Job Announcement: Regional Field Director

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2022 Boards & Commissions

Congratulations to our 2022 Inaugural Graduates!

NCLCV/F Boards and Commissions is excited to present our 2022 Fellows. The Fellows have completed a six-month training program designed to prepare them to assume positions on boards and commissions at the state or local level. Power Up Winston Salem, Fayetteville, and Raleigh/Durham were pivotal in recruiting these amazing and talented community advocates to represent marginalized communities and underrepresented members of the community by educating them on the importance of using their voice and vote to elevate the concerns of community residents. On September 10th these new community leaders will be ready to seek placement on a board or commission. Some of our fellows will run from public office. I am proud to have been on this journey with each of them as well partner with LEAD Institute facilitating the sessions and engaging nonpartisan members of the community to share their personal experiences of their journey with the fellows by serving as panel members or mentors. Together we are Building Back Better Stronger Inclusive Communities.

Our 2022 Mentors

Dan Besse, Eric Braun, Paris Miller, Denise Renfro, John Burns, Jelani Biggs, Elke Weil, Tom Gale, Brad Johnson, Nancy Young, Kari Barness, Patty Williams, Billy Warden, Don Karleone, Damon Seils, Mayor Carrboro, Quiana McKenzie, Ray McKinnon, Nathan Spence, Robin Smith, Stan Meiburg

