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Executive Director/Director of Organizational Strategy and Practice
Marsha is a first-generation Haitian-American who was born and raised in New York City. Her introduction to social justice came from the many stories her parents shared of the Haitian Revolution. Marsha believes deeply in the power of community to create positive change and equitable environments. She first dove into social justice as an educator, working to inspire students of color to pursue science in college. Marsha graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Molecular and Cellular Biology and earned a MA in Teaching. She transitioned to nonprofit administration to broaden her impact on social justice movements. Marsha has over a decade of experience as an educator, administrator, and racial equity consultant. In 2012, Marsha founded and led The Trifecta Tribe, providing life coaching and retreats centered on the self-care needs of LGBTQ women of color. In her most recent role as the Chief Program Officer at the YWCA of Asheville she oversaw their grant-driven programs. In her capacity at Davis Squared Consulting, she works with organizations to create equitable internal cultures. Marsha lives in Asheville with her husband Marcus and demanding cat Milo.
Director of Philanthropic Partnerships
Raised in the upper coastal corner of Washington State, Jennifer’s passion led her to work initially in marine biology and on environmental issues, and later on affordable green building practices. She has volunteered her time over the years in grassroots organizing efforts and on various social justice issues including LGBTQ advocacy, voter access, civil rights abuses, and environmental health and preservation. Jennifer applies principles of trust-based philanthropy to her management of grant processes, in her relationships with grantee partners and other funders, and in how she advocates for more transformational systems within philanthropy. She loves researching issues and collaborating with diverse voices in order to build stronger movements of justice. Having spent much of her adult life in the South, she was engaged early in efforts to leverage and expand funding for LGBTQ equality work in the Southeastern U.S. Her collaborative work includes Astraea’s LGBTQ Racial Justice Fund and Funders For LGBTQ Issues’ Out in the South Fund. Jennifer is a board member of the Movement Advancement Project, the national LGBTQ think-tank and advocacy organization. She finds inspiration from her long-time partner of 33 years, and from other family members, friends, and her dogs. She loves creating and listening to music, cooking, hiking, boats and the outdoors. She lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
Libby Kyles, Director of Community-Led Grantmaking
Libby Kyles is the former CEO of the YWCA of Asheville and the founder of Changing LENS Consulting, which focuses on racial and educational equity, professional and personal coaching. A graduate of Western Carolina University, Libby spent 20 years in North Carolina classrooms while also earning her National Board Certification and completing her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from East Tennessee State University.
While teaching, Libby co-founded Youth Transformed for Life (YTL) in 2014 and served as the Executive Director until June of 2019. Under her leadership, YTL developed two summer and after school programs, GRACE for Teens and ROSES and MOSS for elementary school students and an advocacy program to improve the communication between participants, teachers, and parents.
Libby continues to work in the community as the Chair of the Board for Asheville-Buncombe Community Land Trust and Vice Chair of the Board for Asheville PEAK Academy Charter School which opens in August 2021. She is also the Chair of The Buncombe County Women’s Commission and contributes to local social justice movements aimed at the liberation of Black people.
Heather Laine Talley,
Director of Communications and Culture
Heather grew up in South Louisiana, where she was first mobilized by queer, Cajun Catholic workers who organized for redistribution of wealth while building wildly inclusive community. Since that time she has found a political home with wide-ranging community organizations and grassroots projects organizing for queer justice, a transformed criminal justice system, the eradication of white supremacy, and a world where women and girl’s lives are valued and celebrated. She established her roots in Asheville in 1998, drawn here by vibrant queer and deeply Southern community. Heather has worked as a sociology and gender studies professor, editor at The Feminist Wire, facilitator, grrrl cheerleader, writer, and group fitness instructor. Regardless of what her paid work is, she aims to use transformative hospitality, sincere words, delicious food, deep analysis, and honest storytelling to heal herself and her community. Outside of her work with Tzedek, Heather holds space for people at the end of life as a death doula. Her greatest joy is cooking for and feeding her partner Lee, their child Hollis, and her abundant and beloved chosen family.
