At the forefront of organizational leadership!

At the forefront of organizational leadership!

At the forefront of organizational leadership!At the forefront of organizational leadership!At the forefront of organizational leadership!

The Leadership Blend Live Podcast

Q & A: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the premise of the show?

The Leadership Blend live podcast is for the individual who wants to be informed. Designed to empower, it seeks to simplify major headlines and bring awareness.  Myself and Simone Cherie tackle headlines that effect the every day individual and their families. Guest to the show, bring expertise in subject matter that is or has been discussed in some aspect. Our listeners, leave each broadcast with a deeper understanding of what is or on it's way down the governmental pipeline. Our guest includes: Chief Executive Officers, Politicians, Educators, and many others!


The shows demographic is 25- 34 (primary) and ages 35- 44 (secondary). These age groups, are filled with fresh graduates & early career seekers. Typically, it consists of Millennial's and Generation Z, who seek to be informed, empowered and prepared. Show guest are given the opportunity to share their expertise and knowledge of important subject matter. 

How & When can I watch?

The show airs every Monday at 12pm on Facebook Live on the Leadership Blend's Facebook page. Once aired, episodes are loaded on the Leadership Blend's Youtube page. The episodes are then loaded to 10 digital platforms. Those platforms are:  iheart, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Spreaker, Tune In, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Castbox, Soundcloud, and Google Podcast! 

Catch last weeks episode!

Dr. Latonya Powers visits the Blend! She is a Life Strategist, Author and Minister 

Guest Bio's

Jason Ford

Maya Dillard- Smith

Maya Dillard- Smith


Jason Ford is a Financial Coach with Ford & Associates.  He is a 2000 Magna Cum Laude Graduate of Florida A&M University where he majored in Computer Information Systems and minored in Business Administration.  Jason got started in the Financial Service Industry in 2010. After reviewing him and his wife current retirement plan they noticed their money was not working for them but against them due to nobody teaching them how money actually works.  Jason and his wife were on a path to working until they were 70 or 80 years old and that was not the plan they wanted for their lives.  At that time Jason decided to contact a Financial Broker to sit down with him and his wife to show them exactly how money works.  They were taught basic principles about money that were never taught to their parents, grandparents, in their church, or community.  Jason was so impressed with this information he decided to obtain his federal and state Insurance (Auto, Home, Life, and Legal) and Investment (Series 6 & Series 63) licenses. Jason is married to LaKesha Ford and they have three beautiful daughters Jayla Ford (14), Jada Ford (12), and Jade Ford (4). Knowing this information was imperative and not being taught in our community, Jason did not want his family or friends to be taken advantage of because of lack of knowledge.  Therefore, Ford & Associates along with their management teams are currently on a crusade to educate families on how to put a financial game plan in place to create generation wealth.

Maya Dillard- Smith

Maya Dillard- Smith

Maya Dillard- Smith


Maya Dillard Smith is a public servant with nearly two decades of experience dedicated to the needs of everyday people. From job creation and healthcare to education and criminal justice reform, her career and passion have put her on the frontlines of issues that matter to working families.

Maya is the proud mother of three beautiful daughters, Makayla, Micah and Mariah. She knows, firsthand, the struggle of raising children while balancing a career and stretching a household budget. She understands the real-world impact that political decisions and policies have on families.

Maya led advocacy and litigation efforts in Georgia to advance civil and human rights. She fought to curb the school-to-prison pipeline and to reverse voter suppression. She proudly stood up for Georgia farmlands and the environment.

Maya fought to decriminalize cannabis and to expand its medicinal use. She took on the government to protect citizen privacy and to curtail surveillance. She championed every facet of the 1st Amendment.

Maya has worked at every level of government in the executive, legislative and judicial branches and in both the public and non-profit sectors. She is an expert on the U.S. constitution and authority at the intersection of law, policy, and economics. This expertise has been called upon by a member of Congress, the United States Census Monitoring Board, the United States Department of Commerce, and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

For nearly a decade, Maya served as a statewide constitutional officer. In this capacity, she provided oversight of judges and judicial nominees.  As a “judge of judges,” she gained a reputation for equitably adjudicating the professional conduct of those who serve on the bench.

Maya studied economics at U.C. Berkeley and as an American Economics Association (AEA) Fellow at the University of Texas, Austin. She earned her master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, and a law degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law as an esteemed Tony Patiño Fellow and a UPS and Morrison and Forester LLP Scholar. She is also a recipient of DuPont’s Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCAA) Diversity Award.

Her bold vision is informed by her values and her faith. She is driven by her love of family, justice, and equality. She is led by principles, not politics.

Maya is committed to building a better and brighter future for every individual and family in Georgia. 

It is with this clear and actionable goal that Maya seeks to earn your support and serve the people of Georgia in the United States Senate.

Camila Zolfaghari

Maya Dillard- Smith

Camila Zolfaghari


Camila serves as the Executive Director of Street Grace Georgia, bringing ten years expertise and experience prosecuting human trafficking cases and spearheading legislative changes. During her time at Street Grace she has overseen the passage of some of the most historic legislative victories in the history of the human trafficking movement. She was invited by First Lady Marty Kemp to serve on the GRACE Commission, a group of leaders dedicated to ending human

trafficking. She is a highly sought-after speaker and is often invited to speak at statewide and national conferences and share her expertise along with the innovative policy and demand centered work of Street Grace.


In 2014, Camila Zolfaghari was appointed by former Attorney General Sam Olens to be the first Special Prosecutor dedicated to the prosecution of human trafficking in the State of Georgia. As a prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office, she had the authority to prosecute human trafficking throughout the entire state and assisted jurisdictions as they worked these complex cases. In addition to handling prosecutions, Ms. Zolfaghari oversaw the Attorney General’s policy agenda on human trafficking. She was involved in the National Association of Attorneys General Human Trafficking Committee and she chaired the statewide Law Enforcement Workgroup. 

