Staff & Board


Women’s Foundation Staff

Carol PenickCarol B. Penick 

Executive Director


Carol Penick became the founding Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi in May 2007. When Carol assumed leadership of the WF, it was a small program of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. In two years, she led it to become an independent nonprofit, taking it statewide in its mission, and this year it will grant over $500,000 to benefit women and girls statewide. Her background is in fund development. Carol is president of the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers and a member of St. Andrews Cathedral.

Jamie Holcomb Bardwell

Deputy Director


Jamie Bardwell is the Deputy Director of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. She began as the Director of Programs in 2009 and transitioned to her new role in 2014. In this role she leads and manages the grantmaking and advocacy initiatives of the Foundation. Jamie earned a B.A. in History from Millsaps College and a Master of Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. She is a 2012 graduate of the Business Advantage Program at Millsaps College and Leadership Greater Jackson. She is also a member of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission. Before moving back to Mississippi she worked at the United States Department of Health and Human Services as a Presidential Management Fellow. She lives with her husband, Will, in Jackson.

Laurel Irby

Director of Organization and Planning


Laurel Irby joined the Women’s Foundation in 2014 after serving as Vice-President and C.F.O. of The D.L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation where she worked for a decade. Her background covers a range of non-profit management areas including finance, communications, staff development and long-range planning. Originally from North Carolina, she is a former Fulbright Scholar and completed a master’s degree at UCLA prior to moving back to the South in 2003. Laurel lives in the Belhaven Heights neighborhood of Jackson, MS with her partner Daniel and their two cats. She is an accomplished song-writer and has performed at many benefit concerts and community events in the Jackson area. In her free time she enjoys traveling to music festivals, practicing yoga, and serving on the board of the Belhaven Heights Community Association.

Latisha Latiker

Program Officer


Latisha Latiker is the Program Officer for the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. In this role she works on grantmaking, advocacy, and engagement activities for the Foundation. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she earned her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science with an emphasis in public policy and public administration from Oklahoma State University. While at Oklahoma State, Latisha worked as a Political Science Instructor and received numerous awards and honors including the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship for outstanding graduate students. Prior to joining the Women’s Foundation, Latisha served as Regional Program Officer for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Southern Regional Office where she worked on advocacy initiatives that addressed the needs of children and families, paying particular interest to families living in poverty. Latisha is married to Dr. Tony Latiker and they are the proud parents of one son, Qadre; as well as aunt and uncle to numerous nieces and nephews. Latisha is active in her church and serves as a Sunday school teacher. She enjoys reading and watching football.

Kathy B. Purser

Program Assistant


Prior to joining the Women’s Foundation as the Program Assistant, Kathy worked as an administrative professional in the accounting industry for nearly 20 years, most recently with HORNE LLP.  Kathy and her husband, Tommy, and share five beautiful children, a precious 5 year old granddaughter and a grandson.  She is a native of the Byram/Terry area, and now lives in Crystal Springs with their two youngest children, Natalie and Eli, who attend Copiah Academy.  They enjoy spending time outdoors and can’t get enough football and baseball!  They are members of Crystal Springs United Methodist Church.

Women’s Foundation Board Members

Kathleen O’Beirne (Chair)

Kathleen Shields O’Beirne is commercial litigator in the Jackson office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. Prior to becoming an attorney, Kathleen worked as a paralegal at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont in Concord, North Carolina and as a program director at the Foundation for the Mid South in Jackson. She earned a B.A. from Davidson College in 2001 and a J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2007. Kathleen and her husband, Ryan, are the proud parents of the coolest kids in the world, Thomas and James.

Amie Whittington (Treasurer)

Amie is originally from Natchez, MS and moved to Jackson after graduating from Millsaps College with a Masters in Accounting. She is currently training for her seventh half marathon and starting up another season of recreational tennis. Amie claims that while not stellar at either of these activities, she really enjoys them!

Amie is a CPA and serves as a senior tax manager in Healthcare Services for HORNE LLP. Her other community activities include serving on the board of MS First and being a member of the Rankin County Phi Mu Alumni Association.

Tiffany M. Graves (Secretary)

A native of Winchester, Virginia, Tiffany M. Graves is the Executive Director and General Counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. She graduated from Hollins University with degrees in Political Science and Spanish and received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. She began her legal career as the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Fellow at the Mississippi Center for Justice in Jackson. She was a Litigation Associate at Watkins & Eager, PLLC and Corlew Munford & Smith, PLLC after she completed her fellowship. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, Tiffany is a member of the Board of Directors of the Capital Area Bar Association, the Center for Violence Prevention, and The McCoy House for Sober Living. She is also in the inaugural fellowship class of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Community Leadership Network.

