Meet Our Board of Directors
Randy Ballen, Founder & President
Hello! My name is Randy Ballen, and I have been a bookkeeping professional for over 15 years and more recently, a real estate investor. I am the founder of Advocate Home Buyers, Astrius Properties, Ballen Bookkeeping and co-founder of REI Bookkeeping Babes.
I am passionate about real estate investing and empowering women to build their financial knowledge and confidence. My goals include providing housing to as many in need as I am able to and helping my fellow boss babes take over the world one property at a time.
I believe in the power of community to help us lift each other up. My dream is for Room to Rise to give as many people as possible the opportunity to rise beyond their current circumstance and reach their full potential.
Vena Symonette-Johnson, Vice President
Hi! My name is Vena Symonette-Johnson, and I’m a real estate investor, real estate agent, commercial pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, with a Doctorate in International Business.
My passions include flying, teaching, traveling, and serving in children’s ministry at my local church. The most important things in my life are God, family, and good friends. I’m an active member of many organizations including OBAP, Women in Aviation, and Tuskegee Airmen.
I am also a Board Member and Secretary for Greater Miami Aviation Association and have served as an advisor for Florida Memorial University’s Chapter of Alpha Eta Rho, OBAP, and Women in Aviation. A fun fact about me is that I assisted in the launch of a historic flight that led to a Guiness World Record.
Keisha Crichton, Secretary
Hello! My name is Keisha Crichton, I was raised in Westchester County, New York; but the Sunshine
State has been my home since 2009. A little over a year ago I retired, or should I say, I stepped away
from my career to start the rest of my life. I am a Real Estate Investor but my passion and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others has led me to Room to Rise. Over the years I have held several roles in different industries, which allows me to truly appreciate the many skills I have acquired that will help me accomplish the goals and mission of this organization.
I am a proud graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University where I received my master’s degree in leadership and I also attended Pace University in Pleasantville, New York for my undergraduate studies, where I received my BBA in Business Management. I developed a stronger sense of devotion to non-profits while working as a director in higher education for many years. Being able to spearhead several non-profit events gave me a deeper appreciation of how non-profits seek to improve the quality of life for so many individuals.
I enjoy reading, but most of all traveling with my family, especially to my favorite location which will
always be Jamaica, land of her birth.
Eileen Woods, Treasurer
Hello there! My name is Eileen Woods, and I am a Florida transplant from Germany! I moved to the United States in 2018 and started a bookkeeping business, knowing that I didn’t want to be an employee, and I haven’t looked back since.
Coming from Germany, which is a social democracy, I was pretty shocked at the housing market here and the treatment of the low income population. The first time I heard about the eviction process, and how families live in homeless shelters had brought tears to my eyes. It breaks my heart to see how many people are left without even a roof over their head.
This experience is what motivated me to join the board at Room to Rise. I’m proud to play a role in providing housing opportunities for people in our community.
Hi! My name is Kristin Tinnelly. I was raised in northern New Jersey but have called Palm Beach County, Florida my home since 1995 (where has the time gone?!). Being of service is something that has always been important to me. For 8 years I volunteered for RU4ME animal rescue and for the past 6 years I’ve been a mentor to a (now not so little) girl through Children’s Home Society of Florida.
When I was approached by the wonderful Randy to be a part of Room to Rise I jumped at the opportunity. I personally have known how it feels to be one paycheck away from homelessness. Sometimes the help I needed came in the form of friends and family. Paying it forward has always been one of the mottos I live by so I’m excited and humbled to be able to help others that may not be as lucky as I was. I also truly believe that women supporting women will change the world. Every single woman in our houses will have my full support and the knowledge that I will be their biggest cheerleader! I will make sure they know that they can be who they want to be and achieve anything they put their mind to and that past circumstances do not dictate their future.
Fun facts about me: I am a die hard NY Giants fan! Go BLUE. I also love to dance, read, travel and make people laugh!