Kaiya Harris Thompson
Kaiya Harris Thompson, CEO
Kaiya Harris Thompson is a believer in the power of community. For 11 years, she built communities of learning as an urban educator in some of the most challenged school districts in New Jersey. Her time in education allowed her to see, first-hand, the impact that poverty had on students’ ability to succeed academically. She made the difficult decision to leave the classroom to lead in the nonprofit sector in ways that allowed her to educate and organize diverse groups of people around issues like civic engagement, food insecurity, healthcare inequity and youth development.
Before coming to lead Columbus Works, Kaiya was the National Directir of Development Coaching for the All Stars Project, Inc. where she led the design and implementation of a virtual one-on-one leadership coaching program that connected more than 500 young adults and corporate coaches in San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, New York City, Jersey City (NJ) and Newark (NJ). Kaiya holds a B.S. in Public Health from The Richard Stockton College of NJ.
Nelson Mandela offered that “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” This describes what motivates Kaiya to work in partnership with and on behalf of our impoverished neighbors and the reason she is committed to eliminating poverty in Columbus and the greater Central Ohio community.
Katrina Hayes, Program Manager/Instructor
An expert in Talent Acquisition and customer experience, Katrina brings a valuable business perspective to Columbus Works. Her expertise with the workforce in the entry level and skilled trades industries results in delivery of an excellent participant experience and value added services provided our employer partners. Katrina also bring years of experience in the financial services industry serving as a Personal Banker with Huntington National Bank, where she crafted solutions designed to meet the unique needs of each individual client. She is also an experienced corporate trainer, and brings an energy and perspective to the classroom that learners find refreshing.
Katrina is a native of central Ohio and is engaged in her community in many ways, including volunteer work for local non-profit organizations. She is excited to bring Columbus Works to her community and neighbors. Katrina enjoys spending time with her husband and family, and is active in sports such as softball and volleyball.
Art Gray, Lead Employment Coach
Art brings nearly 25 years of business and community service experience to the Columbus Works team. Art is a proven and respected community leader, and is an expert in serving residents of under-served neighborhoods in Columbus, including those experiencing poverty, trauma, and substance abuse. Art is a graduate of the prestigious DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative, and is an an expert on the needs of opportunity youth and creating collaborate partnerships, Art has a proven track record of innovative solutions, delivering results that change lives and communities. For ore than 20 years,
Art has lead business units delivering production on-time, leading people, managing budgets, quality assurance, and customer experience. Art and his family live in Columbus, and are actively engaged in service to their community..
Kela Davis, Director of Operations and Life Coach
Kela is directing Operational Excellence of service delivery for Columbus Works, insuring the highest quality outcomes for our Members, Employer Partners, and community colleagues. In 2021 Kela earned her Six Sigma White Belt, and will complete the Green Belt project in 2022. In this role she eagerly applies the years of experience gained during her tenure at Columbus Works, including work relative to continuous improvement, to enable our goal of the highest level of organizational effectiveness.
Receiving her Master of Arts degree in Life Coaching from Liberty University, Kela has extensive experience working with women in need of divorce care, mentoring men in the justice system who are looking to start over, and adolescents in need of encouragement and guidance. She is a former volunteer mentor at Alvis, Inc. working wtih men returning fromincarcerated, and former volunter with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio.
Kela brings 5+ years working talent acquistion in private industry, and 10 years volunteering at juvenile detention centers, county jails, reentry facilities, and rebuilding impoverished communities. When she is not in the field, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, meeting new people, and spending time with family and friends.
Seth VanHorn, Manager, Columbus Works @Work
Seth VanHorn leads our Columbus Works @Work transitional employment program. Seth brings experience in developing and implementing transitional employment programs, having worked with Community Properties of Ohio and Godman Guild, in Columbus, Ohio. Through his broad experience in the non-profit field, Seth has gained well-rounded program development and project management knowledge, as well as extensive on-the-job employee training expertise.
Holding a Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio University, Seth is also an AmeriCorps alumni and former Conservation Corps Program Coordinator. Throughout his career with AmeriCorps, Seth worked in roles ranging from crew member to Regional Manager, in locations from southeast Alaska to Texas. Now, back in his hometown of Columbus, Seth often spends time outdoors and in his free time he enjoys camping, hiking, cycling, and the occasional woodworking project.
Sheldon Kee, Employment Coach
Born in Columbus Ohio, and a graduate of Eastmoor High School, Sheldon has successfully worn many hats during his career: counselor, teacher, coach, mentor, and artist. Sheldon is also a decorated athlete, having earned an athletic scholarship and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from North Carolina State University, where he played football.
In 2008 Sheldon founded Catching Hope, Inc. a non-profit based in North Carolina which focused on motivational speaking and providing youth football clinics across the country
Sheldon has invested the last 20 years in child & family mental health counseling. Previous to joining Columbus Works Sheldon was a Physical Education teacher in the Charter School system. Sheldon has also been a Jr. High football coach in Reynoldsburg for 5 years.
When Sheldon is not helping people he is spending time with his Frenchie O.G