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NC Leadership Forum-Fall 2022
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Meet the cohort

The North Carolina Leadership Forum brings together leaders from across the state to discuss some of the most pressing policy issues of the day. Take a moment to read about your peers and the NCLF steering committee.

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Kristin Baker is serving her first full term in the State House after working with Cabarrus County families for the last twenty-five years as a physician, as a Board of Trustees member for Cannon School, and as a volunteer with Present Age Ministries to help sex trafficking victims. She has practiced psychiatry in various settings in Concord, including private practice, hospital-based outpatient care with Carolinas Medical Center-Northeast, as a Clinical Director for Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare, and most recently as an independent consultant. Dr. Baker is a Morehead Scholar who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 1985. She attended the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and graduated in 1989. Dr. Baker completed her Psychiatry Residency through Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at St. Louis Children's Hospital.
Kristin Baker is serving her first full term in the State House after working with Cabarrus County families for the last twenty-five years as a physician, as a Board of Trustees member for Cannon School, and as a volunteer with Present Age Ministries to help sex trafficking victims. She has practiced psychiatry in various settings in Concord, including private practice, hospital-based outpatient care with Carolinas Medical Center-Northeast, as a Clinical Director for Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare, and most recently as an independent consultant. Dr. Baker is a Morehead Scholar who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill in 1985. She attended the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and graduated in 1989. Dr. Baker completed her Psychiatry Residency through Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Kristin Baker

NC House, District 82

Marcus Bass serves as the Deputy Director for the North Carolina Black Alliance, an organization serving as advocate for North Carolinas historically black institutions of faith, education, and civic service across the state.  In 2020 the North Carolina Black Alliance launched SafeVoterNC, the leading resource for Voter Safety and Protection for underrepresented Black and Brown residents, providing the most recent shifts in election administration for North Carolina. Marcus came to Advance Carolina in 2017 after serving as Statewide Campaign Director for voting rights advocacy group Democracy North Carolina, where he led their long-term redistricting effort, coordinated millennial and faith-based voter engagement and served as a key messenger for the organization. Prior to that Marcus worked for the North Carolina Association of Educators.  Marcus is the former Board Chair of Common Cause North Carolina and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the NC State Voices affiliate Blueprint North Carolina. Marcus has spent the past decade organizing issue-based campaigns and leading citizens to harness their own power to create change. A native of Eastern NC, while at NC A&T, as Student Body President, Marcus led several grassroots efforts including Greensboro’s largest student march to the polls between Bennett College, UNC-G, Greensboro College and North Carolina A&T and a protest of the inequitable coverage of A&T by the Greensboro News and Record. After graduation Marcus served as Campus Outreach Coordinator for Common Cause North Carolina working with HBCUs on ways to engage college students in civic participation.  He has been featured on various media outlets and publications providing insight on southern and college voter engagement. Marcus is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, and is the is also the founder and Co-Director of Camp Lead Up, a summer leadership institute focused on facilitating the transition for minority middle school students to high school through academic support, cultural enrichment, leadership development, civic engagement and community service.
Marcus Bass serves as the Deputy Director for the North Carolina Black Alliance, an organization serving as advocate for North Carolinas historically black institutions of faith, education, and civic service across the state. In 2020 the North Carolina Black Alliance launched SafeVoterNC, the leading resource for Voter Safety and Protection for underrepresented Black and Brown residents, providing the most recent shifts in election administration for North Carolina. Marcus came to Advance Carolina in 2017 after serving as Statewide Campaign Director for voting rights advocacy group Democracy North Carolina, where he led their long-term redistricting effort, coordinated millennial and faith-based voter engagement and served as a key messenger for the organization. Prior to that Marcus worked for the North Carolina Association of Educators. Marcus is the former Board Chair of Common Cause North Carolina and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the NC State Voices affiliate Blueprint North Carolina. Marcus has spent the past decade organizing issue-based campaigns and leading citizens to harness their own power to create change. A native of Eastern NC, while at NC A&T, as Student Body President, Marcus led several grassroots efforts including Greensboro’s largest student march to the polls between Bennett College, UNC-G, Greensboro College and North Carolina A&T and a protest of the inequitable coverage of A&T by the Greensboro News and Record. After graduation Marcus served as Campus Outreach Coordinator for Common Cause North Carolina working with HBCUs on ways to engage college students in civic participation. He has been featured on various media outlets and publications providing insight on southern and college voter engagement. Marcus is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, and is the is also the founder and Co-Director of Camp Lead Up, a summer leadership institute focused on facilitating the transition for minority middle school students to high school through academic support, cultural enrichment, leadership development, civic engagement and community service.

Marcus Bass

Deputy Director for the N.C. Black Alliance and the Executive Director of Advance Carolina

John R. Bradford, III, is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in corporate America, the property management industry, the tech industry and in local and state government. He is the Founder and CEO PetScreening which is a NC-based pet-tech SaaS company that has been recognized as one of the fastest privately owned companies in the country. He is currently serving a third term in the NC House of Representatives and serves as Senior Chairman of Finance and Vice Chairman of Regulatory Reform. In his spare time, he likes to fish, camp and travel with his family.
John R. Bradford, III, is an experienced entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in corporate America, the property management industry, the tech industry and in local and state government. He is the Founder and CEO PetScreening which is a NC-based pet-tech SaaS company that has been recognized as one of the fastest privately owned companies in the country. He is currently serving a third term in the NC House of Representatives and serves as Senior Chairman of Finance and Vice Chairman of Regulatory Reform. In his spare time, he likes to fish, camp and travel with his family.

