Women’s Fund Staff
Carol B. Penick
Carol Penick became the founding Executive Director of the Women’s Fund 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 $280,000 to benefit women and girls statewide. Her background is in fund development.
Jamie Holcomb Bardwell
Director of Programs
Jamie Bardwell has been the Director of Programs since March 2009. In this role she manages the grantmaking and advocacy initiatives of the Fund, focusing on teen pregnancy prevention. 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 a member of the 2012-2013 Class of Leadership Greater Jackson. 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.
LaFawn A. Gilliam
Director of Development and Communications
LaFawn Gilliam recently joined the Women’s Fund as Director of Development and Communications in March 2012. She brings extensive experience as a business development manager and educator, successfully managing large government, education, corporate clients, third-party agents and collaborative partnerships to exceed company sales revenue objectives and grow and retain market share for a Fortune 500 Company in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. LaFawn’s educational background includes a B.S. in Business Education from Mississippi State University, M.A. in Public and Private Management from Birmingham Southern College (Birmingham, AL), Grant Writing certification from Emory University (Atlanta, GA), and Economic Development Certificate from University of Southern Mississippi. LaFawn is an active volunteer in the arts community, public education projects and community cooperation and racial reconciliation initiatives in metro Jackson. Her daughter and son-in-law live in Atlanta, GA with a daughter in college and a son in elementary school.
Kathy B. Purser
Prior to joining the Women’s Fund as the Program Assistant in early April, 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 due in August. 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 Fund Board Members
LoRose Hunter (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 Fund 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.
Seetha Srinivasan (Past Chair)
Seetha is Director Emeriti of the University Press of Mississippi. Jackson has been her home for nearly forty years, and she has always been involved in a variety of community activities. She served as chair of the Women’s Fund Board of Directors in 2011, and currently serves on the board of ProLiteracy, which advocates for adult learners nationwide.
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 third 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 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.
Kathleen O’Beirne (Chair Elect)
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 kid in the world, Thomas.
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.
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, and the Mississippi Campaign for Teenage Pregnancy Prevention
Jillian graduated from Millsaps College with a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master of Accountancy. She joined HORNE LLP in 2005 and currently serves as a manager, providing assurance services to non-profit and governmental clients and benefit plan audit engagements. Jillian enjoys anything outdoors – biking, running, hiking, camping and kayaking. She is actively involved with the Sunnybrook Children’s Home and serves on committee for the MS Young Certified Public Accountants.
Tiffany M. Graves (Secretary)
A graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, and the University of Virginia School of Law, Tiffany serves as General Counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Elta Posey Johnston
A native of Jackson, Elta is a former college English instructor, married to a retired physician, mother of two and grandmother of three. She has spent the past 30 years as a community activist, heading up a number of organizations, including the Junior League of Jackson, Goodwill Industries Volunteer Services, Jackson Friends of the Library, and Bookfriends of the University Press of Mississippi. She served on the Task Force of Teen Pregnancy established by Governor William Winter and has served on the governing board of the Jackson-Hinds Library Association.
Jean is a retired social worker who has served as past chair of the Women’s Fund of Mississippi, Jackson/Hinds Library Board of Trustees and Bookfriends of the University Press of Mississippi. Jean also chaired the campaign that successfully changed the legal driving age in Mississippi to 16.
Julieta was born in Mendoza, Argentina and received her law degree from Universidad de Mendoza in 2000. She is married to Dr. Alejandro Chade and has two young children, Joaquin and Camila. Since 2010, Julieta has worked as the Graduate/International Students Advisor for UMMC. A passionate advocate for women’s and children’s matters, she also serves on the Board of The Center for Violence Prevention. She enjoys reading, traveling and taking photographs, especially of her children.
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.
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 Corporate and Securities Practice Group of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Jackson. 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. 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.
Alicia holds a double Bachelor of Science degree in Paralegal Studies and English from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Jackson State University. Alicia’s background includes extensive work in the areas of public policy and community development. She is a Juris Doctor Candidate at the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Aisha’s passion and commitment to improve conditions for the underserved communities lead her to pursue a career in philanthropy. For more than a decade, she has worked to develop partnership skills and the support needed to address inequalities found in low-income communities. Aisha is currently a Program Officer with the Foundation for the Mid South. 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. When not working to advance the Mid South region, she is a wife and is mommy to the best toddler in the world.
Michelle Owens, MD
Erica Q. Thompson, MD, MPH, CDFS
Erica is the Director of Health Education and Disease Intervention of Delta Regional Institute University of Mississippi Medical Center. She 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.
Judy Mitchell Wiener has lived and worked in Jackson, Mississippi for many years. A retired attorney, she worked with several law firms in Jackson and finally as a partner with the Wiener Law Firm. Judy has served on many boards and commissions for the City of Jackson and has been involved with numerous civic and cultural organizations. Judy has worked with the Women’s Fund almost since the beginning and is a former Women’s Fund Board Chair.
Sarah is a native North Carolinian and former Tar Heel that now calls Jackson, MS home. She is employed as a policy analyst for the Mississippi Economic Policy Center (MEPC). In her role at MEPC, Sarah researches policies that effect Mississippi’s low-income, working families; conducts outreach on issues related to economic self-sufficiency of families; and researches best practices for adult basic education, postsecondary persistence and workforce training. She also serves the community through the HOPE Enterprise Corporation.
Past Board Chairs
Geraldine Kearse Brookins
Nancy Cooper Gilbert
Susan Shands Jones