The Woman Boss Mentors

Me’Chelle Degree McKenney, PMP gg

Me'chelle is the Blueprint Leadership Strategist and CEO of 3rd Degree Solutions. Her successful career has taken her around the world speaking in the US, Europe and Latin America offering

compelling and exciting life changing platform opportunities to speak before thousands. She empowers them with "Blueprint Leadership Strategies" to take significant next steps in their careers and personal development. As an Amazon Number 1 Best Selling Author and a John Maxwell certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer; Me’chelle mastered the art of strategic leadership and developed the "Blueprint Leadership" Series of Workshops. She has worked with Corporations, Entrepreneurs, Government, Women in Transition, College Students and Faith-based Institutions. Before becoming the Blueprint Leadership Strategist, Me’chelle worked as an organizational leadership consultant utilizing 25 years of extensive project management experience, certifications in Project Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum Master creating profitable and lasting solutions. Me’chelle is an action-oriented consultant recognized by clients as an innovative problem solver. Her expertise provides her the ability to build relationships to aid in moving teams forward. Me’chelle has managed domestic and international projects, forming strategic partnerships between business groups and external clients. Just this year she was appointed to serve as the Director of HBCU engagement for a presidential campaign. Her goal is to help people succeed!


Koren U. Bowman

Koren U. Bowman is the Founder and CEO of KU Real Estate Group. She is dedicated to using her company as a catalyst to help shape the real estate community by continuing to inspire and empower

individuals and local businesses throughout. With over 15 years of experience, Koren is committed to serving her community through the transactional process of residential and commercial real estate. In addition, she uses KU Real Estate Group’s platform to offer influential and impactful educational services, quality client and corporate relations, and cutting-edge strategies to better serve her clientele. As a wife, mother, and business owner, Koren has truly found her passion in life through real estate and continues to grow and thrive for years to come. Born and raised in North New Jersey, twenty minutes outside New York City, she has been able to experience real estate in various markets, including Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland, and now resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 2007. She is also a proud graduate of Virginia State University with a degree in Economics and Finance and continues to support her alma mater, along with other local universities and colleges in the Durham and Raleigh area. She knew early on in her career that it would eventually lead her to real estate. Koren started her managing career with Wells Fargo in 2003 in subprime lending. In 2008, she began real estate investing, which soon led her to get her real estate broker’s license in 2011. From the very beginning of her brokerage career she decided to team up with Keller Williams Realty, which is currently the #1 brokerage in North America. For the past several years Koren has built her business and has successfully been one of Keller William’s top performing agents and Master Educator, Trainer, and Coach to help educate her community in real estate, entrepreneurship, and wealth building. In addition to real estate, Koren is also very active in the community through ministry, community service, and engagement. She is a strong advocate of community outreach and has partnered up with various organizations such as Citizens Schools, The Boys and Girls Club, Urban Ministries, Durham Public Schools, Durham Senior Living, Junior Achievement, American Heart Association, KW Cares and many others. As she continues to be active in the community and in ministry, she has also served and belongs to other various local boards, committees and organizations. Just to name a few she has worked with KW Cares and Red Day Committee and Chair, The Triangle International Council, the Diversity Committee of the Raleigh Realtor Association, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and served on the American Heart Association Triangle Mission Leadership Committee. In 2015, she started her very own non-profit, Christ Saves Hearts Foundation, Inc. This organization serves its purpose to create advocacy for heart health, provide scholarships to minority high school and college students, and has been the creator and push for the North Carolina Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act for Student Athletes.


Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LCMHC

Leslie Stevens, M.Ed., LCMHC is a North Carolina and Virginia board certified licensed clinical mental health counselor. Through her successful practice, Counseling with Leslie, PLLC,

she helps people navigate stress, depression, anxiety, and perfectionism. Leslie has an empathic heart for individual therapy. She walks each client through tailored processes to help them understand and honor the relationship that they have with themselves and others. Leslie is also the co-founder of the Congruence Counseling Group, PLLC. Leslie co-created this space for a collective of diverse clinicians to serve the ever-growing population seeking mental health counseling. In addition to serving as a licensed professional counselor, she has been a leader, speaker, teacher, mentor and administrator in various settings for over 15 years. "It is important for me to provide space and support for other women entrepreneurs. I have valued greatly from women mentors pouring into me. I want the same for other women. I am blessed to be able to offer my support to African women entrepreneurs.


Janice Rojas

Janice Rojas serves as the Marketing & Communications Director for Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a nonprofit in Raleigh, NC. In her role,

Janice is responsible for the marketing strategy and digital marketing efforts of the organization, both internally and externally. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Janice has always been passionate about making a difference in people's lives by volunteering her time or mentoring others. In her spare time, she teaches marketing classes and just recently started her own freelance marketing business, JR Marketing & PR LLC. She's also an avid writer and writes novels for fun with hopes to be a published author someday. Janice obtained her Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill's Hussman School of Journalism at Chapel Hill. "It was my honor to be able to help an entrepreneur from The Woman Boss. At the end of the day, we just clicked and became friends. Even though I was her mentor, I feel like I learned a lot from her, her life and perspective and it's something that is priceless to me."


Rachael Boone

Rachael Boone is the CEO and Founder of BeEvolvedHR and Human Resources and Leadership Coaching consultancy organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

She has created a movement around the evolution of women called SheEvolved which has manifested itself in a conference series, She has over 20 years of expertise in both private and non-profit organizations as a respected consultant in all areas of human resources management, corporate compliance, executive coaching, diversity, and quality management outcomes for staff and company growth & development. She also serves as a resource for UN Women an organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide and she organizes “Pink Slip Parties,” which are catered to individuals who have been impacted by downsizing and layoffs and which brings together HR professionals in conferences.


Naya Fela Powell

Naya Fela Powell is a #1 Bestselling Author, 3rd generation entrepreneur, CEO/founder of Spa Utopia which delivers luxe spa and virtual wellness experiences on-demand,

and the Utopia Living Brand. Naya Fela is a highly regarded thought leader in the world of wellness and innovative self-care. As a Wholistic Lifestyle Strategist and Executive Coach, she offers ten (10) plus years of expertise providing wellness solutions for individuals, top brands, and Fortune 500 companies. Naya and her companies client lists include the 2020 Olympic Trials, NFL - Super Bowl , The Ritz Carlton, Google, Martha Stewart, Sean Combs, Angela Bassett, and others. Powell’s educational background includes a B.A. Degree in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University, Certification in Massage Therapy from Rising Spirit Institute of Natural Health, and post-graduate studies at the College of Executive Coaching (accredited by the International Coaching Federation). Powell promotes Utopian Lifestyle Strategies as a global: speaker, executive coach, mindfulness facilitator, and lifestyle retreat curator. Naya Fela believes Utopia Living is giving. She serves on the Board of the Daniel Center of Math and Science, speaks at various colleges and universities; and is a global mentor to The Woman Boss in The Gambia - West Africa. Naya Fela's mission is to spread life-giving services to the world and empower others to live their most passionate lives on purpose...*wholistically!


Yatta Sahor-Sallah

Yatta Sahor-Sallah is a Human Resource (HR) Generalist at North Carolina Aquarium Society. She is an experienced HR professional in both for-profit and unionized non-profit organizations.

Yatta is responsible for implementing and executing core HR strategies that enable her organization to recruit, train, and retain a high performing and motivated workforce. She specializes in talent management, staffing, employee benefits, and learning and development. Yatta has also served as HR Administrator/Leave Management specialist at INC Research and Kaiser Permanente. In these capacities, she was responsible for administering and fostering leave management plans such as Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), American Disability Act (ADA/ADAA), workers compensation programs, as well as implementing employee relations policies and strategies, and performance management. Yatta holds a master’s degree of Science in Management with a concentration in Human Resources from the University of Maryland University College and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Cedar Crest College. She is currently in pursuit of becoming a Certified HR Professional through Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).


