Our programs aim to equip African-American women to build their capacity as skillful and strategic contributors, creating and managing solutions at work, home and in the community.
Executive Board Members
Marla White: Chairperson
Marla White is a passionate and dynamic servant leader with more than 20 years of experience in Engineering and Business Management. Currently, she is the IT Services Controller for Texas Instruments (TI) in Dallas, Texas. In her role, she leads and influences key business decisions that will enhance TI’s performance in the US and abroad. Her leadership journey has afforded her the opportunity to champion key diversity initiatives within Texas Instruments, specifically the Women’s Initiative (WIN) and the Black Employee Initiative (BEI). She was the co-chair and chair of both organizations, respectively.
Marla is a native of Tuscon, Arizona. She is a proud alumnus of the University of Arizona where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering; as well as Clark Atlanta University, where she received a master’s in business administration with a concentration in Finance.
Outside of work, Marla enjoys running half marathons and volunteering in her community. Her community service efforts are centered around youth, education and leadership development. Currently, she is the Board Chair for the National African American Women’s Leadership Institute and an active member at Covenant Church in McKinney, Texas. Most importantly, she is the proud mother of her son, Demetrius.
Ava Washington: First Vice-Chair
Ava Washington is a Certified Master Coach and Principal of the Business Focus Group, LLC, a consulting firm that provides executive, professional, and leadership consulting services. Prior to forming the Business Focus Group, Ava was a human resource executive at Exxon Mobil Corporation for more than 25 years.
Ava, a native New Yorker, holds an M.A. in Labor and Industrial Relations from the University of Illinois and a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin. She is President Emeritus, Jack and Jill of America Foundation and is currently on the board of the Senior Source, Center for Nonprofit Management and the Girl Friends Fund. Formerly, she served on boards of Baylor Hospital of Irving, Irving Chamber of Commerce, Episcopal School of Dallas, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Dallas Children’s Theatre, and Dallas Historical Society. Ava is also a member of the Dallas Women’s Summit, Links Inc., Girl Friends Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Human Resources Planning Society, National Black MBA Association, and League of Women Voters. She has been recognized as “Mother of the Year” by the Dallas Can Academy and the 100 Black Men established an endowment scholarship in her name.
Pamela M.Blue: Second Vice-Chair
Pamela M. Blue is a Claim Section Manager with State Farm Insurance Companies in Austin, Texas. She is responsible for managing a budget of $9,255,993 and currently has responsibility for approximately 100 people, handling homeowners’ claims for the state of Texas.
She has been with State Farm nearly 32 years and has held various positions in Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. She has been active in Employee Resource Groups within State Farm including being the former Chairman of the Houston Diversity Council and has a passion for mentoring.
Pamela currently serves as First Vice-Chair for NAAWLI Class of 2010 and a past member of the Curriculum Committee. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude, in Political Science from the University of Houston. She also holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting designation.
Pamela is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is active in the local Austin Alumnae Chapter.
Raquel Daniels: Secretary
Raquel Daniels is an influencer providing critical perspectives regarding strategic Multicultural Marketing & Diversity initiatives to drive change, innovation, and profits for business through relevant advertising, marketing and media strategies.
As an experienced senior marketing executive, she has spearheaded account development programs and multicultural marketing strategies, managing a dozen team members. Raquel has been one of the leads for Camelot Communications Multi-Cultural Marketing and Strategic Communications Arm. Her clients have included several Fortune 500 companies, including Southwest Airlines, Blockbuster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Gyre Entertainment, and Tom Joyner Online Education. Additionally, Raquel has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University. Raquel lives in Dallas Texas with her husband and four year old son. She has received a Master of Strategic Communications and a BA from the University of North Texas.
Demetira Alford: Treasurer
Demetria Alford serves as the Dallas Site Controller for Abbott Laboratories. In addition to her primary responsibilities, she is also the treasurer for the Dallas Women in Action at Abbott. Prior to joining Abbott, she worked for Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil Corporation and Whirlpool Corporation in various aspects of Finance, Accounting and Sales & Marketing. She is a graduate of Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and holds an Executive MBA from George Mason University, Fairfax Virginia. Demetria has also studied at the University of Oxford, Department of Continuing Education. Demetria is a graduate of the Leadership Texas Class of 2012. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the National African American Leadership Institute (NAAWLI), she is a Fellow from the NAAWLI Class of 2009.
Karen Price-Ward: Chair, Ex-Officio
Karen Price-Ward is the NAAWLI, Inc. 2012 Past Board Chair. As a national community supporter for nearly 70 non-profits in the United States, she serves as a Manager on the Southwest Airlines Community Affairs & Grassroots Team. She establishes and strengthens relationships with key businesses, civic/community, political leaders and influencers in the African American, Hispanic, Asian, women, senior, military, and LGBT markets across the country. Additionally, she aligns Southwest Airlines with key national community based organizations by seeking board of director and/or committee positions and sponsoring and attending key member events. Moreover, she creates Public Relation events that fosters goodwill in the community and assists the Communications & Strategic Outreach Department with managing Southwest Airlines Citizenship.
