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Meet Our Founder & Leadership

Dr. Michael V. Wilkins, Sr., Founder and CEO of SPAA

Dr. Wilkins has written more than 16 best-selling books including “No Secrets to Success,” “Texting for Dummies,” “Pass the Plate” and more.  His topics range from personal relationships to financial responsibility, as shown in his latest books, “The Richest Man in the Cemetery” and “The American Mindset.”


Tammy Montgomey-Doz'ier, National Vice President

Tammy is all about motivating others and providing training that helps people thrive in their professional and personal lives. She holds a Competent Communicator designation with Toastmasters International and is a certified Master Writer, Master Speaker, Life Coach and Mental Health Fist Aid Responder. She has also won awards as an author, keynote speaker, director, singer, and actress. A former Rape Crisis Advocate for the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), she also holds a Master’s Degree in Health Administration.


Tammy currently owns Connected by Love Consulting, a company that provides resources to families of diverse ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Through her company, she assists these families by helping them maintain their loved ones’ mental wellness.


The winner of a writing contest held in 2020, Tammy continues to write books that tackle real-life issues such as obesity, self-esteem and mental health. She also hosts a podcast, "What Happens in This House Stays in This House," which deals with everyday life and mental health issues.


She has authored several books such as: “Addicted to Pain” and “From F.A.D.S. (False Allegiance to Destructive Stuff) to Freedom.”  She has also worked on SPAA collaboration books “The Power Within” and “The Seeds of Truth.”


Tammy has co-authored two of our sexual risk avoidance education (SRAE) programs: “Choices & Consequences” and “Connected by Love: Choices, Chances, and Changes.” Both are currently being used as material for Federal SRAE curricula.

Jay Collins, Executive Director

Jay is an actor, singer, songwriter and arranger. He discovered his love for music and performing at an early age. Throughout grade school, he frequently won talent shows and was featured in school productions where he would act and sing. In high school, he joined the Soul Children of Chicago Gospel Choir for two years.


His professional acting career began with the stage production of “The Devil & The Choir” at the Arie Crown Theater in Fall 1995. He had also written two of the songs that were featured in this production. During the course of the career, he has taken numerous acting classes, workshops and seminars to perfect his vocal, piano and acting skills. Jay has performed in more than 20 different productions with SPAA out of Park Forest, Illinois. He is also part of the SPAA Actors’ Troupe leadership team.


He played several roles, including principal singer, in the hit stage play “Standing in the Shadows” where he worked with icons like Jennifer Holiday, Tommy Ford, Dave Hollister, Christopher Williams and director David Gray.  Other productions he has worked on include “Ebony Scrooge” at the Harold Washington Theater, “Herod the Great” at Carver Military Academy, “Preaching & Creeping” at the DuSable Museum, and three separate featured appearances at the Chicago’s Black Ensemble Black Playwrights Initiative series.


In Spring 2014, Jay had the honor of working with playwright and producer Eugene Dillanado, for the hit stage play “Fuzzy-Wuzzy Man” presented at the Harold Washington Theater, and directed by Curtis Hugghis. In April 2019, he decided to enter the annual SPAA writing contest and submitted two chapters. His entries were chosen to be part of our collaboration book, “The Seeds of Truth.”


Our founder and CEO, Dr. Michael V. Wilkins, awarded Jay the SGM Hartman Wilkins Scholarship, which covered the cost of publishing and releasing his first book.

Brenda Tucker Jeffries, SPAA Leader 

Brenda authored “Mother of the Bride Stuff Happens” and is a collaborating author of “The Power Within.” She is a wedding strategist, public coach, public speaker, entrepreneur and an over 50s model with the Polk Entertainment Enterprise Inc.


She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Chicago State University and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Olivet Nazarene University. After more than 38 years of public service in the federal government, she retired from her Public Health Analyst post in 2010. She is currently the Vice President of the Chicago Midwest Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG) and previously served as the Vice President of the Combined Chapter of the Speakers Publishers and Authors Association (SPAA). In 1986, she went on to become a real estate investor.


