Steps Coalition

Meet the Team

Gregory Brown

Executive Director

Gregory Brown serves as the executive director of Steps Coalition. His role is to oversee all Steps Coalition programs, including the Loan Fund. Gregory has oversight of all staff and consultants, and he is responsible for human resource development and the enforcement of Steps Coalition's policies and procedures. Gregory reports to the Steps Board of Directors.

Gregory holds a Bachelors’ degree in Political Science from American University and a Masters’ degree in Organizational Management from George Washington University, both located in Washington D.C. Prior to his role at Steps Coalition, he served as Senior Managing Partner, Organizational Development and Management Consulting for Vertex Innovation in Costa Rica. He also served as the Co-CEO and Founder of Organizational Bridges, LLC and as the Executive Director for Global Chamber® Kansas City Metropolitan Area. Greg has served in leadership throughout his career including Executive Director, Development Director, Housing Counselor, Community Organizer and Nonprofit Board Member. Likewise, during his career, he has provided technical assistance and secured over $16.6 million dollars in funding for nonprofits and government agencies in the United States and Latin America.

Email Gregory: gbrown@stepscoalition.org

Jhai Keeton serves as the Director of Affordable Housing Development and Finance. His role is to work with local municipalities to identify opportunities and funding to development quality, affordable housing in LMI communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Additionally, he develops and implements technical assistance programs and coalition building activities in collaboration with Steps’ technical assistance partners and community members. Jhai is also in charge of all finance and accounting related activities for the Steps Coalition.

A 2003 graduate of Moss Point High School, Jhai Keeton received his Bachelors’ Degree in Accounting from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS in 2007. Following graduation, Jhai worked as a federal auditor for a public accounting firm in Washington, D.C. where he examined internal control processes and compliance issues, and he worked closely with executive management to identify and implement solutions to various challenges faced by Federal agencies. Jhai’s most notable clients included the Department of Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Homeland Security.

Email Jhai: bookkeeper@stepscoalition.org 

Jhai Keeton

Chief Financial Officer

Ya-Sin Shabazz

Project Director

Steps Coalition's incoming Project Director for the Gulf Coast Regional Collaborative, Ya-Sin Shabazz, has served as Director of Programs & Development for Hijra House Association--a community and faith-based organization located in Biloxi, Mississippi–for the past five years. As a Hijra House co-founder, Shabazz steered the organization through energy policy advocacy and energy efficiency programs during the latter stages of Hurricane Katrina recovery, and again during the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Presently, Shabazz leads Hijra House as a member of the Mississippi Clean Energy Advisory Team (CEAT)--teaming with other organizations and advocates to educate minority communities on energy policy and planning by way of Hijra House’s Just Transition-Mississippi campaign. Hijra House also leads the Efficient and Renewable Initiative, prioritizing minority contractors in just Transition programs, and coordinates the Communities Organizing for Renewables and Energy Efficiency (COREE) campaign along the Mississippi Coast. Through Hijra House, Shabazz has also provided key support to People’s Movement Assemblies in Harrison, Jackson, and Hancock counties.

Under Shabazz’s leadership, Hijra House became a partnering member of the Free Energy Collaborative, Steps Coalition’s Gulf Coast Regional Collaborative, and the East Biloxi Community Collaborative-–developing solar panel training curricula, advancing Coastal Restoration in Mississippi and Louisiana for Vietnamese-American fishermen and under-served stakeholders, and building a healthy, sustainable East Biloxi community where everyone lives, works, and thrives. With successful ventures in workforce education, on-the-job training, and local policy, Shabazz looks forward to expanding minority contracting and workforce opportunities and to increasing energy-focused policy advocacy and organizing through the Gulf Coast Regional Collaborative. Shabazz serves on the Board of the Biloxi Islamic Center, and spearheads Hijra House’s support of enhanced faith-based programs and increased re-entry opportunities for previously incarcerated individuals. Shabazz received a Baccalaureate in Economics/Political Science from Yale University and is the previous owner/operator of Noor Residential Electrical Services.
Shabazz also served as Program Manager for the Biloxi Branch NAACP from 2007 through 2010 and is married to Jada Shabazz of Ocean Springs, MS.

Email Ya-Sin:  yshabazz@stepscoalition.org 

Aida Bone serves as the Director of Development and Program Evaluations. Her role is to develop and implement sustainability plans, research and identify funding opportunities, prepare grant applications and manage all relationships with funders. Aida is also in charge of program evaluations and works closely with staff to ensure measurement data is collected and programs are being implemented as planned.

