Celebrating Women

We are storytellers, highlighting local female leaders who have been tirelessly committed to the cause of advancing women, the next generation of emerging female leaders who are inspired to make a difference, and those women who have weathered their own life transitions while moving forward on their leadership path.

Kelly Roberts: Leading with Heart and Purpose

Kelly Roberts believes that “finding ways to practice small acts of courage in our everyday lives allows us to show up in the world differently and with more impact”. She encourages this spirit in the young professional women she is able to engage in mentorship through her current role as the current Senior Director of Investor Engagement for the Alamance Chamber, where she has served 8 years. A 2015 Communication Studies graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Kelly joined the Alamance Chamber in 2015 and had the pleasure of working at the Chamber’s inaugural ROAR Women’s Symposium in 2016. Getting to see it grow and evolve each year she states has been one of the most rewarding parts of her career. Under Kelly’s leadership, the 2023 ROAR Women’s Symposium event hosted 400 attendees from the surrounding area, becoming the largest women’s professional development event in the region. In addition to working with the ROAR planning committing to develop the program for the Women’s Symposium,  Kelly also provides leadership and direction for designing and implementing programs focused on recruitment, retention, and engagement of chamber investors and also oversees the public relations function of the organization: leading the development and execution of the Chamber’s communication strategies.

Consistently seeking opportunities to grow as a chamber professional, Kelly holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Organization Management from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management(IOM) at the University of Georgia. She is actively engaged with the Carolina’s Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) and is a graduate of the Alamance Chamber’s Leadership Alamance Class of 2017 and Impact Alamance’s Leadership Institute Class of 2023.

Kelly is the epitome of servant leadership and commitment and is an ardent volunteer and supporter of a variety of efforts that benefit the Alamance County community. In a professional capacity, Kelly leads the Ambassadors, a core group of volunteers supporting the mission of the Alamance Chamber. This work includes continued engagement with volunteers, connecting them to other businesses to strengthen relationships, and practicing in-service volunteer opportunities with them across the community, creating learning opportunities for the group not only to keep them connected to the Chamber but also to other community organizations. Outside of the Chamber,  Kelly has volunteered with the United Way serving on the marketing & brand awareness taskforce, Alamance Achieves on their Communications committee, and for Downtown Burlington serving on the Corporations Marketing and Promotions committee.  Additionally, Kelly is an annual supporter and donor for Little Pink Houses of Hope, a non-profit organization providing assistance and resources for families impacted by Breast Cancer.

Although Kelly’s leadership qualities and core of work with the Chamber have contributed greatly to the economic health of our community, for those who know her, her presence and warm demeanor have also had a substantial impact in demonstrating building a foundation for building community through compassion. One of her greatest impacts has been “how she treated others, no matter who they were, what title they may have or not have, it could be a major prospective investor with whom she would be sharing the benefits of the Chamber or someone dropping off pens and pencils for the school drive.” Kelly believes in meeting people where they are, and her favorite quote is “You are exactly where you need to be.” In her leisure time, Kelly enjoys making memories with her family and friends, going on long hikes, and anything that involves being outdoors. In her current wisdom, she has learned to  “embrace the timeline of my life and celebrate my own unique journey along the way.”

Marsha Foust: Inspiring Change and Empowering Others Through Leadership

Marsha Foust brings a spirit of connection, passion, and leadership into everything she puts her hand to. Her life experiences both professionally and personally, have given her a unique relational perspective along with a drive for excellence. Her deep connection with others began during college, where she gained skills in storytelling as a Media Studies major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Shortly after college, Marsha started her career at Labcorp, where she transitioned through several different roles. Areas where she made the most impact during that time include workforce optimization and LEAN process management.

Marsha then took a huge leap into the nonprofit field where she worked at a local church for the next six years as the Next Steps Director. Her role helped integrate families into the church and provided opportunities to get them connected into the culture and life of the church. This role confirmed and deepened Marsha’s passions in life: serving her community, leading teams, and helping others explore and connect to their personal gifts. After the pandemic, Marsha transitioned to a new role where she was able to take those skills and adopt them over to a new role with a local Chick-fil-A franchise where she helped the restaurant leadership develop their own leadership structure and ladder.

