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Announcing 2017-2019 Friday Fellowship Class

Thursday, September 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
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The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, the flagship program of Wildacres Leadership Initiative (WLI), has named its 2017-2019 class.  The William C. Friday Fellowship is a competitive statewide program for cross-sector leaders. 

Selected by six regional committees, these 24 individuals demonstrate commitment to leadership in North Carolina, model humility and continuous learning, and are courageous risk takers seeking to create innovation through their work in the world.  Friday Fellows receive free leadership training over the course of two years in locations across North Carolina including Carteret, Durham, Tyrrell and McDowell counties.

In welcoming the new class Executive Director Abdul Rasheed noted that North Carolina needs leaders to “…create nurturing relationships that embrace difference in order to unleash our collective gifts for the continual improvement of our beloved state.”

The program immerses active leaders in a system where they exercise leadership privileges and responsibilities.  Class members gather for six four-day development seminars designed and facilitated by our WLI team including staff members Dr. Sayra Pinto, Director of Leadership Education, Abdul Rasheed, Executive Director, Minda Brooks, Director of Engagement and Impact, and new core faculty member Dr. Carolyn Finney.   As in previous years, additional people with personal stories or expertise will be a part of particular seminars.  Extensive reading, writing exercises, coaching and interim full group and subgroup meetings are included throughout the two-year training.

Wildacres Leadership Initiative also invites the entire state to join all Friday Fellows alumni and the new Friday Fellows cohort in building our collective leadership capacity through our new program -- the Friday Labs.  Friday Labs extend Fellowship content to all people in the six Friday regions of North Carolina.  Participants will be exposed to current and future leadership theory and practice, and cooperative and collaborative problem-solving for specific regional issues.

As a part of building leadership capacity, WLI and the Friday Fellowship has been curating a Leadership Library on our social media channels – in particular Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  You are encouraged to view and share these easily accessible materials about leadership that align with Friday Fellows values.

"The candid self-reflection from The Friday Fellowship stirred my soul while propelling me to find ways to incorporate new skills both in the tech world and political realm.  Along the way, I’ve stumbled upon some of the brightest minds and souls in North Carolina and feel blessed to call them friends.”     --Lori Bush, Class of 2014


The 2017-2019 Friday Fellows are listed alphabetically below.

Andy Anderson of Whiteville in Columbus County.  Andy is Director of Development at Community Innovations.  He was the first African American elected to the Whiteville City Council and recently launched a nonprofit that focuses on character education.

Chase Arrington of Greensboro in Guilford County. Chase is Dean of Middle School at National Heritage Academies.  He volunteers with the local Alpha Phi Alpha chapter and the Leadership Development Citizenship and Education Institute.

Adam Beyah of Hope Mills in Cumberland County.  Adam owns Beyah’s Accounting & Tax Service.  He hosts a radio show on WIDU and has served on the boards of Democracy NC and Fayetteville Urban Ministries.

Cory Blankenship of Qualla Boundary in Swain County.  Cory is Secretary of the Treasury of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.  He serves on the boards of the Cherokee Historical Association, the Cherokee Boys Club, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Sarah Brown of Asheville in Buncombe County. Sarah is Associate Executive Director of OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling.  She also leads the local non-profit Mountain Housing Opportunities as Board Vice Chair and incoming Chair.

Faith Bynum of Raleigh in Wake County.  Faith is Principal at Faith Bynum, CPA, PC.  She published her first book this year titled “Build Faith in Your Business.”

Deborah Dicks Maxwell of Wilmington in New Hanover County.  Deborah is a retired public health social worker.  She serves on the board of Cape Fear River Watch and is a local NC NAACP leader in the region.

Meredith Doster of Weaverville in Buncombe County.  Meredith is Dean of Adult and Graduate Studies at Mars Hill University.  She is a member of Circle of Mercy, a faith-based social justice community, and is a longtime participant in the traditional song and dance world in western North Carolina.

Hope Dugan of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County.  Hope is Director of Virtual Learning and Media Services with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  She co-chaired an international theatre festival in Charlotte and volunteers with the North Star Literacy Initiative.

Earl Evans of Hollister in Warren County.  Earl is a Tribal Council Member of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe.  He was instrumental in gaining access to charter school funds to open the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School and is active in discussions about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Dale Freudenberger of Asheville in Buncombe County.  Dale is self-employed and serves on the boards of both The Learning Community School in Black Mountain and the Illustration Institute.

Monica Gibbs of Bayboro in Pamlico County.  Monica is a Client Services Director at The Epic Center.  She volunteers with Community in Schools and was the first woman and African American Democratic Party Presidential delegate elected from Pamlico County.

Jason Kay of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County.  Jason is a Senior Assistant City Attorney with the City of Charlotte.  He specializes in mediating hot button issues when they erupt in the public sphere.

Shoneca Kent of Rocky Mount in Nash County.  Shoneca is the Catalyst for Healthy Eating and Active Living Coordinator at the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation.  She volunteers with Twin Counties Democracy and the Racial Justice Coalition of the Twin Counties.

Alison Martin of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County.  Alison is a Special Prosecutor in Catawba County.  She is a coach for Charlotte Junior Soccer and is involved with SAFE Alliance Charlotte.

Shannon Moretz of Reidsville in Caswell County.  Shannon is Health Informatics Manager at Caswell Family Medical Center.  She has been an EMT, editor of The Caswell Messenger, and a Program Coordinator at Caswell Senior Services.

Misty Odell of Durham in Durham County.  Misty is Outreach Director for the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.  She is a Trustee for the NC Humanities Council and the Durham Human Relations Council.

Cole Phelps of Creswell in Washington County.  Cole is an attorney and Washington County Commissioner.  He runs a law firm and is an adjunct professor at East Carolina University.

Tameka Reed of Raleigh in Wake County.  Tameka is a Community Development Specialist with PNC Bank.  She serves on the board of the Raleigh Rescue Mission and the Family Resource Center of the South Atlantic.

Cheri Selby Pearson of Durham in Durham County.  Cheri is the Executive Director of Public Allies North Carolina.  She has completed Leadership North Carolina and volunteers with Legal Aid NC, AmeriCorps, United Negro College Fund, and the YMCA.

Heather Talley of Asheville in Buncombe County.  Heather is Director of Social Justice and Community Engagement at the Tzedek Social Justice Fellowship.  She volunteers with Youth OutRight, Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp, Western Carolinians for Criminal Justice and many other groups.        

Neyra Toledo of Morrisville in Wake County.  Neyra is Director at the NC Society for Hispanic Professionals.  She is an Advisor on the Student Interest and Access Team at the NC Community College System and a member of the Adelante Education Coalition.

Kevin Warner of Boone in Watauga County.  Kevin is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University.  He is a board member of the Two Rivers Community School and was Guest Panelist for the NC Arts Council Arts-in-Education Grants Panel.

Elizabeth Young of Boone in Watauga County.  Elizabeth is Executive Director of the Hunger and Health Coalition.  She is also a Peer Collaborator and Mentor for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute.

Since 1994, the William C. Friday Fellowship has taught and inspired more than 200 courageous leaders for North Carolina.  These leaders learn to model former UNC system president Bill Friday’s civility, transparency, and collaboration across divergent ideas and identities.  The Friday Fellowship believes leadership is a lifetime practice, not dependent on the skills, virtues or vision of any single person, but upon shared power and mutual responsibility in our varied communities and roles. 


Wildacres Leadership Initiative is connected with Wildacres Retreat, Little Switzerland, NC.