Marian F. Earls
Dr. Marian F. Earls is the developmental and behavioral pediatrician of the NICU Developmental Follow-up Clinic for Cone Health System in Greensboro. In North Carolina she co-leads the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Work Group, a cross sector group focused on building the workforce, consultation for primary care early childhood educators, child welfare, and early intervention professionals, and training on the impact of structural racism for consultants and early childhood providers. She serves as Chairperson for the newly formed American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Healthy Mental & Emotional Development.
Dr. Devonya Govan-Hunt is a committed community advocate and education leader whose research focuses on cultural competency, addressing the preschool to prison pipeline, mass incarceration, and race matters. Dr. Govan-Hunt holds numerous leadership positions including, the Executive Director of the Charlotte Affiliate of the National Black Child Development Institute, the President of the Mecklenburg Child Care Association, BCDI-Charlotte Board Member, Co-chair of READ Charlotte’s ‘Ready for School’ committee, President of the Charlotte Bilingual Preschool Board of Directors, member of the Leading on Opportunity Council, Chair Woman of the Community and Family Engagement Equity Committee for the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board of Education, member of the NC Think Babies Leadership Team, and leader for the state wide policy group, Care and Learning Coalition also known as CandL. Hunt leads BCDI-Charlotte as a statewide leader fighting to eliminate harsh and unfair disciplinary practices in preschool. She is the proud mother of two young daughters; McKenzie and Madison.
Kelli Ovies is an attorney with Womble Bond Dickinson in Raleigh who advises clients on trademark and copyright matters. She regularly prepares and prosecutes trademark and copyright applications, conducts and reviews trademark clearance searches, responds to USPTO Office Actions, and assists with maintaining U.S. and international trademark registrations. She also has experience initiating and defending Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and federal court proceedings, negotiating trademark co-existence agreements, and drafting and reviewing intellectual property assignment and licensing agreements.
LaTonya D Harrison
LaTonya Harrison has worked in the Nonprofit accounting sector for over 15 years and is currently the Director of Budgets and Grants Management at East Coast Migrant Head Start Project (ECMHSP). Prior to joining ECMHSP, she worked for North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as an Accounting Technician and in various positions at Down East Partnership for Children where she found her love for Nonprofits. LaTonya also owns and operates a part time business for over 20 years, which specializes in bookkeeping and taxes.
LaTonya received her Bachelor of Science from Shaw University in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Management in 2006. In 2009 she received her Master of Science degree from Capella University in Nonprofit Management. She has also taken many accounting courses at Strayer University and received her Certification of Federal Grants Management.
Virginia W. Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN
Virginia Watson Adams, a native of Durham, NC has a history of public service on local, state, national and international levels. Her past career included Dean and Professor of the UNC Wilmington School of Nursing in Wilmington NC and Inaugural Director of Diversity and Global Initiatives at the National League for Nursing in Washington D.C.
A Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, Dr. Adams has an expansive career in nursing practice and education, including faculty, department chair and dean on the university level. During her 13-year career in the military, she served active duty with the Strategic Air Command of the United States Air Force followed by US Army Reserve Nurse Corps. She was honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC).
Dr. Margaret Annunziata currently serves as the President of Isothermal Community College. In this role, she works collaboratively with community leaders to promote economic and social mobility for the residents of Rutherford and Polk Counties and the surrounding region in western North Carolina. Her strategic vision and commitment to providing equitable access, opportunities, and outcomes for students resonate in the college’s focus on increasing educational attainment, career advancement, and economic wellbeing for those whom the college serves.
In 2015, Christopher Chung joined the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) as Chief Executive Officer and brings more than 25 years of state-level economic development experience to the role. Since 2015, the EDPNC has helped North Carolina win more than 1,130 corporate expansion projects, resulting in nearly 170,000 announced new jobs and $55 billion in announced new investment statewide. Chris previously held various executive and management responsibilities at the Missouri Partnership (2007-2014) and the Ohio Department of Development, now known as JobsOhio (1997-2007). Chris attended The Ohio State University (OSU), graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a double-major in Japanese and economics. He also completed significant coursework towards a Master’s in Public Policy and Management. In 2022, Chris was appointed by United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to serve on two different advisory councils: the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the United States Investment Advisory Council, which advises the Secretary on matters regarding foreign direct investment.
Nation Hahn, who serves as the director of growth for EducationNC, has expertise in design thinking, communications, public policy, and politics. At EdNC, Nation helps drive the postsecondary and community college coverage, including the Awake58 weekly newsletter and Twitter account.
Hahn works on fundraising and partnership efforts, iterating an investment strategy that combines a theory of change, leadership development, and force amplification through “go and see” opportunities for philanthropists and policymakers to build relationships with community college and local leaders. Nation leads a responsive innovation strategy for EdNC, including audience growth and engagement.
Paul Lanier, MSW, PhD is a Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the Associate Director of the Jordan Institute for Families and a Director for Behavioral Health Services and Systems Research at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services research. Dr. Lanier received his doctoral degree from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and was a fellow with the national Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. His research focuses on developing, evaluating, and scaling-up evidence-based prevention programs and policies in child welfare, mental health, and early childhood systems.
Rashidah Lopez Morgan
Rashidah Lopez Morgan is Principal consultant with Education First, an education policy and strategy consulting firm. She works with K-12 education leaders to create and implement organizational strategies and talent management solutions that help prepare students—and particularly students of color—for success in college, careers and life. She has worked with state and local education agencies across the country, as well as numerous national and regional philanthropic organizations.
Dr. Nina Smith is Associate Dean of the College of Health and Sciences and Associate Professor of Human Sciences at North Carolina Central University. She studies the impact of parental employment on the health and well-being of children and families and examines factors that influence children’s academic preparedness and teacher professional development in early care and education settings. Her work centers the experiences of Black children and families. Nina has worked closely with Family Forward NC for more than four years as a research advisor and also serves as a co-investigator for the National African American Child and Family Research Center.
Cecelia Thompson serves as Executive Director of Action Greensboro. Action Greensboro, together with the Chamber of Commerce, serves as the city’s primary economic and community development agency. Formed in 2001, Action Greensboro is a collaborative effort of eight local charitable foundations working to leverage local philanthropic impact. In her role, Thompson leads a variety of efforts from talent and workforce development, K-20 education, urban livability, advocacy campaigns and city marketing efforts. In addition to her role at Action Greensboro, Thompson serves on the boards of the Guilford Education Alliance, the Greensboro ABC Commission, and is a gubernatorial appointee to the North Carolina Humanities Council.
Shelley Y. White
Dr. Shelley Y. White joined Haywood Community College on January 1, 2020, as its seventh President. A graduate of Isothermal Community College, Dr. White received her Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Community College Leadership from Western Carolina University. She served as state-level President of the North Carolina Community College Adult Educators Association, an organization supporting the work of all workforce programs through professional development, networking, and advocacy. Dr. White is a member of Waynesville Rotary and serves on the boards of several community and regional organizations, including Haywood Regional Medical Center, the Economic Development Coalition of Haywood County, the Forest Restoration Alliance (FRA), Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western North Carolina and WNC Communities.
Click here to access the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s Board Portal.