Board of Directors

connie matthews harshaw, president

Connie retired from the Federal government as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) in 2004 after a 30-year career. Her last appointment, as a career civil servant, was with the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) as the Chief Operating Officer.  During her tour with NCPC, she became the agency’s first female African-American SES.  While at the Commission, she worked with the planners and architects to EXTEND THE LEGACY in the nation’s capital.  In addition to serving the agency’s principal management official, she lists as her most important work, the successful negotiation of the site parameters for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in 1999 in our Nation’s capital.  She attended Hampton University and transferred to the University of Maryland where she received her BS degree in Business Management and an MBA.  She became a Senior Executive Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and completed the program in 1992.  After retirement she formed her own business in Williamsburg, VA and currently serves as a consultant and advisor to several Presidential Appointees from both major political parties in U. S. Agency for International Development Office of Inspector General, Farm Credit Administration, National Mediation Board, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General and several other agencies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  Her community service includes two terms as the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) Potomac Valley Section’s first elected President (1998-2002), offices with:  Colonial Court Appointed Support Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children; THIS - an organization serving diplomats and their families, and was an early Female Executive Sponsor for the Office of Personnel Management Women’s Executive Leadership (WEL) Program Candidates.  She is a member of The Historic First Baptist Church and has served as the co-chair of the Let Freedom Ring Steering Committee.

ronald j. (ron) monark, Vice president

Ron is the Charles and Mari Ann Banks Clinical Professor of Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of the Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center at the Mason School of Business of The College of William and Mary. He retired from corporate life after 25 years as either Chief Executive Officer or Chief Operating Officer in information [Mitchell International and KLM Automotive Publishing], transportation [ATE International], and manufacturing [Morgan Yacht] companies. He has participated in more than a dozen, acquisitions, mergers, and divestitures and 10 new business startups.  Ron’s initial business experience was with McKinsey & Co. He has also taught entrepreneurship and business strategy courses at UCSD for 12 years, before coming to W&M in 2009. Ron has served on 9 for profit boards (public and private) and more than a dozen not for profit boards. Ron received an AB degree in Economics (Phi Beta Kappa) from The College of William and Mary and an MBA from The University of Chicago. He has served his alma mater in several capacities, including Chair of The W&M Foundation, Chair of Swem Library Board, Chair and/or regional director of several fundraising efforts including CoChair of his 40th, 45th, and 50th class reunion gift committees. He has been honored at the College with the Alumni Medallion, the Nancy Marshall Leadership Award, the designation of Distinguished Military Graduate, and is on his fraternity’s Wall of Fame. Ron recently completed 3 years as Chair of the Smithsonian Libraries Board and serves as Chair of Resource Development for the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra.  He has served multiple terms on the vestries (board of trustees) of St. Peter’s and St. Martin’s Episcopal Churches (2 years as Senior Warden or Chair of the Board), in addition to serving both churches as Treasurer for a total of 7 years.

Donald Hill, treasurer

Donald served in the U. S. Army from 1966 to 1972.  He retired from the U. S. Postal Service where he assigned, retained, terminated, trained and disciplined through the Grievance Arbitration Procedures and advocated for the Postal Service at the Arbitration Hearings.  In 2017 he served as a member of the city of Williamsburg Virginia Search Team and assisted in the interviews of candidates for the position of Chief of Policy of Williamsburg.  He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the “Village Bank” of Williamsburg and the Civil Engagement and Banquet Committees of the YJCW-NAACP.  Donald attended Manhattan College, Riverdale, New York and has served in many positions at the Historic First Baptist Church.  He most recently served as co-chair of the Let Freedom Ring Foundation Steering Committee.

linda hunter rowe, secretary

Linda is a retired historian for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF). During 50 years with CWF, Linda engaged in research illuminating the lives of the people from all ranks of society in 18th-century Williamsburg and Virginia. A special emphasis on the religious lives of 18th-century Virginians developed over time, eventually focusing on the history of First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia, and its founder, Gowan Pamphlet. Since her retirement from CWF in June 2017, Linda continues research and writing in the history of black and white churches and congregations in 18th-and 19th-century Williamsburg. Born in Columbus, Georgia, Linda holds a B. A. degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree from the College of William and Mary. 

jody L. allen, ph.d.

