Meet the staff members that are helping NFTE Baltimore/Washington Metro run smoothly!

Johnetta Hardy, Director

Johnetta brings a wealth of knowledge as a recognized thought leader in entrepreneurship with more than 20 years of championing the power of entrepreneurship in transforming communities. She has devoted her career to connecting emerging and established entrepreneurs with networks and resources to propel growth in their ventures.  Johnetta most recently served as Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Baltimore. There, she secured more significant funding for powerful initiatives inspiring students to launch their own businesses. She also founded the Hardy Solutions Group, LLC, empowering small businesses to maximize their success. To date, she has counseled over 3,000 businesses and helped them obtain more than $25M dollars in loans.  Johnetta has led seminars for numerous organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the State Department.  She is also a certified NxLevel Business Instructor and award-winning educator who has taught entrepreneurship courses at the University of Baltimore, Howard University, and experiential education leader for The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars (TWC) for over 15 years.  Johnetta received her Master of Arts in Human Communications Behavior and Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Howard University.


Kara Johnson, Manager, Development

Kara joined NFTE in fall 2012. She is responsible for the development and implementation of long- and short-term fundraising, building strategic partnerships, supporting the local advisory board and E-Council, and overseeing office operations. Kara comes to NFTE from Orr Associates, Inc. where she worked with several local and national nonprofit clients to develop strategic plans and strengthen their fundraising efforts. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Kara also holds her Masters in Social Work from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


Darlene Ajayi, Programs (Baltimore)
Darlene Ajayi has a deep personal commitment to education and economic empowerment, and is a well-respected education and small business development specialist. She is a firm believer in preparing students to “make a job” instead of “preparing them to get a job.” Prior to joining NFTE, Darlene was employed by the United Stat es Information Service and the Institute for International Education, and served as the educational adviser to the US Consulate in Kaduna, Nigeria, promoting higher education opportunities in the United States. She has been recognized by NFTE as an Employee of the Year (2008) , and Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year (2003); and has received recognition from the City of Baltimore, Maryland State Department of Education, National Council on Economic Education and a host of other educational and civic organization for her dedication and commitment to youth empowerment. Darlene holds an undergraduate degree in business and public administration from the University of Baltimore and a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Johns Hopkins University.


Amir Alhambra, Program (DC Region)

Amir joined NFTE in August 2013, and enjoys collaborating with colleagues to develop effective strategies for our students' success. He is also deeply interested in educational reform efforts to improve organizational leadership, special education law, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. Amir is currently a doctoral candidate at The George Washington University’s Doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Studies program, and writing a legal dissertation concerning special education students involved in disciplinary due process hearings. Amir graduated from the University of Southern California and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Class of 2000) and Master of Arts in Teaching Social Sciences (Class of 2008) from the University of Southern California. He currently holds a valid Administrative Services Credential for K-12 Grade Levels within the Commonwealth of Virginia and District of Columbia. In addition, he holds valid teaching licenses in history and social studies in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and California. Amir seeks knowledge about the growth and development of children, and enjoy working with a great team to help each student achieve success in entrepreneurship and college and career readiness.