WomenNC’s calendar year begins in July of each year. Our Board members typically serve for two year terms, although some remain for an additional year. WomenNC strives to have a diverse Board that includes multiple generations, men and women, many cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and a variety of career experiences.
WNC Executive Director
Beth Dehghan is the fearless leader of WomenNC, an organization she founded in 2012 to raise a generation that honors women’s rights as human rights and advocate for the gender equality agenda in North Carolina. She founded NC Coalition for CEDAW (Contention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) She has attended the annual United Nationals Commission the Status of Women (CSW) every year since 1997. Since 1995, she has been a member of the International NGO Committee for the U.N. CSW. Also a public speaker, community volunteer, event organizer, and board member of several philanthropic organizations (UNA-Wake Chapter, Wake County Commission for Women, InterAct, Stop Child Abuse in NC, Woman’s Club of Raleigh and Cary, and UN Women NC Chapter). Beth has a B.S. in Agronomy from LSU, and is currently enrolled in Duke’s Continuing Education Non-Profit Management program. Beth is an entrepreneur and family business manager along with her husband, with whom she lives in Cary. They have two daughters who work in Houston and Washington D.C.
2018-19 WomenNC Board of Directors
Shirrell Thomas, Chair of the Board
I am a native New Yorker, but I call North Carolina home. My entire family hails from NC and I have lived here for 32 years. I currently work for the Durham Crisis Response Center as the Community Outreach Coordinator. My work here in North Carolina has been extremely rewarding. During the past 32 years, I have been the CEO of two domestic violence/sexual assault shelters and centers. Additionally, I have worked in Infant Mortality, Youth at Risk, CEDAW, Z. Smith Reynolds Advisory Panel, Z. Smith Reynolds Sabbatical Selection Committee, Duplin County Mediation/ Dispute Settlement/ Hurricane Floyd flood Recovery, Family Self- Sufficiency and Affordable Housing, Environmental Advocacy, Chair of ADVOS North Carolina Association of Domestic Violence Outreach Sites. However, my greatest accomplishment has been that I have raised two fine young men and that I have four beautiful grandsons. My core values in life can be summed up in one statement: Kings James Version Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.
Pamela Stocks, Treasurer
Pamela Stocks is the owner of On The Books which works with small businesses and non-profits to organize and understand their financial data. She is a Vermont native but has called North Carolina home for over 20 years. She is a graduate of NC State University and lives in Apex with her husband and 3 sons.
Adam Hartzell, Co-Chair, Fund Development Committee
Adam Hartzell is a Director at United Healthcare working on innovative strategies to address social determinants of health. Previously, Adam served as a member of the management team at Advance Community Health, an Executive Director with the University of North Carolina, Senior Deputy Attorney General at the North Carolina Department of Justice and as Executive Director of Interact, the domestic violence and sexual assault family services organization in Wake County.
Dr. Maria Murray Riemann, Co-Chair, CSW Committee
Dr. Maria Murray Riemann is a seasoned nonprofit executive, having been Executive Director of CONCERT, Inc., a community-based non-profit serving East Raleigh youth and families with after school and summer academically oriented programs. She also has served as Communications Director at Methodist Home for Children working with families to foster, adopt, and find placement for children She has also worked in state government, serving as Deputy Director of the North Carolina Council for Women and Youth Involvement, the state agency tasked with advising the governor, legislature, and state agencies on issue that impact women. As a scholar, Dr. Riemann’s work has focused on the importance of families, particularly the role of women and mothers, in creating the conditions for a robust political democracy. As an advocate she is a former Board member of the N.C Chapter of UN Women, connecting local women and their concerns to the international women’s movements.
Lauren Frey, Co-Chair, CSW Committee
Lauren Frey graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in environmental sciences and a B.A. in women’s and gender studies. During here senior year, she was a WomenNC Scholar who studied dating and sexual violence prevention education in Durham, North Carolina. After she graduated, she worked for WomenNC as the Field Organizer, assisting the Executive Director in passing the CEDAW resolution in Durham County and developing a strategic plan for the organization. Lauren spent a year working for the Mississippi State Department of Health as part of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fellowship, and she’s excited to be back in the Triangle to pursue her Master of Public Health degree at UNC Chapel Hill.
Jessica Perkins-Thompson, Advocacy Chair
Jessica Perkins-Thompson is an LGBTQ domestic and sexual violence advocate who has been advocating for and supporting survivors of violence for over 5 years. Jessica started her work as a Community Advocate at the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse in Seattle, WA where she supported survivors and worked to create loving and accountable communities. For the past two years, Jessica has been advocating for and supporting domestic and sexual violence survivors in North Carolina, both in Charlotte and Durham. Jessica is currently working at Durham Crisis Response Center as the LGBTQ Services Coordinator where she is working on developing and implementing the agencies LGBTQ Services Program. Jessica graduated in 2010 from Spelman College with a B.A. in International Studies. In 2018, she graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master of Social Work degree.