Ida Ceesay-Ndiaye

Ida Ceesay-Ndiaye is a consultant and the Proprietress of Gemini Consulting. Prior to moving to Senegal, a year ago she was a Multi-site property manager for 12 years

and specialized in distressed properties, takeovers, and new acquisitions. Ida also conducts training on property management, strategic management, customer service, project management, compliance, and marketing. She organized the first Real Estate Expo in The Gambia in 2019 and is working on the second one in April 2020. She holds a Bachelor’s in business administration with a minor in marketing, and a Master’s in Public Administration both from Strayer University in Raleigh, NC. Ida is a cancer survivor and advocate. She is also the founder of Fighting Against Cancer in Africa (FACIA) and the Vice Chairperson for The Cancer Associations League the Gambia. The league focuses of education, early detection and raising breast cancer awareness among women in rural Gambia and Senegal. We recently held a month-long cancer awareness activity which included a cancer walk and a weekend of free screening, testing and sensitization for breast and cervical cancer in The Gambia.


SounSyrah Lowe

Soonsyra’s work experience spans over 20 years having worked in The Gambia, United States of America and currently in South Africa at the Collaborative Africa Reform Initiative;

as Stakeholder Liaison. She has a demonstrated history of working with non-profit organisations as an Independent Consultant; Soonsyra holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Soonsyra’s passion lies helping youth find their niche and voice through mentoring, empowerment and sharing her experiences. She is a mother of two teenagers and has been married to her husband for 17 years.


Naffie Ceesay, MD, MBA

Naffie Ceesay, MD, MBA graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Completed a Medical degree from the University of Medical and Health Sciences,

during which time, she also earned an MBA in Healthcare Management. She completed her family medical residency training at St. Luke University Health Network in New Jersey, USA, with further specialization training focus in Global Health/International medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Board certified, currently in Urgent Care and Travel Medicine. Dr. Ceesay's passion is focused on advocacy and philanthropy. She is the Co-founder and president of the Ousman Koro Ceesay foundation, an NGO, with mission geared towards the two most fundamental aspects of society; making healthcare and education more accessible to underprivileged populations in the Gambia. The foundation provides bi-annual voluntary medical trips, which provides free health care to various parts of the country and provide education opportunities through student sponsorship. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and hiking🙂


Nacee Marenah

Nacee Marenah’s current interests are education as liberation and social justice. She is serving in two spaces and is passionate about: as the founder of Moonflower Montessori

and the founder of the Teach for The Gambia movement. She is learning to live wholeheartedly and be of service to herself and her community.


Fatou N’Dure

Fatou N’Dure is a Clinical Research/Operations professional who is an innovative, methodical, and concept-to-execution driver offering comprehensive experience in clinical research

and development operations. She has extensive experience overseeing, managing,coordinating and supporting global multi-center phase I/II/III/IV clinical trials. She is an expert at handling, creating, and implementing end-to-end delivery techniques through integration of science and operations while establishing and directing cross-functional teams within fast-paced settings without compromising quality, performance, and results. She brings more than 17 years of combined academic and industry experience in the field of clinical research achieved while working in positions of increasing responsibility. Fatou is a strong team player, who approaches her work with determination, initiative, and the ability to learn quickly and apply that learning proactively. Her responsibilities include but are not limited to; program/project management and oversight, regulatory compliance, proposal development, risk mitigation, conflict resolution, quality assurance, finance management, budget, and cost control. She is also highly skilled in contract negotiation, cross-functional collaboration vendor management, resource management, staff training and supervision. Fatou’s clinical trial experience spans from study start-up to close-out. This includes early to late phase global studies across regions in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. Her therapeutic experience is in the areas of Oncology and Ophthalmology. Fatou is an active member in her society and a positive role model for young women in her community. She has participated in several community activities and served as a Service Ambassador for organizations such as the KEO (Knock Ebola Out) Foundation where she successfully and single handedly organized a clothing drive to provide new and gently used clothing to families directly impacted by the Ebola epidemic in western Africa. She also serves as a mentor for The Women’s Boss (TWB) where she mentors young women entrepreneurs. She has also volunteered and participated in several fund raising activities for various organizations including: The Leukemia Lymphoma Society, Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, March of Dimes, New York Cares, Habitat for Humanity, Alliance for AIDS Services Carolinas, Triangle Area Chapter Red Cross, Open Door Clinic of Wake County (Diabetes Clinic), NC Prevent Blindness, to name a few.