Marsha returned to Labcorp to work in divisional communications and after two years has now transitioned into a communications role with the corporate communications team where she promotes the company’s mission by creating communication strategies and oversees communication operations through the diagnostics segment. This past March, Marsha was chosen to co-lead Labcorp’s Burlington Chapter of the Women’s Empowerment Network employee resource group where she helps empower, encourage and connect women throughout the chapter and overall company.

Marsha also serves regularly at several local nonprofits including the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and her local church, Trailhead. Marsha was chosen as a 2023 participant in the Alamance County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. Marsha has been married to her best friend, Brad, for 13 years, and they have two children, Cora (10) and Wesson (4). As a family, they enjoy hiking, traveling, and a good movie night!

Lorena Meza Lara: Championing Education and Community Unity

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person,” a quote from Mother Theresa, is not only Lorena Meza Lara’s favorite quote, but it also describes how she has approached much of her life. A 25-year resident of Alamance County, Lorena currently serves as the Education Director and Parent Support Coordinator, a new position created in partnership with Alamance Achieves and the CityGate Dream Center. Advocating for children is a long-time passion of Lorena’s. She shares, “I want nothing more than to protect our children and give them a better education than the one I had.” It is important to her that parents feel comfortable engaging with their children’s schools and are active participants in their children’s education.

Lorena’s natural leadership emerged at a young age. Two years after migrating to the US, Lorena learned English, and at 11 years old, she began serving as her mother’s interpreter, a skill she also loves to share with the community today.  Children’s books served as an educational tool for Lorena to learn the fundamentals of English grammar, and today she enjoys sharing them with young children and their parents through the Bilingual Storytime program she developed while serving as a Mebane Public Library assistant. As a sophomore in high school, Lorena became the Vice President of M.E.Ch.A (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), a student organization that promotes higher education, culture, and history.

Lorena became a paralegal, serving in the criminal and immigration fields. She shares that being a paralegal reminded her that, “the United States government is one of a kind; [it] does its best to serve and protect its citizens.” Lorena is passionate about using her voice to advocate for others, particularly those who are not being heard or who are unable to advocate for themselves. She previously served as the Community Organizer for the #AlamanceForward project and other programs with LatinxEd and then as the Director of After School Programs at the CityGate Dream Center. As one community leader shared about Lorena, she “has a heart for the community and wants to bring people together and build bridges so everyone can thrive. Her deep roots in the community and passion for building bridges and celebrating people have allowed her to help inspire incredible change and build lasting trust with many groups from educators, parents, police officers, students, and all ages of people as we continue to see our community grow in hope and purpose.”

If she could tell her younger self one thing, Lorena would say, “If you could only see what a great leader you are, and all the changes and challenges you are going to face…. what you’ve been through already has prepared you for your future.”

Jewel Tillman, Bridging Gaps and Building Dreams

Jewel is the Community Engagement Manager for Impact Alamance.  She is responsible for building relationships to bridge gaps and lift community voices.  She oversees the Community Forward Grant Cycle and has been instrumental in assisting several Alamance County residents in applying for this grant.

Since her time at Elon University, as a student, it has been evident that she is authentic, community-focused, and committed to her passions.  Jewel is held in high regard for her professionalism, organizational skills, leadership, and integrity.  Additionally, Jewel has a creative side to her!  She is a dance instructor who taught “soul line dance” for Burlington Parks & Recreation, where her energy was infectious.  She created a warm environment that allowed the dance participants to move freely.  Her skills as a dancer and teacher complement her other passions which make her an impactful leader in Alamance County.

Jewel can be found volunteering at such events as the Juneteenth event, which she helped coordinate, at Little Pink Houses, and at the Harwood Institute.  Because of her service to the community, it isn’t unusual to see Jewel receiving hugs and appreciation for her support of others.  She is making Alamance County a better place to live for everyone.

Bethany Capps, Committed to Inclusivity and Accessibility

Bethany Capps, Committed to Inclusivity and Accessibility

Bethany has served in numerous roles since graduating from East Carolina University.  However, there seems to be a trend of working with people and of helping people.  She has demonstrated her ability to build community partnerships, starting with her time at Aymira Healthcare Technologies through her time with Family Abuse Services.  While at Family Abuse Services, Bethany partnered with the Alamance Health Department and RHA Peer Support staff to create a new Harm Reduction Safety Plan for substance abuse survivors.

