Women’s Foundation Staff
Tracy DeVries Executive Director
Tracy DeVries has worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999. She previously worked as a fundraiser at Special Olympics International and led the corporate and foundation channels at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. In addition to her role in developing mutually beneficial corporate alliances during her time at Special Olympics, she also oversaw a federal grant to promote social inclusion in schools across the United States, worked on providing health programs to individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout North America, created a family support network, and focused on organizational development through leadership and board training and the creation of fundraising plans.
Tracy’s volunteer activities include teaching English as a Second Language and coaching soccer. She is originally from northern Virginia, a graduate of Michigan State University, and has lived in Washington, DC for most of her professional life. She recently moved to the Jackson area in the fall of 2016 where she lives with her husband, Tony, and their two rescue dogs, a German Shepherd named Zuri, and a Rottweiler named River. Tracy enjoys reading, swimming, working with dogs, getting to know Jackson and the state of Mississippi, and spending time on the weekends with her two step-children.
Frances joined the Women’s Foundation in January 2017 as the Director of Strategic Initiatives. In her role, Frances will focus on advocacy efforts, special projects, and fundraising.
Frances is a Jackson, Mississippi native and received a BA from the University of Mississippi, and a JD from the University of Mississippi School of Law. Prior to coming to the WFM, Frances practiced law as a prosecutor with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office for over ten years. Frances has served on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Jackson where she worked to develop and implement their strategic plan, membership support, and managed League community projects. She has also served on the Board of the Mississippi Children’s Museum Partners and volunteers with St. Andrew’s Episcopal School and other Jackson organizations. Frances and her husband have three children and are communicants of the Cathedral Church of St. Andrew’s.
Lisa Jordan Director of Communications
Lisa joined the WFM team after spending her career in corporate branding and marketing strategy, most recently as Director of Brand Marketing and Growth strategy for the largest privately-held wireless carrier in the U.S. After working as co-organizer on the team that brought the first TEDx to Jackson, she was ready to make a shift and work more directly to give back to people and communities and jumped at the chance to apply her experience in integrated marketing strategy to the mission of the Women’s Foundation. Lisa’s work in advertising has won a Bronze Lion at the international Cannes festival and several local ADDY awards, and her innovative work in loyalty programs and predictive analytics has garnered several national awards. Lisa has an MBA and BBA in Marketing from the University of Mississippi and has completed the “Building New Businesses Within Existing Organizations” executive education session at Harvard Business School. In her free time, Lisa enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with her husband and their four mutts and keeping up with her college freshman.
Latisha Latiker Director of Grant Programming<a
Latisha Latiker is the Director of Grant Programs 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 Associate Kathy@womensfoundationms.org 601-326-3001
Kathy joined the Women’s Foundation as Program Associate in March 2012 after having worked as an administrative professional in the accounting industry for more than 20 years. A native of the Byram area, Kathy and her family live in Crystal Springs and her children, Natalie and Eli, attend Copiah Academy.
Women’s Foundation Board Members
Julieta Mendez (Chair) Julieta works as HR Service Partner for International Services at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Born in 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, Alex, and their two beautiful children.
Kim Burke (Chair-elect) Kimberly Gladden Burke, Ph.D. is a Professor of Accounting and Dean of the Else School of Management at Millsap’s College. Prior to completing her Ph.D., Kim worked as an auditor for Price Waterhouse and a director of internal audit for Unigate Restaurants. She is the author of several courses offered by the AICPA as well as several articles published in academic journals. Kim was recognized by the Mississippi Society of CPAs as the 2014 Outstanding Educator and by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education as the 2008 Mississippi Professor of the Year. Kim and her husband, Rick, are the proud parents of their daughter Kelsey.
Elta Posey Johnston (Past Chair) A native of Jackson, Elta is a former college English instructor, married to Jim, a retired physician turned community activist. She is the mother of two and grandmother of four. She is a long-time community activist, having headed a number of organizations over the years, including the Junior League of Jackson, the St. Andrews School Parents’ Association, the Jackson Friends of the Library, Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services, the University Press Bookfriends, and the Woodland Hills Homeowners’ Association. She and Jim are active members of Northminster Baptist Church, and they live in Fondren with their three Westies. She is extremely proud of the work of the Women’s Foundation and is excited about the year ahead!
Kimberly Hilliard (Secretary) Kimberly Hilliard, Ph.D., serves as the the founding Executive Director for the Office of Community Engagement at Jackson State University. 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.
Susan Phillips (Treasurer)
Evelyn Edwards (At Large) A native of Tchula, Mississippi, Evelyn is a graduate of Rust College and a former graduate student of the University of Akron, Ohio. She is Vice President and Community Reinvestment Specialist for BancorpSouth. She provides community development oversight for Central/Pine Belt/Coast of MS, Florida, and Louisiana. She has 25 years’ experience in banking and finance, 16 of which with BancorpSouth. Evelyn has two daughters, Kittey and Kaelyn, who are a senior and sophomore in college. She is an active member at Jackson Revival Center Church in Jackson, MS, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including Operation Shoestring, Corporation for Global Community Development, MS JumpStart Coalition, Jobs for MS Graduates, Women’s Foundation of MS, and Microbusiness Network of Louisiana.