Jody, a native of Hampton, VA, earned her doctorate in U.S. History at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA in 2007. African American history is her area of specialization including Reconstruction, the Jim Crow Era, school desegregation, and women & gender. Her dissertation considers the consequences of and responses to the 1902 Virginia constitution revisions that disfranchised most African Americans and some whites. She is also working with a colleague to produce "The Green Light," a documentary film on the school desegregation case, Charles C. Green v. the School Board of New Kent County, VA. This little-known 1968 Supreme Court decision led to the integration of public schools throughout the South. She co-authored "Recovering a 'Lost' Story Using Oral History: The United States Supreme Court's Historic Green v. New Kent County, Virginia, Decision," which appeared in The Oral History Review. Currently, Allen is a visiting assistant professor at William and Mary and the Director of the Lemon Project: A Journey of Reconciliation. Through her work on The Lemon Project she is exploring the history of the College’s role as slaveholder and proponent of Jim Crow.

nathaniel (nat) Brown

Nat, a native of Williamsburg VA retired from the Maryland Port Administration in Baltimore, MD.  He served as a Senior Environmental Planner and Special Assistant to the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff in Maryland.  His experience includes technical and engineering coordination; budget; environmental planning; and intergovernmental review of construction, renovation and demolition.  He served as the Lead Planner in the Baltimore Office of Business Development and Transportation Planner for the State of Maryland. He served in both the United States Navy and Army Reserves and is currently a reader on the The Voice and training pledge coordinator and Team Leader for WHRO in Norfolk, VA.  He is the recipient of several awards including Community Service Award, United Charity Campaign; Loaned Executive Award, Maryland Charity Campaign; Certificate of Appreciation, Maryland Department of the Environment (Black History Committee) and the Award of Appreciation, U. S. 301 Transportation Corridor Study.

martine charles

Martine is the President & CEO MARC Global Communications, has over 20 years’ experience developing and managing leading corporate and celebrity brands. She has created and orchestrated comprehensive marketing, strategic and crisis communications campaigns on behalf of Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, top athletes and socially conscious non-profit entities. A media enthusiast and recognized innovator, she’s worked to establish the nation’s largest New York -based programmatic TV advertising platform, AdMore, and Seattle digital video streaming pioneer Real Networks, whom she served as vice president and member of the board. She’s also assisted in launching and leading key cable and satellite programming services such as Viacom’s VH1, where she was vice president of corporate communications, and America’s most popular financial news provider, Comcast’s CNBC, during that channel’s formative years. Her combination of media savvy and deep passion for sports led to fruitful collaborations with the NCAA, USA Olympics, USA Swimming and Rock & Republic Pro Cycling, among others. She’s likewise handled some of the sports world’s most delicate crisis communications work with Penn State University and former international cycling champion Tyler Hamilton, co-author of “The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France.”  Martine has also assisted The Historic First Baptist Church and the Foundation’s Steering Committee with the 2018 Black History Programs, which resulted in a message on desegregating the 11:00 AM Worship Service to more than 9 million listeners.

rev. julie grace

Julie currently serves as the Minister of Christian Education at First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, VA.  She graduated with honors from St. Leo University, St. Leo, Florida with a degree in Business Management. She has a Master of Divinity (MDIV) in the Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Care and Counseling and a Doctor of Divinity (DMIN) specializing in conflict transformation in the church.  She retired from the Centers for Disease Control and served as a civil servant for the Federal Government as a Procurement Analyst and Contract Specialist.  As a civil servant, she was an Advisor to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, General Officers from Headquarters Forces Command (FORSCOM) and other commands on acquisition policies, doctrine and procedures. She represented FORSCOM as a presenter, facilitator, and subject matter expert for performance based service acquisitions at the Government Executive Conference sponsored by the Government Executive Council to Members of Congress, government executives and industry leaders. Prior to her election to the Board of Directors, she served as a member of the Let Freedom Ring Foundation Steering Committee.

rev. Juanita graham

Juanita is originally from Martinsville, VA.  She came to the Williamsburg area when she attended the College of William and Mary, where she received a B.A. in Psychology and a M.Ed in Agency Counseling.  She serves as the Director of Outreach Services for Avalon. In that capacity, she provides counseling to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  She oversees the programs in the Outreach Office which includes adult counseling, legal advocacy, hospital accompaniment and case management.  She also facilitates educational trainings and speaking engages in the community.  Rev. Graham was called by God and licensed to preach the Gospel by The Historic First Baptist Church on October 29, 2000.  She was ordained as a Deacon in 1996 and in 1998 became the Minister of Christian Education.  She also preaches and teaches and, has done numerous workshops and retreats in the Hampton Roads area and Richmond to include ministering in the “Time Out!” Ministry.

