LaShanda D. Pitts
Founder & CEOHere’s More About The Founder…
At age nine, CLS Founder LaShanda Pitts received a brand new perspective of the world. Just as she began to prepare her wish list of Christmas gifts that year, her mother and father announced to her and her siblings that instead of receiving personal Christmas gifts, they would adopt a less fortunate family in the community. Mrs. Pitts’ family devoted an entire day to the “adopted” family during the holidays, driving them to various stores for gifts and the grocery store for food and other cooking needs and more. It was their mission to ensure all of the family’s Christmas wishes and needs were met. Through this life experience, Mrs. Pitts learned the true meaning of Christmas, and embraced the ultimate realization that giving back to those less fortunate was not a hindrance, nor drudgery, but a privilege. Her passion for community service and volunteerism began with this early lesson.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Pitts moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1994. She brought with her a boundless spirit of creativity, originality, and free thinking, including professional experience from her business background. Mrs. Pitts merged these qualities, in addition to skills derived from networking with various professionals, her passion for one-of-a-kind event planning and lifelong determination to proactively contribute to society and founded Classy Living Society in 2013.
Mrs. Pitts is proud of CLS, its members, and many past, present and ongoing personal and professional accomplishments; among them:
-Inspired and created a digital magazine, Classy Chronicles, which has over 80, 000 subscribers
-Annual Red Dress Gala, began in 2014 with 100 attendees, growing to 300 attendees at it’s recent 4th Annual Gala.
–Adopt a Block/Road in various U.S. cities.
-Expanding membership rolls nationwide with New York, Houston and Washington, D.C. chapters on the horizon for 2018
-The Classy Living Society 501(c)(3) organization launch in 2018
-A membership level for college students to foster relationships and mentorships with young women in college
-Taking the lead in the authorship and publishing of an inspirational book for young women written by members of CLS’ executive team and board of directors
Through CLS, Mrs. Pitts has fostered a sisterhood among the organization’s members. From the very start, she has helped bring women together to volunteer, and with that, has also encouraged them to socialize and build friendships. She also emphasizes the importance of educating and empowering through CLS’ numerous educational workshops. She plays an integral part in promoting and providing support for CLS member businesses.
Mrs. Pitts has also brought another of her dreams to fruition through her newest venture, LAIK Experiences, an event planning company that creates once-in-a-lifetime occasions for her patrons.
Mrs. Pitts resides in Atlanta with her husband Tony and their loyal chocolate Staffordshire, Black.
EVP, Community Outreach
Tiffany Q. Coppins
Executive Director, EventsTiffany Q. Coppins is a true Georgia Peach, with a natural niche in the event industry. Tiffany’s southern charm, creative concepts and keen attention to detail has helped contribute to her success in executing a variety of events from small scale to large corporate events. Tiffany is passionate about her skills and dedication to providing an illuminating experience for each and every client.
Tiffany is the owner of her own event consultant firm – Veils Detail Weddings*Events* Concepts and holds a Master of Science degree in Human Resources from Strayer University. She is also a proud graduate from Georgia Perimeter College – Continuing Education program with a certification in Event Planning/Management, as well as an Education Instructor with Ashworth University. With her active life, Tiffany still finds time to stay socially involved in her community through volunteerism and public service work. She enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family and of course shopping!
Valérie Alerte Kavanagh, MBA - Founding Sister
Executive Director, Business Development & Brand Strategy
Valérie has extensive experience in sales and marketing. Valérie is passionate about volunteering and using her skill sets to best assist non-profits and organizations in any capacity. She has served on Executive Boards in Georgia in addition to holding committee positions.
Valérie is a Haitian-American, multi-lingual New York native, wife and mother of two beautiful children who are better known and referred to as the (#KavanaghKuties). She loves all things vintage and classy and enjoys giving back to the community.
She and her husband transplanted to Georgia in 2012 and appreciate all that Atlanta has to offer. She has an affinity for hosting annual social events for her friends and family at her home and finds complete fulfillment and enjoyment in the fellowship which that provides.
Valérie is a philanthropist at heart and instills a philanthropic spirit amongst her children. Serving alongside fellow like-minded women to make a difference in all lives in the community is a critical part of what makes up the spiritual fabric of who Valérie is as a God fearing woman. She believes in the saying “If YOU do your best, HE will do the rest!”
