Board of Directors

Polly Schattel is originally from Birmingham, AL, and was trained as a journalist, but soon moved into filmmaking. Since then she has worked with cable networks, Oscar and Emmy-winners, rock stars, thought leaders, non-profits, think tanks, politicians, painters, advertising agencies, composers, athletes, writers, activists, photographers, veterans, corporate executives, physicians, filmmakers and more–even a canine detective. Her award-winning work has been shown at film festivals and on televisions and movie screens across America and around the world. Proudly and passionately transgenderPolly is based out of the beautiful mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. She lives with her wife and son and three dogs and two cats.

Women Advance Board Chair

Antionette Kerr is a nonprofit leader, media correspondent, author of Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits, publisher of Bold & Bright Media and lover of all poetry. Native of Lexington, NC, she spent her youth living in pockets of economically-distressed neighborhoods. She went on to study 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. Kerr has provided training for the National Council of Nonprofits, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide and The Nonprofit Academy.

Women Advance Co-Director, akerr@womenadvancenc.org

Ericka (Nicki) Faircloth originates from Scotland and Robeson Counties in N.C. She received her undergrad degree in International and Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Additionally she has received training through the UNC Native Leadership Institute and the Press On + Freedom Lifted for Transforming Journalism Beyond “Diversity” training. Nicki is an enrolled member of the Skaroreh Katenuaka Nation in North Carolina (Tuscarora Nation) and resides in Wilmington, N.C. with her partner, Fares. She is a Tribal Liaison for the MMIWNC Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and a co-founder of EcoRobeson. In addition to her role at Women AdvaNCe, she serves as a communications consultant assisting nonprofits, foundations and government agencies. 

Women Advance Co-Director, nicki@womenadvancenc.org

Dawn Blagrove is an attorney and a proud graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) and North Carolina Central School of Law. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in political science with a minor in Secondary Education and a Master’s Degree in Applied Social Science, both from FAMU. After graduating law school, Blagrove worked for eight years as a post-conviction staff attorney with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. Blagrove evaluated, prioritized, and litigated requests for criminal post-conviction cases for people incarcerated in North Carolina’s Department of Correction. Today, Blagrove’s experience as a post-conviction attorney, combined with her undergraduate training in Secondary Education, fuel her passion for educating youth and the public about challenges in the criminal justice system as Executive Director of the Carolina Justice Policy Center (soon to be Emancipate NC).

Joy Ayioka originates from Kenya where she spent most of her childhood before moving to the triangle area in 2009. She is a storyteller, traveler, advocate for marginalized and disenfranchised communities, an ally of the LGBT(Q) community, and lover of all. She previously served in the role of an intern at women advance where her passion and fight for women issues in North Carolina intensified. She is currently a graduate student at the University of North Carolina majoring in social work with a clinical concentration. In her free time, you can find her at the travel section of Barnes and Nobles reading travel guides.

 

Rachel Maguire is a virtual college adviser with College Advising Corps, and she works with high achieving low to moderate income students across the country while supporting them through the college application process. Born and raised in North Carolina with a bachelors degree from UNC Chapel Hill, Rachel is passionate about activism in NC and has a vested interest in both gender violence prevention work and mental health advocacy. She plans to get her masters in social work and aspires to be a therapist one day, breaking down barriers surrounding mental illness and helping people better understand themselves.

 

Stephany Mejia She/Her, was born to Nicaraguan-Dominican parents and raised in New York City. Stephany is a clinical social worker, working in early childhood mental health. She graduated with a degree in Sociology with a minor in Nonprofit Studies from North Carolina State University, and she earned her Master in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the co-founder of “Aliadas NC,” a local womxn-centered organization which aims to build community among womxn of color. She is passionate about mental health access specifically for QPOC, LGBTQ, and womxn of color. In her free time, you can find her practicing yoga and DJing with a collective of womxn and femmes.

 

Emily Hagstrom also known as Em, is an Information Communication Specialist and Research Analyst at the NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement. She’s a writer, researcher, and advocate for gender equity and LGBTQ+ justice and loves talking to folks about community and support! Emily was born and raised in North Carolina and can generally be found spending too much time with her cats, hiking, playing mediocre guitar, and persuading people to watch Call Me by Your Name with her.

