Mark Gardner - Chairman   Chairman of the Board of Directors for L&J Empowerment. My hometown is Akron, OH; currently residing in Santa Cruz, CA. Economically I grew up relatively privileged. However, like many folks in America, intentional conversations about emotional wellbeing and mental health were very few and far between. Luckily I was usually connected with some kind of community group promoting men's fellowship, and after coming out as a gay man I quickly figured out the amount of mental and spiritual resiliency it takes to stand in one’s own truth. So when my cousin met Lorenzo at a conference a couple years ago, she knew we had to connect! I bring my artsy- farsty, hippie-trippy take on life, as well as my bachelor’s from Bowling Green State University and a master's from Penn State. I intend to help shape and support the emerging vision, strategic plan, and structure of The Confess Project. As well as building capacity for on-going community partnerships!

Mark Gardner - Chairman

Chairman of the Board of Directors for L&J Empowerment. My hometown is Akron, OH; currently residing in Santa Cruz, CA. Economically I grew up relatively privileged. However, like many folks in America, intentional conversations about emotional wellbeing and mental health were very few and far between. Luckily I was usually connected with some kind of community group promoting men's fellowship, and after coming out as a gay man I quickly figured out the amount of mental and spiritual resiliency it takes to stand in one’s own truth. So when my cousin met Lorenzo at a conference a couple years ago, she knew we had to connect! I bring my artsy- farsty, hippie-trippy take on life, as well as my bachelor’s from Bowling Green State University and a master's from Penn State. I intend to help shape and support the emerging vision, strategic plan, and structure of The Confess Project. As well as building capacity for on-going community partnerships!


Henry North - Vice Chairman   Henry North, a resident of Searcy, received a BS and MS in Biology from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 2011, he received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in Medicinal Chemistry from Howard University in Washington, DC. He then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Computational Chemistry at Howard University with Xiang Wang, Ph.D. He used  in silico  computational studies to provide a logical explanation to produce novel compounds for epilepsy. November 2013, he joined the College of Pharmacy at Harding University in as an Assistant Professor where he coordinates the Medical Microbiology course and lectures in the Medicinal Chemistry. His research interests lie in the design and discovery of novel anticonvulsant agents. He has published articles on the synthesis of enaminone derivatives and elucidation of the structure-activity relationship (SAR) between them with the aid of X-ray crystallography studies. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), Sigma Xi, American Chemical Society (ACS), and the 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock.

Henry North - Vice Chairman

Henry North, a resident of Searcy, received a BS and MS in Biology from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 2011, he received a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences with a specialization in Medicinal Chemistry from Howard University in Washington, DC. He then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Computational Chemistry at Howard University with Xiang Wang, Ph.D. He used in silico computational studies to provide a logical explanation to produce novel compounds for epilepsy. November 2013, he joined the College of Pharmacy at Harding University in as an Assistant Professor where he coordinates the Medical Microbiology course and lectures in the Medicinal Chemistry. His research interests lie in the design and discovery of novel anticonvulsant agents. He has published articles on the synthesis of enaminone derivatives and elucidation of the structure-activity relationship (SAR) between them with the aid of X-ray crystallography studies. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), Sigma Xi, American Chemical Society (ACS), and the 100 Black Men of Greater Little Rock.


Donovan Shavers - Board Member   Donovan L. Shavers-Cobb is a Public Health Educator and Community Health Advocate. He's the Founder and Executive Director of The Shavers-Cobb Foundation, a not-for-profit Public Health organization whose work is grounded in health disparities research, education, and community advocacy in the pursuit of achieving health equity. Shavers-Cobb, a native of Pine Bluff, AR, attended both the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, earning a Bachelor of Science in Regulatory Science and a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management.

Donovan Shavers - Board Member

Donovan L. Shavers-Cobb is a Public Health Educator and Community Health Advocate. He's the Founder and Executive Director of The Shavers-Cobb Foundation, a not-for-profit Public Health organization whose work is grounded in health disparities research, education, and community advocacy in the pursuit of achieving health equity. Shavers-Cobb, a native of Pine Bluff, AR, attended both the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, earning a Bachelor of Science in Regulatory Science and a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and Management.