John Bradford

NC House, District 98

Danny Earl Britt, Jr. was born in Robeson County to a mother who is a retired textile worker and to a father who was a state employee. Danny enlisted in the NC Army National Guard after high school and went on to play football at Appalachian State University. After college, he got a law degree and came back to Robeson County to work in a small law office. Danny later became a prosecutor in the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office. He was deployed to Iraq and later Kuwait, and currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel. Today, Danny operates his own law firm and lives in Lumberton with his wife Jill – a public school teacher – and two kids. He continues to serve in the North Carolina Army National Guard.
Danny Earl Britt, Jr. was born in Robeson County to a mother who is a retired textile worker and to a father who was a state employee. Danny enlisted in the NC Army National Guard after high school and went on to play football at Appalachian State University. After college, he got a law degree and came back to Robeson County to work in a small law office. Danny later became a prosecutor in the Robeson County District Attorney’s Office. He was deployed to Iraq and later Kuwait, and currently holds the rank of Lt. Colonel. Today, Danny operates his own law firm and lives in Lumberton with his wife Jill – a public school teacher – and two kids. He continues to serve in the North Carolina Army National Guard.

Danny Britt

NC Senate, District 13

Scott Bolin is a serial entrepreneur and CEO whose companies have been covered by CNNMoney, Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine including his first company, Tethis, which was named one of the “100 Brilliant Companies” in 2018 along with Amazon, Tesla, and SpaceX. Currently Scott serves as Co-Founder/CEO of NCS, a technology company in the beverage space which licenses technology and sells products to customers globally. As founder and CEO of technology-based startups in the Triangle, Scott has raised over $40 million in investment capital and employed dozens. Scott frequently volunteers his time at local business schools teaching classes on entrepreneurship, clean tech, and intellectual property strategy. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from NC State University in 2012 focused on marketing and entrepreneurship.
Scott Bolin is a serial entrepreneur and CEO whose companies have been covered by CNNMoney, Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine including his first company, Tethis, which was named one of the “100 Brilliant Companies” in 2018 along with Amazon, Tesla, and SpaceX. Currently Scott serves as Co-Founder/CEO of NCS, a technology company in the beverage space which licenses technology and sells products to customers globally. As founder and CEO of technology-based startups in the Triangle, Scott has raised over $40 million in investment capital and employed dozens. Scott frequently volunteers his time at local business schools teaching classes on entrepreneurship, clean tech, and intellectual property strategy. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 2006 from the College of William and Mary and an MBA from NC State University in 2012 focused on marketing and entrepreneurship.

Scott Bolin

Entrepreneur, Co-Founder/CEO of NCS

In his role as director of government affairs for the NC Chamber, Mark Coggins advocates for policies and solutions that propel North Carolina’s private sector job growth while maintaining our nationally competitive business climate. While the NC Chamber may be small, it is a powerful force making a real difference in our state, and Mark enjoys working for this organization of passionate, caring, and encouraging people. Prior to joining the NC Chamber, Mark worked in the House of Representatives for more than seven years, where he developed an understanding of many policy areas and the legislative process. Mark attended Campbell University for undergrad and received his Master of Public Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.
In his role as director of government affairs for the NC Chamber, Mark Coggins advocates for policies and solutions that propel North Carolina’s private sector job growth while maintaining our nationally competitive business climate. While the NC Chamber may be small, it is a powerful force making a real difference in our state, and Mark enjoys working for this organization of passionate, caring, and encouraging people. Prior to joining the NC Chamber, Mark worked in the House of Representatives for more than seven years, where he developed an understanding of many policy areas and the legislative process. Mark attended Campbell University for undergrad and received his Master of Public Administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Mark Coggins

Director of Government Affairs for the NC Chamber of Commerce

Robbie Davis serves as the Chairman of Nash County’s Board of Commissioners, where he was unanimously elected by all of his fellow commissioners. In his work, Davis prioritizes: Expanding state funding of the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology program to 2019 Tier 1 counties; Supporting current expenses for public schools, fully reinstate lottery proceeds for the Public School Building Capital Fund and support a $1.9 billion statewide education bond; and opposing unfunded mandates and shifts of state responsibilities to counties.
Robbie Davis serves as the Chairman of Nash County’s Board of Commissioners, where he was unanimously elected by all of his fellow commissioners. In his work, Davis prioritizes: Expanding state funding of the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology program to 2019 Tier 1 counties; Supporting current expenses for public schools, fully reinstate lottery proceeds for the Public School Building Capital Fund and support a $1.9 billion statewide education bond; and opposing unfunded mandates and shifts of state responsibilities to counties.

Robbie Davis

Chairman, Nash County Board of Commissioners

Lucy Edwards serves as President of the North Carolina School Boards Association. She also serves as a voting member of Northampton County’s School Board, where she worked as a principal for 23 years before retiring in 2012. Ms. Edwards graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Saint Augustine University in Elementary Education and with a Master's degree from Virginia State University in Education Administration.
Lucy Edwards serves as President of the North Carolina School Boards Association. She also serves as a voting member of Northampton County’s School Board, where she worked as a principal for 23 years before retiring in 2012. Ms. Edwards graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Saint Augustine University in Elementary Education and with a Master's degree from Virginia State University in Education Administration.

Lucy Edwards

President, NC Carolina School Boards Association, Northampton County School Board

Michael Garrett represents District 27 in North Carolina’s Senate, representing Guilford County. Garret’s primary goal is introducing and supporting legislation that invests in our children and schools, increases access to health coverage, bans gerrymandering, and supports an economy built for working families. Outside of elected office, Garret is an experienced Managing Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry, particularly in retirement planning, investment advisory, mutual funds, securities regulation, and trading. Garrett graduated from UNC Greensboro with a degree in Business Administration and Economics.
Michael Garrett represents District 27 in North Carolina’s Senate, representing Guilford County. Garret’s primary goal is introducing and supporting legislation that invests in our children and schools, increases access to health coverage, bans gerrymandering, and supports an economy built for working families. Outside of elected office, Garret is an experienced Managing Partner with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry, particularly in retirement planning, investment advisory, mutual funds, securities regulation, and trading. Garrett graduated from UNC Greensboro with a degree in Business Administration and Economics.

