KNOWNpreneurs Growth Lab - Cohort II - Mentors

KNOWNpreneurs will have access to two hour-long mentorship sessions per month fur the duration of the KNOWNpreneurs Growth Lab program. Mentorship sessions will take place either in-person or virtually.

Samantha Williams headshot

Samantha Williams

Sam's Word LLC

Samantha (Sammi) is a distinguished content engineer with over twenty years of executive-level, corporate, and professional writing experience. Sammi has an extensive healthcare background, including serving in administrative, operational, and leadership capacities with Yale University and UnitedHealthcare. Sammi’s professional expertise includes healthcare administration, project management, and consumer experience design (UX).

Sammi is an astute businesswoman, having launched several companies, including Sam’s Word, Melanated Business Coaching, and 628 Digital Designs. Sammi earned a Master’s in Health Care Administration from the University of New Haven and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration/Human Resource Management from York College – CUNY.

Certified Six Sigma Green Belt,  Sammi also completed Goldman Sachs’s 10,000 Women program, Liberty Bank’s Academy of Small Business, and +Acumen’s Human-Centered Design course.

Samantha is the Founder and President of the Collaboration of Minority Women Professionals (CMWP). She sits on the Board of Directors for the Black Business Alliance (BBA) and Arts in CT. Sammi is also a member of the National Writers Union (NWU), the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), the International Women’s Writing Guild, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC), the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNHCC), the Hamden Chamber of Commerce, and the National Black MBA Association (NBNBAA).

Jesse Phillips

Jesse Phillips

Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce

Jesse Phillips has 20 years of experience working with statewide advocacy organizations, nonprofits, city administration and electoral politics on the local and state level.  Jesse is currently the Coordinator of Inclusive Growth for the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce in this capacity he coordinates technical assistance support and build partnerships between BIPOC, Minority, Women & LGBTQ++ owned businesses and corporations with majority-owned businesses around mentorship and procurement opportunities. Jesse worked previously with organizations such as the Greater New Haven NAACP, Urban League of Southern CT, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now and Faithact for Education.

Randi McCrae

Randi McCray

RM Consulting Services

Randi R. McCray is a New Haven native and local business owner.  Driven by her passion for social justice, she takes pride in facilitating cross-cultural workshops and consultancy for small to mid-sized organizations.  As the owner of RM Consulting Services, her goals include holding safe spaces for sensitive dialogue, gently guiding participant learning on diversity equity and social justice, and putting learning into action.  In addition to her consulting practice, Randi is the owner of the Urban Collective, CT, New Haven’s first Black-owned collaborative business space.  Randi is a doctoral candidate of Philosophy (Social Justice/Women & Gender Studies) at Union Institute and University.

Ron Coleman of New Haven Counts

Ronald Coleman

New Haven Counts

Ronald Coleman Jr. graduated from The Foote School in 2004 before attending Choate Rosemary Hall. He went on to receive his bachelor's degree from Tufts University where he was the captain of the soccer team during fall 2010. He returned to New Haven as a Teach for America corps member in 2011 and taught middle school mathematics and coached basketball at Roberto Clemente Leadership Academy. Ron received his master's degree from Southern Connecticut State University while serving as the Director of New Haven Program at Teach for America Connecticut. He currently leads the Grow Your Own effort for the Texas Education Agency and is excited to scale the impact of New Haven Counts, a nonprofit he founded with fellow teachers in 2018 focused on math proficiency, financial literacy and youth development.

Natalie Professional Pic

Natalie Pryce

Pryceless Consulting

Natalie Pryce is an opportunity creator, community leader, TedX speaker, and owner of Pryceless Consulting.

In 2009 everything changed, like many Americans, Natalie went from having a nice full-time job, getting paid on the 15th & 30th, and having full insurance to being laid off. This inspired her to start her business in consulting.

Pryceless Consulting offers one-on-one coaching, engaging learning solutions, and comprehensive tools to help teams recognize their unique strengths, create action plans, and blaze new trails. As an inspirational speaker and authority on career road mapping and business strategy execution, Natalie created “ The Careerepreneur” which focuses on Building a career with transferable skill sets and an entrepreneurial mindset.

Natalie created “The Careerpreneur,” a program focusing on career road mapping, business strategy execution, and helping individuals develop transferable skills to use in their place of business. The Careerpreneur partners with colleges and institutions to inspire audiences to live and work with passion, sharing strategies for unleashing talent.

As co-founder of Led by Us & Associates (LBU), Natalie is committed to her purpose of reinvigorating communities by empowering Black and Brown business owners to build networking and entrepreneurial skills. LBU launched the Collab Exchange in 2018, a business incubator and co-working space that democratizes access to business tools, resources, and skills for local entrepreneurs. The Collab Exchange has supported programs such as Project Main Street and Workshops in Business Opportunities - Bridgeport (WIBO) flourish by creating a dynamic eco-system of local and regional entrepreneurial networks.

Natalie is a powerful connective force, bringing together people, teams, and organizations to realize their vision of a bright and vibrant future

Jim Nicholas

James Nicholas

Global Business Resources USA LLC

Mr. James C. Nicholas, co-founder and Executive Partner of Global Business Resources USA LLC (GBR), and president of Nickle Associates brings a history of more than forty-five years of international accomplishment. He has lectured and spoken to business groups domestically and internationally. He has an MBA in 1972 from the Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Business Administration from Morgan State University

Mr. Nicholas is well traveled internationally. He grew and managed successfully a $30 million export business, negotiated joint ventures in Asia and South America, initiated technology transfer programs in Japan and Ecuador, initiated a program for the development of a packaging system in China in 1978, and developed and implemented a strategy, which opened markets in 38 countries. He was also the African Diaspora Marketplace (ADM II) Consultant for the Constituency for Africa and has been instrumental in developing a strategic approach for the development of utility and off-grid solar power opportunities in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Malawi. As the Executive Director of the Connecticut World Trade Association, he developed and implemented Connecticut’s Africa Trade Initiative to facilitate global development for Connecticut companies. Provided technical assistance to small and medium-size companies to facilitate capital access.

  • The 2003 CT World Trade Assoc. “Todd Ouida World Trade Award” recipient and included in the 2003 World Trade Centers Association Book of Honor.
  • Appointed to CT's Task Force Concerning the Needs of Importing and Exporting Businesses in CT
  • Designated as CT's international resource for the White House Conference on Small Business.
  • Led the CT delegation to the National Summit on Africa
  • Contributor to the print, digital, and over the air media