OUR BOARD MEMBERS
BOARD MEMBER/BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR:
African Dance Consultant, Major Gift Officer and Executive Director of Ezibu Muntu. One of Renee’s passion in life is to preserve the legacy of the dance company that began as a Virginia Commonwealth University student organization in 1973. Renee is committed to enriching the lives of children, the community and their donors thru the resources of African Dance, rhythms, culture and cultural arts. Renee was a choreographer and dancer with the dance company in the early years. She believes accountability and integrity are traits that are important for success. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year 4 times by her colleagues. She has had several articles written about her work with Ezibu Muntu. The Richmond Free Press, The Richmond Times Dispatch and Richmond Magazine to name a few.
BOARD MEMBER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR:
Faye Walker taught African Dance at Virginia Commonwealth University for thirteen years and has been instrumental in keeping Ezibu Muntu a viable entity. Faye Walker is a teacher and performer of African dance and one of the founding members of the Ezibu Muntu. A Hampton, Virginia native, “Sister Faye” has studied extensively with many African and African-American dancers and musicians who were or are now considered masters of the art form. Mrs. Walker has served Ezibu Muntu in many capacities throughout the years: performer, Dance Captain, General Manager, Board Member, Director of the Visual Musicians Color Guard Corps (Footnotes), and Artistic Director. She continues to mentor, choreograph, sit on the Board and co-direct the company. Sister Faye has also choreographed for other companies and theatrical groups including: the University of Richmond’s Ngoma African and Modern Dance Company, the Kuumba Dancers and various community and recreation centers. She has also choreographed and staged musicals for the Hampton University Players. A short list includes: “Dream Girls,” “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and Scott Joplin’s opera, “Treemonisha.” Sister Faye happily worked at John H. Smith High School for 32 years, working with the Hanover Juvenile Correctional Center. She currently works at the Reception and Diagnostic Center at the W. Hamilton Crockford Annex High.
BOARD MEMBER/ MUSIC DIRECTOR:
Roderick Davis is the Music Director and Lead Drummer of Ezibu Muntu. He was introduced to the dance company in 1994 by one of his mentors and original member of the Ezibu, Renee Knight. Roderick has been an active member of the company dedicating 20 plus years of studying and sharing his knowledge of West African Djembe music. Mr. Davis has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Architectural Drafting & Design from Virginia State University and an Advanced Certification in Principles of Engineering from Duke University. He has taught Technology Education, Pre-Engineering and Basic Architecture at MLK Middle School for 8 years, also starting a West African Music program after school at MLK Middle. Roderick is currently the Lead Teacher for Richmond Public School’s Governor’s Engineering Academy at RTC for 3 years now. He is also an adjunct professor of West African Djembe music and history at University of Richmond. He mentors under-served youth centered around teaching them West African music, and he also volunteers teaching music therapy to adults and children with various cognitive disabilities in Richmond and surrounding counties. Roderick is also the co-founder of Capoeira Resisténcia Richmond with world renown capoeira master, Mestre Panão in 2005. Mr. Davis is now the group’s first graduated American Instructor of capoeira and is now teaching this Brazilian martial art form in Charlottesville VA.
BOARD MEMBER/ PUBLIC RELATIONS:
LaShara Smith is a Senior Analytical Research Scientist with Tredegar Film Products, a film extrusion company. She has been with Tredegar for 13 years in various roles. She has been a member of the Ezibu Muntu board since 2007 managing marketing and public relations (includes print, social media and website support). LaShara is also a member of the senior performance company. Outside affiliations include being President of the National Society of Black Engineers Richmond Professionals Chapter and serves as secretary for the Richmond Minorities in Engineering Partnership Board, and co-lead of Richard Allen Young Adult Council at Third St. Bethel AME Church.
Shonda Hawkins is a Financial Business Office Manager for United Surgical Partners, a national Ambulatory Surgical Center. She has been with USPI for 9 years where she manages accounts receivable, payable, payroll and a team of 18 employees. Prior to this position, she held a position for a not for profit Adult Daycare for 10 years as Director of Administration. She completed the majority of her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration studies at Virginia Commonwealth University but graduated with her degree online with University of Phoenix. She has been a member of the Ezibu Muntu board since 2007 where her duties include monthly financial monitoring and reporting as well as budget projections and expenditures. Shonda is also a member of the senior performance company.