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

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.

Bobette Bland Banks (she/her)

Bobette Banks has been fortunate to spend her entire professional career in the communications field, working in television production, marketing and corporate communications, and most recently in communications consulting, providing strategic direction and communications support for government agencies, private industry, and nonprofits.  Her career includes several years at Fannie Mae in various communication roles, and she formerly worked as the Director of Communications for the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors®. She was also the first on-air host of the Virginia Lottery’s nightly drawing show. Bobette received her B.A. in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University and her M.A. in Public Communication from American University.


Rita Giles (she/her)

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)

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.
Advisory Board
  • The Honorable Henry Kennedy
  • Claude Bailey, Esq
  • Robert W Johnson, III – Historian
  • Bryan Fratkin – Website
  • Jennifer Smith-Ramey – Grants
  • David Roberts – Structural Engineer
  • Leverne Marshall
  • Shawn Spencer Hester – 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