Ms. Hope Kent, Founder

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ms. Hope Kent has always been motivated to excel. With the support of her parents, Gwendolyn Kent and the Rev. Dr. Willie Otto Kent, Ms. Kent took an interest in the field of education and decided to pursue a teaching career in music. After earning her Master’s Degree in Behavioral Management, Ms. Kent realized the need for a mentoring program that caters to young females. In 2011 she founded the organization P.E.A.R.L.S., which translates to Purposefully Empowering And Reaching Little Sisters. To date, Ms. Kent has exposed the P.E.A.R.L.S to community leaders including law enforcement personnel, entrepreneurs, politicians, attorneys, estheticians and church leaders. This exposure to such active leaders empowers the girls to understand that their goals are attainable. Focusing on the five targets of Health and Wellness, Career Paths, Character Building, Etiquette and Self-Esteem, Ms. Kent strives daily to give the young ladies a positive outlook on life. This talented innovator understands the importance of hard work and dedication. Ms. Kent’s passion and dedication to her vocation is truly a testament of her commitment to service. This commitment was fostered early in life and continues to be the driving force of her life’s work.


Martin Lemelle, Jr.

Martin Lemelle, Jr. is a business leader, public servant, and entrepreneur. With a passion for business and leadership, Martin leads the Business Administration team at Industry Retail Group (IRG), a managed service provider and subsidiary of Vector Security. and is responsible for the Procurement, Financial Planning, and Vendor Management functions.

Outside of his rigorous career schedule, Lemelle is committed to education and service. He is currently pursuing the MBA in Strategic Management and Public Policy at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He is the Founder and CEO of the Excellence in Leadership Academy, an organization devoted to educating and empowering America’s youth.  Lemelle is also a pivotal board member of the P.E.A.R.L.S.


Kiyona Miah

Kiyona Miah is a Business Relationship Manager in the Information System Support and Review Office at the U.S. Census Bureau.  In addition to her role as a Business Relationship Manager, she plays an integral role in career and personal development programs at her agency.  A native of Chester, PA, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Baltimore.  She finds great joy in pouring into the lives of young ladies and watching the wheels turn as they dream big about their futures.


Tamika Shingler

A native of Prince George's County, MD, Tamika Shingler currently pursues her passion of the arts, education, and youth through her employment and her active roles at her church. At the National Endowment for the Arts, Mrs. Shingler serves as an Assistant Grants Management Specialist within the Literature and Arts Education division. At her church, the First Baptist Church of Glenarden, she serves with the Young Adult Praise Team and as a youth leader with the R.E.B.E.L.S. (Radicals Empowered Beyond Earthly Limitations Serving Christ 4Life) youth ministry.

Tamika received her Bachelor's degree in Vocal Music and Education from Morgan State University. She then went on to pursue her Master's degree in Arts Management from American University.  Mrs. Shingler is married to Terrence Shingler of Suitland, MD, and they have one child.


Barry Pearson

Barry Pearson, CPA, currently performs various accounting and tax functions for The P.E.A.R.L.S. Inc. Barry works in industry as Senior Manager of Programming Finance at Viacom Media Networks in New York. Prior to joining Viacom, Barry worked at BET Networks in Washington, DC as Manager of Technical Accounting and then Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis playing critical roles in managing the financial operations of the business. Barry began his career with global CPA firm Ernst & Young in Atlanta. 

Since childhood, Barry has been actively involved in civic engagement and a supporter and advocate of organizations with missions of serving the underserved. Currently, Barry serves as a Partner/Mentor with College Bound and recently completed five years of leadership for the Metropolitan Washington, DC Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants---the second half as 1st Vice-President. 

A native of Montgomery, Alabama, Barry obtained his Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Virginia and graduated summa cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Barry has been a licensed Certified Public Accountant since 2009. 

Zsanai Epps

Zsanai Epps

Zsanai Epps is an early career Public Health professional. She seeks to improve the health and wellness of generations by lending her time, dedication, and skills to closing the gap of health disparities. Zsanai has a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education and is currently a Master of Public Health candidate at Morgan State University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Gerald Holden

Gerald Holden

Gerald Holden is a retired United States Air Force veteran with an extensive background in Information Management, Computer Support and Knowledge Operations Management.  His military assignments included bases in Alabama, Japan, Utah and Washington D.C., where he served as Superintendent, White House Military Office Headquarters Knowledge Operations Management.  

Born and raised in Elton, Louisiana, he attended and graduated from Elton High School. While on active duty, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland Asian Division, Okinawa, Japan.  Additionally, he received an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Information Management from the United States Air Force Community College.