Member Spotlight- Taneya Higginbotham, Project Manager of ‘The RealiTea ProjecT’ Finds Her Voice

“Hello everyone, I’m Taneya Higginbotham and welcome to the RealiTea ProjecT, where our mission is to discuss racial injustice and racial inequity, to stimulate righteous actions and transform communities.” Taneya’s conversational piece highlighting her and her guests experience, is now available on Facebook @TheRealiTeaProjecT.

Taneya is one of the newest members at Elevate in Mattoon, Il. With a non-profit business background, Taneya is finding her voice on ‘The RealiTea ProjecT.’ Inspired by personal experience and knowing others have experienced obstacles similar to hers, Taneya decided it was time to take a stand and begin her video series. 

Taneya Higginbotham, Project Manager and Host of 'The RealiTea ProjecT'

As described by Taneya, ‘The RealiTea Project’ “is looking to stimulate positive conversation amongst community members relating to racism and racial injustice in Coles County.” 

When asked about obstacles she has faced, Taneya says personally she has experienced microaggressions in the workplace and other pressure related to being a woman of color. 

As the Project Manager of ‘The RealiTea ProjecT’, Taneya’s first guest have been Ed Dowd of The Mattoon Chamber of Commerce and Terrance Taylor of Tat., Inc. View these conversations by visiting ‘The RealiTea ProjecT on Facebook.’ ‘The RealiTea Project’ strives to enable all people in Coles County to inspire change in the workplace and beyond by stimulating conversations and inspiring others. 

‘The RealiTea ProjecT’ is consistently looking for new guest to visit the show and share their perspectives. Individuals interested in joining ‘The RealiTea ProjecT’ project may do so by contacting Taneya by phone at 217-508-6031, email:, or by writing a letter to PO Box 253 Toledo, Illinois. 

The team at Elevate recognizes and encourages the need for conversations like the ones Taneya is having to occur. We strive to continue working towards providing a space and community equipped to create a more equitable future for people of every race and background.

As always, follow Elevate on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more updates on who is using our center and what events the team is hosting!

Team Spotlight – Laura Severson, Elevate Volunteer

Laura Severson
Elevate CCIC, Inc.

Laura Severson is a volunteer at Elevate. Her role includes managing the front desk and providing general assistance in the development of the center. She has an entrepreneurial background through her family’s ownership of restaurants and hotels. 


Outside of Elevate, Laura is a gerontologist at the LifeSpan Center. She has received degrees from both Southern Illinois University and Eastern Illinois University. Laura enjoys giving her time to Elevate because it provides her the opportunity to give back to her community and serve.


Team Spotlight – Evelynna Rudibaugh, Business Owner

Evelynna Rudibraugh
Peace of Mind Home Services
Elevate CCIC, Inc.
Team Member


Evelynna is a 2020 graduate of ClassE, a Coles County Highschool Entrepreneurship Class which has found a new home at Elevate. As a focus of the course, students develop a business idea and apply it to the real world. This is where Evelynna found her inspiration for Peace of Mind Home Services.


After joining the Elevate team, Evelynna began to use our resources for her own business. In November of 2020, Peace of Mind Home Services registered with the state of Illinois to form an official LLC. Peace of Mind Home Services primarily functions to watch homes, pets and plants while their owners are out of town.


 Evelynna, a senior at Charleston High School, says she plans to maintain the business through her college experience at Lake Land College in Mattoon.


Going out of town this holiday season?
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Team Spotlight – Faisal Tariq, Operations Director


Faisal Tariq
Elevate CCIC, Inc.
Operations Director

Faisal Tariq is the newest staff member at Elevate after coming onboard in October. He has a plethora of experience in retail management including time at DSW and Coach. In his 11 years at DSW, Faisal started as a sales associate before eventually working his way to the position of Store Manager at multiple Chicago locations.


In 2009 Faisal moved to Mattoon with his family and began working to acquire his undergraduate degree at Eastern Illinois University and taking on the role of stay at home father to his two sons, Aydin and Lethan. After graduation he became a store manager at Coach in Tuscola, where he would stay for 5 years and guided the store to two regional awards for customer service. Faisal looks to apply his vast experience in business acumen, operations and leadership in order to support continuous growth in the Coles County Region through Elevate.


Faisal is also pursuing a graduate degree in the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at EIU. He hopes that his role at the center will provide the, “ability to create a difference within the community where members can grow and develop as people while also giving back to their community.” 


Schedule a visit with Faisal or another one of our team members by visiting our website