Michael Garrett

NC Senate, District 27

Dale R. Folwell, CPA was sworn in for his first term as State Treasurer of North Carolina in January 2017. He was reelected in 2020 and is currently serving his second term. As the keeper of the public purse, Treasurer Folwell is responsible for the more than $122 billion state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for more than 950,000 teachers, law enforcement officers and other public workers. Under Folwell’s leadership the pension plan was rated among the top five highest-funded in the country and won accolades for proactive management and funding discipline. In 2020, the state’s coveted AAA bond rating was reaffirmed by every major rating agency, making North Carolina one of only 13 states in the country to hold that distinction. Treasurer Folwell also oversees the State Health Plan, which provides medical and pharmaceutical benefits to more than 750,000 current and retired public employees and is the largest purchaser of health care in North Carolina.

Folwell was first elected to public office as a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. He brought his problem-solving skills to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2004, where he served four terms in the House of Representatives including one term as Speaker Pro Tempore. In 2013, Folwell was named Assistant Secretary of Commerce and led a successful effort to pay off $2.7 billion in federal unemployment debt and build a $1 billion surplus in just 30 months. Treasurer Folwell began his career as a blue collar worker and became a Certified Public Accountant and investment advisor after earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from UNC-Greensboro. Married for over 30 years, he and his wife Synthia have three children and live in Winston-Salem.
Dale R. Folwell, CPA was sworn in for his first term as State Treasurer of North Carolina in January 2017. He was reelected in 2020 and is currently serving his second term. As the keeper of the public purse, Treasurer Folwell is responsible for the more than $122 billion state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for more than 950,000 teachers, law enforcement officers and other public workers. Under Folwell’s leadership the pension plan was rated among the top five highest-funded in the country and won accolades for proactive management and funding discipline. In 2020, the state’s coveted AAA bond rating was reaffirmed by every major rating agency, making North Carolina one of only 13 states in the country to hold that distinction. Treasurer Folwell also oversees the State Health Plan, which provides medical and pharmaceutical benefits to more than 750,000 current and retired public employees and is the largest purchaser of health care in North Carolina. Folwell was first elected to public office as a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. He brought his problem-solving skills to the North Carolina General Assembly in 2004, where he served four terms in the House of Representatives including one term as Speaker Pro Tempore. In 2013, Folwell was named Assistant Secretary of Commerce and led a successful effort to pay off $2.7 billion in federal unemployment debt and build a $1 billion surplus in just 30 months. Treasurer Folwell began his career as a blue collar worker and became a Certified Public Accountant and investment advisor after earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in accounting from UNC-Greensboro. Married for over 30 years, he and his wife Synthia have three children and live in Winston-Salem.

Dale Folwell

Treasurer, NC

Kasey Ginsberg joined Golden LEAF in January 2017 as the first program officer for the Disaster Recovery Grant Program and now serves as Vice President/Chief of Staff. Kasey also fulfills Director of Programs responsibilities for the state and federally-funded programs of the Foundation including the Disaster Recovery Grant Program, Hurricane Florence Relief Fund Program, COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program, Flood Mitigation Grant Program, and the Food Distribution Assistance Program. Prior to joining Golden LEAF, she served in budget and policy roles for Governor Pat McCrory and Speaker Thom Tillis where she worked on a variety of topics including economic development, education, transportation, and disaster recovery. Born and raised in California and Maryland, Kasey found her way to North Carolina for college, graduating from Meredith College in 2010.
Kasey Ginsberg joined Golden LEAF in January 2017 as the first program officer for the Disaster Recovery Grant Program and now serves as Vice President/Chief of Staff. Kasey also fulfills Director of Programs responsibilities for the state and federally-funded programs of the Foundation including the Disaster Recovery Grant Program, Hurricane Florence Relief Fund Program, COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program, Flood Mitigation Grant Program, and the Food Distribution Assistance Program. Prior to joining Golden LEAF, she served in budget and policy roles for Governor Pat McCrory and Speaker Thom Tillis where she worked on a variety of topics including economic development, education, transportation, and disaster recovery. Born and raised in California and Maryland, Kasey found her way to North Carolina for college, graduating from Meredith College in 2010.

Kasey Ginsberg

Vice President/Chief of Staff, Golden LEAF Foundation

Wesley represents House district 105 in the NC General Assembly.  A Graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics, Wesley earned a PhD in Economics from Clemson University in South Carolina, focusing on political economy and public finance. After his stint at the University of South Carolina, Wesley decided to enter the private sector as an Economist in Boston; but his heart remained in North Carolina. In 2016, Wesley decided it was time to return home to start fighting for the government he knew North Carolinians deserved. Since returning to North Carolina, Wesley has played an active role in the community. He is a member of the Charlotte Economics Club, the Mecklenburg County Young Democrats, served on the Steering Committee for the Arts and Science Council Young Donors Society.
Wesley represents House district 105 in the NC General Assembly.  A Graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics, Wesley earned a PhD in Economics from Clemson University in South Carolina, focusing on political economy and public finance. After his stint at the University of South Carolina, Wesley decided to enter the private sector as an Economist in Boston; but his heart remained in North Carolina. In 2016, Wesley decided it was time to return home to start fighting for the government he knew North Carolinians deserved. Since returning to North Carolina, Wesley has played an active role in the community. He is a member of the Charlotte Economics Club, the Mecklenburg County Young Democrats, served on the Steering Committee for the Arts and Science Council Young Donors Society.

Wesley Harris

NC House, District 105

Sen. Ralph Hise is serving his sixth term as senator of the 47th District of North Carolina. At the opening of the current biennium, he was sworn in as Deputy President Pro Tempore for a second term. Sen. Hise has been consistently ranked as one of the most effective state senators. He co-chairs the Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the Redistricting and Elections Committee, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology. As Deputy President Pro Tempore, Sen. Hise is a voting member of all committees in the NC Senate. A native of Mitchell County, Sen. Hise attended Mitchell High School and the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics. A graduate of Appalachian State University (BS – Statistics) and North Carolina State University (MEd – Higher Education Administration), Sen. Hise is a statistician and an Expert-in-Residence in the Health Policy Institute at UNC-Asheville.
Sen. Ralph Hise is serving his sixth term as senator of the 47th District of North Carolina. At the opening of the current biennium, he was sworn in as Deputy President Pro Tempore for a second term. Sen. Hise has been consistently ranked as one of the most effective state senators. He co-chairs the Appropriations/Base Budget Committee, the Redistricting and Elections Committee, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Information Technology. As Deputy President Pro Tempore, Sen. Hise is a voting member of all committees in the NC Senate. A native of Mitchell County, Sen. Hise attended Mitchell High School and the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics. A graduate of Appalachian State University (BS – Statistics) and North Carolina State University (MEd – Higher Education Administration), Sen. Hise is a statistician and an Expert-in-Residence in the Health Policy Institute at UNC-Asheville.

