Sandra L. Harley serves as SAHARA’s founder and President/CEO and is the team leader on all projects. She sets the vision, strategies, tenor, and the schedule — staging the ultimate success of each client project from start to finish. Sandy has 40 years of professional communications experience.
With four decades of professional marketing, advertising, and public relations experience, she has spearheaded numerous statewide and local public awareness, community outreach, and marketing campaigns that got major results. A talented media planner/buyer, I have managed media budgets of more than $10 million and placed over $5 million in media buys.
Her forte is working with government, nonprofits, and healthcare entities, with an emphasis on social and behavior change marketing. In 2020, she led her team in developing and executing a successful consumer education campaign realized as “Let’s talk about PrEP” aimed at reaching young Black women between the ages of 18-41 and older Black women 50+ about HIV awareness.
She is adept in visual communications (i.e., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet). Sandy holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from the renowned Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism (magna cum laude) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Morgan State University (cum laude), 1981 and 1980, respectively.
Ellis R. Harcum, Jr. serves as SAHARA’s Digital Communications Manager and is the agency’s point guard. When you can’t get to Sandy, call Ellis. He knows the inner-workings of each task, assisting in executing project visions and strategies. Ellis has over 20 years of experience in project administration and has helped coordinate numerous public health communications campaigns successfully in a variety of areas. He is especially astute in producing and engineering webinars, podcasts, video communications, and visual communications.
Ellis has served as team leader in messaging, video production, social media ad placement and developing analytics report. For example, Ellis was instrumental in the pre-production, production, and post-production of videos highlighting the mission and accomplishments of the Maryland Department of Health five Health Enterprise Zones, or H-E-Zs – which were implemented to reduce health disparities, improve health outcomes, and reduce health costs, hospital admissions and readmissions in Black and low-income communities. Ellis holds a Certificate of Ordination, Itinerant Deacon from the AME Church Board of Examiners and a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Towson University, 1986.
Shaakira M. Jones serves as SAHARA’s Digital Media Specialist responsible for designing and implementing digital content such as websites, blogs, press releases and podcasts, infographics, videos, as well as web presence like websites, Facebook pages, and social media posts. Kira has over five years of professional experience in digital media and marketing. She holds a master’s degree in publication design from the University of Baltimore and a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Bennett College.