Whirlwind Johnson Foundation | Team
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Jolynn Johnson Smith (she/her) | Granddaughter of Dr. Johnson


Jolynn Johnson Smith grew up in Washington, DC,  in a family of physicians, educators  and competitive tennis players.  Her first two years of college were spent in Nashville, TN, at Fisk University, where she was the only woman on the men’s tennis team. Jolynn graduated from Howard University with a masters degree in Mass Communication and a bachelor’s degree in Radio & Television.  In her early career, Jolynn worked in the communications industry for National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Washington, DC,  and radio stations in Los Angeles, CA.  Other corporate roles included Philip Morris, USA and GE/Genworth Financial in Richmond, VA.  Later Jolynn carved out a career in healthcare recruiting.  A senior talent acquisition role with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, prepared her for her current position with Duke Health Care System as a talent acquisition consultant.  Jolynn proudly oversees the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation, which her brother Lange started in 2015.


Steve Spokane (he/him)


In addition to his work with the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation, Steve is a member of the board of PORCH Communities, a grassroots hunger relief nonprofit that fights hunger and food insecurity by mobilizing and engaging neighborhoods and communities on a consistent basis. Steve is also a pro bono advisor with Executive Service Corps of the Triangle, providing education, consulting and capacity building services to local nonprofits. Steve joined the ESC board in 2022. Prior to retiring, Steve served in a variety of marketing leadership positions with McKesson Corporation and Change Healthcare. Steve earned a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University and an MBA in marketing from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


Evan Smith (they/him) | Great-Grandchild of Dr. Johnson

Vice President

Evan serves on the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation (WJF) board to preserve the hall of fame legacy of their great-grandfather Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson. Outside of the board, Evan is the Founder and Creative Director of Reflectiv Partners LLC. Reflectiv designs strategies and systems to assist organizations through person-centered consulting services. Evan’s professional experiences encompass the areas of social security policy, arts and culture, LGBTQ+ community, and cannabis decriminalization. Evan is proud to serve on the board with his mother and looks forward to the day where his house, grounds, and court are fully made anew.

Dylan K. Williams (she/her) | Great-Grandchild of Dr. Johnson


Dylan K. Williams, is the great-granddaughter of Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson. Dylan serves as a Board Secretary for the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation supporting its initiatives. In addition to her foundation participation, Dylan is an active alumna of Stone Ridge, Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, she is also a member of the Junior League, and has enjoyed volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club of America and her local area food bank. Dylan has always had a passion for supporting underserved communities and she is proud to support the foundation alongside her family. Based in Washington, D.C., Dylan is a management consultant with Protiviti, a global consulting firm, where she specializes in helping clients solve complex compliance questions and mitigate risk. Dylan began her professional career as an analyst at Credit Suisse in Raleigh, NC. She earned a B.S. in Finance from Elon University.


Alexis P Williams (she/her) | Great-Grandchild of Dr. Johnson

Board Member

Alexis P. Williams is the great-granddaughter of Dr. Robert Walter “Whirlwind” Johnson. She serves as a Board Member for the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation supporting its marketing and communications initiatives. She is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. where she enjoys writing about local events and venues that showcase the creativity of her hometown. She holds a bachelor’s in print journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University and a master’s in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University.


Rita Giles (she/her)

Board Member

Rita G. Giles, is a native of Lynchburg, Virginia. Rita was educated in the Public Schools of Lynchburg, before attending the following colleges and universities of Virginia: Hampton (Institute) University, The College of William and Mary, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Rita has over 35 years’ experience as a public school educator, college instructor, counselor, and consultant. As an educator, she has worked with special needs and at-risk youth and providing academic instruction as an adjunct professor for numerous universities in the Washington Metropolitan area. In addition, Dr. Giles has served on numerous Boards and committees involving public and educational service; made a plethora of presentations at regional and national conferences, and is a recognized resource in the education field. Currently, she works as a consultant for a non-profit organization and teaches counseling and special needs classes on the graduate level. In her leisure, Dr. Giles is a passionate devoted tennis player where her skills are recognized as a nationally ranked senior women’s player.