barbara hamm lee

Barbara, a native of Baltimore, Maryland is the Executive Producer and Host of Another View, a weekly call in talk show that “discusses today’s issues from an African American perspective”.  She is also the owner/consultant for Sharing Info, LLC., a media/communications consulting company.  She has held the position of Project Director for the National Federation of Community Broadcasters’ African American Public Radio Stations Initiative, consulting with 26 African American public radio stations on compliance, governance, development, programming and community engagement.  She has served as Managing Director, SkillsOnline, Creative Services Officer, Chief Communications Officer, Chief Public Affairs Officer and Chief Community Engagement Officer, all with WHRO Public Media. Prior to her work with WHRO, Barbara held management positions with Communications Technologies, Inc.; Prince George's County, Maryland Police Department and Hamm and Fox Communications.  Most of Barbara’s career has been spent in television news management including News Director for WTKR-TV in Norfolk, VA; KYW-TV, Philadelphia; WJLA-TV, Washington, D.C.; Black Entertainment Television; WJZ-TV and WBAL-TV, Baltimore, Maryland. She has also served as an adjunct journalism professor for Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. Barbara currently serves as  Chair, YWCA, South Hampton Roads Board of Directors; Immediate Past Chair of the Norfolk Education Foundation Board of Directors; Immediate Past Chair, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority;  and board member of Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC), Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation Board and Bennett College Alumnae Association, Tidewater Chapter. Barbara has been recognized for her work in the community, including being named by the YWCA-SHR as a 2010 Woman of Distinction; a Woman of Courage, Confidence and Character Award and a Famous Former Girl Scout Award, both from the Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast; the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Award; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award, both from the Urban League of Hampton Roads. She is a graduate of Bennett College (Summa Cum Laude).

senATOR T. Montgomery (monty) mason

Monty represents the Peninsula's 1st Senate District, including parts of James City County, York County, the City of Hampton, the City of Suffolk, the City of Newport News and all of the City of Williamsburg.  He is focused on protecting seniors, serving our veterans, creating opportunities for small businesses and improving education for Virginia's children. Monty serves on various nonprofit boards throughout the Peninsula and is a former chairman of the Williamsburg Economic Development Authority. He graduated from William and Mary where he earned a BA in government in 1989.

liz montgomery

Liz, a native of Winter Park, Florida came to Williamsburg in 1972 where she attended William and Mary and worked for Anheuser Busch.  Liz attended Hungerford Preparatory High School in the oldest African American incorporated town in America.  She was the first African American manager at the United Virginia Bank and retired from the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation in Jamestown, Virginia in 2011.  She served on and developed two non-profits – the Virginia African American Forum and Le Cercle Charmant, Inc.  She has also served on the National Association of Business & Professional Women of Williamsburg and Vicinity.  Liz was the program coordinator for the 375 Commemoration of the First Africans to arrive at Jamestown and she served on America’s 400th Anniversary Committee.  She is a talented vocalist that traveled with the Bill Doggett Jazz Band.  A long-time member of The Historic First Baptist Church, Liz serves on the Tour History and Museum ministries.

garson P. orange

Garson is an experienced events manager, with experience as a member of the Marriott Corporation teams in Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia.  He helped to create, establish and implement new department policies and procedures in all banquet operation areas.  He was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the event staff.  He trained and developed Assistant Service Managers and other staff.  He is professional musician (percussionist) with East Coast Productions and over 40 years of percussion experience performing with local gospel choirs, jazz, pop, rock, country, and R&B projects.  Garson has served on the Board of Trustees for 4 years and is currently the Chairman of the Trustees at The Historic First Baptist Church.

william (bill) turner

Bill is a Senior Vice President and currently serves as a New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Deal Team Manager for Wells Fargo.  In his role Bill is tasked with guiding NMTC origination and asset management efforts throughout the southeast.  Prior to taking on this role, he served as a Senior Risk Manager in Wachovia’s Community Development finance Group.  He has over 28 years of experience in the banking industry, with the past 18 years focused on community and economic development.  Bill’s areas of expertise include Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Market Tax Credits, and Community Development Financial Intermediaries (CDFIs).  Bill is active in his local community, typically choosing initiatives that impact youth.  He currently serves on the board of the WJCC Schools Foundation. He has served as Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 195 for the past 5 years.  In addition he serves as co-head track coach for Team Flash and as assistant track coach at Jamestown High School.  Bill is a 1990 graduate of North Carolina State University with a B. S. in Applied Mathematics.

 jeanne zeidler

Jeanne served as mayor of Williamsburg for 12 years in addition to roles on City Council and Williamsburg-James City County School Board. After serving as president and CEO of the Williamsburg Health Foundation for the better part of a decade, Jeanne retired after seven years. She stated in a news release. “The Health Foundation does so much for so many in our community that it is very hard to leave, but retirement is best for my family.” At the foundation, Zeidler’s accomplishments included expanding the School Health Initiative Program, streamlining the grants process and collaborating with other area organizations to further shared goals. Jeanne counts among her significant accomplishments while with the foundation, the leadership in putting the final touches on their strategic plan. Jim Golden, chairman of the foundation’s board of trustees, said in the release. “That process benefited from Jeanne’s vision and has confirmed the directions she championed. We hope to find a chief executive who can continue to build on Jeanne’s very successful leadership.” She currently works as vice chairwoman of the board for the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance.