Board Of Directors


Founder and Executive Director
Veta-Byrd-Perez-200Veta Byrd-Perez
is the Associate General Counsel at Rice University in Houston. She has performed extensive research on issues affecting women in developing countries including Mexico and Ghana. She received a BA in Economics from Spelman College and a JD from The Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law and a John M. Olin fellow. Prior to law school, Veta worked at the investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co. She spent the first part of her legal career as a corporate attorney at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins, LLP, working on international transactions in countries such as Peru and the Dominican Republic. While on a sabbatical from Vinson & Elkins, Veta spent time in Quito, Ecuador volunteering with a micro-lending institution and connecting with women of African descent throughout South America. Veta is also a board member of Santa Maria Hostel, Inc., an organization that serves women in crises through substance abuse treatment and transitional housing.
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Chairperson
Charlita-Mays-wwieCharlita Mays
is a partner at the law firm of Spears & Imes LLP in New York. The Spelman College alumna graduated from The Yale Law School. She worked as a litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell and later at Richards Spears Kibbe & Orbe LLP. Charlita has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Girls Education & Mentoring Services, an organization dedicated to assisting and mentoring sexually-exploited teenage women and as a member of the Board of Directors of KIPP AMP, a charter school in Brooklyn, New York.
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Genesis AquinoGenesis Aquino, a self-described Afro-Latina activist, earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from The City University of New York. In 2012, she started “The ELLA Project” which promotes reproductive justice for young women of color in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. She has served as a mentor to young women of color through the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. Genesis is active in the movements against anti-Haitian/Black discrimination in her native Dominican Republic and against police brutality in New York. As a social service worker, she has supported immigrant and low-income communities of color in various capacities.
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image001Bijan Bayne is an award-winning, Washington, D.C.-based, freelance columnist, critic and author. His
work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Herald and other publications. His most recent book is “Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race and Class.” He is also the author of “Sky Kings: Black Pioneers of Professional Basketball,” which was named to the Suggested Reading List of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Bijan became interested in Latin America because of sports history. He has done research on Afro-Latin American athletes and traveled to Cuba and Puerto Rico.
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Tanya Allen Easter (2013)Tanya Allen Easter has been in Supply Chain Management for over 20 years and is employed at Chevron. She received her BBA and MBA in Business Management from Texas Southern University, as well as a Certification in Supply Chain Management from Arizona State University. A strong advocate for those living in at-risk communities, she is involved in the Greater Houston Black Chamber of Commerce, AVANCE-Houston, Institute for Supply Management, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Inc. She is also a member of the Texas Southern University Alumni Association. She is married to Damon Easter and has one bonus daughter, Kelly.
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jeanharvey_headshotJean Harvey is Director of eCommerce Solutions at First Data Corporation. She is responsible for all online eCommerce transactions processed through First Data, the largest payment technology company in the country. Jean has an MBA from Stanford Business School and a BA with top honors in Economics from Spelman College. She resides in Atlanta with her husband Juan and serves on the Advisory Board of the Lyke House, the Catholic Newman Center for the Atlanta University Center.
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Angelica HernandezAngelica Hernandez is originally from Panama. She has lived in Michigan for more than 20 years. She earned an MS in Mental Health Counseling and is working on an MA in Spanish at Central Michigan University. Angelica is a therapist at Community Mental Health and also does contractual work for the Michigan State University Counseling Center. Married with two adult children, who she says are “my everything,” she counts women’s issues, race and ethnicity in Latin America as subjects of great importance to her. She is committed to addressing these issues by working with nonprofit organizations and by educating others.
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Heather HodgesHeather Hodges graduated from Tulane Law School and is a human rights attorney in Washington, D.C. She joined Neighborhood Legal Services Program after a decade in private practice with the law firms of Arnold & Porter LLP and Crowell & Moring LLP. Heather was also a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow at Georgetown Law School where she researched challenges to access to justice for Central American women. She has served on the Boards of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia, CentroNía and the D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School. Heather is a photographer who specializes in documenting African and Afro-Latino dance.
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Courtney-Morris-smCourtney Morris
is an Assistant Professor of African American and Women’s studies at Pennsylvania State University. She received her PhD in Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. She researches Black women’s social movements in Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on Afro-
Nicaraguan women’s political activism since the Sandinista Revolution. Courtney is currently completing a book on this research. She is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship and a Fulbright.
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photo WWIE Board--Dulce ReyesDulce Reyes is a Black cisgender queer/lesbian-identified woman from the Dominican Republic who migrated to New York City with her domestic worker mother in 1989. She has organized intersectionally, transnationally, and multi-role for social justice with and for people of color, especially low-income and LBQ women, youth, immigrants, and trans/GNC people since 1992 and has served on the funding committee of North Star, as staff at Astraea, and as a board member of Gw/oB. A Miamian since 2011, she works in adult education and skirts her calling in bilingual nonfiction writing through Facebook-blogging. Dulce has completed graduate level studies in Sociology, Sexuality and TESOL Education.
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loriLori Robinson is an award-winning journalist and the author of “I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse.” She has covered African-descendant Latin American issues and movements for more than 20 years. Lori served as a consultant for Solutions Journalism Network in New York, as editor of B.L.A.C. Detroit magazine and as an associate editor at Emerge magazine in Washington, D.C. Her work has been published in the Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and several national magazines. She graduated from Spelman College and earned an MA in Journalism from New York University.
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TrinaRobinsonTrina Robinson moved to San Francisco, where she is a magazine production director, after 15 years in New York working for leading national publications. She has a strong interest in learning about and helping to tell the stories of members of the African Diaspora and has traveled extensively to do so. Her exploration includes travel to the Costa Chica region of Mexico, one of the country’s population centers of Black citizens, in addition to other parts of Mexico, to learn more about the African history of the region. Trina earned a BA in Political Science from DePaul University.
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Miara ShawMiara Shaw is the CEO of Miara Shaw, The ExtraOrdinary Maven. A Maven is someone who skillfully shares her knowledge with others. She does this by using her witty yet very direct style of connecting with people to provide professional speaking, coaching and consulting. Previously, Miara was one of the nation’s few minority female natural gas traders. She has over 25 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, including management, trading and operations. This wife and mother of four was included in Who’s Who in Black Houston 2013 and was the 2013 Programming Committee Co-Chair for the National Black MBA Association.
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jiea2Jiea Rutland-Simpson is a Physician Relationship Manager and Hospital Administrator for Valley Baptist Health System, working closely with local physicians and the hospital CEO and COO, building on her track record of implementing effective marketing strategies, including promotional events and bi-lingual product literature. Previously, she was a Senior Sales Representative for Eli Lilly USA where she collaborated on an initiative to develop Spanish-language literature for diabetics. After earning a degree in Biology from Spelman College, Jiea graduated with an MBA from the University of Miami. She has lived on the Texas-Mexico border since 2000 and has traveled extensively throughout South America and Mexico.
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