Earlier in Mrs. Price-Ward’s career, she became the first female African-American District Marketing Manager for Southwest Airlines and at the Company’s busiest East Coast destination. Currently, she is the Leader of the NAAWLI, Inc. Advisory Council and serves on several professional and personal boards including: National Campaign to Stop Violence Board, National Urban League Black Executive Exchange Program Executive Advisory Council, NAACP ACT-SO Advisory Council, Greater Washington Urban League Executive Board, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce, and Sportsplex Booster Club Board.
Dr. Gloria R. Scott: Co-Founder, Ex-Officio
Gloria Dean Randle Scott, Ph.D. is a distinguished leader in higher education and empowerment of girls and women. She attended Indiana University and received three degrees – A B.S. in Zoology in 1959, with minors in Botany and French; an M.A. in Zoology in 1960, minor in Botany, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education with minors in Zoology and Botany. She was the first African American woman to receive a graduate degree in Zoology in 1960.
In her work positions as President of Bennett College for Women, she organized the Women’s Leadership Institute which addressed seven areas of programs and assistance for women including the founding of the National African-American Women’s Leadership Institute. She was a pioneer in American higher education as the first woman of color to serve on several non-profit Boards within the education arena. Dr. Scott is presently President of G. Randle Services, a consulting firm based in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Dr. Zulma X. Barrios
Zulma X. Barrios is a Multicultural Consultant dedicated to achieving a better understanding of Multiculturalism as it relates to Insurance Companies and community-based non-profit organizations. She is the President of Zulma X. Barrios Consulting. She is also a co-founder of The Frida Kahlo Institute in Taos, New Mexico, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of women in the Borderlands of America. Barrios is a native of El Salvador. She worked in the International insurance arena for 27 years, earning many awards of excellence.
Barrios holds the distinction of being the first woman General Manager for the Mutual of Omaha Companies Barrios’ achievements and awards include being chosen as one of 100 Hispanic Women in Communications by Hispanic Magazine and the National Hispanic Academy of Media Arts & Sciences. Barrios sits on several national boards, and she was instrumental in the creation of the National African-American Women’s Leadership Institute and the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute.
Barrios earned her bachelor’s degree from Colegio Sagrada Familia in El Salvador and did further study in English and Psychology at Louisiana State University. She received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, in May 2001.
Ingra Conley has more than 15 years of experience in management, ecommerce and information technology with an emphasis in rebuilding teams, streamlining costs and increasing operational efficiencies. In 2011, Ingra joined the Microsoft Corporation as an Engineer Manager in the Management & Security Division based in Las Colinas, Texas.
Prior to joining Microsoft, Ingra led the Information Technology Team at Texas Instruments in the Education Technology division. In that role, she was responsible for enterprise resource planning systems, data warehouse, supply chain applications, ecommerce and desktop support for that division. Also, Ingra worked for Sabre Holdings as a Product Manager, managing international joint ventures for travel companies in Singapore and Brazil.
Ingra is a native of Huntsville, Alabama. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University and Master’s degree in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University. Prior to joining the NAAWLI Board, Ingra served on the Family Gateway Board of Directors and El Centro Community College IT Advisory Board. A 2011 NAAWLI Fellow, Ingra is also a member of the National Black MBA Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In her spare time, she enjoys speaking at youth, volunteering at Family Gateway, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Pamela Hart is a Manager at State Farm Insurance Companies corporate office in Bloomington, Ill., where she sponsors projects and coaches technology associates who work on top initiatives. She has received several certifications including the ITIL V3 certification.
A graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, she is a former newspaper reporter and award-winning television news anchor who has interviewed scores of notables including Stokely Carmichael and former First Lady Barbara Bush. With her NAAWLI project Politics 101, she registers voters and educates her community on politics and voting.
Pamela is a New Members Ministry counselor and Christian Education facilitator at her church. She mentors scores of young people and received the 2012 Volunteer of the Year award from her local Academic Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) chapter.
Pamela is also a charter member and first president of her area’s Zeta Phi Beta Sorority chapter. Her passion for academic excellence and journalism served as impetus for the sorority’s first scholarship efforts. The Pamela Hart Young Writers Scholarship has awarded over $20,000 to graduating seniors who exhibit excellence in the communications arena. She is the mother of three children, Warren Christopher, Braxton Richard, and Tia Michelle.
A veteran of the airline industry, Regina Jordan has more than 20 years experience in technical support management. Regina earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Management/Information Systems from the University of Oklahoma. She is the Manager of the Central Support Desk and Desktop Support for Southwest Airlines, the nation’s leading low cost airline carrier. She has developed, managed and supervised technical support teams who support a nationwide infrastructure for Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.
Throughout her career, she has assisted in the development, implementation and support of several technical solutions and convergence projects. Regina loves to encourage, inspire and motivate her talented front-line teams.
Regina is a 2006 Southwest Airlines Presidents Award Recipient, 2007 Manager in Training Graduate (MIT II), 2011 Leadership Council Member of the DFW Chapter Help Desk Institute and 2011 Technology Rising Star Women of Color STEM Award Recipient.
