Introducing the Leadership Triangle Transforming Leaders 2021 Goodmon Fellows

Leadership Triangle
13 min readDec 6, 2021

Welcoming 35 new Alumni into our Goodmon Fellow community.

These 35 Triangle leaders spent a day every week for 2.5 months in a masters level course in leadership development, with content that accounts for differences in proximity and access to power. Transforming Leaders was designed to meet these participants in their own lived experience and help them co-create a leadership model that works for them — based on authenticity, personal values, and desired impact. In this post, we uplift their spirits, their passions, and their work. We celebrate the commitment and courage that it takes to discover the inner workings of themselves as leaders and to transform. We hope you all will connect with and support them as they join our alumni community of 900+ Goodmon Fellows positively impacting the Triangle through their leadership.

Allyson Cobb is a San Francisco native with strong roots in Durham. She is a proud daughter, sister, aunt, and friend who holds the values of justice, community, and family at the core of her being. Currently, she serves as the Director of Community Engagement at the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Leading with her core values, Allyson creatively cultivates strategic partnerships and initiatives that engage local nonprofits and corporations wanting to make a lasting impact in the Triangle community. From a young age, serving one’s community is something that has always been her calling. She shared the following quote, to sum up, her belief in community and the work she does: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” — Coretta Scott King

Annie Schmidt is working towards a community where everyone feels valued. Her passion for making recovery accessible has led to advocacy for youth and those who are marginalized throughout her career. Right now, she is serving as the Executive Director for the Wake County affiliate for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and is recognized as one of the United Way of the Greater Triangle’s 10 to Watch.

Arlene Brown - As NCSEA’s (North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association) Manager of Membership and Engagement, Arlene takes great pleasure in directing and overseeing strategic membership activities for the organization. In collaboration with her brilliant teammates, she works hard to initiate and execute outreach, engagement, and marketing strategies geared towards developing and retaining a robust membership base across all clean energy technologies. With a wide variety of experience across the nonprofit sector, she has been told that she “leaves a little sparkle everywhere she goes.” Arlene graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, holds a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Duke University, and proudly serves as the Board Chair of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of the Triangle.

Bill Strathmann is a Claims Director at The Redwoods Group.

Castle Frame is a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist located in the heart of Durham, North Carolina. Five years ago she graduated from Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio where she specialized in Massage Therapy and Holistic Healing. Castle has been practicing hands-on since. Massage therapy is her identity and not just her job. She strives to help those looking for healing in the body, anywhere from acute and local pain, or a long term issue in the body that will take multiple sessions and effort to relieve. Castle has recently pursued her dream to operate out of her own private practice, which has officially launched and grown into Castle Frame Massage

Chanae Wilson is the Community Connections Manager with the Budget & Tax Center. She joined BTC in January 2017 as a Public Allies Apprentice through the AmeriCorps program. She primarily works on the coordination of community engagement programming and key initiatives under BTC such as the NC Summer Policy Institute.Chanae earned her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology at Saint Augustine’s University and her Master of Art’s (M.A) in Social Policy at North Carolina State University

Emilie Smith supports purpose-driven leaders, teams and organizations live out and operationalize their values. She has a penchant for simplifying the complex, bringing justice and joy to strategic initiatives and change and helping leaders become the next best version of themselves. When she isn’t working on building Emilie Smith Coaching + Consulting, she’s mothering three young children, taking in a sunset hike, enjoying a glass of wine and spending time in her community in Durham. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff of United Way of the Greater Triangle, drawn especially to their anti-racism work and the stellar team of people who make up their staff.

Geraud Staton is the executive director of Helius. Helius provides coaching and mentoring for small businesses, primarily those run by necessity-driven entrepreneurs. Helius provides education through their LaunchDURHAM training, as well as providing access to capital and technical assistance through their many partners. Geraud believes whole-heartedly in Helius’s vision: “We see a North Carolina where everyone has the capability to support themselves and their families with dignity, in the face of racial, educational and financial inequity.”