Our 2022 Fellows

Aprie'la Warren
Aprie’la Warren is a full-time student at North Carolina A&T State University who currently lives in Roanoke Rapids, NC. As a native of North Carolina, she is proud to be able to serve her community and create opportunities for NC residents to thrive. Upon graduating in May, Aprie’la plans to enroll in law school in North Carolina to learn how to support her community through the legal field. She applied for this program to serve as a voice for people of color and to highlight the lived experiences of people of color living in NC. One thing she hopes to get from the fellowship program is a mentor and skills to help her effectively lead on boards and commissions. In her spare time, Aprie’la enjoys cooking, watching television shows, and reading books.
Bettie Edwards Murchison
Bettie Edwards Murchison lives in Raleigh, NC, just a few miles from where she grew up in Wake Forest, NC. She is passionate about communities organizing to analyze their strengths and locate the resources to achieve their goals. She has been married to James Murchison for over 40 years and they have 3 adult children who are all entrepreneurs. Bettie Edwards Murchison is the Founder and CEO of Oasis Training and Consulting which provides business services to nonprofit and for-profit agencies. OTC is a subsidiary of Oasis Health & Wellness Centers International, an agency dedicated to healthy living through the use of culturally appropriate holistic healing. This includes meditation, therapeutic support groups and expressive arts. The class offerings provide support for families recovering from traumatic life experiences including people in reentry programs and substance recovery. As a National Trainer and Consultant with The Nurturing Parenting Programs, Bettie travels the East Coast providing classes for facilitators who use the evidence-based curriculums. Bettie wants to use the skills and tools she learns at the NCLCV Boards and Commissions Fellowship to help her with the work she is doing in communities. Her 2021 goal was to move into more of a policy making role with her work in the State of NC. So it is the goal to serve on boards and commissions where she can use these skills to create better communities.
Brenda L. Scales
Brenda L. Scales, was born in New Jersey, lived in Flint, MI. and currently resides on ancestral property in Mount Airy, North Carolina. As an African American, Brenda found it necessary to overcome several barriers to education, such as being a non-traditional student, low-income, single parent, eventually graduating from the University of Michigan-Flint with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and forty additional credits in Business Administration. Her career path has been primarily focused in Human Services such as life, health, employment, and educational skills development for women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities. Most recently, her focus has been in Public Health Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is an active member in the community promoting self-esteem, cultural awareness, historical preservation, and economic skills development. She joined the program to develop the skills necessary to be a better representative of the community and an informed liaison for the enrichment of others within the community.
Brielle Wright
A pioneer in the agriculture space, Brielle Wright is the co-owner of The Farmers B.A.G. (Blessed, Abundant, & Gifted). She started her career in agriculture by way of obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Agribusiness at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Before co-founding The Farmers B.A.G with her sister, Michelle Wright, Brielle earned a M.S. from Virginia Tech in Agriculture Education and has enjoyed an agriculture career that has spanned across corporate agriculture, government, and the nonprofit sector. Driven by a mission to close the generational gap in agriculture, assist underrepresented farmers, and provide mental health solutions, Brielle is best known for inspiring those around her to write the vision, make it plain, and get to work!
Chester B. Williams
My name is Chester B. Williams. I am a 41 year old Enfieldale in Enfield, NC. I am a 2002 graduate of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a BS in Mathematics and BFA in Professional Theatre. I matriculated at Indiana University to earn my Masters in Mathematical Physics. I have worked in education for over 10 years in Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina respectively. I recently received a Nonprofit Management Certification from Duke University. I am doing exciting work to uplift the youth and communities throughout rural North Carolina, creating opportunities for the youth to shape a healthier world in their own communities and beyond. I currently work with A Better Chance A Better Community (ABC2), an organization which connects rural communities with resources and opportunities to activate youth power and advocate for realistic solutions and healthier lifestyles. My official title is “Founder/Chief Empowerment Officer”, and also supports the ABC2 World Changers, the youth of ABC2. Together we created a large Community Garden to provide fresh seasonal produce for the Enfield Farmer’s Market. Proceeds from farm sales go directly to scholarships and training programs for the youth and teens in the community, continuing a loop of investment and commitment that is evident in all Williams’ efforts. The World Changers also host Teen Unity Summits, bringing together young people to highlight social issues impacting teens today, as well as cooking classes with younger children and their families. I am a visionary and a tireless optimist, who stands beside my World Changers and helps facilitate the vision they have for a powerful and just future. I see the community garden as a vehicle for everything from self-esteem building to financial literacy and service learning. I partner with numerous organizations and agencies and also serves on numerous committees and boards—the Halifax Community College Foundation Board, Southeastern Halifax Coalition, and iCreate Art Initiative, to name a few—as I believe collective engagement and partnership are key to a vibrant and healthy community. — In The Spirit Of Community.
Christopher Springfield Sr.
Christopher Springfield Sr. currently lives in Wilmington, NC. Originally from Indiana but was born in Newark, NJ. Christopher is employed at PSG as a Safety Patrol. Christopher has been in the advocacy field for over 20 years, and he is currently working to obtain his bachelor’s degree I’m Psychology. He applied for the program to use his voice on a board and commission to bring awareness and educate others in the community. One thing he wants to get from the program and his Mentor is how to be an effective leader and advocate. How to educate and represent BIPOC, ex-offenders and individuals in recovery in his community on social justice systems and boards. In his spare time. Christopher like to attend groups and meetings supporting men and women that are battling with the disease of addiction. Christopher loves to spend time with family, chess, and cooking.
Devon Terry
