Board of Directors

Dr. Yinka Tella

Dr. Yinka Tella –author, scholar, manager, student services professional, political activist, erstwhile banker and journalist - was born on August 4, 1966 in Ibadan, Nigeria. He holds a Bachelor's degree in English Studies from the University of Ile-Ife, three masters' degrees and a doctorate in higher education from Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida.

A passionate advocate for equity and social justice, Dr. Tella is the immediate past President of Nigerian American Foundation (NAF) of South Florida, and current National Public Relations Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, Americas (NIDOA), and U.S.A. He distinguished himself as a journalist in Nigeria, getting detained by the military for a string of exclusive stories and winning the 1993 Diamond Award for Media Excellence (DAME) in the political reporting category.
Since his relocation to the United States and foray into student services, he has pioneered innovative intercultural programs and presented at several national conferences of student affairs practitioners in the United States. These include the ACPA –College Educators International; NAFSA: Association of International Educator, the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) and the National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA). He has served as Counselor/Designated School Official as well as the Associate Dean for Student Services for Broward College, North, Online and Downtown Campuses

Dr. Tella is the President of Health and Education Love Project (HELP), A 501 (C)3 organization and GlobalTell Educational Consultancy Inc. which owns a couple of schools in Africa. His book, The Post-9/11 Syndrome: International Education in an Era of Homeland Insecurity - Perspectives from the Florida Frontline, was published in 2010. He is a recipient of multiple leadership/service awards, including Miami Dade County's Black Advisory Board's Community Pillars Award.

Lydia Shola Tella, R.Ph., CPh
Vice President

Lydia Shola Tella, R.Ph. CPh., is a Consultant Pharmacist and co-founder of Rise N Shine Pharmacy Inc., Pembroke Pines, which has been in operation since 2009. Prior to that, she worked as a Registered Pharmacist with Boluke Pharmacy, Nigeria for one year and Walgreens Pharmacy, Pembroke Pines for six years. She has also worked with AHF Pharmacy and currently consults for Golden Glades Clinic, North Miami Beach. A woman of faith, Mrs. Tella is extremely detail-oriented in her approach to patient care. Her philosophy is to treat her clients as family, regardless of situation. She has been honored with the Women of Distinction Award by the City of Miami Gardens, Miami Dade County, Florida.

Since 1997, she has been happily married to Dr. Tella with whom she co-founded Rise N Shine Pharmacy, Pembroke Pines, Florida. Their marriage is blessed with a 20-year old son (Akolade) and an 18-year old daughter (Fadekemi).


Dr. Frances Karanovich

Dr. Frances Karanovich is a retired Superintendent of the Macomb School Districts, Macomb, Illinois and former Assistant Professor of Education Leadership at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Karanovich has more than 30 years of teaching and administrative experience ranging through elementary, middle, high school and college.

Karanovich is a recognized guest speaker presenting workshops, seminars and staff development courses on such topics as school climate, intra and inter school community strategies, school finance and educational leadership. She has received numerous awards including the 2005 Illinois Superintendent of the Year from the American Association of School Administrators and the 2000 “Break the Mold Award” for vision and leadership in educational excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education. Karanovich has served a variety of professional and community organizations including the Funding Information Accountability Committee of the Illinois State Board of Education, Governor Blagojevich’s Education Task Force and the McDonough County Housing Authority Board of Directors. She is a lifetime member of the SIUE Alumni Association and a member of the inaugural class of the SIUE Alumni Hall of Fame.

Gladys Opong-Tetteh, ABD, E.Ds, M.Ed.

Gladys Opong-Tetteh recently retired from Care Alliance Health Center, located at Cleveland Ohio, as Vice President of Human Resources. With over 38 years of diversified experiences, including preeminent Miami-Dade County’s federally qualified community healthcare centers, (FQHC), her responsibilities included, Team building in Operational Management, Customer Service Training and Development, Diversity Services and Strategic Planning. Ms. Opong-Tetteh is an advocate fanatic who coordinates intervention services with staff, patients and guests relations. She further identifies related problems via staff, patient and guest data to work in collaboration with administrators, physicians, and staff for effective resolutions. She monitors and coordinates practice activities ensuring that staff, patients and guests receive efficient and effective services.

Gladys holds Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical and Health Education from Ghana, West Africa, Master of Education and Educational Specialist degrees in Leadership and Human Relations Management from Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama. Presently, she is a Ph.D candidate working on her dissertation on “The Impact of Effective Patient Advocacy in Ghana Health Care Reform, from the School of Health Sciences, Walden University.

Awards received include the following: Quiet Storm Achievement Award for Healthcare, Women’s Power Caucus, 2017. Exceptional Cultural Ambassador Award, Miami-Dade County, 2016; Community Development Leadership Award, Diaspora Arts Coalition, 2014; Outstanding Service Award, United Ghanaian Association of South Florida, 2013; Manager of the year, GF Management Inc., 2003, 2007; Alumni/Staff of the Year, 2004.

Gladys’ aphorism is that, “I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. (Helen Keller)

Ifeniwa Yaa-Asantewaa -

Ifeniwa Yaa-Asantewaa ascendant of our Yoruba, Fulani and Bissa people of West African heritage through St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands, She is an African-Centered Cultural and Human Rights Ambassador. Ms. Ifeniwa Yaa-Asantewaa, graduated with her Business Administration degree from the University of Miami and began her administrative career at University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center over twenty years ago. During her career, she has held various administrative positions within the academic and private sectors.

Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa is currently a Documents Coordinator at one of our local communications manufacturing companies. In her previous tenure, she served as Executive Assistant for the Dean of Business Affairs at Broward College North Campus as well as Adjunct Professor of Business Communications class for Continuing Education. She was also instrumental in working with Continuing Education to offer a very popular African language “Kiswahili” to our community. During her tenure at Broward College, she actively engaged students and the community by volunteering as a Co-Advisor for the Broward College North Campus African Student Union. She was awarded the Broward College North Campus Student Life Advisor of the Year award in 2013. As a community activist and advocate, Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa with the Coalition of Concerned Nigerians in South Florida (CONSFLO) assisted in the coordination of the Rally for the rescue of the missing Chibok Girls in May 2014. In February 2018, Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa served as Co-Chair for the First Annual Afrifest Miami African Cultural Festival. In January 2016 and 2020, she also volunteered with the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition (BHTC) at the annual fundraising event.

Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa serves as a Broward County Library “Each One Teach One” Adult Literacy program volunteer tutor. Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa also continues to serve local, national as well as international African-Centered community organizations that advocate and build awareness of issues affecting African/African-descent women and families, sustain cultural connections and relationship bridges, support educational scholarships/sponsorships as well as collectively and cooperatively serve our communities on multiple levels of social challenges and opportunities. Ms. Yaa-Asantewaa also actively sends email and social media communications of current African-centered community events, information and concerns. When aligned with purpose, she is always willing to give her helping hands.

Jane Baloras

A native New Yorker, Ms Jane Baloras holds an AA degree in Liberal Arts from Paul Smith’s College. She currently works as a Benefits Advisor for American Income Life Insurance Company after a long career in Hospitality and Tourism. Over the years she worked at the Sonesta Beach Hotel, Sheraton Royal Biscayne Hotel, and Key Biscayne Hotel among others. She also worked in the tourism sector for two decades as a Receptive Tour Operator.

Ms. Jane Baloras has been a consistent activist and dogged community volunteer on the South Florida landscape for the past three decades. Passionate and driven, she is the current Secretary General of New Nigerian Alliance, a 501 (c ) 3 organization of Nigerian professionals. Her other affiliations include the Nigerian American Foundation, Pearls of Life, and St Sophia Greek Orthodox Church where she has distinguished herself for always making herself available for activities benefitting the less vulnerable in society and organizations like Miami Rescue Mission in Miami, Feeding South Florida and Lotus House.

Her parents were both college educators hence her strong belief that, while not all students are destined to succeed in the college format, those who do not can be helped to find their niche either in a trade school or military setting.

“I firmly believe that we all have a purpose in life to help those around us to grow and flourish in their own walk of life. In my own small way I try to instill in others the desire to help and support one another with race, creed or religion having no place. We all breathe the same air with the same physical bodies and all bleed red no matter our color. If I can help enrich someone else’s world with food to fill their stomach or a helping hand to organize a closet, I am happy to oblige,” Ms. Baloras stated.

Abey Abayomi Martins

Mr. Abey Abayomi Martins is a U.S. Military Veteran & Information Technology Consultant with the U.S. Army & other branches of the military service. Married with a daughter, Amanda. Mr. Abey is also a serial entrepreneur. He holds a Master's degree in Marine Navigation & Engineering from Odessa Maritime University in Ukraine & several IT Certifications. A polyglot, Abey who speaks five languages, is a consummate and well-travelled professional. He has worked in England, Russia, Ukraine, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Germany, among others. He is an advocate for equity and social justice, committed to giving back and making a difference in society.

Dr. Abaka.

Dr. Edmund Abaka is a scholar and a documentary-style photographer who has exhibited his work in libraries and galleries in Miami. Dr. Abaka earned his PhD in African History from York University, Canada. A professor in the Department of History, University of Miami, Dr. Abaka teaches the general African history survey classes (History of Africa to 1800 and Africa Since 1800), and specialized courses such as Africa and Cuba (Africa in Cuba/Cuba in Africa), Southern Africa to Nelson Mandela, the African Diaspora in South Florida and Pan-Africanism: Africa, North America and the Caribbean. His graduate classes include Pre-colonial Africa (to I800), European Expansion in Africa or Colonialism and Imperialism (1884-1945), the African Diaspora, Slavery in Africa or Slavery and Emancipation and African Historiography.

Dr. Abaka’s research interests cover commodities and trade in West Africa, Sites of Historical Memory in Africa and the Diaspora, Migration, Identity and Citizenship, and Students and Popular Political Protest in Ghana/Africa.

Her has published a number of articles and books:

The Asante World (edited with Kwame Osei Kwarteng, 2021)

Africa and the Second World Word (edited book, 2021, in press)

“Kola is God's Gift”: Agricultural Production, Export Initiatives and the Kola Industry of Asante and the Gold Coast, c. 1820-1950 (2005)

Du Bois on Africa, with Eugene F. Provenzo Jr. (2012)

House of Slaves and “Door of No Return: Gold Coast/Ghana Slave Forts, Castlk4s and Dungeons (2012).