Director of Mindful Operations and Finance
Lindsay grew up moving every three or four years in an Army family. Having lived five different places by the age of 15, including eight years in Germany, she learned the importance of community early on. Lindsay holds a Master’s Degree in Geography focused on Community and Regional Planning and a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology focused on Environmental Science. She began her professional career in environmental planning and natural resource management and soon realized social equity is too often left out of sustainability efforts. Lindsay began working for social justice in 2013 with a job-training and workforce development non-profit organization. This work increased equitable access to opportunity, education, health, and wealth to all individuals regardless of their background, which is the only way thriving communities are created. When not directing operations for the Tzedek Social Justice Fund, Lindsay practices and teaches yoga in a variety of settings from group classes, wellness retreats, and one-on-one private sessions in Asheville, NC. She loves digging in the dirt making flowers and vegetables grow as well as cooking and spending time dining with friends. Visit Lindsay’s website.
Desiree Adaway, Board Chair
Desiree is a consultant, trainer, coach and speaker building resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations. She holds a vision for people’s lives, workplaces and communities until they can hold it for themselves. Desiree has over 25 years of experience creating, leading and managing international, multicultural teams through major organizational changes in over 40 countries. From this experience Desiree knows that if you want to create real and lasting change in the world you can’t expect to get something better if you’re doing the things you’ve always done.
Althea is a seasoned, bilingual (English/Spanish) and bicultural professional with over 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit and philanthropic sector in a range of consulting, coaching, and leadership roles with emphasis on projects involving grassroots, immigrant, and Latinx communities. She’s worked with hundreds of organizations across the U.S. facilitating community conversations, leading grantmaking programs, and providing consultation and training on organizational capacity-building topics such as board development, equity, and strategic planning. In addition to her work with organizations, Althea is an executive coach serving as a thought partner, accountability coach, and resource connector for organizational leaders. Client partners include: emerging and well-established nonprofits; family, corporate, and community foundations; philanthropic support organizations; and for-profit entities. She holds an M.A. in Adult Education, specializing in Training & Development, from NC State University and a B.A. from the University of Chicago. Althea has lived in Western North Carolina for over 25 years. Born and raised in Miami, Althea is the proud daughter of Cuban refugees.
Carmen was born in New York City and attended the New School of Social Research. She identifies as a Black, Nuyorican and Afro-Latinx cisgender woman. A good part of her adult life was lived in Southern California where she, and her husband Bruce, raised their two now adult daughters and ran their media and marketing business. Looking for a life that nourished their spirits more, they sold their beach community home in 2005, bought a 40ft motor coach and a tow vehicle, and toured the contiguous U.S. visiting all but one state. After 2 years on the road, she and Bruce settled in Asheville, NC in 2007.
In her work life since arriving in Asheville, she has managed or staffed local, county, state and national political campaigns and done grassroots work for local non-profits. Since arriving in Asheville she has served as President of the Asheville Buncombe County NAACP, Team Leader for the Mountain People’s Assembly, core organizer of the local Racial Equity Institute (REI) trainings, facilitator with Building Bridges of Asheville, member of Asheville City Council Neighborhood Advisory Committee, board member of Pack Place, and an officer of the East End / Valley Street Neighborhood Association. She has also worked with Children First afterschool program, Read To Succeed, Barriers to Re-entry Roundtable (reimagining the formerly incarcerated returning to the community), Community Race Discussion Group,
Carmen currently serves as the Co-chair of the Racial Justice Coalition (RJC), the Director of Equity and Community Engagement at BeLoved Asheville and is on the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE) Advisory Board. In her free time, Carmen enjoys watching classic films, reading political science and history books, cooking, and socializing with friends. She’s looking forward to when everyone can safely gather together again so she can spend quality time as BiBi for a very special little fellow.
