Congratulations to the graduates of our 2019 Spring VIP Training Program!

We look forward to hearing about your future successes in board appointments.

Interested in finding out more about VIP and board training? Check out the Volunteer Involvement Program.

Monday Class







Wednesday Class






Complete List of Spring 2019 Graduates

Natasha Bailey CallRail Inc.
Andrea Barnett National Association of Minority Contractors Greater Atlanta Branch
Timothy Buchanan Together Friends Organization
Larce Carter V Self-Employed
Melissa Chambers Royally Yours
Wayne Clayton Clayton County Public Schools
Myron Davis KNAV, P.A. Certified Public Accounts
Jamal Dismuke Paradigm Management & Consultants
Makeba Dixon-Hill Spelman College
William Dobbins IBM
Sanjiv Doreswamy Grand River LLC
Ayana Dunston Georgia Charter Schools Association
Lucretia Gant DeKalb County School District – Chamblee Charter HS
Corey Goerdt Fisher & Phillips LLP
Preeyal Gupta Aetna
Junior Harewood United Healthcare
Danita Harris The Harris-Harris Group, LLC
Jeffery Henderson Youth Branding University
Shaun Herbert AT&T
Katy Hilbert Children’s Voice: CASA, Inc.
Bryan Hilburn Hills Academy
Sharon Hillman Delta Vacations
Stephanie Hooks LexisNexis Risk Solutions
James Jones AT&T
Elaine Katz Harvard Group International
Paul Larkin Quest Diagnostics
Omari Leggett Penciled Consulting
Bisa Lewis Black Child Development Institute – Atlanta Affiliate
Trenise Lyons Goodwill of North Georgia
Juan Mejia JCM Ventures
Robyn Polynice Anthem
Khalil Robinson Allsource
Richard Romanowski R-Cubed
Dorothy Rose The Hair Spot
Antonio Saintiague UPS
Sharicka Samuels Ernst & Young
Bettina Sellers Sellers of Faith Counseling & Consultation
Jacinta Smith United Way of Greater Atlanta – AmeriCorps, Project Health Access
Daniel Sterling Jabian Consulting
Madeline Tapper United Way of Greater Atlanta
John Thomas Morgan Stanley
Bryce Thomason Digital Vibes LLC
Angelyn Thompson Anthem
Sade’ Tidwell Fisher & Phillips LLP
Shanice Turner Forum For Youth Investment
Belinda Vickerson Belinda Vickerson Photography LLC
Angela Walton Breakthrough Marketing Consulting
Derrica Williams Concepts, Inc.
Trudy Willis Clayton County Public Schools
Ashley  Winston The Home Depot

#WhyWednesday: Sarah Smith

For Sarah Smith, the inspiration to give back came early—and it all started with her Nana. Today, hear why this Young Professional Leaders advisory board member gives, advocates and volunteers with United Way of Greater Atlanta.

Sometimes the inspiration behind community service isn’t a why – it’s a who! Is there someone who has sparked your interest in philanthropy? We’d love to hear all about it. Give your inspiration a shout-out and send in your story to United Way of Greater Atlanta!

We are always happy to share the great news of Alumni Placements with the community.


Belinda Walker
2009 VIP Graduate

Belinda recently joined the United Way of Greater Atlanta Gwinnett County Advisory Board. Belinda also serves as First Vice President of Programs for the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. – Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter.




Ketiwe Zipperer
Summer 2018 VIP Graduate

Ketiwe is a Manager with Deloitte Consulting. She recently joined the board of DeKalb County CASA. DeKalb County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) train and support CASA volunteers to advocate for the best interests of children in foster care.




Jaselyn Williams
Fall 2018 VIP Graduate

Jaselyn is the Senior HR Business Partner with Digital Realty. Jaselyn is quickly putting her VIP knowledge to use after recently joining the board of Live Healthy and Thrive Youth Foundation. Their mission is to educate, activate, motivate, and empower youth in the areas of academic achievement, health, fitness, nutrition and total wellness.



Joy Dyess
Fall 2017 VIP Graduate

Joy is Vice President, Director of Special Projects with BankSouth Mortgage and Vice President-Elect, Advocacy & Initiatives Council with the Junior League of Atlanta. Joy recently joined the United Way of Greater Atlanta Cobb County Advisory Board where she will work create a thriving community in Cobb County.

African-American Partnership Cabinet Spotlight: Hugh E. Rowden
Senior Vice President, Engagement Initiatives & Mortgage Outreach, Community Relations, Wells Fargo & Company


AAP: Tell us about your role at Wells Fargo and how you impact the company’s strategic goals?
Hugh: As part of Community Relations at Wells Fargo, I lead an Innovation team, a management collaboration team, and a housing outreach team focusing on critical enterprise-wide community engagement initiatives for housing issues, as well as a host of other responsibilities.

I often say “we’re problem solvers” that connect Wells Fargo to some of the communities’ most pressing needs.


AAP: What advice could you give to someone pursuing a career in the financial industry?Hugh:No matter what industry you’re in it’s important to understand your strengths, and what you do well. Become an expert at what you do. Become the person that people go to when they need to know about your role and how it can make a difference.

