Ms. Ramona Debreaux
Radio Personality V-103
Executive of the Year
Ms. Yolanda D. Hughes
Come inside and learn about 8 dynamic women on the move! visit their websites, get involved in their foundations or organizations and just support their movement. Want to learn more email us at
About our 2014 InfluenceHER Honorees
Yolanda D. Hughes is a humble servant of the Lord. She is a veteran of the Engineering and Information Technology fields and has worked and traveled around the globe on her journey of discovery.
One of her many favorite bible passages is- In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path. To that end, she has worked for and with Fortune 500 companies, entities of the Federal Government, and State Government agencies.
Yolanda has spent stints on both Malaysia and Indonesia as well as most major cities in the US. Yolanda has managed her own consulting company since 2000 and has executive level, independent contractor and consulting experience.
Yolanda is an avid believer in work-life balance, she a foodie, an NBA fan (Go Heat), a world traveler(the Caribbean is her Nirvana), a reader of all types of books, and believes in giving back and paying it forward..
Yolanda is a native Alabamian (Roll Tide) and currently resides in Atlanta, GA.
Her current work endeavors are associated with UST Global where she is an National Program Director for Step IT Up America, a corporate initiative that will change the fabric of IT organizations around the county by inserting trained minority women into the workforce. She is single and loves spending time with family and friends.
Ms. Marquenta Sands
Director of Safety & Security
at Atlanta Public Schools
Ms. Keisha Brown
Former WNBA Player
Ms. Janice L. Mathis
Rainbow Push Coalition
Dr. Jackie Walters
Married to Medicine
2014 Spotlight Honoree
Ms. Amy Pedersen
Co - owner, Slimpressions
Ramona Debreaux the Media Powerhouse SEEN & HEARD…Few have it all.
Multi-Talented Ramona DeBreaux would never willingly admit to it, but few posses the God given talent to Sing, Write and Entertain on all levels. And Now she steps into an even bigger arena…TV Production!
This “Overall MIC Controller” is not only a multi-octave vocalist and songwriter, but she’s also a #1 rated DJ heard locally in Atlanta & Nationally! She’s even been on camera, seen on TV around the world.
Now Ramona DeBreaux combines Talent with Production to develop shows for Major Networks.RAMONA ON AIR!
To listeners and Industry Insiders who have worked with Ramona, it was no surprise when she boast the highest Midday numbers in the Atlanta market (Feb 2012) in history. In fact, during her Midday show at Atlanta’s Urban powerhouse V103, Ramona not only maintained the #1 position, she gained a whopping 30% more listeners, more than any personality in the market in a decade.Why? There are many reasons. Ramona is a genuine personality, comparable only to the greats of yesterday. Listeners, whom she calls “family”, know she genuinely cares. She has established herself in the community, leading initiatives in Health, Literacy & Voter Registration.
Ramona teaches teen girls self love through interactive workshops with her organization Love Happi.
It was only natural that she would use her On Air platform to help the community. She had been a member of the NAACP & National Urban League since 13 years old. By 14 she published her first political commentary and even opened for Maya Angelou, Spike Lee, and Dr. Cornell West. In 1996 she was awarded a Full academic scholarship to the prestigious Springfield College where she studied English Literature/ Sports Media.With undeniable musical talent combined with her love for Social Justice-mixed with a little Steelers Falcons or Hawks outing,
Ramona is the multi- faceted personality TV & Radio had been waiting for.Versed in Music, Pop Culture, Politics & Sports, Ramona has interviewed everyone from famed Quarterback Doug Williams to Icon Prince…She’s even snagged interviews with Secretary of State Hilliary Clinton & kicked it with Bono at Live 8 London but that is only the beginning!She’s covered the DNC & RNC for over 77 radio stations. Ramona broadcast to hundreds of stations, representing the United States at Live 8. Currently, she is seen on at least 4 networks and heard on hundreds of stations around the world.
Ramona’s accomplishments exceed those in entertainment 20 years her senior. But beyond even that, Bigger things are on the horizon. Ramona, knowledgable in Digital Production, will now move into Television Production. Culminated by her creativity, On Air talent and knack of all things “Techie”,
Ramona is set to establish herself as the next Media Powerhouse with upcoming projects with Number 1 box office producers & Media Executives. VOCALIST & SONGWRITER
Ramona DeBreaux has been spotted on NFL, VISA, TIMELIFE &Design Essentials Televison Commercials around the world!Currently she can be seen on Centric TV’s CultureList as the Atlanta Correspondent, On Camera for NowTrendingTV and is on radio for V103 Atlanta.That’s probably Ramona’s voice on your favorite artists’ commercials like Lil Wayne,Drake, Erykah Badu & more…All Around the WORLD! There seems to be no end to her talents. Ramona DeBreaux is Next!…
Amy Pedersen is a marketing consultant, a published author, an award-winning public speaker/humorist, a successful entrepreneur, a philanthropist, a volunteer, and most importantly, a wife and mom.
