Emily Krzyzewski Center
Chief Program Officer
Valerie has served in leadership roles in nonprofit education and community-based organizations focused on holistic youth development, strengthening the education to career pipeline for youth of color, and addressing systemic barriers to success for youth from communities of color and lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Valerie currently serves as Chief Program Officer at the Emily K Center, a nonprofit college access organization in Durham, NC. Together with her husband, Valerie has three fantastically colorful children ages 24, 22 and 15, and also claims a number of “village children” who help to enrich her life greatly. Valerie obtained her B.A. in psychology from Yale University and her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Duke University.
Law Office of Edward Brooks, PLLC
Edward K. Brooks, B.A., J.D., was born and raised in Pembroke, NC. Brooks completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received his Juris Doctorate at the North Carolina Central University School of Law. Brooks was a partner with the law firm of Patterson Dilthey, LLP until 2013, at which time, he opened his own law practice.
Brooks began his career as a trial attorney whose practice is focused on civil litigation in the areas of general tort liability and cases involving sovereignty of Indian tribes. Brooks is admitted to practice in the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of North Carolina. He was admitted pro hac vice to defend asbestos claims in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is also admitted to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He has briefed and orally argued before the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Brooks also served as legal counsel to the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He is one of a limited number of attorneys in the nation to successfully argue the sovereignty of a State Recognized Indian Tribe in a state court. He currently serves as settlement attorney in real estate transactions, provides litigation support for county departments of social services, and serves as corporate counsel for several small businesses.
Brooks is married to LeeChelle and has 3 sons, Riley, Drake and Gaige. He is a deacon at Hyde Park Baptist Church in Lumberton.
WAGES, A Community Action Agency
Chief Executive Officer
Head Start/Early Head Start
Patricia Beier serves as Chief Executive Officer for Wayne Action Group for Economic Solvency, Inc. (WAGES), a large community action agency in North Carolina. In this role, she provides executive leadership and oversight for 12 diverse human service programs. These programs provide services for children, seniors and families. These services include: early education, economic and workforce development, energy efficiency housing supports, nutrition and senior volunteer programming.
Patricia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Justice and Public Policy from North Carolina Wesleyan College and a Master’s degree in Administration (Business Administration) from Central Michigan University as well as Certification in Non-profit Management from Duke University. She is also actively involved in her community serving on the local Domestic Violence Shelter Board, Wayne Forward, Literacy Council Board and the Goldsboro-Wayne Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. In addition, she currently serves on several statewide and regional Boards, including as Immediate President of the North Carolina Head Start Association, Vice-Chair of the Board for NC Child, the Region IV Head Start Association Board and the North Carolina Community Action Board of Directors.
She uses her voice as a subject matter expert at all levels, and her consultative strategies, services and training have assisted numerous organizations across the southeastern United States. Patricia was honored as a 2019 Defender of Justice by the NC Justice Center and as a 2019 Early Childhood Champion by Guilford Child Development.
Casey Cooper is the Chief Executive Officer of the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority, having focused his entire career on the health-related needs of the approximately 15,500 enrolled Tribal Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). As an enrolled member of the EBCI, he has been involved in American Indian health care for more than 25 years and has served as a Primary Care Nurse, Community Health Nurse, Nurse Educator, and Nursing Manager.
Casey received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from Gardner-Webb University and an MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He is the current Secretary of the Dogwood Health Trust Board of Directors, and a former Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. In addition, he is committed to many regional, state, and national organizations to include serving on the boards of Western Carolina University, MAHEC, and the Cherokee Historical Association, as well as serving on the CMS Tribal Technical Advisory Committee and the American Hospital Association’s Rural Health Task Force.
Casey and his wife, Jill, have three children: Jack, Kate, and Mary. They reside in the Birdtown Community in Cherokee.
Josh Davis is a Financial Planning & Analysis professional at Aspida, a Durham-based insurance company specializing in life and annuity solutions to enhance retirement and wealth management strategies. Josh currently serves as a FP&A Manager, where his responsibilities include examining financial data ranging from variance analysis, forecasting, decision support through robust modeling, and financial system implementations. He holds an MBA from North Carolina State University where he also received his B.S. in Business Administration, both with a concentration in Finance. While at NC State, he was a standout member of the varsity Track & Field team where he holds university and Atlantic Coast Conference records in either the weight or hammer throws. Josh also served as a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and as an MBA advisor in the university’s chapter of Consult-Your-Community (CYC) – a student run non-profit that organizes diverse teams to solve problems for local business owners in the Raleigh area. Josh grew up in the small town of Yanceyville, NC and currently resides in Cary. When not losing tennis matches to his wife, Jasmine, he enjoys golfing, fishing, and spending time with his friends.
Amanda McQuade Dole is an attorney with the Charlotte-based firm, Moore & Van Allen, working within their Corporate and Transportation and Logistics groups. She advises on a variety of general corporate, operational, and commercial legal matters, including transportation and logistics matters, global insurance management, equipment purchases/capital expenditures, regulatory issues, and motor carrier contracting. Amanda also reviews and assists in the preparation of documents for bilateral and syndicated credit facilities, including treatment of ancillary bank product facilities.
Amanda was named in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© as one of 35 MVA attorneys selected as Best Lawyers® “Ones to Watch”.
A graduate of Davidson College and Emory Law School, Amanda has a passion for children and families in addition to corporate law and does extensive pro bono work with the Council of Children’s Rights. Her interest in children’s law and policy stems from her time at Emory Law, where she interned at the Barton Child Law and Policy Center, as well as NC Child in the summer of 2015.
Amanda resides in Charlotte with her husband, Preston, son, Edward “Ward,” and dog, Dexter.
Terry is a former systems analyst who moved to Asheville, NC in 1992. She became very involved with the non-profit community in Western North Carolina, serving on the Boards of Pisgah Legal Services, the Council on Aging, the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and others. Working as a volunteer navigator, helping people get health insurance, she was outraged when she had to tell people they did not qualify because the NC General Assembly turned down Medicaid Expansion. That, and the defunding of vital programs by the Legislature, encouraged her to run for office. She was appointed to the NC Senate to represent District 49 after the death of Sen. Martin Nesbitt and was elected in her own right in 2014. She served 3+ terms in the NC Senate, including 2 as Democratic Whip.
She is proud to have been named a First 2000 Days Champion for Children by Smart Start of Buncombe County in 2015, Legislator of the Year by the NC Child Care Coalition in 2017, and a Champion for Children by the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children in 2018.
Former Rep. Horn was a Russian linguist with the USAF Security Service and is a retired food broker. He served five terms in the NCGA representing Union County, during which time, he served on the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, was a House Chairman of the Joint Legislative Education Committee, and co-chairman of the House Education Appropriations and House Education K-12 Committees. He has also been a Commissioner to the Education Commission of the States and an Early Learning Fellow at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In addition to his work in education, Rep. Horn authored Kilah’s Law on child abuse, which went on to pass through the US Congress and was signed into law in 2016. He has done extensive work on drug abuse issues resulting in the passing of various pieces of legislation regarding artificial cannabinoids, methamphetamine, and opioid abuse.
In 2015, Rep. Horn was awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters by Wingate University for his work in education. In 2020, he was elected a Trustee of Wingate University. In 2021, Rep. Horn was awarded an Associates of Arts Honoris Causa from South Piedmont Community College.
Craig and his wife Lorraine live in Weddington, North Carolina, where he serves as the town’s mayor. They have four grown children and seven grandchildren.
Velva Jenkins’ professional career has provided the background for her to become an advocate for economic and workforce development and women in leadership. Ms. Jenkins believes in entrepreneurial and economic uniformity in which she advocates through education and community partnerships.
Ms. Jenkins is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA of the Lower Cape Fear. In her role, she oversees all YWCA sustainable programs and community outreach programs that empower and advocate for women and people of color. At the YWCA, Ms. Jenkins also created new initiatives to engage the community on issues of racial equity, social justice, health disparities through Talk On Race and Talk On Health. She was presented the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Roy Cooper.
Ms. Jenkins began her career in economic and workforce development as the Director of the Small Business with Brunswick Community College in 1986. She has since served in many positions, and on many boards and committees. She has degrees in Business with a concentration in Marketing from the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University. Ms. Jenkins is a native of Brunswick County, married to Ron Jenkins; they have two daughters, Monique and Rowanty.
