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.
2016-17 WomenNC Board of Directors
WNC President & Founder
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 has attended the annual United Nationals Commission the Status of Women (CSW) every year since 1997. Beth is also the founder and capacity builder of three U.S. nonprofits: WomenNC; the Association of Iranian Women-USA; and the Association of International Women for Human Rights. 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, InterAce, 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 Elementary Teaching Certificate from Tehran University, 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.
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.
WNC Advocacy & Outreach Committee Chair
Jamie Cole is the Policy Advocate for the NC Conservation Network, specializing in Environmental Justice Policy, Air Quality and Recycling. Jamie holds a Juris Doctor degree from NCCU School of Law and a BA in Political Science from Spelman College. Before joining the NC Conservation Network, she worked for the NC NAACP as the Public Policy and Legal Coordinator and while in school was a Fellow in Washington, DC in the office of Former U.S. Representative Mel Watt. Jamie received the NC NAACP’s 2014 “Humanitarian of the Year” award. She is a licensed NC Attorney and is committed to achieving equality for all.
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.
Events Committee Chair
Olivia Horton graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2016 with a double major in psychology and exercise sports science, and a minor in social and economic justice. She was a WomenNC fellow her senior year and focused her research on women’s mental healthcare access in rural parts of North Carolina. She is currently working as a research assistant in the HIV and Addictions Research Program (HARP) at Duke University in the department of psychiatry. She also facilitates domestic violence support groups with the Compass Center and mentors with Volunteers for Youth in Chapel Hill. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in which she can focus on the interrelation of addiction, mental health and women’s issues.
Gordana Vujec recently graduated from NC State with Masters in Economics and has a Masters in Computer Science from Croatia as well. She discovered a passion for advocacy in her work with RESULTS International. She worked closely with Beth Dehghan on the passage of CEDAW in Durham County. She also holds leadership roles in UN Women and Association of Croatian American Professionals.
Melissa Beard is consultant in nonprofit management. She has BA in Economics and International Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and MPA from East Carolina University.
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.
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.
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
Ann Seng has worked on urban policy issues in Chicago. Many of those issues dealt with racism, sexism and poverty.
Becca Smith is the Director of Marketing for Smith & Smith, CPA. She completed her undergraduate and MBA degrees from East Carolina university.
Anna Elena Worley, District Court Judge, Wake Forest University B.A. 1993 and J.D. 1996.