Our Faculty

Our company will be guided by our strong beliefs and commitments to: Integrity, Inclusiveness, and Wealth Equality. Integrity:

Walter Rayford

MD, PhD, MBA

is a physician-researcher-entrepreneur. He is the Chief Executive Officer for Q-Leap Health, Inc and Transformative Development Corporation. Throughout his professional care he has mentored students aspiring to become physicians, scientists, nurses, and other health care workers. All his students have become successful in their health care field. Recently, he has expanded his mentorship to include high school students interested in entrepreneurship and business. He has long labored in the field of health disparity and has recently turned his attention to addressing wealth disparity. He is the Founder of the Youth Entrepreneurial Scholars (YES) Program and is committed to the program’s success.He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy and Medical Doctor degrees from the University of Kansas, and Master of Business Administration from the University of Tennessee. He has organized numerous business symposia targeted to educating physicians about effective business strategies and updating them on value-based delivery of health care.

Connie Echols

MA

An alumna of the Holly Springs High School, University of Mississippi, and American Intercontinental University, this former secondary educator of Mathematics holds a B.S. in Mathematics and a M.Ed. in Educational Technology. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership. She has assisted with several afterschool and summer programs, which include Math tutorial sessions, student social clubs, state testing preps, and ACT Prep. With her educational experiences, she understands the importance of obtaining the necessary educational tools to achieve any set goals. She strongly believes that holstering such applicable information and educational training are effective means for reaching one’s ambitions.

Alonzo Echols​

BS

History has shown Wealth and Disparity whereas the wealthiest 1% possess 40% of the nation’s wealth and the bottom 80% own 7% of wealth. The gap between the top 10% and the middle class is over 1000%. The average employee needs to work more than 1 month to earn what a CEO earns in 1 hour. History has shown that African Americans and people of color will earn less than their Caucasian coworkers performing the same job with similar responsibilities. 95% of economic gains goes to the top 1%, who then pays less taxes than an individual who makes under $40,000.00 a year.

Those that are truly Wealthy do not need to use these finances for their daily needs and expenditures, nor is it factored into their household budgets. They instead use this to secure a standard of living for themselves that entitle them to has the stature they desire, and moreover, to pass this wealth, stature, and standard of living to both their spouse and their heirs when that wealth is combined with the total worth of the families.

The accumulation of wealth grants more opportunities and allows many other options that were previously unavailable and eliminates restrictions in regard to how one can live life.

The standard of living the working and the middle class is dependent upon is their income and wages, while the Wealthy tend to rely on their family’s wealth and diverse portfolio of income. As people of color we must teach, coach, and train our young generation to become business owners and entrepreneurs thus gaining wealth and leaving a legacy for their children.

Cynthia Cash

MA

is the owner of Credit Consulting Services, a strategic credit repair company that helps clients achieve optimal credit scores, loan modifications, short sales, and mortgages (including refinances). She also provides workshops and seminars regarding credit and mortgages. Motivated by a desire to help improve the economic power in the community, Ms. Cash opened her business in 1999 after seeing firsthand the long-term consequences of being uneducated, uninformed, and making poor financial choices.Ms. Cash is a graduate of Kirby High School and the University of Memphis where she received her undergraduate degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Organizational Management. Her early experience at Consumer Credit spawned a passion to help others restore their credit, mainly volunteering at churches, colleges, and corporate events. Venturing into entrepreneurship required a strong network with various businesses to create a sustainable business model. In addition to her business, she is also an adjunct professor in the English Department at Southwest Community College where she teaches a writing class.Bringing economic empowerment and value to her customers and community remains a driving force for Ms. Cash. She is a member of the AKA Sorority, Incorporated.

Christopher Lee

MA

is a strategic communications and marketing specialist, who creates valuable partnerships, makes connections with those in the know and keeps himself educated on trends as well as traditions related to marketing and branding; in particular, strategies and tactics related to multicultural marketing. He is an agent of change and a 27-year business innovator. He has led creative teams and multicultural marketing alliances for such notable clients as; Northwestern Mutual, The Midsouth Ford Dealers, Tri State Bank of Memphis, LeMoyne Owen College, Bancorp South, The National Civil Rights Museum and The Daily Memphian. Christopher has won numerous awards and honors, such as The National Minority Supplier Diversity Council’s Supplier of the Year and Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 under 40.

In addition to running his marketing agency, Think Inspired, Inc., Christopher serves as an Entrepreneur In Residence for Epicenter/StartCo and as a board member for the American Red Cross of the Midsouth and as a past board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis and Junior Achievement. He is also a graduate of Leadership Memphis and The New Memphis Institute’s Leadership Development Intensive.

