Meet the Board

Founder and Director Of Community Engagement

Shamekei L Gray is the founder and leader of the Waylyn Heart Team. The mother of four children too her passion, years of experience, and most importantly- Heart to create a vehicle for change. In July of 2020, Mekei spearheaded a Save Our Youth Rally which called for community members in the Waylyn neighborhood to to put an end to violent crimes by mentoring and teaching at-risk youth in the area. Together with community members the Waylyn Heart Team was formed in an effort to engage kids by collaborating with different activists, leaders and educators.

Mekei's years of community organizing has included but not limited to: 2006 Constituent School Board Candidate, Lead Organizer for 2011 Sickle Cell Walk i n North Charleston, CEO/Founder of Shotta Kids Foundation, and Sanders Clyde PTA President for 2016, and sitting on the Board for Ronjanae Smith Positive Vibes Center. to list a few.

Most recently while being a leader with WHT, Mask Off was founded and created by Mekei to be a safe space for women. Mask Off is an initiative that focuses on being a space of healing, mentoring, and sisterly love to be the best woman possible by helping other women. Outside of being a fulltime mother, she is serving in another motivating role as a minority and women owned business owner with Simply S Creations. Simply S Creations is a premier crafts, personalization, and specialized décor requests which are hand made with care. Mekei enjoys family, advocacy, walking, uplifting women, and being a member of Seacoast Church. She also enjoys serving as a mentor for young women.

See the full WHT history here:

Executive Director and Director of Operations

Dexter D. White is a writer, editor, community organizer, and corporate trainer. With a combination of over 15 years of experience, Dexter has been involved in social and community projects his entire life since living on "the Waylyn" for over 30 years to neighboring states. He was quite involved during his undergraduate years at Historically Black College/University, Albany State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2010. Then in 2010, he served as a program coordinator for the African American Male Initiative (AAMI)for the office of Multicultural Student Retention Services (MSRS. While helping with the matriculation, progression, and graduation of African American men; he received his Master of Public Administration with a concentration with Nonprofit Management in 2012. Since returning to Charleston in 2013, he is now a corporate trainer and Diversity Equity & Inclusion Chair at a Fortune 500 company. Dexter was one of the neighbors there for the Youth Rally in 2020.

His experience as a consultant and organizer with the following organizations will add benefit to his role as Executive Director: Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc, Beyond Services Consultant Services, Psi Chi National Honor Society, SA1, etc. Besides being a public speaker, an editor for local authors, and sitting on the board of Voices United. Dexter loves volunteering, learning, reading, poetry, working out and everything that brings positive vibes.

Co-Finance Coordinator

Kate was born and raised in Washington, DC, and moved to Charleston, SC to attend the College of Charleston where she earned a Bachelors of Science in Sociology. After working in various nonprofit and human service fields Kate completed her Master's in Social Work from Simmons University. She quickly earned her license as a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in South Carolina. Her desire to help others in a unique way and put her organizational skills to use led her to a career in fundraising and development with nonprofits. She recently completed an Executive Certificate of Nonprofit Fund Development with Notre Dame's Mendoza School of Business. Kate currently works remotely for Sanctuary Counseling Group, a nonprofit that offers mental health care in numerous communities in western North Carolina. Kate lives in North Charleston, SC with her husband and three silly dogs.

Co-Finance Coordinator

Teshima is extremely family focused by being a mother of 6 and a grandmother of soon to be 14 grandchildren. She has lived in the Dorchester Waylyn area for over 30 years. She brings a family and community perspective. She previously worked in nursing, retail management. She is now taking all of the experience and opening her own business. Teshima is a serial entrepreneur and is a business owner of Gems Of Glam located in Goose Creek. She also connects different parts of the community by providing low-income households for internet service and connected devices like a laptop or tablet. Her biggest hobby right now is staying motivated and encouraging others since falling iIl in 2019 being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, thyroid disease, lupus, adrenal insufficiency, lupus, fibromyalgia and other health impairment. She has also added health advocacy to her passions. “I love helping others”.



Ashlei Robinson brings over 15 years of experience working in social services. She has a BA in Criminal Justice from Charleston Southern University and a MA in Mental Health Counseling from Webster University. Her experience includes working with high school aged at risk youth and working with children and youth in foster care. She has worked in a psychiatric facility with different populations such as geriatric, children and adolescents, general adults, addiction, and acute care for over 10 years.

She is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She has worked with clients dealing with various types of mental illness which fuels her passion for making mental healthcare accessible. As a native in Charleston Sharing her experiences with WHT is just another way that Ashlei gives back. She volunteers throughout South Carolina and a member of the service-based Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Ashlei enjoys being outside, friends, family, volunteering and travelling.

“I value my career and the opportunity to impar positivity in the lives of young people.”

Youth Coordinator

Whitney served as the YWCA Greater Charleston from 2020-2022 as a youth empowerment & engagement coordinator. As its youth empowerment and engagement coordinator, she assisted in the development, coordination, implementation, and evaluation of programs educating and empowering young women in the Charleston region, including YWCA Greater Charleston's Y Girls Code technology coding program and SheStrong high school advocacy and leadership program.

She has more than four years of experience in product and customer service, training, supervision, and event planning. She has served as a trainer and style advisor for Target, applying technology from within two stores and its Target Circle app, and has taught English as a second language to sixth grade students from migrant families at Valdosta Middle School in Georgia. She also volunteered her time as secretary chair for Natural Sistas VSU and as fundraising chair for the SHARE in Africa Chapter at Valdosta State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a minor in Spanish.