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 for the Art Therapy Credentials Board. She is the mother of twin daughters, Asha and Nina.
Wendy Mullins Wendy is a lawyer in the Jackson office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where she is a member of the Corporate & Securities practice group. Her legal practice focuses on all facets of a business’ lifespan, from formation and ongoing corporate governance issues, assisting with efforts to develop, protect and commercialize company assets, whether tangible or intangible, by drafting appropriate business contracts and licensing agreements, to handling more complex business transactions, including financing and capital raises, or executing growth strategies via purchase or merger transactions or conversely, exit sale strategies. Outside of her law practice, Wendy is involved with several civic and charitable organizations, and currently serves as Chair-Elect of the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits and as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law. Wendy is a North Carolina native but has made the Jackson area her home for the past two decades. Wendy is married to Chuck Mullins and they have one son in the 7th grade at Jackson Preparatory School.
Paheadra Robinson Paheadra Bratton Robinson is an attorney in Jackson and is currently serving at the executive director for The Center for Asset Development (formerly the Coalition for a Prosperous Mississippi). She has formerly worked as the Director of Consumer Protection for the Mississippi Center for Justice, as a staff attorney for the Mississippi House of Representatives, created a nonprofit serving families in crisis, as well as a robust private practice. She earned a B.A. from Tougaloo College in 1994 and a J.D. from the University Of Mississippi School Of Law in 1998. Paheadra is the proud mother of three children, Kameron, Kristopher and Khloe.
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.
Susan M. Floyd Susan M. Floyd is special counsel in Jones Walker LLP’s Real Estate Practice Group and a member of the Environmental team. Prior to becoming an attorney, Susan worked as an educator at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Mississippi College School of Law, completed her undergraduate degree at Sewanee: The University of the South, and her Master of Education in Gifted Studies at Mississippi University for Women. Susan is member of the Governing Council of the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and has been recognized in “Chambers USA – America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” and Mid-South Super Lawyers. In 2014, Susan was named one of “Mississippi’s 50 Leading Business Women” by the Mississippi Business Journal.
Julie Kuklinski Julie Kuklinski is the Program Director for the Moore Community House Women in Construction Program. She was born and raised in Wisconsin and received her Bachelors of Arts degree in sociology/anthropology at St. Norbert College. Julie came to the Gulf Coast in May of 2006 as a hurricane relief volunteer rebuilding homes affected by Hurricane Katrina. During this time, she led all female crews in mold remediation work, demolition work, and all other types of residential construction. Julie’s experiences working in east Biloxi and her experience working in construction led her, with great enthusiasm, to the Women in Construction Program in 2008. Julie has raised funds and has programmatically seen WinC through its pilot years shaping it into a solid and successful program that it is today. Julie has graduated twenty six classes totaling nearly 300 women through the Women in Construction Program and maintained a 70% graduate placement rate. She has worked on over 200 homes alongside her students, was the project manager of an all-women’s built home, and advocated to build a new and improved Women in Construction Training Center built by the hands of women in the program. She endlessly advocates alongside her students for women’s economic justice. She has been recognized for her advocacy work for women’s rights by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2010. She currently serves on the MS Women’s Economic Security Leadership Team, National Tradeswomen Taskforce and serves on the board of Directors for the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi and the Faith in Women Coalition.
D. Melessa (Lessa) Phillips Lessa is the Consulting Chief Medical Officer for the United Healthcare Medicaid Community Plan of Mississippi and President of Global Family Medicine, PLLC. She teaches as Professor of Nursing and Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and is Adjunct Professor of Social Studies at Tulane University (Ridgeland).
Born in Dublin, Ireland, she graduated from Newcomb College and Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the first woman chosen to head a clinical department at the Medical Center, serving as the Chair of the Department of Family Medicine for 19 years. After retiring from the Medical Center, Lessa received her Master of Public Health degree San Jose State University in San Jose, California. During her tenure as a W. K. Kellogg Leadership Fellow, she developed a passion for health equity for the medically underserved, emphasizing excellence in the training and clinical competence of all levels of health care providers to ensure the highest quality health care for all the world’s people. Her particular interests are the social determinants of health and their effect on primary care clinicians’ ability to achieve the best health outcomes for their patients.
Vonda Reeves-Darby Vonda Reeves Darby is a gastroenterologist practicing in the tri-county area with Gastrointestinal Associates, PA. Prior to joining the group, she was faculty at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. She has server as immediate past president for the Mississippi Gastroenterology Society. She is also Chair of Administrative Board for Anderson United Methodist Church. Her B.S. in Chemistry was from Millsaps College and Doctor of Medicine degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Postgraduate work including fellowship was at UTMB in Texas. She is proud mom of four children, Galen, Royce, Jaren, and Peryn.
Barbara Logan Smith
Past Board Chairs