Job Announcement: Regional Field Director

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2023 Boards & Commissions

Congratulations to Our 2nd Annual Boards and Commissions Graduates!

Photos from our 2023 B&C Kickoff

Our 2023 Mentors

Antonio McCoy
Antonio is President/CEO of mcHoward Business Coaching and is a Master Certified Coach Trainer (MCCT). This means if you have a desire to become a certified executive coach, Antonio might be able to help. Antonio is faculty for the Center For Executive Coaching. He specializes in helping executives become emotionally intelligent. He also helps his clients with well being. Antonio helps leaders with strategic planning, board development, communication, and influence, just to name a few. Antonio believes it is not enough to lead people today, you have to show you care, be authentic, and inspire your employees to bring their gifts and talents to work. If you would like to learn more, reach out to Antonio for a complimentary executive session.
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 Murchinson
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.
Bobby Kimbrough
Bobby began his law enforcement career in 1984 as a Police Officer for the Winston-Salem Police Department. In 1987, he became an Arson Investigator with the Winston-Salem Fire Department while serving in the role of Assistant Fire Marshal. He then moved to work with high-risk offenders at the North Carolina Department of Probation and Parole. From 1995 to 2016, Bobby served the United States Department of Justice as a Special Agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He specialized in investigating crimes against the government, including organized crime, money laundering, gang violence, and drug trafficking. Various certifications, including Department of Justice Instructor, and his fluency in Spanish afforded him the opportunity to work extensively throughout the United States of America and other Spanish speaking countries. Bobby has nearly 40 years of law enforcement experience and brings his professional experiences and personal passions to projects throughout the community. As an active community leader, he founded Branded for Knowledge, a program focusing on strengthening, empowering, and encouraging individuals to reach their full potential. Bobby continues to hone his leadership skills, completing the Dale Carnegie Course, Skills for Leadership. Bobby also completed Becoming a Leader: Developing Your Style and Making Sound Decisions, and Emotional Intelligence in Leadership courses from Harvard University in 2020. As the first African-American Sheriff of Forsyth County, Sheriff Kimbrough has worked to improve the relationship between the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and the community, building bridges, and enhancing the work already being done by the team members at the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. Despite his numerous accolades, including being an Author of three (3) books, Bobby considers being a single parent raising seven (7) sons as responsible, respectful young men to be his greatest accomplishment. In his spare time, Sheriff Kimbrough enjoys flying, reading, and spending time with his seven (7) sons.
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.
Damon Seils
Damon Seils was elected as mayor of Carrboro in 2021 after serving more than 8 years as a member of the Town Council. Before joining the Town Council, Damon had several years of experience in town and county government. He was twice elected chair of the Carrboro Planning Board, making recommendations to the Town Council on development and land use policy throughout the community. He also served on the town’s Greenways Commission. Damon also represented Carrboro as the chair of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. In his professional life, Damon works in the medical school at Duke University, where he is a communications specialist with a focus on the work of health services researchers, population health scientists, and public health researchers who study the quality, costs, and ethics of health care delivery. As a volunteer in the Duke community, Damon was a longtime leader of the Duke LGBT Task Force, working closely with students, employees, alumni/ae, and administrators to promote equality and inclusion for gender and sexual minority communities on campus and in the health system.
