CHAIRMAN & FOUNDER
| A native of Brooklyn, NY, is the author and creator of the Briana’s Neighborhood children’s brand and the founder of the Dare to Dream Foundation.
“There weren’t enough images for young girls from multi-cultural backgrounds that were living real life scenarios,” according to, Sahar Simmons, a Hampton University graduate, with a degree in Communications. In the series, Simmons created a positive and lovable character, perfect for commercial usage, which focuses on characters from different backgrounds. Briana is a socially conscious, inquisitive eight-year-old girl from Brooklyn, NY who is affected by her surroundings and environment. She has a deeply rooted compassion for social causes and a supportive group of diverse friends who are intertwined in the community that they live in.
Simmons started her career in the fast- paced sports industry with a concentration in special events management, media relations and communications. She has worked for Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) Boxing Division, the US Olympic Committee and continued on to, TNT Sports, the NBA (Atlanta Hawks) and NFL (Atlanta Falcons). She has organized and executed some of the largest sporting events for organizations, nonprofits and professional athletes such as the NBA All Star games and professional athletes’ charitable organizations; Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo and Carmelo Anthony’s foundations.
Simmons’ later transitioned into film, working in many capacities and for a wide range of films and production companies: Collateral, Be Cool, Barbershop 3’, Dream Works, Sony Studios and Disney-Marvel Studios, Avengers 3 & 4 to name a few. Her new creative project, Mobile Movie Makers-Youth Film Competition- nurturing budding young filmmakers and sharing the transformative power of their work, which will be created on their mobile devices.
The enthusiasm of Briana’s Neighborhood has been supported by major partners due to Simmons’ keen understanding of the children’s industry and brand development. Her community involvement includes maintaining literacy partnerships with corporations such as: McDonalds, Carol’s Daughter, Macy’s, Chick fil- A, the WNBA and NBA Leagues. Simmons was a featured author on green initiatives at the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, DC and her most recent partnership is with Wal-Mart. Her brand has serviced over 50,000 children nationally.
Simmons dedicates her time to giving back to kids. She volunteers and conducts writing workshops, book readings and public speaking sessions for youth at schools, universities, organizations and libraries. Her topic discussions on bullying, self- empowerment, literacy, green initiatives and entrepreneurship has been widely supported amongst schools. Her community involvement has been recognized by Rolling Out Magazine as one of the 25 “Most Influential Women” and Who’s Who of Black Atlanta Publication. Simmons was also the 2010 Wells Fargo Entrepreneurial finalist and the 2012 Echoing Green Business Leader finalist.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
| Nia is a transplant from Brooklyn, New York currently residing in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is an alumnus of both Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology. She has been volunteering with various youth organizations for over thirteen years and has three years’ experience as an executive board member of a CITE-NC. Academics and athletics came easily to Nia, but making time for other things did not. Working with the youth has taught her the joy of achieving great things with great effort – a joy that she is delighted to have experienced, but even more delighted to share with others. Sharing the thrill of confidence, self-esteem and conquering fears keeps Nia working with organizations with a purpose year after year.
Nia is currently a Program Manager for Cisco Systems and proud mother of three. She formerly as a Network Engineer with Verizon for ten years.
“I absolutely enjoy every moment I spend with the kids, hoping to inspire them just like many role models have inspired me.”
| Astor Chambers is widely recognized as an accomplished marketer and sales executive with a proficient understanding of the mindset of today’s trendsetters and influencers. Mr. Chambers is the former Footwear Business Director for the Jordan Brand. Mr. Chambers is responsible for setting the strategy and long term vision for the Jordan Brand footwear business by leading the category and driving ideation and new concepts to go to market. Prior to this Mr. Chambers was the Global Footwear Product Director of Urban/Indie/Urbano for NIKE where he was responsible for developing global strategic footwear plans across all functions and regions while managing a team of four managers. His business unit generated the largest amount of revenue for the Sportswear division within NIKE, Inc.
Mr. Chambers has worked on some of the most notable marketing initiatives within the footwear industry (25th Year Anniversary of the NIKE Air Force One, 25th Year Anniversary of the Jordan Brand, launch of Billionaire Boys Club, etc.) and played instrumental roles within each.
| Derek Webber is the director of promotions and operations for Urban Sports & Entertainment Group. Derek handles on-site activities with systematic accuracy that provides clients with operations breakdowns and event recaps to show what happened, how consumers interacted with their product and reacted to their programs.
