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Levitating Objects


YEDA is a developing non-profit organization. We are in the process of establishing our complete board of directors and staff. We will continue to update this page as more board members are secured.

Board member's are expected to bring forth ideas on how to expand the potential of YEDA and reach the students in the most impactful ways. They are to oversee the organizational functions and assist in executing the vision and mission of YEDA. Board members are also responsible for assisting in raising funds to fiscally support our program.  

Please check back often for updates. 


Monika Payne 

Monika Payne is the President and CEO of Caljohn Asset Management, LLC.  Caljohn is a firm of talented, innovative thinkers who specialize in strategic planning and project, operations, and marketing management and consulting.  The Caljohn team has developed and coordinated events and programs for many organizations including festivals, concerts, fundraisers, and more.  After assisting with the planning and execution of the YEDA Back to School fest, Monika joined the Youth Education Development Academy (YEDA) in 2022 as the Executive Director.  She looks forward to helping founder and CEO, Greg Ellison, continue the important work in building youth programs that will cultivate the mind, body, and spirit of the youth in underserved communities.

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Christopher Smitherman

Christopher Smitherman II is a Real Estate and Restaurant Operations professional currently working for the McDonald’s corporation searching for and acquiring property for McDonald’s in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Christopher has several years’ experience as a certified professional resume writer and public speaker providing training and consultation on career services for a wide range of professionals. 

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Reina Paraiso

Reina Paraiso is the Director of Digital Technology, McDonald’s Lead International Operated Markets (LIOM), responsible for the readiness of the key digital initiatives that help deliver a better experience for customers and ensure our market segment is adopting and embracing engineering best practices. Reina also serves as the Global Liaison for McDonald’s Asian Pacific Middle Eastern Network (APMEN) and is heavily involved with the Ronald McDonald's House Charities in the Chicagoland area.  She was the recipient of the 2020 OCA Corporate Achievement Award for her leadership and contributions to McDonald’s and the AAPI community.

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Rosalyn Jamison

Rosalyn Jamison is a Pharmacy Manager for Cardinal Health Nuclear Pharmacy Services. Prior to becoming a Pharmacy Manager, Rosalyn has experience with Cardinal Health as a Senior Sales Consultant and Marketing Manager. Rosalyn is a Chicago native from the Lincoln Park and South Suburban areas and has served on several boards including the Alisia Dieudonne Foundation and the KLEO Community Family Life Center. 

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Taylor Porter

Taylor Porter is a Chicago Native. A graduate and alumni board member of Saint Xavier University, Taylor currently works at McDonald’s Corporation as Customer Care Business Consultant working with executive leadership to monitor franchise owner customer satisfaction ratings. Taylor specializes in project management, strategic alignment, and restaurant operations. 

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