Dan Besse
Dan Besse is a former city council member who is the at-large Commissioner for Forsyth County. Commissioner Besse was born in Hickory, NC. He attended the University of North at Chapel Hill, where he earned his Political Science degree in 1977 before graduating from UNC School of Law in 1980. He worked for nearly a decade as a legal aid attorney helping low-income families across a 10-county region in coastal North Carolina. “I realized as a teenager that I could make a difference in issues I cared about through the law and through public service and I’ve always been drawn to those opportunities,” he said. He later moved to Winston-Salem where he works for private non-profit organizations primarily on matters related to public health and the environment. He’s taught classes on government and environmental law and policy at colleges that include N.C State University, Winston-Salem State University and Forsyth Technical Community College. The issues he saw during his involvement with his neighborhood association and conservation groups in Winston inspired him to run for City Council. He served on the Winston-Salem City Council from 2001-2020, representing the Southwest Ward for five terms. As a City Council member, he was able to help build stronger, healthier neighborhoods and encourage good development in the city. He helped strengthen the city’s bus system and pushed to have many new sidewalks and greenway miles built. He served as chair of the City’s Public Works Committee, which oversees transportation as well as water and sewer infrastructure. He represented the City in leadership roles on the urban area Transportation Advisory Committee, the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation, and the National League of Cities. He was appointed by two governors to serve on state rulemaking boards charged with protection of clean water, air, and land with 8 years on the NC Coastal Resources Commission and 12 years on the NC Environmental Management Commission. He didn’t seek reelection on the City Council in 2020 to focus on running for state office. After that, he successfully ran for the at-large seat on the Board of County Commissioners. “I was interested in an opportunity to make a difference on the county level issues that I didn’t have much opportunity to work with at the city level, specifically public schools and public health,” he said He is married to Daisy Rodriguez, and their blended family has three children and five grandchildren. In his spare time, Commissioner Besse likes to run, hike and do a little bit of bicycle riding. He is an active member of Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem, a long-time member of Twin City Track Club and is involved with his local neighborhood association.
Denicia Montford Williams
Denicia has been a volunteer of North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, Inc (NCAPRI) since 1999, which is also the year she moved to Raleigh, NC. In 2016, Denicia joined the staff of NCAPRI as the Human Resources Representative and since 2019 she leads as the Associate Executive Director. Denicia is one of the Vice Presidents on the Executive Board of NC AFL CIO, the Executive Director of Bayard Rustin LGBTQ A. Philip Randolph Institute, Financial Consultant for NC Youth Chapters, Treasurer for the Raleigh Chapter APRI, Co-chair Racial Justice Committee (NC AFL CIO), and Policy Committee Chair (NC AFL CIO). Denicia’s favorite role is being the mommy of 4 adult children, bonus Ma of 1 adult child, grandmother of 6, bonus grandmother of 3, and bonus great grandmother of 1. Denicia has a massive passion for educating all generations on the importance of GOTV (getting-out -the vote), their voice, and their rights in this country but is extremely passionate about educating the youth and young adults. She makes it clear and says this often “The Youth and Young adults are not only our future, but they are also our Now”. Denicia wears several other hats under the umbrella of NCAPRI and the Labor Movement and works diligently to continue to build and uplift the legacy of Asa Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin.
Donna Mickens
Mrs. Donna Hairston Mickens is a retired Assistant Principal of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools. She is married to a retired military veteran, Mr. Benjamin Mickens. Mrs. Mickens is a member of several service organizations, such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Incorporated, Top Ladies of Distinction and the North Carolina A & T State University Twin City Alumni Chapter. She believes in being prepared and goes above what is expected in order to be effective and efficient. Her personal hobbies include traveling, reading and cooking. She is a member of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and volunteers at Bolton Elementary. She demonstrates a genuine concern, resourcefulness and interest for her educational endeavors and the students with whom she serves.
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.
Elke Weil
Elke is originally from Puerto Rico. She attended NCSU where she obtained her Bachelors of Science Degree from College of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University. She began her professional career as a bilingual Claims Adjuster for a Nationwide Insurance. During her tenure, she worked closely with Nationwide’s regional marketing team on initiatives directly targeting the local Latino community. In July 2015, she co-chaired the “Latina Style Business Expo”, a business development workshop held at the Raleigh Convention Center for Latina entrepreneursin Raleigh, NC. Elke has served as an SME/Advisor to several elected officials in recent years. She was the 3rd latina to serve as the Latinx Voter Director for the NC Coordinated/ Biden/Harris presidential campaign in 2020. She is the principal owner of Panorámica Strategic Communications LLC, a bilingual consulting firm. Elke is a Latinx community advocate who offers her knowledge and expertise on several boards and task forces in our state. She serves as a board member to the NCDEQ Environmental Justice and Racial Equity, Hispanic and Immigrants Affairs board for the City of Raleigh, Wake County Food Plan Task Force and supports several non-profit boards in North Carolina.
