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DR. MICHAEL L. BROOKS

President/Chief Executive Officer

       Dr. Michael L. Brooks is President & Chief Executive Officer of Smoketown Originals, Inc.  Michael is a “Product of Historic Smoketown!” He was raised in Sheppard Square and attended Booker T. Washington Elementary, Jackson Junior High, and Louisville Male High Schools. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a minor in English from Bellarmine University, where he graduated "Magna Cum Laude"; a Master of Science in Conflict Management (M.S.C.M.) whereby he graduated “Summa Cum Laude” from Sullivan University; and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

       Dr. Brooks is a Louisville Black Achiever and Kentucky Colonel. He is a member of St. Martin dePorres Catholic Church, where he also serves as church administrator and business manager; and he is an active member of the Louisville Branch N.A.A.C.P Executive Board.  Michael has served as Chairman of the Board of the Louisville Area Community Action Agency and Co-Chair of the University of Louisville, Office of Community Engagement, Residents Advisory Council. Dr. Brooks served as a Board member with the Coalition for a Sustainable West Louisville, who fought and won the battle against gas methane plants installed just feet away from homes and businesses in the California Neighborhood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in West Louisville, Kentucky--that win set a precedent for all gas methane plant installations within urban communities across the United States.  


      Dr. Brooks has appeared on WFPL Public Radio & Television and spoke on the topic of “Empowering Neighborhoods!” Michael currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of Louisville and Clariant Chemical Corporation, and he is Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of the California Neighborhood Leadership Council, Inc.  Dr. Brooks is also Chairman of the Board of Directors for Smoketown Originals, Inc.

GAIL CARR 0'BANNON

Vice President/Chief Operations Officer

     Gail has been married to Larry O’Bannon, Sr. for over 45 years. She is the proud mother of three children Sharonda L. O’Bannon-Morton, Shanneca L. O’Bannon-Layfield and Larry O’Bannon, Jr. She is blessed with six grandchildren, Javonna, James II, Junarria, Juron, LaCrissa and Jaquay. She loves spending time with family and friends, reading and traveling.

     Mrs. Carr-O’Bannon is a Believer of Risen Christ and fellowships at the Greater Friendship, Howard Chapel and Little Flock M. B. Churches. Her favorite scripture is Psalms 37. Gail remains very active in the community and continues to mentor youth and young adults throughout the city.  Mrs. O'Bannon is also a member of the Smoketown Originals, Inc. Board of Directors.

La'VITA JONES

Chief Financial Officer

      Ms. LaVita Jones is currently employed with Louisville Gas & Electric Energy Company (LG&E) for the past twenty years, holding several positions to include Budgeting and Finance. Prior to LG&E, La’Vita worked eleven years for the Presbyterian Church USA National Office as Travel Accounts Analyst. She earned her Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance, a Master of Arts (MA) in Procurement and Acquisitions, a Bachelor of Arts in Finance & Accounting (BA), and an Associates Degree in Accounting.

      La’Vita grew-up in Grace Hope Presbyterian Church, as a third generation with her grandparents as charter members of the Hope Presbyterian Mission Sunday School, later to become Hope Presbyterian Church.

SHARON A. MADDOX

​Chief Administrative Officer

Master Sergeant (Retired) Sharon A. Maddox is the Chief Administrative Officer of Smoketown Originals, Inc.  She lived in Sheppard Square Housing in Smoketown until 1981. She attended Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Jackson Jr. High School, and Male High School, graduating in 1967. Soon after graduating, she received an Executive Secretary Certificate from Spencerian Business College. Sharon’s first job was as Secretary for Grace Presbyterian Church on Hancock Street working on Saturday mornings typing programs and church bulletins for the Sunday morning services. Her other occupations include Boys Scouts of America General Clerk, General Hospital Records Clerk; Blue Cross, Blue Shield Insurance Billing Clerk; Census Bureau, Jeffersonville, IN as Key Card Operator.

In November, 1981 Sharon joined the U.S. Army as a Private First Class (PFC). While in the Army she held positions as Admin Clerk, Personnel Action Center (PAC) Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC), Instructor in Admin School, Inspector General (IG), Chief Admin NCO, and Operations NCOIC. She attended various leadership schools—Primary Leadership Development Course (PLDC) where she earned top bragging rights as Distinguished Honor Graduate; Basic Non Commissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) earning Distinguished Honor Graduate; and Advanced Non Commissioned Officer Course (ANCOC) earning Commandant’s List. She earned awards ranging from Letters and Certificates of Achievement and of Commendation to Army Achievement Medals (AAM), Army Commendation Medals (ARCOM), Meritorious Service Medals (MSM), Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM) and Good Conduct Medals (GCM). Her tours in the Army included overseas duty to Mainz, Germany; Tokyo, Japan; and Seoul Korea. In the states, her tours were at Ft Dix, New Jersey; Ft Jackson, South Carolina; Ft Rucker, Alabama; and Ft Lewis, Washington. While in the Army Sharon received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management/Administration in 1991 from Coker College of Hartsville, South Carolina. She retired from active duty in the U.S. Army in January, 2003 after 21 years and 2 months of service.

Sharon has 2 children, Retonya Y. Gore (Toni) of Columbia, South Carolina and Kendrick N. Cross (Poet/Actor) of Atlanta, Georgia and 1 grandson, Armani R. D. Gore of Columbia, South Carolina. Sharon loves to travel and recently completed a trip to Dubai and the Bahamas. She is dedicated to the Smoketown Originals, Inc., and their mission to serve the community of Smoketown. She is a member of Bates Memorial Baptist Church of Smoketown. She resides in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Sharon’s focus in life is to be a blessing to others. To God be the Glory.  Ms. Maddox is also a member of the Smoketown Originals, Inc. Board of Directors.