Civic Engagement

Rachel Green

Civic Engagement Co-Chair

Rachel Green is originally from Beaumont, Texas.  She attended Rice University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in 2013. While at Rice, Rachel was a member of several groups and organizations, such as the Peer Academic Advisors, Black Student Association, and the Alternative Spring Break.  She also served as a student advisor for the Program in Writing and Communication, staff member and co-editor-in-chief of the university yearbook, and staff member and coordinator of the Impact Rice Retreat.

After graduation, Rachel began working as a technical advisor at Fletcher Yoder, P.C., in Houston, Texas.  Rachel became a patent agent as recognized by the United State Patent and Trademark Office in April 2014.  In January 2016, Rachel joined Alert Logic in Houston, Texas as a Jr. Software Developer.  Currently, Rachel works as a freelance software developer within the Houston area.

In addition to HAULYP, Rachel is also an active member of her church, Chapelwood United Methodist Church, including serving in the women’s and young adults ministries and as a Sunday School teacher. Rachel is also involved in several informal groups relating to technology, including as a co-organizer of a women’s coding meetup group and as a contributor to various software projects.

Nicholas Little

Civic Engagement Co-Chair

Nicholas Little has been a member of HAULYP since September of 2016. He was a current member on the Executive Board of the Urban League of Central Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina prior to his arrival here. In 2008, Nicholas received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland where he was also commissioned a naval officer. He would later in 2008 attend the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and become certified in Strategical Warfare and Logistics, National Security Command Structure, and Warfare Analysis and Research. Nicholas also attended Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina and earned an Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice. He shortly after earned his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from American University.  Nicholas also served in the United States Navy serving as a ship’s officer at United States Navy Recruit Training Command, a combat tour in Afghanistan, and served aboard three warships. He was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant. Nicholas currently works for the federal government as a Jurisdictional Tactical Commander for a federal agency that combats human trafficking in Houston, Galveston, Dallas, and San Antonio.

Nicholas is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina and serves as a member of Team Rubicon,  Civitan International, Optimist International, Young Democrats of America, U.S. Graduate Retention Council, POLARIS, National Black Justice Council, and the NAACP. He is devoted to his core values, family, friends, and his country. He enjoys volunteering, mentoring, writing, and singing karaoke. As a member of HAULYP, it is his hope that the consistent service of this general body to our community will continue to bring hope to situations that may seem hopeless, and strength to those who need it most to endure the world’s adversities.

Community Outreach

Shirley Addo

Community Outreach Co-Chair

Shirley is the oldest of three girls and is a Houston transplant from Lexington, Kentucky. Her family is originally from Ghana, West Africa and it was there that Shirley spent the early years of her life.

Shirley graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Health Sciences and a Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders. For 9 years, Shirley has worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist with preschool and school-aged children. Her focus has been to improve these student’s abilities to successfully communicate with their family and peers.

In her spare time, Shirley enjoys traveling, listening to podcasts, cooking, and attending live shows and concerts. Shirley has focused recent efforts on developing a network to help feed and provide academic support for students in Ghana, West Africa. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. In conclusion and in her own words, Shirley is elated for the opportunity to positively impact the youth and citizens of Houston as Community Outreach Co-Chair.

Giourdan Baity

Community Outreach Co-Chair

Giordaun is a born and raised Texan, residing in Dallas, Arlington, and now Houston. She attended the University of North Texas at Dallas where she received a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science with a focus on Human Services and Nonprofit Leadership. Currently, Giordaun is pursuing a Masters in Community Development from Prairie View A&M University.
Giordaun has worked in the nonprofit sector for nine years. Her experience spans from mental health and substance abuse counseling to re-entry services, now community organizing.  Each role has allowed Giordaun to interact with community residents where she has been able to learn about the community from those who know it the best. Outreach and organizing have shaped her passion for community outreach – giving individuals a hand-up rather than a hand-out.
With the life mantra, “Learn something new every 90 days”, Giordaun’s hobbies are continually rotating. As a self-proclaimed foodie, she finds excitement in adventuring new places. Giordaun also nerds out on policy issues and politics. As a budding activist, you can find her at community service events or advocating for issues plaguing our community.
Fund Development

