Understanding, experience & dedication.
Tracey D. Syphax
Tracey D. Syphax is the Founder of From the Block to the Boardroom LLC, VP & COO of Phax Group Construction & Design LLC, Senior Managing Partner with Phax Group LLC, and cofounder of Reentry Ventures.
Educated in the Trenton public school system, Mr. Syphax received his diploma in 1980. He later attended Mercer County Vocational Technical School. He has spent his 20 year career in business as a strong advocate for ending mass incarceration for non-violent offenders by using proper re-entry tools and entrepreneurship.
Mr. Syphax is a former Co-Chairman of the Board for the Mayor’s Office of Employment & Training (MOET) in Trenton, NJ. He is a former board member of Capitol City Redevelopment Corporation, having been nominated by Senator Shirley Turner and appointed by Governor Christie to oversee millions of dollars in construction around the Capitol District. He was also the 2011 Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur of the year, the 1st African American to receive this award in the Chamber’s 51yr history.
In June of 2016, From the Block to the Boardroom launched Reentry Ventures in partnership with Open for Business Ventures with the shared goal of helping returning citizens through entrepreneurship and online support networks. Presently, Mr. Syphax is Co-Chairman of the Board of the African American Chamber of Commerce of NJ and Chairman of the Trustee Board at Union Baptist Church. He was selected as a 2014 White House “Champion of Change” Honoree for his diligent work in the Re-entry field and for being a strong advocate on behalf of the formerly incarcerated from an unprecedented number of 900 nominees throughout the country. One of his proudest programs, of which he is a founding Board member and current Chairman of the Board, is the Minding Our Business (MOB) program; an 18yr old national award-winning program that mentors and teaches 6th & 7th grade public school students how to start and operate a business.
Both national and locally, Mr. Syphax has received many awards for his business success, passion in giving back to his community and uplifting as well as encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs. He was named Empower Magazine’s 2014 “Person of the Year” and is the former host of weekly radio and TV shows titled, “Violence Serves No Purpose” and “Trenton Talks” on WIMG 1300 AM and WZBN Channel 25.
He has been featured in numerous publications, magazines & news outlets such as NJ BIZ, C-Span, The Network Journal, Black Enterprise, NJN News, CNN Ireport, Don Diva Magazine, Young Men’s Perspective Magazine, The Source Magazine and BBC News of London. Mr. Syphax is a contributor in the documentary, “Elementary Genocide 1 & 2” and co-stars in the upcoming documentary, “Incarcerating US.” Mr. Syphax is also the author of the award-winning memoir, “From the Block to the Boardroom” which details his life story.
C.J. Meenan is an entrepreneur and educator with over 30 years’ experience teaching entrepreneurship and starting small businesses. He holds an MBA from Babson College and is a leader in entrepreneurial education specializing in curriculum design for individuals as well as groups. He has designed entrepreneurship programs at all levels from elementary to adult learners. C.J. is certified in Driving Economic Growth Through Entrepreneurship Ecosystems through Babson Executive Education and is also a certified internal corporate coach.
C.J. co-founded The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in 1987, and through NFTE he helped develop curriculum and launch an entrepreneurship training program that's been implemented at high schools and universities around the world. During his career at NFTE he personally trained 5,000+ teens and 1,500+ adults in the principles of entrepreneurship. In recognition of his work in this field he received the Price Babson Fellowship for Entrepreneurship Educators.
C.J. has taught and lectured on entrepreneurship at Wharton, Columbia, Stanford, Babson and Georgetown, and a highlight of his career was bringing entrepreneurship education programs to India and Great Britain. His work has been featured in publications such as Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Success Magazine, and Black Enterprise.
Since retiring from NFTE, C.J. has continued to focus on supporting entrepreneurs through education & training, such as teaching the Veterans Launching Ventures program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, designed to help veterans launch small businesses. In October of 2014, C.J. co-authored “The Beginner's Guide to Entrepreneurship” and co-founded Open for Business Ventures, a multi-platform company that provides entrepreneurship education to teens and adults through a combination of online courses and real-time workshops with specially developed curriculum for print, video instruction and online entrepreneurial networks and ecosystems.
In June of 2016, Open for Business Ventures teamed up with From the Block to the Boardroom as the two discussed the benefits of entrepreneurship and discovered a shared desire to help returning citizens. Within 30 days they had formed a partnership and began outlining the custom curriculum for returning citizens and Reentry Ventures was born.
Jill Callahan is an entrepreneur, author and designer with 20 years’ experience, specializing in the design and development of entrepreneurship curriculum, course-ware and online educational platforms for adults and teens. She has provided custom project development, management and technical support for students and teachers in entrepreneurship programs and workshops with special focus on new technologies.
Jill began assisting entrepreneurs through the graphic arts, specializing in communicating ideas that inspire, inform, & captivate through writing, photography, videography and graphic design. She is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs achieve success in their business ventures through the creation of creative content, branding and identity development as well as through entrepreneurship education.
In 2013, Jill co-authored The Beginner's Guide to Entrepreneurship and in 2014 she co-founded Open for Business Ventures (the OFBV Network), where she is currently working to bring entrepreneurship education and support to adults and teens around the U.S. with cofounder, C.J. Meenan. “The Beginner's Guide to Entrepreneurship” is a beginner’s guide to entrepreneurship for adults and teens that contains 20 key entrepreneurial lessons and 40 crucial entrepreneurial concepts. Complex concepts are written in plain language to help build a strong entrepreneurial foundation and is infused with positive entrepreneurial philosophies.
The OFBV Network is a multi-platform company that provides entrepreneurship education and social networking to adults and teen through a combination of online courses and real-time workshops with specially developed curriculum for print, audio and video instruction. Open for Business Ventures partnered with From the Block to the Boardroom in 2016 to deliver entrepreneurship education to returning citizens. Jill is currently developing a socially interactive online entrepreneurial ecosystem, an exciting new feature that will be launched on the OFBV Network.