Marena Groll is chair of NC4ERA, a project of NC NOW, was a primary drafter of the proposal to develop the new ERA-NC Alliance and serves as its founding co-chair. She is one of the architects of the re-introduction of the ERA into the NC General Assembly.
Groll is a dynamic grassroots activist, community organizer, feminist speaker, writer/columnist, and ardent advocate for the ERA. She utilizes her field organizing experience to design feminist structures for movement building. She has been a “Moral Monday” guest speaker, “We Are Woman” National Rally speaker and an ERA panelist at the National Organization for Women’s Annual Conference in 2016.
Groll was recently appointed as the chair of the ERA Committee of the Executive Board of Democratic Women of NC and affiliates with NC NOW, LWV/ODC, AAUW/THB, NAACP/Durham, NCWU and UMW.
A native daughter of North Carolina and long-time resident of Fort Bragg, she received the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award Medal for Public Service to her country for meritorious services as a Community Mayor 2002/2003.
A former special needs educator, habilitation coordinator and director of the Child Development Program at Scott Air Force Base, she holds an MA Ed in Educational Administration, Curriculum and Supervision from East Carolina University. She currently resides in Durham, NC with her husband and son.
Roberta Madden is co-director of RATIFY ERA-NC, helped organize the new ERA-NC Alliance, and has served as its co-chair. Robbie played an active role in having the ERA introduced in both houses of the General Assembly in 2015. She lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment in Louisiana in the 1970s, testified for the ERA before legislative committees, and has been an ERA activist for 45 years.
The NAACP, the Louisiana Center for Women and Government, 100 Black Men, Leadership Greater Baton Rouge Alumni, and the Battered Women’s Center have honored her. In 2007 the national YWCA awarded her its One Imperative Award for her work on racial justice. Last year NC Women United presented her the Anne Mackie Award for lifetime achievement.
She also serves on the boards of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Corporation of the Swannanoa Valley and the Southern Mutual Help Association, as well as the Asheville YWCA’s Advocacy Committee and the AAUW’s Public Policy Committee. She was recently elected a member of the Women’s Forum of NC and is an at-large member of Business and Professional Women of NC.
Robbie graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University with a B.A. in political science and a membership in Phi Beta Kappa. Formerly she was employed at the YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge as Director of Racial and Social Justice, where she served for 18 years before moving to Black Mountain, NC in 2009.
1st Vice President
Varnell Kinnin – Current President of Rocky Mount Business and Professional Women’s Club; Past Sate President BPW/NC2005-2006, Past BPW/NC Foundation Board Chair, Current Green and Gold Chair BPW/NC. Varnell is a current Board member of the ERA-NC Alliance. She’s also Northeast Area Director and Awards Chair of the Friends of North Carolina Public Libraries and Recruitment and Retention Chair for Edgecombe County’s Relay for Life.
Married with two grown children, Veronica Robinson and Charles Kinnin Jr. She is a retired engineer from Century Link Telephone Company and currently employed at Edgecombe Community College as a Basic Skills (GED/AHS) instructor.
Varnell is a graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College with a BS in Business Administration, and holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Ed from East Carolina University.
2nd Vice President
Audrey Muck – A longtime communications professional, Audrey worked in public broadcasting in the Carolinas, from on-air radio host to TV writer and producer at South Carolina Educational Radio and Television, to reporter, producer and news coordinator at WFDD in Winston-Salem. She’s currently working on a film about women’s rights activists in South Carolina, titled Brazen Belles!
She served as a public relations officer for Wake Forest University, gaining publicity for academic departments ranging from the Divinity School to the Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies departments.
A strong supporter of women’s equality, Audrey serves on the national board for the National Organization for Women and is president of Triad NOW. She is currently on the ERA-NC Alliance board of directors, manages the organization’s website, public relations and oversees the social media sites. Audrey graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University with a B.S. in Communications.
3rd Vice President
Virginia Adamson – is a Past President of the North Carolina Business and Professional Women and is the current Governance Chair. She serves on the Boards of the Equal Rights Amendment North Carolina Alliance (ERA-NC), the Women’s Forum of North Carolina and the American Association of University Women / Tar Heel Branch. She is a Past President of BPW of the Triad and now serves as Co-Treasurer.
