Our Board of Directors

Our dedicated Board of Directors sets the course for The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium. Through their efforts and with the support of our donors and sponsors, we are working to build an organization with sustainable funding that provides economic and reentry opportunity to traditionally underserved communities.

Leah Ward Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Leah is the author of both the book and course $1,000 Start-Ups: 60 Business for Micro-Entrepreneurs … and How to Start Them, used in the entrepreneurship section of the $1,000 Start-Ups program.

She has bachelor’s degrees in Business & Organizational Development, a master’s degree in Computer Information Services from Boston University, and a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration/Business from Baylor University.  She completed her residency at Brooke Army Medical Center. 

She is a retired U.S. Army Officer, who began her service during the Vietnam Conflict and retired at the end of Desert Storm.  

She subsequently had a career as a business and technology executive with thirty years of experience with public, private, and government organizations and has owned and operated LWL Enterprises, Inc, a management consulting and publishing firm, since 1998.

Capitalizing on her extensive knowledge regarding the business use of technology on a wide range of business and technical issues, she became the Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Equifax Healthcare Information Services, Centra Benefit Services, and LSG Sky Chefs.

Following that, she began her practice as an independent management consultant.  Through her ability to quickly understand and communicate even the most complex issues and develop implementable and sustainable solutions, she delivered more than $2 billion in earnings to her client organizations, most of which were Fortune 500 companies.

Leah Ward Lee

Samuel O. Lane, Director & Board Member

Samuel O. Lane is a retired Air Force colonel and  Command Pilot with over 4000 flying hours in large and jumbo jets (C-141 and C-5) and general aviation aircraft.  He has extensive experience in Air Force airfield and fleet operations.  He spent five years as an FAA-certified Air Force air traffic controller. Expert in command-and-control systems and operations, including planning, organizing, coordinating, directing, and controlling trans-national, multi-modal transportation and logistics operations.

He’s a Systems Engineer with sixteen years as a Management Consultant for business and government.  During that time he conducted numerous studies and analyses of management and engineering practices.  He’s a recognized expert in large-scale program and project management, including planning, management, and financial and risk controls.  He has more than thirty years’ total experience in organizational leadership; formulation of management policy; design, development, and use of management control systems; and process improvement. He served as an Adjunct Professor in the Systems Engineering Master’s Degree program for Johns-Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering.

Sam is a resident of Fernandina Beach, FL since 2007 and an active pilot.

Leah Ward Lee

Tony X. Lee, Co-Founder, Director, & Board Member

While still in High School, Tony started in the restaurant and bar service industry.  He continued in the industry during college and to date has spent more than two decades learning the intricacies of the business.

During that time, he served in every available position, from busboy to bartender to General Manager of multi-unit concepts.  In Dallas, he was well-known as a celebrity bartender with a following that packed every shift to capacity and a restaurant and bar consultant for staff hiring, training, and operational management.

Along the way he worked with thousands of individuals and saw how easily bar and restaurant money comes and goes.  To enable anyone who had a dollar in their pocket and a desire to improve their quality of life had a resource and a path to follow.  Working with Leah Ward-Lee, they devised a plan and published a book, workbook, and training course to help keep people from going broke.

With the $1000 Startups Program, Tony has taken the lessons learned and lumps taken along the way and sees daily how his knowledge and passion for business helps business owners and entrepreneurs gain focus and realize their goals.

Joufflie - Divine Agapa Doula Services

Joufflie Germain, Board Member / Owner/Operator Divine Agape Doula Service

Joufflie Germain is the Owner and operator of Divine Agape Doula Service, a certified birth and postpartum doula company dedicated to the empowerment of birthing individuals and their families. She is a certified Birth and postpartum doula through the Southern Birth Justice Network, a placental art creator, placenta encapsulate and a strong advocate for birthing equity. Joufflie’s journey as a doula began 5 years ago through her own experience with her first son. Through continuous growth and knowledge, Joufflie has continued to support a multitude of families on their birthing journey.

Joufflie graduated from Florida International University in 2015 with a bachelor of science in psychology with a focus in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).  Before transitioning into her impactful role as a doula she worked with the autistic population providing behavioral therapy services for 9 years. She has held various roles in the community that have collectively strengthened her desire to provide support to others. In addition to doula work, she holds a position as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor with the Nassau County Health Department WIC office.

A graduate of the $1,000 Start-up program, she excelled and continues to thrive in her business. She now looks to support those with the same dream of creating change through their passion, build financial stability and serve as a mentor to others. Joufflie is a strong, impactful and compassionate individual whom is loved by all those whom have the opportunity to connect with her. 

