Chris Horton

Founder/Executive Director | Extending A Helping Hand

CEO & Global Director, Strategic Initiatives | National Black Entrepreneurs Project

2019 W.A.C.E. Academy Graduate

Economic Development Financial Professional Candidate

Certified Association Executive Candidate

Chris Horton is a family man of faith and the oldest of three children. Chris enjoys hanging out with his kiddos, running, cooking, fishing, and going to the movies. Chris is a career financial professional with expertise in business credit, commercial lending, business banking services, commercial real estate acquisitions, business financial planning, credit restoration and debt consolidation.

Chris first sought out entrepreneurship in 2012 by starting his own financial practice with MassMutual Financial Group in Silicon Valley. Chris is the past Vice President of Membership and Sales with the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Chris’ forward thinking work ethic earned him the role of President & CEO with the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce. Chris is a member of the 2019 graduating Class from the Western Association of Chamber Executives Academy.

In classic entrepreneurial spirit, Chris once again sought out entrepreneurship in 2017 as the founder of Silicon Valley Laissez Faire Organization and is currently the Chairman, President & CEO pioneering economic and community development throughout the United States.

Looking to take a bite out of COVID losses and rebuild a suffering segment of the economy, visionary founder Chris Horton launched The Inclusivity Project on February 16, 2021, a new initiative to reach and help Black small business owners make a better life for oneself by leveling the playing field when it comes to systemic and institutional barriers. The NorCal SBDC – which is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration and the State of California – wanted The Inclusivity Project to shine a light on the needs of Black entrepreneurs and provide a safety net that can help them preserve their existing business or start a new enterprise in Northern California.

Today, unfortunately, we still see an exacerbated existence of systemic barriers that Black entrepreneurs are facing. COVID-19 and the racially charged violence in 2020 have shown the spotlight on this unfortunate situation. Being among the first to respond and provide help was visionary Chris Horton, launching a nonprofit named Extending A Helping Hand on September 28, 2022 at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. The mission is to build a supportive ecosystem from the ground up to advance economically and socially challenged BIPOC communities by addressing systemic and institutional inequities.

Chris’ Mission is economic prosperity, wealth creation/accumulation, and legacy building thru awareness, access, education, and application. All of this to script a eulogy in pursuit of a legacy that illustrates human equity for communities we can all live, work, play, and raise a family.

Jay King

Board President

President & CEO California Black Chamber of Commerce

President/CEO Jay King, is a Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, record label executive, radio personality, and small business advocate. Appointed as President and CEO of the CBCC in June 2019, Jay’s visionary leadership and tireless work ethic sets the tone for the CBCC. A champion for African American Small and Microbusiness owners, Jay serves as the Chair for Caltrans’ Statewide Small Business Counsel (SBC), African American Ad-Hoc Committee. He is also a member of the CA Department of General Services, and CA High Speed Rail Small Business Counsels, as well as the founder and Chairman of the North Sacramento Leadership Council, and the Founder and Interim President of the Greater Sacramento Financial Literacy Group. Jay is also a Board Member for the Neighborhood Wellness Project, and the United College Action Network, Inc. Jay is determined to put an indelible mark on the Small Business community throughout the State of California.

Charlotta Carter

Board Vice President

CEO GRI Technology Solutions, Inc. and Founder LLENA(AI) Health Solutions, Inc.

Charlotta Carter is a visionary leader and board director with over 15 years of experience in leading high performance software development and human resource teams and organizations. She is the CEO of GRI Technology Solutions, Inc., headquartered in San Mateo, California. and founder of LLENA(AI) Health Solutions, Inc. She has held senior level positions overseeing software development teams at leading technology corporations such as IBM, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and SGI among others. Her experience extends into the realm of international commerce – as developing high value software is increasingly a global endeavor requiring the right balance of personnel across multiple countries and the requisite commercial and cultural acumen to maintain team effectiveness and efficiency. 
Moreover, she further serves as the Managing Partner for PWC Technology Services, an IT Consulting and global staffing firm based in Toronto and focused on growing businesses in the Canadian market. Charlotta has provided leadership and advisory service across diverse industry segments such as technology, finance, healthcare and cyber security. She is recognized by Boardwise as an Advisory Expert and is well equipped to translate her commercial experience and board governance expertise into value accretive board solutions to address issues as varied as diversity, inclusion, and equity, financial oversight, cyber security and more. She has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition – including, but not limited to: First Woman-Owned firm accepted in Goldman Sachs’ 10K Small Business in Silicon Valley; State of California Governor’s appointee to the SBAC ( Small Business Advisory Board); and an Amazon partner with a focus on addressing chronic diseases by leveraging the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Charlotta earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Southern University. She has recently been recognized by the Silicon Valley Business Journal as a Women of Influence and by both the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal as a Top Minority Owned Business and Top Woman Owned Business.