Virginia received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a Certified Supply Chain Professional. She works for the Volvo Group as a Senior Business Consultant focused on manufacturing processes. Her tenure with Volvo spans more than 30 years with experience ranging from product development to business and strategy development. Based in Greensboro, NC, she has also worked and lived in Göteborg and Umeå in Sweden.
The passage of the ERA and Equal Pay are her passions. She is a facilitator for AAUW’s salary negotiation programs, Start Smart and Work Smart. She is dedicated to advocating for women and involving them in the legislative process to improve conditions for all women and their families. Virginia is the proud mother of Catherine, a successful business woman. When not advocating for women and their families, Virginia enjoys gardening, weaving, and life on the farm near Madison, North Carolina with Michael, her husband of 40 years.
Diana Gray holds BS and MA degrees in sociology with concentration in research methodology, juvenile justice, and social change. Her last paid position (retired 2007) was student affairs administrator at the University of Chicago in the Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences and the Committee on International Relations. Prior to that she was lead analyst and manager of the evaluation unit at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. She worked twenty-five years in nonprofit program management, program evaluation, grants administration, and grant writing after graduate school. Before returning to graduate school in 1969, she was a juvenile parole counselor for the Washington State Juvenile Parole Services (1965-1969) in Seattle and Spokane, Washington. She has published on black community development and adolescent prostitution. She moved to North Carolina in July 2014 after 4 years in New Orleans, LA along with the family of her younger daughter, Melissa Harris-Perry, now faculty member at Wake Forest University. Diana is a 25 year AAUW member inVirginia, Chicago, New Orleans, and now, the Tar Heel Branch in NC. She currently volunteers with the Greater Triad Diaper Bank and holds membership with the Forsyth Co. Democratic Party, Triad NOW, NC4ERA, and ERA-NC Alliance.
Patricia Sledge is a native of Salisbury, NC and currently resides in Rowan County. A member of North Carolina Business and Professional Women (BPW) since 1985, she has served in many roles at the local, district and state levels including a term as State President in 2014-15. A longtime advocate for women and children, Pat is the Legislative Chair for BPW/NC; Co-treasurer for BPW of the Triad; Parliamentarian for the BPW/NC Foundation and is serving as the Treasurer for the ERA-NC Alliance. A twenty year member of the Lexington Golddiggers Investment Club, she was elected as Financial Partner in 2002 and has been responsible for the bookkeeping and finances for the group of women pooling their money to build a portfolio of stocks for the last fifteen years.
Pat has worked as a sales and marketing professional for Ad Pro Solutions, a division of Classic Business Systems, Inc, a small family owned business located in Winston-Salem since 1996. Providing printing and promotional products for companies of all sizes, she is a member of the Carolinas Association of Advertising and Marketing Professionals (CAAMP) and PPAI, trade associations offering continuing education and support for the promotional products industry. While working for a New York Times affiliated newspaper, Pat was twice the winner of the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Publisher’s Award for outstanding sales.
Educated in the public schools of Rowan County, Pat earned a certification as an Administrative Assistant from Davidson County Community College and recently completed a course on Interpersonal Communication through the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation instructor facilitated online learning program.
Board of Directors
Ann Von Brock – I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, attended UNC-Greensboro, and lived in Raleigh, NC from 1974 to 1978, where I worked for Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Association. My husband and I moved to Asheville in 1979. Here I helped start grassroots nonprofits that serve the Western North Carolina community. I was the second executive director of the local domestic violence agency, Helpmate in its early days, volunteer director for Rape Crisis Center (later to become Our Voice), and served on task forces that created WNC Aids Project, MANNA Foodbank, Trinity Shelter, and the Mediation Center. I created a women’s resource center at the YWCA in 1986 and became a community resource coordinator for United Way in 1987. I retired from my position as Vice President of Planning and Community Initiatives at United Way in December, 2015. I recently completed a project with Pack Library; facilitating an oral history of social activism and social agencies in Asheville in the 1980’s. I have a private consulting practice, Second Line LLC, which helps small nonprofits develop strategic and succession plans and measure their results. I have served on numerous boards including the Asheville City School Board, Community Action Opportunities, NC 2-1-1, and the NC Center for Nonprofits. I am currently facilitating the ERA/Work Force Issue Group of Indivisible Asheville/WNC.
