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Our Executive Board  

Shirley Richardson, President

Shirley is the co-founder of The M Ensemble Company and Artistic Director of its Creative Children’s Theatre.  She received her training in Theatre and the Performing Arts at Florida A&M University and the University of Miami. She has served on the board as past President of the Diaspora Arts Coalition.  Shirley has performed and directed many of the company’s seasonal productions. She has been the recipient of  several awards for her artistic leadership such as the  Pillars Award, NANBPWC, Inc. Champion of the Arts Award, Eckerd’s Community Service Award, and Miami-Dade County Employee Awards.

Nakai Woods, Secretary/Treasurer


Nakai  Woods Kelly an American gospel, traditional, neo-soul, jazz, songwriter, poet, vocalist, and co-founder of the Unique Praise Musiq Group, Inc. or Unique Praise (duo), with the responsibility of marketing, managing social media, PR, and promotions. Nakai is also a member of the Florida Gospel Announcer’s Guild (FGAG), and has served as the assistant secretary over the past two years.


While raising four sons, Nakai continued her education at the University of Phoenix where she acquired her MBA in Business Administration in 2012. Nakai plans to further her education by pursuing a teaching degree.  She works in banking and finance for a major US banking institution. 

Nakai loves reading, writing, listening to and writing music, and spending time with family.

Nakai continues to encourage and motivate other artist throughout the music industry by helping them understand, “If you don’t invest in yourself, no one else will.”

   Shamele Jenkins, Parliamentarian

   Shamele is also an internationally recognized touring poet/spoken word artist, storyteller and author who brings her gift of gossip and gab to the masses. She has performed and lectured throughout Africa's Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Togo, through Australia, Europe's England, France, Germany and Ireland, South America's Brazil, Chile, and Dominican Republic, to the Caribbean Islands of Jamaica, Haiti, in Canada and most of the states in the USA. Shamele is the founder and artistic director of “Lip Tongue & Ear Poetry Productions” which is a 29-year-old multi cultural poetry/spoken word/storytelling/ theatrical guild with over 300 members. She is the author of five books of poetry and short stories and her work has appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies. Shamele is also the recipient of many literary awards and recognitions.  

   Shamele Jenkins is the Executive Director & Immediate Past President of Miami Dade County Foster & Adoptive Parent Association (“MDCFAPA”). Ms. Jenkins served as President for almost 11 years before resigning that post in 2019 to go work on contract in California. Working in California, she created foster & adoptive support groups and social events thru Project Foster & California (primarily all-over Southern California). Shamele is a single parent who was a foster parent for over 32 years licensed in New York and Florida. She adopted 5 youth and has raised more than 300 – many of which remain in contact with her even in their adult lives.  Shamele is also a professional public speaker with an emphasis on foster care, time management, domestic violence, and personal care! During the pandemic Shamele solicited and received in 2019 more than 3,000 face masks which were distributed to all of Miami’s youth and families in care. She also provided school uniforms for more than 200 adopted youth in 2020 and 2021; Easter baskets for more than 1400 each year and thousands of toys and school supplies. Shamele is also a liaison for the foster care system in the State of California serving foster & adoptive families from El Centro, San Diego, Los Angeles, etc.   Shamele is the Founder & President of The Nubian Sistahood (TNS) which is a 13 year-old women’s organization. 

Ja'Nia Harden, Member at Large

Born on the 1st Day of Spring, Ja’Nia Harden is a native of South Florida. The daughter to retired Educator Barbara Pace and retired popular Jazz Disc Jockey and MC to Jazz elite Len Pace of WLRN and Co- Founder of the Sunshine Jazz association, Music was a strong influence on how she wanted to live her life as a professional musician, performer, composer, arranger, artist. 

Ja’Nia graduated from Florida A&M University with a B.S. in Music Education emphasis in Voice. Immediately after graduation day she hopped on a European Gospel and Jazz tour as a featured soloist and Music Director for the Harlem Nights Jazz Experience through Promo/Euro Tours featuring jazz trumpeter Dr. Longineu Parsons and Blues Artist Mojo Ike Woods. 