Eric Braun
“Eric received his undergraduate degree from James Madison University. After college, he went to Wake Forest University School of Law and then on to University of Georgia where he received an MPA. He practiced land use and zoning law until retiring in 2010. He now is the Vice Chair of the Raleigh Housing Authority. Prior to his work with the Raleigh Housing Authority, Eric served on the Raleigh Planning Commission for 6 years, including 2 years as Chair and Vice Chair. Here is a link to his complete professional profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbraun1/”
John Deems
“Eric received his undergraduate degree from James Madison University. After college, he went to Wake Forest University School of Law and then on to University of Georgia where he received an MPA. He practiced land use and zoning law until retiring in 2010. He now is the Vice Chair of the Raleigh Housing Authority. Prior to his work with the Raleigh Housing Authority, Eric served on the Raleigh Planning Commission for 6 years, including 2 years as Chair and Vice Chair. Here is a link to his complete professional profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbraun1/”
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.
Monique McMillian
Monique moved to North Carolina in July 2002 from Maryland. She is a graduate from Sandhill’s Community College and Fayetteville Technical Community College. Monique comes to NCLCV with a wide range of organizing experiences and leadership skills. From 2013 to now, Monique has also worked as a part-time Assistant Organizer with Democracy North Carolina, and she has headed up the field operations for numerous campaigns. As a community advocate and leader, Monique feeds the homeless once a month and educates the people in her community on voting right. Prior to her involvement with Democracy NC, Monique’s work included leadership development with Democratic Women of Cumberland County youth across NC and environmental justice organizing as well as teaching a social networking class to DWCC members.
Noel Walker
Noel Walker is the Senior Programs Manager at the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and began her tenure in June 2021. As part of the Programs team at TMCF, Noel leads the Boeing | TMCF Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Investment. Within this partnership, she is responsible for a multimillion-dollar investment by pipelining HBCU talent to the Boeing Company through the development of strategic processes and curating creative experiences. Additionally, Noel supports programmatic efforts for TMCF’s annual Leadership Institute. This conference hosts over 400 HBCU students with aspirations in developing their professionalism and connecting with partnering companies for potential opportunities. Before being named to this position in July of 2022, Noel began as Program Coordinator working with the Apple | TMCF partnership. Prior to joining the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Noel worked on Capitol Hill in both chambers for a total of five years. During this time, Noel provided direct scheduling management at the executive level and facilitated major strategic events hosted by the offices. Additionally, she served as Chair of the Social Committee for the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus and was a member of the Congressional Black Associates. Noel is a proud and accomplished graduate of Delaware State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. Also, while at Delaware State, Noel was an NCAA Division I Women’s bowling student-athlete and she is a proud Hornet. Born in Prince George’s County, Maryland and raised in Winston Salem, NC, Noel enjoys traveling, experiencing new cultures, and discourse on improving underserved communities.
Ray Robinson
Lionel Ray Robinson was born in Walkertown, North Carolina, and attended school in the Winston Salem Forsyth County Public School System. Upon graduating from North Forsyth High School, Ray began his collegiate career at Elizabeth City State University where he majored in Political Science and Public Administration. Winning such awards as highest grade point average (GPA) among freshman students and the Ronald McNair Graduate Research Scholarship, Ray was well on his way to success. After graduating from Elizabeth City State University, Ray moved back to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and began a career as a community organizer with Democracy North Carolina. It would be at Democracy NC that Ray discovered his niche for fund development and community engagement. Ray later enrolled in High Point University to pursue a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Upon completion of his master’s degree at High Point University, Ray accepted a position as Executive Director with Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. Later that year Ray would make history by solidifying the organization as a standing club and become the first African American Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Boys & Girls Clubs of Indiana Pennsylvania. During his time in Pennsylvania, Ray oversaw the expansion and development of new clubs and the initial contracts connected with renovating a local community center for club members. In 2017, Ray answered the call again to lead a nonprofit organization when he accepted the appointment to become the first African American and youngest Executive Director of Outer Banks Sporting Events in Nags Head, North Carolina. In Nags Head, Ray assisted the organization in creating over $55 million in economic impact to the citizens of Dare County, North Carolina. In this effort Ray has served as a board member for State Employees Credit Union (Nags Head, NC), Children in Youth Partnership, Kappa Foundation of the Middle Eastern Province, 100 Black Men of Northeastern NC, Historical Guild (Duck Woods Country Club), and Dare Education Foundation to name a few. Today Ray leads a small private equity firm, The Columbia Group, in Greensboro, North Carolina. In his free time, Ray enjoys boating and spending time with his wife, Glasher Robinson, and his two daughters, Lauren Robinson and Logan Robinson.
