External Affairs Manager
Braven’s partnership with Spelman College is the first with a historically Black and all-women’s college. Spelman College has a long legacy of helping Black women achieve what was historically not always possible as a result of our country’s systemic racial and gender inequities. This partnership will further that legacy by ensuring Spelman students receive additional support to develop the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to launch careers that maximize their potential.
As part of its Spelman Pathways: Creating Your Path to Life and Career Excellence initiative, the revised sophomore year experience will support Spelman students on a path to economic mobility. The partnership offers all Spelman sophomores the two-part career-accelerating Braven experience, including weekly Learning Labs and leadership coaching. As sophomores become Braven Fellows, they will receive additional support to land a strong first job or enter graduate school.
Leading Braven’s new site is Ché Watkins, founding executive director of Braven-Atlanta and Spelman alumna. “Working in partnership with the college that has expanded my horizons is truly a dream come true,” says Watkins. “I am excited to support Spelman students to help prepare and expose them to all of the opportunities available to them. As an Atlanta resident, I know how critical Spelman talent is to the future of our city and nation.”
External Affairs Manager
Program Manager, Accelerator
Executive Director – Atlanta
Che D. Watkins is the Executive Director – Atlanta for Braven. Ms. Watkins served as President & CEO of The Center for Working Families, a nonprofit focused on workforce development to create economic success for hard-working families and their children.
Ms. Watkins has more than 30 years of experience in external affairs, public policy, business development, community engagement and development and finance. Ms. Watkins spent more than four years with the Metro Atlanta Chamber as Vice President of External Affairs where she leveraged her skills to develop relationships with local government officials, metro area Chambers, regional and community nonprofits, corporate leaders and other community voices. She also managed the Chamber’s Greater Grady Task Force and served as Education and Campaign Manager for the 2012 Metro Atlanta Transportation Referendum that executed a $9 million voter education and advocacy effort to draw 300,000 voters to the polls to pass an $8 billion transportation referendum for the metro Atlanta region.
Ms. Watkins began her career with J.P. Morgan & Co. in Accounting before moving into client interfacing leadership positions at Bank of America and Wachovia.
Ms. Watkins holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Spelman College and her MBA from New York University.
Managing Director, Spelman
Program Manager – Accelerator
Roechelle Croskey is the Program Manager – Accelerator for the Atlanta region. Roechelle has a Bachelor’s in Human Sciences from Mississippi State University and a Masters in Secondary Education from Jacksonville State University. Most recently she was a Program Manager with Fulton County Public Schools in Career and Technical Education – Human Services Pathway whose goal is to increase student’s career interest in Human Services post-secondary career plans. As a Program Manager her passion was to empower underrepresented students from low-income families to acquire knowledge, resources, and education to live choice filled lives post-college.
Program Manager, Accelerator, Spelman College
Taiesha Smith is the Program Manager – Accelerator for the Atlanta region. Taiesha has a Bachelor in History Education from Georgia State University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mercer University, and a Doctorate in Education, Post-Secondary & Adult Learning from Capella University, Minneapolis, MN. Taiesha spent several years of advanced leadership and management in metro-Atlanta K-12 school districts developing teachers, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Her research background is in the retention and persistence of African American students. She joins us from the University of Georgia where she was the Director of the Office of Experiential Learning responsible for supporting teacher candidates in gaining their certification.
We are looking for professionals from all fields who are willing to share their career experience, personal stories, and unique talents with our diverse and driven Fellows.
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