Leadership

Brendon Riley

  • Co-Founder & Advisor (2013-present)

Strategic finance executive with more than 15 years of combined experience as a leader of high profile financial transactions and advisory situations. Deep experience in integrating business and legal thought processes to solve problems, lead and motivate people, build consensus, and orchestrate the necessary resources to fulfill strategic objectives. Interested in opportunities to leverage financial and legal skill set, including financial management, strategic planning, and legal analysis in a corporate finance or fiduciary role.

Professor Tonya M. Evans, Esq.

Tonya M. Evans is an Associate Professor of Law at the Widener University Commonwealth Law School with expertise in the areas of intellectual property, entertainment law (literary and music), municipal finance and trusts & estates. Professor Evans joined the faculty as a visiting professor in 2007 and tenure-track professor in 2008. She received tenure in Spring 2014. Professor Evans has also served as Adjunct Professor of copyright, publishing and licensing at York College of Pennsylvania.

Professor Evans attended Northwestern University on a four-year tennis scholarship, and thereafter she competed on the women’s professional tennis circuit and played most notably in the US Open, Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, and Lipton in 1993. After retiring from the tennis circuit in 1995, she attended Howard University on an academic scholarship. After graduating with honors, Professor Evans clerked for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for one year and thereafter worked at two national firms in Philadelphia until establishing her own firm in 2002. During that time, she also founded an independent publishing company now known as Legal Write Publications.

Carla Banks Waddles

A native Detroiter, Carla moved to Los Angeles in 1998 after being accepted into the Graduate Screenwriting Program at the University of Southern California. During the program, Carla executive produced the Cinema-Television school’s first sitcom pilot.  After receiving her MFA from USC, Carla was accepted into the Warner Bros. Writing Workshop, which led to a staff writing position on the WB’s For Your Love.  After a whirlwind season of 32 episodes, she joined the inaugural writing staff of the Disney Channel’s, That’s So Raven.  She went on to become a producer on the comedy series Half & Half, which completed four seasons on UPN.   She also wrote for two seasons on The Bill Engvall Show on TBS, and as a writer for Nickelodeon’s Children’s Series, The Fresh Beat Band.

Her other writing credits include: Sonny With A Chance (Disney), Let’s Stay Together (BET), Lab Rats (Disney XD), and The Soul Man (TV Land).  She was the showrunner on her own comedy series, One Love, starring Mark Curry, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and the late Sherman Hemsley.  It debuted on Bounce TV in April 2014, reaching more than 1 million viewers, making it the network’s most watched original series ever.  Looking to mentor other writers and share her craft, she has also taught at Northwestern University (her alma mater) as a lecturer in the Radio Television Film Department. She founded Babycakes Productions, Inc. as a vehicle for her creative projects.  She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

Crystal Houston

  • Member, Secretary and Senior Vice President of Communications & Brand Strategy (Life in the Cancer Lane Director) (2013-present)

Ms. Houston is Director of Digital and Content Marketing at United Way. Primarily, she oversees digital marketing communications for nation’s second largest United Way chapter and leverages branded content online to segmented audiences to enhance supporter engagement.

Ms. Houston leads and implements a data-based strategy using inbound analytics. In addition, she oversees a team that produces digital newsletters, text to mobile communiques, social media on various platforms; desktop, mobile and Spanish web and intranet development, and search engine optimization. Finally, Ms. Houston works closely with Resource Development and Information Technology teams to maximize systems, processes and tools. Supervise online brand-building efforts of two digital communications consultants and staff of three.

Leslie M. Gray

  • Member,Treasurer, and Senior VP of Logistics and Strategic Planning (2015-present)
Ms. Gray is a Senior Director at Microsoft.  She currently owns business readiness and support for Microsoft’s corporate finance, business intelligence applications and reports.  As a marketing operations executive, Ms. Gray has been responsible for everything from documenting requirements for big data marketing systems and owning marketing automation solutions to delivering business intelligence capabilities and designing seamless electronic user experiences.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Ms. Gray spent over 12 years at Accenture in the Customer Relationship Management, Marketing Operations consulting practice.  During this tenure, she worked with several Fortune 100 companies in Financial Services, Automotive, and Telecommunications, helping them transform their marketing organizations to a more sustainable, data-centric function.
In addition to her corporate career, Ms. Gray was CEO of a small business specializing in owning and managing medical facilities.  During her 12 year tenure, Ms. Gray procured real estate, developed and managed the business strategy, opened a CMS approved dialysis facility, and brokered acquisition deals.
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