Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives
Wake Technical Community College

Katie Gailes is a rare find, ya’ll.  She is a native North Carolinian.  She was born in Granville County, grew up in Forsyth County, earned her undergraduate degree in Guilford County, her MBA in Durham County, and she now lives and works in Wake County.    
Katie attended the Bennett College for Women in Greensboro and the Duke University Fuqua School of Business.  After a long career with IBM, she launched a consulting practice, which she ran full-time for six years.  She was a counselor in the Growing American Through Entrepreneurship (GATE) program at the NC Rural Economic Development Center where she helped displaced workers in rural North Carolina start businesses. Through this program and her consulting practice, Katie trained or worked with over 1,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Katie is now the Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Wake Tech, where she runs several projects like the Wake Tech/Wells Fargo Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE), StartUp@WakeTech, and the Veterans Entrepreneurship Advantage.  The Center for Entrepreneurship is one of the collaborating partners for LaunchRALEIGH, a Southeast Raleigh based program that has been offered by Rotary International as a national initiative called LaunchMyCity.  This program has grown to include 7 of Wake County’s 12 municipalities and hopes to include the other 5 in 2019.  
Katie has been recognized for her commitment to veterans entrepreneurship by the North Carolina Veterans Business Association.  Over 60 veterans, active duty military, and spouses have received eight weeks of free business startup and management training through this program.  And that included dinner. 
She received a Collaboration Award from the NC Department of Administration Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Office for the now statewide HUB Certification Day program that was developed and piloted at Wake Tech.  Katie was named a Paul Harris Fellow by The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and received a Vocational Service Award from the North Raleigh Rotary Club.  And, she also received a 2018 Women in Business Award from the Triangle Business Journal. 
Katie believes that within entrepreneurship lies the life and leadership skills of the future.  It will be the salvation for our economy and our communities.  She is thrilled to stand with other female difference-makers as a finalist for the Black Professional Women of North Carolina’s Woman of the Year. 


Chief of Police
Durham, North Carolina

Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has more than 30 years of dedicated service in the law enforcement profession. She began her career with the Atlanta Police Department where she learned the essential elements of community engagement and relationship building as a young officer. There, she rose through the ranks, ultimately serving in the role of Deputy Chief before retiring in June, 2016 to accept the position of Chief of Police for the City of Durham. Chief Davis is a graduate of the 225Session of the National FBI Academy, completed senior management training at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Boston, Massachusetts; she is a graduate of Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Triangle, and completed Mercer University’s Public Safety Leadership Institute.
Chief Davis has experienced training opportunities abroad at the Emergency Preparedness College in York, England in 2005, and as a participant in an executive exchange session with the Israel National Police, in the cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and NeTanya in 2012. She currently serves as the 1 Vice President for the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), where she serves on the TRUST Initiative Committee. She is a member of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, the Durham Rotary, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., The LINKs Inc., and other professional affiliations.

Davis has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Public Administration.  She is the proud wife of a very supportive husband, Terry Davis for 26 years and mother of one daughter, Chaun.


Chief Executive Officer
My Local CFO, LLC

Cherelle James is currently the CEO/Co-Owner of My Local CFO, LLC. In her current capacity she is responsible for providingoverall structure for the company and oversee operations; drives the company’s mission and goals through developing strategies as well as ensure long term viability of the company alongside the CFO.
She brings her vast knowledge from various career paths with a BS Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Business Administration. She has upheld positions that have allowed her to manage program and company finances as well as teach financial stability. With an “entrepreneur spirit”, she has served as a consultant to small businesses for over ten years and gained experience in the Federal Contracting arena, dealing with budgets in excess of a million dollars. Cherelle has always focused on the bottom line, without the compromise of quality.
Cherelle is a QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor and majority owner in My Local CFO.


Assistant Dean for Interdiciplinary Studies and International Programs
NC State University

Blair L.M. Kelley is the Assistant Dean for Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is also Associate Professor of History and is on the faculty of the Public History graduate program. Her scholarship, which has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, centers on the history of African American social movements. She is the author of Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson, which won the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Best Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians. She has taught courses on African American history, African American women’s history, Civil Rights, oral history, and Katrina and the history of New Orleans.
Active inside the academy and out, Kelley has been a guest on NPR’s Here & Now, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show and Countdown with Keith OlbermannDemocracy Now, and WUNC’s The State of Things. She has also provided expert commentary for the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Melissa Harris Perry Show, and The Associated Press. She has written for The Washington PostTheRoot.comTheGrio.comEbony.comSalon.com, and Jet Magazine, Kelley produces and hosts a podcast called Historical Blackness. She also has more than 27,000 followers on Twitter.
Kelley received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in History and African and African American Studies.  She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in History, and graduate certificates in African and African American Studies and Women’s Studies at Duke University. 


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