Clarenda Stanley

Clarenda "Farmer Cee" Stanley is a fourth-generation farmer, originally from the Black Belt region of Alabama. She did not set out in life to follow on her family's agrarian path.

But in 2017, she found herself returning to her roots as the CEO of Green Heffa Farms (GHF), a medicinal plant and hemp farm in Liberty, NC. As one of the first black women to be licensed in North Carolina, she was selected as the 2019 Featured Farmer for Hemp History Week, the nation's largest grassroots campaign for the federal legalization of industrial hemp. She has been featured in more than 200 national and international publications, including April’s Oprah O Magazine, and is a well-sought-after speaker at national conferences. An award-winning fundraising and marketing professional, Cee is also a senior principal gifts officer at The Nature Conservancy's World Office. She is the first Black American to hold this title at the world's largest environmental organization. In this role, Cee manages a global portfolio of high net worth donors. She also recently assumed leadership for developing the organization's first philanthropic inclusion program, strategically helping the organization broaden its donor constituency to achieve its conservation goals. Previously Cee worked as VP for Advancement at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, Director of Development and Communications for the Lucy Daniels Foundation and was a Major Gifts Officer at NC Central University. Green Heffa Farms is committed to best practices in regenerative and reparation agriculture. It seeks to create a learning lab where aspiring and current farmers can gain critical skills in boutique hemp and medicinal plant cultivation, production, and needed business skills. The farm hopes to increase the number of socially and ecologically conscious farmers, with a focus on underrepresented populations. Cee has earned a bachelor’s in marketing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a master’s degree in education from Troy University. In 2016, she was selected by her peers as the 2016 Association for Fundraising Professionals, Triangle Chapter Fundraiser of the Year and in 2017, received the C-Suite Award for Nonprofit Leadership. Cee has also earned the coveted Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) designation.


Jankeh Njie

Jankeh Njie is a businesswoman who started her first company at just 18 years old. With a background in fashion and business management

, she has established 3 companies at the age of 26 and has been teaching High School students in entrepreneurship and business management since 2015. She mentors young adults in their businesses and personal growth alongside travelling Norway as a public speaker. Jankeh was born and raised in Oslo, Norway and is currently living in The Gambia, where she urges to be a part of the development of the fashion industry and support and empower women in business.


Aminata S. Mbaye

For over 18 years, Aminata S. Mbaye has been a noteworthy business professional with progressive experience in the areas of nonprofit organizational development and management,