My name is William Devon Terry, but I go by Devon. I am originally from Richmond VA, but Raleigh NC in my home. I am a graduated from Wake Tech Community College (WTCC) in 2012. with an associate degree in Mechanical Design. Upon completion from WTCC, I continued my education ECPI and graduated there with my bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering with a concentration in Mechatronic Engineering. I am currently employed at Pike Engineering. I have been working there for a year now. I am a Power Engineering Technologist. I applied for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program to sharpen my leadership skills and to have a voice in helping my environment not just my community. What I want to get out of this program is to learn leadership skills that will help me be a better leader. When I am not working, I like to hang out with my grandkids, friends, and my fiancé.
Doris Wallace
As a servant leader I strive to focus on the pertinence of serving others. Being empathetic to their needs and always being an active listener when it comes to communicating with others. My primary focus is on the growth and well being of people in the communities of which they belong. My goal is to delegate power, which puts the needs of others first that helps individuals develop and grow at a higher level. Our actions can make a significant positive impact on young women. Modeling simple changes in our behavior to support leadership development in young women. Encouraging women to see their full potential by recognizing the critical need to reshape systems and policies that sustains gender equality. I hope to reflect the dynamism and diversity of Johnston County. My commitment to Community service and improving the life of others is not only a profession, for me, it is a lifestyle. I seek out opportunities to help others to secure better circumstances and to take advantage of new options to improve themselves and their livelihoods. For example, presented with the opportunity of a community garden, I researched and initiated the community gardens project in my neighborhood. The project not only provided fresh fruits and vegetables to members of the community, it also taught them how to plan, build, work together and maintain a viable garden to help improve their diets. This project is an example of community members working together to improve not only their personal lives but the lives of others in their community.
Ernestine Davis Ledbetter
Ernestine Davis Ledbetter is currently living in Garner, NC. She was born and raised in Nash County, NC. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and a Master of Education Degree from the University of North Carolina (UNCG) in Greensboro, NC. She secured her first job with Bell Laboratories in 1973 as a computer programmer where she met her husband and moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1975. She worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone Company as part of the AT&T Bell System until retirement in 2000. Ernestine returned to NC in 2002 and taught Algebra at Andrews High School in High Point, NC for one year. In 2003, she secured a job at Wake Technical Community College where she worked for 15 years before retiring a second time in 2017. She now volunteers her time at her local church, and other nonprofit organizations – Powerup NC, CELT, and New Beginnings Community Operations. Her passion is education, and she seeks out opportunities to help students overcome obstacles and succeed in the educational process. She applied for a Fellowship to enhance her education on how Boards and Commissions work in the political process that affect children and families from disadvantaged neighborhoods. She wants to find the best ways that she can help families from black and brown neighborhoods to advocate for themselves and become more effective with influencing the political process. She has two children and four grandchildren – all currently living in St. Louis, Missouri.
Geraldine Alshamy
Geraldine Alshamy is a 68-year-old, social justice activist of 46 years. Her work began as a member of Black Workers for Justice in 1981, at the age of twenty-three when she helped to organize the Abner Berry Freedom Library, in Rocky Mount North Carolina. She coined the Phrase Home/School/Prison Cycle while advocating for black boys pushed out of school into the criminal justice system in rural Wilson County. As a community-based alternative to criminalization she along with two other community members starting the Phelps Athletics Club. where youth were trained in boxing and karate to divert anger and teach discipline, she became the first black and female referee of the American Amateur Boxing Federation. Developed and implemented a hybrid (in person and virtual) Restorative Practices Community and Family Institute The Institute has eight training components designed to help participants understand trauma, internalized and racial discrimination and oppression and how to forgive and heal. Geraldine continues her work in education advocacy for black, brown, rural, Children with Disabilities, and English language learners. She has committed 45 years to serving vulnerable and marginalized communities. She holds a wealth of knowledge and experiences in working with communities of color and is passionate about her mission of building just and caring communities fostering equity, justice and the elimination of Internalized Racial Oppression and Hypocrisy in the Culture of Organizations.
Ja’Nia Davis
Ja’Nia Davis works in the Human Resources department at an Amazon Fulfillment Center. She currently lives in Concord, North Carolina. Originally from Raeford, North Carolina, Ja’Nia moved to Winston -Salem to attend Winston Salem State University. While attending WSSU, she developed a passion for people through volunteering in the community and serving the student body in campus organizations. She applied for the program to learn and develop as a servant leader, as she aspires to empower others in communities around the world. In her spare time, Ja’Nia loves to write, learn new things and go on outdoor adventures.
Janette J. Robinson
My name is Janette J. Robinson. I am a native of North Carolina. I moved to Winston Salem, NC in February 1990. I worked for Wachovia Bank, NA, now known as Wells Fargo Bank, NA, for 27 years. I retired February 2021. I was searching for a way to keep myself busy and give my life purpose. What better way to achieve that purpose than to get involved with a program that will help me to serve my community and get acquainted with local government. I love the Lord and I am a divorced mother of one whom I am proud to call my son.
Jenny Jones Coldren
Jenny Jones Coldren Based in Durham, North Carolina, is a mother to two children she adopted through foster care as well as one biological child. As a former educator turned full time special needs mom, Jenny is familiar with what it takes to make sure marginalized populations are not overlooked within educational and medical settings, but are empowered to advocate for their voices to be heard and their needs to be met. Her advocacy for better educational opportunities and greater mental healthcare access in her community led her to working as a campaign manager for a candidate for Durham Board of Education. She is excited to develop her own leadership capacity through this Fellowship so she can effectively advocate for other children and families in her community with diverse needs that are unmet by current educational, social, and mental health systems.
Jinā Bush