Eugene “Gene” Cornelius Jr. 

Board Treasurer 

Senior Director, Center for Regional Economics Milken Institute

Eugene Cornelius, Jr. is the Center for Regional Economics Senior Director responsible for federal, state and local small business policy coordination. He has been appointed by the Biden Administration to the Advisory Board to U.S. Export- Import (EXIM) Bank where he chairs the subcommittee on the Whole of Government Collaboration. He also serves of the Advisory Board to the Minority Wealth Commission. Prior to his role here, he held a distinguished career in public service, most recently as Senior Advisor to the Office of International Trade, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). After successfully setting up and organizing the Office of International Trade at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Gene accepted a one-year detail to the International Council of Small Business (ICSB). 
He utilized his extensive international experience and executive leadership to design, develop, and deliver the ICSB Global program between the U.S. and ten allied countries. The Program also promotes the facilitation of trade between other countries’ small businesses and the small businesses of the United States. As Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade, Gene was responsible for administrating the oversight and execution of four program divisions: (1) The Federal & State Trade Development Division, (2) The International Trade Finance Division, (3) The International Affairs & Trade Policy Division, (4) Administration & Operations. In addition to his agency role, Gene served as an International consultant in the countries of Bahrain, Tunisia, and Jordan and twice in Egypt under the U.S. State Department Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) where he facilitated public private forums to streamline registration and regulations and zoning polices and expanded lending and non-financial services to small and medium sized enterprises. He previously served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Office of Business and Economic Development where he provided senior leadership to over 42% of the Agency’s budgeted workforce, ensuring the implementation of its overall goals, programs, and operations, covering all 50 states and U.S. territories.

Gene is a graduate of both the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma and Acquisition (Level 3) Senior Project Manager Program at American University and is nationally certified as an Associate in Risk Management (ARM). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Public Administration and is a visiting Scholar at George Washington University. He was awarded the Harvard University School of Business “Bright Idea” for Innovation in American Government Award for the Business Builder economic development initiative.

Bruce Waynne 

Board Member

Grammy Award Winner

Bruce Waynne (born Waynne Nugent) is half of the Grammy Award Winning Production Duo MIDI Mafia. The music production team established in 2003 is most notable for their production of 50 Cent’s number-one single “21 Questions”, as well as the producer for artists such as Frank Ocean, Justin Bieber, Fantasia, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, to name a few.

Also working with Brandy and James Fauntleroy II, the MIDI Mafia met and began to collaborate with Frank Ocean, who was then working as a songwriter and collaborated with the duo consistently. While working with MIDI Mafia, Frank Ocean wrote the songs “Quickly” for John Legend, “Bigger” and “Mamma’s Boy” for Justin Bieber. 

MIDI Mafia spearheaded the creation process for Frank Ocean’s mix tape, Nostalgia Ultra, producing the song Swim Good, and collaborated extensively on Ocean’s debut album, Channel Orange”, producing the lead song “Bad Religion” and garnered their Grammy Award. Other notable accomplishments are MIDI Mafia’s, The MADE Series. MADE is their Premiere Urban Music Library for Television & Film via their partnership with Extreme Music and Sony ATV. They are currently the number one urban music library in the industry and providing opportunities for rising stars. Waynne joins us from Sound Royalties, an innovative company that offers artists, songwriters, and producers non-credit based financing and funding without having to deal with loans from banks or traditional lenders, drawn against future royalty earnings with no credit hassles. Musical professionals retain the rights to their music and receive royalty financing in a structured manner so that income is still received, and not as 100% recoupment as is typical in the industry.

