Her efforts to erase the lines of racial bias began while pursuing her Criminal Justice degree from the University of Central Florida in the early 2000s. As a student, Tekoa was astounded by the shocking criminal statistics and disproportion in sentences of youth of color. Wanting to bring awareness in hopes of lowering these disparities, she began her journey advocating for change by cold calling law enforcement offices, state departments, and local schools. She made it her personal mission to use her voice and background as a means to help others in need.
Her persistent efforts awarded her the opportunity to educate and train on Disproportionate Minority Contact for the Orange County Sheriff's Department and Orlando Police Department.
Tekoa developed a unique blend of training that focused on empathy, historical facts, and criminal statistics. Using her own personal experiences as an African-American child with parents and other family members incarcerated, she was able to educate law enforcement officers on how to identify their own biased opinions and ultimately change their way of thinking to better serve the local community.
Within a few years, she transitioned from a civil activist to a sought-after certified bias trainer. Tekoa has received the opportunity to speak on this subject matter to over 10,000 criminal justice professionals throughout the Nation. She has been awarded multiple grants totaling $700,000 from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice to provide training for law enforcement, judges, and youth program providers.
To date, Tekoa has trained and worked with the corporations and government agencies including: the Department of Juvenile Justice, Governor’s State Advisory Committee, National Criminal Justice Training Center, Department of Children and Families, Florida’s Attorney General Office, Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. 87% of those surveyed stated that her training increased their knowledge as it relates to racial bias when serving black communities.
She has recently trained over 3,000 trial lawyers for the Florida Bar Executive Council on understanding explicit and implicit bias. This training resulted in a new annual CEU’s curriculum being added to trial lawyers’ catalog of classes to promote diversity and inclusion.
Outside of her bias training, Tekoa is the Director of Center Advancement at Pace Center for Girls. Pace includes 21 Centers throughout Florida that serve over 3,000 girls each year and Pace has changed the life trajectory of over 40,000 girls since its inception.
She is responsible for developing and overseeing the execution of Pace’s regional fundraising and development strategies that assists all centers in the state of Florida. Since joining the team in 2018, Tekoa’s fundraising contributions help the center meet its long-term revenue goals to help young girls avoid entering the juvenile justice system.
Tekoa's most important role is being a Mother. Tekoa and her husband Dio Pouerie are rearing two future leaders; Maximus and Bella.