Ralph Hise

NC Senate, District 47

Jill Homan is President of Javelin 19 Investments, a real estate development firm with investments and transactions in Opportunity Zones across the country. She previously worked for Perseus Realty. Jill has extensive political experience, having worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant and press secretary, and participated in site selection for the 2016 and 2020 Republican national conventions. She earned her MBA and MPP from Duke University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Dayton in mechanical engineering and German. She is active in the Johnston County Republican Party, the Johnston County Republican Women, and has coached her daughter’s soccer teams.
Jill Homan is President of Javelin 19 Investments, a real estate development firm with investments and transactions in Opportunity Zones across the country. She previously worked for Perseus Realty. Jill has extensive political experience, having worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant and press secretary, and participated in site selection for the 2016 and 2020 Republican national conventions. She earned her MBA and MPP from Duke University and undergraduate degrees from the University of Dayton in mechanical engineering and German. She is active in the Johnston County Republican Party, the Johnston County Republican Women, and has coached her daughter’s soccer teams.

Jill Homan

President, Javelin 19 Investments

Tracey Johnson serves as the Vice President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. She is also the current Chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Tracey has more than 20 years of on-the-ground rural public service experience in North Carolina. Tracey has faced and worked on many crucial areas for rural communities: improved educational opportunities, increased broadband connectivity, hospital resources, capital improvements, and revenue sources needed for essential human services. She is a graduate of various leadership programs, namely UNC School of Government’s Local Elected Leaders Academy and the JB Hunt Education Elevate Leadership Academy.
Tracey Johnson serves as the Vice President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. She is also the current Chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners. Tracey has more than 20 years of on-the-ground rural public service experience in North Carolina. Tracey has faced and worked on many crucial areas for rural communities: improved educational opportunities, increased broadband connectivity, hospital resources, capital improvements, and revenue sources needed for essential human services. She is a graduate of various leadership programs, namely UNC School of Government’s Local Elected Leaders Academy and the JB Hunt Education Elevate Leadership Academy.

Tracey Johnson

President, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, Chair, Washington County Commissioners

Anthony "Tony" Lathrop joined the N.C. Board of Transportation in March 2017. He has chaired the board's Funding/Appropriation Strategies (FAST) Committee (now the Finance Committee) since his appointment in 2017. He also served on the NC First Commission from 2019-2021. This Commission was created by the NCDOT Secretary to research and advise the Secretary about ideas for updating NC’s transportation funding model and making it more sustainable. The Commission’s findings were released in a Final Report in January 2021. Lathrop is a partner with the law firm of Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charlotte, where he specializes in commercial litigation, zoning, land use and dispute resolution. He served on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission from 2011 until 2017 and chaired the commission for three years, from 2014 until 2017. A resident of Charlotte, Lathrop holds both undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Anthony "Tony" Lathrop joined the N.C. Board of Transportation in March 2017. He has chaired the board's Funding/Appropriation Strategies (FAST) Committee (now the Finance Committee) since his appointment in 2017. He also served on the NC First Commission from 2019-2021. This Commission was created by the NCDOT Secretary to research and advise the Secretary about ideas for updating NC’s transportation funding model and making it more sustainable. The Commission’s findings were released in a Final Report in January 2021. Lathrop is a partner with the law firm of Moore & Van Allen PLLC in Charlotte, where he specializes in commercial litigation, zoning, land use and dispute resolution. He served on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission from 2011 until 2017 and chaired the commission for three years, from 2014 until 2017. A resident of Charlotte, Lathrop holds both undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tony Lathrop

Attorney, Moore and Van Allen, Member of NC Board of Transportation

Brandon Lofton represents House District 104 in the North Carolina General Assembly where he serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Commerce, Local Government and Agriculture committees. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Brandon chaired the board for the Council for Children’s Rights, served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, served on the Levine Museum of the New South’s board, chaired the city of Charlotte’s Disparity Study Advisory Committee, helped revise the city’s small business program and coached the chess team at his kids’ elementary school. Brandon’s leadership and service have been recognized with the North Carolina Bar Association Citizen Lawyer Award, the Charlotte Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, the Charlotte Chamber’s Young Professionals Business Leader for small to midsized companies and Uptown Charlotte Magazine Community Catalyst Award. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with highest honors and met his wife, Kellie. He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a Dean’s Scholar. Brandon is a partner with the law firm Robinson Bradshaw, where he focuses his practice in the area of public finance. He began his legal career practicing with the civil rights law firm Ferguson Stein Chambers. He and Kellie live in South Charlotte with their two boys, Caleb and Brandon II along with their dog, Halley.
Brandon Lofton represents House District 104 in the North Carolina General Assembly where he serves on the Finance, Judiciary, Commerce, Local Government and Agriculture committees. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Brandon chaired the board for the Council for Children’s Rights, served on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Advisory Board, served on the Levine Museum of the New South’s board, chaired the city of Charlotte’s Disparity Study Advisory Committee, helped revise the city’s small business program and coached the chess team at his kids’ elementary school. Brandon’s leadership and service have been recognized with the North Carolina Bar Association Citizen Lawyer Award, the Charlotte Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, the Charlotte Chamber’s Young Professionals Business Leader for small to midsized companies and Uptown Charlotte Magazine Community Catalyst Award. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with highest honors and met his wife, Kellie. He earned his law degree from New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar and a Dean’s Scholar. Brandon is a partner with the law firm Robinson Bradshaw, where he focuses his practice in the area of public finance. He began his legal career practicing with the civil rights law firm Ferguson Stein Chambers. He and Kellie live in South Charlotte with their two boys, Caleb and Brandon II along with their dog, Halley.