Julia Buckner – 1st Vice President/President Elect of Democratic Women of North Carolina.
Julia completed her undergraduate work at Western Carolina University, graduating as a NC Teaching Fellow, and spent eleven years teaching high school science. Julia took her summers off as an opportunity to continue her work with the United Methodist Church, leading work teams from across the country as they traveled to the far western region of our state remodeling homes and building relationships within our Appalachian communities.
Leaving the classroom to pursue full time ministry, Julia became the director of program ministries and later the director of development and marketing at the Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville, NC.
This intersection of community development, faith, and politics led Julia to Emory University where she obtained her M.Div. degree in 2009. Julia’s academic research centers around missiology, and she is currently a member of the faculty at Emory University’s Regional Course of Study School.
Julia is the past president of the Tri-County Democratic Women, owns and operates a database development company, and most recently managed Jane Hipps’ bid for the NC Senate seat in District 50.
Lori Bunton – Administrator, NC National Organization of Women. Lori is a long time feminist and 40+ year member of the National Organization of Women and currently serves on the board of the NC chapter of the National Organization of Women. In the last year, she has attended both the 50th Anniversary of NOW, helped the NC NOW chapter plan their annual meeting and traveled to DC to march proudly in the Women’s March on DC. She is a former pharmaceutical executive who won numerous awards in sales and for marketing excellence. She recently retired to spend more time volunteering and working with organizations like NOW, Dress for Success and Planned Parenthood. She was President of NCAHC (North Carolina Association of Healthy Communities) in 2015, a non-profit dedicated to educating North Carolinians on wellness & health. Lori is a former board member of Planned Parenthood in Knoxville, TN.
Bunton has lived in the Raleigh-Durham area for 10 years, moving here from San Diego, CA. She has lived in 11 states and Germany. She is an avid reader, hiker, traveler and devoted mother and grandmother. Bunton has a BS in Business from the University of Tennessee.
Gloria De Los Santos moved to Durham NC from Columbia SC. I’m currently pursuing a career in Communication at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) and currently working for a community organization that addresses community issues on a city, county, state and national campaigns called Action NC.
I’m passionate about leadership training, community organizing, building coalitions, public speaking and working on campaigns. With the encouragement from my friends and family, I’ve worked on a nation women’s campaign called Stand with women and Families. This campaign encourages me to think out of the box, by pursuing issues that concern women and families, like health care, paid leave, fair wages, affordable childcare, pass city, county resolutions, and push and implement policy changes for city-county and state employees. In my free time, I enjoy reading, hanging out with family and friends, speaking to other women’s groups and traveling with my family.
Judy Lotas – Founding Partner, LPNY Ltd., NYC, Activist. Lotas and her partners opened their ad agency in New York City’s Chrysler Building on May Day, 1986. It grew to become the “largest ad agency in the world owned and run by four women”. That was the claim. No one contested.
LPNY Ltd. was a strategic/creative shop with a particular expertise in women’s health, beauty, image brands and public service. LPNY worked with Procter & Gamble, Hain Foods, Thomas J. Lipton, VitaBath, 9 West, the New York City Department of Health, The American Red Cross in Greater New York, COSMOPOLITAN and Smithsonian Magazines.
Lotas, a writer, was elected to the Academy of Women Achievers of the YWCA of the City of New York. Advertising Age named her one of the “100 Best and Brightest Women in Advertising/Marketing”. She was honored by Florida State University as a Graduate of Distinction and Advertising Women of New York named Lotas “Advertising Woman of the Year”. She served on the Creative Review Board of the Ad Council and the Council’s Board of Directors.
Long involved in community affairs, Lotas currently serves on the Board of Dare County League of Women Voters; the Lineberger Cancer Hospital Board of Visitors in Chapel Hill; the Advisory Board of North Carolina Coastal Federation, and the national ERA Coalition. After 9/11, she was very involved with the Afghan American Peace Corps, traveling twice to Afghanistan.
