LEAD Girls of NC appoints new directors, Shonette Lewis named as LEAD facilitator

LEAD Girls of NC appoints new directors, Shonette Lewis named as LEAD facilitator
January 28
10:01 2023

LEAD Girls of NC, a local nonprofit focused on empowering at-risk/low-income girls, has appointed three new directors to its board and added a facilitator to its staff. LEAD (Learning Everyday Accomplishing Dreams) serves more than 300 girls annually in Forsyth County through in-school programming with partner middle schools in addition to weekend and summer offerings. 

New members of the LEAD board of directors are: Shana Folk, Tahja Gaymon and Tamisha Keith. 

Shana Folk serves as the assistant vice president, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer with Allegacy Federal Credit Union. In her role, Folk leads Allegacy’s journey to create a culture of belonging, oversees employee engagement and spearheads the organization’s DE+I efforts across the community. She is active with the Winston-Salem Society for Human Resources Management and recently completed her MBA at Wake Forest University. “I look forward to partnering with LEAD Girls and inspiring young women to believe in themselves and strive for excellence,” said Folk. 

Tahja Gaymon is the director of alumnae engagement for Salem Academy where she enjoys connecting with alums and students. Gaymon is active in the Winston-Salem community as a member of the Winston-Salem Foundation Women’s Fund events committee and YWCA Women of Vision committee. She is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and believes change must start within each individual person. “We have to move beyond our comfort zone and make meaningful connections with people that do not necessarily reflect how and where we grew up. This will not only begin to change each person, but it can change our communities,” said Gaymon.

Tamisha Keith is the director of gift planning for North Carolina A&T State University. In her role, Keith is responsible for building and managing a comprehensive planned giving program for long-term revenue growth. Her community involvement includes the Winston-Salem Foundation Women’s Fund, The Enrichment Center, HandsOn Northwest North Carolina Board of Directors and the Winston-Salem Transit Authority. “I first learned of LEAD Girls when I served on the grants committee of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem and I have always admired the work of this amazing organization. I look forward to joining the board and assisting the organization in its continued growth and development,” said Keith.

The LEAD Girls of NC board is chaired by Amanda Hughes, environmental, health & safety manager with KIND. Chelsea Barnes, attorney with the Winston-Salem office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, serves as secretary and Caitlin Browne, cost controller for Ontex Operations USA, serves as treasurer. Additional board directors are Fanetta Bryant Jones, Katina Little and Dr. Angela Monell. 

Entering 2023, LEAD is expanding its programming with new partnerships at Paisley Middle School and Philo-Hill Magnet Academy, and recently named Shonette Lewis as LEAD Facilitator. 

Shonette Lewis comes to LEAD with more than 15 years of education experience. She began her career as a teacher in 2005 and worked in a variety of roles including parent educator, training specialist, mentor teacher and program coordinator. Lewis holds a master’s degree in family life and youth development and an education specialist degree in early childhood education. In her role at LEAD, Lewis will run in-school programming across partner schools and work alongside other LEAD facilitators to direct the weekend and summer offerings. 

“Shonette is an experienced educator who brings incredible passion and energy to the LEAD team,” said LEAD founder and executive director Joy Nelson Thomas. “Since our founding in 2016, LEAD has been fortunate to have so many talented and committed women in our community step forward as staff members, board directors, volunteers and financial supporters. Our success in impacting the lives of hundreds of young girls each year is because of their hard work and belief in our mission.”

In addition to growing the LEAD team, Thomas highlights that ongoing staff training is a key organizational priority. In 2022, all full-time staff completed trauma-resilient training and LatinaX challenges. “As a staff, we want to keep growing in our skills so that we’re able to best address the needs of the young women we serve through our organization,” she said. “Understanding and responding to trauma and ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) is critically important to our success in having a positive and sustained impact in their lives.” 

LEAD Girls will celebrate seven years of service to the community at its annual Soiree on March 12. This year’s event theme is “Hear Her Roar” and the event will take place at ROAR on Liberty Street in Winston-Salem. Event details will be available at

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