Prior to this position she was the head of the Human Trafficking Unit for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office where she was responsible for the prosecution of all human trafficking cases. She prosecuted the first case of human trafficking against a buyer in the State of Georgia and prosecuted many traffickers who were sentenced to life without parole. The majority of her work involved young local girls who were manipulated and trafficked in Fulton County. She worked closely with the FBI, GBI, ICE, local law enforcement agencies and other nonprofit and community partners to investigate and prosecute trafficking cases. 

Ms. Zolfaghari obtained her J.D. from the University of North Carolina and her L.L.M in International Law from the University of Amsterdam. She obtained her B.A. from the University of Tennessee. 

Dr. Dana Rickman

Dr. Robert Gaines III

Camila Zolfaghari


Dr. Dana Rickman became the Director of Policy and Research at the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education in July 2011. Prior to joining the Partnership, she served as the Director of Research and Policy at the Annie E. Casey Foundation – Atlanta Civic Site. In that position, she provided leadership in research and policy analysis, and guided the development and implementation of strategies and programs designed to support the education achievement result area at the Casey Foundation. Dr. Rickman also worked for more than 10 years as faculty research associate at Georgia State University conducting evaluation research on education programs within Georgia. Dr. Rickman holds a PhD from Georgia State University in Political Science and Public Policy and a BA from Mary Washington College, in Fredericksburg, Va. She has authored multiple articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters related to education policy. She currently serves on the advisory boards for several organizations including Get Georgia Reading – Georgia’s Campaign for Grade Level Reading, The Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Neighborhood Nexus, and Woodruff Arts Center’s Education Advisory Board. 

Dr. Robert Gaines III

Dr. Robert Gaines III

Dr. Robert Gaines III


Robert joined the Partnership staff in 2018. His background is in teaching and research. Rooted in his experiences as an English composition instructor, his research interests include college readiness, education history, and the intersection of religion and education policy. Robert holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in English from Penn State University, and a B.A. in English Literature from Morehouse College. 

Dr. Kevin James

Dr. Robert Gaines III

Dr. Robert Gaines III


In his nearly 20-year career as a higher education administrator, executive business leader, and motivational speaker, James is committed to improving his community through education and empowerment. He has served in various senior-level administrative roles within colleges across the Carolinas and Georgia and civic organizations, most recently serving as Interim CEO of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. In this, he oversaw the day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and external relations for the non-profit organization of 10,000+ members who volunteer through a host of mentorship and community service initiatives across the country and internationally.
A native of Columbia, S.C., James attended South Carolina State University and earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders and Social Sciences from Winthrop University; a master’s degree in Business Management, Leadership, and Organizational Effectiveness from Troy State University; and a Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He is also a graduate of the Higher Education Institute at Harvard University. 

Derrick J. Wilson

Derrick J. Wilson

Derrick J. Wilson


Derrick J. Wilson was born in Houston, Texas and educated within the Houston Independent School District where he graduated from Westbury High School. Afterward, he studied Political Science at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX and is currently studying Accounting at Strayer University in Lithonia, Ga. He has been married to Maria Wilson for the last 10 years and together they are raising their two kids, Michael Wilson (12) and Monica Wilson (6) as well

as their nephew Daniel Esparza (8).

In 2008, he branched off into the janitorial industry and held the following positions; Franchise

Owner, Branch Manager, Director of Business Development and President/C.E.O. In addition to

janitorial, his endeavors included owning a U-Haul Dealership; and currently the majority owner

of Guardian Financial Services, Inc., a tax preparation and bookkeeping company.

By the end of 2015, Mr. Wilson was traveling the country helping those affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters as an Independent Adjuster. Being an adjuster, brought Mr. Wilson to

Georgia where he worked as a contractor at State Farm. He fell in love with the vibrant community of Gwinnett County and was impressed by their highly ranked school system. In the

summer of 2016, Maria and the kids joined Mr. Wilson in their new home in the Rosebud Community of Gwinnett County.

Mr. Wilson’s dedication to his family and his new community caused him to seek out ways to be more involved. That dedication led him to join the Gwinnett NAACP, where he helps shine a

light on the injustices many minorities face in Gwinnett County as well as the lack of diversity within its leadership.

His involvement with the NAACP led him to become more politically focused and he joined Gwinnett County Young Democrats and the Gwinnett County Democratic Party. Now, Mr.

Wilson is taking his fight for more diverse representation, a fair justice system and more, all the way to the top as a candidate for County Commissioner of District 3.

The Wilson Family enjoys fellowship at Hope & Life where Tony and Gwen Brock are their Pastors.

Syleena Johnson's Album Release Celebration

The Leadership Blend Media Company was on site to celebrate with RnB artist Syleena Johnson! She discussed her new album, the R. Kelly case and she even sang some of her music acapella 

Hair Discrimination Introduced

Today I sit down with Diane C. Bailey hair discrimation advocate. She discusses new legislation regulating discriminating against hair in the workplace 

Part One: The CROWN Act introduction Professor Wendy Greene

Taking place at the Natural Hair Industry Convention, a panel of discrimination was introduced. Professor Wendy introduces the new legislation on natural hair discrimination. She goes on to introduce the foundation for the CROWN Act which is the remedy to this type of discrimination 

Part Two: The CROWN Coalition

In this part two, I interview Kelli Richardson Lawson. She explains the CROWN Coalition and the role it plays in rolling out the CROWN Act. 

Part Three: Implementing the CROWN Act in local government

I sit down with Montgomery Councilman Will Jawando and discuss his implementation of the Crown Act! His jurisdiction is the first place to implement the new legislation!