The agency is now able to work virtually from various parts of the country; Lotas chose Duck, a small town in North Carolina’s Outer Banks where she currently resides, quite loving it.
Sherry MacQueen – I am interested in running for a position on the Board of ERA-NC Alliance. I want to be involved in the ERA-NC movement because I know how important it is for women to stand up for equal rights. I want to be involved so that my granddaughter, Lilly, will not have to fight this same battle. I want her to live in a country where there are no barriers to reaching her highest goals. I want her to see that it is always possible to stand up and fight for her causes, even when the political climate is against it.
I have been a feminist and democrat my entire life. One of my fondest memories is marching for passage of the ERA When I was in my early twenties, I moved to North Carolina with my husband and two young daughters. I remember marching around the capital with my two little girls (one in a stroller) to support passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). I remember protesting the legislature making ERA a bathroom issue (sound familiar)? In those days, young mothers who stayed home with their babies could not get their own credit card because being a “stay at home Mom” had no economic value. Women were making around 60 cents on the dollar (sound familiar) for equal work. We had no reproductive freedom and limited access to education (nursing and teaching but not med school or engineering).
I wanted a better life for myself and for my daughters so I joined with other women in consciousness raising groups and organizations like NARAL and NOW to help bring about change. Although the ERA did not pass, that movement lead to political activism because I realized that a hand full of people with passion can change the world. I continued to be active on the precinct level, met some amazing women and decided that even if we couldn’t change the law, I could change my life. I went back to school to study Civil Engineering, something I probably would not have considered if it hadn’t been for the women’s movement. After graduation, I worked with the Society of Women Engineers to visit schools to encourage girls to consider engineering as a career. It has been my mission in life to promote women’s right, equal pay and equal opportunity. I am retired now but am still volunteering to help promote and elect women candidates. For years, I was a precinct officer in Cary. I have been Precinct Chair for Raleigh Precinct 18-07 for eight years, I have been Mills District Coordinator for several years, I have canvassed, called, organized , and supported local and national candidates for years. I currently serve on the Voter Assistance Task Force, and am a member of Democratic Women of Wake County. I am also on the League of Women Voters Leadership Team. All this to tell you that I have walked the walk and I am willing to fight the fight……again.
I ask for your consideration as a Board Member because I believe that passage of the ERA is essential to the health and well being of the women of this nation. If given the opportunity, I will do my best to promote passage of the ERA in North Carolina and around the country.
J. Denny McGuire – I grew up in New Jersey and came to North Carolina to attend Elon College and like many others, stayed. I attended graduate school at UNC-Chapel Hill, completing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. I worked for the state of NC for more than 40 years in inter-governmental relations, public policy and technology, retiring in 2015.
I have been involved with AAUW for approximately 15 years on both the local and state levels. My primary branch is Raleigh-Wake County and I am also a member of the Tar Heel Branch. I served as a branch board member and local President and as State Treasurer and am now serving as the State Public Policy chair. My involvement with AAUW has led to interesting experiences with several other women’s organizations in NC. I served on the initial board of the ERA-NC Alliance, worked on voter education and registration, am an active member of the coordinating Committee for Cities for CEDAW and have been involved with both Raleigh NOW and NCWU.
When not doing volunteer work, I love to read and travel. I have lived in Wake County for many years, residing first in Raleigh and am now living in Wake Forest, NC. I ask for your support for a position on the Alliance Board of Directors.
Joyce Mitchell – Mrs. Joyce Mourning Mitchell, a native of Bertie County, is a retired federal employee. She most recently served as the Community Outreach Director for U. S. Senator Kay R. Hagan. She previously worked as Area Representative for U. S. Senator John Edwards; as the N. C. Eastern Political Director for the Democratic National Committee; as a Congressional Aide for U. S. Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton and for the U. S. Department of Commerce Bureau of the Census as a Census 2000 Local Census Office Manager.
