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Our Team

Meet Our Staff

Experiment in Self-Reliance Staff

Front Row (left to right) : Hilda Moore, Cherie Ingram, Melinda Hash, Fred Bazemore, Tonya Oliphant, Manya Stewart, Janet Ashe


Second Row (left to right) : Bryon Harrison, April Marlin, Jacqueline Cornell, Myriam Pereda, Dejuana Eastland, Mikalah Muhammad, Denise Marshall, Kimberly Hardy, Shadowe Magaraci, Janet Carlton

Not Pictured: Alicia Anthony


Fred Bazemore

Executive Director

Frederick D. Bazemore is the Executive Director at Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR). Prior to his promotion to this position in May 2024, Bazemore had served in leadership roles at ESR for over 20 years, being the agency’s Director of Programs and Operations from 2011 to 2023, and the Self-Sufficiency Program Director from 2003 to 2011. 


A native to Tarboro, North Carolina and a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, Bazemore earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration. Prior to joining ESR, Fred spent his early career years as a former Senior Regional Portfolio Property Manager, Senior Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Director and Housing Finance Director. His greatest strengths are integrity, consistency, experience and having a great knowledge about the clients we serve that allows the agency to continue to build trust and solid relationships through honesty and consistency.


The new Executive Director extends his commitment to non-profit work beyond his employment through his community activism, serving on many boards and committees that focus on issues around employment, housing, transportation, financial literacy, economic development, and education for the low-income residents of Forsyth County and North Carolina. Fred is a former member of the Piedmont Triad Workforce Development Board and currently serves on the North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) Board of Directors, the “CARES” Project Board of Directors, and serves as the Western District Chairman for the NCCAA.


When not advocating for the low-income in the community, you can find Fred the “Avid Golfer,” as many know him, on the golf course, participating as an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a member of St. Peter’s World Outreach Center.



Marsha S. Smith

Board Chair

Living a life poured out

Marsha was born in Wichita Falls, TX at Sheppard A.F. B. She is a daughter of a retired Air Force, Vietnam Veteran. As an Air Force “brat” she traveled to many places around the country and abroad. Marsha is also a Veteran, she served in U.S. Army for 5 years as an Accounting Specialist. She had the honor of serving with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne). Known as the Night Stalkers, they are recognized for their proficiency in nighttime operations, and where portrayed in the popular movie, “Black Hawk Down”.

Marsha Smith - Board Chair

After her military service, Marsha relocated to Winston Salem, NC, where she has resided for more than 20 years. Marsha is a graduate of Brookstone College of Business. She earned her Undergraduate Degree in Business Administration from High Point University, and she earned her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Winston Salem State University.

Marsha is a member of St. Stephen MBC in Winston Salem, NC., where she serves as the Girl Scout Troop Leader. She also serves in the Audio/Video Ministry, Jail & Prison Ministry, Beautification Ministry, Outreach Ministry and the Women’s Ministry. Marsha serves as Chair on the Board of Directors for Experiment in Self-Reliance (ESR), a non-profit community action organization that serves the working poor in Forsyth County, NC.

Marsha is also the owner of Simple Elegance Designs – Hand Crafted Wreaths, Event Planning and Design, and has been in business since 2014. After many years in the private sector workforce, Marsha began working for the Veteran’s Benefit Administration (VBA) in the Department of Veteran Affairs in 2011, as a Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR). In 2015, Marsha transitioned into management and is currently a Coach for a team that processes Veteran disability compensation claims.

Marsha is happily married to U.S. Army Retired First Sergeant Thomas L. Smith, Jr. and has a daughter, Sierra.

Marsha’s life work and passion are service to others and is intentional about making an impact on the lives of everyone she encounters throughout her life’s journey.

2023-2024 Board Members

Chad Archer, Marcus Houston, Virginia C. Martin, Carol G. Mitchell, William H. Penn, Aimee L. Smith, Marsha Smith, Leslie O. Winbush. Irma Berry-Scott, Chenita Johnson, Johnna Leavy, Darryl Head, Florence Adams, Josh Hammaker, Phygenia Young

Executive Board

Marsha Smith (Chair), Aimee L. Smith (Vice Chair), Marcus Houston (Secretary)

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