The JYD Project Board

A look at our Board Members, Board of Advisors and Partners

Board Members

the jyd project jerome williams

Jerome “Junkyard Dog (JYD)” Williams


Among his many accomplishments is his General Manager Certification by Sports Management Worldwide, the official certification to operate an NBA team. Williams led the league in rebounding percentage in 2000 and was ranked 3 rd overall in offense.

He also collected three NBA Community Awards throughout his career for his community engagement, philanthropic activity, and charity work. Whether on the court, in the home, in the community, or in the classroom, he provides 110% effort, and now inspires students, athletes, and executives to do the same.

During his 9-year career he effectively engaged in a broad spectrum of roles and responsibilities: an NBA starter; and NBA rebounder; a communication advocate; and a NBA Player’s Union representative. In 2000, other NBA players recognized his passion and his leadership traits and Jerome was selected serve an executive role as their union vice president.

Jerome cultivated a starring role as NBA Cares Ambassador, NBA TV correspondent, NBA Fit spokesman, and NBA Global Ambassador to South America, Shanghai, Philippines, Israel, Africa, Belarus, India, Canada and Bahrain.

In addition to his NBA Community Awards, his community efforts gained him national media exposure, humanitarian/community service awards, and two special invitations to dine at the White House during the George W. Bush administration. For Williams’ efforts in 2011 to prepare high school students with life skills for independent living he was named “Sports Ambassador” to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). The Fannie Mae Foundation also awarded him with their national Home Team Community Service Award for his work helping rehabilitate inner city neighborhoods.

Today Jerome continues to direct his attention to helping others through his JYD Project 501(c)(3) youth enrichment organization, youth basketball programs, corporate speaking engagements, his Shooting for Peace initiative with NBA Legends and launching his VOD basketball broadcast network.

A well-respected keynote speaker, business advisor, and author, Jerome Williams delivers a powerful message of personal transformation and reinvigoration to audiences around the world. Jerome’s presentations bring his listeners vitally important lessons and insights about their professional and personal choices and possibilities. Jerome prides himself on preparation and research. He tailors every presentation to the particular topics, concerns and challenges that impact the audience, delivering passionate and inspiring messages for each. As a result he makes deep connections with all audiences wherever he goes.

dr joe carr the jyd project

Dr. Joe Carr

Board Member

Paul Shapiro



Charles attended Bowie State University in Maryland. Charles caught the eye of a representative from the world-renowned Original Harlem Globetrotters and signed a contract to join the team. He moved to the top of the pyramid by becoming a high-profile member of the team until 2001 when he sustained what some thought would be a career ending back injury. He soon recovered and began playing for the Harlem Wizards from 2001-2002 and then overseas in the Euro League with the Vienna Basket Hounds from 2002-2003. Charles has played in all 50 States and in 26 countries. He was recognized as one of the greatest dribblers in the world.

Charles later founded Choo Smith Youth Empowerment, a non-profit organization that focuses on his “4L”philosophy (Love it, Learn it, Live it, Lead it) and Choo Smith Enterprise a for-profit corporation. From these organizations the Choo Smith Summer Basketball Camp was born. This camp became the platform for many initiatives under Choo Smith Youth Empowerment, Inc.

Choo has been featured on local and national television networks like Fox News, NBC, ABC and Cornerstone Television. Choo has appeared on television shows like Good Fellas of Baltimore, a Fox reality show, and the new ABC Reality show Ball Boys. As a humanitarian, Charles “Choo” Smith has and continues to touch the lives of youth throughout Maryland and across the world.