My passion for solving problems, coaching and teaching, coupled with my management experience, became the foundation of my work life here at the bank. Many people are good at a job but can’t teach others. It’s important to find a way to develop your skills and use them often, especially in engaging teams and in developing talent. You’ll get a lot of pleasure out of your work if you view it as an opportunity to bring others along on the journey.


AAP: How do you use your role at Wells Fargo to improve economic empowerment in our community?
Hugh: My team helps customers who are having payment challenges through Outreach, addresses housing issues for cities through examining barriers and coalition-building, and we create innovative solutions that bring together the power of Wells Fargo’s lending and philanthropy to produce outcomes that solve issues identified by community stakeholders.

I personally understand what it’s like to be homeless because I was at one time in my life, and I know what it’s like to own a home. Those feelings will always be top of mind for me and understanding the full spectrum of housing challenges and opportunities influences the way I bring ideas forward and how I create programs that can benefit underserved individuals and communities. In my role, I work across Wells Fargo to pull in experts from our lines of business and our community relations team to create impact. In particular, we focus on affordable housing, small business growth, job skills and financial health as pathways to economic advancement.


AAP: Why is philanthropy important to you? What other community organizations are you apart of?
Hugh: Philanthropy is critical to help address the inequities that exist in today’s society. Minorities and women have a different starting line than others. For society to succeed, I believe we all need to play a part in addressing diversity, equity and inclusion. Our philanthropy allows us to collaborate with nonprofits and expert local leaders to create greater access to safe and affordable housing, more assistance with homeownership for families and critical support for small businesses to grow and thrive. In turn, many of these families and businesses go on to giving back to the community in their own way so it’s a positive ripple effect.

What’s unique about my job at Wells Fargo is that I get to help hundreds of community organizations and bring people together who care about making life better for others.

Outside of the volunteer work I do with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s – African-American Partnership, I’m on the Georgia Gwinnett College – School of Business Board of Visitors, and support activities at my church.


AAP: Who is your favorite African-American trailblazer that serves as a source of inspiration to you?
Hugh: My source of inspiration is my family and friends. Most people think about individual trailblazers they don’t know. I focus on all my family has done to create the platform for me to do what I love, “being a provider”. That’s inspirational!

During my developmental years a lot of people did a lot of praying and the best they could with what they knew, and the small resources they had. It reminds me of a quote, “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it didn’t get there by itself.” 

Kelly Janzen
Chief Accounting Officer, WestRock

Say hello to Kelly Janzen, Chief Accounting Officer for WestRock and a Tocqueville Women United Cabinet member who started her United Way journey in Houston.

“While I was living in Houston, a really good friend invited me to a few Tocqueville events, and I had a greater realization of the impact that United Way has on communities. Thus, I decided at that time to make a larger commitment and join the Tocqueville Society.”

Kelly started with WestRock in August 2017 from Baker Hughes, a GE company, based in Houston, Texas where she served as the Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer.

“I’ve been involved with United Way for many years in various capacities, starting with campaign captain at my previous employers.”

Prior to Baker Hughes, she was with McDermott International, Inc. as Vice President, Finance and Chief Accounting Officer. She also had a successful career with General Electric, where she started as a global controller with GE Security and continued in controller leadership roles with GE Healthcare, an assignment with GE Corporate in Hong Kong, and GE Power & Water.

Kelly started her career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen LLP. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Louisiana State University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Kelly is also a member of the WellStar Health System Foundation Board, in addition to her service as a Tocqueville Women United Cabinet member.

“It was important to me when I moved to Atlanta to continue my involvement with such a great organization.”

YPL Member, Jessica Sturm
Secondary Special Education Lead
City Schools of Decatur


YPL: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s YPL group

Jessica: In September, I researched different non-profit organizations in the Atlanta area where I could volunteer and decided to join United Way. After a couple of volunteer opportunities, I decided I wanted to become more involved in the organization. Young Professional Leaders (YPL) group seemed like a perfect fit! I felt this group was a place I could engage with others who are also trying to make a difference, as we are all professionals with a passion for community service. Joining the YPL Gala Committee has been such an amazing experience. The first time I came to a meeting, I felt so energized because there were people sitting around the table I had a lot in common with and all with the same goal – to help the kids! As I continue to become more involved in YPL, I am making new friends and meeting more and more amazing individuals in the Atlanta area who are passionate, strong-willed, and truly want to make this world a better place.


YPL: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

Jessica: YPL supports Kids Home Initiative and as an educator, this is very close to my heart. I have taught and worked with students who are currently homeless or who were homeless at one point in their life. Homelessness impacts their lives tremendously. It is amazing how the resources many of us take for granted can change a kid’s life and allow them to be and feel successful in school. I am very passionate about this project and all the fundraising we are doing at YPL to assist with stability and resources for the whole family. Children are our future and all children deserve a stable home-life.


YPL: What is your favorite quote?

Jessica: “Gratitude reciprocates.”