Brandon Lofton

NC House, District 104

Born in El Salvador, Fernando Martinez began organizing young adults, throughout the Catholic Church, in the late 80’s during the country's civil war. In the 2000's he moved to the US and continued his fight for social and economic justice playing different roles in community-based organizations in New York, Michigan, Alabama, New Jersey, North Carolina and the national Dignity in Schools Campaign. Fernando was the first organizer for the North Carolina based Raising Wages Coalition and now functions as the Director of the Inclusive Economies Project for United for a Fair Economy. Additionally, Fernando has more than 20 years of community organizing, issue-based campaign, network and coalition building experience. Among many issue-based campaigns, Fernando has led county and statewide campaigns against the school-to-prison and deportation pipeline, immigrant, refugee and workers’ rights and protections. More specifically he has led campaigns to remove school resource officers out of North Carolina public schools and to implement positive alternatives to school arrests, suspensions and expulsions such as peacebuilders and restorative justice. Fernando enjoys outdoor activities such as taking pictures, bicycle riding, playing soccer and hiking.
Born in El Salvador, Fernando Martinez began organizing young adults, throughout the Catholic Church, in the late 80’s during the country's civil war. In the 2000's he moved to the US and continued his fight for social and economic justice playing different roles in community-based organizations in New York, Michigan, Alabama, New Jersey, North Carolina and the national Dignity in Schools Campaign. Fernando was the first organizer for the North Carolina based Raising Wages Coalition and now functions as the Director of the Inclusive Economies Project for United for a Fair Economy. Additionally, Fernando has more than 20 years of community organizing, issue-based campaign, network and coalition building experience. Among many issue-based campaigns, Fernando has led county and statewide campaigns against the school-to-prison and deportation pipeline, immigrant, refugee and workers’ rights and protections. More specifically he has led campaigns to remove school resource officers out of North Carolina public schools and to implement positive alternatives to school arrests, suspensions and expulsions such as peacebuilders and restorative justice. Fernando enjoys outdoor activities such as taking pictures, bicycle riding, playing soccer and hiking.

Fernando Martinez

Inclusive Economies Project Director, United for a Fair Economy

Mark-Anthony Middleton serves as the Mayor Pro Tempore of Durham City Council, representing Ward 2. During his tenure, Middleton has successfully advocated for the expansion of the Violence Interrupter initiative, proposed and co-lead the implementation of a municipal Guaranteed Income Pilot, represented the city at the state and national levels as a current board member of the North Carolina League of Municipalities and presenter at the National League of Cities, and wrote the City of Durham’s official statement concerning Anti-Semitism, White Supremacy, and Islamophobia. At the time of his 2017 run for city council, Middleton was the CEO and senior pastor of the Abundant Hope Christian Church and the host of the talk radio show At the Table. His experience also includes service as a member of the board of directors of Excelsior Classical Academy. Middleton attended North Carolina A&T State University and Duke University Divinity School.
Mark-Anthony Middleton serves as the Mayor Pro Tempore of Durham City Council, representing Ward 2. During his tenure, Middleton has successfully advocated for the expansion of the Violence Interrupter initiative, proposed and co-lead the implementation of a municipal Guaranteed Income Pilot, represented the city at the state and national levels as a current board member of the North Carolina League of Municipalities and presenter at the National League of Cities, and wrote the City of Durham’s official statement concerning Anti-Semitism, White Supremacy, and Islamophobia. At the time of his 2017 run for city council, Middleton was the CEO and senior pastor of the Abundant Hope Christian Church and the host of the talk radio show At the Table. His experience also includes service as a member of the board of directors of Excelsior Classical Academy. Middleton attended North Carolina A&T State University and Duke University Divinity School.

Mark-Anthony Middleton

Mayor Pro Tempore of Durham City Council, VP National League of Cities and Municipalities

Scott Neisler is the Mayor of Kings Mountain, NC and was sworn in as the North Carolina League of Municipalities President in April 2022. Neisler graduated from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL with a BS Degree in Health and Physical Education. For 37 years, he worked in his family's textile business, Dicey Fabrics, in Shelby, NC. In 1989, Neisler was elected to the Ward 6 city council seat in his hometown of Kings Mountain, NC. Two years later, he was one of the last elected officials in North Carolina required to resign that seat to run for Mayor. In 1991, he was elected and served three terms as Mayor, from 1991 to 1999. In 2015, he was once again re-elected and as Mayor and has served in that role ever since.
Scott Neisler is the Mayor of Kings Mountain, NC and was sworn in as the North Carolina League of Municipalities President in April 2022. Neisler graduated from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL with a BS Degree in Health and Physical Education. For 37 years, he worked in his family's textile business, Dicey Fabrics, in Shelby, NC. In 1989, Neisler was elected to the Ward 6 city council seat in his hometown of Kings Mountain, NC. Two years later, he was one of the last elected officials in North Carolina required to resign that seat to run for Mayor. In 1991, he was elected and served three terms as Mayor, from 1991 to 1999. In 2015, he was once again re-elected and as Mayor and has served in that role ever since.