Jason Smith A native to the Triangle area, Jason grew up in Cary where he got his first landscape opportunity at MacGregor Downs Country Club in 1998 in golf course maintenance. After his tenure at the golf course he continued in the landscape industry, mostly on the commercial side, until returning to college in 2008 where he attended UNCW for Chemistry and then NCSU for Turf Science. After college he returned to the landscape industry with a better knowledge of the environment, plant physiology, turf management, and plant nutrition. Joining the Bland Landscaping team in 2014 he has worked his way up and become a valuable member of Bland’s Management team. When not working Jason loves time with his family and hitting the gym!

Jenice Ramirez is a proud Latina who began as the Executive Director of ISLA NC in 2013. She has focused on bilingualism, multiculturalism, and leadership within the Latinx community. Jenice has been in the education arena for over ten years and has made it her mission to be a part of changing the status quo for the Spanish-speaking population and pushes for language access and opportunities for this community. Her professional and personal work is guided by the desire to see more women and people of color lead in the field of education. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2010 with a degree in Special Education and a minor in Spanish. She received Duke University’s Nonprofit Management Certification in 2014 and received her Executive Nonprofit Management Certification from Duke in 2016. Jenice enjoys trips to the beach, spending time outside, relaxing with friends and family, and having dance parties with her little girl, Iva.

Joy Spencer is a proud mother and lifelong advocate committed to achieving equity and authentic community engagement. She is driven by passion and knows firsthand the life-saving impact of community-led services and supports. She is involved with several organizations, commissions and coalitions that empower communities through direct service, education and advocacy. Joy is a Black Parent Researcher, Goodmon Fellow and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Psychology. Joy is the Executive Director of Equity Before Birth (EBB), a Black maternal health charity organization working to eliminate disparities and improve birth outcomes by promoting financial security.

Katrina Sargent Years ago on a service trip to Italy volunteering with the homeless and food insecure, Katrina witnessed a small local shelter provide the utmost respect and dignity to the communities being served despite anyone’s circumstances. This is the true beauty of nonprofit work and what she hopes to devote my life to. To make compassion a career.

Kimberly Monroe is the Program Manager for Community Engagement in the Office of Community Health at Duke Health. Kimberly’s areas of interest are addressing health inequities through a community and people-centered approach. As a servant leader, she is passionate about creating conditions that improve the quality of life for all through authentic community engagement. Her work focuses on the intersection of social determinants of health, faith, health and well-being. Kimberly is also an ordained elder at Victorious Life Fellowship Church in Durham, NC where she manages the Health Ministry and serves as an Executive Administrator.

LaKeshia Jones Foushee, MSW is a nonprofit leader with over 10 years of experience ranging from strategic planning, project and change management, and budgeting to operations, talent acquisition, and people development. LaKeshia currently serves as the Managing Director, Operations for City Year, Inc. a nonprofit focused on educational equity and increasing the graduation rate for all students, regardless of where they attend school. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor at her alma mater the University of North Carolina School of Social Work where she has the privilege of teaching in the areas of fundraising, marketing, and program development.

Laura Collins is from Winston-Salem, NC and is a recent graduate of Davidson College, where she received a bachelor’s degree in history. Her research focused on historical memory, narrative construction, and North Carolina educational history. Laura has worked at the North Carolina General Assembly, serving as a legislative intern for Senator Jay Chaudhuri. She also interned at the North Carolina Justice Center, where she worked directly with the Education & Law Project. Additionally, she served as a tutor at the Ada Jenkins Community Center, an after-school enrichment program for elementary school students, during her time at Davidson. These experiences made her interested in working to find equitable solutions to issues in North Carolina’s public schools. She currently is a fellow at the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, where she conducts research efforts, provides support for grants administration, and assists in projects of partner organizations. In her free time, you can find her on a run, listening to music, or taking care of her plants.

Laura Blake is a North Carolina native who resides in Raleigh. Her roots in rural N.C. and passion for knowledge and technology inspire her work in local media at WRAL Digital as the marketing director. She creates opportunities for audiences to engage both online and in person. Laura is on the board of the UNC Bands Alumni Association and is an advisory board member for Capitol Broadcasting Company’s women’s leadership team. In addition to being a marching band alum (alto saxophone), she’s a two-time graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (#goheels) where she obtained a BA in journalism and an MA in technology and communication.

