Jonathan Green assumed the role of Executive Director of Steps Coalition in February 2019, after working for more than 25 years in corporate finance and management consulting for some of the country’s category leading companies in the pharmaceutical, malted beverage, and telecommunications sectors. New to the nonprofit sector, Jonathan is particularly passionate about exploring and developing innovative approaches to community and economic development, community health, climate justice, and civic engagement that can drive long-term systemic change and permanently lift front-line communities out of poverty. A results-oriented finance executive, project manager, and consultant with a broad-based, international finance background, Jonathan strives to leverage the best practices he learned working in corporate environments to help the Steps Coalition and other mission-focused, community-based organizations achieve their social improvement objectives.
Gordon M. Jackson, Jr. is President/CEO of GMJ MEDIA, a Media Management and Media Services firm that has focused on freelance writing, publicity management and ghostwriting. He is also the host of “The Gordon Jackson Show,” which airs on the Big Game Christian Sports Network, an internet sports network operated by Cedric Bailey Broadcasting and BryDay Media. Jackson has over 30 years of experience at all capacities in the newspaper and media industry, primarily with African American publications. His roles have run the gamut from distributor to advertising executive to general assignment reporter and managing editor. Jackson also has ample experience as both a radio and television, newscaster, news anchor and sports broadcaster. The number of celebrities and prominent citizens Jackson has interviewed is too numerous to count. The many major events he has covered include the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Convention, six Super Bowls, The Final Four, the NBA All-Star Game, several Essence Music Festivals, the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Summit and others. Jackson has been active in the community through several venues, including the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame. A resident of Biloxi, Mississippi, Gordon is currently co-authoring a biography on Lu Vason, founder of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo.
Traycee has been living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for nearly 34 years. She is married to Gregory Williams and together they have raised more than 9 children. As a foster/adoptive parent, Traycee’s joy lies in the smiles and successes of the youth that have touched her life. Traycee currently works as a 2020 Census Partnership Coordinator for the state of Louisiana and Mississippi. During her 34 years on the Coast, she has been a Senior Social Science Research Manager with a large research firm, a bank Branch Manager, a Senior Sales Executive in the cellular communications industry, Vice President of Affiliate Relations for the American Blues Network, an inspector with the Small Business Administration following Hurricane Katrina and many other major catastrophes, and a Senior Partnership Specialist with the US Census Bureau for the 2010 decennial census. Traycee has held a real estate license with Daniels Real Estate for the last 20 years and she is a Veteran of the United States Air Force. In her spare time, Traycee collects everything Maya Angelou, loves to travel, and believes in taking life on boldly to experience everything possible.
LeAnna Morgan Saucier is the Workforce Readiness Manager at Memorial Hospital. She transitioned into this role in March 2020 after dedicating 5 years of her career in the nonprofit sector where she excelled in fundraising as the Resource Development Director at United Way of South Mississippi. She spearheaded their organizational fundraising and raised well over $4.0 million dollars during her time there. LeAnna also has an extensive background in media advertising, copywriting, hosting, and event planning. She graduated from the University of Southern MS with a BA in Broadcast Journalism.
Outside of her daily job at Memorial, she serves the community in several ways including as a Board Member of the MS Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Gulf Coast. She has been a Rotarian since 2016 and currently serves as the Program Chair of the Gulfport Rotary Club. She was a 2018 Woman of Achievement finalist and recently named one of the Top “100 Successful Women to Know” in 2020 by Gulf Coast Women magazine. She served on Habitat for Humanity’s 2020 Women Build team, and she’s thrilled to represent the Women’s Resource Center as one of their 2020 Gala for Babies Local Celebrities. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their beautifully blended family.
Ja’Leasa Bolden is an accomplished and driven individual who strives to improve the world around her. She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Tougaloo College - one in English and the other in Mass Communications/Public Relations/Journalism. She also has a Master of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi. Ja’Leasa is currently the director of communications for the Moss Point School District, where she is responsible for relaying all pertinent information for all involved in the school district in any way, and helping provide a sense of calm and understanding in today’s turbulent world.
In the past she has served as the Steps Coalition Director of Community Engagement, a Marketing and Compliance Specialist and Neighborhood Improvement Coordinator for the City of Gautier. Throughout her career, Ja’Leasa has received many acknowledgements and awards. These include being recognized as the NAACP Biloxi Branch Citizen of the Year, a Sun Herald Top 40 under 40 Nominee, Blessed Girls Rock award recipient, and many more. Heavily involved in her community, Ja’Leasa is the National Vice President of the Pink Lotus Foundation, Secretary of the Steps Coalition Board, and a Charter Member of the Kiwanis Club of Moss Point to name just a few. Ja’Leasa exemplifies that if you want change to happen in your community, you must be a part of it.
Jackie, born in Bogota, Colombia, immigrated to New York City with her family when she was 5 months old. Jackie’s mother said, “if you can dream, everything is possible” and inspired Jackie in her life and work. Jackie is one of the founders of the Alliance for The Education of Undocumented Youth (now joining with United We Dream), a Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance volunteer, a member of Mississippi Business Women - an unemployment support group on the Gulf Coast - and a youth minister and past CCD teacher for Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church. She owns Gulf Coast Myofascial Release Physical Therapy in Ocean Springs. A resident of North Biloxi, she is blessed to be married 26 years to Scott Cooper who has helped her raise 3 spirit-filled children on one income. Her favorite quote Is “Be the change you want to see in the world” – Ghandi.
Bill Chandler, an eyewitness to brutal immigration raids during the 1950’s, has been continuously involved in advocating for the rights and security for immigrant workers. In 2000, he brought together immigrants, labor, civil rights, religious, and human rights activists to form the Mississippi Immigrants’ Rights Alliance (MIRA) and serves as the Executive Director for that organization. MIRA has grown into a major force led by a board of primarily African and Latino leaders and is internationally recognized for its efforts to build unity among people of color. Bill has served the struggle for affirmative action in the Labor Movement, as every union he has organized in the South is led by women of color. In 2009, he was named a Purpose Prize Fellow. Bill has six children and seven grandchildren. He is married to immigration attorney Patricia Ice and lives in Jackson, Mississippi with their two dogs and two cats. Bill began his term of service with Steps Board of Directors in 2013.
John is a native of Biloxi where he graduated from Biloxi high in 1986. After high school, he served in the US Army as a Nuclear weapons specialist in Germany until his retirement. After leaving Germany, John worked for Walmart in distribution and loss prevention for seven years, and upon returning to Mississippi, went to work at the Beau Rivage in loss prevention and front services management as the first African American director of casino security in Mississippi. John is a graduate of Middle Georgia Technical Institute and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he earned a marketing management diploma and associate’s degree. He also attended Strayer and Tulane Universities and later completed his bachelors and masters of science in business management. John’s awards include but are not limited to The Hormel Foods Inspiring People Award, the Top 10 Community Leaders of the Gulf Coast Award, the Biloxi Fire and Police Department Achievement Award. John is also a two-time Army Achievement Medal recipient. The father of 3 sons, Jontrez (34), Savéair (17), and Torsten (10), John enjoys spending time them, watching sports, listening to music, and writing.
Mary Maner is the Assistant Director for Career Services for the University of Southern Mississippi. She has well over twenty-five years of experience in secondary and post-secondary education and has a passion for connecting people with resources to further their personal and professional goals. Mary enjoys engaging in outreach activities to help keep our Mississippi coastal communities connected. Her favorite inspirational quote is by Maya Angelou, “I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”