Deborah grew up in southern Arkansas, graduated from Hendrix College with a BA in 1975, and moved to Asheville later that summer. Her first job was working as a shelter parent (as they were called at that time) with Caring for Children at Our Place Emergency Shelter. Miles was also a founder of Stone Soup which was a worker owned restaurant and part of the early food scene in Asheville. In 1995, Miles started the Center for Diversity Education at the Jewish Community Center which later moved to UNC Asheville. The mission of the Center is to teach and celebrate diversity in order to foster conversation and respect among cultures. During her tenure, each year the Center provided programming for over 25,000 students, teachers and citizens throughout Western North Carolina. It also provided services to the local business and non-profit community for diversity trainings, walking tours, and exhibit rentals. Part of the work of the Center was also to develop coalitions to support the cross organizational work of equity and inclusion which included Everybody’s Environment, the Racial Justice Coalition, and the WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition. Miles retired from UNC Asheville in 2018 and now does consulting work on equity and inclusion accountability practices in the workplace. Miles is married to Marc Rudow and together they are the parents of three sons and two grandchildren.
Lucia is a 22-year resident of Asheville, NC, where she has sustained a long-time career as an equity educator and consultant, award winning civil rights organizer, freelance facilitator, resiliency trainer (with a focus on poverty and oppression-based trauma), and a culturally competent life coach. Her career in the realm of equity and inclusion began in 2012, when she was hired to work for the Asheville-Buncombe Community Relations Council (ABCRC), where she was to later become the agency’s Executive Director. During her time with the Council, Lucia helped to address or resolve over a thousand discrimination issues locally, supporting people who experienced discrimination in their housing, jobs, schools, and interactions with law enforcement.
In her personal and creative life, Lucia is a singer, musician, producer, and recording artist with a background in the performing arts, community radio, creative writing, and Urban farming. She is also a farm owner, a proud mother of three awesome daughters, the owner of two dogs, and two goats.
Mirian is a dedicated community organizer, mother and cooperativista! Mirian believes in collectivity as a way to achieve a just economy. She strongly advocates for mobile homes as dignified and affordable housing. Her passion is to advocate for social justice for communities of color; language justice; and Racial Equity. She lives in Emma community surrounded by her family, community, and friends who inspired her to keep building a strong social movement in Asheville and abroad.
“My name is Mirian Porras and I’m originally from Puebla, Mexico. I’m a woman, mother, and immigrant worker. During the past 6 years I’ve worked to promote social justice in Asheville around topics of immigrant rights, advocacy, structural change within the Erwin district schools, cultural organization and developing housing, real estate, worker-owner cooperatives in Asheville.
“My passion is to build collective strength and awareness in order to dismantle the oppressive systems that the Latinx immigrant community suffer under, and to share experiences and learn with other vulnerable communities such as the LGTB, African American, and working class communities.”
Phyllis is a collaborative Cultural Worker, Literary Artist, Human Rights Policy Analyst, Popular Educator, Coach Diversity trained coach who praises her Ancestors for their life lessons and is constantly focused on redistributing wealth and embodying joy. She is a lover of waterfalls, rainbows, Shabbat, kugel, sweet potato pie, Pow Wows, Dia de Los Muertos and gardening. Phyllis is a Dartmouth College graduate of Economics and a United for a Fair Economy Trainer.
Tamiko Ambrose Murray
Tamiko is the founder and lead consultant of Ambrose Consulting. A writer, community researcher, cultural practitioner and racial equity strategist, Tamiko’s areas of work have included nonprofit leadership, academia, community organizing, participatory research and cultural work. She believes transformation is possible when the most impacted communities are centered in the work to uproot oppression and to build the world we want to live in, one that is rooted in justice and love and where everyone has what they need to thrive. She has called Asheville, NC home for 24 years.
Founder and Funder
Amy was born into a Jewish family in Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1950s. She moved to the Boston area to attend Brandeis University and stayed in the area for 32 years. Her first exposure to social justice activism came through reading about the resistance to the Holocaust in the fifth grade. Throughout Amy’s college years she was involved in anti-Vietnam protests. She participated in the second wave of the U.S. women’s movement and the growing post-Stonewall LGBT movement. In her philanthropic work, Amy has become increasingly focused on efforts to build bridges and alliances between and among communities that have traditionally been at odds. This focus includes following the lead of grassroots organizers and supporting efforts that amplify voices and issues of those most harmed by unjust systems. Amy moved to North Carolina to pursue medical treatment in 2001, has never regretted it and feels firmly planted. These days Amy enjoys spending time with her friends and family, enjoying better health that is enabling her to be more present in the community, and singing with her beloved women’s chorus, Womansong of Asheville.