Taiwan Dickerson - Board Member   Taiwan Dickerson, BA is a loving husband, and father. He is the owner and operator of Musical Cuts & Styles Barber and Beauty in Little Rock, Arkansas where he promotes the two hobbies he loves the most, music and barbering. He has worked in the Behavioral and Mental Health arena for 15 years. He has worked in the inpatient setting, school based setting, and adult day treatment. Taiwan’s experience in the mental health field has provided him the opportunity to grow as a teacher and speaker in the mental health arena. Taiwan has a heart for those in need and has promoted mental health awareness in the community to help start the conversation and remove barriers for those who otherwise would not seek help.

Taiwan Dickerson - Board Member

Taiwan Dickerson, BA is a loving husband, and father. He is the owner and operator of Musical Cuts & Styles Barber and Beauty in Little Rock, Arkansas where he promotes the two hobbies he loves the most, music and barbering. He has worked in the Behavioral and Mental Health arena for 15 years. He has worked in the inpatient setting, school based setting, and adult day treatment. Taiwan’s experience in the mental health field has provided him the opportunity to grow as a teacher and speaker in the mental health arena. Taiwan has a heart for those in need and has promoted mental health awareness in the community to help start the conversation and remove barriers for those who otherwise would not seek help.


Priscilla Guiterez- Board Member   Priscilla María is a social justice writivist and mental health advocate. As the daughter of a Nicaraguan refugee and an Ecuadorian abuse survivor, she felt the vicarious trauma of loved ones. Latino cultural mores, however, kept her family from seeking counseling. Determined to stop generational cycles of abuse and addiction, Priscilla sought therapy at a young age for her own traumas. She seeks to normalize mental health care in communities of color so that others can enjoy healing. She has years of experience mentoring Black and Latinx youth and leads by example as a survivor. Priscilla is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and UC Irvine School of Law. She specializes in writing about trauma and systemic racism.

Priscilla Guiterez- Board Member

Priscilla María is a social justice writivist and mental health advocate. As the daughter of a Nicaraguan refugee and an Ecuadorian abuse survivor, she felt the vicarious trauma of loved ones. Latino cultural mores, however, kept her family from seeking counseling. Determined to stop generational cycles of abuse and addiction, Priscilla sought therapy at a young age for her own traumas. She seeks to normalize mental health care in communities of color so that others can enjoy healing. She has years of experience mentoring Black and Latinx youth and leads by example as a survivor. Priscilla is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and UC Irvine School of Law. She specializes in writing about trauma and systemic racism.


Nicole Lightfoot - Board Member   Ms. Lightfoot has a BA in African American Studies and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She devotes her career to improving access to high quality, culturally relevant mental health services for African Americans. Her research on African American identity development is published in the International Journal of Counseling Development. Nicole has over 15 years or experience working in various capacities in mental health agencies. She currently practices Clinical Counseling in Los Angeles, CA.

Nicole Lightfoot - Board Member

Ms. Lightfoot has a BA in African American Studies and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She devotes her career to improving access to high quality, culturally relevant mental health services for African Americans. Her research on African American identity development is published in the International Journal of Counseling Development. Nicole has over 15 years or experience working in various capacities in mental health agencies. She currently practices Clinical Counseling in Los Angeles, CA.

Harrison Hiner - Board Member   Harrison Hiner has nearly 10 years of experience working in politics and labor unions. He currently works as a lobbyist and political campaign lead for Communications Workers of America (CWA). Throughout his career, Harrison has worked to improve wages, benefits, and government services for working people in Texas. Harrison is a native of Northeast Texas, attended the University of Arkansas, and currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Harrison Hiner - Board Member

Harrison Hiner has nearly 10 years of experience working in politics and labor unions. He currently works as a lobbyist and political campaign lead for Communications Workers of America (CWA). Throughout his career, Harrison has worked to improve wages, benefits, and government services for working people in Texas. Harrison is a native of Northeast Texas, attended the University of Arkansas, and currently lives in Austin, Texas.