 

 

 

Co-Directors

Antionette Kerr is a nonprofit leader, media correspondent, author of Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits, publisher of Bold & Bright Media and lover of all poetry. Native of Lexington, NC, she spent her youth living in pockets of economically-distressed neighborhoods. She went on to study 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. Kerr has provided training for the National Council of Nonprofits, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide and The Nonprofit Academy.

Women Advance Co-Director, akerr@womenadvancenc.org

Ericka (Nicki) Faircloth originates from Scotland and Robeson Counties in N.C. She received her undergrad degree in International and Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Additionally she has received training through the UNC Native Leadership Institute and the Press On + Freedom Lifted for Transforming Journalism Beyond “Diversity” training. Nicki is an enrolled member of the Skaroreh Katenuaka Nation in North Carolina (Tuscarora Nation) and resides in Wilmington, N.C. with her partner, Fares. She is a Tribal Liaison for the MMIWNC Coalition for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and a co-founder of EcoRobeson. In addition to her role at Women AdvaNCe, she serves as a communications consultant assisting nonprofits, foundations and government agencies. 

Women Advance Co-Director, nicki@womenadvancenc.org

 

 

Research Fellows

Emma Hergenrother is from Ridgefield, CT. She is excited to be currently living in Durham, NC, and contributing to Women AdvaNCe as a Research Fellow. Earning her Bachelor’s from Princeton University, Emma majored in religion with a focus on the relationship between religious attitudes, theological beliefs, and environmentalism. Since graduation, Emma has worked for an affordable housing nonprofit in Connecticut, and is currently studying to become a physician with a focus on pediatric health. In her free time, Emma enjoys cooking with her partner, going for long walks, and diving into her latest audiobook.

 

Consultants

 

Beverly Kerr has over 20 plus years of experience in the project development, financial advisor, business management and development, health education, agri-business and co-founder of Kujimani Creative Arts praise dance team along with her sister, Gloria Gray. She an accomplished grant writer and program development specialist who has with God’s blessing  has raised over 3 million dollars in non-profit grant funding that was used to implement arts and humanities programs including liturgical, contemporary, and African dance, mental health services for the uninsured, public housing complex programs, after-school programs, summer camps, computer labs, children’s book fair, Rowan County – Targeted Infant Mortality Reduction Grant, and NC Juvenile Justice – Gang prevention programs that served the children and youth of the City of Salisbury and Rowan County. Beverly loves to serve the community, write, sing, and keep her hands to the work of God to make the world a better place for everyone.

Mr. and Mrs. Kerr currently own operate Kerr Trucking and Logistics, LLC, a trucking company based in Salisbury, NC.

 

Ashley Broadwater is a freelance writer and graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she specialized in Public Relations in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. A North Carolina native, Ashley is passionate about body positivity, mental health, gender-based violence and response, and LGBTQIA+ issues. In her free time, she enjoys watching Pretty Little Liars, reading, talking to friends, and attending dance classes. You can find her work at www.ashleybroadwater.site.

 

 

 

Charly Lowry is a singer-songwriter from Pembroke, NC with roots in the Union Chapel Community.  Charly received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel-Hill.  Upon graduation, Lowry moved full-steam ahead in pursuit of a career as a professional musician.

In 2004, Charly had the opportunity to compete on the wildly popular television show, American Idol.  She ventured through several rounds of auditions to make it to the Top 32.  For over a decade, Charly has attained regional and national success as both a solo artist and lead singer of alternative rock/ soul/ folk band, Dark Water Rising.  In addition to performing with Dark Water Rising, The Ulali Project, and The New Mastersounds, she was most recently featured as an opening act on Rhiannon Giddens’, “There is No Other” Tour.

Charly enjoys performing, meeting people, and educating others on the Native American experience.  Charly served as a Lumbee Ambassador for the Lumbee people in 1997-98; traveling throughout the country to visit Tribal Nations while attending various conferences, powwows, etc.  Her reign as Jr. Miss Lumbee was the catalyst that awakened her spirit to an inherent calling as a “Culture Bearer”.  Lowry continues to work on her craft; immersing herself in the culture of American music and expanding her listening ear to various genres, all the while composing songs that give a personal account of her experience as an Indigenous woman walking in two worlds.