Bruce Waynne (Waynne Nugent) from Brooklyn, New York, formed Midi Mafia with Dirty Swift (Kevin Risto) from Ottawa, Ontario. Other then producing their own music, both Waynne and Swift have worked together to produce for artists such as Nelly, Brandy, Jennifer Lopez, Sha Stimuli, Capone-N-Noreaga (“Yes Sir“), Bravehearts,Gemma Fox, Jean Grae, Talib Kweli, Young Buck, Miri Ben-Ari, Lloyd Banks and many more.

Bruce Waynne met Dirty Swift at Makin ’Records Studio in Brooklyn, NY, while working on a project for Bad Seed. Swift was the in-house project engineer and beat maker while Waynne pitched beats and helped compose/perform choruses for Bad Seed. They later formed Midi Mafia and did spec work for various people, including Sylvia Rhone, who was the president of Elektra Records at the time.

In 2002 Dino Devalie, who was preparing to sign 50 Cent to his label, approached Midi Mafia, resulting in the use of Midi Mafia’s produced beats for “21 Questions”, which was featured on Get Rich or Die Tryin. They ended up signing a publishing deal with Sony/ATV and a label and production deal with Elektra Records. 2003. They are most recognized for writing and producing 50 Cent‘s number-one single “21 Questions“. In 2006, Waynne and Swift created FamilyTies, an imprint label that allows them to sign and develop their own roster of talent. This allowed the two to dive into the Pop/R&B world when they produced “When I See U“, (song originally written for Tori Kelly when she was signed to Geffen Records) the second single from Fantasia Barrino‘s self-titled album Fantasia, which held the number one spot for eight weeks on the U.S. Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.[3] The song was written by Grammy award-winning songwriter Waynne, Jane’t Sewell and Erika Nuri.

In 2007, the duo worked with Jennifer Lopez on her track “Hold It Don’t Drop It”, contributing as both writers and producers. Not too long after, the duo collaborated with American Idol contestant David Archuleta, contributing a track on his self-titled debut album that was released in November 2008.

While working with Brandy and James Fauntleroy II, Waynne and Swift started working with Frank Ocean, While he was with Midi Mafia, the three of them wrote the songs “Quickly”[6] for John Legend, “Bigger” and “Mamma’s Boy” for Justin Bieber. In 2010, Midi Mafia recorded Frank Ocean’s mix tape, Nostalgia Ultra, in which Midi Mafia produced the song “Swim Good”. In 2010, Bruce Waynne and Dirty Swift worked together to release their own album, Vegas Lights, via FamilyTies. The songs “PHamous”, “Last Call” and “2 Piece” were included on the album and were featured on Season 3 of MTV’s hit show, Jersey Shore. The song “Lucky Tonight” was featured on Jersey Shore vs American Reunion, an MTV video used to cross-promote the new season ofJersey Shore and the release of the movie, American Reunion.

Vikita Poindexter 

Board Member 

SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP, SHRM-CP, CEO, Poindexter Consulting Group, LLC

Known throughout her 35 plus years’ career as the consummate professional and go-to person for Human Resources. Vikita is an acknowledged as an expert in her field. Her extensive knowledge of HR includes but is not limited to budget preparation, cost analysis, EEOC compliance, recruiting, Department of Labor and Standards, Department of Fair Housing, benefit administration, litigation prevention, personnel management, arbitration and contract negotiations for multi-million-dollar operations much more. Her poise, polish and comprehensive knowledge of HR has led several law firms to hire her as an expert witness. In addition, she is a much sought-after public speaker.

Known throughout her 35 plus years’ career as the consummate professional and go-to person for Human Resources. Vikita is an acknowledged as an expert in her field. Her extensive knowledge of HR includes but is not limited to budget preparation, cost analysis, EEOC compliance, recruiting, Department of Labor and Standards, Department of Fair Housing, benefit administration, litigation prevention, personnel management, arbitration and contract negotiations for multi-million-dollar operations much more. Her poise, polish and comprehensive knowledge of HR has led several law firms to hire her as an expert witness. In addition, she is a much sought-after public speaker.

Launching her consulting business, Vikita and her team are called upon to advise, troubleshoot and solve extremely complex HR issues in industries ranging from television, marketing firms, wireless, retail, hospitality, property management, real estate, construction, manufacturing, finance, automotive and apparel companies. Saving companies and clients millions of dollars in legal costs by structuring and implementing sound HR principles consistent with local, state and federal law.

