Introducing the Executive 2021 Goodmon Fellows

Leadership Triangle
9 min readDec 13, 2021


Welcoming 14 new Alumni into our Goodmon Fellow community.

2021 Executive Goodmon Fellow Class (not pictured: Melissa Seymour, Noelle Warburton, and Dr. McPhail)

During our 2021 Leadership Triangle Executive Program, C-level executives and their spouses/partners learned and collaborated alongside other top executives and community leaders. After engaging in conversations addressing key regional topics, the 2021 Executive Goodmon Fellow class is graduating with clarified understanding of their impact and responsibility to the region as a whole. We hope you all will connect with and support these leaders, as they join our alumni community of 900+ Goodmon Fellows positively impacting the Triangle through leadership and regional collaboration.

This is our first Executive Cohort since 2018, and we are grateful to the Research Triangle Foundation for their generous sponsorship and partnership in making it happen!

Adam Klein is the Director of American Tobacco Campus and American Underground. He loves seeing communities transformed through the deep and thoughtful engagement of a creative business community. Adam enjoys being involved in organizations that think outside of business norms to drive new campaigns and initiatives that bring opportunity and wealth to a city. For the past ten years, he’s had the good fortune of being shaped and influenced by such organizations, thinkers and doers in Durham-Raleigh, NC.

Chip Killian has been a Software Engineer at Google, working on Google’s Platforms Networking team, since 2012. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor of Computer Science at Purdue University from 2008–2012, after completing his PhD from UCSD in 2008 under Professor Amin Vahdat. While at Purdue, Chip was an NSF CAREER Award winner and an HP Open Innovation Award winner. Broadly, his research is in distributed systems, with a strong focus on the technologies and techniques to make it easier to design, develop, test, and debug distributed systems. Chip’s research started on the MACEDON project for building overlay networks, and evolved through the Mace project and the MaceMC model checker (Best paper award, NSDI 2007). While he continues to work on Mace and its extensions, these days his research has also grown to include data mining and log analysis to detect and diagnose problems in systems, and also the means by which to test systems under a variety of malicious conditions in an automated fashion.

Dr. Christine Johnson McPhail is President at Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC. She formerly served as president and CEO at the McPhail Group LLC and a nationally recognized thought leader in higher education. She is the Founding Professor and Director of the Community College Leadership Doctoral Program at Morgan State University. Dr. McPhail is the former President of Cypress College in California. She is a Certified Associate for Emergenetics International. This organizational development company uses psychometric research and behavioral studies to advise and consult with businesses and individuals to assess human capital. Dr. McPhail is the recipient of the 2018 Diverse Champions Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education, the 2010 AACC National Leadership Award, and the 2008 League of Innovation’s Terry O’Banion Leadership Award. She served on the Advisory Council for the Community College Survey of Student Engagement and the National Center for Postsecondary Research at the Community College Research Center. Dr. McPhail also served as the affirmative action officer for Division J of the American Education Research Association and on the editorial board for the Community College Journal of Research and Practice. A prolific scholar/practitioner, she is the editor for one of AACC’s best-selling publications, Establishing and Sustaining Learning-Centered Community Colleges (2005), co-author of the best-selling book, Practical Leadership in Community Colleges, with Dr. George R. Boggs (2016), author of Leadership Tune-Up: Twelve Steps to Becoming a More Successful and Innovative Leader (2020), and co-editor of Team Leadership in Community Colleges, with Dr. George R. Boggs (2019). Her latest book, Transformational Change: Becoming an Equity-Centered Higher Education Institution, co-authored with Dr. Kimberly Beatty, is slated for publication in Summer 2021 (Stylus Publishing). In addition to her books, Dr. McPhail is the author of numerous academic journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and technical reports. McPhail’s articles, From Tall to Matrix: Redefining Organizational Structures (2016).

Dr. Gia Soublet has over 25 years of successful fundraising, development, and nonprofit management experience and currently serves as Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In this role, she is responsible for the establishment and implementation of strategic initiatives for the solicitation of private gifts and oversees alumni relations. Before joining NCCU, Dr. Soublet served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Xavier University of Louisiana. Under her leadership at Xavier, the University enjoyed fundraising increases every year and she is credited with establishing a corporate partners program, expanding the planned giving program, establishing a presidential funding initiative for support of student emergencies, and overhauling the stewardship operation which resulted in significant growth in donor retention. Prior to Xavier, Dr. Soublet served as Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations at Dillard University, where she started her career in higher education as a Major Gifts Officer. Prior to Dillard she worked in several roles at United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area before eventually serving as the Assistant Vice President for Campaigns. During her tenure at United Way, Dr. Soublet won numerous national participation and goal achievement awards as the director for the Combined Federal Campaign. Dr. Soublet currently serves on the Board for the New Orleans chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and is the principal for Soublet Consulting Group, where she provides governance, management and development consulting for nonprofits. In addition to CASE, she has also presented at AFP and United Way conferences on various topics including major gift acquisition, building donor participation, board development, diversity and inclusion, and ethics in fundraising. Dr. Soublet earned Certification in Fund Raising Management from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Xavier University of Louisiana, a Master of Business Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Doctorate in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. Her research focuses on the impact of same-gender mentoring on the career progression of women of color in higher education. Dr. Soublet is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. She is married to Eric Soublet and is the mother of three children, David, Dominick, and Angèle.