Elta Posey Johnston (Chair-elect)

A native of Jackson, Elta is a former college English instructor, married to a retired physician, mother of two and grandmother of three. She is a long-time community activist, heading a number of organizations, including the Junior League of Jackson, GIVS, Jackson Friends of the Library, and Bookfriends of the University Press of Mississippi. She served on the Task Force on Teen Pregnancy established by Governor William Winter and has served on the governing board of the Jackson-Hinds Library Association. She and her husband, Jim, belong to Northminster Baptist, where she teaches an adult Sunday School class.

Julieta Mendez (At-large)

Julieta works as HR Service Partner for International Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. A native of Argentina, she has called Mississippi home since 2007. Julieta received a J.D. from Universidad de Mendoza in the year 2000. Prior to working at UMMC, she served as Program Director of the Immigration Clinic at Catholic Charities of Jackson. She has volunteered for multiple organizations, such as Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights and Legal Assistance of Olmsted County, in Rochester, Minnesota. In 2012 and 2013, she served as Advisory Board Member of The Center for Violence Prevention. Julieta lives in Brandon with her husband, Alejandro R. Chade, M.D., an Associate Professor at UMMC, and their two beautiful children, Joaquin and Camila.

Erica Q. Thompson, MD, MPH, CDFS (At-large)

Erica is a graduate of Tougaloo College, University of Southern Mississippi and Brown University School of Medicine. Erica’s passion centers around issues involving women, children and families. She is a member of various organizations and enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her family.

Susan Anand

Susan received her BA in Fine Arts from Indiana University and MA in Art Therapy from New York University. She has worked in Mississippi as an art therapist with children and adults in inpatient and outpatient settings since 1982. As an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Susan provides art therapy services and teaches psychiatry residents about the benefits of group art therapy. She frequently provides workshops and training on art therapy and use of the creative process to strengthen resilience. Susan is a board member and treasurer for the Art Therapy Credentials Board. She is the mother of twin daughters, Asha and Nina.

Marian Barksdale

Marian Barksdale is a native of Meridian, and a graduate of Meridian High School and Vanderbilt University. She has lived in Oxford since 2000. She serves on the Oxford School Board and has been active in the Mississippi School Boards Association and with various local and state education and philanthropic efforts. Marian is married to Claiborne Barksdale, and they have three adult children. She is a member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Hope Bynum

Hope volunteers with many community organizations, including GIVS, Heartworks, Junior League of Jackson, MCM Partners, Anderson United Methodist Church Food Pantry and Pastor Parish Relations Committee, LeFleur’s Bluff Chapter of Links, Inc., Operation Shoestring, and the Mississippi Campaign for Teenage Pregnancy Prevention.

Inglish DeVoss

Inglish graduated with a Bachelors in Sociology and Minor in African and Diaspora studies from Tulane University. She was a gallery director in New Orleans before moving to Jackson with her husband in 2000. Inglish worked as Program Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, as an African art consultant for Disney, and with auxiliary cooking programs for Jackson area schools. Most proudly, Inglish has volunteered with various community organizations including the Jackson AmeriCorp Board, as an extended active with the Junior League in youth/community projects and for St. Andrews School where her two young sons attend. She believes in changing the “culture of expectations” and that advocacy for the underrepresented is equal portions responsibility and reward.

Kimberly Hilliard

Kimberly Hilliard, Ph.D., serves as the the founding Executive Director for the Office of Community Engagement. Dr. Hilliard, native of Washington, DC, holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Tuskegee University, a M.S. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and obtained her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University. Hilliard provides leadership in connecting the University with local, state, and federal agencies, community-based organizations, and local residents and businesses.

LoRose Hunter (Past Chair)

LoRose is a native of Holmes County, Mississippi, a graduate of Mississippi State University and resides in Jackson.  She is the mother of a daughter, Courtney, and has a passion for women’s and children’s issues as well as issues that affect our communities, especially those that live in its shadows.  LoRose’s community service activities involve serving on the boards of The Women’s Foundation of Mississippi, The United Way of the Capital Area and The Museum of Natural Science.  She does volunteer work with the City of Ridgeland, is an Ambassador for Greater Jackson Partnership and also serves on various conference committees for minority business economic growth and development. LoRose is currently a Business Banker and Relationship Manager with Regions Bank where she has been employed for more than seven years.