Natasha Williams - Board Member   Natasha (she/her/hers) is a PhD student at the University of Maryland studying family science. After undergrad at Florida State, she completed her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University Calumet. While at Purdue, Natasha taught courses in statistics, human sexuality, and behavior disorders. Her thesis explored the relationship between childhood disciplinary experiences and adult conflict tactics for African American couples. Natasha’s clinical work and academic research focus on the mental health of LGBT people of color, as well as their access to mental health treatment. In her free time, Natasha enjoys experimenting with global cuisines, visiting with family, and cheering on her Seminoles and Jacksonville Jaguars in football.

Natasha Williams - Board Member

Natasha (she/her/hers) is a PhD student at the University of Maryland studying family science. After undergrad at Florida State, she completed her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University Calumet. While at Purdue, Natasha taught courses in statistics, human sexuality, and behavior disorders. Her thesis explored the relationship between childhood disciplinary experiences and adult conflict tactics for African American couples. Natasha’s clinical work and academic research focus on the mental health of LGBT people of color, as well as their access to mental health treatment. In her free time, Natasha enjoys experimenting with global cuisines, visiting with family, and cheering on her Seminoles and Jacksonville Jaguars in football.

Ryan Williams - Council Member   Ryan A Williams is a Philanthropist, Motivator and Motivator. Ryan has a passion for helping and motivating others and had a love for music. He has worked with many Non-profits including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Mid-South Delta Initiative, Nicholas R Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund, American The Red Cross and many other organizations. He started speaking in the 5th Grade as while running for Student Council Vice President and has been speaking ever since. As a DJ, Ryan has performed and entertained hundreds of thousands of people since 2009 under the alias "DJ RAW".   Ryan decided to work with the Confess Project in 2019 because he saw the need for more involvement with Mental Health especially in the Black Community. Being a Philanthropist, Ryan believes that helping as many people as he can find help from the mental, physical, spiritual and financial areas of their lives. As a Motivator, he believes everyone can be great no matter what they desire to do. He is super excited to be a part of the council and plans to work the Confess Project for many years to come.

Ryan Williams - Council Member

Ryan A Williams is a Philanthropist, Motivator and Motivator. Ryan has a passion for helping and motivating others and had a love for music. He has worked with many Non-profits including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Mid-South Delta Initiative, Nicholas R Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund, American The Red Cross and many other organizations. He started speaking in the 5th Grade as while running for Student Council Vice President and has been speaking ever since. As a DJ, Ryan has performed and entertained hundreds of thousands of people since 2009 under the alias "DJ RAW".


Ryan decided to work with the Confess Project in 2019 because he saw the need for more involvement with Mental Health especially in the Black Community. Being a Philanthropist, Ryan believes that helping as many people as he can find help from the mental, physical, spiritual and financial areas of their lives. As a Motivator, he believes everyone can be great no matter what they desire to do. He is super excited to be a part of the council and plans to work the Confess Project for many years to come.

Eric Reese - Council Member   Eric O. Reece is a cultural organizer and community advocate who has a lifelong passion for Justice, Equity and Arts /Culture. He has extensive experience in the areas of community organizing, production of cultural work, nonprofit administration, program development, and implementation.  Raised in Little Rock, Arkansas he was educated at Little Rock Central High School. He earned his BSE in Sociology from University of Central Arkansas and MSW from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.  Eric is clinically trained and rooted in Harm Reduction and strength-based individual and community-based interventions. He has directed and supervised health prevention and youth development programs as well as implemented innovative community engagement and mobilization programs. His expertise extends into areas of public policy advocacy as well as community coalition building to address structural inequities around health, racial and educational equity.  Eric identifies as Black Same Gender Loving/Queer- chosen pronouns HE, HIM, HIM. He is practicing Nichiren Buddhist as well as a Son, Brother, Uncle, AunTy, GodMomma. He’s passionate about all things Black SciFi /Fantasy, Graphic Novels, pop culture, Jazz and House Music.