Robert Leak III
Robert joined the NCLCVF/PowerUp team in June 2020. He owes his over 15 years of community organizing and activism to his grandfather, a church pastor and community advocate. As a very young man, Robert accompanied him to various meetings in their community. Robert understands that everyone has a gift to share with others to help build change in their community, and that everyone has a right to be included at the table despite their circumstances. A lifelong resident of Winston-Salem, Robert attended Winston-Salem State University, majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Political Science. Robert enjoys working in the community and pastoring his church, delivering uplifting messages to his members and the community. During his free time, you will find Robert enjoying quality time with his wife.
Robin Smith
Robin joined NCLCV in 2001 to help ensure that the state is holding polluters accountable for their impacts on our natural resources by enforcing our existing laws. From teasing out the stories from the depths of the basement files and the mess of data at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to going on muddy site visits with the Department of Transportation, Robin knows how well our environmental protections are being upheld, and what our state agencies need to hold polluters accountable effectively. Before she joined NCLCV, she had over 17 years experience in water and air resource management as an environmental scientist, technical training specialist, and technical consulting, including direct experience with the EPA’s enforcement programs. She currently chairs the NC Sedimentation Control Commission, and serves on the Environmental Stewardship Initiative Advisory Board, the Water Resources Research Institute Advisory Committee, and the Yancey County Cooperative Extension Agricultural Advisory Board. While Robin has the skills needed to sort through the multitudes of data and databases she finds at DENR, she much prefers harvesting heirloom tomatoes and honey. Robin and her husband started Bee Log Farm, a 2-acre farm in Yancey County, in 2005, using organic methods and selling heritage varieties of vegetables and garden plants locally. We love it when she brings us free-range eggs. Robin has a BS from Ferrum College and a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University.

Our 2023 Fellows

Annette Skinner-Coleman
Dr. Annette Skinner-Coleman is a resident of Fayetteville NC. She is a disabled US Army Veteran and recently retired counselor who wants to continue to serve her community. She applied for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program in order to gain a thorough understanding of how policies impact the local community and to gain effective skills that will contribute to purposeful volunteer service. Dr. Skinner-Coleman is an active member in her local church and several service organizations in Fayetteville. She enjoys spending time with her family, friends and reading.
Dewanna King
My name is Dewanna King, I currently live in Knightdale, NC. Originally from Raleigh, NC. I previously worked for Wake County Human Services for the past ten years. My background is in Customer Service, Food and Nutrition and Medicaid. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Shaw University. As an African American female, I’m passionate about serving and making positive changes in my community. I felt that being a part of Boards and Commissions would allow me an opportunity to do so. In my spare time I love to skate, travel and spend time with my kids.
Malik Davis
All I can say is thanks to each of you for helping to make our 2nd Annual Boards and Commissions a wonderful experience. It was a pleasure to meet you in person as well as allow you to meet your mentor and each other. If you were unable to attend Saturday’s event, no worrie, I have attached pictures for your review and feel free to post to social media. I am excited about your futures and watching each of you grow as you prepare for the next phase of your journey. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the process. I will be sending emails introducing you and your mentors. It is my desire that you connect with your mentor by Friday, March 17th, if for some reason you are unable to do so, let me know ASAP! Their participation is a crucial component to your success. If you have not returned your headshot and bio, I need that information as quickly as possible. I want you on the B&C page by the end of the week.