strategic event planning, and community relations. Senegalese born and “world raised”, Aminata sees the world as a big village and calls herself a Global Citizen. Having lived and studied in various countries, Aminata is a polyglot, speaking 5 languages with fluency in English, French and Spanish. Aware from a very young age of the blessings bestowed upon her as a young African girl with access to the best educational systems, Aminata has been driven by her resolve to effectively contribute to gender and social equity and sustainable development. Aminata attended the prestigious School of Law of the University Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne in Paris, France. During her undergraduate studies at La Sorbonne, she obtained an internship with the UNICEF at the UN headquarters in New York where she developed her love for the “Land of opportunity”. Her Journey led her to Maryland where she became an alumna of University of Maryland – College Park earning a degree in Business Management with Concentration in Legal Environment of Business. After several successful years in the global corporate world, Aminata decided to fulfill a lifelong aspiration to work for a non-profit organization and joined the staff of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. in 2008. She held several positions from Executive Assistant to Deputy Executive Director and Project Director. Until August 2020, Aminata led the team overseeing the operational planning and delivery of the organization’s major programs - Biennial Boules and Centennial - as the Director of Planning and Performance Delivery. Aminata’s passion for socio-economic issues, humanity and sustainable development has been exercised both in her home country of Senegal, and in the US, as she volunteers her time on several boards of nonprofits and assisting government officials in Senegal with implementation of programs to boost entrepreneurship for women and youth. Aminata defines herself first and foremost as a devout and faithful servant of God. A beloved daughter and proudest mother of a 16-year-old son, Abdulaye, whom she calls her greatest accomplishment; she is happiest when surrounded by her family. Her favorite pastime is to explore the world and discover its multifaceted cultural heritage by way of travels, books, music and the arts.



Sadaf Knight serves as chief executive officer of the Florida Policy Institute. She has over 15 years of experience in public policy research, advocacy and nonprofit management.

Her areas of expertise include revenue and economic and community development policy. Prior to joining FPI, Sadaf was the vice president, policy and research at Carolina Small Business Development Fund. Her previous experience also includes serving as a policy analyst and community leadership fellow at MassBudget and as a program manager at New York Jobs with Justice (now called Align NY). Sadaf holds certificates in non-profit management and community development finance. She received a Bachelor of Science in conservation & resource studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Urban Planning from Columbia University. Special Quote for the Website from Sadaf Knight: “The Woman Boss understands that entrepreneurship is more than just running a business; it’s about women’s leadership, empowerment, and impact. It has been an honor and learning experience to serve as a mentor to the women working to make a difference in their families and communities through their business endeavors. It is a wonderful model for fostering women’s entrepreneurship in Africa and beyond”.



Anna is a project Lead with over 15 years of experience managing small to large-scale projects in international consulting and nonprofit organizations.

She is well-versed in project management principles, tools, processes, and techniques: integration, budgeting and scheduling, resource allocation and quality control to achieve deliverables. Possess strong analytical skills needed to identify challenges, develop recommendations, leverage resources, and execute measurable solutions.


Cany Jobe

Cany Jobe is an experienced project management expert in the energy, oil and gas, and construction industries.

She is a strategic and dedicated petroleum engineer devoted to renewable energy technologies with over 13 years of international experience working on energy projects in West Africa, South America, and Australia, ranging from tens of millions to billions of $ in value.  Cany advises government on oil and gas exploration projects, structures, and negotiates and oversees the implementation of high value contracts. She is kkilled in policy formulation, corporate restructuring, strategic planning, governance, and administration having served simultaneously as Head of Administration, Procurement, and Board Secretary for a national oil company. An International conference speaker and panelist, an influencer and thought leader, who is passionate about institution and nation building, quality education, women in stem, women in leadership, elimination of harmful practices against women and economic equality.


Maimuna Taal-Jack

Mrs Maimuna Taal-Jack is the Airworthiness Technical Officer at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

She Joined the Operational Safety Section of the Air Navigation Bureau in September 2015. She is an Aerospace Engineer and a holder of an Airframe and Powerplant Engineer License from the US Federal Aviation Administration. Maimuna has extensive knowledge of ICAO provisions related to the airworthiness of aircraft and has over 20 years of experience in the field of Civil Aviation Safety oversight related to continuing airworthiness. She served in various position within the Gambian Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA and rose to the post of Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Authority where she was responsible for the full range of aviation regulatory activities. Maimuna also served as Consultant and Adviser with ICAO and is currently the secretary of the Airworthiness Panel. Maimuna is a recipient of the 2007 Flight Safety Foundation President’s Citation for her work in improving aviation safety in Africa. She is married to Mr. Dodou Jack and has two children.