His background includes advertising agency account work with McDonald’s at Fahlgren Advertising and 10 years of sports marketing experience with NASCAR, HBCU properties such as the CIAA conference & the Bayou Classic, American Black Film Festival, Honda Battle of the Bands and ESPN televised sporting events. A former athlete, Derek earned a B.A. in organizational communications from Hampton University.
| Marcus’ 15-year career in telecommunications and finance has included general management, consulting, sales leadership and entrepreneurial experience with a premier accounting and consulting firm and one of the leading telecommunications corporations in the world. Marcus currently serves as Area Vice President of Sales for Southern California Area within Verizon Business, where he leads over 300 sales, engineering and service professionals. Currently, he manages over 500 customers primarily in the Fortune 1000 space representing over $300 million in annual revenue.
Marcus serves as the chairperson for Verizon Business Diversity Council and he is an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Urban Access Media Group, Inc. and Worldwide Advisory Group, LLC
| Naima has served in the position of Assistant General Counsel for the NCAA since May of 2006. Her responsibilities include working with NCAA’s infractions process, particularly the Enforcement staff, in addition to providing counsel to other areas of the National Office and the NCAA Eligibility Center. Prior to joining the NCAA, she was a Corporate and Securities Associate with the law firm of Arnold & Porter in Washington DC. While at Arnold & Porter, Naima advised a variety of corporations on the ever changing landscape in Securities regulations, assisted clients with raising equity in private equity transactions, and advised clients in various merger and acquisition transactions. She was also a member of the firm’s Pro Bono and Professional Development Committee’s.
Naima is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and she received her law degree from Harvard Law School. She is originally from Brooklyn New York.
| Rodney R. Lewis, tri-star business entrepreneur with a Creative Consultant platform within 3-section umbrella. One Nation Promotions started in 1992, catering to corporate brands, sports, and entertainment industries in order to create, develop and produce all branding needs.
RL Management, established in 2012, assists corporate brands with their event promotions, product activations, and campaign executions around the country.
The TrendingXChange is a newly founded project created in 2016 to work with small businesses, special events and non-profit organizations to grow and build their brands, brand management advisory and to assist with rebranding them.
Rodney’s contributions consist of clients and brands; Nissan Motors, Coca-Cola, MoneyGram International, NCAA sports, UniWorld Group, Sony Music, Kroger and Dish Networks to name a few.
| Sherí Barros is the Founder, Principal, & Chief Brand Strategist of SVB Group, a boutique sports & entertainment brand marketing consultancy. An award-winning 15-year veteran of brand marketing in sports entertainment, the former Vice President of Marketing & Brand Ambassador for privately-held Cooper Holdings, has a record of respected leadership of advertising, creative, insights, experiential, and brand partnership teams. Cooper Holdings is the parent company to (7) subsidiaries in the marketing and entertainment industries. Ms. Barros joined Cooper Holdings as a consultant, where she led the strategy, negotiation and management of corporate clients’ seven-figure national sponsorship portfolio. Her team managed partnerships across the U.S. within the NBA, NCAA, MLS, International Soccer, Action Sports, WWE, and more.
Prior to Cooper Holdings, Ms. Barros led the marketing department for Spurs Sports & Entertainment, where she oversaw marketing for five-time NBA champion, San Antonio Spurs. Sherí was promoted to oversee brand marketing for all Spurs Sports & Entertainment properties, including: NBA Spurs, AT&T Center concerts and shows, WNBA Stars, AHL Rampage, & Spurs foundation. During her tenure, the Spurs won several marketing and advertising awards: Telly Awards, a Summit Creative Award, and National Sports Forum ADchievement Award. Prior to the Spurs, Ms. Barros held marketing & management roles in the front offices of several professional sports organizations, including the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Texas Rangers, and the 83rd PGA Championship.
A two-time ‘Who’s Who’ honoree in Atlanta and San Antonio, Ms. Barros is an Adjunct Marketing Professor at New York University. She also speaks to organizations and colleges, including: The American Marketing Association, Cynopsis Sports Business Summit, Dig South Conference, Georgia State University, Emory University, and more.
A native of Atlanta, Ms. Barros holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida State University and a Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas.
| Terry Vann, has a B.A degree in Psychology, and a B.S. degree in Accounting, along with over 15 years of accounting experience. This experience includes working for the Arc of Durham County, not-for-profit organization as the bookkeeper and one of the Big Four public accounting firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers. She is currently a Senior SEC Financial Reporting Analyst of SPX, Inc, a multi-industrial manufacturing firm. Prior to this role, Ms. Vann served for two years as a Senior Internal Auditor at Lowe’s Home Improvement, monitoring the application of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles by the Corporate Accounting Department, along with identifying process inefficiencies and control breakdowns at the Corporate Headquarters that impact operations.