing the 20th NYS District and is a Creative Specialist for Top Forbes ranked agency, Small Girls PR. Both her academic and professional interests are born from the intersections of research, strategy, and creativity (please feel free to ask her anything about the history of African American rhetoric in poetry or psychological harm vs. structural inequalities as a conversation starter). As a Storyteller and Self-Proclaimed Social Scientist, she uses her experiences to fuel her curiosity and love for sharing knowledge and restructuring our understanding of the world through media. Atira has served as the Development and Communications Intern for Stoked Mentoring inc., Digital Content Creator with the online media platform Every Stylish Girl, and the Digital Media Manager for C Visuals Studios.
Social Media Coordinator & College Ambassador
FUN FACT: I have traveled to China and walked a portion of the Great Wall.
Raven Joseph is a native of Queens, New York where she completed her High School education at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts.
Raven is a recent Graduate of The Juilliard School where she received her BFA in Dance, May 2023. During the Juilliard commencement ceremony, Raven was honored with the leadership award - The Joseph W Polisi Prize for Dance. This prize is awarded for exemplifying Juilliard's values of the “artist as citizen” to graduating students in Dance, Drama, and Music presented by Damian Woetzel, President of Juilliard.
In 2022, Raven was named the 2022 FENDI Vanguard Recipient. Prior in 2017, Raven won the Silver Medal in the NAACP ACT-SO Competition, in the Dance Modern Category. Raven is extremely humbled for the opportunity to receive such honors in dance.
Raven began her dance training at The Edge School of the Arts where she studied in all styles. She continued her training at The Ailey School and MOVE|NYC| where she enhanced her dance technique. As part of a foreign exchange program Raven traveled to Beijing, China where she learned Classical Chinese Folk Dance and studied the great history of China. She has performed professional works ranging from Alonzo King, Bill T. Jones, Kyle Abraham, Francesca Harper and much more.
In 2021, Raven joined the Team of EMH Young Professionals, holding dual roles leading the Arts & Education Initiatives as holding the position of Social Media Liaison.
EMH is proud of Raven, her support of youth in her community, and her accomplishments in the Arts.
Jade V. Mackie, B.S.
Director of Community Outreach
FUN FACT: I danced for Michael Jackson at the age of 5.
Jade Mackie is an experienced Litigation Paralegal at Covington & Burling LLP, with a demonstrated history of working in the law practice industry. She is a strong legal professional with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science concentrating in American Government and a minor in Dance from The American University. With experience as a legislative intern at the U.S. Senate under Senator Charles Schumer, a judicial intern at the King’s County Civil Court, and an intergovernmental affairs specialist at the New York City Council, Jade is experienced in several fields including politics and law. She plans to become an attorney and is currently in the process of applying to law school. Jade is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, where she has held several positions in her chapter including Community Service Chair and Financial Secretary.
Empower My Hood Executive Officer Bios
Bobbie D. Cole
Chief Executive Officer
Ms. Cole is an experienced professional with 30+ years in the financial services industry. She is a visionary with a keen sense for strategy and forward thinking, a champion for progressive community redevelopment. Ms. Cole is passionate about mentoring students in underrepresented communities to grow the reach of higher education.
Diane M. Plummer
Mrs. Plummer’s 40 years of criminal justice experience has allowed her the opportunity to interact with the youth on both sides of the fence. She is deeply driven and motivated to equip our youth with the tools necessary to make a smooth transition from the educational setting to their career. She is interested in community collaboration and youth engagement. Mrs. Plummer is and continues to be an advocate for the youth in our underrepresented educational/careers paths.
Director of Administration
Mr. Aaron McKissick has 35 years of experience as a Financial Services Professional, with a background in Relationship Management and Corporate Trust. He is a community advocate who is actively engaged in a host of various community-based projects. Mr. McKissick was formerly the Assistant Coach for The Village of Hempstead PAL Track Team and he is currently the Head Coach of the Baldwin PAL Track Team. He is a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc
Chiquita M. Carter
Chief Financial Officer
Mrs. Carter has 30 years of Information Technology leadership with extensive experience in project and relationship management. As CFO, she oversees Budget and Financial Planning for EMH. Mrs. Carter has a passion for working with young adults and has successfully mentored many young people in her local community. She has a strong desire for bridging the gap between the youth and communities by strengthening the relationships between youth and community stakeholders.
Margaret J. Denson
Fundraising Chair, Community Relations Liaison
Margaret J. Denson, views her life as a mission “to help her fellow human beings and the institutions which serve them.” She credits her success and her inspiration to her parents.
In a life-changing- event, Margaret Denson worked tirelessly as the Director of Event and Community Relations for NYS Senator Leroy Comrie and Council Member I Daneek Miller. Since her retirement, Mrs. Denson remains active supporting Southeast Queens by serving on numerous Boards, Community Event Planning and ensuring Community Based Organizations remain connected through her continued Community Relations efforts.
Mrs. Williams-Miller is currently a Principal Insurance Agent at P.A.W.Benefits, Inc. She has over 30 years of experience in the field of Health insurance, specializing in Medicare and Group Sales. Pier is passionate about forging relationships with local agencies, senior centers, and faith- based institutions to expand awareness on healthcare.
Mrs. Natasha Gray-Joassainte is a LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) currently working for the NYC Department of Education. She has 25+ years experience as a social worker, including 19 years working for the Administration for Children's Services. Natasha has always been passionate about helping children and families. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
College Access Financial Advisor
Vanessa L. Sparks work focuses on parent and student advocacy and providing families information and access on post-secondary financial aid process. Ms. Sparks has assisted families with the college admission and financial aid process for 25 years, her training in financial aid mentorship includes the U.S. Department of Education, College Access Consortium of New York (CACNY), Davidson College and Goddard-Riverside OPTIONS College Access Program.
Empower My Hood Officers & Board Members
CEO/President Principal Owner
COO - Chief Operating Officer Principal Owner
CFO/Treasurer Board Member
GM/General Manager Board Member
Director of Administration Board Member
Director of Advocacy
Director of Community Affairs
Board Member VP
Fundraising Chair, Community Relations Liaison