LaToya Young is a native Charlottean and a mother of two children. As an entrepreneur, her motivation and genuine concern for others shows up in her errands service and company, Errands by LaToya located in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas. LaToya finds her joy in helping others and giving back to the community. As a parent and former school bus driver for seven years, LaToya is a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child. LaToya is a valuable part of the iSpeak Now Village and assists where she is needed. She enjoys seeing the students succeed and transform in such a short period of time through iSpeak Now's programs which further encourages her to continue to serve and help empower young people. LaToya is the Volunteer Coordinator for iSpeak Now
Annetta Watkins-Foard is the President of the iSpeak Now Board of Directors, 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.
Travis Jackson is the President-Elect of iSpeak Now and 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.
Michelle Pettiford currently serves as Dean of Students within Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Additionally, Ms. Pettiford holds her National Board Certification in the area of Exceptional Children Birth – Adult. She has 18 years experience as an educator in the area of exceptional children working in a variety of public settings with diverse student populations from kindergarten through high school Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy from Belmont Abbey, a Master of Education in Exceptional Children as well as Curriculum and Supervision from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is currently a doctorial student in Curriculum and Instruction from Gardner Webb University. Her passion for education and empowering the community is instrumental has she is a firm believer of a quote made by Harriet Tubman; “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
iSpeak Now Board of Directors
Vonda Johnson is the Board of Directors Secretary and Volunteer Coordinator for iSpeak Now. She initially became involved with iSpeak Now as a volunteer in 2016, She received her Bachelor of Arts is Sociology from Hartwick College in New York. Vonda has over five years of work experience in the public sector as a community organizer, fundraiser, and event planner. She has completed two years of doctoral level legal education. Vonda has a strong passion to work with young people and help them reach their full potential. Her favorite mantra is “Don’t be afraid to be great.”
iSpeak Now Board Treasurer
iSpeak Now Chief Executive Officer
Kai Toshumba is a North Carolina native. Kai graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and minor in Women's Studies. After graduating from college, Kai spent a year in Los Angeles working as an AmeriCorps VISTA in three public schools focusing on school and community capacity building. Upon returning to North Carolina, Kai enrolled at Charlotte School of Law to pursue her interest in criminal and education law. Since receiving her J.D. in 2016, Kai has volunteered with iSpeak Now mock trials and mentoring programs. Kai is compassionate about civic engagement, connecting people with local resources, and interacting with youth activism. The mission of iSpeak Now encompasses all the things she enjoys because she can see the impact the programs have on the students and community
iSpeak Now Board Secretary
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 July 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!"
Tommy Nichols is a certified legal videographer, experienced creative entrepreneur and with over 15 years working
with youth. Over that past few years, Tommy watched the contributions that iSpeak Now has made to our youth and community and knows that his own professional desires and goals are similar. Tommy is the CEO of Glorified Media (GM); a media marketing and management company that creates and manage media based assets. Under GM umbrella is The Charlotte Black Film Festival and PowerUp USA, an innovative youth technology and media training company. While attending Wilberforce University a keen business acumen and strong appreciation for filmmaking was developed. Through continued education, Nichols subsequently graduated from The NationalFederation of Entrepreneurship, The American Guild of Court Videographers, and The Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute. He later completed extensive and specialized training at the Hollywood FilmInstitute in New York, which boasts Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee as graduates.
Billie Jean Shaw is a Multimedia Journalist for the NBC WCNC affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina. She joined the NBC Charlotte team in April 2017. Her first interaction with iSpeak Now was covering the Mock Trial Experience of Thomasboro Academy. She has volunteered her time with iSpeak Now ever since! In 2017, the South Carolina Senate recognized Billie Jean's work by issuing a proclamation applauding her professionalism and service to the community. Billie Jean graduated from Winthrop University where she earned a BA in Mass Communication with a minor in Marketing. During her time at Winthrop, she worked in Washington, DC covering political news on Capitol Hill.
Billie Jean Shaw
iSpeak Now Board President-Elect
iSpeak Now Volunteer Coordinator
Eddie Owens is a popular on-air personality for Radio One’s 105.3 R&Bfm. Eddie is also the owner of Owens Communications Group which is a successful multi-media company specializing in creating commercials for all media (radio, television, web, etc.). Eddie first became involved with iSpeak Now as a guest Judge in the Advanced Mock Trial Competition between Harding University High School and Performance Learning High School and has been involved with the program ever since. He has a passion for making a difference in the community and working with young adults of all ages, He understands firsthand the importance of having strong public speaking and communication skills.
Tamara Satterfield is the Board of Directors Treasurer and is a native of Suffolk, Virginia. She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism, Mass Communication and Public Relations and has a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Health Counseling. After graduating from college, Tamara propelled her career as a Marketing Manager for Trader Publishing Company by launching two of the largest car buying websites. Tamara was a successful banker at BB&T where she developed and piloted several financial literacy classes for local college and high school students. Tamara then pursued an education and career in Clinical Mental Health. Tamara expanded her education and expertise in counseling through various entities such as Communities in Schools at West Charlotte High School, Creative Counseling Center (C3), National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), and now lends her talents to iSpeak Now.
iSpeak Now Board President