In reflection, Bethany said, “I believe that my social and moral courage has grown to be a personal strength.”  This statement is evident in her work as an activist for women’s rights, people with disabilities, harm reduction, and LGBTQIA, to name a few. 

She is a thoughtful problem-solver and an impactful leader in Alamance County.  Although her resolve to help others is strong, Bethany is able to practice self-care, so she can face each day and the opportunities it brings with dedication.  She has a can-do attitude and is extremely resourceful.  Furthermore, she has ensured that protocol appendices that may be given to clients of Family Abuse Services have been translated into Spanish – just another example of Bethany thinking of the needs of others.  Alamance County is better because of her.

Felicia Crawford, Achieving Success Through Education and Passion

Felicia Crawford, Achieving Success Through Education and Passion

Felicia Crawford has combined her education and passion to be able to make a difference by helping students find their way and realize that the possibility of their dreams about going to medical school can be achieved. Described as a mentor, a fierce advocate, and a friend, Felicia continues to volunteer her time in several ways. One of note is her efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion for people of color–not only in areas of academia but also in rural, underserved spaces in North Carolina where individuals seek medical providers who look like them and can best serve their needs as it relates to the consideration of overall health.

A North Carolina native, Felicia understands the value of education. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education with a concentration in Community College and University Leadership from Appalachian State University. Prior to receiving her master’s degree, Felicia obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, a Post Baccalaureate Paralegal Certificate from Meredith College, and a Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Workplace from the University of South Florida, Muma School of Business.

As Program Coordinator, Office of Rural Initiatives, at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine, Felicia assists in facilitating pipeline programs at K-12 and undergraduate levels to medical school students and primary care providers. There she oversees programs such as RMSA (Rural Medicine Summer Academy), which creates opportunities for rising high school seniors in predominantly rural North Carolina to learn about various specialties across primary care. She also oversees the Rural Fellowship, which aids current providers in the state’s rural counties through preceptor development and community engagement through community needs assessments or initiatives. She conducts training and workshops across the state on DEI and advancing equity and inclusion. She works to promote the mission of the School of Medicine while focusing on diversity efforts for students across the state of North Carolina who reside in rural areas.

Holding a full-time job has not slowed down this go-getter. As one supporter stated, “Service is always close to Felicia’s heart and her work”. As a member of the Burlington Junior Women’s Club, Felicia chairs the Project Shoes Committee which raises funds and partners with the community to purchase shoes for children and their school-aged siblings in need. She has served on the Civic Engagement and Outreach Committee, the Health and Wellness Committee, the Arts and Culture Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee. She is currently serving in the role of First Vice President. Other projects for which she has been involved include the Woman-to-Woman Project (Feminine Hygiene drive and distribution), blanket collection for the unhoused, participated in the Tata Trot (Breast Cancer fundraiser), assisted with interviews for the Sallie Southall Cotten Scholarship, and more.

Felicia’s membership in the Burlington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. offered her more opportunities to serve her local community. She has served in multiple leadership roles, including the Corresponding Secretary and Chair of the Delta Academy Program, a mentorship initiative focused on self-esteem and academics.

In 2022 Felicia partnered with other concerned members of the Alamance community to create and implement one of the county’s first mental health community resource fairs that focused on the needs and resources for Historically Marginalized peoples.

When asked how she would advise her younger self, Felicia responded, I would have said, “Don’t worry. There’s no need to stress yourself out and everything’s going to be okay, no matter how things may look at the current moment. Just know that all things are working together for your good and that there is a purpose for these circumstances. You are deserving and worthy of anything that is set before you. You’re beautiful and special. Make sure to remind yourself of that daily. You’re a wonderful person and others will recognize it in due time.”

Celebrating Women

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Leading the Way

The Founders’ Award is given by the Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County to a female leader who demonstrates the characteristics of our founding members by providing outstanding contributions in the areas of philanthropy, community development and mentoring.

A Rising Star Award will be given to the most deserving nominee under age 40.

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Working Womens Wednesdays

Working Women’s Wednesdays is an exciting monthly series designed by the Women’s Resource Center and dedicated to improving opportunities for women in the workplace. This monthly event brings dynamic speakers and proven leaders to Alamance County.