Board of Directors
Debra’s education career spanned 30+ years which included being a Teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, District Administrator for Assessment in Curriculum and Instruction, Adjunct Professor for The Colorado College in the Master of Arts Teacher Education Program, Adjunct Faculty for the Lake Forest College Teacher Education Program in Lake Forest, IL and a member of the Yale School Development Program National Faculty in New Haven, Connecticut. She worked locally in Colorado Springs School Districts 11 and 2. Debra has been involved with the AAYLC for 25 years. She has a passion for educating and providing opportunities for youth to enrich their lives. Debra believes in volunteering to "give back and pay it forward" to the youth and the community because of the many volunteers in her life growing up and as an adult who helped provide opportunities which enriched her life. She has served on several Boards and has participated in Community Leadership Institutes and Programs. Debra is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Emporia State University and a member of Payne Chapel A.M.E. Church.
Dr. Ernest Greene
Ernest is a leader, business manager and educator with 42 years of experience in the career fields of Military Intelligence, Business Administration, Program Management, and Public (K-12) Education and Higher Education. He also serves as the Secretary of the Colorado Alliance of Black School Educators. Ernest’s aspirations are to lead and support community-based educational and leadership projects and initiatives that are focused on educating, mentoring and empowering inner-city African-American, other minority, and under-served students and adults to achieve their educational, workforce and personal life-time goals.
Stephane is a Retirement Plan Services Technical Analyst at an investment company. Whether at church or in a community organization, she has worked with youth in some capacity for the last 25 years. She thinks it is important to provide youth with the tools and encouragement they need to pursue their dreams. Stephane first became involved in African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) as a workshop presenter and saw an opportunity to have a greater impact as a member of the Planning Committee and Board of Directors. When not working with AAYLC, she looks for opportunities to serve in her church and other organizations that are dear to her heart--Special Olympics, Kingdom Builders Family Life Center, and Care & Share Food Bank.
Nicole is an experienced leader with over 25 years of proven results developing, implementing and managing resources and solutions in the software, telecommunications and aerospace industries. She has been involved with the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) for 20+ years as a presenter, corporate sponsor, individual donor, volunteer and board member. Nicole is passionate about ensuring youth have the necessary tools to develop into successful adults. She believes initiative, drive, guidance, and support leads to high levels of achievement. Nicole has mentored students through Polk YEA! (Young Entrepreneurs Academy) and serves her community by volunteering at the Help & Hope Center for Douglas/Elbert County, and the Mile High Flight Program.
Rochelle is the Senior Associate Dean of Students at Colorado College. For more than 25 years, she has worked to improve the lives of students by creating constructive conversation and building bridges. She is the recipient of numerous college and local awards for her commitment to diversity and inclusion for all members of the Colorado College community. She is also recognized for her enduring support of civil rights and social justice. Rochelle has also been instrumental in outreach and partnership efforts that connect Colorado College to the greater Colorado Springs community and has served on the African-American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) Board of Directors for several years. Her involvement in community projects has focused on enhancing education and access for youth so that they might have the kind of support she received as a first-generation college student. Rochelle’s ongoing engagement with the AAYLC has been spurred by this passion.
Vennita currently works as a Program Director for Peak Education, a non-profit organization that has successfully served over 255 low income students and families, in Harrison School District, to become successful in school and life. For over 15 years, she has been a part of the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) as a parent and supporter of her children. Vennita could not think of a better way to serve the AAYLC than through the Board of Directors. She also works with the Kid Power Teen Advisory Board, the SACHs College Prep Academy and the College Readiness and Success Program through El Pomar. Ms. Browning earned her B.A in Communications from the University of La Verne.
Yolanda Fennick - Graham, Esq.
Yolanda is an attorney specializing in Family Law. She currently owns and operates her own practice and was formerly a partner at Kane, Donley & Johnson, an AV rated law firm. Yolanda received her undergraduate degree from Lincoln University (Missouri) and her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. In addition to operating her law practice, Yolanda is a dedicated community volunteer. She has donated her talents and time to a myriad of local organizations, including, the Memorial Health System, El Paso County Community Corrections Board, the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs, El Paso County Bar Foundation, Diversity Committee for School District 20, El Pomar’s Black Advisory Council and the Peak Vista Foundation Board. She served as President of the El Paso County Bar Association in 2013-2014. Yolanda has a passion for learning and education and welcomes an any opportunity to provide avenues of success to our young people. She is thrilled to be a part of the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) and to support its mission, to include educating, empowering and enlightening our youth to become critical thinkers and responsible citizens.
Regina is the Founder of “Be You,” non-profit organization. She is also the Owner for My African American Miss, also known as “Yes M.A.A.M,” an organization that teaches pageantry to girls. She is passionate about serving youth due to their optimistic outlook on life and wanting to make a positive impact in this world. Regina is involved in the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) to set youth up for success. She believes education is the key for students to meet their long-term goals. Regina’s students actively participate in volunteer opportunities, raising funds and creating avenues to bridge gaps in the community. “For any community to thrive we must all come together as one.”
Carolyn has been an educator for over 34 years. She discovered her passion after teaching Vacation Bible school and working at a recreation center. Carolyn enjoyed seeing elementary school students grow personally, socially and educationally. The African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) gave her an opportunity to interact with middle and high school students. As a presenter, her emphasis on careers in math and science, how to handle conflicts, money management, and African American history exposed youth to new ways of thinking. In her retirement, Carolyn continues to tutor students in reading and math.
Rene has worked as a Customer Service Representative in the Hospitality and Financial industries for over 25 years. One of her most rewarding opportunities was as a HIV Network Coordinator which allowed her to support individuals who were newly diagnosed. Rene enjoys helping youth know there are no limits to what they can accomplish in life. With the African American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC), Rene has been a presenter, volunteer, and board member. She appreciates the opportunity to serve an organization with the same aligned values of “empowering our youth.” She also served on the Southern Colorado AIDS Project Board for four years and is currently serving on the NAACP Board and her church HIV/AIDS Ministry.
Dorothea is a Leadership Development Trainer and international speaker for Compassion International. She has committed her life to the betterment of children from all social-economic backgrounds and age groups. She is the founder and facilitator of The Exchange, a college and career-aged gathering focused on social-justice, ethics and Christian life. She is owner of The Mapp Exchange Group, an organization committed to people development. Dorothea has taught middle school in District 2 and worked as Director of Literacy at Monument Academy in District 38. Becoming a member of AAYLC’s board is an honor and privilege as serving youth is paramount to the calling on her life.