Eric Reese - Council Member

Eric O. Reece is a cultural organizer and community advocate who has a lifelong passion for Justice, Equity and Arts /Culture. He has extensive experience in the areas of community organizing, production of cultural work, nonprofit administration, program development, and implementation.

Raised in Little Rock, Arkansas he was educated at Little Rock Central High School. He earned his BSE in Sociology from University of Central Arkansas and MSW from the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

Eric is clinically trained and rooted in Harm Reduction and strength-based individual and community-based interventions. He has directed and supervised health prevention and youth development programs as well as implemented innovative community engagement and mobilization programs. His expertise extends into areas of public policy advocacy as well as community coalition building to address structural inequities around health, racial and educational equity.

Eric identifies as Black Same Gender Loving/Queer- chosen pronouns HE, HIM, HIM. He is practicing Nichiren Buddhist as well as a Son, Brother, Uncle, AunTy, GodMomma. He’s passionate about all things Black SciFi /Fantasy, Graphic Novels, pop culture, Jazz and House Music.


Crenisha Wright- Council Member   Crenisha Wright is a Research Data Analyst at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) where she does statistical analysis on Special Education student data for the Arkansas Department of Education. She is currently working on a GC in Data Science and a MS in Information Science.  She is passionate about utilizing evidence-based change in education to enhance outcomes of youth in underserved communities. She plans to use her experience and education to merge the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning with education statistics.  Crenisha is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and she is currently serving a two-year term on the UALR Diversity Council. She holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Arkansas and a MBA in Management from Texas A&M University – Texarkana

Crenisha Wright- Council Member

Crenisha Wright is a Research Data Analyst at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) where she does statistical analysis on Special Education student data for the Arkansas Department of Education. She is currently working on a GC in Data Science and a MS in Information Science.

She is passionate about utilizing evidence-based change in education to enhance outcomes of youth in underserved communities. She plans to use her experience and education to merge the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning with education statistics.

Crenisha is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and she is currently serving a two-year term on the UALR Diversity Council. She holds a BBA in Management Information Systems from the University of Central Arkansas and a MBA in Management from Texas A&M University – Texarkana


Amanda Rogers - Council Member   Amanda Rogers is an Arkansas native, being raised in Little Rock her entire life. She graduated from UA-Fayetteville in 2001 with a B.S. in Agronomy and a minor in Sociology. In 2007, she received a B.S. in Nursing from UAMS. She is currently working as a school nurse for LRSD. She has worked in women’s health for over 9 years, before she went back to school to pursue a career as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She plans to graduate in December 2019 and her clinical interest in trauma, childhood adversity, resilience, and barriers to services for vulnerable populations aided her to find a role in The Confess Project.

Amanda Rogers - Council Member

Amanda Rogers is an Arkansas native, being raised in Little Rock her entire life. She graduated from UA-Fayetteville in 2001 with a B.S. in Agronomy and a minor in Sociology. In 2007, she received a B.S. in Nursing from UAMS. She is currently working as a school nurse for LRSD. She has worked in women’s health for over 9 years, before she went back to school to pursue a career as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She plans to graduate in December 2019 and her clinical interest in trauma, childhood adversity, resilience, and barriers to services for vulnerable populations aided her to find a role in The Confess Project.


Sylvia Brown - Council Membe   Sylvia moved back to the Natural State in 2013. For fifteen years she lived, worked, and played in the District of Columbia. She started her career as a Congressional aide with experiences in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and as a healthcare lobbyist.  Sylvia earned her credentials as a “Washingtonian” by being an active, engaged strategist and advocate in the District using the skills, experiences, and relationships gained in the federal arena.  Now back home Sylvia continues to build coalitions, identify solutions and examine policies that provide the most good for the most people.