Lola Oyewole is an HR leader with over 13 years of experience in Human Resource Management. She is currently the Senior Director Human Resources at the University of Phoenix (UOPX), leading the HR Strategy for the East Market comprised of over 2600 employees in 35 campuses across the eastern half of the United States.
In this role Lola partners with and supports the East Market executive management team including the Sr. Vice President, Division Vice Presidents and Functional leaders on matters such as talent management, employee development, compensation planning, organizational design and restructuring initiatives, strategic business planning, executive staffing and employee engagement.
Prior to joining UOPX, Lola spent 9 years at GE Commercial Finance where she held several leadership roles with increasing responsibility including Compensation Manager, HR Director and Six Sigma Green Belt.
Lola holds a BS degree in Business Administration from Ball State University, Muncie IN and an MBA from the Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TX. Lola lives in Frisco, TX where she loves spending time with her husband and two girls. She enjoys swimming, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Maria Prince is Vice President of Sourcing for Zale’s, Inc. Ms. Prince has responsibility for the global sourcing organization which purchases the products sold in its 1200 stores. Ms. Prince has over 20 years of Procurement experience prior to joining Zale’s in February 2012; she worked with Wal-Mart as Sr. Director of Strategic Sourcing, spend 4 years as Divisional Product and Sourcing Director for Michaels Stores, was a founding member and served as Director of Business Development for a minority owned e-sourcing software company. She spent 11 years prior to that working for PepsiCo, Inc. in various supply chain and procurement positions.
Ms. Prince has an M.B.A from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is has previously served as a member of the board of Directors for the Columbus Urban League serving as the board secretary, Chair of the Columbus Urban League’s UYEP (Urban Youth Empowerment Program) advisory council, Vice President of the South Central Ohio Minority Business Board of Directors and member of the board of directors for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
In addition, Ms. Prince has a passion for mentoring and coaching young women and has done so throughout her professional career.
Mia Rhodes is currently an Operations Planning Manager in the Embedded Processing Division at Texas Instruments. She is also a member of the Finance and Operations Communications Team, an advisory member of the Blacks in Finance and Operations Leadership Team and a member of the Finance and Operations Training Steering Team.
Prior to joining Texas Instruments Mia was employed with Compaq Computer Corporation. While at Compaq she held the positions of Manufacturing Supervisor and later Operations Manager for the North America Services Repair and Engineering for field returns.
Mia began her manufacturing career at Ethicon, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson where she held positions as Manufacturing Supervisor and Technical Service Engineer for a suture and needle manufacturing plant.
While receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from Prairie View A&M University she interned for Arco Pipeline Company. After graduating she began working for Amoco Chemicals as an electrical and instrumentation engineer.
Mia is a native Houstonian who recently relocated to the Dallas area. She enjoys traveling with friends, mentoring young adult women and occasionally working out at the gym. She is a member of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Inc. and recently joined North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship.
DeLisa Rodney, CPCU, CLU, is Assistant Vice President – Claims at State Farm® in Bloomington, Illinois. DeLisa began her State Farm career as an auto claim representative in Dallas, Texas in 1993. Throughout her career, she has had an opportunity to serve in leadership positions within Underwriting, Management Planning & Information, and Claims. She has also served as a director at State Farm Bank. Before joining State Farm, DeLisa held previous roles in the insurance industry in addition to serving as an Internal Revenue Agent with the IRS.
DeLisa received her bachelor’s degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge. She earned the Associate in Claims (AIC) designation in 1995, the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2002, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 2003. She serves on the boards of the Center for Human Services and NAMI of Livingston/McLean Counties. DeLisa is a Lifetime Member of the Southern University Alumni Association, an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and frequently volunteers at area non-profit organizations. DeLisa was designated a 2007 Fellow with the National African American Women’s Leadership Institute (NAAWLI), and currently serves on the board. DeLisa and her husband, Nollie, have four adult children.
Kristy Brownlow is a consultant with NAAWLI, Inc. She brings to this role nearly two decades of executive experience in business development, event management, communications, recruiting, fundraising, customer service, community outreach and the management of multifunctional work teams.
Kristy possesses a unique mix of vision and strategy. Her professional style is rooted in excellent interpersonal communications and relationship-building savvy. Kristy’s client list includes: NAAWLI, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, Marshall Multimedia Group, Take Charge Fitness Studio, Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., 30Something Dallas, Chateau du Lac and Castle Hills.
Kristy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of North Texas in Broadcast Journalism and a Master of Arts Degree from Amberton University in Professional Counseling. Kristy is a 2010 graduate of NAAWLI, Inc., a former NAAWLI Board Member, Executive Director and Community Service Chairperson.
Kristy is a member of the National Association of Professional Women and a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She is actively involved in her church and community, passionately supporting meaningful causes including: civil rights, gender equality, poverty and teen issues.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Kristy resides in McKinney, Texas and enjoys writing, event planning, public speaking, traveling and spending time with loved ones.