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.
Sheila currently works for MamásConPoder/ MomsRising as NC Campaign Director. She is a parent, leader and trainer for the Division of Public Health, Children and Youth Branch, NC Department of Health and Human Services. She is also a part of different committees. Sheila is currently on North Carolina Pediatric Society board. Sheila has worked at Durham Early Head Start and Children’s Developmental Services. She has been a part of many trainings, such as Triple P and Touch Points. Sheila has helped organized and lead different campaigns around the country. She has been a speaker for different events both in English and Spanish. Sheila was one of the seven finalists for the vacant Durham city council seat and was one of the youngest cast members for the Listen to your Mother show, as well as a recipient of Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award in 2015.
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.
Assistant General Counsel
Self-Help Credit Union
As Assistant General Counsel for Self-Help Credit Union, Brandon is responsible for a variety of activities for the entire Self-Help family of entities including managing the organization’s litigation portfolio, overseeing the effective implementation of vendor management policies and procedures, and coordinating with internal business clients to negotiate legal agreements governing partner and vendor relationships to account for business needs, regulatory requirements, and legal risk tolerances. Prior to joining Self-Help Credit Union, Brandon served as Policy Counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending where he supported advocates around the county in state-level fights against predatory lending practices. In addition, he has served as Legislative Correspondent for Congressman G.K. Butterfield where he managed the Financial Services, Small Business and Ways and Means legislative portfolio; and conducted legal analysis on other policy issues. A graduate of Duke Law School, Brandon, his wife, and daughter live in Durham, NC.
Coastal Horizons Center, Inc.
Treatment Operations Director
Ryan Estes, MSW, MBA, LCSW, LCAS, CCS is the Treatment Operations Director for Coastal Horizons Center, Inc. Coastal Horizons Center is a comprehensive mental health provider headquartered in Wilmington with an annual operating budget nearing 35 million. Ryan received his BA in Psychology and Philosophy from Wake Forest University and his MSW from University of North Carolina at Chapel. Ryan has an MBA from UNC-Wilmington.
Ryan has been in the field for over fifteen years as a clinician and director. Ryan holds licenses in North Carolina as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist. Additionally, he is a Certified Clinical Supervisor with the NC Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board. He is part of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, a rostered Trauma Focused CBT clinician, and a national Protective Factors trainer. Ryan has written over 5 million in successful federal and state grants, and transitioned these programs to diversified sustainable funding creating a more comprehensive array of child mental health services in the greater Wilmington area. His current work is focused on program development, fiscal and policy oversight, as well as clinical and administrative consultation.
Ryan serves on the National Family Preservation Network board and is the former state president for the National Association of Social Workers – North Carolina. Ryan is a part-time adjunct faculty member for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the College of Health and Human Services
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.
CEO of Healthy Blue
Vice President of Medicaid Segment at Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
Jesse leads BCBS of NC’s Medicaid plan, providing overall strategic leadership to operationalize the new health plan in 2021. He serves as executive liaison between state regulators, legislators, community-based agencies and other stakeholders. Jesse has extensive leadership experience in Medicaid MCOs. Prior to joining Blue Cross North Carolina, he served as CEO of Trusted Health Plans Inc. in Michigan and CEO of Coordinated Health Mutual in Ohio. He has also had Executive leadership roles with Molina, Wellcare, and United Healthcare. Also, Jesse was a regulator at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and served as the Health Policy Advisor for Rick Snyder for Governor in 2010. Jesse is a first generation college graduate in his family. He was born and reared in Mississippi and lives in Cary, NC with his family.
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.
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.
Deputy Executive Director
Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy
As Deputy Executive Director of ITEP, Meg coordinates ITEP’s federal and state tax policy agenda. Meg works closely with policymakers, legislative staff and state and national organizations to advise and provide research on policy solutions that will achieve fair and sustainable federal, state and local tax systems. Before joining ITEP in 2010 as the state policy director, Meg worked at the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center where her research and advocacy focused on the effect of state fiscal policy on low- and moderate-income North Carolinians. Her work in North Carolina included leading a successful campaign to enact a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit. Meg has a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and lives in Durham with her family.