Choo has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work and service in the community with children and youth. Some of these awards and recognitions include:

  • Certificate of Appreciation from Baltimore Adolescent and Guidance Organization, Inc
  •  Community Service Award from the Baltimore Panthers AAU Basketball Team
  • For the first time in the 85 year history of the Harlem Globetrotters, they partnered with a former player to raise funds to help underprivileged children attend the 2011 and 2012 Choo
  • Received 2011 Content of Character Award by Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs
  • Served as the Honorary Chair for Healthcare for the Homeless’ 2011 Chocolate Affair.
  • Requested to bring the Choo Smith Basketball Camp to the military bases throughout the US.
  • Received the 2011 Presidential Volunteer Services Award
  •  Named Celebrity Spokesperson for International Rett Syndrome Foundation beginning in 2013.
  • Slantress Man of the Year Award (2013)
  • Accepted the position of Education and Player Development Coordinator for Maryland District Amateur Athletic Association (2013)
  • Received the Community Hero Award from Dunkin Donuts (December, 2013)
  • Received the Black Wall Street Award (2014)
  • 2015 William Donald Schaffer Helping Others Award presented by the State of Maryland
  • 2015 Inspiring Voices Award recipient presented by Community Law in Action organization
  • One of the faces of the 2015-2017 Visit Baltimore Campaign

Today, Charles resides in Maryland and is married to his wife of 12 years, Damali Smith and together they raise their three children, Ayanna, Charles and Layla. In addition, Charles continues to work with the Choo Smith Youth Empowerment and no matter what time of the day, if a child needs to talk to him about anything, he always makes himself available. While at the same time advancing the Shooting for Peace initiative with NBA Legends.

Choo has the ability to reach children and youth right where they are in life. Rather its through is speaking or his talent with a basketball, his drive and determination will not allow him to ever leave any child where he found them. His motives and heart are pure from the sense that he wants nothing from the children and families he helps but to position them to be successful. The integrity that he exhibits magnifies itself in everything that he’s involved with. Choo does not compromise his ethics and faith in Christ for any reason. He has a heart of gold.

From Choo’s point of view, failure is never an option. He pushes the athletes he trains to reach their full potential. He gives of his time, money and whatever is needed of him freely.

Nikkollette williams headshot the jyd project inc

Nikkollette Williams



Board of Advisors

Gail Perry Mason the jyd project ince

Gail Perry Mason

Gail Perry-Mason is well known in the securities industry where she has climbed the corporate ladder from receptionist to First Vice President of Investments of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. The Women’s Informal Network elected her as one of Detroit’s Most Influential Women in the Financial Industry in 1999. She founded and directed the original “Money Camp for Teens” as well as the first youth investment fund incorporated in the United States. Today, her organization, Money Matters for Youth, has instructed young people and has mentored young women who are now professionals in the financial industry. Gail’s book, Girl, Make Your Money, became a number one seller.

Obie McKenzie the jyd project inc

Obie McKenzie

Prior to his retirement in 2018, Obie was Managing Director at BlackRock Financial, the largest institutional asset management firm in the United States. He has experienced significant success over the last 30 years as an institutional asset management marketing executive where he has been instrumental in gathering institutional assets for several firms. In 2010 Mr. McKenzie received the AIMSE Richard A. Lothrop Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the investment management industry and his community. In 2011 he was named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street.

robert smith the jyd project inc

Robert Smith

Robert is a former Division 1 athlete turned serial entrepreneur.
As the founder and managing partner, Robert oversees the vision and mission of NUE and of its subsidiaries. He created a proprietary algorithmic formula known as the “Influencer Model” centered around the macroeconomic effects influencers have in TET (Technology, Entertainment, and Trends) to support his work in the field. As the Founder & Managing Partner of IECP, he was the lead investor and fund manager playing an integral role in building a portfolio of over 80 digital media companies with notable exits including: InDMusic acquired by LiveNation, FameBit acquired by Google, Vessel acquired by Verizon, StarMaker acquired by Everyone Happy, HelloGiggles acquired by Time Inc., and Overdog acquired by Odd Networks.

Robert previously served as a Director at Lido Advisors a $16B+ RIA where he led the firm’s Sports & Entertainment division. With extensive relationships in the world of sports and entertainment Robert is also the Co-Founder of APGS (Alumni Pro’s Global Sports), an IP managed services firm representing an elite group of iconic NFL & NBA Hall of Famers and the Co-Chair of the Shooting For Peace Program. 


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