Leah Ward Lee

Rev. Anthony C. Daniel, Director & Board Member

Anthony C. Daniel served as the spiritual leader and pastor of Historic Macedonia AME Church Fernandina Beach, Florida from November 2013 -November 2021.  Licensed by the Rev. Dr. William Maxwell Robinson, his Father in the ministry at the Ebenezer AME Church in New City, NY, he was ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church with Third Episcopal District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania upon accepting the call to the pastorate in 1990.

Pastor Daniel is a passionate community servant.  He motivates and inspires individuals to identify their potential and share this passion in serving others.

Pastor Daniel successfully spearheaded Bridging the Gap, a faith-based initiative to facilitate a sense of unity among The Clergy, Community Leaders, and Law Enforcement in Nassau County in light of the recent tragedies and troubled times we live. His primary focus and purpose are to create and promote an inclusive community empowered by diversity in every form imaginable and enhance social equity.

In addition to Pastor Daniel’s thirty years of experience are undergraduate and graduate degrees.  However, the degree he is most proud of is his degree in Common Sense which he obtained at the University of Sylvia Daniel’s home of his praying mother. A firm believer that if you Touch the Heart, you can Save the Soul.

Leah Ward Lee

Chef Xylina Green, Board Member / Owner Island Personal Chefs

Xylina Green, is a Personal Chef and Caterer. She graduated The Art Institute of Atlanta, Culinary Arts School in 2014. She went on to work in several Atlanta area kitchens until moving back home and eventually opening Island Personal Chefs LLC in 2018.

She served as a Master at Arms in the Navy Reserves, developing leadership, planning and problem- solving skills during her eleven years of service.  Xylina, separated from the military in 2020 to focus on developing her catering business.

Xylina gained attention from the local Chaine des Rotisseurs, president Dr. Rawson Griffin and she has been preparing coursed dinners for the group for over a year. She was formally inducted into this prestigious wine and food society as a professional chef in 2021.

She is the current President of the Fernandina Beach Young Women’s Club and Vice President of America’s Youth.

Avis Miller

Hon. Avis M. Miller, Board Member / Co-Owner First Coast Tours

Avis and her husband, Ronald, established Coast One Tours, LLC, in October 2019 to ensure the Legacy of American Beach (featured in Victor H. Green’s “The Negro Motorist Green Book”) will continue. Her husband’s passion for American Beach, Fernandina Beach, and Amelia Island Florida, and her customer service and technical background ensure their customers have a memorable and positive experience.

Avis is the proud wife, mother, grandmother of seven and a 2022 Graduate of the $1,000 Dollar Start-ups program.

She is a trailblazer who got her start in high school as a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and Junior Achievement. and holds several “firsts”.  She was the first African American women Postmasters in several cities in the United States Postal Service and served for 25 years. She was the first African American woman telemarketer for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. She was an Officer/Manager of a multi-billion-dollar franchise and has extensive experience as both a Human Resource Manager, and in Customer Relationship Management.

She holds a degree in Computer Technology. She is NMLS certified, a licensed health/life insurance representative, a Licensed Cosmetologist, CPR certified, and a Notary.

With a desire to “Pay it Forward”, she follows the USPS-Motto: “Reach back and give a helping hand”, and has held and continues to hold, positions in organizations that assist individuals in achieving their business and career goals. 

Leah Ward Lee

Serena Floyd Peterson, Board Member / Owner Jewels by Serena

Serena Floyd Peterson is the owner of Jewels by Serena, one of the first businesses to display at a $1,000 Start-Ups Small Business Fair.

With her talent and flair for merchandising, and a degree in Fashion Merchandising from the Art & Fashion Institute of Fort Lauderdale, she was immediately recognized as a role model for new business owners.

As a 2022 $1,000 Start-Ups Cohort graduate, Serena’s colleagues benefited from her experience and background in customer service, which honed during her 17 years at the Amelia Island Plantation Resort, and her entrepreneurial knowledge, gained during her 17 years as a licensed insurance agent. Serena enjoys serving in the community, serving monthly meals at Hope House with her church, assisting the Barnabas Center with monthly food giveaways, and as a former “Big” with Big Brothers, Big Big Sisters.

T.R. Richardson

T. R. Richardson, Board Member Emeritus / CTO Richwood International

T.R. Richardson is the Chief Training Officer at the Richwood International, the company he founded.  He also served as the previous Executive Director of the Nassau County Racial Equality Coalition.  

An impactful speaker, trainer, and facilitator, he has travelled the nation empowering more than 350,000 learners and attendees with the skills and tools they need to achieve their personal, professional, and organizational goals.  

He is an innovative and goal-oriented change agent known for achieving organizational growth as well as his background identify training needs, providing interventions, and measuring training effectiveness in the private and public sector.