Iris R. Hunter, PhD, M. Ed. life’s philosophy is centered on servant and transformational leadership principles. She believes wholeheartedly that every gift received requires a gift to be given. For example, knowledge is received in order to share, help is received so that we can help others and respect is given and thus received. She is President and Founder of AIR Venture Assets INC dba FirstLight HomeCare Springfield, VA, a social responsibility company that provides in- homecare services to seniors and others with needs for home health assistance. She is also the owner of SOE Innovative Enterprises, LLC, a consultant business that provides customized services to non-profits, corporations (philanthropic arm), CBO’s (community based organizations), faith-based organizations, government agencies and individuals on community programs development and innovative targeted outreach strategies.
Guided by her philosophical views, her lifelong commitment is also deeply rooted in her upbringing having grown up in Charleston, SC during the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement era. She believes that her destiny was determined by her life experiences and dictated her educational choices and career path leading her to focus on areas that involve helping and uplifting others. These areas include adult/community education, educational empowerment initiatives, community program development, diversity and inclusion strategy development and developing outreach strategies to reach and engage multicultural and marginal communities. All in all, she has nearly 25 years of experience in this arena.
Prior to launching out as an entrepreneur, she worked for the American Diabetes
Association (ADA) for nearly 9 years most recently as the Vice President, High Risk Programs and Health Disparities and Special Liaison to the CEO on Diversity. In her dual roles, she was responsible for the development and oversight of the association’s national high-risk outreach programs strategy which included: the Latino/Hispanic Initiative, the African American Initiative, the Native American Initiative, the Asian American/Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Initiative, the Women’s Initiative and the Older Adult Initiative. She was also responsible for the development and execution of the association’s successful annual Health Disparities Partnership Forum which drew hundreds of participants from all over the country including NGO’s (non-governmental organizations), CBO’s, pharmaceuticals, corporations, healthcare professionals and lay people. Guided by her strategic leadership the department continuously exceeded their targeted goals reaching over 2 million targeted constituents annually. Another one of her key contributions at the association involved her appointment by the CEO to serve as the lead staff in the development of the organization’s national diversity and inclusion strategy for staff.
Prior to the ADA, she worked for Save the Children (STC) as the National Director for AmeriCorps and other related Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) programs. In this role she was responsible for the implementation and oversight of several multi-million dollar federal grants, private grants, corporate grants and other funding streams that supported both the AmeriCorps program’s goals and the organization’s mission to address key remnants of poverty including low literacy, educational attainment and access to health programs. Developing initiatives in three targeted areas of the country: the Mississippi Delta, the Southwest American Indian tribal communities and, Appalachian communities, she organized programs and managed hundreds of Corps volunteers as well as supervisory staff who touched the lives of youth and family members daily delivering on the missions of the initiatives.
Her commitment to giving back is extensive. A two-year alumni of AmeriCorps, she’s also worked with the Modjeska Simkins (a key Civil Rights Movement leader) historic home restoration project, the Department of Education’s TRIO programs- Student Support Services at Allen University and Upward Bound at the University of South Carolina, the Greater Dallas Community of Churches and the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools.
Iris graduated from the Union Institute & University with an interdisciplinary PhD in 2012 that allowed her to concentrate her studies in the areas of African American Studies, Women’s Studies and Adult/Community Education strategies. Her additional educational credentials include a Master of Education (Adult and Community Educational Strategies) degree, a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies and a BAIS (Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies) in Cultural Studies all from the University of SC. In addition, she has also completed various workshops and certification programs in leadership training, human resources enhancement, diversity/inclusion, youth program development and cultural programs.
- PhD, Union Institute & University
- MEd, Adult and Community Educational Strategies, University of South Carolina
- Graduate Certificate, Adult and Community Educational Strategies, University of South Carolina
- BAIS, Cultural Studies, University of South Carolina