Joyce graduated from East Carolina University and completed additional studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Pitt Community College, the North Carolina Justice Academy, and the Progressive National Baptist Convention Congress of Christian Education. She served as the Host of the “AWAKEN: Talk Show for 14 years on the CBS affiliate station, WNCT-TV 9. She was selected as a finalist and published in the both the 2010-11 and 2012-13 Editions of Who’s Who among Executives and Professionals. She is a lifetime Girl Scout and actively serves on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines, Inc. On this Board, Joyce has held both the 2nd Vice President and 3rd Vice President positions.
Joyce is currently the State President of the Democratic Women of North Carolina. She donates much of time to empowering communities proven by her service as a member of the City of Greenville’s Human Relations Council and Dismantling Racism Working Group, the Roanoke Chowan Partners for Progress2 Task Force, the Roanoke Valley Breast Cancer Coalition, the N. C. Democratic Party State Executive Council and Executive Committee, and the Board Development Committee for Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines, Inc.
Joyce co-founded the N. C Democratic Party African-American Caucus of Pitt County and is a founding member of the Greenville-Pitt County Area Section of the National Council of Negro Women. She is a chartered member of both the Eta Mu chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. at East Carolina University and the Zeta Pi Sigma alumnae chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
As a member of Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, N. C., Joyce has served on numerous ministries for the past 32 years. She is married to Jimmie Mitchell of Ahoskie, mother to their daughter, Portia and her husband, Kenny, and has 5 grandchildren.
Antoinette (Toni) Morris – is a Licensed Professional Counselor/Mental Health Therapist, who provides services to children, adolescents and adults. She provides services in areas such as anger management, communication skills, behavior modification, and career planning. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, with honors, from Rutgers University in New Jersey, her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling, with honors, from Webster University and is completing her dissertation for a PhD in Educational Psychology with Walden University. Toni is a graduate of Pine Forest High School.
She moved to Cumberland County in 1976 when her father was stationed at Ft. Bragg. She is a former educator and Licensed School Counselor in the Cumberland County school system. She has also worked in the medical field for 14 years (general surgery and OB/GYN) and has been in leadership positions as a Director and Supervisor.
Toni has been a presenter at the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education conference in Atlanta and the Licensed Professional Counselor Association of North Carolina as well as many youth conferences around Cumberland County. She has focused on topics relevant to youth including academic progress, school suspensions, self-esteem, self-awareness, bullying and career choices. Toni is also a trainer for the Child Advocacy Center Stewards of Children, which is focused on educating members of our community about Child Sexual Abuse.
She is an active member of Lewis Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where she is a Deaconess and Mission Leader as well as an alto in the New Millennium Choir. She serves as the Past President for the Licensed Professional Counselor Association for North Carolina (LPCANC) where her focus is Public Policy and Professional Issues. She organized Advocacy Day for the group in order to educate legislators in the N.C. General Assembly on the subject of Mental Health. She has been a board member of the Junior League of Fayetteville, and has served as nominating Chair, Community Vice-President, and has served on the Recruitment and Development Committee. She is the Past President of the Lafayette-Fayetteville Rotary Club, member of Professional Women of Fayetteville, Networth and a current commissioner as a member of Fayetteville/Cumberland County Human Relations Commission.
Toni is married to her husband of 29 years, a retired member of the United States Air Force, who served for twenty-five years and they have two children, a son and a daughter who are both graduates of North Carolina Central University.
Judith Scruggs – N C native of Asheville
Retired Counselor/ Educator. Graduated from Western Carolina U, University of Tennessee with 2 Master’s degrees. Completed extensive work on Ph.D, but did not graduate from Georgia State University.
Work experience was mainly mental health, education, research, and administration; an avocational archaeologist. Returned to NC and have been active in community and social justice issues
Angela M Stone is an Asheville, NC native that has moved back to her hometown after 23 years in South Mills, near the Outer Banks of NC. Angela has been passionate about grassroots education and progress for the ERA since her undergraduate in Psychology at Old Dominion University (with an emphasis in Women’s Studies) 20 years ago. She is a mother of a grown son Zachary, a US Navy Veteran, a licensed NC real estate broker, a paid SME and technical writer as well as a current small business owner. She holds a Masters of Business Administration in International Business.
Angela is interested in a position on the board in one of the following areas: Public Relations,, Legislative, or Nominating as well as any other committee, as needed.