Benjamin C. Graham, CPS - AD (CARES), Operations Manager/Co-founder
Benjamin C. Graham is also known as “Bigmouthben” is a published author of "The Book of Benjamin", a business owner, and founder of Motivation Forward Inc. along with his wife Tanya Graham. Together they both empower their community to overcome adversities such as addiction, mental illness, and homelessness. Ben Graham also sits on the Board of Partners For Home, an Atlanta Continuum of Care which diligently works hard to provide resources for various C.O.Cs to make sure those experiencing homelessness and mental illness have the opportunity to become stable.
Ben Graham has a powerful story that is touching the lives of many across the country. He has been featured on various news stations and recognized by former Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed. He has led many on the path of recovery through mentoring and support. Ben realizing that the key to healing and building a community is treatment. He speaks in schools, universities, churches, and court-mandated programs to carry the message of hope.
A series of traumas propelled Ben Graham into a 17-year drug addiction/mental illness. He also suffered a life-threatening injury being crushed at the pelvis on the back of a garbage truck. This injury landed Ben in a wheelchair but faith and determination led to healing. He took that same wheelchair and turned it into a snack cart to support himself, later designing a bike which soon led to a brick and mortar. Today he is certain that anyone can dream again with proper treatment and determination.
Tanya Z. Graham, Executive Director/Co-Founder
A graduate of Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and minor in Chemistry. Tanya worked in biotechnology and medical device industry for over 17 years. Her experience as a manager and consultant in the medical device industry has proven beneficial in her position as President of Motivation Forward, Inc. She has taken her leadership skills, project management skills, creativity, and passion for helping others to bring awareness of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness to the surrounding Metro Atlanta area and beyond the borders of Georgia.
Tanya’s experience spans beyond that of corporate America. She has been performing volunteer work for over ten years at companies such as Red Cross, Standup For Kids, Hosea Feed the Hungry, MUST Ministries, The Bigmouthben Movement and now Motivation Forward. She has also served on several service work projects that included ministering to the homeless with food, clothes, and blankets.
Pamela A. Elliott, Secretary
Pamela is a graduate of Shorter University with a Master of Business Administration. She also obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Non-Profit Administration. Pamela's volunteer experience at the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Youth Detention Center has been beneficial to our mission at Motivation Forward, Inc.
As the Project Production Specialist, Pamela's experience and dedication to non-profit outreach tailored with her corporate experience that entails developing and overseeing business needs; developing departmental goals as well as troubleshooting and resolving issues have allowed her to cultivate and oversee Motivation Forward's projects, meetings, and fundraisers with success.
John Gurley, Community Service Partner
President of John Gurley Incorporated, LLC
John has deep family and spiritual ties to the City of Atlanta. His mom was a 4th Generation Atlanta Native, and his grandfather worked at Brookwood station for Southern Railroad. His great grandmother was 6 years old when Sherman razed Atlanta, and she told stories of the Battle for Atlanta to her family often.
His great grandfather John Gurley (namesake) on his father's side founded Mt Pleasant Baptist Church in Suches, GA in 1840.
Graduate of Sandy Springs High School in 1971. He was an Atlanta Journal Top 6 area basketball player & Top collegiate football prospect, signing with The University of Georgia in 1971.
1971-1974 John was a Tight End for Coach Vince Dooley, playing in both the Peach Bowl & Tangerine Bowls.
After attending UGA , he gained experience as a Clarke County Police Officer, with the Honorable Judge Kent Lawrence and fellow UGA Football Letterman as Chief.
John later moved his career to business development, sales and consulting which he still does today, having traveled to over 12 countries and all across the USA. He advises business professionals that range from real estate to manufacturers as well as participating directly in several endeavors.
John met his wife Robin at Sandy Springs High School and they have been married for 46 years, have 3 married children and 7 grandchildren.
John & Robin attend Passion City Church in Buckhead where they both serve on "Doorholder" teams. They strive to share personally in their daily lives - Passion City's mission objective to be "For God-For the People-For the City and for The World".
As an avid hiker, John has logged many miles & nights out on the Appalachian & Colorado Trail which gives him an understanding of survival living.
"The only easy day was yesterday" is his motivational slogan to keep going on long hikes.
John wants everyone to see what God sees in them...worth & value and to experience Gods' love. This was a long journey for him, but he believes it's very true and very possible for all.
Deidre Badu aka "BADU"
Badu is a Certified Addiction Counselor II and a Certified Clinical Supervisor. Her career started out in 1994 at The Haven @ Peer I in Denver, Colorado as a counselor. Badu assisted in the creation of the curriculum for incarcerated women at the Colorado Women's Correctional Facility. In 2006, Badu was the cofounder and CEO of Hindsight 20/20, Inc - non-profit organization committed to end homelessness by providing gender -specific transitional housing with professional and peer led recovery support services.
Badu currently operates Badu Recovery Counseling Consultants, LLC. For over 7 years, Badu Recovery Counseling has been a provider for the Georgia Addiction Counseling Association (GACA) which teaches individuals how to become professional addiction counselors. Badu is compassionate about the homeless community and the health issues that impact the our communities.