Christopher is a proud graduate of The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, holding a B. A. in Speech Communications and a M. A. in Strategic Communications from Seton Hall University, where he was also certified as a crisis communicator.

When not working, Christopher enjoys watching sports, practicing yoga and reading.

Randy V. Bradley

PhD

is a healthcare IT strategist and researcher. He is a faculty member at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Bradley teaches executive-level courses that address IT strategy and decision-making and the adoption and implementation of emerging technologies. As part of his role as core faculty in The University of Tennessee’s Center for Executive Education, Dr. Bradley is the lead content developer and lecturer of healthcare IT related content. More specifically, he teaches Healthcare IT Strategy (with particular emphasis on electronic health records) in the Physician Executive MBA program, which is recognized by the healthcare industry as the nation’s #1 MBA program exclusively for physicians. Dr. Bradley is also a well-accomplished researcher and author. He has presented and spoken at numerous professional conferences and symposiums and his research on healthcare IT issues has been published or is forthcoming in a number of outlets including the Journal of Management Information Systems, Decision Sciences Journal, MIS Quarterly Executive, Information Systems Journal, Journal of Information Technology, and The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Most recently, Dr. Bradley was nominated for the 2012 Tennessee Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Emerging HIT Leader of the Year Award, which recognizes healthcare technology professionals under 40 who show promise as an effective leader within their company or Tennessee HIMSS. Leveraging his healthcare IT expertise and his experience as a former consultant, Dr. Bradley advises hospitals and physician practices on the adoption, implementation, and use of healthcare IT.

Larry Holliday

MA

Waiting…

Toni Polk

.

is a highly skilled and accomplished financial advisor from the Memphis, TN area. She holds her AAMS (Accredited Asset Management Specialist) designation and both a Series 7 and Series 66 Securities license. She has developed professional relationships with clients across 15 states. She enjoys helping people create and build wealth by developing customized strategies tailored to their individual financial goals. She is passionate about empowering the community by offering educational seminars throughout the country to help build financial awareness and literacy, especially in the African-American demographic which is underserved. Toni is a proud graduate of Dillard University in New Orleans, LA and Kwansei Gakuin University in Matsue, Japan earning her Bachelors degree in Accounting and Japanese Studies. Her most rewarding role is that of Mother. She has two beautiful daughters, Kennedy and Chloe who inspire her to reach higher everyday. They both attend St. Mary’s Episcopal School and are in the 8th and 6th grade. She is a member of World Overcomer’s Outreach Ministries Church and received her Ministerial License in 2006. She is also a 25+ year member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and serves as the Chairperson for Building Your Economic Legacy in her chapter. She also serves as an International and Regional guest speaker for her Sorority to raise financial awareness and wealth creation among women. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world with her daughters and cooking.

Ryan Ramkhelawan

.

is a serial startup founder turned venture development professional. After taking two medical device startups through FDA clearance, market entrance, to scale and one acquisition he joined Start Co. as Director of Acceleration. He oversees investment opportunities for internal and corporate accelerators and teaches lean startup principles, while also acting as an executive coach to new startup CEOs. In addition to his venture development career, he is an experienced medical device executive with more than 18 years of clinical experience. His experience in perioperative services, organ transplantation and human tissue dissection gives him a deep understanding of healthcare and the ability to identify unmet clinical needs. His business and clinical accomplishments have allowed him to become a founding member of the Forbes Technology Council and a member of the Young Entrepreneur Council. He’s received recognition in the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40 and received The National Vascular Recognition Award for the longest saphenous vein dissection without surgical defect. Ryan is a mentor for Life Science of Tennessee, The World Resource Institute Land Accelerator, ZeroTo510 Medical Device Accelerator and Start Co Corporate Accelerators.

Cheri Powers Page

.

is a native of Holly Springs, MS, a 1990 graduate of Byhalia High School, a 1996 graduate of State Technical Institute of Memphis with an Associate of Applied Science in Architectural Engineering Technology and a 2003 graduate of The Mississippi School of Banking, University of Mississippi. She serves in the position of Vice President, Compliance/BSA Officer and Loan Operations Manager at First State Bank in Holly Springs, MS. She has been employed at First State Bank for 23 years. For the past 35 years she has been teaching and ministering music to choirs, serving at funerals, weddings, banquets and other events. She is presently the Minister of Music at Shiloh M.B. Church in Barton, MS where she has served for the past 12 years. She has been married for 20 years to Rev. Gregory Page and has three children, Zsa’Xhani Davis, Micah Powers and Malachi Page. Her favorite scripture and motto is “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” Philippians 4:13

