Meet our Alafia Fellows and what they are looking for in an Ignite Coach:



Black Women's Wealth Alliance

Kenya McKnight is the founder, CEO and President of The Black Women’s Wealth Alliance (BWWA), Minnesota’s first Black woman owned Public Benefit Corporation. BWWA leverages Black culture as its core resource and educational tool to facilitate cooperative economics through wealth literacy, home ownership and cooperative & procurement business education. The BWWA team brings more than 40 years of impactful community wealth building knowledge, skills, strategies and networks and consists of experienced entrepreneurs, educators, grassroot and professional leaders working across the business, wealth and community development sectors.

Kenya's goals for coaching:


What Kenya is looking for in a coach:

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Legacy Keepers

Tamera Williams is the founder and executive director of Legacy Keepers, Inc., a non-profit grass roots organization that was started in 2004 with a vision of creating social, educational, and economic achievement opportunities by leveraging and remembering the legacy of the African-American experience—a legacy of achievement, perseverance, courage, and faith. Legacy Keepers Inc. has grown into an organization of couragous community leaders seeking to develop a sense of agency amongst young people and families through the Griot Leadership Project, Legacy Keeper Tours,and Legacy Keeper Summers initiatives.

Tamera's goals for coaching:


What Tamera is looking for in a coach:

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The Poetic Diaspora and H-Cubed

Joe Davis is a nationally touring writer, speaker, and performer based in Minneapolis, MN. He is the frontman of emerging soul, funk, and spoken word ensemble, The Poetic Diaspora, and the co-founder and Artistic Director of H-Cubed: Harrison, Healing, and Harmony, a monthly event series centered on healing through the arts. As a student and educator, he has served as teaching artistat dozens of high schools and universities and most recently as the Artist-in-Residence at Luther Seminary, receiving a masters in Theology of the Arts.

Joe's goals for coaching:

I recognize my strengths as a visionary and collaborative, relational community builder, but I need better practices and tools to organize those skills in a structural capacity. I want to deepen the impact I’m making beyond curating events and experiences, but also through long-term, sustainable mentorship and outreach programming. In my professional life, I want to develop organizational and administrative skills that can help me more effectively impact my community through the arts and education services I provide. In my personal life, I want to become a more well-rounded and organized leader, and learn how to better balance my strengths with the art of delegating work to those who have different strengths than me. 

What Joe is looking for in a coach:

I want a coach who is creative, innovative, and recognizes the importance of experiential learning. One who makes space for experimentation while challenging growth and offering constructive critique. I also value mentorship from someone who has an awareness of how cultural and racial dynamics impact community work. Characteristics of an ideal coach include: enthusiastic, patient, compassionate, creative, fun-loving, goal-oriented, organized. Preferred coaching style: relational, conversational. Ideal professional experience: arts (music, poetry, theater etc.), community organizing, justice work, anything to do with trauma-informed healing or wellness/wellbeing. Gender preference: none.



Noir Elite Fitness

Chaz Sandifer is a co-founder of Noir Elite Fitness, a North Minneapolis pop-up fitness company. Their mission is to support women of color to live healthier lives through fitness, health awareness and nutrition. Noir Elite Fitness also provides lifestyle coaching, health and wellness retreats, group fitness and meal prep classes in north Minneapolis and the Twin Cities. Their popular Jammin’ in the Parks events are held in city parks and provide fun-filled energetic workout sessions set to the music of a live DJ. Through partnerships with the City of Minneapolis and other local organizations, Val and Chaz are able to bring their fun and culturally relevant fitness programs to positively impact the health and well-being of hundreds of women of color who might not otherwise have had access or motivation to participate in a fitness program. 

Chaz's goals for coaching:

I'm looking for a coach that can effectively teach me how to balance the work/to home life. Create longevity relationships in business and help coach me on maintaining a successful business. Procrastination has been a challenge for me. I'm seeking a break through in this area.

What Chaz is looking for in a coach:

Consistency, accountability, and a passion for business. Coaching style: Hands on, face to face. Professional experienceBusiness, marketing, accounting. Gender preference: male.

Meet our 2019-2020 cohort of Alafia Fellows!



Noir Elite Fitness

Valerie Fleurantin is a co-founder of Noir Elite Fitness, a North Minneapolis pop-up fitness company. See more above. 

Valerie's goals for coaching:

I seek to improve work performance by working smarter and not harder. I want to keep growing and be innovative in my position and as a company. We plan on hiring staff this year so it is important for our team to be cohesive and effective. Enhanced career opportunities for myself and our future staff is also a goal. In my professional life I would like to be more business savvy and set up our business in a way that is manageable and not overwhelming. In my personal life, I would like to learn how to better manage life and work, achieving greater balance.

What Valerie is looking for in a coach:

Knowledgeable, strengths in two or more of the coaching goals mentioned above especially in strategic planning. Ideal characteristics: straight forward, timely, encouraging and consistent. Preferred coaching style: one on one, face to face. Ideal professional experience: successful business owner or CEO. Gender preference: none.

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New Rules Benefit Corp

Christopher Webley is the President and CEO of New Rules Benefit Corp, a collective built on the idea of developing ecosystems and solutions for Black and Brown communities where economic, health and wellness, and education disparities breed. On October 15th 2016, New Rules on Lowry opened its doors to the public providing retail, event and creative coworking space. New Rules is much more than a physical space though - it is the nexus between arts, culture, community, and technology – and a destination location for fresh ideas, organic networking, and curated events grounded in the shared experiences of the Northside’s communities.

Christopher's goals for coaching:

I am looking to grow my business and overall impact in the community. I'd like to become a more effective business owner and leader. In my professional life, I'd like to focus on business development, strategy and implementation. In my personal life, I seek balance and self preservation.

What Christopher is looking for in a coach:

Transparency, no sugar coating, and hands on. I need someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Characteristics of an ideal coach: innovative, dynamic, successful business owner. Preferred coaching style: hands on, front line. Ideal professional experience: Business or Finance/Economics. Gender preference: male.

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From Death to Life

Mary Johnson-Roy is the mother of a murdered child, and the founder of From Death to Life, an organization dedicated to ending violence through facilitating healing and reconciliation between families on both sides of the tragedy of homicide. Through participation in the restorative justice process, Mary transformed the hatred she had for O’shea Israel, the 16-year-old boy who took her only son's life, into forgiveness and love. She now considers him her “spiritual son” and together they share their powerful story of healing and reconciliation in forums around the country.  


Mary participated in Alafia’s pilot fellowship program and will be journeying with our new cohort of Alafia Fellows as an Alafia Graduate Fellow.

Mary's goals for coaching:

What Mary is looking for in a coach:

Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.

–Helen Keller