The Jackson Ward Collective is a hub that connects Black business owners to each other, first and foremost, and to resources that can help our businesses grow and thrive.

Our Mission: To Learn, Grow and Own in the Black Community

We seek to see the great successes of that time in Jackson Ward replicated throughout not just the Richmond region, but Virginia and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to Learn, Grow and Own in the Black community, and we know that we do that best when we do it together.

We are named The Jackson Ward Collective to pay homage to our roots in Richmond, Virginia.

Jackson Ward is part of Black Wall Street: a thriving community at the turn of the 20th Century that was one of the most prosperous Black communities in the United States. It was home to theaters, stores and medical practices, as well as where Maggie L. Walker founded St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank, one of the first Black-owned banks in the U.S.

We seek to see the great successes of that time in Jackson Ward replicated throughout not just the Richmond region, but Virginia and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to Learn, Grow and Own in the Black community, and we know that we do that best when we do it together.


Our Founders

Three Black women business owners came together so other Black-owned businesses can grow.


An experienced corporate executive turned entrepreneur, Rasheeda has always taken the road less traveled. During her 15+ year corporate career at a Fortune 100 company, she leveraged her law degree to move from negotiating technology contracts to overseeing significant business relationships with large corporations and small businesses alike. During that time, Rasheeda developed a strong business acumen for solving complex problems using innovative solutions.

Through this work, she learned and honed her expertise in understanding the impact space design can have on operations, and further developed a passion for using her skills to support community focused organizations and entrepreneurs.

In 2020, inspired by a sense of purpose leading her down a new path, Rasheeda harnessed her skills and passions into a convergence of business ventures that all work towards a singular path: creating and holding spaces that connect people, particularly Black and Brown people, to opportunities for growth and wealth building, ultimately leading to a path of financial freedom. Through her consulting company, The 3Fifty Group, Rasheeda focuses her work on program management for projects directly impacting small businesses, whether that be programming for physical spaces (i.e. co-working spaces) or execution of discrete projects benefiting small businesses.

Rasheeda holds space for Black women seeking to destroy the Superwoman Syndrome in their lives to connect to each other through her online community for Black women, Killing Superwoman™. Finally, Rasheeda is co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective, a business designed to Learn, Grow and Own in the Black community, by creating a hub for Black business owners of all stages to connect to one another and with partners, service providers and financial resources to grow their businesses. Rasheeda earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English from Spelman College and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. She is an active community leader in Richmond, Virginia. Of the many hats Rasheeda wears, her favorite is being mom to her daughter, Zoe.


Kelli Lemon is a “Social Entrepreneur/Consultant” that is passionate about changing how people “LIVE” Richmond, Virginia. Through Like The Fruit LLC, Kelli socially connects people through food, sports, arts and education. Late 2018 she made her dream a reality and opened her social cafe , Urban Hang Suite , at 304 East Broad Street in historic Jackson Ward. She is also the host of Richmond popular podcast “Coffee with Strangers”. On the weekends, Kelli is making Virginia residents a little richer while supporting public schools K-12 as the day time Draw Show Host for the Virginia Lottery. And most recently, Kelli is also helping Black owned businesses learn, grow and own as a co founder of the Jackson Ward Collective, LLC.

Kelli also hosts various social events including The Richmond Jazz Festival, After Hours at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Family Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and Controversy History at The Valentine Museum.

She’s also assisted in creating unique urban events in RVA including, HeART & Soul Brew Fest, Virginia (Richmond) Black Restaurant Experience, Ready 2 Give Charity Events, The Art of Noise and Made By RVA Creative Market. Kelli got her Bachelor of Science degree from UVA and Master’s in Education from VCU.


Melody Short is a graduate of Morgan State University’s Earl Graves School of Business and a marketing executive, focused on business development and brand development for minority owned businesses. Melody jump-started her career in the Urban Marketing Department of Sony Music Distribution. Her career in the music industry afforded her the opportunity to establish relationships with small business owners in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Southwest markets. This proved pivotal to Melody’s career, because it’s where she developed a passion for supporting small business owners. As an entrepreneur and co-founder of the Richmond Night Market, she supports small business owners and independent artists in areas to include public relations, marketing and business development.

Melody is the former Director of Marketing and Business Development for the largest collection of Black-owned Inns in the United States, Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns and was featured as part of the cast of their television show, on the OWN Network, Checked Inn.

Melody currently serves the small business community of Richmond, Virginia with a focus on minority and women owned businesses as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Metropolitan Business League, and as the Co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective, an incubator for Black business owners and selected partners to share resources, experiences and expertise to build and grow strong, sustainable Black owned businesses in Richmond, VA. In addition, Melody serves on the board of the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, Minority Business Enterprise and Emerging Small Business Advisory Board for the City of Richmond and most recently, the Venture Richmond Economic Opportunity Committee. All this while managing her most important role of all—mother to 12-year old Nia Abiose.

Our Core Values


We are unapologetically Black.

Every part of our business, from our purpose to our company culture is centered in Blackness: Black culture, Black community, Black wealth.


We are genuine and purposeful in all we do.

We are genuine and purposeful in all we do. There are no hidden agendas, nor ulterior motives. Our yes means yes and no means no; there is no gray area. We are always true to our purpose, our community and our culture.


The highest quality and caliber at every step.

We operate with the highest quality, caliber, and integrity and the work everything we do is designed to achieve the greatest positive impact.

Check out our video to learn more.