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Board Members


Juanita Pipkin is a higher education professional with 25 years’ experience developing and initiating academic strategies to achieve results with academically underprepared populations. Juanita was an Academic Advisor for Academic Pathways to Success at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI for 14 years. She has presented at numerous regional and national conferences. During her tenure at WSU she received the Professional Achievement Award from the Academic Staff Professional Development Committee (2018).

In the community, Juanita created Discover Reading- a tutoring and reading enrichment program. As part of this initiative she created a youth library with over 800 books housed at Living Faith Church in Warren, MI. She spearheaded the Expect Excellence Conference, Creating Conditions for Academic Success, 2014 and Expect Excellence Conference II, Creating a Culture of Success 2015.

Juanita’s publishing credits include a book review for the National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA) - ART Therapy with Students at Risk: Fostering Resilience and Growth through Self Expression by Stella Stephany. She was also a Coordinator and Contributor for two Chapbooks published through the Chapbook Literacy Initiative; Words with Essence (ISBN:978-0-978160) and Writers with Swag (ISBN:978-0-9789160-1-5). 

Juanita Pipkin earned a Master of Arts in Student Personnel Services (Rowan University) and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Cedar Crest College). She was part of the Dance Company at Cedar Crest College and has been a volunteer for dance and theater youth programs in Michigan. She currently resides in Denver, North Carolina.




Ciara DiResta is a human resources professional with nearly 10 years’ experience leading compassionate people-focused strategic business initiatives. Ciara earned a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from the University of Michigan Dearborn, and is a SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).  Additionally, Ciara is a Yoga Alliance™ registered Yoga Teacher (200-hour RYT) and is a passionate advocate for wellness on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.



Financial Executive and Adjunct Instructor with a prolific history comprised of more than 30 years of developing and spearheading financial strategies to achieve noteworthy bottom-line and operational results. Accomplished in identifying areas in need of improvement, building high-performance teams to implement complex enterprise strategies to drive organizational and profit growth. Demonstrated ability to motivate, train and guide non for profit organizations in achieving deliverables and success.
Dynamic, creative and resourceful educator, with an unwavering commitment to the social and academic growth and development of every student. 

Hubert earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Temple University and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Drexel University, Philadelphia PA. 



Ken Johnson currently serves an investment strategy analyst for Wells Fargo Investment Institute, a subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company that is focused on delivering the highest quality investment expertise and advice to help investors manage risk and succeed financially.

Ken is responsible for global equities strategy analysis as well as broader analysis of
the global economy and asset allocation strategies. With his knowledge of the financial markets, he is often quoted in national media outlets. He has appeared in interviews on National Public Radio (NPR). Prior to his current role, he served as a wealth planner for the Mid-Atlantic region of Wells Fargo Private Bank where he worked with clients to develop custom wealth plans based on a thorough understanding of their personal values, assets, wealth transfer goals, and vision for their legacy. 

Ken is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute. In addition, Ken has a deep passion for community service, particularly in underserved communities. He serves on the board of various community focused non-profits, including the Premier Foundation of North Carolina and Barre Belle’s.

Ken earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Finance from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He is located in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Ashley Jones is the owner and lead speech language pathologist for Speech Tx PLLC. She is currently serving as a contract speech-language pathologist with the Kannapolis City School District serving students with speech articulation and language deficits. She works closely with Autistic, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, among other disorders students to meet their communication needs. She also practices with skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and hospitals across the Charlotte and surrounding counties serving the geriatric population in the areas of stroke, dementia, traumatic brain injuries and dysphagia. She currently holds membership with American Speech- Language-Hearing Association, the governing organization of speech language and audiologists whose purpose is to make effective communication, a human right and accessible and achievable for all. She received her Bachelor's of Arts with a concentration of mass communications from the University of South Carolina and a Master's of Arts with a concentration of speech-language and audiology from South Carolina State University.

Ashley is currently a member of community services organizations such as Junior League of Charlotte and Delta Sigma Theta sorority Inc. She is also an active member of St. Paul Baptist Church serving as a choir member, young adult bible study teacher and board member. Ashley is also a fellow dancer and got her start at the Christiana Culture Arts Center in Wilmington, DE. She continued her training in ballet at the University of South Carolina and currently takes classes at Charlotte Ballet.






Heather has always had a passion for serving people. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan majoring in Liberal Arts. She currently works for EDSI, a company that provides workforce development program services assisting individuals with the transition from unemployment to employment and from under-employment to self-sufficiency.

Heather has a passion for equity and service. Heather volunteers at the precincts for local, state and national elections. She is an advocate for the arts and enjoys assisting in the growth and development of young artists. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family Michael, baby Jonah and nephew, Gabe.






Melissa earned her bachelor's degree in Art History and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her career with BASF in 2008 as a Customer Care Representative supporting French-speaking Canadian customers. Melissa went on to become a Customer Care Manager, developing the Corporate Key Account Team supporting BASF's most strategic customers. In her current role, Melissa is responsible for Horizontal Integration Implementation throughout BASF North America. 


Outside of work, Melissa enjoys time with her husband, two sons and two dogs. She enjoys traveling, good food and wine and ACC basketball (Go HEELS!)


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President, Juanita Pipkin

President, Juanita Pipkin


Secretary, Ciara DiResta

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Treasurer, Hubert W. Pipkin

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Community Outreach Co-Chair, Ken Johnson 

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Community Outreach Co-Chair, Ashley Jones

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Fundraising Co-Chair, Heather Klucka


Fundraising Co-Chair, Melissa Wentz

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