The Great Sankofa Team


adrea simmons - Trip

Adrea Simmons is a seasoned product manager and marketer with over 12 years of experience in the technology and entertainment industries. Her experience ranges from major tech companies, including Microsoft and Google, to early-stage startups. Adrea received her BBA from Howard University in Marketing and French and her MBA from NYU Stern in Technology Innovation and Strategy. While at NYU she was President of the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students where she led the creation of the first Stern course to explore the economy and culture in Cuba, raised $10k for South African nonprofit Velokhaya, and incorporated diversity programming in Stern’s admissions and career preparation processes. AHBBS became one of two student organizations in Stern to be recognized by the greater university with the NYU President’s Service Award in 2014. In 2017 Adrea returned to Detroit where she works at Homedics shaping their home diagnostics, sleep, baby and smart home strategies. Outside of work, she’s an avid community volunteer with experience founding nonprofits, consulting and serving on boards, and volunteering to build educational programs for low-income students and contribute to global poverty alleviation. She also loves to travel, read, eat, dance and play with her dog Theo.


ANya dennis

Anya Dennis is a multidisciplinary educator and administrator with 20 years of experience as a teacher with specific expertise in the area of student-centered pedagogy and teacher training. As an educator, she has taught at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels across four continents and is adept at creating and implementing targeted literacy and art based educational programs for diverse student populations. She holds a bachelor's degree in English Education from Clark Atlanta University and a M.Ed. in Education Administration from Temple University. Her work in the field of education centers around literacy, youth advocacy, and international education. Her teacher-training expertise includes effective classroom management practices, differentiated instruction, technology-integration and cultural awareness through the arts. She has served as an Educational Administrator for the Superintendent of New York’s Alternative Education System and as an Educational Consultant for “Gear-Up". She launched and directed Temple University’s Literacy for Learning Program and directed the Education Through Arts


Ashley Ballard - Event

Ashley Ballard earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, from Regent University in Virginia. Following that achievement while living in the UK for one year, she attained a Master of Science Degree in Performance Psychology, from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Her Masters Dissertation topic was: "Exploring the Roles of Spirituality and Spiritual Beliefs: in the Pursuit of Excellence and Peak Performance in Professional Athletes". After graduation, her Dissertation was sought after, and eventually granted her the opportunity to present the research at York St. John University in York, England. In addition, the topic became published online through: Journal of the Christian Society for Kinesiology, Leisure and Sport Studies.

In February 2017, Ms. Ballard actualized a 10 year dream and moved to Detroit, Michigan. Following her move she began working for Black Family Development, a well-known non-profit organization in the heart of the city.  Through the agency Ms. Ballard is currently working in the area of Community Mental Health; serving K-8 students for a Detroit Charter School and Parents who reside in Wayne County. Within two years, she has become professionally trained in Restorative Practices, has attained a certificate in training for Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), and is in the process of receiving her certification in the evidence based treatment model - “Michigan Parent Management Training - Oregon Model” (Michigan PMTO).


Charmin archer

Charmin Archer is an educator and curriculum writer with a passion for global literacy and youth empowerment. Over the past 20 years she has taught on the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels including teaching positions in Harlem, Ethiopia, the Caribbean and Michigan.  As a curriculum writer, she has created a series of “Untold History” curricula used both nationally and internationally to support students researching their family history and genealogy. Charmin holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan in American Culture and Africana Studies and an MA in Elementary Education from the City College of New York. Charmin is a Kindergarten teacher at Mitchell Elementary School in Ann Arbor.  She is also the co-founder and Director of Curriculum and Content for the Heidelberg Arts Leadership Academy (HALA) in Detroit, MI.  


Hannah anokye - Trip

Hannah Anokye is a design researcher with a penchant for social impact. She holds an A.B. from Brown University in Science & Society and Africana Studies, and spent a semester at the University of Ghana, Legon. Post-Brown, she joined the Venture for America Fellowship where she worked with startups on digital marketing and operations efforts. Her core strengths are in building brand strategies that focus on the needs of the user and communicating these through storytelling. Hannah recently has transitioned to work in the non-profit sector and is currently working on building an innovation lab at the United Way of Miami-Dade.