Smithville will be.
Willie Jones is the Executive Director for the Smithville Community Coalition. Willie retired and moved to the Charlotte area in 2014. He has been a social justice activist for over 50 years. Professionally, Willie has worked in community development, focusing on redeveloping formerly segregated, distressed, and redlined urban neighborhoods. He led the production of over 5,000 units of affordable or mixed-income housing valued at more than $500,000,000.
Willie was inducted into the Affordable Housing Finance magazine’s Hall of Fame for his contributions to affordable housing and urban development. Until his retirement, he regularly spoke at graduate planning schools, served on foundation advisory boards, taught graduate real estate and planning courses, and consulted with cities on redeveloping distressed, low-income neighborhoods. Since his retirement, Willie has earned a Master of Theological Studies from Hood Theological Seminary in 2016. He was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel in 2018. Since he graduated from Hood, Willie has helped churches restructure their debt in order to free up resources to support active ministries. He has assisted churches in developing 112-unit and 72-unit affordable housing initiatives in Charlotte. Willie served as the board chair at the Zachariah Alexander CDC, an affiliate of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. He is a board member of CrossRoads Corporation, a nonprofit serving the Grier Heights neighborhood in Charlotte. He is also a board member of Unity in Community, working toward racial equity in North Mecklenburg. Willie earned the Mayor’s Award of Excellence from the Town of Cornelius, Mayor Woody Washam, in December 2022. Willie currently lives in Cornelius with his wife.
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Lisa Mayhew-Jones has been the Chair of the Smithville Community Coalition since 2011, voted in by the residents. Lisa currently serves as the Project Manager-Residential Services for the Smithville CommUnity Coalition. Lisa is responsible for the oversight of residential services. She manages the program’s execution, hires, and supervises the employees, and ensures excellent treatment of the program members. She is a direct contact for all residents of the Smithville community for any issues or concerns. She partners with other non-profit organizations in the area. Lisa manages phases of rehab of existing homes and the building and construction of the revitalization plan. Lisa received her Associate Degree in Business from National Business College, Roanoke, VA, and Duke University Certification Non-Profit Management. She is continuing her education by becoming a HUD Certified Counseling Agent and is on track for graduating from Southern New Hampshire in 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with Non-Profits. Lisa spent most of her career in executive administration and office management. Lisa led the development and articulation of a multi-year strategy that has mobilized the town government and neighborhoods in the East Catawba area on improving neighborhood infrastructure, delivering community services for groups in need, aiding economic development and job creation, and spurring housing revitalization. Lisa was a member of the Board of Directors of Our Towns Habitat for Humanity and Lake Norman YMCA. She is still actively involved with both organizations. She led the Smithville efforts for the creation of the Jazz Festival, Community Garden, and annual neighborhood cleanups. Her community activism inspired community improvements in safety and drainage and motivated the local Kiwanis Club to sponsor a new Splash Park at Smithville Park. Lisa was born and raised in Smithville until the sixth grade. She still has family that lives in Smithville. She cannot wait to move back into the community once homes are built with the revitalization plan. Lisa currently lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband.
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Dawne Kakitsis joined the Smithville Community Coalition staff in 2022. As Director of Fundraising and Marketing, Dawne is responsible for strategizing and successfully executing our communications and marketing strategy, fundraising initiatives, and donor support. Dawne’s degree in Education from Ohio University served her well as she worked as the Director of Education, Director of Business Development, and VP of Operations for learning centers during her educational career. Dawne’s career then focused on independent business consulting and marketing for small businesses. Dawne consulted with Global Minds United through marketing and community outreach with the mission is to provide a multifaceted educational platform to schools and businesses, promoting diversity and inclusion to develop competent, compassionate, and active global citizens. Dawne worked on fundraising efforts and sponsorships with independent businesses and nonprofits throughout her career. She served on the board of directors for Unity in Community (UiC) and is an active volunteer on the Communication and Education Committees with UiC. Dawne currently lives in Cornelius, North Carolina with her husband and their two children.
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