About Our Team

Meet the people who make SOOUL possible. Our board members believe deeply in our mission and are working tirelessly to establish SOOUL as a staple in the community.

Board Members

Kendrick D. Gholston

President/Executive Director of SOOUL

Role as Officer: Founder and creator of SOOUL Foundation. Develops programs, raises funds, and sets a strategic vision for the SOOUL Foundation. Oversees the daily operations and annual outlook of the program.

Background: Kendrick has twelve years of experience in three levels of education. He has worked and volunteered on the middle school, high school, and university level. He is married to Nicole and has two children.

Nicole C. Gholston

Treasurer and Secretary of SOOUL

Role as Officer: Controls and distributes funds. Keeps records of grant proposals and dealings of the foundation.

Background: Nicole has a master’s degree in Higher Education and provides advising for the engineering department at Virginia Tech. She has an extensive background in higher education administration and student affairs. She is a wonderful wife and mother of Adiah and Joshua.

Karen Eley Sanders

Associate Vice Provost for College Access Virginia Tech

Role as board member: Structural consultant and female mentorship advisor.

Background: Karen is an Associate Provost at Virginia Tech and has thirty years of experience in higher education as a counselor, faculty member, and administrator. Karen develops outreach and enrichment programs for current and future students, specifically those who are underrepresented in college. Karen is married with two children.

Bruce Speight, Sr.

Manager of Social Engagement and Alumni Affairs at Carolina Panthers, National Football League

Role as board member: Fundraisers, brand consultant, and male mentorship advisor.

Background: Bruce has been working in Media Relations for the NFL Carolina Panthers and New York Jets for over a decade. He has used his position to offer internships and mentoring opportunities for youth. Bruce is married to Angel and has two girls, Bailey and Braden.

Mike Ford

Retired Lieutenant Colonel & community program developer, Louisville Fire Department

Role as board member: Program Development, community support, and family consultant

Background: Mike has worked through his church and community to build schools, churches, and community service programs in Louisville, as well as overseas in Africa. He has developed business, career, and community programs for inner city youth and adults. Mike is married to Andrea with five children.

Tamara Davis

Principal of Charter School in Chicago, IL, Herzl School of Excellence

Role as board member: Curriculum development, youth & mentor programming

Background: Tamara has a vast background in education. She graduated from Tuskegee University and went on to attain her graduate degree from Harvard University. She started a charter school in the inner city of Chicago; running from middle through high school, the program is meant to challenge and elevate young people. Tamara is married to Duane with one son.

Sarah Umbarger-Wells

Assistant Director of Talent Search for TRiO Program Virginia Tech

Role as board member: Grant writing, research & structural consultant

Background: Sarah is involved with youth program development at Virginia Tech. She serves over 700 students to get them prepared for college. Her programming is designed for low-income students that are traditionally underrepresented in post-secondary education. Sarah has three children.

Roman Oben

VP of NFL Youth & high school football, National Football League

Role as board member: Curriculum Development, youth & mentor programming

Background: Roman is a retired National Football League player who now oversees youth programming for the NFL. He is a constant presence in the local and national scene, dealing with youth in athletics. He is married to Linda and has two sons.