Our board members all possess a passion for achieving the mission and vision of Project Inspire through incorporating their expertise and passion for impacting the lives of youth and young adults. Learn more about them below.
Being raised in a community where youth programming served as a strong beacon to under-resourced youth amidst community strife, Daphne L. Valcin believes in the power of expression, empowerment and youth development as tools that allow our youth to surpass societal challenges. She has worked with young people for the past 13 years, working tirelessly to ensure that they have the resources and opportunities to impact their own lives and the lives of their communities.
Throughout the East Coast, she has served communities in various capacities, using skill-sets in project management, event planning, program development, recruitment, community outreach, and marketing in conjunction with a passion for education and a love for the performing arts to impact youth. As the Executive Director of Project Inspire, Daphne believes in the power of young people to make large-scale change when provided with the resources and opportunity to do so.
Regis DeVeaux is a native of Atlanta, GA who is passionate about poetry and spoken word. He is a graduate of Morehouse College where he studied Sociology with a keen focus on Africana Studies and currently works as a District Sales Leader with PepsiCo. His professional service began with LevelTen where he worked alongside our founder, Daphne Valcin, to lead academic programs and community empowerment.
During his early years in youth development, Mr. DeVeaux helped over 25 high school athletes achieve their NBA, NFL, and Division 1 collegiate dreams through these academic programs while with LevelTen. Currently, through his affiliation with Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Mr. DeVeaux helps to facilitate empowerment and personal development programs for underprivileged young men. His ultimate goal is to continue to build a career that inspires younger generations to strive for ultimate achievement and thus make a valuable impact on their own communities.
Calvin Fong, Board Treasurer/ Finance and Compliance Chair
Calvin Fong is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and recent transplant to Detroit, Michigan. Professionally, he is an analyst with Boulevard Investment Banking. Prior to working at Boulevard, Calvin worked as a consulting group analyst at Morgan Stanley. Calvin received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Economy at the University of California, Berkeley. He enjoys traveling, sports, learning about new cultures, and producing and mixing music. In addition to English, he speaks fluent Portuguese and has dual citizenship (American and Brazilian).
Calvin has a passion for community work and has been an avid volunteer for Special Olympics, Autism Speaks and Waters Edge Assisted Living Facility. He believes that working towards equitable educational access will empower young adults through a variety of means and allow them to chase their dreams and make lasting impacts.
Breylon Smith, Board Secretary
Breylon is a native of Youngstown, Ohio and is passionate about youth development, social justice, entrepreneurship, and volunteerism. Breylon has worked in Washington, DC since 2014 with Higher Achievement and currently serves as a Center Director. Prior to this work, Breylon gained experience in the education field at Global Scholars Academy, a public charter school in Durham, NC. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and volunteers in various opportunities throughout the DMV area.
Breylon is a proud graduate of North Carolina Central University located in Durham, NC completing his Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education (Cum Laude) and his Master’s degree in Public Administration. He also earned a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. His interests include organizational leadership, community outreach, and consulting. Breylon aspires to be an ethical public servant and an influential entrepreneur. His philosophy for leadership is driven by his vision to help people become self-sufficient and inspire others to pursue and accomplish their dreams.
Yuan Liu, Board Member
Yuan Liu is an EdTech entrepreneur deeply passionate about education and creating opportunities for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Currently the founder and CEO of Gregory, he previously served as a Venture For America fellow in Atlanta and Detroit and ran an organization helping high school students in small cities explore educational opportunities. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College and a Bachelor of Engineering from Dartmouth College.
Kristen Crockett, Board Member
Kristen Crockett’s passion for education began in the non-profit world, where she helped students navigate the college process, providing leadership skills and personal development to students across the country.
Kristen is the Director of Learning & Development for a national Media Company, where she jump-starts passion, connects people and departments, and gives leaders the tools they need to grow.
Kristen has a B.A. in Communications from Loyola University, an M.A. from American University, and a J.D. from G.W. Law School. She is also the founder of the Crockett Collective, which provides executive coaching and leadership solutions for organizations and individuals.
Shani Bennett, Board Member
Shani Bennett is a south Floridian who relocated to Washington, DC more than a year ago. She serves as an Academic and Career Advisor with 5+ years of experience advising and mentoring youth ranging from k-12 to the collegiate level. Shani was drawn to her profession (and Project Inspire) by her positive experiences and support she received as a first generation college student. She has held numerous positions in both private and public university career centers where she has provided one-on-one advising, course planning, resume and cover letter critiques and job search strategy workshops to students, organizations and alumni.
Shani holds a M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Florida International University, a B.A. in Applied Sociology from The University of Tampa and is a proud City Year Miami alumna.