A seasoned marketer,Pedersen has spent a majority of her career promoting brands including Delta, Dodge, Wachovia, Hardee’s, Century 21, Mrs. Winner’s, Powertel, Gardening123.com, Norfolk Southern, and Orkin. Pedersen is currently consulting at The Coca-Cola Company focusing on global business development for the licensing department.
In addition,Amy Pedersen is managing member and co-owner of Slimpressions® providing leadership for the firm in the areas of product design and development, market awareness and communications, and sales channel management.
Pedersen holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia and an M.S. in Marketing from Georgia State University. In addition, she is a professional speaker and the author of The Miracle of Me from conception to birth as well as Be Brand You: A College Student's Guide to Extraordinary Success. She and her husband, Jon, have been married for 18 years and are the proud parents of two children, Caroline and Jack.
As Vice President for Legal Affairs for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Janice L. Mathis has negotiated diversity and inclusion agreements with Fortune 500 companies including Home Depot, KFC, Toyota, Nationwide, John Deere, Cooper Tire and General Motors. She formerly served on diversity councils for Georgia Power Company and the Coca-Cola Company.
She organized and led the fight in Atlanta to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2005 and was instrumental in urging Greenville County, SC to recognize the Martin Luther King Holiday. Today she is fighting to keep families in their homes and avoid foreclosure. Back in 2007 she and Rainbow PUSH Coalition were early advocates for commutation of Troy Davis’ death sentence and continues to advocate for abolition of the death penalty and an end to hyper-incarceration.
Janice and her sister Davida Mathis host Sisters in Law on News and Talk 1380 WAOK, a legal advice program, and they blog at sistersinlaw.blogspot.com. They recently completed a screenplay about their father, Joseph D. Mathis, who was a Methodist pastor, hall-of-fame coach and political activist.
She is a member of the Athens Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta and serves on the sorority’s national Social Action Commission. In April, 2012, Janice was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. She formerly served as a member of the Rules Committee of the Democratic National Committee and on the national board of the League of Women Voters of the U.S. Janice is a founding member of the Metro Athens Growth Federation, a local organization committed to fighting poverty and creating good jobs.
Janice is included in several editions of the Most Influential Blacks in Atlanta, including this year’s section featuring Female Powerhouses. In 2009 she was named one of 25 Most Influential Women in Atlanta by Rolling Out magazine and received the Fannie Lou Hamer award from UFCW. In 2008, the Georgia Informer named her one of the 50 most influential women in Georgia. The Gate City Bar presented her its R.E. Thomas Civil Rights Award in 2009. The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus presented Janice its “Trendsetter” award in 2005. In 1996 she was a Centennial Olympic Community Hero and carried the Olympic Torch a portion of its way through Athens, GA. Good Housekeeping Magazine named her “One Hundred Young Women of Promise” in 1989. She is a 1988 graduate of Leadership Georgia and has received numerous other awards.
Janice is a graduate of Duke University, where she earned the prestigious Angier Biddle Duke Scholarship, was a national merit finalist and studied British politics and history at New College of Oxford University, England. She earned a law degree at the University of Georgia and continues to practice civil and criminal trial and appellate law.
Janice and her husband Harry Johnson (the first African-American new car salesman in Athens) are the parents of two adult children. Janice and Harry are active members of Chestnut Grove Baptist Church and live in Bogart, Georgia.
Dr. Jacqueline Walters was born in Port Gibson, Mississippi. Her dedication and hard work earned her two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Mississippi and Alcorn State University in 1984; followed by her medical degree in 1993. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, Georgia in 1997. Her determination to improve the lives of women has allotted her the distinguishing honor of being amongst the “crème de la crème” in the elite Atlanta community as a professional OBGYN.
Jacqueline Walters aspires for excellence in every aspect of her life. She always thought that the field of OBGYN has paid little attention to its target population: WOMEN. Concerned with the lack of care and consideration for the gynecological patient population, she envisioned a shift from a “physical focused practice” to a “patient focused practice.” Her intellect and inventiveness, has made her private practice renowned, not only in Atlanta, but nationwide.
Dr. Walters’ vibrant attitude about life attracts clientele both young and old. Being a two time breast cancer survivor, she is a woman who understands the effects of personal health challenges. As a dedicated teacher, she has assimilated a Women’s Wellness Program, to help eradicate the increasing number of heart disease cases, which is the leading cause of death among women today.