Jill Roberts (she/her)

Board Member

Jill W. Roberts, M.S. is a Western Montana–based freelance medical and scientific writer and tennis enthusiast who contributes her event planning and communications talents to the Foundation. As someone who learned tennis later in life, she became interested in supporting Dr. Johnson’s project when she learned that he also wanted everyone he met to learn to play tennis.
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Robert Foster (he/him)

Board Member

Robert Foster is a retired Certified Public Accountant and currently serving as 1 st Vice President and Chief Financial Officer with the American Tennis Association Inc. where he led the effort to improve the tax and financial reporting structure. In addition, obtained Federal Trademark protection, installed budgeting disciplines, works to improve merchandising revenue and membership streams of funding. Robert is a USPTA certified coach and volunteers his time as a not for pay tennis coach with programs in underserved communities around Los Angeles. Moreover, he has served on local tennis association boards and regional boards of African American tennis clubs and is a member in good standing with USPTA, PTR, and USTA.

Robert began his accounting career with the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers as a staff accountant. Prior to spending 29 years with Northrop Grumman, he served six years as an audit and corporate tax partner for the local accounting firm of Gerber & Foster in Los Angeles California. Gerber & Foster Accountancy Corporation client portfolio included a hospital, law firms, building contractors, a national airport concession company, and SEC audit clients. Robert Foster is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Treasury Professional in good standing. Robert also severed on the AICPA’s Task Force on Liquidity and Interest Rate Disclosures, written nationally published financial magazine articles, and has given numerous presentations at national conferences on accounting matters. He also served as a volunteer advocating on Capitol Hill on behalf of the Association of Financial Professionals (AFP).


Dr. E. Newton Jackson, Jr. (he/him)

Board Member

Dr. E. Newton Jackson, Jr., (a native of Washington, DC) is a Professor at Howard University (HU). Prior to returning to HU, he was on faculty in Florida, at three state university institutions (Florida State University (FSU), Florida A&M University (FAMU), and University of North Florida (UNF) for a combined 25 years). Honored and bestowed the faculty title, Professor Emeritus, at the University of North Florida, Dr. Jackson served as the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at UNF. Prior to joining UNF, he served Florida A&M University in a variety of roles (Department Chair, Associate Dean in the College of Education, Head Swim Coach (M,W), and (NCAA D-I) Interim Director of Athletics).

Previously in Tallahassee, he was on the faculty at Florida State University, serving as the Program Director for Sport Management. From 1981 until joining FSU (in 1998) he was on staff, faculty (UG & Graduate), and coaching staff at Howard University. During the 1990s and leading to the 1996 Atlanta Games, Dr Jackson worked for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Treasurer and later, President (Emeritus), Dr. LeRoy T. Walker.  Dr. Jackson has extensive experiences serving as a NCAA Division I Head Coach (Men & Women Swimming & Diving) serving at one point as the only African American Head Coach at the NCAA D-I level. He has various college student affairs experiences along with & “creating” and leading a study abroad instruction and global education opportunity for The Florida State University & “Global Sport Management Program” over twenty years ago in Paris, France and London (United Kingdom) including taking students to Wimbledon, still exists today. He was a founding committee member of the Howard University Sports Hall of Fame and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Sports Hall of Fame.

Advisory Board
  • The Honorable Henry Kennedy – former Jr Development Team
  • Claude Bailey, Esq
  • Bobette Banks – Former Board Member
  • Robert W Johnson, III – Historian
  • Bryan Fratkin – Website
  • Jennifer Smith-Ramey – Grants
  • David Roberts – Structural Engineer
  • Leverne Marshall
  • Shawn Spencer Hester (grand-daughter of Anne Spencer) – Anne Spencer House
  • Black Tennis Hall of Fame
  • American Tennis Association
  • Elmer Reid – former Jr. Development Team
  • Carl Conner – Volunteer
  • Corrine Chau – WWJ Reading Challenge Creator & Youth Ambassador 
  • Leverne Marshall – Volunteer
In Memoriam

Lange Johnson (he/him) | Grandson of Dr. Johnson | former Chair WWJF

Kenneth Friedli (he/him) | Former Treasurer of WJF