Vikita serves a business coach for University of Southern California, Bridges to Business program and OmniWorks Economic Development Corporation. She also served as an instructor for the HR certification program for California State University San Marcos.

Vikita serves as an advisor on labor law matters for various media outlets, including Press Enterprise Newspaper, Temecula Business Journal and The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper.

Vikita is a board member for California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), appointed Executive Council Member, AARP-CA, appointed Diversity Task Force Member, California Department of Insurance, Committee Member, California Small Business Association on the Labor and Employment Issues Committee, Workforce Skills Committee, Education Committee, Workers Compensation Committee, National Association of Women Business Owners Inland Empire (NAWBO-IE) Past President and National Association of Women Business Owners for the State of Califoria (NAWBO-CA) 2020-2021 Past President.

Vikita was 2008, 2009 Citizen of the Year Nominee for the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2008, 2009 Sterling Business Nominee of the year for the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2009 Professional Women’s Roundtable Joan Sparkman Unity Award Nominee, National Association of Women Business Owners Rising Star 2009 Nominee, American Business Institute 2,000 Notable American Women Recipient, 2009 Most Powerful Women in California Nominee, 2010 Nonprofit Excellence Award for Individuals for the Volunteer Center of Riverside County, 2019 Finalist, 2019 Award winner for Spirit of the Entrepreneur and 2020 Enterprising Women of the Year Award winner. You can connect with Vikita and her team at

Sanford Livingston 

Board Member 

CEO Nor-Cal Financial Development Corporation in partnership with IBank

Sanford Livingston II is currently the CEO of Nor-Cal FDC. Livingston is charged with the responsibility of overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the organization. He has overall strategic and operational responsibility for Nor-Cal FDC’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission. He also builds partnerships in new markets by establishing relationships with lenders, and political and community leaders.

Livingston previously served Nor-Cal FDC as Chief Operations Officer; directing all operational and strategic responsibilities, and as Senior Director Program Development; responsible for increasing the number of microloans underwritten by Nor-Cal’s lending partners in this category. In this role, he grew loan volume by 50% while working with individual lenders to streamline process for efficiency.

Prior to Nor-Cal FDC, Mr. Livingston served as Senior Vice President, Strategist, Commercial Strategies, Commercial Banking Group Wells Fargo Bank, where he provided innovative strategic business plans to all commercial banking divisions.

Mr. Livingston has served on several boards including; Urban Financial Services Coalition; Advisory Board, Life Steps; Trustee Board Member, Coro Political Leadership Organization; Former Trustee Board Member, San Francisco Maritime Association; Board Member, and Wesleyan University: Former Board Trustee.

He has a B. A. in Economics from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California. He is also a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.

Aben Hill

Board Member 

Chief Lending Officer Rivermark Credit Union 

Aben Hill, currently is Chief Lending Officer, for Rivermark Community Credit Union in Beaverton, Oregon. In this role, he is responsible for all lending and operations activities for mortgage, consumer, and commercial real estate, including insurance and collections. He focuses on transformation, leadership development, and developing high-performing teams which achieve sustainable results. As result, Rivermark’s commercial loan portfolio has grown from $27 million to $65 million and mortgage operational expenses have been reduced by 85%.

Aben has periodically shared his vast lending and leadership experience and insights as a Financial Services industry subject matter expert on several articles for BAI’s Monthly Executive Report: landscapes-next-normal/

He previously held the position of Senior Vice President for California Bank & Trust overseeing the Business Banking division for Northern California, overseeing the core business banking branch network for all aspects of consumer, mortgage, and small business lending and operations. He led various sales process and operational improvement initiatives which lead to 5 consecutive years of double-digit lending and revenue growth.

Aben also taught as an adjunct professor of the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University in San Francisco and taught courses in Organizational Behavior and Management and Leadership, for both the Undergraduate and MBA programs. Aben received the 2016 Distinguished Lecturer Award for Excellence in Teaching.

During his career, Aben has also served on a multitude of local and state-wide boards and committees. Present and Past leadership roles include Board Chair of Nor-Cal FDC, Treasurer & President-elect Enterprise for Employment & Education, Executive Leadership Council for United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Advisory Board Member for the Urban Financial Services Coalition (UFSC), and Board Member for the Bay Area Development Corporation.

Aben holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Potomac University, Washington, DC, and received his Executive MBA degree from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA, both of which he graduated with Honors.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Member

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