Monica Stewart, CSAG
EVP, Legal LiaisonBorn and raised in Orlando, FL., Monica moved to the suburbs of Atlanta at age sixteen with her parents who were transferred to Atlanta by their respective employers. Monica is the eldest of siblings she has one sister and one brother. She attended Clark Atlanta University, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Psychology. Monica has always had a heart for people more specifically women; who often seek her input as she has an empathetic spirit,she is a great listener and loyal friend. Monica is the mother of 4 children three sons and one daughter.
Monica has worked in the insurance and legal arena for 24 years, she currently works in the insurance industry for one of Forbes Global 2000 organizations. She has a Property & Casualty background; she has worked in the area of Personal Lines Auto/Homeowner’s Insurance, Commercial General Liability, Litigation Consultant. She has also held positions with one of Atlanta’s well known Personal Injury Law Firms as a Litigation Paralegal and Case Manager as well as an Insurance Defense Paralegal for one of Atlanta’s Premier Insurance Companies. Monica is also a Certified Special Arbitrator and Mobile Notary.
It is my distinct pleasure to give of my time to a worthwhile organization where I have the ability to utilize my experience and expertise all the while bonding with sisters of like mind; and a spirit of giving back and philanthropy.
Giving back reminds me of one my favorite scriptures
Acts 20:35 ~ it is more blessed to give than to receive
Executive Director, Member Relations
Panya began leaving her mark on the world in Chattanooga, TN. Wife and mother of three, Panya and her family currently live in a suburb just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Panya embodies the word EMPOWERMENT! In her every move, she projects positivity. The self-described ‘Ambitious Winning Woman’ and certified professional life coach, she offers thoughtful, sincere, and honest words that help nurture and develop the strengths of those around her. Panya helps strengthen confidence, allowing you to take control and regain power over those obstacles that sometimes make us feel powerless.
She is a domestic violence survivor with a testimony that she hopes will inspire others. She is a Certified Direct Service Provider for the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. Panya is an advocate and speaker educating our community about domestic violence. The aspiring author will publish her first book in late 2017.
Executive Director, FinanceBorn and raised in the small town of Newton, MS, Cheryl always has been a giver at heart whether it was time or knowledge. She moved to Atlanta in July of 2007 to see what her Accounting degree from Jackson State University, the south’s only urban university at that time, could really do for her and her son. So, she left her comfy state job, and established a life in Atlanta for herself and her two-year-old son.
Fast forward to today, she has made a home for her family, completed her MBA in Finance, has served in several accounting roles from Staff Accountant to Senior Financial Analyst to Assistant Controller positions, has established her own accounting practice called Choice Accounting Partners, LLC where she helps small business owners take control of their finances, and is now in search of ways to give beyond her inner circle or her coworkers in a way that makes a significant impact in the lives of others.
Being the oldest of four, sharing and giving has always been her center as she was the example for her siblings to follow. It has become her life’s goal to teach her son and others to give and to find a way to impact the lives of others in a positive way. Her ideal result to achieve through the act of volunteering is that the lives of young people and single mothers are filled with hope, positivity, and belief that your faith and action towards better is enough to move any mountain and turn any situation to one that’s beneficial for you.
Janine Lattimore originally hails from Bronx, New York City and after living in Columbus, Ohio for a number of years, migrated to the Atlanta, Georgia area in 1985. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
Words are her passion, and in between raising her son, and her work as an administrative legal assistant for a large corporate law firm, Janine is a connoisseur of words – creative writing, editing and proofreading. Her love of all things “wordy” began at an early age, cultivated by supportive family members and teachers. As a result of her work as editor and writer of Classy Living Society’s digital publication, The Classy Chronicles, Janine was presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2016 from President Barack Obama. Janine is also a skillful baker – her red velvet layer cake has garnered rave reviews.
She believes that the key to enjoying a blessed and enriched life is in the giving of self and gratefulness for the present. Socializing and entertaining, spending time with family and friends, cooking, shopping and reading books by her preferred authors are a few of her favorite things.
Tarrah D. Gales - Founding Sister
Advisory CommitteeBorn in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Tarrah Gales considers herself a Georgia Peach! Tarrah has over 17 years transactional legal experience working for Fortune 100 & 500 companies and large law firms. She currently works for a publicly-traded company in its Corporate & Securities Practice where she manages corporate governance and compliance with the Company’s insider trading policy.