She received the Author of the Year Award and Speaker of the Year Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively from SPAA, the VIP Award from the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), currently known as the International Association of Women (IAW), in 2017 and the 2nd Place Nonfiction Book Award in 2018 from Authors Promoting Success (APS) International. In 2019, she published an article in Global Achievers Magazine titled “I Never Knew That 65 Could Feel So Good” and another one in 2021 in Women of Excellence Magazine titled “This Is It.”

Ron Essex, SPAA National Chapter Development

Ron is a proud graduate of DuSable High School in Chicago, with little more than 2 ½ years of college. He dedicated more than 15 years as an Assistant Head Deacon for his local church where he learned the importance of serving those who are less fortunate.


This passion ultimately led him to become the head of the Benevolence Committee at his church. It was there that he spent more than 3 years working first-hand with those who were met with life’s challenges such as unemployment, poor health, and homelessness. Through the help of God, he was able to deeply connect with people and gain their trust that he would do everything possible to help them. He organized fundraising efforts enough to keep the committee in a strong financial position to be able to serve and assist the community.

Aubrey "Coach V" Volious, National Chapter Development

Coach V is currently the Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Governors State University and a Physical Education Teacher at Bennett Elementary for Chicago Public Schools. He has coached College Men’s Basketball at NCAA Division 1, NAIA Division 1 and 2, and College Division 1 and 2. He was a head coach for Malcolm X College from 1993 to 1997 and for the American Basketball Association Pro Team in 2013.


During his career, he has coached and recruited 5 National Players of the Year, 7 Conference Players of the Year, 31 All-Americans players with 94% having college degrees, 2 former players that went on to compete in the NBA, 3 former players that went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, and 32 former players that have joined various professional leagues around the world.


Coach V is a native of Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Jamestown Community College in 1978 with a Liberal Arts Degree and from Iowa State University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education. He received his Master of Science in Physical Education from Chicago State University in 1990.


He has been inducted into the Chicago Public League’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Robert Morris University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He is a member of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).

Lucille Freeman, SPAA Leader

Lucille is an entrepreneur, award-winning writer, author, certified coach and trainer. She taught writing in the Chicago Public Schools and at McCormick Place Corporate Offices in Chicago.


She has written for various magazines and newspapers including the Beverly Review, Southtown Economist, Chicago After Dark, Black Elegance, and the Chicago Defender. She authored “Today My Sister Is Getting Married”, “Silly Caterpillar,” “Hats,” and “Momma Raccoon”. She has also co-authored “Stretch Your Wings: Famous Black Quotations for Teens” and “Jobless: Loving What You Do.”


She has participated in writing conferences nationwide and is a professional member of SPAA and STAT (SPAA Theatre & Performing Arts). She has co-written several professionally produced plays: “The Sam Cooke Story: A Change Is Gonna Come,” “The Teddy Pendergrass Story: Life Is A Song Worth Singing,” and “The Jackie Wilson Story: Lonely Teardrops.”


Lucille contributed to SPAA’s collaboration projects: “The Seeds of Truth,” “Mashairi: No Matter Your Circumstances Today, Tomorrow Eagles Will Soar,” “The Power Within” and “Overcome.” She was also selected to attend Stanford University’s Professional Publishing Course and was chosen for residencies at Ragdale, an artists’ community in Lake Forest, Illinois, that was founded to nurture creative professionals.

Veronica Yancy, SPAA Leader 

Veronica is the author of “Menopause girl bye!” and has co-authored in four collaboration books. She is a professional member of SPAA and STAT and has performed in many productions at the SPAA Theater.


Veronica is our official photographer and the owner of Creative Creations by Veronicam an event planning company. She recently retired after more than 30 years of working with the federal prison halfway house. She believes that if your are going to enjoy your life to the fullest, you must first learn to become the confident individual that God made you to be.

Commernitta Bradby, Milwaukee Chapter President 

Pastor Commernitta is the author of two books, “Raised By A Child” and “Meek Not Weak.” She has participated in three SPAA collaborations and won the Speaker of the Year award in 2020. She is married to Deacon Byron Bradby with five adult children and nine grandchildren.


