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Executive Board Members

Professionals Making A Community Impact

Jessica L Vera, PhD

Founder
President, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Jessica Vera, Founder and President of Elite Foundation and Authentic Integrative Wellness, Inc. www.drjvera.com, has built a professional reputation as a recognized trauma-survivor-leader and entrepreneur in health and welfare; human psychology and rehabilitation sciences; scientific research and development; education and technology, and forensic expertise in the private and public sectors.

Dr. Vera has founded several international multi-million dollar corporations; and participated in joint-venture partnership consulting firms in the USA, all dedicated to the service of people.  As a serial entrepreneur Dr. Vera has transitioned from a solely brick-and-mortar business to eCom., and is responsible for all aspects of operations. 

Dr. Vera continues to provide forensic services and consultation to the Department of Children and Families, Department of Juvenile Justice, Supreme & Country Court Systems – Family Division and is a member of the Florida Crisis Response Team and a Certified Human Trafficking Practitioner for the Office of the State Attorney.  Her clinical experience and expertise, academic contributions, and executive leadership experience spans over 30 years. 

Dr. Vera’s philanthropic activities have always supported causes that empower and equip marginalized populations that experience exploitation. She was a founding member of the Circle of Freedom for Freedom Challenge/Operational Mobilization that raised in excess of 3.0 MM for victims of human trafficking. She is an alumni and leadership coach for the National Christian Foundation, Lifework Leadership Program, and serves on several boards, and as a Mentor to our leaders of tomorrow. 

Wendy L. Elliott, MBA/HCM

Co-Founder
Chief Executive Operation Officer

Ms. Wendy Elliott joined Elite Foundation in 2017, as a founding partner. She is also the Founder and CEO of Business Lynx, LLC (BL), a premier corporation that affords a platform that connects entrepreneurs with executive leadership coaching to achieve the highest levels of efficacy in business practices. BL is predicated upon Wendy’s extensive career in healthcare management and leadership, acquisitions and mergers, as well as start-up business development.

Wendy’s 30+ year healthcare leadership career has led her to develop a unique advanced neuroscience and complex adaptive systems approach to develop innovative behavioral methodologies to empower people to lead effective. 

Wendy’s dedicated life’s work and passion to help people communicate better and have their voices heard was a catalyst to her professional career development from a direct care provider, as a speech therapist to ascension into the C-suite of some of the largest healthcare providers in our country. 

Wendy’s is actively involved in philanthropic activities, as she advocates to support adults and children in need through raising funds for organizations such as National Stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Associations. Wendy is a Change Agent. 

Wendy, as a member of Elite Foundation’s Board of Directors, affords strategic leadership to the organization. She will ensure that the Foundation’s legacy is fiscally capable of helping others overcome obstacles of vulnerability, oppression and exploitation for years to come. 

Hamish Reed, BS

Trustee Board Member
Executive Advisory Board, Treasurer

Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Reed began his association with ORU in 1975 when he transferred in to complete a degree in social work. As a student, he was a member of the ORU Titans basketball team. After graduating, he worked in the purchasing area for ORU and the City of Faith Medical and Research Center, then moved to Florida where he started a medical firm, Branches Medical Inc., which he developed into a national company.

For the past ten years, Reed has been the Senior Account Manager of the Florida territory for Hospira Worldwide a Pfizer Company (Manhattan, NY). He serves as a Partner Engagement Officer for 4Kids of South Florida, and as Elite Foundation’s Co-Chair of the Advocacy & Public Policy Committee 2019/2021. Mr. Reed is a philanthropist, who through his family’s Foundation has given hope to victims of Human Trafficking through our Elite Dream Well Campus, a safe-haven where survivorship is fostered and restoration is achieved

John Hui, BBA, MBA

Trustee Board Member

John Hui is a serial entrepreneur and active angel investor in the healthcare industry. His more than 15 years of entrepreneurial and business development experience in healthcare covers industry domains of healthcare IT, clinical laboratory, diagnostic imaging, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and medical tourism. His investment portfolio focuses on healthcare IT and medical diagnostic companies.