Dimeta Smith

MA

has over 20 years of financial accounting, auditing, tax preparation and consulting experience. Previous roles include Internal Auditor, Financial Systems Implementation Consultant and Chief Financial Officer. She has consulted with small to large size corporations, sole proprietorships and partnerships from various industries within for profit and nonprofit sectors. Because of her extensive knowledge of small business operations and financial performance she has become a great resource for the Nashville business community. She has facilitated seminars and workshops for various organizations including the Small Business Administration, Pathway Women’s Business Center and the National Association of Women Business Owners. Dimeta is currently the Chief Executive Officer and President of Dimeta Smith, CPA, LLC, an accounting and consulting firm located in Nashville, TN.

She previously served as an Adjunct Accounting Professor, lecturing on all disciplines of Accounting. Dimeta received her Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with a major in Accounting from Tennessee State University and Master of Accountancy Degree from Belmont University. She is a Tennessee licensed life, health & accident insurance producer and QuickBooks ProAdvisor®.

Her current civic involvement includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Respite Coalition, West End Homes Foundation and New Leaders Council. She frequently shares her passion for financial literacy and economic development with the community. Her recent conferences include Girls To The Moon and National Association of Women MBAs’ Annual Thrive Conference. She is also a frequent guest on Common Cents: The Money Show on WFSK 88.1 FM radio. She was selected a 2018 Woman of Influence by the Nashville Business Journal. She received the Rising Star Award presented by the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce and the Power Moves Award in Finance presented by PK Williams Enterprises.

Additional Honors and Activities

  • Woman of Influence Judge, 2019
  • TSU National Alumni Association
  • Belmont Convocation Speaker
  • Previous boards include
  • Disability Law and Advocacy Center of TN
  • Minerva Foundation, Inc.
  • Nashville Opportunities Industrialization Center, (OIC), Inc.
  • National Association of Black Accountants, Inc., Chair Membership Services, Student Member Services
  • A native of Nashville, Dimeta enjoys volunteering in the community; mentoring young people; and spending time with her family.

Rev. Lexine Wilkins-Smith

.

“Lord, let me be able to help those who could not get help before”

Lexine Glover Wilkins-Smith was born in Holly Springs, MS to Mr. and Mrs. Simon Glover. Mr. Simon was a veteran of World War II and Liza was a stay at home mother. Neither had a high school education but were hard working farmers who taught their children the value of hard work and education. She currently resides in the fastest growing town in MS, Olive Branch. She is a 1974 honors graduate of Potts Camp High School. She is a 1976 graduate of Northwest MS Junior College in Senatobia, MS with an A.B. in Data Processing. In 2003 she graduated from Crichton College in Memphis, TN with a B.S. in Business Management. In 2001 she graduated and was awarded a Certificate in Banking from the University of Mississippi School of Banking. In 2012 she received a certificate of completion from Elias Cottrell Theological Institute in Holly Springs, MS. She has been employed with the Bank of Holly Springs for the past forty-two years, of which the last twenty-two years as Vice President, Asst. Vice President, Loan Officer, BSA/AML Officer. Her philosophy when promoted to loan officer was a prayer that she continues to live by, “Lord, let me be able to help someone who could not get help before.”

Rev.Smith has worked as a member of the Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Holly Springs Tourism Board. She has worked with Rust College CDC and the City of Holly Springs to help low income individuals to become homeowners. She serves on the MS Bankers Association Compliance Committee.

Kantera Russ

.

Kantera Russ is a graduate of Rust College with a BA in Business Administration/Accounting. Currently, she is Senior Vice President at BancorpSouth. Over 28 years she has held numerous positions at BancorpSouth to include Regional Operation Coordinator (Assistant Vice President), Head Teller, Operation Coordinator, and Branch Manager. She has a committed passion for working with non-profit organizations and serves on several boards to include Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, Minority Pul Alliance, and Neighborhood Development Association.

Jansen Pegues

.

Jansen Pegues teaches Business Fundamentals and Marketing at Holly Springs Career and Technical Center. He is a native of of Holly Springs, and graduate of Holly Spring High School. He has over sixteen years of experience in business, and is the proud owner of Pegues and Sons Style Shop. Pegues and Sons has been in business for over fifty years and one of the oldest businesses in Holly Springs.

He received a B. S. degree from Grambling State University, and a MBA from Union University. He believes that every student deserves a quality education that will prepare them for life after they complete high school. His courses offer practical experiences in business administration, sales and entrepreneurship.