Ja’Nia Harden has also been highly involved in music education for the past 18 years. She is a music educator with Broward County Public Schools. 

A wife to musician John Harden, and mother of three all while still performing professionally with their band The Harden Project Ja’Nia has opened for artists’ Laylah Hathaway, Anthony Hamilton, The Marley Family, and Stephanie Mills(Sold Out Show) and Patti LaBelle & October London ( Nov. 18th). 

Her professional theatrical debut here south Florida was at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center for the play and musical tribute about Nina Simone which the full original cast still performs years later under the moniker The 4 Nina’s. 

She has hosted and performed at the 2022 Juneteenth Food and Wine Festival on Miami Beach with celebrity chef Carla Hall (ABC’s The Chew) 

Ja’Nia is now a children’s book author, publishing her first book (Fat Cat Caterpillar) of a three-part series which made its debut in June 2022. Harden then turned that newly released book into a Storybook Musical and has recently started touring the production (Summer 2023).

The Harden Project (co-founder) recently has released the single Fat Cat Caterpillar and she is also a Part of the new group Grown People Shyt(G.P.S) which is a fusion of Jazz, Funk, Soul and HipHop.

Ja’Nia continues to be blessed with being able to create having the opportunities to compose, arrange, and curate shows for a range of genres in and out of studios, performance ensembles, and a host of others. 

Keith C. Wade, Member at Large     


                          Biography forth coming

Johnny Sanders, 
Executive Director & Program Administrator

Johnny Sanders is a young man filled with excitement and energy, which surface when he is electrifying audiences with his powerful, melodic voice.   He is best known for his beloved song, “I Trust God” from his debut CD “Lifetime” which landed him on the ballets for both the Grammy and Stellar Gospel Music Awards.   His sophomore project “God Said” further established him as a force in the music scene.   He followed this project up with a duet CD with Gospel Recording Artist Francine Ealey Murphy entitled “The Gospel Choir Experience” which was released in December 2009 and in 2010 He and Ms. Murphy released “The Gospel Choir Experience” PART II both released in Europe.  Not just an exceptional singer, Johnny holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Mass Communications and Journalism from Miami Dade College; a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Humanities & Public Relations /Communications from Florida International University and a Certificate in Theology from The Interdenominational Theology Center of Atlanta, Georgia; and a Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership from Union Institute & University and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from Southeastern University.  In addition to that, he has done graduate work in Marketing, Advertising and Broadcast Journalism.  Johnny has worked in the field of entertainment programming, marketing and advertising for more than 25 years.   He has served as host and/or guest host on a number of local, national and international radio & TV shows; in addition to hosting his own Performing Arts Variety show, Center Stage with Johnny Sanders which aired on the Urban Television Network and currently host Gospel USA Magazine's Top 30 Countdown TV Show.  Johnny is also a published, syndicated columnist.  His column “Johnny on the Spot” currently appears in three national and two international publications.


Desmond Alufohai, Consultant

Desmond Alufohai is the President & CEO of Alufy International Inc., a Human Development and Capacity Building Company based in Miami, Florida, USA. Mr. Alufohai has worked as a leader in the international business community for more than 20 years. He served as the Executive Director and head of the membership services and training department for Junior Chamber Inc (JCI) from 1991 – 2002. He travels extensively throughout the world conducting trade missions, essential business development training, workshops, organizational fieldwork, professional and business seminars. He made notable contributions as the former JCI Executive Director as the liaison to the following organizations - United Nations Agencies (UNICEF & UNESCO), World Health Organization [WHO], and the African Union.
He is a founding member of the Mayors African Trade Task Force and a member of the Community Affairs Taskforce – Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. He was co-chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Pan-African Trade Committee, founding chairperson of the African Reconnect Inc., and former chair of Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce - International Trade Committee.
He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Anna Maria University in Paxton, Massachusetts. He communicates effectively in French. He is a Certified Meeting Professional [CMP], International Trade Specialist,
International Training Fellow [ITF], Management Consultant, Instructor, and Adjunct Professor.

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