National Staff

The Distinguished Young Women national staff is committed to the daily operations and future initiatives of the DYW program.

Carole Hegwood

Executive Director

Valerie Mothershed

Operations Director

Lisa Lawley Burnette

National Field Director

Carly Bragg

Marketing & Communications Director

Norma Powell

National Alumnae Director

Megan Davis

Development Director

Laura Warren

Foundation Administrator

Board of Directors

Distinguished Young Women is governed by a dedicated Board of Directors. This group of community leaders makes policy decisions about the program, participates in fundraising, and helps keep the program running successfully throughout the year.

Francisco (Cisco) Codina


(Retired) Ford Motor Company
Kesshia Davis

1st Vice President

Outokumpu Stainless USA
Bria Buckridge

Vice President / Diversity and Inclusion

Fluor Corporation
Leigh Knosher

Vice President / Finance

Wilkins Miller
Ashley Halfman Hopp


Printpack, Inc.
Debbie Rice


Megan Gunter Arendall
Symphonic Strategies
Michelle H. Cook
Keel Point
Dr. Linda Rutledge Delbridge
Rackspace Technology
Robert F. Diehl, Jr.
Trustmark National Bank
Liz Huntley
Lightfoot, Franklin and White
Phil Kaiser

Past President

(Retired) Gayfers/Maison Blanche Dept. Stores
Andi M. Kent
University of South Alabama
Kathy Latta
Lenise Ligon
Fox 10 News WALA
Faye Olensky

Past President / Executive Committee

Olensky Brothers Office Products
Maggie E. Oliver

Past President

Alabama Port Authority
Joan D. Rickert
Medtronic Diabetes
Pauline Ryan
Atropos Therapeutics
Emily Strickland-DiMarco

State Chair Representative

Stoneridge Software
Beth Thomas

Past President

Alabama Power Company
David Turner

Past President

Contina Woods
Regions Bank

AJM Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors

The AJM Scholarship Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that exists to administer cash scholarship awards to Distinguished Young Women program participants across the country. The Foundation Board of Directors is a separate governing body that makes policy decisions and administers funds for the national Distinguished Young Women program as well as many state and local programs across the country.

Jeff Howard

The Howard Wealth Management Group of Stifel

Kenny Crow

Crow, Shields & Bailey PC

Harwell Coale

Coale, Dukes, Kirkpatrick & Crowley

Rusty Allman

ServisFirst Bank

Robert Campbell

Lamar Advertising Company

Eric Patterson

Retired, Alabama Power

Tom Clement

Summer Classics

Phil Kaiser

(Retired) President/CEO
Gayfers/Maison Blanche Dept. Stores

Forrest Latta

Burr Forman

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council

The DYW Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Council is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of DYW. We recognize the long-standing inequities present within our organization and appreciate the value that diverse groups of participants, volunteers, and judges bring. We invite you to join us in our mission to enhance the quality of the DYW experience for future participants, as well as make DYW accessible for all young women across the nation.

Amy Goodman

Washington, D.C.
1991 National Winner
National Finals Co-Host

Kyla Hull

Forest, VA
2016 DYW of Virginia
State Judge, Program Emcee, Choreographer

Emily Hart Lopez

New York, NY
2012 DYW of Charleston (SC)
Former Nationals Judge

Beverly Nanez

The Dalles, OR

Tiana Pequette

Tinley Park, IL
DYW of Illinois State Chair
1997 O’Fallon’s Junior Miss (IL)

Brina Ratangee

Frederick, MD
Council Team Lead
2021 DYW of Southern Frederick County (MD)

Cory Robert

Windermere, FL
Council Team Lead
DYW of Florida State Chair