YWLA Foundation adds board members, new leadership

The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth (YWLA) added six new board members and announced its leadership for the 2021 fiscal year.

The board consists of 25 members, 20 from the community and five representing the Foundation’s partners: YWLA, Fort Worth ISD and Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN).

“We have a dynamic board of local business and community leaders,” said Lynn Hammer, Executive Director of the Foundation. “I am excited for what the future holds as we continue to cultivate relationships with individuals and businesses in the local community and spread our mission of empowering our future female leaders through academic and leadership excellence.”

New Foundation board members in their first year of service include:

Deborah Ferguson returns to the Foundation after serving as the nonprofit’s inaugural Board Chair. She has been a passionate advocate of YWLA for more than a decade and looks forward to joining the board once again and working to advance the YWLA mission of academic achievement and leadership. Ferguson graduated from Fort Worth ISD, went on to TCU and recently celebrated her 30th year as an anchor/reporter at NBC5.

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Stacy Landreth Grau, Ph.D., is a professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation practice at the Neely School of Business and Director, IdeaFactory at Texas Christian University. She uses human-centered design to assist organizations to be more innovative and is the author of three books and more than 30 articles. She has served on several nonprofit boards and is currently on the executive board for CoAct and for National Charity League Fort Worth and is passionate about innovation in education.

Erma Lee has worked in health care compliance and business ethics for more than twenty years and is currently the director of compliance for Cook Children’s Health Care System. She has a degree in business administration and certifications in healthcare compliance and privacy. Lee’s philanthropic and community interests focus on programs and organizations providing services to children, and her hobbies include art, fitness, cooking and traveling.

Carolyn Phillips is ESG & Product Manager at Conestoga, a renewable energy company specializing in bio-ethanol manufacturing, carbon credit trading and midstream logistics. Phillips is a TCU alum and holds an M.A. in Sustainability from Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability. Her experience ranges from starting a popsicle business from scratch to major donor fundraising, as well as sustainability consulting and social responsibility in corporate, educational and community environments.

Meloni Raney is President and CEO of TEXO, The Construction Association. At TEXO, she currently leads the largest commercial contractors association in Texas and the largest association in the United States affiliated with both the national ABC and AGC, with members’ combined annual revenues of more than $15 billion. Raney has been with TEXO since October 2013 and led the member programs and services efforts until her promotion to President/CEO in March 2015.

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Shoshana Thoma-Isgur is Associate General Counsel at First Cash, Inc. in Fort Worth. Previously, she served as a consultant to investment advisors and a partner at two international law firms. Before moving to private practice, Thoma-Isgur spent almost eight years as an SEC Enforcement Attorney. Currently, Thoma-Isgur serves on the board of Congregation Ahavath Sholom. She earned her law degree, cum laude, from St. Mary’s School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

“I am particularly happy to announce the Foundation’s new board officers and executive leadership,” said Hammer. “These exceptional women bring such diverse perspectives, expertise, backgrounds, and passions to the table, which will only serve to enrich our board and mission.”

Board officers and executive leadership:

– Lauren Cockerell, Board Chair; President and Founder of Kwedar PR − Tracey Amaya, Immediate Past Chair; Real Estate Broker at RE/MAX Trinity – Danika Franks, M.D., Vice Chair and Governance Chair; Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine – Brittyn Brender, Treasurer; Director, Client Advisory Team at Tolleson Wealth Management – Lane Borrello, Secretary; Vice President of Public Affairs at GM Financial – Jeanelle Davis, Development Chair; Executive Director, Public Affairs at BNSF Railway – Tricia Elliott, M.D., Programs & Services Chair; Sr. Vice President, Medical, Academic, and Research Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Designated Institutional Official at JPS Health Network – Laura Baldwin, Finance Chair; President of Waco Bend Asset Management, Ltd.

Returning board members:

– Tamara Albury, Ex Officio; Principal of Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth – Sherry Breed, Chief of Equity and Excellence for FWISD – Rachael Capua, Ed.D., Director of College & Career Success for Tarrant To & Through (T3) – Kelvin Carlson, Director of Architecture at Jacobs – Berta Fogerson, Chief Academic & Accountability Officer for Young Women’s Preparatory Network – Karen Jones, Senior Vice President, Community Banking District Manager for Wells Fargo – Lynn McBee, CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network – Keonna Roberts, Ed.D., Director of Operations for Albert Roberts Law, PLLC in Fort Worth – Anita Robinson, Banking Center Manager at Colonial Savings – David Saenz, Senior Officer of the Office of Innovation and Transformation at FWISD – Robin Sanders, Travel Industry Consultant; Former Owner of Sanders Travel Centre The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth supports the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth, the first and only single-gender school for girls in Fort Worth ISD.

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The school was founded in 2010 and made possible through a public-private partnership between FWISD and Young Women’s Preparatory Network. YWLA’s core curriculum focuses on STEM and visual arts and empowers young women typically from low socioeconomic households to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

In 2014, the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth was formed as a 501(c)3 to financially support and secure resources for YWLA and its students and teachers. The nonprofit provides funding for programs that enhance academic achieve