Jinā Bush is originally from Jonesboro, Georgia and currently resides in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She graduated from Winston-Salem State University in 2017 and gradually has become more involved with the surrounding community in varying capacities. Jinā has previously worked with the YMCA and local library outreach services which both have contributed to her community engagement. She applied to be a part of the Fellowship program to obtain new skills and perspectives while also learning more efficient ways to impact and acknowledge the needs of others. In her leisure time she enjoys traveling, new cuisine, writing, singing, and creating DIY craft projects.
Julia France Mitchell
My name is Julia France Mitchell. I’ve been married 44 years. I have 3 children. All adults now! 1 daughter and 2 sons. I have served on the Save Jones School Committee. I was the secretary for the NAACP, a member of AAHGS. A member (VP) of the historical Satterfield House and Rosenwald School Community Center. I live in Mount Airy, North Carolina. A member of Chestnut Ridges P.P.B. Church.
Kimberla Butler
Rev. Kimberla Butler currently resides in Raeford, NC. Originally from the state of Kentucky, Kimberla is proud to call North Carolina her home. She currently serves as the Pastor of St. Luke AME Zion Church and applied to the NCLCVF to better serve the needs of her community. Bringing awareness and education regarding voting rights, environmental issues, and a more inclusive democracy is her passion. Becoming an effective leader in these areas in of the upmost concern. She currently attends Regent University. In her spare time, Kimberla enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and providing assistance to those who are less fortunate within her community.
Kristen Havlik
Kristen Havlik is a community organizer that was born and raised in Raleigh, NC. Kristen has worked on 7 different campaigns, been an advocate for paid family leave as well as running for Raleigh City Council. Kristen is currently the digital director at the New North Carolina Project. Kristen has also served on a Lillian’s List committee, and she is also active in her community as a member of Sunrise Movement and the Triangle chapter of Democratic Socialists of America. Kristen is passionate about finding accessible solutions for the housing and climate crises in the Triangle and North Carolina. She is excited to be a League of Conservations Fellow because she is eager to learn how to better serve her community through boards and commissions and desires to bring a new perspective to the tables of boards and commissions she may serve on in the future. Kristen currently resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband.
Maraim Rivera
Maraim Rivera is a Massachusetts native currently living with her husband and raising a daughter in Winston Salem, NC. As a Latina woman she is very passionate about empowering those in her community by educating people about their rights. Maraim also works full-time in the commercial roofing industry. She applied for the program in hopes to be an advocate for change in her community and to be the voice of those who feel voiceless. Her goal is to develop the skills necessary to be an effective leader that would inspire others to be leaders and to protect the interests and rights of the Hispanic/Latino community. In her spare time Maraim loves to read books and spend quality time with her family.
Martina Ackridge
Martina Ackridge is an IT Manager at the 2nd largest cable TV provider. Martina is originally from Maryland and now resides in Charlotte, NC for the past 33 years. You could say she is a Charlottean now. She attended University of Maryland and Strayer University. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Information Systems with a concentration Cybersecurity. Martina is interested in learning more about 5G technology and the impact to underrepresented communities as well as economic disparity. It is predicted that African American’s will have ZERO wealth by 2053. She wants to serve her community by enhancing their daily lifestyles with technology and advanced resources to be competitive in the market. Martina applied for the NCLCV program to represent and serve on a board and commission to bring awareness to the voiceless. One thing she wants to achieve from the Fellowship program is how to utilize her voice and sharpen her persuasive leadership skills. She is elated to be aligned with a mentor for guidance, advice, and wisdom. During her spare time she enjoys conversing with her son PJ who is attending Howard University.
Mary Jane Matthews
Mary Jane Matthews is originally from Harnett County and moved to Lee County in 1987 making Sanford, NC her place of residence. She is a state employee, employed with the Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Solution in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program; providing re-employment assistance to workers who have been negatively impacted by foreign trade. She is looking forward to retirement and plans to become more active in her community. Mary is also a lay leader in her church where she served as International President for the past eight years providing excellent leadership to the laity in the AME Zion Church. Additionally, she serves as the First Vice President of the local NAACP. She applied to the Fellowship program in order to learn how to serve and effectively utilize her voice on the boards and commissions as a representative of the minority in Lee County. Mary loves to travel, spend time with her family, serve in different roles in her church and take walks in the park.
Quanisha Silver
Quanisha Silver is a full-time mom and business owner. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, but currently residing in Littleton, North Carolina. One thing she wants to get from the Fellowship Program is how to build better programs in underdeveloped areas, learn from her mentor and become one. She applied to the program to learn how to effectively serve on any board and commissions for the betterment of any community. Quanisha loves to read, enjoy a variety of cuisines, and traveling during her spare time.
Shaquana Shantell Springfield
Shaquana Shantell Springfield, currently live in Wilmington, NC. Originally from the state of Indiana but was born in Newark, Jersey. Shaquana is employed at the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC as a Benefits Outreach Coordinator and has been in the advocacy field for 20 years. Shaquana has a Bachelors degree in Human Services with a concentration in Criminal Justice. She applied for the program to use her voice on a board and commission to bring awareness and educate others in the community. One thing she wants to get from the program and her Mentor is how to become an effective leader and advocate. How to educate and represent BIPOC, domestic violence survivors, and ex-offendors in her community on social justice systems and boards. In her spare time. Shaquana loves to spend time with family, travel, cook, walking, and self-care.
Sophia Kennedy
Ms. Sophia Kennedy is a resident in Forsyth County, and works full-time for the UNC- Systems of the State of N.C. Ms. Kennedy identifies herself as an Agent of Change and a Destiny Builder. With over 20 years of volunteering and serving the Forsyth County communities along with a few States of NC Organizations. Ms. Kennedy enjoys serving and being Empowered. The Boards and Commissions Fellowship will allow me to expand my horizon and become knowledgeable of policies. Ms. Kennedy enjoys networking and creating new opportunities to engage communities.

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