Caitlyn Grimes, Public Relations Chair
Caitlyn Grimes graduated from Meredith College in May of 2018 with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Communication. Currently, Caitlyn is the Press Assistant for the Governor’s Office where she specializes in public relations, mass communication, public policy, and community engagement. Caitlyn was a Women NC Scholar from 2017-2018, where she researched communication and campaign strategies to advance the status of rural women in North Carolina. In addition, Caitlyn has served as a Finance Fellow for a gubernatorial campaign, Legislative Intern for a U.S. House Representative, Legal Intern in Canberra, Australia, and a Press Office Intern for North Carolina’s Governor.
Sarah Murray, Event Chair
Sarah Murray (she/her/hers) is the LGBTQ Outreach and Services Specialist at Durham Crisis Response Center. In this role, she works to increase the capacity of domestic violence service providers to effectively support LGBTQ survivors. Sarah previously worked as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) specializing in grief/bereavement and complex trauma across the lifespan. Sarah lives in Durham with her partner where they can be found at any event that allows them to bring their dogs and eat good vegan food.
Beth Briggs is a former Executive Director of Dress for Success and NC Council for Women. She previously served as President of Creative Philanthropy, a consulting firm she founded in 1995 to provide planning and grant-making services to individuals, corporations, and foundations. She has been actively involved with the nonprofit sector for over 25 years, having served as President of the NC Public Television Foundation; President and Senior Counsel at Capital Consortium; and Director of Development for the 1987 U.S. Olympic Festival. Beth is a native of Charlotte and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Lindy M. Brown, Former Wake County Commissioner is a long time resident of Raleigh. She graduated from Enloe High School, North Carolina Central University and received her Master Degree in Clinical Social Work at University of NC Chapel Hill. After 29 years of Clinical Social Work with State of North Carolina and Wake County, Mrs. Brown retired in 2013. She continues to support nonprofit organizations such as WomenNC.org (NC Committee for CEDAW/CSW).
Juanita M. Bryant served as GFWC International President from 1982 to 1984. Her volunteer service, however, goes above and beyond those two years. For 65 years, Juanita has been a leader in GFWC and her community. She is a mentor to so many clubwomen, and her incredible leadership has inspired numerous women to become leaders themselves. In addition to leading GFWC as International President, Juanita’s accomplishments are impressive and range from serving as executive director of the North Carolina Council for Women, being the first woman in North Carolina appointed by a Governor to chair a state board, and serving as development director of the YWCA of Wake County.
Dan W. Figgins, Ph.D., retired from the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Office with the rank of Councelor of Embassy. He came to North Carolina on assignment as Diplomat in Residence to six HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). He was professor and international affairs specialist for five years at Bennett College for Women (an HBCU) in Greensboro. He has taught in the Poltiical Science Department of NCSU since 1998. His Ph.D. specialties are International Law, Constitutional Law, Political Theory, and Public Administration.
Stephen Gray is the founder and COO of Undercover Colors, a start-up company working to reduce the rate of drug-facilitated sexual assault through nail products that can detect date rape drugs in a spiked drink. Stephen founded the company with three other engineers while studying materials engineering and mathematics at NC State University. In addition to his work at WomenNC, Stephen volunteers at Interact working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Ambassador Jeanette W. Hyde served as the US Ambassador to Barbados, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and to Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda from 1994-1997. She served on the Boards of Directors of the following organizations: North Carolina Board of Transportation; the North Carolina Global Transpark; the North Carolina International Trade Commission; Outward Bound of North Carolina; and the North Carolina Child Advocacy Institute. Currently, she serves on the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University; Western Carolina University; and, American Diplomacy Journal, Inc. She previously served on the Board of The International Cabinet at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Triangle World Affairs Council; North Carolina Community Foundation; and The Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Board.
Dana Jennings received a B.A. in Political Science and English with a Minor in Spanish from the University of Georgia. Most recently, she completed a Masters of Liberal Studies at Duke University. Over the past five years, Dana has worked with a close colleague, Naomi Lambert, to create a grassroots activist group of women in Wake County. They partner within NC to increase voter engagement and turnout. By accessing excellent training and quality resources, our activists impact their communities to improve political discourse and ensure the accountability of our elected representatives. From 2008 – 2012, Dana Jennings served as the CEO of the North Carolina Center for Women in Public Service. Ms. Jennings has provided direction as an officer or director to a number of corporate, professional, and nonprofit organizations including:the Women’s Forum of NC, the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, Chix in Business, the Triangle Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, Raleigh Professional Women’s Forum, and the NC Governor’s Conference for Women. She currently serves on the board of Lillian’s List of NC.