Board Vice Chair
Nutritionally Yours LLC
President and CEO
Manju is the President/CEO of Nutritionally Yours LLC, a private practice offering personalized nutritional coaching focused on integrative and functional nutrition and weight management and corporate wellness. She has a breadth of experience in acute care clinical nutrition, nutrition support, public health education and community nutrition.
Manju has a breadth of leadership experience in her professional organization as well as local non-profit organizations. Her passion for health and education fuel her service to the community. She was awarded the Cabot Community Champion Award in 2019 for her service with Meals on Wheels of Wake County. She was also inducted into the Cooking Matters Hall of Fame in 2016 for her commitment to nutrition education in low income communities.
Sally is the daughter of teachers, innovators, and visionaries who taught her from a young age to deeply listen to everyone in her circle of influence. She completed her Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources at Freed-Hardeman University (Henderson, TN) and received a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University (Durham, NC). Most recently Sally completed a Master of Science in Organization Development at Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA), where she finished her thesis on pay equity in nonprofits.
Sally is the Managing Director at Loftis Partners, a 100% woman-owned human resources consulting firm located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. While owning her own business takes time, Sally is just as passionate about her family and her community. Sally is married with three kids and one dog and lives in Newland, NC. She also serves as a regional member of the Equality NC PAC and a board member for Charlie’s Heart Foundation.
Dr. Kimberly Montez is a general pediatrician, educator, child health advocate and health services researcher with a passion for promoting health equity. She is an Assistant Professor of General Academic Pediatrics, Associate Program Director for the Pediatric Residency Program, Vice Chair for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Pediatrics, and Associate Director for the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her research and advocacy efforts focus on child poverty, food insecurity, health equity, immigrant and refugee health, paid family and medical leave, and diversity in pediatrics.
Nationally, Dr. Montez serves in several leadership positions with pediatric professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academic Pediatric Association, and the Society for Pediatric Research. She also serves on the Policy Committee for the North Carolina Pediatric Society. Locally, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina and the School Health Alliance for Forsyth County.
Dr. Montez received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University, Doctor of Medicine degree from the Stanford School of Medicine, and Master of Public Health from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health. She completed pediatric residency at the University of California San Diego and fellowship in Community Health and Leadership at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
Peg O’Connell is the chair of the Safe Kids North Carolina Steering Committee and chair of the NC Stroke Advisory Council. She is also the chair of Care4Carolina, a coalition of nearly 200 organizations dedicated to expanding Medicaid in NC. She is a board member of the North Carolina Public Health Association, North Carolina Citizens for Public Health and Chamber Music Raleigh. She is a two-time recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, recipient of the 2011 American Heart Association Advocacy Award, the 2000 and 2012 recipient of the North Carolina Public Health Association Distinguished Service Award and the first recipient of the North Carolina Prevention Partners POWER Award. Peg retired in 2020 as Senior Advisor for Government and Public Affairs with the Raleigh consulting firm of Fuquay Solutions. She is currently an independent consultant. She has over 25 years of experience in legislative, public, regulatory and governmental affairs, healthcare, media and grassroots advocacy at the state and federal levels and has been active in North Carolina working to improve the public health by reducing smoking and obesity. An attorney by profession, O’Connell has spent most of her career in government affairs and communications. She graduated magna cum laude from Marietta College, earning a BA in history and political science, and received her law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law.
Global Emerging Talent Solutions, Diversity & Business Leader
Head Above Water – Saving Life Below
Christopher has a strong passion for diversity, inclusion, and community building. This includes mentoring youth in personal and professional development, teaching financial investment practices, and economic development. He is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; Political Science, B.A, and UNC-Greensboro; Public Affairs, MPA. Chris has a distinguished history in cultivating productive and competitive work cultures through his ability to disrupt inclusive hiring practices, implement effective talent strategy, and empower continuous learning and innovation organizations.
Chris currently works at Cisco Systems as the Global Emerging Talent Solutions, Diversity and Business Partner. In this role, he leads the end-to-end Emerging Talent Strategy by overseeing recruiting, workforce development, building empathetic leaders and employees for career readiness and growth to enable the future ready workforce. Chris is the Executive Director and Co-founder of Head Above Water – Saving Life Below. A family nonprofit organization devoted to empowering and educating youth in community and economic development, sustainability, and environmental practices. Christopher plans to continue inspiring inclusive work cultures, communities and developing feasible solutions to build highly efficient operational cultures.