Valeshia Butterfield Jones, Ward White IV, Catrina M. Craft, PLLC, Kerri Navarro, Ashleigh Smith
Valeshia Butterfield Jones
In accord with DBFF vision of sharing Black culture and Building Bridges for the community we are pleased to announce our National Chair Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the co-founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).
Valeisha has a deep passion for diversity and inclusion, as evidenced by her work for nearly two decades driving social responsibility campaigns and community engagement programs for corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Valeisha’s career began as an unpaid intern for music mogul Russell Simmons. She quickly made her mark within Rush Communications and the entertainment industry at large, when she was appointed to serve as one of the youngest Executive Director’s of a national organization at the time, responsible for bridging the gap between pop culture, celebrities and social responsibility. Her award-winning programs focused on voter engagement and financial literacy for young Americans 18 - 35 years old throughout the United States and Canada.
Most recently, Valeisha authored the highly acclaimed book, The Girlprint,a mentorship guide for young women and was appointed to serve as the Head of Black Community Engagement for technology giant, Google.
Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 Women’s Leadership Award (2012), Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 Award (2012), Elle Magazine’s Top 25 Most Inspiring Women (2015), TheRoot100 (2012), Glamour Magazine and Marie Claire Magazine.
She is also regularly featured on Black Entertainment Television, Centric, Revolt TV, Aspire TV, Arise News and others. Affiliated with a number of professional and civic organizations, Valeisha is a member of the national board of directors of iVote for America and the Hip-Hop Sisters Network, founded by music legend MC Lyte.
Ward White IV
has been practicing law for over 20 years and is currently in private practice focusing on entertainment law. His clients have included actors, producers, and artists, including 4 time Grammy Award winner Erykah Badu, comic, nationally syndicated radio host, and television star Rickey Smiley, hip hop legend Biz Markie, and former NFL wide receiver Rocket Ismail.
Mr. White is the CEO of ESQmedia, Inc., a management and consulting firm, and has served on the Board Of Directors for the Juneteenth Film Festival Foundation. He also is an advisory board member for the University of Dallas Sports and Entertainment Department. As an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas he devised and taught a course entitled, "Principles Of The Music Business." Mr. White is the author of a life asset protection manual for athletes and celebrities entitled The Players Handbook and is presently the Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at Guerrilla Funk Recordings and Filmworks, LLC.
Catrina M. Craft, PLLC
is an Entrepreneur, Educator, Author, and Founder/CEO of Craft Entertainment CFO, a financial business management firm and
C M Craft, PLLC, a Certified Public Accounting Firm.Knowledge of accounting and tax strategies specific to the entertainment industry has provided Catrina opportunities to educate business owners through various forums, including radio, TV, and seminars. Catrina has shared her tax loopholes and accounting understanding to millions as a featured guest on "The Michael Baisden Show", "The Rickey Smiley Morning Show", CW33 TV, WFAA 8 News, and as a contributing writer in "Easy Accounting for Real Estate Investors". Catrina has conducted seminars and been a guest panelist for Entertainment Organizations including; Dallas Producers Association, Texas Association of Motion Media Professionals, Sm(ART)ist Institute
Catrina M Craft was honored as a 2015 Quest for Success recipient for her business accomplishments and community involvement. In the same year she was honored as the FraserNet 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year.
She has been a team member of several start-up companies as well as Fortune 500 companies which equipped her with varied training, understanding of systems, and tools to develop business processes. The imperative skills gained are utilized in her role as a financial business advisor.
American Institute of CPAs
Women in Film Dallas, Treasurer – 2013 to present
Dallas Producers Association - Treasurer - present
Texas Association of Motion Media Professionals – CPA for the organization
QB Express – national Accounting Co-op which promotes business best practices and innovative accounting solutions to serve clients
FraserNet Inner Circle – mastermind group for business owners
Owner of Black Irish Girl Productions is an award winning producer based in Dallas, Texas. BIGP is a full service production company that offers support in all media forms including commercials, film, and video. With over 12 years of experience, Kerri and her team of associates have produced and directed for television, radio, long and short format films and corporate videos. As a production manager, she has recently worked on a live production event, TV game show & a feature documentary that was in theaters this past summer. Kerri’s passion is working with her clients to develop and shape their creative vision. Clients also value her organizational and logistical strength, as well as her unwavering positive attitude in the face of production challenges.
is an acclaimed jazz vocalist and Concord Recording Artist, Ashleigh Smith who is fresh off the release of her debut album "SUNKISSED". In 2014 she won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocals Competition. The University of North Texas alumna is now on frontstage after singing backup for Chrisette Michelle.
is the co-host of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a nationally syndicated radio program heard in over 100 markets with an audience of more than eight million. An original member of the show, initially joining the crew as a news anchor, each morning Wilkes provides “the voice of reason” alongside host Tom Joyner and daily celebrity co-hosts including Arsenio Hall, Sherri Shepherd and Bill Bellamy.
A noted news and political journalist, Wilkes has landed major interviews with some of today’s top newsmakers including joining President Barack Obama and Senator John Edwards on the campaign trail for exclusive one-on-one interviews as well as a candid interview with Former President Bill Clinton. As an avid reader, she created “Sybil’s Book Club”, started in 1996, which features African-American authors at live events and offers an opportunity for book lovers to meet and engage with their favorite writers. She has received a number of accolades including The President’s Award from the NAACP Image Awards, and an honorary Doctorate Degree from Bennett College in Greensboro, NC. Most recently, Wilkes has become a national ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise Campaign.
A graduate of Northwestern University, she received a Bachelors of Science in Political Science and Communication Studies. Wilkes lives by the biblical saying handed down by her parents, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Sybil currently resides in Coppell, Texas.