Frankie Gist
Frankie L. Gist is the Founder/CEO of HOPE Dealers Outreach. He was born and raised in the beautiful CIty of Winston-Salem, NC. Frankie went to Quality Education Academy of Winston-Salem and Went to North Carolina A&T University with a degree in Social Work and Minor in Public Speaking. Frankie serves as the Vice President of Young Democrats of Forsyth County, Founder of F.G. Enterprise LLC. Frankie received the Young Dreamer’s Award from the Mayor of Winston-Salem, He received Young Leader of the Year in the City of Winston-Salem, and Received Educator of the year from Quality Education Academy. Frankie Gist fights against Gun Violence Daily to bring peace, unity, and love back into the Community. His mission is to uplift and give back to the people in his community. Frankie is a traveling motivational speaker, life coach, and entrepreneur. He started HOPE Dealers Outreach in 2012 and has been pushing the vision ever since. Frankie’s motto is “Love isn’t love until you give it away
Harry Davis Jr.
Harry Davis Jr was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He attended Paine College where he received his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in psychology. During his time at Paine College, he held leadership positions in many organizations on campus. He also is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated, where he held state and district positions. Harry relocated to North Carolina where he received his master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina Central University. While completing his degree Harry took part in multiple internships one with the City of Durham as the Community Outreach Intern, and also working with North Carolina House Representative Zack Hawkins. After completing his degree Harry began working as a Regional Field Director for the Stacey Abrams for Georgia Governors Campaign in 20222. Harry also worked on the Warnock for the United States Senate Campaign during the runoff election in 2022. Harry looks forward to the Board and Commissions Fellowship to further his knowledge on the political process and looks forward to his future in politics.
Jessica Williams
“Jessica Williams is a recent graduate from North Carolina Central University, where she obtained her Master’s in Public Administration. She currently works as a Human Relations Coordinator for Pitt County and serves as the current Chair of the Human Relations Commission. She currently lives in Greenville, NC. Originally from Rocky Mount, NC. She is passionate about advocating for the black community and fighting for what is right. She also has a passion for agriculture and is committed to doing her part in providing underserved communities with the resources needed to live a healthier life. She applied to this program to help her grow in the professional world by enhancing her leadership skills, decision-making skills, and helping increase her knowledge of policy and procedure. She wants to be a voice for the black community, those who think they do not have a voice, and those who may have lost faith in their local government and/or community leaders. She believes it is important to show those in her community that someone cares and is working toward making a difference. She enjoys reading, traveling, fitness, and working on cars in her spare time.”
Jose Saucedo
Jose Saucedo is a Regional Community Field Organizer for the Winston-Salem Office of PowerUp NC currently residing in Winston-Salem, NC. Jose attended Winston-Salem State University, where he held several leadership positions on campus including SGA Director of Public Relations and President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. Jose graduated from Winston-Salem State University in May of 2022 with a B.A. In Communications and Media Studies. As a Latino male in a minority community, Jose has seen the issues that affect not only our communities but our environment as well. Jose’s passion for creating change within his community is what lead him to apply for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program. One thing Jose hope to get out of the Board and Commissions Fellowship Program is how to create change through sitting on Boards and Commissions within Winston-Salem. In his spare time, Jose enjoys spending time with friends, playing billiards, and being creative through photography, videography and graphic design.
Kara Sanders
Kara Lynn Sanders has found her superpowers being a mom. Her super s-hero name is Momma Kai because moms train up and nurture their own children and all others, regardless of age. Those are sacred gifts not everyone has. Originally hailing from Heaven, she was birthed into this world on Human Rights Day in the capital city of Hartford, Connecticut. She currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her young Black male superhero who is 7. The name God gave him is Wisdom. He is her heart beating outside of her. Being a mom is her career of choice while being an amateur neuroscientist through her works as a parent coach and plant based nutrition coach. Momma Kai applied to the Boards and Commissions training to become a decision maker changing the dynamics around providing more equitable housing to those in need. She wants to learn about the systems and processes of government through this training with opportunities to share what she knows as well. Her passion for being a mom keeps her involved in a number of endeavors to educate, empower and elevate members of the unhoused community. Because moms change things. They can make life better for everyone. While that’s impressive her greatest passion and biggest responsibility is spending time with and world schooling her superhero.