Penny Lauricella is President and CEO of Appellation Consulting, a North Carolina based consulting firm that specializes in helping mission driven organizations and leaders clarify their primary purpose, align efforts and resources with desired impact. With over 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and philanthropy, Penny also served 8.5 years as Executive Director of Pretty In Pink Foundation, a breast cancer nonprofit that provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured patients for treatment in North Carolina. With a passion for community engagement, Ms. Lauricella serves on the boards of various nonprofit organizations, is a passionate speaker, popular facilitator and trainer. Penny received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Saba Mokry graduated in 1986 from NC State with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. In 1991 she graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a Doctorate in Dental Surgery and was in private practice until 2011. She currently serves as an Adjunct Assitant Professor in the Department of Operative Dentistry for UNC Chapel Hill and the Randolph County Health Department and has done so since 2011. Dr. Mokry believes that giving back to the community is her moral obligation and gives meaning to her life. In November 2005 and 2006 she went to Belize for a dental mission trip, and has volunteered at Wake Smiles since 2003. In 2010 she started a dental mobile clinic in Hyde County, collaborating with the NC Baptist Men. She has also volunteered with Mission of Mercy Clinic, Raleigh Rescue Mission, and numerous other open door clinics and dental buses.
Lois Nixon retired from career as Environmental Educator (Wake County Director, Keep America Beautiful, 21 years), substitute teacher, and social worker and has been a board member & active volunteer in environmental & education-focused organizations (i.e., student literacy tutor, classroom & PTA, regional Appearance Commissions, Woman’s Clubs of Raleigh & Cary, Wake County Commission for Women, Environmental Educators of N.C.) for the past several years. She has a BS in Human Ecology from Kansas State University and has traveled the U.S. & the world during husband’s 25 year Army career. Raised on a sheep and wheat farm in Kansas, she has lived in Cary, NC since 1980 with her husband; two married sons & four young grandchildren who all live close by.
Violet Barwick Rhinehart was born in Deep Run, North Carolina and graduated from South Lenoir High School, Mount Olive College, and Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College). She earned her BA in Social Studies and is a retired educator from both public and private schools. Ms. Rhinehart has served as PTA president and participated in PTA boards at three schools and she is a member of the Junior League of Raleigh. Other accomplishments include: chairman of the Millbrook Advisory Council, board member of Volunteer Families for Children, Wake County Commission for Women and WomenNC. She is a graduate of the NC Center for Women in Office Institute.
Sue Ellen Rosen has her B.S. in international business and is the current marketing manager for International Marine Electronics Firm. She previously served as WNC Communications Chair.
Carrie Huitt Reuben, Social Entrepreneur and Angel Investor. Bachelor of Science in Botany, Colorado State University; Master of Business Administration, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Former Convention for the Status of Women (CSW) Committee Chair
Jackie Saber, one of our Mentors last year, has over 25 years experience as a child advocate attorney and guardian ad litem and is devoted to progressing the human rights of girls and women. Her volunteer work in this area includes mentoring and leadership with WomenNC, building local women’s philanthropy through the Women’s Giving Network of Wake County, a donor-advised women’s giving circle, and as a reader for statewide need based college scholarships administered through the North Carolina Community Foundation. She earned her undergraduate degree in journalism from University of Georgia and law degree from Emory University.
Janet Weber graduated from Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and managed technology projects throughout her career in the defense, power and financial sectors. After 37 years engineering solutions, Janet retired in 2018. As a life member of AAUW and advocate for WomenNC, United Way agencies, and Women’s Leadership Council, her passions continue to be focused on her community, education, pay equity, and animal rescue.
Wendee Wechsberg, PhD, is the Director of the RTI Global Gender Center and the Director of Substance Use, Gender, and Applied Research. She has been an applied community-based and gender NIH researcher since 1994, and has more than 20 years of clinical experience. She has also directed outpatient drug-free, methadone, and residential substance abuse treatment programs. Dr. Wechsberg has devoted her career to applied research, using both quantitative and qualitative methods, to develop and test the efficacy of HIV prevention interventions among different populations of substance abusers, particularly heroin and other opioid users. She has served a s principal investigator/project director on studies with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Dr. Wechsberg also serves as a consultant and advisor for various national studies and international studies. She has been conducting international research in South Africa with at-risk substance abusing women since 2001. She has published in the areas of gender and ethnicity, outreach, HIV risk, and women substance abusers. In addition to her role as research director, she also leads the RTI Global Gender Center, which brings together experts across numerous disciplines to improve knowledge, policies, and programs worldwide to reduce gender inequities and disparities
Anna Elena Worley, District Court Judge, Wake Forest University B.A. 1993 and J.D. 1996.