John is a Co-founder and the CEO for Twiage, an award-winning mobile healthcare IT startup company that provides a novel communication and care coordination technology enabling hospitals and ambulances to accelerate life-saving emergency care. Under John’s leadership, Twiage has become the market leader in the Northeast of the United States and has received various innovation awards from prominent organizations, such as the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, and Cleveland Clinic. John is also an Advisor or Tahoe Healthcare, a large international healthcare company headquartered in China. In addition, John has co-founded of Reliant Diagnostics, a radiology management company that provides mobile ultrasound services to medical practices. Prior to starting his own businesses, John has been an accomplished sales executive with Fortune 500 companies, such as LabCorp, Abbott Laboratories and Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals.  John received his MBA from the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University as a Fellow of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute. He holds his BBA in Advertising from the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College. Prior to moving to the U.S., he has studied Public Relations at East China Normal University in Shanghai where he grew up. John is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Entrepreneurship at Cornel Advisory Council and National Committee on US-China Relations. Mr. Hui serves as an Executive Advisory Board Member for the Elite Foundation 2018/2020

Tina Rains, RN

Trustee Board Member

Tina Rains, RN, started her first healthcare staffing office in 1995 out of her garage. Within just a few short years, she had eight offices around the country and making over $12,500,000.00 per year. Her greatest strengths in business have been her ability to build strong relationships, extraordinary strategy and her standard of excellence. She came from a modest and difficult lifestyle as a child, however, she was blessed with people investing in her as a young adult.

She learned firsthand the value of mentoring and investing in others. In recent years she led an international women’s movement to help raise awareness, funds, and advocacy for victims of human trafficking and oppression of women and children. She rallied thousands of women and together many of them climbed multiple mountains across the globe such as Mt. Kilimanjaro twice, Mt. Kalapathar (just above Base Camp Everest), the Alps, Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia, over a dozen over 14,000 feet summits in CO and the Tetons in WY to name a few. Together, they raised over $6,000,000 for the projects globally. Her passion is for every woman to be emotionally and spiritually free and grow to a place of true empowerment.

Executive Advisory Board

Graciela Valdes

Chair, Executive Advisory Board

Ms. Valdes is an award-winning, published and professionally certified photographer and community advocate, who is the Chair of the Programs and Services Committee for Bow Tie Kids (a non-profit providing courage and confidence to kids living in chronic pain) and past Chair of Community Outreach for the Women’s Council at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Valdes was named the Chamber’s 2018 Small Business Person of the Year and currently serves on the Women’s Council Board, spearheading the annual Excuse Me, That’s My Seat Conference for the past several years. She is named a 2019 Hispanic Woman of Distinction. Graciela has a heart to serve and affords her professional services gratuitously to several community organizations that impact the lives of women and children including: Children’s Diagnostic & Treatment Center (CDTC), the CDTC Sunflowers, Tomorrow’s Rainbow, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, PACE Center for Girls and more. Ms. Valdes serves as the Chair of the Elite Foundation’s Executive Advisory Board 2020/22.

Grace L. Holden, MS

Co-Chair, Executive Advisory Board
Chair, Survivor Council & Speaker's Bureau Committee
Human Trafficking Survivor Leader

Ms. Holden has held senior management positions as VP of Training & Development with leading corporations and consultancies over the last two decades. She has a proven track record both at an operating and advisory level as she has served as a project manager, covering project and financial evaluations to strategic planning, leadership consulting and assessment, in the for-profit and non-profit sectors.

