iSpeak Now Chief Executive Officer
Yolanda Trotman is the Chief Executive Officer and the founder of iSpeak Now. Yolanda graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. Yolanda was a high school history teacher, debate and speech coach, and Mock trial coach for three years at North Mecklenburg High School. In 1999 she attended law school at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated in May 2002 with her Juris Doctor degree. Yolanda began her legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in October 2002 and opened her own law practice, The Law Office of Yolanda M. Trotman, PLLC, in 2004. She was elected as District Court Judge on November 4, 2014 and served as a Judge in the 26th Judicial District where she presided over criminal and civil matters for two years. During this time she received several awards for her service to the community. In January 2016 Yolanda founded iSpeak Now to teach public speaking, critical thinking and related skills to elementary and high school students by utilizing an interactive mock trial model called the Mock Trial Experience in partnership with law enforcement, law and college students and members of the community. Yolanda decided to leave the bench in December 2016 and return to the private sector to re-open her law practice and to pursue the development and expansion of iSpeak Now throughout local schools and to expand to other counties and other states. The first lesson she teaches her students is "your voice has POWER!"
iSpeak Now Board of Directors
iSpeak Now Advisory Committee Chair
Annetta Watkins-Foard is the past President of the iSpeak Now Board of Directors and the Chair of the iSpeak Now Advisory Committee, She is a native Charlottean and is currently a Program Coordinator for Community Building Initiative. As an employee of CBI, Annetta works to implement a Leaders Under 40 Leadership program, (LU40), for rising leaders in the Charlotte community. Annetta has also implemented a series of historical and interactive bus tours of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community especially in the West End Corridor and Charlotte’s east side. Annetta is very active in the community. For the past 15 years she has served as an effective and successful political Campaign Manager for various local politicians. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Loaves & Fishes. Annetta became involved in iSpeak Now based on her love for the community and developing a new generation of young leaders.
Robert Corbett is an attorney in Charlotte and has been an attorney for more than 20 years. He was previously an Assistant District Attorney before ultimately opening his own law firm. Over the past few years, Rob watched the contributions that iSpeak Now has made to our youth and community and knows that his own professional desires and goals are similar. Rob has volunteered to coach teams that were competing in the Advanced Mock Trial Experience. He, like many of our fellow citizens, have seen the challenges that are facing our young people. As a criminal defense attorney, he witnesses first hand the collateral consequences that can affect a young person’s life when they become entangled in the criminal system. Being involved with ISpeak affords him the opportunity to mentor, encourage, or be an example, for a student as they are navigating young adulthood. He believes that if only one person makes better decisions so that they do not appear in court, then he would consider the journey worthwhile.
Travis Jackson is from Durham North Carolina. Travis is a 2011 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a concentration in Public Relations. Travis is the CEO and Founder of HBCU Pride Nation (HPN), an engaging online platform that promotes the connectivity, significance and pride of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in an effort to increase their positive awareness and enrollment. Travis was recently honored as one of the “Top 30 Under 30” African-American entrepreneurs in Charlotte by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Black Chamber of Commerce and has received the numerous honors such as the “Emerging Leader of the Year” by the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.