Board of Directors
Desert Soul Media, Inc. is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of professionals and community residents who believe in our mission of creating trauma-informed media as a tool for building community. Find out more about the members of our Board of Directors below.
Board Chair, Executive Director and President
Kaja has more than 25 years of non-profit management experience, namely as a co-founder of Desert Soul Media, Inc., and the Arizona Community Media Foundation, two non-profit public media organizations in Phoenix, Arizona. During his career, Mr. Brown has worked in the roles of President and as a Board member. He also possesses extensive knowledge regarding how to develop, manage, and build sustainable revenue streams for non-profit organizations. He holds a Master of Business Administration, as well as a Bachelor degree. He has also earned graduate level credit from the Nonprofit Leadership and Management program within the Lodestar Center at Arizona State University.
In addition to his work with DSM, Kaja also serves on the Boards of Casa de Sincero, Inc. (CDS), The Foundation of the Alliance for Community Media (FACM), and the National Board of the Pacifica Foundation (Pacifica). CDS is a non-profit healthcare organization serving adults with behavioral health challenges in northern California. FACM is the charitable arm of the Minneapolis-based Alliance for Community Media, which raises funds for programs which facilitate, preserve and promote education in community media. Pacifica is the oldest community and public radio network in the United States, operating stations in New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, and Washington, DC, along with an affiliate network and national audio archive.
Calvin J Worthen
Board Vice Chair, Deputy Director and Vice President
Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Calvin has been in radio since 2001 as host of a late night show on WVOE. He completed his undergraduate degree in kinesiology from the University Of Northwestern-St. Paul and his master’s in business and industry education from the University of Minnesota. In 2010 he was awarded the Jane Matteson Jazz Educator of the Year, and in 2011 was the National Association of Black Storytellers 1st place winner of the “Signifying and Testifying” Tall Tales Contest. Recently, he was featured with Arizona Storytellers Project. Calvin performs freelance voice work and has narrated a collection of audio books on Audible. As a well-rounded athlete and fitness expert, he spends down time exercising and playing sports. Calvin is a vocalist, a percussionist and a thespian with a number of years of experience in performance.
Calvin hosts the weekly Blues and R&B radio show Blue Friday every Friday from 9pm to 10pm on KRDP. Likewise, he serves as one of the main anchors of DSM’s cultural affairs program Soul Star Live, broadcast M-F at 12noon on KRDP.
Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer & Director
Aqueelah is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in the Valley. She studied accounting at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul, where she earned a bachelor degree. Her professional and volunteer experience includes work in accounting services, community organizing, and early childhood education. Likewise, she has led both a neighborhood association and parent advisory council. With a passion for education and community development, Aqueelah desires to help others to expand their worldview and reach their full potential.
Every Friday at 12noon on KRDP, she hosts the health and wellness episode of DSM’s Soul Star Live cultural affairs program featuring guests including the Black Nurses Association of Greater Phoenix.
Secretary & Director
Jennifer is a retired Director of Product Management from Amtrak. While based in New York City she was responsible for the business performance of every long distance train (seven) east of Chicago. Jennifer created and produced a series of educational videos, “Back to Basics” that were accepted and included in Amtrak’s national training program. She co-authored the Service Excellence Training Program for the California Zephyr, the premier train that travels from Chicago to Emeryville, California.
Now based in Tucson, Jennifer hosts the weekly radio/podcast/YouTube series Boom Goddess Radio, heard in Arizona on KXCI in Tucson (Sun 3:30pm) and KRDP in the Phoenix area (Sun 6pm). She considers it a privilege to be a contributor that connects the voices of women over 50 across America and around the world.
Kenneth W. Davis
“Ken” Davis is a practicing attorney for more than 25 years. He grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in New York City, Chicago, and San Diego. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California. Ken brings a wealth of legal experience to our Board of Directors, as well as a background including Economics (B.A. cum laude), legal ethics, the criminal justice system, a love for music-as-art, and a passion for minority entrepreneurship.
Chris Felton wears many hats – amateur writer, artist, philosopher, historian, martial artist, and radio broadcaster. Hailing from North Carolina, he has resided in Phoenix for nearly 20 years. Often viewed as having introverted and extroverted qualities, Chris is of a quiet, calm and observant disposition. He loves authentic ginger ale, Vietnamese food and chicken wings. He has a thing for sweet red wines; extremely articulate, sophisticated, beautiful women of substance; and travel to exotic locations. His musical tastes reflect an eclectic sound and a love for all forms of music. He believes: “We’re all connected regardless if we realize it or not. If we can see past the superficial and the boxes society has created to keep us distracted. Music is that connective tissue that can unite us. It’s the universal language.”