Ms. Holden is a member of United Against Human Trafficking Coalition and volunteers as a Thriving Survivor Speaker. Ms. Holden has held numerous board positions, including Chair of Solid Rock, Board Secretary for the Las Vegas-based Back2Basics, Committee member of March of Dimes Houston, Chair of Women in NAACP Missouri City/Fort Bend and is the CEO of three thriving businesses; Real Champions League, LLC and Blue Print For The CEO, LLC, DBA Coach Carters Champions League and CEO of Entrepremenomen Holdings, Inc.  Ms. Holden’s unwavering sense of dedication and no-nonsense approach have earned her the reputation as a down to earth strategist in the business space and a loving caring counselor and coach.  Ms. Holden has conferred degrees in Communication/Journalism, with a minor in Business and two master’s degrees in human services and Counseling. Grace is a Mother of five, a Best-Selling Author and a Philanthropist. Ms. Holden serves as the Chair of Elite Foundation’s Education and Awareness Committee 2019/2021.

Airica D. Kraehmer

Elite Foundation Ambassador
Executive Advisory Board Member
Survivor Council, Member

Airica D. Kraehmer is a thriving survivor, who provides human trafficking victims advocacy support to the Elite team; a multiple national and international bestseller for the books Models Stop Traffic and INVINCIBLE, published by Elite Foundation and now CEO of Storytelling Marketing Agency, Airica is an entrepreneur, with a special style.

Airica D. Kraehmer is a thriving survivor, who provides human trafficking victims advocacy support to the Elite team; a multiple national and international bestseller for the books Models Stop Traffic and INVINCIBLE, published by Elite Foundation and now CEO of Storytelling Marketing Agency, Airica is an entrepreneur, with a special style.

Craig "Ted" Ajmo Jr., PhD, Esq.

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Advocacy & Public Policy Committee

Craig “Ted” Ajmo Jr., Ph.D., Esq possesses a Ph.D., in Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of South Florida conferred in 2007 and a J.D. from University of New Hampshire School of Law.  He has worked as a Patent Attorney for private firms and as a Program Manager for the Florida Hospital system.  He contributes his legal knowledge and skill to Elite’s board of advisers.   He currently resides in Orlando Florida where he lives with his wife and two sons. Mr. Ajmo, Jr. serves as the Chair of the Advocacy & Public Policy Committee 2020/22.

Laurie Astudillo, BS

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Volunteer & Outreach Committee

Ms. Astudillo is a registered nurse who has served the community in this capacity for the last decade.  Currently, she is expanding her career into Quality and Risk Analytics and will bring this expertise to the Foundation.  Ms. Astudillo also has an extensive legal background from serving Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties as a paralegal for many years prior to her professional transition into healthcare.

Ms. Astudillo is passionate about the arts, music, photography, and travel.  She uses all she has learned from these experiences to ignite and inspire others.  Her life’s motto is to “Eat Love Pray.”  She thrives when helping others, and this leads her wholehearted support of the vision and strategic development goals for the Foundation, in its fight to end the aftermath of human exploitation and sex trafficking.  Ms. Astudillo is a mother of 4 beautiful children. Through her community service, she knows the importance of passing the baton of humility, strength, courage, as well as kindness to the generation she aspires to educate and protect. Ms. Astudillo is serving as Chair of the Elite Foundation Volunteer and Community Outreach Committee 2019/2021.

Antonece 'Neicey' Johnson

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Information Technology Committee

Neicey is a Business Architect, film producer, and philanthropist who is working in the technology field for over 20 years. She specializes in Business Strategy and process improvement in the healthcare and banking industry.  As a film producer and writer, Neicey is currently producing a Docu Series titled ” Taking  Innocence. The project’s goal is to create awareness of Sex trafficking while highlighting root causes. Mrs. Johnson serves as the Chair of the Elite Foundation Information Technology Committee 2020/21.

Currently working at Ultimate Software, Neicey has been recognized for building out effective applications from concept to deployment. Neicey serves as the Elite Foundation Chair of the Information Technology Committee, 2020/22

Lory Rios, BA, MA

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Public Relations & Digital Content Committee

Mrs. Rios born in Barranquilla, Colombia, is an expert in International Marketing. She conferred her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Advertising from the University of Santiago de Cali, Colombia and her Master’s Degree in Marketing Management from the University of Viña del Mar, Chile. Mrs. Rios was the director of marketing at Editorial Norma for 10 years, managing all Latin America market.

