THE WOMEN BEHIND THE VISION
Co Founder: Joanna Mensah
Chief Business Development Officer/Creative Director
Joanna Mensah is a Ghanaian American, born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Growing up, Ms. Mensah knew there was more to life than her surroundings. Her ability to be independent is a fundamental key in her life which is attributable to the many successes she has and hopes to achieve. Through her perseverance, she has been able to acquire a degree in Science and Technology, as well as Architecture. During her time at Morrisville State College, Joanna aligned herself to Phi Theta Kappa Honors society, CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program) and AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students). She also volunteered with a notable non- profit organization called Habitat for Humanity. Through this organization she was able to assist professionals in rebuilding foundations for underprivileged families whose homes suffered water damage.
In NYIT (New York Institute of Technology), Ms. Mensah studied Architecture Abroad in Spain and France analyzing the works of great architects Antonio Gaudi, Santiago Calatrava and Le Corbusier. She also helped organize the project THIRST, a service learning group that volunteered at Campo Alegria in Nicaragua. Apart of the team, Joanna educated and entertained the children in the camp, as well as researched affordable rocket stoves and water filters to help the growing problem of contaminated drinking water and no cross ventilation in homes across Nicaragua.
She also took part of the abroad workshop called City and Disaster Thailand. There, she and her architecture design group alongside Thailand architecture students investigated creative ways to find new solutions for one of the poorest neighborhoods in Thailand, Baan Krua. Apart from her academics, Joanna is a successful entrepreneur who runs her own hair business, Full Of Beauty.
“I am passionate about everything I put my mind to. I believe with hard work and perseverance there is nothing that can stop a woman with a plan!” - Joanna Mensah
Co Founder: Alexis Phillips
Chief Operating Officer
Alexis M. Phillips is a Ghanaian American, born in Nyack, N.Y. and raised in Westchester County. She is the oldest out of four and ensures to be a good example to her younger siblings. Being raised in a single parent household has molded her into a strong and resilient individual. During her undergraduate years at SUNY Canton; she has received a Certificate in Health Career Studies, an Associate's in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Associate's degree in Nursing and Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. During those years she became apart of the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) , Vice President of Diversified Ladies and a notable Resident Assistant. Currently, Ms. Phillips is working two jobs; one as a psychiatric nurse in a NYC hospital and as a correctional nurse at NYC’s largest jail. Although, Ms. Phillips is a busy and hardworking individual, she sets her life to give back and Pillars of Change is another opportunity to give back to those in need.
“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work.”-
Co-Founder: Chantal Kwade
Chief Legal Officer/Chief Financial Officer
Chantal Kwade, born and raised in the Bronx, to Ghanaian parents, is currently a second year law student at Hofstra University School of Law. Chantal is very active in her school’s extracurricular activities. She currently holds a position in the Moot Court Board due to her success in her first year Moot Court Competition. Chantal was the only first year student in her school’s history to compete and to be apart of the winning team in the 2017 Spring competition. Chantal is also the treasurer of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and is a Hofstra Law Student Ambassador.
Chantal received her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Buffalo State College. Her career in the nonprofit sector began while working for the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP) in Buffalo, New York. It was here that Chantal encountered a comprehensive view of both the opportunities and challenges of a growing organization. Her commitment to nonprofit organizations extends to public service and community involvement. Through MAP Chantal has facilitated a Farm-to-School Project. The project, which allowed local farmers to give their produce to different schools in the community, helped educate children from grades K-12. The project focused on educating children and teenagers about nutrition, the importance of agriculture, and the production of homegrown fruits and vegetables.
Although her education has become a main focus in Chantal’s life, she is using this platform to encourage young girls to view higher education as an opportunity to enhance their own personal qualities that they already possess. Most importantly, Chantal is breaking glass ceilings for black women everywhere by bringing a forceful approach to the legal practice and she will continue to do so in every aspect of her professional life.
“Glow in faith, even in the absence of hope.” – Chantal Kwade