Staff

Utica Cason
Executive Director/Founder

Utica has lived in Raleigh for over 25 years. She attended SUNY-Empire State College and majored in Family/Human Services. She has affordable housing, criminal justice, real estate, non-profit, and human services experience. She has volunteered with several non-profit organizations in the community either as a volunteer, board member, or assistant executive director. Her passion is helping others and giving back to individuals in her community.

Wondella Payne - Board Member

Wondella Payne is the Founder/Principal Consultant of Wonder Business Management, LLC, a business management and consulting agency focused on assisting businesses and individuals with developing their businesses and discovering their creative niches. Wondella founded her business after using her keen intellect and skills to help friends and family with their business endeavors, gaining years of experience in the professional world, and honing her legal and writing skills as a paralegal at The North Carolina State Bar, where she has worked for over ten years. Wondella is a proud HBCU, alumna of Shaw University, graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Wondella also obtained her Certificate in Paralegal Studies from Meredith College before going on to take the exam to become a North Carolina Certified Paralegal.

Wondella enjoys being an advocate for others and contributing to her community through service, both professionally and voluntarily. Along with participating in charity events, helping the teen court clinic, and volunteering her notary skills at a wills for heroes event, Wondella previously served as a child advocate by being a Guardian ad Litem and later was appointed to the Wake County Commission for Women serving as its Secretary. Wondella now brings her love for community, legal and management skills, and experiences advocating for others to this Board to aid in all its efforts to assist underserved youth and families.

When she is not working or helping others, Wondella enjoys reading, critiquing and creating content, empowering women, drinking wine, finding beautiful home decor for her new house in Knightdale, and spending time alone or with friends and family on her new favorite place - her back deck.

Keya Kelly - Board Member

Keya Kelly is an administrative management professional who holds a wealth of knowledge in several different areas. She has over 20 years’ experience working with very large corporations as well as small organizations. She has earned an MBA with concentration in Marketing from Liberty University – Eagle Knowledge Aflame! As a United States Army veteran, Keya knows the importance of selflessly helping others – Hooah! She enjoys giving back and volunteering for many causes. Keya also works within the nonprofit sector. Having the opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors for SOAR Outreach allows her to make a difference in the lives of those within our community. She looks forward to each chance of collaborating with and educating others about the positive impact that SOAR Outreach has on our community and its members

Angela Black - Board Member

A System Technician and Military Veteran with 20+ years of professional technical support, operation development, communication, and administrative experience. Provided support services to 14,000 end users across 9 locations. Maintained 180 corporate and property website content updates; ensure 100% accuracy of department material. Administered wireless and network devices, valued more than $10K, for over 100 users. Supervised, coordinated, and utilized 1,200 workstations along with $250K worth of vital company assets. Accounting administrator for the IT department, assisting the IT Director in budgeting a million-dollar-plus yearly budget. Currently, a Technical Account manager servicing the Property Management industry in the day to day management of their communities, by providing them with software solutions to streamline the leasing objectives.

Vera Morris - Board Member

Vera Morris is currently residing in Cary, North Carolina. She is a Consultant at
Yardi Systems, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina and a Professional Model, signed
with Marilyn’s, Greensboro, NC.
Vera received her Associates of Arts degree from Peace College in Raleigh, North
Carolina; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication, from the
University of Georgia.
Vera fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming Miss North Carolina USA in 1998.
She was awarded the Miss Congeniality award at the televised, Miss USA 1998
pageant. Throughout her reign she received modeling and acting opportunities
and appeared on The Wheel of Fortune. Vera has been a Breast Cancer
Advocate and Ambassador for over 5 years and has worked with organizations
such as Susan G. Komen, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and the
American Cancer Society. In 2019, Vera began motivational speaking about
Mental Health Awareness, based upon her experiences dealing with, and
overcoming depression and anxiety. Vera is the reigning United States of
America’s Ms. North Carolina 2021, and will compete for the national title of
United States of America’s Ms. 2021 in Las Vegas, next February.

Joseph W. Styles - Board Member

oseph Styles has a diverse twenty years of experience working with juvenile and adult offenders. His prior background in administration and fieldwork has granted him direct experience with decision-making on advocating for adolescence and justice serve individuals. Joseph has always been a champion for second chances with a deep-rooted sense that this can be achieved through providing social & technical skills which both serve as a powerful reagent to success.

Mr. Styles holds a master’s degree in Criminal Justice Administration from NC Wesleyan University and a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice practice from Abilene Christian University. His education and professional background offer a holistic approach and outlook to the subject matter of successful reentry. Serving as a reentry specialist for North Carolina Correction Enterprise, Mr. Styles’ mission has always been to promote excellence and credibility in correctional industries through professional development and innovative solutions to improve public safety and successful offender reentry. This position provides marketing and public relation to the NC Business and industry of technical training that North Carolina Correction Enterprise provides to inmates.

In addition, Mr. Styles has a strong background in program management, strategic planning, staff training and development, client intake, client assessment, counseling, treatment plan development, crisis intervention, non-profit, and human services experience. Some of Mr. Styles other accomplishments and skills include the following:

Attends local Re -entry Council meetings for community resources assessment for offenders
Prison Rape Elimination Act Training (PREA)
Motivational Interviewing Certificate (MI)
Case Management Certificate
Employer Driven Model (Justice Model) Certificate
Cognitive Behavioral Interactions (CBI-CC)
Soft skill for workplace Success
Member of the America Correctional Association