Change is hard … and exciting!

A message from WPF President, Cecelia Anderson

It was a shock. I know it shouldn’t have been, but it was. I (unsuspectingly) walked to the mailbox, opened it up, and there it was: the first Fall catalog of the year. Page after page of wool sweaters, cozy looking pants, and even a pumpkin or two. I’m not gonna lie- I was excited about it. Don’t get me wrong- I love summer and its slower pace and longer days. And I’m definitely not a fan of seeing Halloween decorations on the shelves before Labor Day. But whenever we enter the final weeks of one season, the anticipation of what’s to come always puts a little pep in my step.

Seasons come and seasons go and the change they bring with them is inevitable. Change is hard but exciting at the same time, especially when it’s a change for the better. As an organization, I think it’s important that we embrace change while being sure to stick to our core values. I had the privilege of attending the new member orientation this evening and was asked to give a brief history of WPF and what we’re all about. It was a good refresher, reading up on WPF’s goals when the group was started 46 years ago:

-To provide support to professional women

-To exchange information and ideas with one another

-To encourage women to attain high career goals

-To enhance careers through a network of professional contacts

A lot has changed in the world since the Women’s Professional Forum was formed in 1977, and we’ve certainly seen our fair share of changes within the organization. However, the objectives of WPF are just as relevant today as they were all those years ago. I know WPF will continue to thrive year after year because its members wholeheartedly support these goals.

I look forward to meeting the WPF new member class of 2023 (all 15 of them!) at the August lunch meeting and getting to know them better the following evening at the new member summer social. Every year, when new women join, our organization changes for the better. Welcome to WPF!


New Member Summer Social!  August 10, 6-8pm

Tuggle Duggins, P.A., 400 Bellemeade Street, Suite 800

Pop on over and chill with us! This event is free for WPF members. We will be welcoming our New WPF sisters at this event so be sure to come and get to know them.  RSVP here.  Contact Jennifer Mencarini or Nicole Hayes if you have any questions.

Welcome New Members!

August Meeting • August 9, 2023 – 12:30-1:30

Do you remember who your WPF sponsor was? Of course you do! Bringing a new member into WPF is a gift that we can pass along and we appreciate our members who went through the application process as sponsors and co-sponsors. We’re excited about the WPF New Member Class of 2023 and are sure you’ll enjoy meeting your 15 new WPF sisters.

Bannister side bottom to top:  Tina Okonkow, Amanda Cromartie, Christine Byrd, Jennifer Noble, Elizabeth Paul

Wall side bottom to top: Kellie Burgess, Karen Foster, Melissa Burroughs, Young Kye

Brooke Alyea: Brooke has worked for Lincoln Financial for over 17 years, and currently serves as its AVP of Strategic Planning. She has a Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and a J.D. degree from San Diego School of Law.

Kellie Burgess: Kellie is a musician and non-profit leader and has served as the Executive Director of the Music Academy for over 10 years. She has both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Cello Performance from UNCG.

Melissa Burroughs: Melissa is Assistant Treasurer for Cemala Foundation, where she manages grants and helped establish Ready for School, Ready for Life, an advocacy program for early childhood education. She earned a B.S. from Appalachian State University.

Christine Byrd: Christine is Director of Development and Communications for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro. She holds a BA from Furman University, a BFA, from Converse College and an MBA from UNCG.

Amanda Cromartie: Amanda is a CPA with nearly 20 years of accounting experience. She recently started a new position as the Assistant Controller for Elevate Textiles, a division of Cone Denim.  She holds BA and M.S degrees from UNCG.

Sheeba Dawood: Sheeba is the co-founder and CEO of Minerva Lithium, which was spurred by work with the National Science Foundation. Sheeba and her partner have won multiple spin competitions with the company’s compelling product. She earned a PhD in Nanoscience from UNCG.

Karen Foster: Karen is the Co-Owner of Foster-Vosburgh Realty Group. In addition to being a real estate broker, she coaches and trains real estate agents. She earned a BA degree from University of North Florida.

Young Kye: Young is a businesswoman and designer who attended graduate school in San Francisco and earned her Master’s Degree in Korea. She now is co-owner of Craftroom GSO, a home goods and gift shop in Greensboro specificalizing in handcrafted items.

Jennifer Noble: Jennifer has practiced law for over 20 years and now focuses on Trust and Estates at Fox Rothschild. She earned a BA at College of William and Mary and a J.D. at Northwestern University School of Law. 

Tina Okonkow: Tina earned multiple professional degrees and holds licenses as both a family nurse practitioner and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She currently serves as Executive Director of Rising Hope Healing and Helping Hands, providing mental health services.

Elizabeth Paul: Elizabeth is VP of Donor Impact, shift_ed (formerly Say Yes). She was previously Development Manager at UNCG and has a BA from University of South Carolina in Journalism and a J.D. from Charleston School of Law.

Chris Rama: Chris is Executive Medical Director of UpStream Care Continuum and

Patient Journey. She earned her M.D. from Wake Forest University and previously practiced at Cone Health in Internal Medicine. 

Sarah Nudelman Schiavone: Sarah Schiavone is an attorney at Brooks Pierce, Greensboro. She is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University and obtained her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She also served on the University of Chicago Law Review.

