Sonya Evan Staples
Founder & Executive Director
When the topic of prison reform and reducing recidivism arises in community conversations, one of the top individuals that come to mind is Mrs. Sonya Evan Staples. Mrs. Staples has become a pioneer in bringing awareness to the growing rates of incarcerated citizens and the lack of resources after re-entry into the community.
She is a Richmond native with a passion for community development. Helping the prison community at a grass-root level is her life's work. Mrs. Staples has volunteered for over 20 years and prides herself on being a vehicle of change. She has dedicated her time, energy, and resources to building strong individuals and has helped to birth stronger families and communities. Everything she touches is aligned with that mission; from Life Coaching to being a Media Specialist for C.I.R.N, the Criminal Injustice Reform Network.
Sonya Evan Staples is the founder of the non-profit organization From Prison to Promise. This organization was established in 2017 with the mission of providing a voice to those who have been silenced by incarceration. Weekly, Mrs. Staples gives individuals a safe space to discuss issues surrounding incarceration through the From Prison to Promise internet radio show. It is her hope that individuals impacted by incarceration will gain strength and strategies to alleviate the struggle of waiting or starting over.
When Mrs. Staples is not deep into tackling issues within the prison community she is a wife, mother, notary public and author. Her first book, From Prison to Promise, is available on Amazon. Each of these tasks further pushes her mission of creating a better community for all.
For business inquires or more, contact her by email at email@example.com.
Juan “Don Juan Cardova” Braxton was born in Richmond, VA where he grew up and attended public schools. He was an active youth member of Trinity Baptist Church where his mother kept him busy. Juan served as Captain of the Youth Usher Board, sang in the youth choir, was a member of Trinity’s Boy Scout Troop 492, and was an active and leading member of the Youth Ministry. He'd often participate in Sunday programs where he served and read while Trinity aired on radio and television. Juan often admits the leadership skills he learned and the comfort of being on radio and TV helped him excel later in life. While attending Thomas Jefferson High School, he graduated from the applied business program. This is where he began his love of business...
Soon after graduation, he got his first full-time job at Hunton & Williams Law Firm where he met his lifelong business mentor Michael Pearson. Mike was a serial entrepreneur who was involved in the nightclub business. Juan learned a lot from Mike and grew an interest in the business of the entertainment industry. While still working at the firm Juan took on the role of assistant manager of a local band named The Jazz Poets Society. As the band grew, Juan was asked by the manager and founder of the band Patrick Mamou to take a week off from the firm and help set up the office for the band’s independent record label 5th Child Records. From just one week of experiencing full-time entrepreneurship, Juan left Hunton & Williams and became VP of 5th Child Records.
During his stint at 5th Child Records the Jazz Poets Society grew to a nationwide act. The band traveled across the country performing with groups such as the roots and for events hosted by celebrities such as Boris Kodjoe. This growth afforded Juan firsthand experience of working with record stores and radio stations across the country. During its touring, Jazz Poets Society had the opportunity of touring with another group out of Richmond enjoying national spotlight The Supa Friendz. The Supa Friendz are an underground hip-hop group consisting of (Mad) Skillz, DJ Lonnie B, and Danja Mowf. The group was enjoying national success of their remix of "Are You That One" by the late great R&B sensation Aliyah. As The Supa Friendz geared up for their follow-up project, Juan and Mamou joined the team at their label, Danja Zone Records, where Juan served as distribution manager. During this period, Juan also spent a short stint as (Mad) Skillz personal assistant.
In 2003, during the process of trying to acquire a local nightclub for a real estate investment for an investment group he served as managing partner, Juan had the opportunity to enter the club industry as assistant manager of the Kave. Soon after, the investment group had the opportunity to purchase Island Reflections which the group rebranded to Reflections.
While helping the investment group grow to owning 5 Night Clubs (Pearl Lounge, Vision Ultra Lounge, Have A Nice Day Café, and Aqua Lounge) and owning 5 properties in Shockoe Bottom (an Urban Nightlife district in the city), Juan realized he needed a public platform to continue his growth. Juan’s idea to create his public platform was to start hosting parties under his nickname “Don Juan Cardova”. At the time hosting was underdeveloped; they were hardly ever promoted as part of the event and paid even worse. Juan came with a concept that the host could be a highlight and add value to events. Juan was able to change the perception of party hosting and create the public buzz he was looking for. Juan's hosting grew into his platform as a DJ. As a DJ and host, Juan was able to begin building a public platform. After the rise of social media, he was in a position to grow across platforms.