Mrs. Rios born in Barranquilla, Colombia, is an expert in International Marketing. She conferred her bachelor’s degree in Communication and Advertising from the University of Santiago de Cali, Colombia and her Master’s Degree in Marketing Management from the University of Viña del Mar, Chile. Mrs. Rios was the director of marketing at Editorial Norma for 10 years, managing all Latin America market. Mrs. Rios serves as the Chair of the Public Relations & Digital Marketing Committee 2019/21.

Lulrick Balzora, PhD

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Education & Prevention Committee

Dr. Balzora possesses a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University, a Doctor of Ministry in Missiology, from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in History from Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Master of Divinity/Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological. He is a decorated member of our military, having served 25 years of active and reserve duty in the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Balzora is the Academic Dean of the Social Behavioral Sciences & Human Services at Broward College. He is an educator who believes that treating individuals with respect should be an institution’s first priority. He approaches all leadership considerations with the personal philosophy that in the constantly changing reality in which we exist, we cannot afford to be stuck in our own unique corners of educational, departmental, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural identities. We must act as strategic leaders, who are not threatened by self-examination and who are able to build a coalition of leaders and workers from all disciplines to courageously tackle the future. 

Prior to his current duties at Broward College, he served a combined 25 years of active and reserve duty in the U.S. Navy.  In addition, he has worked as an instructor, a campus Honors coordinator, an associate dean, and the interim Honors & Dual Enrollment District Director at Broward College. During his tenure, he was awarded the Endowed Teaching Chair Second Generation Leaders Award, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Developmental Excellence Award, Legacy Magazine Top Black Educators Award and Professor of the Year Award. Dr. Balzora serves as the Elite Foundation Chair of the Education and Prevention Committee 2020/22.

 

Megan Beddow, BA, MPA, MA

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Fund Development Committee

As a researcher and practitioner of nonprofits, Megan has worked to support education, youth development, financial stability, family services, and civic engagement within the US and Latin America. A Florida native and Guardian ad Litem with the 17th Judicial Circuit of Florida, she builds effective partnerships with the intent to multiply resources and maximize community connections.

Megan is a Manager, Grant Programs Oversight with The School Board of Broward County, Florida where she manages a portfolio of fund development projects from public and private partners. She specializes to merge data, anticipated outcomes and design thinking to find creative, holistic solutions for her local community.

Ms. Beddow serves as the Chair of the Elite Foundation Fund Development Committee 2020/2022.

Kenda Peterson

Executive Advisory Board Member
Chair, Impact Partner Development Committee

Ms. Kenda Peterson has spent over 20 years working with and alongside youth-at-risk to equip and empower them with life skills, as a part of the leadership of multiple nationwide organizations including Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where she currently serves as the Director of Neil S. Hirsch Family Boys and Girls Club in Wellington, Florida.

Ms. Peterson has dedicated her life to helping the next generation know they have a voice, they are able to overcome, as well as to discover their true identity.  Ms. Peterson has led teams of indigenous missionaries who mentor teens in the Duval, Clay, St Johns and Nassau counties.

Ms. Peterson serves as the Chair of the Elite Foundation Impact Partner Development Committee 2020/2022.

Samantha Parma-Vera, BA

Elite Foundation Youth Ambassador
Survivor Council, Member
Project Stay Gold

Samantha Parma-Vera lived a charmed childhood, but when she was an emerging adult, she encountered difficulties that a young lady should never have to face; sexual exploitation/violence and phishing and grooming online by predators.  Despite these setbacks that created trauma in her life, Samantha persevered and completed her bachelor’s degree in Science, authored her first book, Rise Up, and became a voice for the countless voiceless victims of sexual violence crimes.  

Today, Samantha continues to be a Survivor-Advocate and Speaker, who trains parent and their children (tweens) how to avoid the experiences she had and how to empower and equip the next generation to be strong, resilient and successful women in faith. She is an Executive Advisory Board member for Elite Foundation, and an active alumni member of Florida Atlantic University, who continues to work in the field of healthcare. Samantha aspires to complete her doctorate degree in psychology.