Lindsay Humbert is the Digital Strategy Manager for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. In that capacity she oversees the Food Bank’s online activity, from communications and fundraising to outreach and advocacy. Through her committee leadership, she works to improve equity in the organization’s services and operations. Lindsay lives in Raleigh with her husband James.

Mary Ann Stinson-Ottaviano is a highly effective communicator with 19+ years of extensive administrative experience in the C-suite. She’s adept at building long-term relationships both internally and externally by establishing high levels of confidence and trust. Mary Ann has clear understanding of change management and organizational restructure process. She’s a team player with a “can do” demeanor and positive attitude, committed to working hard toward a company’s success.

Maya Jackson is a mother, entrepreneur, community-based doula, and maternal and infant health advocate. A native of Durham, North Carolina, she graduated from North Carolina Central University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. She has over fifteen years working in various social enterprise projects and businesses as a nonprofit leader in the arts and public health. Maya Jackson is the founder of and Executive Director of MAAME, Inc. (Mobilizing African American Mothers through Empowerment), a community-rooted maternal health organization whose mission is to support Black and other birthing people of color. This fall, Jackson will begin working towards her MPH and MBA at Benedictine University.

Nicole Tyra is the Director of Construction and Planning for Habitat for Humanity of Durham. The ability to marry her love for the construction industry, building and remodeling, with Habitat’s mission of affordable home creation and critical home repairs, keeps her busy in an ever changing and growing industry. Collaborating with others, fostering a thriving team, building and generally enjoying how busy life can be, are a few of her goals. Nicole lives in Raleigh with her Husband, Daughter and two Golden Retrievers, Ripley and Blue.

Nora Spencer is Founder and CEO of Hope Renovations in Carrboro. She spent the first 15 years of her career in HR and recruiting at Fortune 50 Companies but changed directions in 2017, receiving a Master of Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill. A self-taught tradeswoman and NC Licensed General Contractor, Nora envisioned a training program that would empower underemployed women to make inroads into the construction trades where they could earn living wages on a sustainable career path. After becoming familiar with the concept of aging-in-place, she recognized the opportunity for these women to practice their newfound skills while carrying out needed repairs and renovations for older adults in the community, and the model for Hope Renovations was born.

Ronda Taylor Bullock is originally from Goldston, NC. In 2018, she earned her doctorate at UNC Chapel Hill in the Policy, Leadership, and School Improvement Program. Her research interests are critical race theory, whiteness studies, white children’s racial identity construction, and anti-racism. Prior to entering her doctoral program, Ronda taught English for almost ten years at Hillside High School in Durham, NC, where she now resides. Ronda is the co-founder and executive director of we are. She is the wife of Dr. Daniel Kelvin Bullock and mother of son Zion and daughter Zaire.

Samantha Lutz is a Finance Analyst at Credit Suisse.

Sarah Chick is an ex-Therapist gone rogue into the entrepreneurial & tech world. You’ll often find her working towards creating intentional connections, promoting collaboration, & building a diverse community wherever she’s immersed. Recently, Sarah took on her latest challenge with the Research Triangle Foundation as the Manager of Strategic Engagement with the Foundation at RTP. She is beyond excited for the growth & mission path that RTP is set on!

Shirley O’Donnell is an experienced insurance professional- both carrier and agency channels. She is skilled in Microsoft Excel, Risk Management, Property & Casualty Insurance, Customer Service, and Sales. Shirley is a strong finance professional with a BSBA focused in Marketing & Management from Christopher Newport University.

