Our Team Members
Who We Are
Our Team & Leadership
John was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, and graduated from Carver High School in 1992. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Kim Blackmon, and they have three children: John Austin, Ella Grace, and Eli Martin. He joined the Montgomery Police Department in 1994 to serve the citizens of Montgomery. He has served in many capacities including patrolman, detective, and Chief of Staff. He also enjoys serving as a marriage life group leader and in the children’s area at Journey Church in Prattville, Alabama. He retired from the Montgomery Police Department on January 1, 2020, after serving the citizens of Montgomery for close to 26 years, and began his work with Hope Inspired Ministries as the Executive Director on January 2nd.
Contact John at JBowman@hopeinspiredministries.org.
Community Relations Specialist
MeLeah joined the Hope Inspired Ministries team in February 2021 as the Community Relations Specialist. She is originally from Florence, Alabama and recently moved to the Birmingham area from Mobile. MeLeah holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Communication from the University of South Alabama. Her work background includes non-profit experience, event coordination, social media strategy, and marketing. MeLeah has a passion for serving others and is eager about getting to know the Birmingham community. In her free time, she enjoys shopping, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Brandon, and her dog, Charlie.
Contact MeLeah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Brandon M. Cleggs-Burns
Brandon was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi and graduated from Forest Hill High School in 2003. He is married to the love of his life, Nicole Cleggs-Burns, and they have two children: Abigail Elise and Olivia Grace. Brandon joined the U.S. Army in 2010 and deployed to Iraq where he served as a combat medic. He was discharged honorably after 4 years of service, but decided to enlist as a Reservist with the 5th Medical Brigade in Birmingham, Al. After serving 7 years in the Army, Brandon graduated from Auburn University at Montgomery with a degree in Psychology. He worked for the Alabama Department of Human Resources as a Child Abuse and Neglect Investigator. With a heart to serve people and a Godly purpose driven life, Brandon prayed for a job that would allow him to serve his purpose. He is currently fulfilling that purpose as a Career Coach at the Montgomery Campus of Hope Inspired Ministries.
Contact Brandon at email@example.com
Jessica began her work with Hope Inspired Ministries in October 2020.
Jessica graduated from Greenville High School in 1999. Four years later she
earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication Studies
from Huntingdon College in 2003. Jessica has worked in the non profit sector
over ten years. Jessica is the mother of two wonderful, energetic and spontaneous girls Janiyah and Mehkia. These two girls bring so much joy and happiness to her life. Jessica is very active in her church, Oak Valley Baptist Church, where she serves in many different compacities. Jessica is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She believes in serving her community.
Jessica loves to read, travel and spend time with her family. A motto
that she lives by is: I believe that if I can help one person, that one person can
help someone else. We are building and strengthening our communities and
that is pleasing in God’s sight.
Contact Jessica at Jessica@hopeinspiredministries.org
Community Relations Specialist
Joleen joined the Hope Inspired Ministries team in February 2021 as the Community Relations Specialist. She is originally from Vincent, Alabama and moved to Montgomery almost ten years ago. Joleen holds a Master’s degree in Business. Her work background includes non-profit experience, event coordination, social media strategy, and marketing. Joleen has a passion for serving others and shows that in all of her volunteer work here in Montgomery. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, gardening, and spending time with her dog, Sally.
Contact Joleen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chace Harris is the Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant for the Montgomery campus of Hope Inspired Ministries. He is a graduate of Faulkner University with a degree in Forensic Psychology, and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Youth and Family Ministry from Liberty University. Chace attends Landmark Church in Montgomery where he is a member of the worship team.
