empowering youth, in partnership with adults, to create community change
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People at YES!
Mary Beth Loucks-Sorrell
Mary Beth Loucks-Sorrell is the Executive Director at YES! and brings a deep understanding of nonprofits and the important role they play in creating change in our communities. She has over 15 years of experience at the local, state and national levels in public policy, advocacy, anti-oppression training and facilitation; as well as capacity building and technical assistance to over 90 nonprofits, successful fundraising and outcomes development. Prior to consulting, Mary Beth served as the Capacity Building program officer for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Her experience working first hand in a foundation applying an outcome framework, coupled with her consulting work with funders and networks of funders enables her to apply a unique and practical lens to the work at YES!.
Jessica E. Daniels, M.A.
Director of Custom Services and Strategic Innovation
Jessica Daniels is the Director of Custom Services and Strategic Innovation at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) and provides strategic leadership and oversight of impactful custom consulting services to partners including, training, technical assistance, systems development, strategic planning and event consulting services. Jessica has over 20 years experience in leading, designing and implementing innovative youth and community development initiatives. For over 15 years, she has served as the Founder and Principal Consultant of Youth Design Consulting Group, LLC. – an Atlanta based consulting practice supporting over 100 individuals, nonprofits and government clients with operational and programmatic solutions to serve youth and communities effectively. Jessica is a passionate business strategist that is committed to build the capacities of organizations to support youth to grow, thrive and succeed. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University, a Masters of Arts degree in Applied Psychology from New York University and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University. Jessica currently lives in Metro Atlanta with her family and loves spending time on the water, being outdoors, theater, and traveling.
Director of Programs and Racial Equity
Pam Diggs is the Director of Programs at Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!) providing team management and development, and performance standards across all programs. Pam has more than 12 years of experience in public health policy, program development, and implementation. Her previous experience includes working in both state and local government to advance evidence-based tobacco control policies and lead youth and adults in creating healthier, safer, tobacco-free communities. Pam earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2003 and a Master of Public Health degree in Health Behavior and Health Education from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Public Health in 2007. She is passionate about equity and creating spaces that help assure conditions for optimal health and safety for all people. During her time at the NC Division of Public Health she led the Chronic Disease and Injury Section in establishing its Health Equity Community of Practice and developing standards of practice for equity across the organization. Pam is from Durham, NC and enjoys spending time with family and friends, eating at local spots in Durham and across North Carolina, and outdoor jogging.
Demetrius is a dynamic public health professional with more than eight years of local, state and federal work experience. He received his graduate degree in 2014 from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with a Masters of Public Administration. In 2010, he received his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from NCCU. Demetrius’ professional experience includes tobacco prevention and cessation, policy development and implementation, program management and evaluation, and health equity. Prior to joining YES!, he worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he was assigned to the North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch. As part of developing relationships within the state of North Carolina, Demetrius has collaborated with community and faith-based youth organizations to help educate youth leaders about the dangers of new emerging tobacco products.
Program Coordinator – McDowell County
Daniel Ellis graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Hailing from Marion in Western North Carolina, he is excited to partner with local youth and begin advocating for a healthier community for youth and adults alike. His time as a resident advisor at UNC helped set the framework for his dedication to equity and social justice. In his free time he can be found hitting the gym, running distance races, talking sports with friends and family, or passionately cheering for his beloved North Carolina Tar Heels, often times in person in Chapel Hill.
Senior Program Manager
Alexandra (“Alex”) Hollifield joined YES! in 2018 as a Senior Program Manager in the Asheville office. She is passionate about using an equity framework to prevent sexual violence, promote positive mental health, and create communities where all youth feel a sense of belonging. She has previously worked with college students at the Vanderbilt University Women’s Center on issues including sexual health, healthy relationships, body image, disordered eating, and mental health. Alex has also worked as the Prevention Coordinator for the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs where she oversaw statewide implementation of a bystander intervention curriculum in high schools, developed a strategy for primary prevention in middle schools, and created a new framework for violence prevention in historically marginalized and underserved communities. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Political Science from Wake Forest University and a Master’s degree in Community Development and Action from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. She loves backpacking, reading, exploring Asheville coffee shops and art galleries, and playing with her golden retriever, Harper.
Emily Lockhart joined YES! in 2011 as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. After six years with YES!, she has taken on the role of Operations Director, still overseeing fundraising and communications as well as HR and operations for the organization. Emily has more than 10 years of professional experience including fundraising, community relations and communications roles with corporate foundations and nonprofit organizations throughout North Carolina. She received her B.A. in Communications from North Carolina State University and has been active in volunteering and community improvement efforts in Raleigh ever since. She enjoys running, swimming, and traveling across North Carolina to visit family and friends.
Program Coordinator - Faith Initiative; Real Food; Active Living
Erica Marshall graduated from Howard University’s School of Communications in 2015. Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, Erica has served as a teen advocate at several local organizations that promote healthier living. She is passionate about comprehensive health education for young people. She previously served as a Facilitator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)-funded Collegiate Health Improvement Project and VillageHeartBEAT, a Health and wellness program for faith-based communities of color through Mecklenburg County’s Health Department. During her free time, she loves singing, Zumba, and spending time with her family.
Senior Program Coordinator - Environmental Justice
Kaleia Martin is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Master of Social Work degree. She has diverse experience working as a youth and peer mentor, a case manager for persons experiencing homelessness and as an organizational leader for a non-profit organization. Her passion lies in combatting issues around racial inequities and she firmly believes that the youth will be the ones who push everyone forward towards a more tolerant and just society. A Charlotte “transplant,” she loves spending time with loved ones, watching sports, and eating Chipotle.
Gwen Reilly has a Master’s in Business Administration from Campbell University. She is a licensed CPA in NC with over 20 years of accounting experience. Gwen knows that the numbers make all the difference to any organization. She brings a level of understanding of non-profits that will help to propel the financial reporting of our organization to a new level. Gwen enjoys explaining accounting to non-financial individuals, so they understand it without having to teach them a bunch of accounting jargon. Gwen was born and raised in North Carolina. Gwen currently resides in Cary and enjoys reading, baking and serving in her church.
Program Manager - Faith Initiative
As the daughter of military veterans Alton and Deborah Styron (OO-RAH!), Liz has had the wonderful opportunity of experiencing life all over the world and calls North Carolina her home. She currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from North Carolina State University (2009). In 2017, she completed a dual graduate degree of a Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School and a Masters of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where her area of study focused on the connections between the practices of democratic citizenship and the practices of prophetic witness within the contexts of the local community and the church. Her convictions regarding the intersectionality of faith and public policy are deeply rooted in the various experiences she has had as both a minister and a social service professional. She strives to live into the everyday challenge to pursue justice, love, kindness, and to walk humbly, while embracing the multifaceted task to empower others to go and do likewise. Liz resides in Durham, North Carolina and enjoys reading, spending time with loved ones, exploring her community, and watching sports.
Katie Spears Warner
Director of National Partnerships
Katie Spears Warner is a Co-Founder of Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), and the Director of National Partnerships. Katie has 12+ years of nonprofit experience with expertise in training development and implementation, consulting and grassroots advocacy, childhood obesity prevention and youth empowerment. Katie currently serves on the Executive Committee for the North Carolina Alliance for Health (NCAH), and co-chair of the NCAH’s Obesity Committee that works to impact state-level policy. Katie holds a B.A. in physical education and health/community health from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and a M.A. in health education and promotion from East Carolina University. Katie is located in the D.C. region where she is working to expand the reach and impact of Youth Empowered Solutions, spending time exploring the NOVA/D.C. area, hiking western VA, working out and checking out concerts!