Inspired by her spirited 93-year old grandfather who instilled in her the values of “service and giving back” when Tarrah was a child; she has continually worked alongside various organizations and charities promoting civic engagement and volunteerism. In her spare time, Tarrah is a lover of books, enjoys vintage & consignment shopping, delights in honing her culinary skills, and appreciates a day at the spa!
Tarrah holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Howard University in Washington, DC and a master’s degree in public administration from Strayer University in Atlanta.
ShaRhonda Elizabeth Simmons - Founding Sister
Born in Harlem, New York and raised in Pikeville, Kentucky, ShaRhonda relocated to Atlanta, Georgia in the 1990’s and began a 20 year career in the customer service industry enjoying varied careers: flight attendant, bartender and beauty consultant. As a flight attendant, fifteen of those years were spent, at thirty thousand feet in the air working for domestic and international airlines. ShaRhonda is proud of her tenure “in the air” and boasts providing passengers with outstanding customer service and having the opportunity to serve our troops as they were being transported around the world to protect and serve our country as some of the most fulfilling moments of that experience.
As a “fashionista” and beauty maven, the woman behind the M.A.C. brush #42 enjoys helping all women discover their outer beauty and look their best by showing them how to accentuate their unique beauty in selecting makeup and clothing choices that compliment their complexions and womanly curves, thus boosting their confidence which allows all women to stand in the fullness of who they are and express their real beauty – what lies in their hearts. ShaRhonda is not only flawless in her personal style, but also in her soul and feels bringing jovial smiles to others is her true passion.
Having traveled the world as a flight attendant, ShaRhonda now stays close to home spending quiet time with two beautiful twin boys, perfecting her new found passion for cooking, watching movies and her favorite show Scandal; yes – she is a Gladiator!
Avis R. Pitts
Member Relations Manager
Avis was born in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Atlanta with her husband Rockie in 1978. She received her Bachelor of Science in Hearing and Speech Science from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and earned her Master of Education in Speech and Language Pathology from Georgia State University in Atlanta. Avis has over 30 years experience in the field of education. She has worked in both the public and charter school arenas and has served as a Special Education Coordinator, Mentor, Lead Teacher, Liaison and Speech-Language Pathologist. Avis has worked collaborately with teachers, parents and other professionals. Her affiliations include the American Federation of Teachers and the Council for Exceptional Children.
Avis is a proud mother of two and enjoys the company of her two active granddaughters. She enjoys reading, shopping, exercising and watching her favorite mystery/suspense/sci-fi shows. Avis has previously served as orientation chairperson for her church ministry group and is currently the activities chair. Working with various community groups including Hands on Atlanta, Girl Scouts of America, the Atlanta Women’s Day Shelter and the Homeless Shelter at her church have helped to continue to fuel her strong desire to make a difference in the community.
Even though Avis is currently semi-retired from the Atlanta Public School System, she looks forward to continuing her passion for facilitating and helping others be all that they can dream to be.
Crystal Danzey, born in Newark New Jersey but was raised in Dothan, Alabama. Being from a loving family she learned at an early age how important it was to give back. After relocating to Atlanta in 2003, she began to fulfill her desire and interests in the community by volunteering. In 2011 she joined a non-profit organization called CRE8IVENSIGHTS, a non-profit organization aimed at educating the African American community on HIV/AIDS awareness, thru literary arts and performances. Crystal became involved behind the scenes eventually working her way to the stage. Her debut was in the production play Positively Infected playing the role of DR. Anevey. Her latest debut was on stage in 2013 starring in 3 roles in the stage play Beyond Betrayal. Crystal traveled up and down the East Coast along with the rest of the cast performing at churches, theaters and one special performance in New York City. Volunteering is a passion.
Community Outreach DirectorOprah Winfrey has always been my idol. Her strength and resilience are truly inspiring. Much like Ms. Winfrey, I believe in helping people become the best version of themselves. I have chosen a career path which has allowed me to pour into others. A native of Chicago, IL. I moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2015 after years of contemplation and mental preparation. I received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Aurora University, a private 4 year university located in Illinois. Additionally, I studied special education and written communication through graduate programs at National-Louis University.
I enjoy working with people from various backgrounds in various capacities. I have been employed as a child protective services worker, a senior services coordinator, a mental health professional, and a social services director. I am currently employed with Fulton County School System as a special educator, the culmination of my career path. What I know for sure is that I am here for a purpose, and it’s my desire to fulfill that purpose while I can still draw in breath.