AAP Member Spotlight: Ashaki T. Wilham
Principal Scientist, Flavor Research and Development,
The Coca-Cola Company

AAP: Tell us about your role at The Coca-Cola Company and how you impact the company’s strategic goals.
The Coca-Cola Company is an industry leader in the beverage category and is one of the most recognized brands worldwide. I lead the Global Flavor Research and Development team which focuses on flavor development in the areas of continuity, innovation and productivity for The Company. Our work ensures that there is continuity of supply for strategic agricultural ingredients. We provide customized flavor solutions enabling innovation and growth. My team has supported productivity initiatives which help generate savings that are reinvested into the business. We also support strategic reformulation initiatives to reduce sugar in core company brands.

AAP: What suggestions could you offer to an individual interested in pursuing a career, such as yours?
Food Science is a very broad and diverse field of study offering many diverse disciplines, one of which is Flavor Creation. Becoming a Flavorist takes years of careful training and is a role that requires diligence and perseverance. Flavor Creation allows you to explore your technical side while tapping into your creative side in order to curate an experience that consumers will want to enjoy time and time again.  Although it is not a widely known career choice, it is both lucrative and rewarding. The tangible nature of the work offers the satisfaction of seeing your finished product in the local grocery, restaurant, or convenience store shelf.


AAP: Tell us about your experience at the AAP Day of Service last year when you operated a booth at the S.T.E.A.M. career fair last summer.
When I was in the 10th grade, I had a phenomenal biology teacher that instilled in me a passion for science. I was always curious and loved science in elementary and middle school, but she helped make it fun and relevant to me. Once I decided to pursue science as a field of study, I initially wanted to be a doctor, not realizing that Flavor Chemistry even existed. Since I’ve been in this industry, it has been a passion and purpose to share careers in Food Science with our youth from kindergarten through college. I believe that children of all ages are like sponges who, once exposed to knowledge, will soak it up. It gives me honor to provide that exposure. S.T.E.A.M. events energize me, and I am always overwhelmed by the sense of engagement and inquisitiveness that the students display.


AAP: Who is your favorite trailblazer that serves as an inspiration to you?
The trailblazer that inspires me is Dr. Mae Jemison. She began studying at Stanford at 16 years old, received her doctorate in medicine from Cornell University, and orbited the earth 126 times as an astronaut. Dr. Jemison didn’t stop there, she also found ways to give back by first volunteering with the Peace Corp and later founding the Jemison Group, an organization that encourages the pursuit of science. Her passion for science, quest to be the best and to offer a hand back makes Dr. Jemison a truly motivating force.


AAP: Why is philanthropy important to you? How do you give back to the community?
Philanthropy, defined as the desire to help others, through the donation of money, time or skills, is integral to my core value system. I take pleasure in serving others, using my gifts and talents to make things better in the communities where I live and work. It is also important to me that I model the behavior for my children, taking the opportunity to create a family culture of compassion. My favorite ways to give back include performing random acts of kindness, supporting the First Impressions, Children’s and Cleaning Ministry’s at church and educating children about the field of Food Science.


AAP: What is your favorite quote?
Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. ~Mother Teresa



Joseph E. Heatherly
Audit Partner, Grant Thornton LLP

Tocqueville Society Member
Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board Member



Joseph E. Heatherly is an audit partner at Grant Thornton LLP, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms.

Joseph began his career at Grant Thornton in September 2004 in Charlotte, NC. After spending several years in the audit division of the firm’s Charlotte, NC, and Columbia, SC offices, he completed a two-year rotation within the firm’s national office. In July 2015, Joseph moved to the Atlanta office of Grant Thornton searching for additional career opportunities and was promoted to audit partner in August 2016. Joseph focuses on serving publicly traded and privately held entities within the transportation, retail, service, and pharmaceutical industries.

In addition to his membership in the Tocqueville Society of United Way Atlanta, Joseph is a member of the Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board of United Way Atlanta and serves as Internal Communications Chair. He is also a member of the 2019 Multiple Sclerosis Leadership Class of Atlanta.

Joseph is a native of Jonesville, SC, and received his Bachelors of Science in Accounting and Masters of Professional Accountancy from Clemson University. He resides with his wife, Caroline, and their daughter in Buckhead.

#WhyWednesday: Ronshavius Strozier

“The essence of leadership is servitude.”

Ronshavius Strozier chooses to use her leadership skills in service of her community as a United Way of Greater Atlanta Young Professional Leaders board member. Today, hear why!

United Way Young Professional Leaders is a group of community champions, aged 40 and under, making connections and sparking change in Greater Atlanta. Want to see what YPL is all about? You have two great opportunities coming up: the annual SaturDAY of Service on April 13 and the Night for a Brighter Tomorrow (on the rooftop at Ponce City Market!) on May 3.

#WhyWednesday: Evonna Christmon

“You never know who you will be a light to.”

Evonna Christmon, United Way VIP graduate and Executive Director of Blossoming Brown Girls, believes that as human beings, we are all responsible for taking care of each other.


How will you take care of your community? If you’re ready to step up into nonprofit board service, consider United Way of Greater Atlanta Volunteer Involvement Program (VIP). To apply for VIP board training, click here.