Aida earned a B.A. in Sociology with an emphasis in Race, Class, and Gender from Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU), located in Los Angeles California and an MBA with an emphasis in Health Care Management from Saint Leo University located in Saint Leo, Florida. Aida began her career advocating for underserved communities as a college mentor, and she also served as a Research Assistance in the Sociology department at MSMU where she supported qualitative research in Belize to evaluate professional and technical education opportunities for young women. In addition to research and mentorship, Aida also has a solid community organizing background and has worked as a Labor Organizer for SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, a progressive healthcare labor union based in California where she led new organizing drives, political fundraising events, get-out- the-vote operations and contracts bargaining actions. Her work in the South began as a Program Director at Steps Coalition where she managed two collaboratives focused on improving economic security for Vietnamese and African American families. Aida is a Chicana and has interned and volunteered at the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, El Pueblo Immigration Services and the Mississippi Alliance for the Education of Undocumented Youth.

Aida Bone

Fund Development & Evaluation Director

Arthur M. Weddington III

Consultant, Affordable Housing Development

Arthur Weddington will serve as a Planning and Development Consultant for the Loan fund where his main role will be to identify private and public sector funding resources for affordable housing development projects on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Arthur has over 35 years of professional experience that includes serving as an executive officer in community housing, economic development, program & project management, community engagement, neighborhood revitalization and urban planning. He has developed and implemented strategies to create communities of choice, financing alternatives and sustainability. During his career, he has served as CEO for South Dallas Fair Park Inner City Development Corporation in Dallas, Texas and the Selby Area Community Development Corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has also served as field officer for the Enterprise Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland and on the board of directors for various alternative lending agencies including the Southern Dallas Development Corporation, the Southern Dallas Development Fund, and the Dallas Business Finance Corporation. His accomplishments include the management of a $900 thousand loan to develop an affordable housing, mixed use development and public library, and management of neighborhood improvement programs in South Dallas including home repair loan and grant programs, a Community/Corporate volunteer home rehabilitation and community clean up initiative, housing development financing, and commercial/retail complex investments.

Additionally, Arthur developed a Youth Construction Skills Education Project with the Exxon Mobil Green Team at North Lake College in Irving TX, and he has developed multiple housing projects (new construction and rehabilitation) including a non-profit/private sector partnership with Bank of America to build and rehabilitate homes in South Dallas Fair Park. In the case of the latter development, Arthur secured lines of credit for the acquisition and rehabilitation of the properties and managed Bank of America CDC equity for new construction. He also secured $500 thousand in funding from other sources including the federal government, Wells Fargo Bank, the City of Dallas, a private foundation, and $2.0 million in Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 Program loans.

Jonathan Green is the Program Director for the Community Development Loan Fund. His role is to develop and implement all aspects of the loan fund program including, but not limited to, program scope and operational structure, human resource development, marketing and communications, and partner identification and negotiations.
Jonathan Green has over 20 years of international, corporate and operations finance experience with several of the Fortune 500’s category leading organizations, and his expertise includes Financial Planning and Analysis, Mergers and Acquisitions, Finance Process Transformation, Technology Integration, and Supply Chain Management. Jonathan earned his MBA from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Since that time, he has progressed through both line and project roles of increasing responsibility to his most recent corporate role as Director, Financial Planning & Analysis, Global Operations at Avaya, Inc. As such, he was responsible for planning, reporting, forecasting and analysis in support of Avaya’s Global Supply Chain, Global Sourcing, and Order-To-Cash organizations which accounted for approximately $2.5 Billion in annual spend. Prior to joining Avaya, Inc., Jonathan spent 6 years with Pfizer Global Manufacturing where he progressed through both line and project functions in the United States and abroad. Currently, Jonathan manages an international consulting practice – Epiphany Capital Management 3D, LLC (ECM3D) – which focuses on management consulting for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in North America and Africa.

Email Jonathan:  jgreen@stepscoalition.org

Jonathan Green

Managing Director

Racquel Casey

Program Assistance

Racquel is a 2012 graduate of Biloxi High School. She earned her Associates Degree in Human Services in May of 2018 from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jackson County campus, and started Interning with Steps Coalition in October of 2017. Racquel was hired as an employee in January of 2018 and has since progressed from Administrative Assistant to Research assistant and is now a Program Assistant/ Community Advocate. In her spare time, Racquel Volunteers at Moore's Community House where she continues to learn about the environment. Racquel's current focus at Steps is the Bridge of Faith (Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation).

 

Email Racquel:  rcasey@stepscoalition.org