Scott Neisler

Mayor of Kings Mountain, NC , President, NC League of Municipalities

State Senator Paul Newton represents Cabarrus and Union Counties. Following five years of private legal practice, Paul Newton worked for 25 years at Duke Energy and eventually earned the responsibility to lead the company as an executive. He later retired in 2015 as North Carolina State President. Paul’s work experience included leading the state’s largest private economic development organization. Paul also served on the CEO Advisory Council of the NC Center for Non-Profits, the Board of Directors of Leadership NC, and on the Executive Committee of the NC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Paul graduated from UNC – Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Juris Doctor degree. He also completed the Harvard Advanced Management Program.
State Senator Paul Newton represents Cabarrus and Union Counties. Following five years of private legal practice, Paul Newton worked for 25 years at Duke Energy and eventually earned the responsibility to lead the company as an executive. He later retired in 2015 as North Carolina State President. Paul’s work experience included leading the state’s largest private economic development organization. Paul also served on the CEO Advisory Council of the NC Center for Non-Profits, the Board of Directors of Leadership NC, and on the Executive Committee of the NC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Paul graduated from UNC – Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and a Juris Doctor degree. He also completed the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

Paul Newton

State Senate, District 36

Vicki Lee Parker currently serves as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Business Council (NCBC), a state-wide nonprofit business association with a mission to connect, empower, and influence business leaders to build a vibrant economy that benefits all North Carolinians. Prior to joining NCBC, Vicki served five years as the Communications and Development Director at the Carolina Small Business Development Fund that provides small business loans to companies in underutilized markets. Through her fundraising initiatives, Vicki helped to secure more than $11 million in funding that was used to provide loans to hundreds of small businesses in local communities across North Carolina. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for North Carolinians For Redistricting Reform, EarthshareNC, ArcBenders, and the Advisory Council of the Croatan Institute. Vicki has an MBA from Meredith College in Raleigh and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Vicki Lee Parker currently serves as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Business Council (NCBC), a state-wide nonprofit business association with a mission to connect, empower, and influence business leaders to build a vibrant economy that benefits all North Carolinians. Prior to joining NCBC, Vicki served five years as the Communications and Development Director at the Carolina Small Business Development Fund that provides small business loans to companies in underutilized markets. Through her fundraising initiatives, Vicki helped to secure more than $11 million in funding that was used to provide loans to hundreds of small businesses in local communities across North Carolina. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for North Carolinians For Redistricting Reform, EarthshareNC, ArcBenders, and the Advisory Council of the Croatan Institute. Vicki has an MBA from Meredith College in Raleigh and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.

Vicki Lee Parker-High

Executive Director of the North Carolina Business Council (NCBC)

Luis Pastor is the current President and CEO of Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) and Executive Director of Latino Community Development Center (LCDC). Soon after joining the credit union in 2000 as a volunteer, he was asked to be the first President and CEO. In 2015, Luis was selected as one of the most influential credit union leaders over the past 25 years. Luis has served on many national and local boards and is regularly invited to participate in panel discussions and working groups focused on financial opportunity and immigrant empowerment. In 2021, Luis was invited to serve on the White House’s CDFI Advisory Board, where he plays a key role in elevating the Latino voice. Luis, a native of Spain, holds a degree in Economics and Business Administration from CUNEF (Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain), a Masters in Human Resources from CEF (Centros de Estudios Financieros, Madrid, Spain) and an MBA from Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, Spain).
Luis Pastor is the current President and CEO of Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) and Executive Director of Latino Community Development Center (LCDC). Soon after joining the credit union in 2000 as a volunteer, he was asked to be the first President and CEO. In 2015, Luis was selected as one of the most influential credit union leaders over the past 25 years. Luis has served on many national and local boards and is regularly invited to participate in panel discussions and working groups focused on financial opportunity and immigrant empowerment. In 2021, Luis was invited to serve on the White House’s CDFI Advisory Board, where he plays a key role in elevating the Latino voice. Luis, a native of Spain, holds a degree in Economics and Business Administration from CUNEF (Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain), a Masters in Human Resources from CEF (Centros de Estudios Financieros, Madrid, Spain) and an MBA from Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, Spain).

Luis Pastor

President and CEO, Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU), Executive Director, Latino Community Development Center (LCDC).

On January 3, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper named Ronald Penny Acting Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue. He was unanimously confirmed as the Secretary of Revenue by the Senate in a vote on June 15, 2017.

Prior to joining the agency, Secretary Penny held numerous professional roles, including positions in state government, the North Carolina university system and the private sector. Penny served as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, teaching courses in human resources, policy, government, law and leadership at North Carolina Central University. He served as Chair of the department for more than a decade.

Penny was the first Vice President for Human Resources for the University of North Carolina System, establishing policy for approximately 40,000 employees. Prior to that appointment, he served 8 years as the Director of the NC Office of State Personnel (now NC Office of State Human Resources) and served as a member of the executive cabinet of former Governor James B. Hunt. In this position, he established policy for 120,000 public employees and managed a $19 million public sector organization. Under his leadership, the NC human resource system was evaluated as one of the top 8 in the nation. In 1999, he served as President of the National Association of State Personnel Executives.

Other professional experiences include Senior Managing Partner in Penny & Barnes, a multi-state law firm in northeastern NC and Tidewater Virginia, General Counsel to the Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University and environmental attorney for E.I. DuPont Corporation in Delaware.

Penny holds a BS in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, summa cum laude, and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the North Carolina Bar.
On January 3, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper named Ronald Penny Acting Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue. He was unanimously confirmed as the Secretary of Revenue by the Senate in a vote on June 15, 2017. Prior to joining the agency, Secretary Penny held numerous professional roles, including positions in state government, the North Carolina university system and the private sector. Penny served as a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration, teaching courses in human resources, policy, government, law and leadership at North Carolina Central University. He served as Chair of the department for more than a decade. Penny was the first Vice President for Human Resources for the University of North Carolina System, establishing policy for approximately 40,000 employees. Prior to that appointment, he served 8 years as the Director of the NC Office of State Personnel (now NC Office of State Human Resources) and served as a member of the executive cabinet of former Governor James B. Hunt. In this position, he established policy for 120,000 public employees and managed a $19 million public sector organization. Under his leadership, the NC human resource system was evaluated as one of the top 8 in the nation. In 1999, he served as President of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. Other professional experiences include Senior Managing Partner in Penny & Barnes, a multi-state law firm in northeastern NC and Tidewater Virginia, General Counsel to the Chancellor of Elizabeth City State University and environmental attorney for E.I. DuPont Corporation in Delaware. Penny holds a BS in Economics from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, summa cum laude, and a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of the North Carolina Bar.