Deanne Hall is a native of Connecticut. Prior to relocating to Arizona, Deanne launched KDgospel Magazine, an online Gospel music publication and radio station. She has also served in volunteer leadership roles, mentoring small business owners as a business developer for SCORE. In the past she has developed summer school and mental health programs for all ages, and has experience serving on the boards of organizations such as The Journey Writers, and Lift Every Voice and Sing (LEVAS). Likewise, Deanne has served as the President of the Blue Hills Merchants Association, which represents the merchants on the north side of Hartford, CT. Deanne is excited to contribute to the Desert Soul Media Board and looks forward to helping us grow and expand in the future.
Tiffany Hawkins is an intelligent Black woman who is an unapologetic, multi-talented, visionary leader with solid beliefs about God, family, and cultural heritage. She is a fun-loving, creative individual with a charismatic spirit and a compassionate heart.
Tiffany was born and raised in the traditional family setting of a two-parent household right here in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, advocate, and activist within the South Phoenix community. From an early age, her parents groomed her to be an entrepreneur. Working in the family businesses required a special set of skills. Cosmetology, culinary, catering, and event planning services were the four streams of income that sustained her family’s way of life throughout her childhood. Tiffany continued her entrepreneurial efforts (side hustle) while simultaneously starting her career at MV Transportation. During her tenure at MV Transportation, she takes her assignment as a driver as her ministry. While transporting elderly and disabled passengers from one location to another, she brings a ray of hope with her infectious smile and encouraging conversation.
Tiffany has always maintained a level of excellence in the way she does things. So, it’s no surprise that she would name her business My Way by Tiffany. Event planner, designer, caterer, and retreat host are just a few of the services that she provides her way. She brings that same energy to Desert Soul Media as a newly elected Board member and our programs, including KRDP 90.7 FM as a radio show co-host at the 225th black-owned radio station in the United States. You’re probably wondering what does she do in her spare time? Tiffany enjoys researching health and wellness activities and the family history all the way back to Africa. She has a love for reading, music, dancing, and cooking. In spite of ALL that she does, Tiffany continues to embrace the challenges and rewards of being a mother, grandmother, and caregiver with grace.
Debra is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has lived in the Valley for many years. Debra is a founding member of the DSM Board, and has an incredible ability to excite the community about the work we do. When she’s not lending her voice on-air for public service announcements, or helping us promote our programs, she spends time with her children and grandchildren. Likewise, Debra is a devout follower of the Baháʼí Faith, which teaches the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people.
Born in Saginaw, Michigan, spoken word artist/poet/emcee/actor Truth B. Told (born Christopher Owens) is known for many things…but biting his tongue isn’t one of them. Witness just a few minutes of one of his critically acclaimed live performances, and you’ll understand why. Truth’s candid, pull-no-punches, call-it-like-he-sees-it style is one that resonates with audiences across color lines & age ranges. He has opened for acts such as Floetry, Mint Condition, and Musiq Soulchild; written a commercial for BET’s Black History Moment; made appearances on VH1 & MTV, and has even appeared in film, including the independent film “How You Look To Me”, starring Frank Langella (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, “Frost/Nixon”).
Truth B. Told was awarded “Spoken Word Album of the Year” at the 2012 National Poetry Awards for his project “LTV2: The Death & Rebirth of Christopher Owens”, as well as Spoken Word Artist of the Year in 2013. Never one to rest on his laurels or past accomplishments, he has completed work on a book, “Words I Remember”, as well as his hip hop/jazz-infused spoken word project, “Oxymoronicotineverland” both released in June 2015. In fall 2015, Truth B. Told was also featured in Dove & Twitter’s #SpeakBeautiful online campaign targeted at empowering women and challenging the societal standards of beauty. Always one to improve on his craft, Truth B. Told holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University, with a concentration in poetry and fiction.
When Chris is not working on DSM projects, he is busy running CultureHub, Arizona’s only African American owned co-working space located in Phoenix, or spending time with his beautiful girlfriend and their son.
Adlee "A Tray" Salaam
Adlee “A Tray” Salaam is a financial analyst, who being deeply committed to applying time to civic activities (such as youth mentor-ship and athletics coaching) has come full circle to discover that there is so much more to offer those members in his community by standing up for those things that are often overlooked or not broadcast in the brightest light.
In addition to his work on the DSM Board of Directors, A Tray hosts the weekly radio series We’re On Point, Saturdays from 4pm to 6pm on KRDP.