Contact Chase at email@example.com
Darius was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He started out as a student in class 4 of 2017 at our Hope Inspired Ministries site in Birmingham to identify the areas in which he needed to improve in order to reach his maximum potential on his career path. Darius excelled as a student and was the honor graduate for his class. Shortly after Darius completed his three-week internship at Hope Inspired Ministries, he was hired as a full-time instructor and coach/case manager in November of 2017. Darius is the father of two high octane sons, Qua’Darius and D’arrian, who inspire him to excel in all endeavors. He has been an active member of New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church for the last year. He recently enrolled in Transformation Ministries where he’s being equipped to effectively discern and counsel people that they may truly walk in freedom. In his leisure time, Darius enjoys playing basketball, journaling his thoughts, coloring, cultivating communities through lawn care and spending valuable time with his family. Darius brings energy, excitement and a “Let’s Get It” attitude to the HIM team.
Contact Darius at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dan joined the Hope Inspired Team in June 2021. He serves as a Career Coach/Post Graduate Coach and is excited to help others! He grew up in Memphis, TN, graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide), and attended Highlands College. He is currently married to his best friend/wife Jess and recently moved to the Birmingham area. Dan hopes his experience in ministry as a Youth Pastor and the corporate world as a civil engineer in training can help people take next steps and grow!
Contact Dan at email@example.com
Jo Ann Johnson
Site Director for Montgomery and Lowndes
Jo Ann Johnson began working at Hope Inspired Ministries in April 2018 as the Montgomery Site Director. Jo Ann has over 12 years of nonprofit program management experience and a background in addictions counseling. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Jo Ann has a passion to serve others and believes everyone can achieve their full potential when given the right tools and positive environment to thrive. Jo Ann is married to Dana Johnson, a wildlife biologist, and has two children. When they are not watching their girls play soccer, Jo Ann and her family can be found in the outdoors, gardening, hunting, fishing, or just enjoying nature.
Contact Jo Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dana Daniels Manning lived in Mississippi for 30 years prior to moving to Alabama to pursue a degree is Psychology at Troy University. She has 20 years in finance and restaurant management experience. She has four wonderful children: Mason, Maggie, Jagger and Heidi. She has a passion for brokenness because of her own story of redemption and recovery. She was an alcoholic and addict for 15 plus years. She also experienced homelessness. She tried everything including getting an education in drug and alcohol counseling to save herself. Dana said, “Until I fully turned my will over to God, I was hopeless. I use my past to instill hope and show grace to our students.” “For with God, nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:37
Contact Dana at email@example.com
Site Director for Birmingham
Gene was born and raised in Birmingham, AL. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Alabama, Birmingham in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Later that year he married his wife, Bonita, and went to work for the Alabama Department of Corrections. In the evenings, he earned his Master’s Degree from Troy State University in Counseling and Human Development. He transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry where he spent 40 years prior to joining Hope Inspired Ministries in August 2020. While in the pharmaceutical industry, Gene completed on-campus programs at Wharton, Columbia University Graduate School of Business, and The University of Michigan Business School. He also completed the Restoring The Foundations program at Transformational Ministries. Gene has served on the Church of the Highlands Correctional Ministry Team since around 2013, leading Sunday services and small groups in Donaldson and Bibb men’s correctional facilities. He and Bonita were also Sunday service leaders at Tutwiler Women’s Correctional Facility. Gene and Bonita have a son and daughter living in Alabama. In his free time, Gene enjoys time with family, fishing and skeet shooting.
Contact Gene at firstname.lastname@example.org
Born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Courtney began pursuing his life’s purpose at an early age. He accepted his call to preach at age six and at 19 was elected to serve as Senior Pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church of Whitehall, Alabama where he impacted the Lowndes County community over 8 years. In 2020, Courtney began his new journey as Senior Pastor of Hutchinson Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Courtney joined the HIM family in May 2021 and is excited to return to Lowndes County to once again do ministry.
Courtney is a graduate of Saint James School and Talladega College. Additionally, he is the proud husband of Roneshia and dog-dad to Bishop.
Contact Courtney at email@example.com
KK Middleton is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. KK Middleton is a graduate of Troy State University, Alabama State University, and Southern New Hampshire University. KK has an extensive background and leadership in Entrepreneurship, Public Education, and Pastoral Ministry. KK is a devoted father, grandfather, and recent widow.