Christen Blackledge

Fund Development Chair 

Christen D. Blackledge was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. Double majoring in Finance and Business Administration at Tuskegee University, Christen discovered her passion for helping people make their dreams come to fruition. Upon completion of her undergraduate degrees, Christen moved to Omaha, NE where she began her career as a Financial Analyst for ConAgra Foods. She further pursued her MBA with a concentration in Human Resource Management from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. While in Nebraska, Christen served for the Urban League of Nebraska Young Professionals, Salem Baptist Church, Teammates Mentoring, Premier Nebraska Volleyball Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands and on the Board of Directors for Family Housing Advisory Services.


Christen moved back down south in the Summer of 2017 where she transferred her membership from ULNYP to HAULYP. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals. Christen currently works in the credit control department for a Power, Oil and Gas staffing agency. She hopes to continue to make a difference and serve in her community in all capable capacities.

During her term as Fund Development Chair, Christen hopes to develop fund raising advocates within her committee members as well as general membership in addition to saving and generating funds used to expand our overall community reach.

Innovation and Technology

Donnisha Frison

Innovation and Technology Chair 

A native of New Haven, CT, Donnisha moved to Houston from Richmond, VA in 2013. She enjoys bridging the gap between businesses and technology, by creating technology-based valued-added contributions for both the consumer and the business. Prior to becoming active with the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals, Donnisha was the Vice President and Membership Chair for Hewlett- Packard’s Young Employee Network – Houston, where she worked with her colleagues and senior leadership sponsors to provide programming in efforts to retain top-talent. Donnisha is an active member and leader of Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals, previously as the Membership Committee Chair and Committee Member

On a personal note, Donnisha enjoys traveling, attending music festivals, and learning German.


William Edmond

Membership Engagement Co-Chair

William Edmond was born and raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.  For his undergraduate education, he attended North Carolina Central University and received his BA in Psychology. While in college, William held several leadership positions in multiple area on campus.  His involvement on campus led him to pursue is graduate education.

Upon graduating, William pursued graduate studies at The Ohio State University where he earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs.  His passion is centered around helping students reach their maximum potential in college.  In his professional role, William focuses on the retention of minority students. Currently, William assists students by serving as a resource for multiple cultural organizations at Rice University. 

Prior to joining the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals, William was a member of the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals. With a commitment to service, he is now a Co-Chair of the Membership Engagement Committee with Uchenna “Gail” Ozumba.

Uchenna “Gail” Ozumba

Membership Engagement Co-Chair

Professional Development

Elizabeth S. Fletcher, MS-HRM

Professional Development Co-Chair


Elizabeth S. Fletcher is a native of Lake Charles, La where she reached advanced academic levels. She graduated high school in Houston, TX because of Hurricane Rita and was awarded two diplomas after fulfilling requirements for both Louisiana and Texas. Elizabeth then returned to Louisiana to complete her Bachelor’s Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication and minored in English from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She completed her Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management with a Concentration in Organizational Development with honors.


Elizabeth joined HAULYP in 2016 with a tenacious spirit to serve and attended “Know Your Money” where panelist educated the audience on having multiple lines of income with easy to understand illustrations of how to start your own business. With this wealth of information, she confidently gave birth to the vision of her company Wordsmith Resume Writing & Interview Prep, LLC. where she provides services such as career coaching, resume writing, interview preparation, salary negotiations, public speaking, and LinkedIn optimization.


With over ten years of experience as a HR Professional, it is a true passion of hers as she works daily with job seekers and clients to meet the needs of hiring qualified candidates as a Senior HR Generalist for the Government. HAULYP is an organization dear to her as she is excited to serve as the Professional Development Co-Chair to contribute her knowledge as a subject matter expert to assist in the mission of creating a positive impact in the local Houston community through service and advocacy providing our members the tools to grow professionally and personally.


She is a devoted mother, who enjoys fitness, cooking creole soul food cuisine and being a social butterfly. Elizabeth has a heart for giving back to the community as a member in multiple organizations including her church The Fountain of Praise.

