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AAYLC’s Board of Directors

Our board is committed to providing students and their families with the resources they need to make a difference in their communities. The AAYLC seeks leaders who want to use their abilities to provide strategic direction and purpose. If you'd like to be considered for our team, please click the button below.

Nicole Frazier
Information Technology Chair

Nicole is an accomplished leader with over 25 years of proven results. She has developed, implemented, and managed resources and solutions for several Fortune 500 companies in the software, telecommunications, and aerospace industries. Nicole is currently working as a consultant for a number of organizations. She has been a presenter, corporate sponsor, individual donor, volunteer, and board member for the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) for over 20 years. Nicole is committed to providing youth with the tools they need to grow into successful adults. She believes that students who receive guidance and encouragement perform well. Nicole has volunteered for the Tuskegee Airmen's Mile High Flight Program and has mentored students through Polk YEA! (Young Entrepreneurs Academy).

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Manya C. Whitaker, PhD.
Vice President 
Ad-Hoc Programs Chair

Manya is the Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff at Colorado College.  She is also the founder of Blueprint Educational Strategies, an education consulting business that works with families, teachers, and school leaders on educational equity and multicultural teaching. Manya is a third-generation teacher who firmly believes in “lifting as we climb.” She is dedicated to making sure that minoritized children and their families have access to opportunities that enhance their social and cultural capital. As a previous presenter at the AAYLC, Manya is excited to deepen her engagement with this organization and other educational associations in Colorado Springs. 

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Clara Akins
Finance & Budget Chair

Clara has held multiple leadership positions during her 29 years of employment at USAA.  She is currently a Lead Program Manager overseeing Quality and Compliance for the Insurance Department.  She is active in the Colorado Springs community serving on many boards that help improve our city.  Clara has a passion for youth and strives to be an encouragement and an inspiration.   Being a part of African American Youth Leadership Conference allows Clara to be a role model, and thus provide programs that allow our youth to reach their full potential.  

Demetria Lister
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Board Secretary - Public & Media Relations Chair

Demetria is a software business analyst working in the non-profit sector with AllHealth Network, which is a community mental health organization. She earned a degree in Communications from the University of Texas at Austin and spent many years working in start-ups before moving into mental health in 2019. She has a passion for serving others and believes that a healthy mind is a necessity to grow healthy leaders- especially our youth. Being a member of the board allows her to meet youth exactly where they are in the moment, and serve as both a partner and an advocate for their holistic growth and well-being as they transition into adulthood. 

Harold J. Geolingo
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Director - Community Partnerships Chair

Harold (“Geo”) is a Healthcare Executive with over 30 years of leadership experience within the healthcare industry.  He is currently serving as the Sr. Vice President of Clinical Operations with Peak Vista Community Health Centers and is retired from the US Army with 20 years of service.  He is a proud, active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.  Geo is passionate about providing educational and developmental opportunities for youth to enable them to thrive within our community.  Being part of the African American Youth Leadership Conference allows Geo to play a role in the impact and contribution to the building of strong young leaders and change agents.  

Lisa Fetman, PhD.
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Director - Fundraising Chair

As an experienced educator for the past 15 years, Lisa has held a deep passion for youth development. For the last five years, she has worked in higher education.  Lisa is currently a Pre-Collegiate Program Manager and Lecturer at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS). In addition, she serves as Adjunct Professor at Florida Southern College. In each role, Lisa teaches coursework, and conducts research in curriculum, instruction, and educational leadership.  Her teaching and research specifically focuses on equity, justice, and inclusion in education. This is bolstered by a deep commitment to cultural responsiveness and antiracism.  Lisa is a former public-school teacher, teaching K-12 Spanish in Chicago, Illinois and Tucson, Arizona.  She is an advocate  for providing young people access to every educational opportunity available.  She looks forward to expanding her commitment to youth development and access beyond the classroom walls.

Alice Miles
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Director - Governance & Policy Chair

Alice is a Certified HeartMath Practitioner and currently works in behavioral therapy with children who have autism and other learning disabilities. Her affinity for travel has made Alice more understanding of the unique differences among cultures.   These experiences have inspired Alice to become an avid volunteer in her community. She is also a Teen Dating Violence Spokesperson.  Alice was honored by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence with the 2021 Recognizing (Y)our Resiliency Award.  She finds meaning in empowering youth to share their voices.  Alice focuses on providing resources for adolescence to maintain and improve their mental health.  She also continues to work on completing her Bachelor of Social Work, with an emphasis in Trauma, at Newman University.

Samantha Corinaldi
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Director - Board Development & Nominations Chair

Samantha (“Sam”) is the Director of Advocacy at Safe Passage Children’s Advocacy Center and veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. She also has over 10 years’ experience as an Early Childhood Director. Sam is dedicated to helping abused children begin to heal and ensuring that children and families have the resources they need to live productive lives. She has a passion for creating developmentally appropriate environments that fosters student’s ability to learn, grow, and develop. Being a part of African American Youth Leadership Conference allows Sam to assist others with needed community resources, guidance, leadership, and professional advocacy.

Dr. Paul Wiggins
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Director - Information Technology Co-Chair/Community Partnerships Co-Chair

Paul Wiggins is a DoD Government contractor with over 16 years’ experience in leadership, Information Technology, Change Management and Program Management. He currently serves as a Consulting Configuration Manager for V2X. Paul is also a retired veteran after spending 21 years in the Air Force Reserve.  In his time in the Air Force, he worked several roles in leadership, administration, service desk lead and ending his career as a First Sergeant.  He is active on several city boards and state boards to better our communities.  Paul is also a course instructor for Air University where he teaches Applied Airmen Leadership Capstone.  He is passionate about our youth and providing them with access to all educational and leadership opportunities that will help them grow into our future leaders. 

Blessing Fitzgerald, MSW, LCSW, C-DBT 
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Director - Grant Writing

Blessing is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been practicing as a psychotherapist for the past 10 years. She is licensed to practice in Hawaii and Colorado and is trained in DBT, CBT, EMDR, MI and SFBT. She provides psychotherapy to people struggling with trauma, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideations, and personality disorders. She teaches and mentors new therapists in bringing their best selves to each client, as well as an understanding of ethics and cultural humility. Being a board member allows her to mentor youth in embracing their true selves, including resilience, self-efficacy, self-esteem, and empowerment building.

Sanaa Jones
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Student Board Member - Doherty High School

Sanaa is a senior at Doherty High School.  As a motivated leader, she is a Student Ambassador for her school’s Express Yourself program.  Sanaa also is a team member of the Spartans United club which provides a venue for students to express themselves creatively. She has learned to utilize her originality in the classroom especially in her noted favorite course of English.  Working on the board allows Sanaa to convey her ideas to a leadership team.  She believes it is important for students to have access to various resources to achieve their goals. 

Cydnee Taylor
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Student Board Member - Rampart High School

Cydnee is currently a Junior at Rampart High School, where she is an Honor Student, and a member of the Varsity Track Team, and Key Club. Outside of school, Cydnee participates in numerous extracurricular activities which include; The Stroud Scholars Program at Colorado College, Colorado Springs Striders Track Club, Elevated (Sachs Foundation), actively volunteers at The Humane Society and serves as a Youth Leader with the Youth Committee for Mental Health (YCMH). Additionally, Cydnee also works as a part-time retail associate with Plato’s Closet. Cydnee believes that youth who are motivated, engaged, and act as proactive change agents, are the future of the world. For this reason, she believes being a part of a youth organization allows youth to grow in a positive environment that promotes personal growth.

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