Ronald Penny

Secretary of Revenue, NC Department of Revenue

Lee H. Roberts is a managing partner of SharpVue Capital, a Raleigh, N.C.-based private investment firm, that he co-founded in 2016.  He has spent his 25+ year career in real estate investment and finance and has been involved in the sector in several contexts, including private equity, investment banking and commercial banking.  Immediately prior to SharpVue, he served as budget director for the State of North Carolina. Before his time in public service, Mr. Roberts was most recently managing director of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings, a private equity-backed bank investment platform in Raleigh. He was earlier a partner at Cherokee Investment Partners and he spent nine years with Morgan Stanley in London and New York.  He has a BA in Political Science from Duke University and a JD from Georgetown University.  In 2021, he began a four-year term on the UNC Board of Governors.
Lee H. Roberts is a managing partner of SharpVue Capital, a Raleigh, N.C.-based private investment firm, that he co-founded in 2016. He has spent his 25+ year career in real estate investment and finance and has been involved in the sector in several contexts, including private equity, investment banking and commercial banking. Immediately prior to SharpVue, he served as budget director for the State of North Carolina. Before his time in public service, Mr. Roberts was most recently managing director of Piedmont Community Bank Holdings, a private equity-backed bank investment platform in Raleigh. He was earlier a partner at Cherokee Investment Partners and he spent nine years with Morgan Stanley in London and New York. He has a BA in Political Science from Duke University and a JD from Georgetown University. In 2021, he began a four-year term on the UNC Board of Governors.

Lee Roberts

Managing Partner, SharpVue Capital, Former NC Budget Director

Jenna Robinson, President of the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal, joined the  Center in January 2007 as campus outreach coordinator and later became the center’s director of outreach. She was previously the E.A. Morris Fellowship assistant at the John Locke Foundation, where she had worked since 2001. Robinson graduated from N.C. State University in 2003 with a major in political science and French. She has studied at the University of East Anglia School of American Studies in Norwich, United Kingdom. She received her master’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in American politics and a minor in methods, from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012. Robinson is also a graduate of the Koch Associate Program sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.
Jenna Robinson, President of the James G Martin Center for Academic Renewal, joined the Center in January 2007 as campus outreach coordinator and later became the center’s director of outreach. She was previously the E.A. Morris Fellowship assistant at the John Locke Foundation, where she had worked since 2001. Robinson graduated from N.C. State University in 2003 with a major in political science and French. She has studied at the University of East Anglia School of American Studies in Norwich, United Kingdom. She received her master’s degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 and her Ph.D. in political science, with a concentration in American politics and a minor in methods, from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012. Robinson is also a graduate of the Koch Associate Program sponsored by the Charles G. Koch Foundation.

Jenna Robinson

President, Martin Center

DeAndrea Salvador is a member of the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 39. DeAndrea is a graduate of E. E. Waddell High School, where she served as Class President, and UNC Charlotte, where she earned her degree in Economics. When she saw her Charlotte neighbors spending more than 20% of their income on energy expenses, DeAndrea took action and founded RETI, a non-profit focused on helping families sustainably reduce energy costs by way of smart technology, solar energy, efficiency measures, and education.  RETI also consulted on the City of Charlotte’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan. DeAndrea serves on the board of Clean Aire Carolina and was previously on the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission for several years. Currently, DeAndrea is the youngest member of the NC State Senate and was most recently honored by Governor Roy Cooper and the NC African American Heritage Commission for contributions and leadership in the field of STEM, (science, technology, engineering, and math).
DeAndrea Salvador is a member of the North Carolina State Senate, representing District 39. DeAndrea is a graduate of E. E. Waddell High School, where she served as Class President, and UNC Charlotte, where she earned her degree in Economics. When she saw her Charlotte neighbors spending more than 20% of their income on energy expenses, DeAndrea took action and founded RETI, a non-profit focused on helping families sustainably reduce energy costs by way of smart technology, solar energy, efficiency measures, and education. RETI also consulted on the City of Charlotte’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan. DeAndrea serves on the board of Clean Aire Carolina and was previously on the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission for several years. Currently, DeAndrea is the youngest member of the NC State Senate and was most recently honored by Governor Roy Cooper and the NC African American Heritage Commission for contributions and leadership in the field of STEM, (science, technology, engineering, and math).

DeAndrea Salvador

NC Senate, District 39

Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal has served as president of Piedmont Community College since 2017. She recently completed the Aspen New President’s Leadership Fellowship program for 2020-21. She is a lifelong educator who is committed to ensuring that educational opportunities are available to all communities. With more than 22 years of experience in both industry and education, she brings strengths in economic development and partnership creation. Senegal earned degrees in Political Science and Spanish (Bachelor’s), Public Administration (Master’s) and Adult and Community College Education (Doctorate of Education) from North Carolina State University.
Dr. Pamela Gibson Senegal has served as president of Piedmont Community College since 2017. She recently completed the Aspen New President’s Leadership Fellowship program for 2020-21. She is a lifelong educator who is committed to ensuring that educational opportunities are available to all communities. With more than 22 years of experience in both industry and education, she brings strengths in economic development and partnership creation. Senegal earned degrees in Political Science and Spanish (Bachelor’s), Public Administration (Master’s) and Adult and Community College Education (Doctorate of Education) from North Carolina State University.

Pamela Senegal

President of Piedmont Community College

Alexandra Sirota serves as Executive Director for the Budget & Tax Center, where she has worked for over 12 years. She leads the organization’s work to ensure every person can reach their full potential and achieve well-being through the support of trustworthy, anti-racist institutions and systems that we all participate in building. Prior to working for the Budget and Tax Center, Alexandra worked for Action for Children North Carolina and the Center for Community Capital at UNC Chapel Hill. Alexandra earned her Masters at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago and her Bachelors at Haverford College.