In 2015, Juan separated from the investment group to focus on building his own companies that he'd have complete control over. He refocused his marketing/PR business Don Style Solutions and his real estate management company Don Style Development. Through these companies, Juan spends his days helping small businesses market their business, investors manage their real estate investments, and tenants find quality affordable housing. Through his marketing company, he has had the opportunity to help organize community events like The Richmond Urban Ministry Institute Annual Prayer Chain and be a speaker for non-profits like Friends Helping Friends, owned and operated by his mentor Mike Pearson.
Juan also manages a motivational Instagram page @MogulGoals intending to shift the mindset of those seeking first-generation wealth and eliminating poverty mindset. In September 2019, he received the Men’s Day Humanitarian of The Year Award from Trinity Baptist Church pastored by the legendary Rev. Dr. A. Lincoln James Jr.
When asked "What does he believe is his greatest accomplishment", Juan replied “I don’t believe I’ve had my greatest accomplishment yet. God has blessed me with a platform that I can use to help people. I think my greatest accomplishment will be when I feel I’ve motivated enough poor blacks to own their destiny. When enough people do that, we can make a real difference in our community.” Following this purpose in March of 2021, Juan founded The Don Style Foundation to support his efforts as a social advocate for black economic empowerment.
You can follow Juan on all social media platforms at:
@Donjuancardova @DonstyleFoundation @Donstylesolutions @DonStyleDevelopment @MogulGoals
Darrick Hall is a dedicated family man and entrepreneur for over twenty years. Darrick has been a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP) since 2007.
When there is leisure time, he enjoys bowling and working out. Not only is fiscal fitness important but so physical fitness to Darrick.
Darrick formed his own tax preparation and accounting firm over 20 years ago, with a key principle in mind: to provide the highest level of personalized client service possible. Building strong client relationships is fundamental and clients are managed and consulted with integrity, timely responsiveness, and professionalism.
If you need any level of tax preparation assistance, he is there for you. If you need a trusted business advisor to help you maximize your tax strategy, grow your business, and plan your long-term goals, he is there for you too.
Robin Jeffrey graduated from John Marshall High School in Richmond, Virginia.
She is the proud mother of 4 children; 3 sons and 1 daughter.
Ms. Jeffrey started her work history as a CNA and in Retail. After discovering an undeniable love for helping others. She pursued her career, and education to become a Registered Nurse (RN), of which she accomplished in 2004.
An ambitious spirit, Robin dived into her love of makeup and became a Certified Makeup Artist, having worked at several events, such as weddings and special occasions where she delighted in having the opportunity to enhance the beauty of women. Her love for caring for people who have been through similar trauma as herself, after having been sexually violated, lead her to launch Definition of Me LLC where she host events creating a safe space for discussion and healing for those dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse.
In May of 2020 Robin launched an online store called Definition of Me where she sells uplifting apparel, candles, and soaps. After recently becoming a Certified Life Coach, she is dedicated to the continued mission of helping others when needed. Having seen the treatment of loved ones during and post incarceration Robin became passionate about prison reform and using her voice to help create change in the system.
Social Media Coordinator
Daija Little is a 2020 graduate of James Madison University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Nonprofit Studies. Amongst many academic concentrations, Daija has demonstrated expertise in public policy, social inequality, and assessing how to respond to causes addressing disadvantaged communities.
Daija is a proven leader and innovator with cross-cultural skills who helped reactivate the Women of Color organization at JMU. The organization focuses on creating a safe space for minority women to network, learn, and grow with one another. She is also a dynamic team leader with the ability to cultivate and maintain relations and partnerships with key internal and external stakeholders that provide effective decision-making while meeting the goals for the organization.
In 2019, Daija interned as the community impact coordinator for United Way of Harrisonburg & Rockingham County where she coordinated project activities, internal controls, and plans to ensure availability of services and staffing to meet the objectives of United Way. She has a passion for working with nonprofits to execute new ways to give back and expand organizational outreach. She extended this passion during her 2019 Study Abroad trip to Ghana where she dedicated one month to learning more about the beautiful country while volunteering at academic centers such as Glona Academy for less privileged children and New Horizons for children with disabilities.
As a multi-faceted entrepreneur, she now enjoys her work as a professional trainer in the Richmond area and an online fitness coach. Although she is open to working with all demographics, her mission is to help other entrepreneurs establish a sustainable fitness journey with healthier eating habits and strength training.
As an individual who has witnessed the impacts of incarceration within her own family, she is an advocate for prison reform and bringing awareness to the struggles of those who are and have been incarcerated.