Karen Togba
Karen is the founder of PureKaret, LLC, a multifaceted business within the hospitality industry that specializes in Liberian desserts, specialty cakes and more. She is also an artist and a certified wedding and special events designer. Her work is seen annually at the North Carolina State Fair. She currently contracts with the State of North Carolina as an IT professional. Karen is a native of Liberia. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Master’s Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management.
Keisha Horton
A North Carolina native, Keisha Samara Horton learned from her own experiences that change is hard, but necessary. She worked hard to overcome many obstacles and felt called to help others do the same. Keisha received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from High Point University before earning her Master of Science Degree in School Counseling from North Carolina A&T State University. She began her career in education as a Graduate. It Pays Liaison and Family Engagement Coordinator, before becoming a Professional School Counselor in 2015. In addition to her current position as the Director of Student Services at Parkland Magnet High School, she is also a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist Associate. She is the Owner & Executive Therapist for Samara Cares Counseling & Consulting, PLLC, where she specializes in working with 15–25-year-olds and helping them process trauma, mood disorders, and academic/career decisions. She believes that her experiences in the education, mental health, and substance abuse fields are valuable for healing and empowering the next generation to reach their full potential. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her three children, walking, vacationing, volunteering, scrapbooking, and attending arts events.
London McKinney
A native of Winston Salem, North Carolina. London McKinney is a sought-out organizer with a strong passion for community and an advocate for social and political justice for all. Ms. McKinney is a graduate of High Point University with a degree in Business Administration. She has worked at Atrium Health at Wake Forest Baptist for 25 years. She believes it is essential for her to grow continually as a servant leader to be part of the change needed. Ms. McKinney has served on several boards locally and is one of the organizers of Communities United for Revitalization and Engagement (C.U.R.E.), and served as a member of the State Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council. In her spare time, Ms. McKinney enjoys volunteering, traveling, and spending time with family, her two children, and granddaughter, Rayven.
Masonda Southerland
Mashonda Southerland is a young professional with a background in Finance and Procurement. I was born and raised on the south side of Raleigh, North Carolina. I have a passion for giving back to my community. With so many challenges that exist in the world today it is rewarding to help others. Some of my most recent work has been volunteering at local women shelters, feeding the homeless and less fortunate and working with organizations to help individuals who are re-entering the workforce. I applied for the fellowship program so that I can learn more about the community needs and how I can help. I am looking forward to learning how to become a community leader and develop relationships that can help me grow personally and professionally as a leader. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, shopping and traveling.
Monica Fuller

Monica Fuller is a 7-year Veteran of the US Army who served honorably. Monica was born in Charlotte, NC but
because of her United States Marine Corps upbringing she traveled all her life. In 2008, she graduated
from Saint Augustine’s College (now Saint Augustine’s University) in Raleigh, NC with a BS in
Organizational Management and holds an MBA an international business and a Master’s in Public
Administration. As a current PhD student, Monica is employed as a legislative liaison for a state agency.
She applied for the program because she saw a lack of true policy practitioners and experienced
legislative affairs personnel on boards and commissions. The end-all was the minimal representation of
African American women and men, and veterans who do not have the elite connections to inherit a
nomination. She looks forward to learning more about how to conduct a board and how policy training
can be used to enhance her legislative and policy skills. Monica loves spending time with her daughter
and puppy. They love to travel and attend comic, tattoo, and anime conventions.

Stacey Freeman
Stacey is an advocate for helping those in need. She is the President of Charles Harden Unit #74 of the American Legion Auxiliary, where she volunteers to help veterans. Stacey is also the co-founder of My Misses Outreach, where she led the organization of a youth flag football team. Since moving to North Carolina from Maryland in 2019, Stacey has become engaged in her community, registering people to vote and educating them on the importance of voting. She attended Award Beauty School to become a cosmetologist.