Tameka Brown is a Durham native, born and raised. She attended the best HBCU, NC A&T SU where she obtained her B.S. in Child Development and Family Studies. Tameka’s favorite life roles are being a mother, a big sister, an auntie, and a daughter. She has served children and families since 1998. Tameka serves the teen mom community because she saw firsthand how her BFF was socially isolated at the age of 16 when she became pregnant during their sophomore year of high school. ​Tameka believes all young parents should have the same opportunities as youth without children and should have access to a space that breeds independence. Teen moms want to be the best parent for their children.​ At H.E.A.R.T.S. they are currently working towards building business models that will eliminate the barriers associated with teen pregnancy.​ As Tameka Brown, the Founding Executive Director of your favorite nonprofit organization, she has the responsibility and passion to oversee and carry out the mission of this amazing organization.​ Now, they are enhancing their internal infrastructure to build capacity so they can serve more young parents beyond Durham County.

Tanaya Suddreth Lynch is Senior Program Officer for Capacity Building Initiatives at Triangle Community Foundation where she manages the Foundation’s growing capacity-building programs, focusing on systems and grassroots-level work, facilitating collaborations of various stakeholders, and building partnerships to ensure a strong nonprofit sector in the Triangle. Tanaya’s background is in adolescent health and social justice. She has a broad range of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector including program, event, and volunteer management; fundraising; and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Ted Boyse M.D. is a radiologist and physician leader at Duke Raleigh Hospital. Ted values communication, collaboration, and iterative process improvement in the delivery of health care. Currently serving as President of the Medical Staff and Associate Chief Medical Officer, Ted works every day with his Duke Raleigh colleagues to deliver safe and expert care to our community.

Teia Evans is a proud North Carolinian. She was born and raised in Southeast Raleigh and has been working with nonprofits for the majority of her career. She currently provides technical assistance and training to help develop cooperatives and small businesses across the country. She was selected to be involved in the 2017 Cooperative Leader and Scholar Institute with the National Cooperative Business Association and serves on the boards of various organizations. Ms. Evans is a proud graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. She earned her Juris Doctorate and Master of Business Administration degrees at North Carolina Central University.

Tojan Rahhal is a native North Carolinian, Palestinian-American, engineer, educator, and CEO of Engineering World Health where she works to empower the biomedical engineering community to improve healthcare delivery in the developing world. Tojan strongly believes in accessibility and equity in STEM education and in healthcare. When she is not working on her passions, she is playing and definitely reading STEM books with her 3 year old daughter.

Tolulope O. Omokaiye, MBA is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration in 2006. After college she worked as a Marketing and Channel Manager for Newell Rubbermaid. While obtaining her Master’s in Business Administration from Meredith College in 2011 she founded, EVOLVE Mentoring. Tolulope O. Omokaiye, MBA has been honored as NCCU 40 Under 40 honoree and Triangle Business Journal’s 2018, Women in Business honoree and Leadership Award and featured as the News & Observer’s Tarheel of the Week in 2017; 2016 Spectacular Magazine’s Women of the Year: Emerging Leader, 2016 Radio One’s Triangle Trailblazer and by the National Financial.

Tova Hairston joined Boomerang in March 2021. She was most recently Executive Director of the Coastal Women’s Shelter in New Bern, NC where she managed five agency and service locations, led a staff and volunteer team of more than 75 people, and designed and implemented trauma-informed program strategies for survivors of violence. Prior to that, Tova was a Program Coordinator for a Duke University program in eastern NC focused on addressing adolescent health disparities and a Program Director at a 21st Century Community Learning Center. Her career has prepared her to lead Boomerang in its current form and to grow the organization to better reach and serve young people in Orange County who may be in the process of disconnecting from school and community. Tova hopes to lead Boomerang to continue to serve young people who will most benefit from the connections, services and mentorship our organization provides.

Wendy McCoy is the Community Engagement Officer at Coastal Credit Union based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, Wendy was a Branch Manager at PNC.

Zoey Best is a former marine biologist turned entrepreneur, who now runs Durham’s only non-alcoholic bar with her husband Brent. She was born and raised in Durham, and she is an alumnus of Duke University. Zoey is also on the board of directors for the Helius Foundation, so that she can help other necessity-driven entrepreneurs follow similar paths of building their businesses from the ground up. In her non-existent spare time Zoey enjoys dancing, singing, SCUBA diving, and spending time with her two glorious cats.

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Leadership Triangle

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