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Board Chair- Ashlee Shands

Ashlee Shands is the founder and CEO of Financial Haven, Inc which provides financial literacy programs in the community. She holds a  Bachelors in Marketing Management from WGU, and Masters in Public Administration from Keller Graduate School of Management. Ashlee is a Certified Financial Education Instructor with the NFEC and has a passion for educating others. Ashlee is the author of the E-book 60 days to Business Credit which helps small businesses establish their business credit score. She is passionate about helping others in the community reach their financial goals especially single moms and the youth. Through overcoming teen pregnancy, going through a divorce, and starting and running multiple businesses, she has learned it’s not about the circumstances but how you overcome them.

Advisory Board- Valerie Miller

Valerie Miller is a founding member of the Financial Haven Inc board and serves as the Secretary. Prior to joining the Financial Haven Board, she served as Chair for Parents of African American Children (PAAC). She currently serves as Vice-Chair for the non-profit Empowered Parents in Community (EPIC). Professionally, she works as a Program Manager at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and has been employed there for 20+ years in various roles. She holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Management from Pfeiffer University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from North Carolina Central University. 

 Valerie is committed and volunteers her time to Financial Haven because she believes in the mission and is passionate about educating children and families about Financial literacy. Instilling this knowledge in our youth early is important to her and the services provided by Financial Haven will drive this message forward. Valerie will use her God given talent of building community to share these resources in support of the mission. Valerie enjoys spending time with her two boys, Jaylin and Javon, her extended family, friends, and listening to music. 

Board Member- Rosemary Astra-Blossom

Rosemary Astra-Blossom serves as the Board Treasurer of Financial Haven. She works professionally in IT Transformation within the financial services industry. Having studied Economics and Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ('17), she brings strong analytic skill and project management to the team of board members. Her passion for promoting financial literacy stems from experiences from her upbringing. She comes from a first-generation immigrant family who lived in a community much like the ones Financial Haven serves, which is what made her interested in joining Financial Haven’s inaugural board. In her free time, Rosemary enjoys listening to informational podcasts and exercise. 

Advisory Board- Kimble Stuart

Kim Stuart is a native of Jersey City, NJ, and currently resides in Sanford, NC. Kim is a graduate of Fayetteville State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She currently holds teaching certifications as an Exceptional Children’s Cross Categorical as well as Middle Grades English Language Arts teacher. Kim has served as Co-chair in the Exceptional Children’s program and as a member of the Student Advisory Board of Harnett County. Kim has taught in the public school system for over 16 years. Kim currently works for Mac Williams Middle as a Math teacher for students with Learning Disabilities. 

She has a passion for working with young people and the challenges they face in the school system and community. Kim is the founder of J.O.Y. a group that helps to teach and develop lifelong leadership skills for all ages. In addition to working and facilitating her group, Kim serves as an Elder at Lou Chapel Holiness church. She has also served as a youth Sunday school teacher and is currently the assistant teacher of the adult Sunday school class and a minister of the gospel. In her free time. Kim enjoys reading, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. Kim brings her love of education to the Financial Haven, Inc board and is excited to serve her community.

Board Member, Olita Boone

Olita Boone is the broker owner of Cameo Realty Group International (powered by eXp). As a professional Realtor®, Olita takes pride in assisting families and investors achieve their real estate goals. In an effort to make an impact in her industry both locally and statewide, Olita serves as on the Board of Directors with Johnston County Association of Realtors and has been appointed to NC Realtors® Economic Development and Legislative Committees. Recognizing all too often the inequities in homeownership, as Board Director with Financial Haven, Olita strives to help bridge that gap through education and proper investment advice. Olita is a proud alum of Appalachian State University and she holds a Master’s in Public Administration degree from Strayer University

Board Member- Risha Bailey

Risha D. Bailey (Risha D) is an experienced nonprofit leader with 20+ years in the industry. Throughout her career, she has provided grants research, writing and evaluation, campaign development and special event management to a host of nonprofit organizations serving youth, adults, and senior populations. Her consulting company, Right Touch Consulting, provides these and other services to fund dreams and build thriving communities that foster lasting change for community citizens.

As a board member and volunteer, Risha D strongly believes in the mission of Financial Haven, Inc. Having learned from experience the adverse impact financial illiteracy can have on one’s life, Risha is dedicated to changing the narrative to ensure that many individuals and families avoid the financial pitfalls she has had to overcome in her life. Outside of her professional commitments, Risha D is also a minister who is passionate about leadership development. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in education (Ed.D) focusing on Christian Leadership from Liberty University. She is also a proud mother and grandmother who loves spending time with family, dancing, traveling, movies, and listening to a wide range of music.