Katie McClendon

Katie is originally from Guntersville, AL, but has proudly called Jackson home since 2006. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Doctor of Pharmacy in 2005. Katie teaches pharmacy students at the Jackson campus of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.

Diane Morse

We are proud to have Diane as a “returning” board member. She is a speech/language pathologist and manager of Diane Morse and Associates, a private practice providing SLP services to area hospitals. Diane is a member of St. Andrews Cathedral.

Wendy R. Mullins

Wendy serves as Special Counsel in the Jackson office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where she is a member of the Corporate & Securities practice group. Wendy devotes much of her time to assisting companies with a broad array of corporate and commercial matters. Her legal practice focuses on business transactions, corporate governance and assisting entrepreneurial-oriented individuals and companies as they develop, protect and commercialize their intellectual property assets. Several notable organizations have recognized Wendy for her work including Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA, and she has received an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubble. Wendy is married to Chuck Mullins and they have one son. Among other civic and charitable organizations, she is an active volunteer with St. Andrew’s Episcopal School.

Aisha Nyandoro

Aisha Nyandoro has more than a decade of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating programs aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with limited resources. Prior to joining Springboard To Opportunities, Aisha served as a Program Officer with the Foundation for the Mid South. During her tenure she strengthened the Foundation’s community development portfolio by executing a plan focused on five specific strategies aimed at transforming communities. Additionally, she led the Foundation’s place-based initiative – Community of Opportunities. Under her leadership she helped community leaders leverage over $10 million in federal and private funding. In addition, she established statewide, regional, and national public-private partnerships to leverage resources and assist the Foundation in achieving its mission and goals. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Tennessee State University, a M.A. in Community Psychology and Urban Affairs and a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University.

Michelle Owens, MD

Michelle Y. Owens, MD, MS, FACOG is an Associate Professor with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She is a board certified Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist whose interests include medical complications of pregnancy, teen pregnancy prevention, infant and maternal mortality, and healthcare for the underserved. She currently serves as the Young Physician at Large representative to the Executive Board of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition to her educational, practice, and research responsibilities, Michelle enjoys spending quality time with her family.

Ann Skelton

Ann Skelton, LMSW is a social worker/therapist with the Therapeutic Foster Care Program with Catholic Charities of Jackson. After earning her Master of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Ann moved home to Jackson to be closer to her family. She is on the board for the Mississippi Campaign for Teenage Pregnancy Prevention and she is also getting her certification in Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as she works with youth and families exposed to trauma. Ann is an active member at St Andrews Cathedral and has been involved with Working Together Jackson.

Ann Corso Taylor

Ann is originally from Columbia, MS and received her undergraduate and law degree from Ole Miss. She has been in Jackson practicing commercial real estate law since 1987. Ann currently works at Jones Walker in Jackson. She is married to John Taylor and is the mother of one son, Buckner Corso, currently a sophomore at Ole Miss. Ann is a member of Grace Chapel Presbyterian Church in Madison, MS.

Jan TaylorJan Taylor

Jan is a past Chair of the Board of the Women’s Foundation and has been on the board for a number of years, coming back on this year to be the representative of the Emerita members. Other boards on which she has served include the Eudora Welty Foundation, Bookfriends of the University Press of Mississippi, Jackson Friends of the Library, the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters, the Millsaps Arts & Lectures Series, New Stage Theatre, Goodwill Auxiliary, and the Junior League of Jackson. She was awarded Jackson Public School’s PTSA Volunteer of the Year Award and has been a weekly “Book Buddy” tutor at George Elementary for 15 years and a volunteer reader in schools throughout the city. She is past president of the Parent Teacher Associations at Casey Elementary, Power APAC, and Chastain Middle School and served for fifteen years as a community liaison on the Advisory Board of the Power APAC PTA. An Elder at Fondren Presbyterian Church, Jan also continues her volunteer work by serving as the church’s coordinator of Meals on Wheels, chair of the Mission and Outreach Committee, and chair of the George School Adopt-a-School Committee


Past Board Chairs

Joan Bailey

Geraldine Kearse Brookins

Nancy Cooper Gilbert

Claudia Hauberg

Susan Shands Jones

Judy Wiener

Seetha Srinivasan