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Meet Our Team


Founder + Psychotherapist

Dr. Kamala Uzzell


Dr. Uzzell is a national board-certified counselor, licensed clinical mental health counselor supervisor, and a certified clinical trauma specialist with more than twenty years of clinical and higher education experience.
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She is the founder and clinical director at SOLAY Counseling & Consulting, P.C., and the Director of Search Assessment for POLIHIRE, which is the largest Black-owned executive search firm in the United States servicing public agencies and not-for-profit organizations. Additionally, Dr. Uzzell is an adjunct instructor of Psychology at North Carolina Central University and has previously served as an adjunct instructor of Counseling at both Campbell University and N.C. State University. Her professional experience also includes work at North Carolina Central University School of Law, North Carolina State University, Shaw University and Durham Technical Community College.

Dr. Uzzell regularly presents at local and national conferences, for community organizations, and has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as a guest therapist on the television show Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal. She was also recently featured in a virtual video art installation, entitled “Feel Good” for the City of Toronto and the Toronto History Museum. She is featured along with Roger Mooking, the Award-Winning Celebrity Chef and Host of Man Fire Food, and Julien Christian Lutz aka Director X, the Award-Winning Film and Video Director. Additionally, she has keynoted at multiple professional events, conducted several professional leadership development and diversity workshops, and is certified in administering the EQ-i 2.0 / EQ 360.

Dr. Uzzell attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies. She went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in Agency Counseling from Campbell University and a Doctorate of Philosophy degree in Counselor Education from North Carolina State University. She is a member of both the North Carolina and American Counseling Associations, and the American Psychological Association.

Shanice Ruffin

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Shanice Ruffin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Grief Counselor. Her professional experience includes outpatient therapy for children and adolescents, clinical assessments, case consultations and referrals for services.

Shanice specializes in working with children, adolescents and young adults navigating identity, esteem, and the high school and collegiate journey. She has specialized training in grief and brings a unique approach to children experiencing loss. Additionally, Shanice has worked with young people experiencing anxious or depressed moods, exploring their goals, feelings, attention, concerns, and being overwhelmed.  

Shanice is a passionate advocate for child and family health, racial equity, and bringing high quality prevention and trauma-informed services and solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing vulnerable children, families, and communities.

Shanice attended Fayetteville State University where she earned Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees. She has held clinical positions at Pride in North Carolina, Wayne and Lenoir County Department of Social Services, and Kitty Askins Hospice Center.
Former Graduate Counselor Intern

Michelle Kelleher

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Michelle Kelleher is currently working towards a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at North Carolina State University. She will graduate in May 2022. Michelle is passionate about connection, development, and human needs. She has experience counseling adults and adolescents.  Her counseling objectives are to be an effective person-centered and wellness-focused counselor. Michelle is a yoga instructor and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

She earned a Master of Arts degree in Regional Planning, Community & Economic Development from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies & Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Michelle is seeing clients under the supervision of Dr. Kamala Uzzell.

Greetings! I am honored to connect with you, and hope I can help you along your journey towards self-expression, connection, and integration.

Talk therapy has been a tremendous gift to me in understanding my present in the context of my past, becoming aware of thoughts and feelings in the present, and becoming skillful and aware enough to create new pathways forward. I treasure time with a therapist as safe-space to freely express, reality-test, and continue evolving as the best version of myself I can become. Kundalini yoga, daily journaling gardening, time in the woods, and cultivating relationships have also been invaluable, and the natural world and playing music inspire me. I hope together, we can co-create a constructive and non-judgmental therapeutic space that serves you and your needs.

Deep listening, curiosity, empathy, and skills like those taught in Dialectical-Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and mindfulness are tools I use to gain new ways of seeing and interacting with the world. My background in City Planning, time living in South America, and teaching language also give me a unique perspective on navigating the societal forces we are part of. In addition to English, I am able to offer services to Spanish and Portuguese-speaking clients.

Administrative Staff

Executive Assistant

Melanie Viera

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Melanie Viera serves as the Executive Assistant to Dr. Kamala Uzzell and is SOLAY’s primary customer service and scheduling associate. She has over 10 years of experience in customer relations, which explains why she takes providing excellent customer service to our clients so seriously. Clients often say that you can “hear” her warm smile through the telephone. Melanie attended El Paso Community College and the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. She is fluent in Spanish. 
Director of Administrative Operations

Kendra Edwards

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With more than 20 years of office administration and consulting experience in Healthcare and Childcare, Kendra Edwards returns to SOLAY as the Director of Administrative Operations. Kendra was the first employee hired after SOLAY was founded in 2009 and spent 5 years with SOLAY serving in billing, administrative and management roles. In her current role at SOLAY, her primary focus is on optimizing our operational processes to ensure that clients have a quality experience that includes efficient processes and excellent customer service.  Kendra’s education and background in healthcare and nutrition are particularly complimentary to SOLAY’s mission of optimal wellness.

Kendra earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree and a Bachelor of Science in Family & Consumer Science degree with a concentration in Foods and Nutrition from North Carolina Central University. She also earned a Master of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences specializing in Dietetics/Nutrition at North Carolina Central University. Additionally, Kendra obtained a Diploma as a Pharmacy Technician and an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education from Durham Technical Community College.



Comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness.



To relieve, alleviate, or put at rest.



To be present in a state of peace and fulfillment.