CCCI was formed in 1997 and since that time has provided services to private companies, government agencies, faith based organizations and individuals. From large, expanding health care systems growing into urban areas to large financial services companies desiring to diversify their employees. CCCI has been able to connect organizations to solutions and create sustainable strategies that become embedded into the institutions.
The Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. has served as the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) in Somerset, New Jersey since November 1990. His pastoral ministry focuses on spiritual growth, educational excellence and economic empowerment.
As a pioneer of faith-based community development, Dr. Soaries’ impact on First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) and the community has been tremendous. In 1992, he founded the Central Jersey Community Development Corporation (CJCDC): a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that specializes in revitalizing distressed neighborhoods. In 1996, Soaries founded the Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. (HOH). This organization develops permanent solutions for children in the foster care system.
From 1999 to 2002, Dr. Soaries served as New Jersey’s Secretary of State, making him the first African-American male to do so. He also served as the former chairman of the United States Election Assistance Commission, which was established by Congress to implement the “Help America Vote Act” of 2002.
In 2005, Dr. Soaries launched the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement. The dfree® strategy teaches people how to break free from debt as a first step toward financial freedom and it is currently being used across the country by over 3,000 churches and organizations. dfree® was featured in a 90-minute CNN documentary entitled “Almighty Debt.” He is author of the books “Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom”, “Meditations for Financial Freedom – Volumes 1&2” and “Say Yes When Life Says No.”
Dr. Soaries currently serves as an independent director at three companies: Independence Realty Trust, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Ocwen Financial Corporation.
Dr. Soaries earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary.
Dr. Soaries resides in Monmouth Junction, New Jersey with his wife, Donna, and twin sons.
DeForest B. Soaries, Jr.
Founder and CEO
Director of Administration and Strategic Projects
Michelle is the Director of Administration and Strategic Projects at Corporate Community Connections, Inc. A natural problem solver with a knack for both analytical and creative thinking, Michelle’s strength is in her ability to provide unique and efficient approaches to tasks. Michelle functions as a strategic thought partner to the CEO and a resource center to her colleagues.
Briya Smallwood is a graduate of William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Marketing. She spent 4 years as an intern with the dfree® Global Foundation during her undergraduate studies, and worked part time with Corporate Community Connections, Inc. Immediately after graduation Briya joined the foundation staff full time, and eventually transitioned to Corporate Community Connections, Inc. Briya is responsible for bringing creative and innovative ideas to the team, and the development and fulfillment of special projects.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Martin Soaries is the Founder, Chief Editor, and Head Skills Development Trainer for Basketball Society. Martin has work experience in digital media, radio, and journalism. He started a basketball blog and internet radio show in 2013 on Blog Talk Radio. Martin previously hosted the Nightcap show for WCTC 1450 AM covering the Rutgers Men’s Basketball team. He has been featured as a writer on sites such as Def Pen, TV Film News, All Hip-Hop, and more. Currently, Martin serves as the Digital Marketing Coordinator and is responsible for curating digital assets including videos and podcasts for the organization.
Manager of African Affairs (Ghana Office)
Digital Marketing Manager (Ghana Office)
Simon is CCCI’s digital innovation and partnerships lead with over 5 years of experience in the industry. He is proficient in digital business and webmaster, product development, account management, and digital sales. Simon’s extensive knowledge of the agency and technology startup ecosystem, digital marketing and policy, as well as skills training, is a driver of our organization’s online presence.
Administrative Coordinator (Ghana Office)
Gifty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Archaeology from the University of Ghana. Her experience spans media, customer service and admin support, with particular strength in administrative and project support. Gifty joined the Ghana team straight out of college in 2020 as CCCI’s first point of contact, coordinating external relations with partners including clients, affiliates, and project consultants.
Kelly Murchison is the web-master for the DBSoaries.com and Corpcominc.com websites. Kelly brings over 25 years of IT Professional Experience. After 17 years in corporate as an IT Manager for a nonprofit, he ventured off on his own to start an IT Consulting company, “Techs3000 Solutions”, and co-founded a nonprofit youth basketball program. Now he uses his years of experience to service the DBS/CCCI organization.
Program Coordinator (OGE)
Kelsey Carter is the Program Coordinator for Operation Great Expectations. Kelsey is a result driven professional, who is highly personable and thrives within a fast-paced, high volume work environment. Although private event coordinating is her specialty, Kelsey holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Public Relations from William Paterson University. She is currently on track to receive her Masters in English and Writing Studies at Kean University.
Mentor/Urban Specialist (OGE)
Brett Pinnix is a proud graduate of Johnson C. Smith University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sport Management. His professional experience includes youth development, creative direction and brand development. Utilizing his passion for mentoring youth he currently serves as a mentor/urban specialist for the Operation Great Expectations Program.
Mentor/Urban Specialist (OGE)
Julianna is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Roll Tide! Her passion for working with youth resulted from years of coaching and her history of volunteer experience. She is very passionate about social justice and the importance of equality within all aspects of our society. Julianna aspires to continue her education and attend Law School to better serve her purpose. Her goal is to provide resources within communities and help create change.