Sylvia Brown - Council Membe

Sylvia moved back to the Natural State in 2013. For fifteen years she lived, worked, and played in the District of Columbia. She started her career as a Congressional aide with experiences in the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and as a healthcare lobbyist.

Sylvia earned her credentials as a “Washingtonian” by being an active, engaged strategist and advocate in the District using the skills, experiences, and relationships gained in the federal arena.

Now back home Sylvia continues to build coalitions, identify solutions and examine policies that provide the most good for the most people.


Dimika Nelson - Community Engagement VISTA   Dimika Nelson is a Virginia native, and USAF veteran. She joins the Confess Project by way of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and Our House Shelters as a 2nd year VISTA alum. She is experienced and Trauma-Informed, with a demonstrated 5+ year history of working in the Individual, Children, and Family Services field. She is skilled in Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Crisis Counseling, Program Management, Behavior Management, and Community Organizing. Dimika is a strong community and social services professional, with a Master's degree focused in Human Services from Purdue University Global.

Dimika Nelson - Community Engagement VISTA

Dimika Nelson is a Virginia native, and USAF veteran. She joins the Confess Project by way of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), and Our House Shelters as a 2nd year VISTA alum. She is experienced and Trauma-Informed, with a demonstrated 5+ year history of working in the Individual, Children, and Family Services field. She is skilled in Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Crisis Counseling, Program Management, Behavior Management, and Community Organizing. Dimika is a strong community and social services professional, with a Master's degree focused in Human Services from Purdue University Global.

Darnell Rice - Lead Program Facilitator   Mr. Darnell L. Rice is a Native of St. Louis, Mo. By way of Pine Bluff Arkansas. Mr. Rice is a Proud Alumni of The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Science and a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. He has a career centered in Social Services to young people and adults. Mr. Rice is a Member of the 100 Black Men of Little Rock. Mr. Rice is Adjunct Professor at Shorter College on the 2nd Chance Pell Grant where he empowers and instructs students to become better men and women of society that are incarcerated in the prison system. Mr. Rice is very passionate about social issues and social justice. Mr. Rice is Program Facilitator/ Project Manager for the Confess Project. Impacting the lives of Boys of Color and Black Men to increase mental health awareness.

Darnell Rice - Lead Program Facilitator

Mr. Darnell L. Rice is a Native of St. Louis, Mo. By way of Pine Bluff Arkansas. Mr. Rice is a Proud Alumni of The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Science and a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. He has a career centered in Social Services to young people and adults. Mr. Rice is a Member of the 100 Black Men of Little Rock. Mr. Rice is Adjunct Professor at Shorter College on the 2nd Chance Pell Grant where he empowers and instructs students to become better men and women of society that are incarcerated in the prison system. Mr. Rice is very passionate about social issues and social justice. Mr. Rice is Program Facilitator/ Project Manager for the Confess Project. Impacting the lives of Boys of Color and Black Men to increase mental health awareness.


Julia White - Communications Associate   Julia just graduated in May 2019 from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Art.  She previously did an internship with us during the Spring Semester. She has worked with a marketing firm located in Conway, Ar. where she managed multiple social media accounts and developed customized content tailored to the specific needs of her clients. With experience in targeted advertisement to promote clients and raise awareness, as well as increase page interactions and viewings.  Growing up in Arkansas has allowed her to find her passion for working with small businesses and helping them grow as well as their awareness to potential customers. She is excited for this new journey and looks forward to help educate and promote awareness for mental health in boys and men in minority communities.

Julia White - Communications Associate

Julia just graduated in May 2019 from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and a minor in Art.

She previously did an internship with us during the Spring Semester. She has worked with a marketing firm located in Conway, Ar. where she managed multiple social media accounts and developed customized content tailored to the specific needs of her clients. With experience in targeted advertisement to promote clients and raise awareness, as well as increase page interactions and viewings.

Growing up in Arkansas has allowed her to find her passion for working with small businesses and helping them grow as well as their awareness to potential customers. She is excited for this new journey and looks forward to help educate and promote awareness for mental health in boys and men in minority communities.