Ibrahim Adam, MSc MKT

Professional Development Co-Chair

Ibrahim Adam is a passionate believer in HAULYP and takes seriously the charge that we have to empower communities and change lives in Houston. Ibrahim is an active member and leader of Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals, serving as a co-chair to the Professional Development Committee.


He is very passionate about volunteerism, service to his community and inspiring the people of the community to excellence. Ibrahim’s heritage is Nigerian. He earned a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University and a Master’s in Marketing from University of the West of England. 


He works as an IT Consultant with Keywest Consulting. His experience includes delivering training solutions to organisations and individuals with focus on skills development in information technology and in project management.

Ibrahim is focused on enhancing professional development and career growth of HAULYP members through impactful programs and seminars.


In his spare time, Ibrahim enjoys reading, exploring restaurants in the city, and traveling to spend time with friends and family.

Public Relations & Marketing

Taylor Brione Ballard

Public Relations & Marketing Co-Chair 

Taylor Brione Ballard is a self-proclaimed social media-lite, which is her cutesy way of saying that she is an integrated marketing professional specializing in event management,  fundraising, and social media strategy.  She is the oldest of six daughters and a proud dog mom to her Maltese, Sparkle.

Paige Harris

Public Relations & Marketing Co-Chair 

Paige Harris is a creative communications, public relations, and social media pro with a flair for marketing. She enjoys working with her team to create impactful integrated marketing campaigns. She loves people and loves storytelling and enjoys connecting the two. Paige is an avid traveler who is always looking for her next adventure.

Social & Cultural

Shaneika Franks

Social and Cultural Co-Chair

Shaneika is a proud native Houstonian. She has always had a passion for service and giving back to her community which is why she joined the military after high school. Shaneika is United States Army Combat Veteran.  She served 13 years in the U. S. Army and TXARNG. While serving in the military Shaneika worked as a paralegal specialist and human resources specialist.

Shaneika obtained her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. She is currently a Manager for one of the largest grocery retailers in the US. In her role she has assisted with opening and re-opening serval stores. She has trained and mentored junior managers along with over one hundred direct reports. She has also helped in the successful role out of serval company initiatives while increasing sales and ensuring customers and associates have a safe environment to work and shop. Shaneika has also championed serval community fundraisers for the company such as for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Children’s Miracle Network and Operation Military Embrace which has raised money and awareness for each organization. She is also a member of WE (Women of Excellence) for her company which focuses on progressive women in grocery retail.  

Shaneika has been a member of the HAULYP since 2017 where she has been active on serval committees. Her goal as Social and Cultural Committee Co-Chair is to unify members while allowing them to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of their heritage and of the city in which they serve. In addition to being a member of HAULYP, Shaneika is also a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the National Association of Black Military Women.  

During her free time, Shaneika enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her family.

Casaundra Nicole Johnson

Social and Cultural Co-Chair

Casaundra Nicole Johnson is the current co-chair of Social and Cultural Committee for Houston Area Urban League-Young Professionals and was born and raised in Albany, Louisiana but declares herself a citizen hybrid between Texas and Louisiana; Casaundra’s the oldest of two brothers and mommy to her puppy, Cha Cha.

She’s a graduate of University of Houston-Victoria with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration/Business Management, holds two Associates degrees, a Theology degree (her proudest degree of all), teaching certifications, FDIC certification in Financial Education, and graduates in December 2018 with her Masters in Educational Administration/Principal Certification through Lamar University.

She teaches English, is a Curriculum Writer for Harmony Public Schools and a former Branch Manager for Woodforest National Bank being employed for 11 years.

She’s an avid writer, historical culturist (“meaning that she just wants to learn everything about her heritage, history and hence her new found passion for henna”), has taught financial education for Junior Achievement, The Women’s Resource Center, Sisters Network, has served on the Board of Directors for Ronald McDonald House-Galveston, and is Secretary for Kappa Delta Pi, a prestigious Education Honors Society.

One of Casaundra’s favorite scriptures from Romans 8:28 states “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” and her purpose is with HAULYP.


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