Terra Wright
Terra Ann Wright, I am a Disaster Case Manager for Innovative Emergency Management, in Spring Lake, North Carolina. I moved to Spring Lake, North Carolina when I was eight years old from Mt. Clemens Michigan by the way of Maryland. I am a mother of three sons (twins age 29 and one son 24) and GiGi to six wonderful grandbabies. I am currently working towards my Ph.D and want to become a professor to assist with women and brown/black people being in the GIS/Remote Sensing or Stem field. This field is growing and the lack of representation is alarming. I applied for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program to be able to advocate for Environmental disparities of the lower income people in my community facing disasters. My passion truly is for the people who are at a disadvantage and suffer the greatest impact when a natural disaster occurs. I have seen it first hand and have worked with several organizations to assist people in these various communities. The preparation that I will receive upon completion of the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program will afford the opportunity to assist in my community by serving on a Board or Commission that aligns with the Environmental issues facing the people in the community.
Terrence Whidbee
Born and raised in rural Northeastern NC, Terrence learned the importance of respect, hard work and dedication. Throughout his school years, he exceled academically as well as athletically. Upon graduating Roanoke Valley Early College, he attended East Carolina University and studied English. Terrence was given the opportunity to work with a marketing firm to advance his career. This led to him launching his own LLC in Portland, OR under the name Modern Vision Inc. As an independent contractor for AT&T he managed a sales team and handled standard business operations. This taught him a lot and expanded the vision that he had for himself. Terrence is now back home and works as the Director of Creative Communications for ABC2, a program dedicated to uplifting the community and advocating for true change.
Tremona Purvis
My name is Tremona C Purvis. I am a native of Winston-Salem NC, and I absolutely LOVE my city. I am an alumnus of Winston-Salem State University, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. My career path has been the classroom teaching kindergarten for 30 years at Griffith Elementary school, where all scholars are CHAMPIONS. It takes a village to raise a child, my motto is Parents + Teacher’s Working Together=the SUCCESS of Our Children. My purpose in life is to honor the memory and to build the Legacy of my daughter Makieya Rae Smith. Through Gods vision I have launched the organizations” Broken Women Break Through “aiding women to heal from the traumas of addiction, mental illness, and substance abuse. “Rae’s of Light” offers scholarships for postsecondary education along with mentoring middle and high school girls, leading them from the darkness of their youth into the light of womanhood and “Mothers of Angels” which offers grieving mothers’ tools, support, and guidance to walk up the healing path of grief. My mission is to be the Beyond Amazing women God has destined me to be. The motivation for the mission is the driving force to empower humanity to change the world. That change begins with one act of kindness, paid forward by one man, one woman, and one child at a time. I strive for growth, unity and excellence in my neighborhood, community, city, and state. The Boards and Commissions fellows’ program is an essential platform and motivating strength that will instruct and guide me in the direction to become the women that will push for the continuous BEYOND AMAZING transformation of Winston-Salem and North Carolina.
Wanda Hunter
Wanda Hunter is a native of Raleigh, NC and still resides there. She has served her community in several capacities without title recognition. Wanda is a notable community servant, serving the least. She is inspired by her life experiences that have shown her that even at your lowest position in life you can still give back. Wanda has several years of formal accounting training and field experience along with community organizing experience. Wanda applied for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program to absorb as much knowledge as possible about Boards and Commissions roles and responsibilities, utilize the information obtained to be as effective as possible in any Board or Commission role while sharing information and opportunities with her community. She would like to make room for the voices of people from directly impacted communities, allowing them to share their experiences. She also wants to ensure that we are serving constituents by having improvement of their quality of life at the forefront of every decision while also being cognizant of unintended consequences and minimizing their negative impacts. Wanda has a paramount passion for serving others in all capacities. The issue that she is most passionate about is housing and she is a firm believer that housing is a human right. Wanda is a single mother of three phenomenal children, Passion, Shekhinah, and Courtland.
Zoe Coleman
Zoe Coleman is a highly motivated professional who has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with concentrations in Civic Engagement and Public Policy from North Carolina Central University. Zoe is also a proud Armed Forces member, serving as a USAF reservist. She is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and is active with her community, volunteering or donating needed resources. She applied for the Boards and Commissions Fellowship Program to do better for her community by understanding how to present issues and knowing how to relay what needs to be reviewed by Boards and Commissions. In her free time, Zoe enjoys spoiling her Yorkie and spending time with her family and friends.

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