Joy Shavitz: Joy is president and owner of JCS Investments, a Commercial Real Estate Management and Investment Company that handles purchase, sale, and management. She holds a BA from University of Georgia.

Kelly York: Kelly is a Benefits Consultant at Scott Insurance and her team serves middle market companies in the employee benefits space. She graduated cum laude from University of Notre Dame, with a BBA degree in Marketing


New this year to our fabulous WPF Bazaar will be a mini silent auction.  We are inviting members to join in the fun by donating “experience” related items for attendees to bid on during the Bazaar. Examples:

• Vacation home week/weekend• Spa package

• Theatre and dinner for a small group• Golf package

To make this a significant donation to the WPFF, we are setting the minimum value for the silent auction donations to be $1000. (Several members could put together one silent auction package, if desired).  We are seeking just a small number of silent auction items for this year’s Bazaar.  Please contact Sue Pedaline with questions or to arrange for your donation.



A Message from Kim Eder, WPFF President

I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying your summer with your family and friends.  The Foundation Board has been doing the same.  And during this quieter time of our year, we are spending time working on our grant application and review process to make it more efficient and better for the applicants.  Non-profits, especially the smaller groups we work with, spend a lot of their limited time on grant applications.  We want our process to be as easy for them as we can make it while still supporting our mission and our ability to assess their program.  We look forward to sharing this new process in our 2024 grant cycle.  Additionally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and leadership our Foundation Board exhibits constantly.  They are a caring, supportive, and all around great group of people.  I am honored and thankful to work with them.

Special Interest Group Upcoming Events


Tuesday, August 1 @ 7 pm
Lou Anne Flanders-Stec home

Join the WPF Book group as Kris Landrum leads us in the discussion of Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah.  Our host is Lou Anne Flanders-Stec so please RSVP to her at 7:00 light appetizers and social – 7:30 book discussion.

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.


Thursday, August 17, 2023, at 9am
HORSEPOWER Therapeutic Learning Center
4537 Walpole Road, High Point

HorsePower’s mission is to promote and enhance the welfare of individuals with physical, intellectual, and/or emotional disabilities through a program of therapeutic, educational, and recreational activities using horses.  We will be helping them to prepare for their Fun on the Farm event coming up on that Saturday.  The fun event will be an opportunity for the community to come out and see what they do with vendors and activities for the public.  Thank you to Erica Parker for sponsoring this month’s Service to Others event.

RSVP to Jody Susong at



Sunday, August 20 @ 6 pm
MUSEP at Lindley Park – 3300 Starmount Drive

Join the Books and Arts group for MUSEP at Lindley Park where the Scott Adair Band will perform with standards, swing, and pop oldies.  The concert starts at 6:30, but gathering will begin at 6.  Bring a lawn chair and food and beverage to share and enjoy.  If you’d like to be part of the group, contact Kris Landrum at


Wednesday, August 23 from 9-10 am
Weaver Park Center Bldg
324 W.Wendover Ave, Suite 140

Financial Divas will gather and discuss “Tax Planning – What should you be thinking about now?” High level best practices and tips regarding ways you can minimize cumulative lifetime taxes by taking specific measures today (Roth conversions, gain/loss harvesting, opportunity zone investing) and changes (with potential strategies) brought about by the SECURE Act 2.0.  Join us in the “O” to share and learn.

Questions? Contact Paula McMillan at or 336.337.9507.


Thursday, August 24 @ 6pm
Mt. Pisgah Church, 2600 Pisgah Church Road

At our third quarter Business Meeting the portfolio will be reviewed and any necessary changes made.  Members, please mark your calendars to attend.  Our Dinner Meeting will be on Thursday, September 21, 2023, at 6 pm.  Contact Katrina Solomon at if you wish to attend.

Please go ahead and mark your calendars now for our final Topic Meeting of the year on October 19, 2023. Hope everyone is enjoying a terrific summer!


Friday, August 25 @ 11 AM – 1:30 pm
Cooking Class and Lunch at Culinary U
1709 Fleming Road, Greensboro

We’ll be cooking and eating lunch together! The entree will be seafood. The cost is $58 per person. Everything except alcoholic beverages is provided, but we’re welcome to bring our own wine/beer, etc.  Please RSVP to  Class size is limited to 12, so Venmo $58 to Jennifer McCain Thomas @JMThomas2 to sign up or contact her directly to make other payment arrangements and with questions at 336-254-4325.


Wednesday, 8/30 @ 6:30 pm
MJ’s Seafood
620 Dolley Madison Rd.

Join host Brenda Madden this month. RSVP to

***Please use this link. There will be a new link each month***

Questions? Contact Amy Meinecke at 336-848-3198 or




Friday, September 22 @ 8:30 AM – 3 pm
Seagrove NC

Join us for a pottery tour in Seagrove, NC.  We will meet at Friendly Center, in the lot between Mimi’s Café and Fleming’s steakhouse, at 8:30 a.m. and leave no later than 8:45 a.m.  We’ll carpool to the North Carolina Pottery Center, which opens at 10 a.m. and $2.50 entry fee. From there we can divide by car to visit a few of the area’s many potteries – Ben Owen III, Jugtown, Westmoore, etc. We will return north for lunch at The Table at 1-1:30 p.m in Asheboro.  Please RSVP to