Harold Hicks is a Corporate Real Estate Portfolio/Facilities Management professional with a Master of Corporate Real Estate and Certified Facility credentials. He is currently VP of Real Estate and Facilities Strategic Planning at RTI International. Harold has over 30 years of leadership experience and global cultural perspectives from my leadership roles at Fidelity Investments, Siemens, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, PAREXEL International, and Kaiser Permanente. His view of the world and how we must change it rests on this simple belief and adage: “The world is changed by your example, not your opinion”. Harold’s life’s work has been about effecting positive change not just talking about the ideals of it.

Andrea Harris Hicks is an Instructional Assistant at Durham Public Schools.

Krista Covey is the President of First Flight Venture Center. She has a passion for serving high-impact entrepreneurial ventures and helping them achieve success. Krista has been supporting the development and growth of early-stage companies through her work building and leading award-winning innovation hubs in Florida and Texas. She has an extensive background in banking and finance and has experience in business incubation and acceleration, strategic management, business development, marketing, economic development, economic gardening for high-growth science and tech companies, and public relations. As an entrepreneur at heart, she has also grown her own successful finance business with a profitable exit and served on several start-up boards. Krista is a certified Business Incubator Manager with the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) and currently serves as second Vice-Chair of the InBIA Executive Board of Directors. She is part of the Startup Champions Network, driving long-term change by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and working to reduce barriers for entrepreneurs, and has served on numerous community and industry boards. Krista is a regular speaker on topics relating to business innovation, technology transfer, incubation, acceleration, mentoring programs, economic development, funding vehicles and other programs designed to transition ideas into profitable ventures that significantly impact our community. Krista holds a B.S. in Business Marketing from Southeastern University and her Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Leo University.

Melissa Seymour is Global Head of Quality and Chief Quality Officer for Biogen Inc. In her current role Melissa leads the PO&T organization in setting the quality compliance strategy, implementation of quality processes and systems, and development of talent to ensure the highest level of quality and compliance in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to this, Melissa served as the Vice President of Global Quality Control assuming responsibility for the comprehensive strategy and implementation of Global QC testing. Additionally, she spent several years as the Vice President of Corporate Quality with responsibility for global compliance and quality systems. Melissa holds BS degrees in both Biological Sciences and Biochemistry from North Carolina State University and an executive MBA from Duke University. She has over 25 years of experience including quality positions at Novo and GSK. Melissa has been highly involved in influencing of regulatory guidance through participation on non-profit Boards of the (PDA) from 2016 to present as well as Rx-360, an international consortium focused on supply chain security vis-à-vis public health concerns and patient safety. Additionally, she has been an advocate for simplification of PAC, participating in industry forums, writing articles and interacting with regulators.

Noelle Warburton is the Director, Security and Trust Communications at Cisco. She is an innovative professional with expertise in the design and execution of global marketing campaigns and internal and external communication plans. Noelle has a history of success running globally diverse teams and executing on multi-million dollar campaigns that support business goals and build corporate value. She has capacity to multi-task, communicate at all levels and make sound decisions under pressure.

Tia McLaurin serves as a Community Engagement Manager for Google. She is formerly the Assistant Director of Development for the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership, the Alumni Relations & Development Director for Leadership North Carolina, and the Director of Corporate & Community Partnerships for Boys & Girls Clubs. Tia has an M.A. in Predictive Analytics and a B.A. in Sociology from North Carolina State University.

Wanda Page is the Durham City Manager. Wanda is an experienced City Manager with a demonstrated history of working in government administration. Skilled in Public Administration, Finance and Accounting, Audit and Compliance, Human Resource Management, Local Government Operations, Economic and Community Development. Strong community and public services professional with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) focused in Business Administration and Management, from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from North Carolina Central University.

Craig D. Page, Managing Member of Craig D. Page, CPA, PLLC, has been a CPA in the state of North Carolina for 29 years. In addition to his proprietary experience as a firm owner, he has “Big 4” accounting experience as well as several years of experience as a senior level financial manager. Craig has strong ties to the community which has led to the development of a client oriented business philosophy. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the North Carolina Association of CPA’s. His state of certification is North Carolina and his Certificate Number is 14386.

Ray Trapp has recently joined the Research Triangle Foundation as Vice President of Strategic Engagement. Prior to joining RTF, Trapp served as Director of External Affairs for North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Trapp has also previously served as a Guilford County Commissioner representing District 8 from 2012–2017. He won his first election to the County Commission in 2012 and was re-elected without opposition in 2016. His professional work and service have earned numerous awards, including the National Association of Counties’ 2016 Public Health Achievement Award for the “Food Desert Storm” project addressing food insecurity in Guilford County, and his inclusion in the Triad Business Journal’s 2011 “40 Business Leaders Under 40.” Trapp served in the U.S. Navy as an Interior Communications Specialist aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). He is a proud alumnus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University where he completed his Master of Science in Agricultural Education.

Shannon Palmer has more than 15 years of experience in higher education serving in enrollment management, student affairs, and university administration. Shannon currently serves as the Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives at Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, Florida. Prior to this appointment, she served as Assistant Chief of Staff at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Associate Chief of Staff at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Shannon has also held a number of positions at her undergraduate alma mater, Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Shannon received a masters degree in higher education from Abilene Christian University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership from East Carolina University.



Leadership Triangle

Leadership Triangle builds leadership capacity and promotes regionalism across the separate communities of the Triangle (Chatham, Durham, Orange, Wake County).