She wears many hats besides being the pastor of Living Witness Church of Praise and the founder of the Nonprofit Living Witness B.U.S. Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The organization provides clothing and furniture to those in the local community. She also is the owner and real estate broker at First Success Realty LLC.


Commernitta is currently working on several projects, including a new book “Family,” which she plans on releasing in Summer 2021. She enjoys listening to music, spending time with family and friends, singing, writing poetry, and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Debra Rash, SPAA Member 

Debra draws from a plethora of experiences, vivid imagination, and life journeys for storytelling. She hopes her stories will be compelling enough to allow others to see themselves or catch a glimpse of who they would like to be. She hopes that readers will gain insight, receive inspiration, and grow in honesty, compassion, love, and understanding for one another as a part of humankind.


Shortly after receiving her bachelor’s degree from Governors State University in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialized focus in Psychology, Debra also started Sehguh Corp which is a certified economically disadvantaged, women-owned, small business nestled in Germantown, Wisconsin.


Their expertise in research and development and distribution partnering, coupled with excellent customer service, exceeds the expectations of their clients every single time. They can efficiently supply buyers with the goods and services needed and provide contract matching research for Primes.


Amongst other ventures, Debra is also working on a collection of short inspirational stories set to be published in 2022.

Min. Wendell J. Harris, Sr., SPAA Member

Minister Harris has more than 35 years of experience serving his community. He was elected to the Milwaukee Public School Board from February 2015 to 2019. He currently serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors and as President of the NAACP Wisconsin Conference of Branches. He also served as the Chairperson of the NAACP Wisconsin State Conference of Branches Education Committee.


He is the founder of the National Coalition of Black American Men, Inc. and has collaborated and networked with AFCSME, ACLU, and public schools across Milwaukee. He currently serves as Chairman of the Membership Committee of Friendship Inc. This community-based organization nurtures a drug-free environment for people throughout Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin. On September 9, 2016, he received the Alumni of Inspiration Award from the Literacy Services of Wisconsin.


In August 2016, he received the 40th Anniversary Milwaukee Community Journal Beacons of Light Award. In 1992, he received the Black Excellence Award for Community Volunteerism from Bank One and the Milwaukee Times. During the same year, he was nominated for the "Jefferson Award" for outstanding service to the Milwaukee community from TV6/WITI and Marquette University.


Min. Harris has a Master's Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in Milwaukee, with an emphasis on organizational management and leadership. Additionally, he has more than 35 years of experience in the AODA treatment and counseling field.

Woodrow Grover Jr., SPAA Member 

Woodrow was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He loves acting, and being a member of SPAA Theatre and Performing Arts Center under the tutelage of Dr. Mike, his brother, he has enhanced his acting, lighting, and sound engineering skills.

Linda G. Matthews, SPAA Member 

Linda is an English major graduate of Upper Iowa University and a recently retired educator. She is a wife, mother of two adult sons, and a writer of short stories and poetry.


Linda enjoys studying the Bible and volunteering at her church and local block club. She also enjoys part-time editing, attending multi-cultural events, walking, and exercising. As an experienced traveler, she has become an avid explorer of historical sites, museums, libraries, and theatres.


Her love for writing began during her childhood, and her goal is to become a published book author whose writings touch the innermost thoughts of the victimized and marginalized.

Cynthia Hutson, SPAA Member

Cynthia knows that it’s never too late to accomplish any dream, goal, or vision. She understands the value and importance of establishing a vision and purpose for one’s life. A teacher at heart, Cynthia has coached and mentored women and girls of all ages. She is a certified Christian Life Coach, Speaker, and Trainer.


She also worked many years in higher education at Governor’s State University, advising teacher candidates in one of the largest teacher licensure programs in Chicagoland. A lifelong resident of the Chicago Southland, Cynthia is a graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale School of Human Resources.


A former case manager with both the Illinois Department of Public Aid and Department of Human Services, Cynthia served her community in helping women transition from public assistance to self-sufficient lifestyles through financial and educational independence. Cynthia loves to travel, lead a healthy lifestyle, and Speak Life! over God’s children.