Leadership & Staff

Women AdvaNCe board of directors

Laura Edwards is the Founder and Board Chair of Women AdvaNCe. She is a trailblazing civic leader with a passion for women’s issues, social justice, environment, and the arts. Edwards has dedicated decades to various boards in her home state of North Carolina, including the NC Arts Council, Penland School of Crafts, and NC Equity. She is the Co-Founder and Board Emeritus of Lillian’s List of NC. She currently serves as Trustee on the Julian Price Family Foundation and the Educational Foundation at UNC-CH. Edwards has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious civilian honors in our state. She lives with her partner and children in Chapel Hill.

DSC_0605Ann Gerhardt serves as a consultant and coach to nonprofit women leaders.  She has spent a career working for the rights, health and well-being of women and their families.  On her docket have been child care advocacy and training; women’s reproductive health in the U.S. and Africa, launch of the abortion pill and emergency contraception, teen pregnancy prevention; domestic violence and financial literacy programs.   In the last several years she has worked on the launch of the Affordable Care Act, and on AmeriCorps programs serving veterans and in workforce development.   Two of her most satisfying coaching and consulting relationships have been with UNC Moxies and the Community Refugee Project.  She earned the Z. Smith Reynolds sabbatical award and served on the Board of the NC Council of Women.  She has a Master’s in Public Health Policy and Administration from UNC, is a loyal Tar Heel, and a Buddhist meditation teacher.  Ann lives in Chapel Hill with her husband and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, gardening, and going to the gym.


Janeen Gingrich has worked in the social justice arena for 20+ years, starting out as an overnight shelter manager at a shelter for battered women in rural SW Virginia. Her background is in clinical social work, which has given her extensive experience facilitating groups and conversations in diverse situations. Janeen has spent the past 14 years of her  career focused on advancement work for non-profits, with an emphasis on capacity building, leadership development, and grassroots fundraising. Janeen has built non-profit development programs from the ground up for a range of organizations, with budgets from $250,000 to $20M annually, and with local, statewide, and international focuses. Her fundraising expertise includes annual campaign development, data-driven strategy, grassroots fundraising, foundation relations, strategic partnership, board development and volunteer organizing. Janeen in currently the interim CEO at www.shiftnc.org.

jean hamilton 1Jean Hamilton is a licensed clinical social worker associate who has opened a private psychotherapy and counseling practice in Chapel Hill. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work specializing in Aging from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has worked as an adult guardianship social worker, geriatric care consultant, and hospice social worker. Before Jean started working directly with adults and their families, she was employed as a public health researcher on issues facing children in North Carolina and California and as an assistant professor of economics in California. Jean has a passion for applying her analytical training and experience and her mindfulness meditation practice to address the challenges faced by all adults. Jean is married with two sons – 25 yrs and 19 yrs old. She is the OCDP precinct chair for Booker Creek and a regular participant in the Triangle Insight Meditation Community. She was on the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Board of Education from 2005-2009 (elected) and 2010-2011 (appointed). Jean’s two favorite exercises are walking around her neighborhood with friends and riding on her elliptical exercise machine while watching a movie on Netflix. In her younger years she spent time abroad in Switzerland and Sweden.

IMG_25418446584762Antionette Kerr is a nonprofit leader, syndicated journalist, author, and lover of all poetry. The Lexington, NC native spent her youth living in pockets of economically-distressed neighborhoods. She credits a family filled with activists for sparking her compassion for people and passion for storytelling. Antionette studied journalism and African American history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she began researching and writing about the influence of race, gender, and politics. She is Executive Director of Lexington Housing Community Development Corporation, where she founded Empowerment Magazine. Some highlights in her recent years include being named a Z. Smith Reynolds Sabbatical Award Recipient, a TEDx Penry Street presenter and the inaugural US recipient of the Yale Publishing Course Innovative Leader Scholarship.



Stephanie Nesbitt received her law degree from The University of Michigan Law School and is certified as a Superior Court Mediator, Family Financial Mediator, and a Clerk of Court Mediator. Having served as an Assistant District Attorney, and also as an arbitrator for sixteen years, she has vast experience with the court system, the law community and the public. In her more than 20 years of law practice, she has earned a reputation for unwavering integrity and fairness.   

Ms. Nesbitt is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association, the Wake County Bar Association, and the Michigan State Bar. She serves as a committee chair of the Clerk Mediation Committee of the Dispute Resolution Commission, in her capacity as a Court Management Specialist at the NC Administrative Office of the Courts.



Ericka Faircloth is a 2014 graduate of UNC-Greensboro and a native of Laurinburg, North Carolina. She has been an Energy and Water Justice Organizer with Clean Water for NC in Durham since late 2014. She is Co-chair of the UNCG Native American Alumni Association as well as a graduate of the UNC Native Leadership Institute. Ericka is a standing representative for the Coalition of Woodland Nations, and has been a leader in the North Carolina movement to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, as well as a volunteer in the North Dakota Access Pipeline movement.


Executive Director

Board_of_Trustees_May_2015__163 (2)Naomi A. Folami Randolph is an experienced nonprofit leader, award- winning trainer and a community capacity builder. She has spent the last 21 years focused on the holistic development of nonprofit organizations and communities across the country. Ms. Randolph’s experience as an employee, director, volunteer, and board member in the nonprofit sector inspired her to establish a consulting firm in 1999. She has spent her professional life as a consultant and trainer in the areas of organizational development, program development, strategic planning, leadership development, community building / organizing, and diversity. Ms. Randolph has based her life’s works on the principle of helping organizations hold fast to their organizational vision in order to facilitate social change for our society as a whole.  Ms. Randolph has worked for the advancement of grassroots organizations, faith based groups, community development organizations, small businesses, corporations, local, state, and federal government entities, in rural, urban, and international settings. A North Carolina native she attributes her love of humanity and commitment to serve to her family’s legacy of civic leadership in the state.

Editorial Director and Communications Coordinator


Stephanie Carson went to school to be a foreign war correspondent, earning degrees in Broadcast News and International Politics, and now finds herself writing about the rights of people who live and work here at home. After working for a major news network for several years as an investigative producer, Stephanie moved to North Carolina with her husband and two daughters for better work-life balance and she adds “while I still had some of my soul left.” A recipient of two Emmy’s and an Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Journalism, Stephanie is a self-described travel junkie, craft beer and cider lover, and a “Ski Mom” to her two daughters who race competitively on the slopes of North Carolina in the winter.

Summer Interns

Bonner Scholar

Macy Adkins is the Bonner Scholar for the Summer of 2017. She grew up in the small town of Harrogate, Tennessee, and moved to attend Carson-Newman University in the fall of 2014. Macy is a rising senior Religion and Social Entrepreneurship double major and Student Development Intern for the Bonner program at her school. She has served countless hours at two Boys & Girls Club locations before pursuing service in the field of human rights and community development. Macy plans on pursuing advocacy and justice work in the future. She has a passion for equality, coffee, and indie music.



Moxie Scholar

Kaila Eckstein is a summer intern at Women AdvaNCe as part of the Moxie Project, a collaboration between the Carolina Women’s Center and Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. She is double majoring in Public Policy and Political Science with a minor in Social and Economic Justice. Kaila enjoys her work with One Act a violence prevention organization on UNC’s campus, Delta Advocates working as a peer resource for survivors of violence, and cats. She is from Asheville, NC and misses home the most in the fall when the leaves are changing.




Dr. Lisa Levenstein, UNC – Greensboro
Dr. Rachel Seidman, UNC – Chapel Hill