Alexandra Sirota

Executive Director, NC Budget & Tax Center

Matt Stone is the Executive Director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.  Prior to joining the Chamber, Matt worked with large industry, small business and two of our three branches of state government.  He previously clerked for Justice Paul Newby (now Chief Justice) of the North Carolina Supreme Court and has served on staff with the North Carolina General Assembly in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Matt serves on the Local Education Attainment Collaborative Committee through MyFutureNC, the YMCA of Southeastern NC Board of Directors as well the Sampson County Economic Development Commission.  He is a passionate advocate of sustainable growth and progress in eastern North Carolina as the rural-urban divide continues to expand.  As a voice for the region’s business community, he is believer in public-private partnerships that are mutually beneficial and have long term impact for folks that are here to “live, work or play.” He holds two bachelor’s degrees from North Carolina State University and a law degree from CSL.  He grew up in Sanford, NC and now resides in Clinton with his wife, Sarah and their twin boys Henry and David.
Matt Stone is the Executive Director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the Chamber, Matt worked with large industry, small business and two of our three branches of state government. He previously clerked for Justice Paul Newby (now Chief Justice) of the North Carolina Supreme Court and has served on staff with the North Carolina General Assembly in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Matt serves on the Local Education Attainment Collaborative Committee through MyFutureNC, the YMCA of Southeastern NC Board of Directors as well the Sampson County Economic Development Commission. He is a passionate advocate of sustainable growth and progress in eastern North Carolina as the rural-urban divide continues to expand. As a voice for the region’s business community, he is believer in public-private partnerships that are mutually beneficial and have long term impact for folks that are here to “live, work or play.” He holds two bachelor’s degrees from North Carolina State University and a law degree from CSL. He grew up in Sanford, NC and now resides in Clinton with his wife, Sarah and their twin boys Henry and David.

Matt Stone

Executive Director of Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce

Mebane Rash is the founding CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC. In 2021, she was awarded the Friday Medal, which honors “significant, distinguished and enduring contributions to education through advocating for innovation, advancing education and imparting inspiration.”

Mebane is a public school kid, attending Irwin Elementary, First Ward Elementary, McClintock Middle, and East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1990 and the UNC School of Law in 1993. At the UNC School of Law, she was a member of the North Carolina Law Review. She has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1993, and she is admitted to practice in both the state and federal court systems. Mebane is a native of North Carolina, currently living in Deep Gap.
Mebane Rash is the founding CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC. In 2021, she was awarded the Friday Medal, which honors “significant, distinguished and enduring contributions to education through advocating for innovation, advancing education and imparting inspiration.” Mebane is a public school kid, attending Irwin Elementary, First Ward Elementary, McClintock Middle, and East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1990 and the UNC School of Law in 1993. At the UNC School of Law, she was a member of the North Carolina Law Review. She has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1993, and she is admitted to practice in both the state and federal court systems. Mebane is a native of North Carolina, currently living in Deep Gap.

Mebane Rash

Founding CEO and Editor-in-Chief of EdNC

Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D., is the President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum. Mary Ann has 25 years of education policy and leadership experience working at the national, state, district, and school levels to improve equity and build capacity for innovation. At the Forum, she connects policymakers and practitioners with a deep focus on ensuring that every child in NC has access to a high quality and equitable education. Prior to the Forum, Mary Ann and her team at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University led ongoing, job-embedded professional learning to guide superintendents, district teams, and principals, coaches, and teachers in NC and across the country through the Future Ready Schools and the Leading Personalized and Digital Learning program. Mary Ann and her team also led the development of the Learning Differences and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) online courses and micro-credentials, with over 20,000 participants across the world.  Dr. Wolf served as the lead author of the book Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change, (Harvard Education Press) which focuses on tangible practices of principals. Mary Ann testified before Congress on personalized and digital learning, provided significant input on the ARRA/Stimulus Educational Technology federal legislation, and has worked extensively with members of Congress, the Bush and Obama administrations, state leaders in NC and all fifty states, and other policy organizations. Mary Ann served as a member, chair, and vice chair of the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Board of Education and taught fifth grade in Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Virginia, her Master’s of Education from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing from Georgetown University. Mary Ann lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Brian; and she has three children who attend or attended (prior to graduation) our public schools in NC.
Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D., is the President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum. Mary Ann has 25 years of education policy and leadership experience working at the national, state, district, and school levels to improve equity and build capacity for innovation. At the Forum, she connects policymakers and practitioners with a deep focus on ensuring that every child in NC has access to a high quality and equitable education. Prior to the Forum, Mary Ann and her team at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at NC State University led ongoing, job-embedded professional learning to guide superintendents, district teams, and principals, coaches, and teachers in NC and across the country through the Future Ready Schools and the Leading Personalized and Digital Learning program. Mary Ann and her team also led the development of the Learning Differences and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) online courses and micro-credentials, with over 20,000 participants across the world. Dr. Wolf served as the lead author of the book Leading Personalized and Digital Learning: A Framework for Implementing School Change, (Harvard Education Press) which focuses on tangible practices of principals. Mary Ann testified before Congress on personalized and digital learning, provided significant input on the ARRA/Stimulus Educational Technology federal legislation, and has worked extensively with members of Congress, the Bush and Obama administrations, state leaders in NC and all fifty states, and other policy organizations. Mary Ann served as a member, chair, and vice chair of the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Board of Education and taught fifth grade in Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Virginia, her Master’s of Education from The George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting and marketing from Georgetown University. Mary Ann lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Brian; and she has three children who attend or attended (prior to graduation) our public schools in NC.

Mary Ann Wolf

President and CEO, NC Public School Forum

Meet the steering committee and staff

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Abdullah Antepli

Associate Professor of the Practice, Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, Associate Professor of the practice of Interfaith Relations, Duke Divinity School

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Tamara Barringer

Associate Justice, NC Supreme Court, Clinical Professor of Business Law & Ethics, UNC Kenan-Flager Business School

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Anita Brown-Graham

Professor of Public Law and Government, UNC School of Government

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Deborah Goldstein

Executive Director, NC Leadership Forum

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Maurice "Mo" Green

Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

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John Hood

President, John William Pope Foundation

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Chuck Neely

Retired Partner, Williams Mullen, former NC General Assembly member

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Ray Starling

General Counsel, NC Chamber of Commerce, President NC Chamber Legal Institute

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Leslie Winner

Former Executive Director, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, former NC General Assembly member