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Janis L. Ware, Executive Director, Community Development Practitioner. Real Estate Broker. Housing Expert. Publisher. Employer. Business woman. Community Activist. Entrepreneur. Janis L. Ware has practical, hands-on, documented experience in all of the above - and more. And, as such, she has served the citizens of the Metropolitan Atlanta area for more than thirty years.

Janis Ware, a native Atlantan, graduated from historic Booker T. Washington High School and was one of the first African American females to graduate from the University of Georgia's prestigious School of Business. She recently earned a MBA in Project Management from American InterContinental University. Her extraordinary business acumen is one of the many qualities that have positioned SUMMECH Community Development Corporation as one of the key entities in the revitalization of the historic Mechanicsville community.

A multi talented and dynamic entrepreneur, Janis is the President and CEO of Essence Unlimited, a real estate corporation specializing in residential, commercial and property management, since 1975. As Publisher, she is the second generation owner of The Atlanta Voice newspaper, an institution serving the Atlanta community for more than 45 years.

Those who know Janis Ware know of her passion for community development. As the Executive Director of SUMMECH Development Corporation a position that she has held since 1991, she is recognized throughout the Atlanta housing community as one of the first urban pioneers willing to make a difference by building affordable homes for first time homebuyers in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Under her direction, the organization has developed more than 900 housing units independently and in partnership with for-profit developers.

Janis Ware epitomizes the essence of humility and outstanding leadership in every role she performs. Understanding the importance of public/private relationships, Ms. Ware has established a great partnership and collaboration among the civic, business, housing, residential and elected members of the community.

Her dedication to development in Mechanicsville has changed the face of the community and she is always willing to help those of every walk of life, educational background and income level. She has received numerous honors and recognitions for her initiatives and efforts that have helped to transform the community and set an example for others who have followed her.

Janis is honored to have had the opportunity to work along side her famous father, the late J. Lowell Ware, whom she gives credit for establishing a vision in community development, real estate and publishing. "I am doing what he envisioned and conceived. He laid out the roadmap as to how it should be done, and I am simply following his footsteps and finishing his plan," she admirably states. She is to be commended for taking that vision and uniquely making it her own.

Janis L. Ware is committed to ensuring a quality lifestyle for all in the Mechanicsville area acknowledging that a community is desirable if those who live there have a stake in its schools, its business community and the safety and security of all its residents. Her work is by no means finished. "Building Communities that Last" for current and future residents is Janis L. Ware's focus and commitment.

Janis L. Ware is the current Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Southside Medical Center – a community health center that serves individuals and families in the community. She also serves on the Network Advisory Board of Enterprise Community Partners a leading provider of development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. Janis is a member of Leadership Atlanta and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She has served in numerous leadership positions including Board Chair of the Atlanta Housing Authority; Board Member of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, both as its National Secretary and as its National Treasurer; the Empire Real Estate Board; the City of Atlanta's Beltway Steering Committee; the City of Atlanta's Zoning Task Force; and a Board Member of the Atlanta Business League. Ms. Ware has be honored with numerous recognitions including one of the Atlanta Business League's 100 Most Influential Women; Who's Who In Black Atlanta; Atlanta Magazine's Women Making the Mark Award recipient; and, most recently, the Atlanta Business League's Women if Influence "Tenured." jlware@summechcdc.com


Felicia Hicks, Projects Manager, has been employed with SUMMECH Community Development Corporation for the past sixteen years. A sociology graduate of Georgia State University, Felicia Hicks is also a licensed real estate agent, a certified housing counselor and a certified housing educator thru NeighborWorks America.   

Felicia Hicks assists with the management, development and administration of the organization’s ongoing programs.  She conducts homebuyer and homeownership education workshops, and coordinates the corporation’s counseling sessions.  Ms. Hicks has been providing homebuyer and homeowner education services since 2002.  

Felicia Hicks is committed to community service.  She volunteers as a Coach for the City of Atlanta’s Recreation Department.  Ms. Hicks work includes training and assisting young high school girls. fhicks@summechcdc.com


Marvina Burgos, Program Assistant, has been with SUMMECH since 2014 and comes with a wealth of project/program assistant experience.  Marvina holds a Bachelor’s in Technical Management with a minor in Operations Management from Devry University. She has 7 years of experience working with collaborations and joint venture projects through the Georgia’s Board of Regents. During her tenure with SUMMECH she has been trained and certified to lead, train, and facilitate financial literacy courses and provide financial coaching.   Marvina also provides property management of single-family and multi-family developments and assists in the preservation of our affordable rental housing units and supporting the best practices and strategies for maintaining their affordability.. mburgos@summechcdc.com

DEPARTMENTAL Theresa Stanford, Accounting  tstanford@summechcdc.com

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