In 2008 Jacqueline Walters, MD found herself on the opposite end of the diagnosis when she discovered that she had breast cancer for the second time (first diagnosis 2004) and needed to undergo a double mastectomy. “Any physician will tell you that a positive attitude truly has an impact on how well you respond to treatment. I knew that if I looked good, I’d feel good, and if I felt good, my treatment would go good. But many of the women I met during treatment didn’t have the same philosophy and it broke my heart to see their hope and spirits so low,” said Walters.
Keisha Brown is a graduate of Woodward Academy (1996), College Park,
Brown is also a georgia graduate of the University of Georgia (1996-2001) Bachelor of Arts Degree Speech Communications (Communications Studies)
Undrafted out of college to the pros, Kiesha has been a professional basketball player for 11 years. Undrafted to the WNBA in 2002, she has made footprints in the WNBA and abroad. Kiesha has played for numerous teams in her 8 year WNBA career: Washington Mystics, Houston Comets, New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Sparks, Connecticut Sun, and Tulsa Shock. When she is not in uniform at home, she is filling her passport abroad living and playing in countries such as Spain, Czech Republic, Russia, Turkey, Isreal, and France.
1996 Naismith Player of the Year Award alongside Kobe Bryant.
1995 and 1996 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Georgia.
2005 WNBA community assist award for the Washington Mystics.
2012 French League Championship
2013 SEC Legend for Universty of Georgia Lady Dogs
Kiesha has always been a great communicator. From inspiring 6 year olds to gaining the respect of her peers, she exudes confidence and quality. On the court or off, she brings her energy to the doorstep of your heart. Basketball has provided her with more opportunity than she could have ever imagined and this is just one way for young ladies to see and hear female athletes at the best. Color Analyst, Speaker, Host, Motivator, Communicator.
Kiesha Brown has taken a different road to a successful career. She shares her personal testimony as a tool to illustrate to her audience how personal sacrifice and dedication lead to a fulfilled life.
Linda Dean is a woman of passion!
She is passionate about helping others break the bonds which have resulted from trauma and abuse thus keeping them from realizing their dreams, especially with the youth.
After years of working with an international corporation, Linda set out to achieve her dream of a non-profit corporation devoted to helping counselors help their clients live a fuller life. The non-profit is called, “Shaking off Shackles.” The name comes from Linda’s own experiences of shaking off the shackles in her life and her motto is, “Un-Healed Broken People Do Not Recycle” Shaking off Shackles sets in motion a plan to help people recycle back into life. A counselor herself, Linda knows firsthand the challenge counselors face in helping people reclaim their lives.
A native of Alabama, Linda now resides in Atlanta. She is active in the faith communities, there. Additionally, she serves on the board of the Andrew Young Center for Public Policy at Georgia State University. She is also on the Atlanta Board of People to People International Atlanta Chapter from which she travels the world extending a helping hand to trauma victims everywhere. Recently, she was nominated by President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Mary Eisenhower to serve as a new Trustee for People to People International. She has helped children in Haiti, assisted Holocaust and disabled survivors in Israel and counseled with torture victims in Albania and the children of Atlanta. She is a frequent speaker on the horrors of human trafficking and sexual abuse.
Linda currently works in the Atlanta office of Former U. S. Senator Max Cleland, and is a frequent visitor to Washington.
Linda has two grown children, and is the proud grandmother of six grandchildren. She has been an active member of Life Center Ministries for the past 17 years where she serves on prophetic team ministry.
Linda’s interest includes reading, traveling and spending time with her family
Ms. Linda Dean
Shaking off Shackles
Marquenta A. Sands received her B.S. in Corrections with a minor in Criminal Justice from Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL and went on to complete the M.Ed with a specialization in School Social Work from the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia. Chief Sands will graduate in August with a PhD in Public Service Leadership with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition to aforementioned, she also holds an L-6 certification in Educational Leadership and Supervision.
The Alabama native had a stellar career with the MARTA Police Department and later, Fulton County Schools Police Department where she climbed her way up the ladder from School Resource Officer to Chief of Police in only 12 years. In 2004, Chief Sands decided to transfer her talents to the Atlanta Public Schools where she is currently serving as Director of Security and Chief of Police. In addition to law enforcement, Chief Sands shares her passion for educating youth throughout the community through her many certifications and experiences by teaching programs such as substance use and prevention, conflict resolution, goal setting and security strategies with a strong focus on youth development. She is also employed as a part-time adjunct criminal justice instructor for ITT Technical Institute, Atlanta, Georgia.