Contact KK at firstname.lastname@example.org
Antoinette Sands is a home-schooling mom of four and has been married to her husband, Doug, for 23 years. After attending Bible college, she was in full-time ministry for over a decade as a teacher and worship ministry director until she and her husband felt called to Birmingham. Since then, she graduated from Highlands College and has served in many ministry capacities with area churches. She founded two ministries that help children find and use their gifts for the kingdom, and wrote a book, available on Amazon, that is a small-group experience for teens. She feels compelled to serve in ways that speak into the value of EACH individual and loves to raise up and encourage leaders, especially when seasons have been tough and dark.
Contact Antoinette at email@example.com
Lee Walker Jr.
Lee B. Walker Jr. began working at Hope Inspired Ministries in November 2020. Reared in Montgomery, Al he graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 2006. He furthered his education at Alabama A&M University and is currently enrolled at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He married his Elementary School sweetheart, Mrs. VaTedra Ashley Walker and has two beautiful children: Kennedy and Lee III. Lee serves as the Pastor of New Home Missionary Baptist Church and loves to sing and preach, but above all, he simply seeks to educate others, to Elevate and Emulate Jesus Christ!
Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Career Coach and Graduate Coach
Angelicia started out as a student at Hope Inspired Ministries in January 2017 to get the skills she needed to get her into the workforce. She was the top student in her class and did her internship at HIM for three weeks. She graduated as the Honor Graduate of her class and was hired on full-time as the receptionist. Since being at HIM, she has taken on the roles of receptionist, student recruitment, case manager and instructor, and is currently working as a post-graduate case manager/coach. Angelicia uses her story of redemption and restoration to help show what HIM is doing to impact lives in our community, as well as encourage potential students to start the program. In her spare time, she likes to read and spend time with her family.
Contact Angelicia at email@example.com
Alan joined Hope Inspired Ministries in March 2020 and currently assists the ministry behind the scenes with data management. He married Rachel in 2002, and they have three lively and creative children, ages 8 to 14. His family moved to Montgomery in Fall 2019 to live closer to his parents and extended relatives. They are active members with the Montgomery Inner City Church of Christ. In his spare time, Alan enjoys leading worship, mowing lawns, and making memories with his family.
Contact Alan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Relations Director
Angela Wier joined Hope Inspired Ministries in December 2020 as the Community Relations Director. Angela is based in Birmingham and has responsibility for community relations on all campuses. She has 27 years of non-profit experience with a background in economic development, marketing, and fundraising. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Masters in Business Administration, and has served on the boards of the Alabama Aerospace Association, BIO Alabama, and Create Birmingham. She has a passion for the arts and for helping people gain employment. Angela enjoys gardening, cooking, and taking walks with her three rescue doggies.
Contact Angela at email@example.com
Career Coach and Director of Operations
Farrah was hired as the Instructor for the HIM Birmingham campus in 2016. After serving in this role for several years, she was promoted to Director of Operations. Farrah has an incredible story of redemption and her life has shown how the Lord can take any story and bring beauty from ashes.
Farrah grew up in Birmingham, but ran away from home at the age of 17 and battled addiction for the next 10 years. In those 10 years, she experienced homelessness, isolation, suicide attempts and jail. On July 9, 2014, Farrah decided to get clean and entered the Foundry in Bessemer, AL. She graduated from The Foundry in August 2015 and began working at Stellar Construction as an Administrative Assistant where she worked for over a year, as well as mentored women in the Foundry. This is where she began to have a heart for helping people who were coming out of bad situations just like she was and help them not only obtain employment, but learn how to maintain employment.
In 2016, Farrah was accepted into Highlands College and graduated in May of 2018 where she studied Pastoral Leadership. She is married to Del Wright, who works at The Exceptional Foundation helping kids and adults with special needs. Del also serves as a volunteer for Hope Inspired Ministries.
Farrah has walked a very long journey of hopelessness and bad decisions and never thought that she would be where she is today. Because of this, she’s very passionate about helping others achieve this success in all aspects of life and also give them hope, grace and mercy like others have given her.
Contact Farrah at firstname.lastname@example.org