Chief Sands is known for public appearances in conducting workshops on school security and emergency management for local, state and national organizations. In her own words, “I believe in excellence and focusing on holistic human development. I also believe it is my responsibility to assist others in overcoming obstacles through hard work and perseverance.” Energy and enthusiasm are key characteristics that are present in her classroom and the workplace because she believes in helping others to achieve their educational, professional and personal goals.
As a law enforcement professional with 25 years of experience, Chief Sands’ other professional experiences spans across a total of 35 years to include various specializations such as loss prevention, juvenile probation and youth detention, security, law enforcement, school social work, and real estate. She has a profound commitment to life-long education which is evidenced through the personal pursuit of higher learning as an educator, criminal justice professional, and seasoned law enforcement administrator. Family and friends describe her as compassionate, goal-oriented, hardworking, dedicated, and determined and a warrior for justice for all. Her humility and love for people is never far behind the scenes, even when she has to make tough decisions. Though the road to success has been tough, Chief Sands continues to push forward by keeping God first in all that she does. When asked what do you want people to know about you, the reply -“I’m really energized just knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) and that “Christ has revealed all things to me, because by laboring in this way, it is necessary to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35); therefore, I give my all to serving others.”
Chief Sands currently resides in a quite suburb south of Atlanta and spends her free time enjoying the scenic landscape as an avid motorcyclist.
Born to serve others,” says Marquenta, is why she has spent her entire life in public service leadership. At an early age, Marquenta was taught the importance of serving others by her parents and extended family in a rural Alabama town with a population of approximately 41, 000 people. She is a devoted practitioner with a burning desire to continue investing in the community and future of others. Vision, creativity, purpose, positive attitude, and tenacity are a few of the personal strengths and qualities that is shared with others in advancing their intellect through quality instruction, leadership and rapport.
Mother.. Daughter.. Sister.. Friend.. Mentor
Aiyisha Obafemi is a strong woman with a solid belief in family and herself. Currently handling a variety of positions for Disturbing Tha Peace Records including C.O.O., Marketing Director, and Video Commissioner, she is a solid part of the label’s success. She is also an instrumental part of the management team for Ebony Son Entertainment of which Ludacris is the marquee client. Music is practically second nature to Aiyisha as she comes from a musical family; her mother sang back up for Miriam Makeba, her father sang in doo-wop groups in his native New York, and she has a couple of cousins who are hip hop legends. Coming from a family of front-line revolutionaries, vocalists, and musicians, she has taken those elements and applied them to every aspect of her life.
In the early 1990’s, Aiyisha toured the country with X Clan, ISIS and Queen Mother Rage and handled all day to day operations for Scratch Me Productions. Never afraid to be her own woman and follow the path she is meant to be on, she sets a strong example to anyone she comes across. With accolades such as write – ups in Sister to Sister magazine, the GA Music magazine, and receiving “A Powerful Woman In Hip Hop” award and ASCAP’s Women Behind The Music Award in 2013, she has earned acknowledgements for her hard work and the values she lives by.
In a male dominated industry, Ms. Obafemi has demanded as well as earned respect through her unyielding work ethic. She counts on the relationships she has built with her female friends and executives for a tight support group. She nurtures her own strengths but constantly helps others build upon their own. The only way for her to move has always been to the beat of her own drum. She has built a reputation based on perseverance and diligence. Everyone has something they desire to be known for. Aiyisha shares her sentiments on what she wants part of her legacy to be, “I want to be remembered as a spiritual individual, A loving mother to my teenage twin daughters, a great friend and mentor who always gives truth to friends and family.
” The past, present, and even the future is all about what you take from it. For Aiyisha Obafemi, each phase of life is about what you bring to it. There is no limit to what she will do or the impact she will leave. The writing is on the wall, and her story will continue to make an impact many years from now. .
2014 Spotlight Honoree
Ms. Aiyisha Obafemi
COO & Director of Marketing,
Disturbing tha Peace Records
Community Award Winner
Ms. Yewande Austin
Voted by the Community
From M.T.V. and B.E.T. to the historic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Yewande’s socially charged music has taken center stage with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, Maroon 5, Sean Paul and India Arie, but it is her work as an award-winning lecturer, activist and honorary U. S. Cultural Ambassador that has become perhaps her greatest achievement. Since 2006, her humanitarian organization, the Change Rocks Foundation, has empowered nearly 10,000 vulnerable youth by using music and arts education to promote socio-economic development in 8 countries from Africa to the Americas (www.changerocksfoundation.com). And through the Global Institute for Diversity and Change, this 2013 CNN Hero nominee’s diversity programs are bridging the gap between leadership, culture and activism for students and professionals across the globe. It is this inspiring commitment to social change that has ignited a movement heard around the world