Since April is National Volunteer Month, we want to introduce you to eight of our wonderful volunteers and volunteer leaders, spotlighting their amazing support and thanking them for all they do for AWF and the women and girls in our community.
AWF Board Alumna Deborah Goodman recently retired from First American Title Insurance. Deborah was a dedicated AWF Board Member from 2013 to 2019, and served on the Finance and Investment Committee for seven years (one year as a Board Alumna). During her Board tenure, she also served as Treasurer for two years. As a Board Member, Deborah went above and beyond, including serving as a volunteer for past AWF fundraising event Yogathon! Before her retirement, Deborah helped to secure her employer, First American Title Insurance, as an annual sponsor for the Numbers Luncheon. Deborah remains involved with AWF, currently serving as the Board Alumni Co-Chair.
When last year’s Inspire Atlanta class began, they never expected to have to contend with a global pandemic and subsequent economic recession. However, once the AWF staff and participants took a moment to reassess the situation, the 2020 class determinedly marched on, including volunteer spotlight, Nicole Hill. Nicole is the Head of Consumer & Shared Services for Non-Financial Risk at Citizens Bank, and as a member of the Inspire Atlanta 2020 class, she raised over $10,000 for AWF’s strategic grantmaking. Through Inspire Atlanta, Nicole also found her voice as volunteer leader, which she wrote about for the AWF blog in November 2020. She continues to support other women in their journeys toward empowerment and self-discovery as the current Inspire Atlanta Alumnae Chair.
One of AWF’s most ardent and longtime supporters is Charles Huddleston, an attorney with the firm Nelson Mullins. A personal donor to AWF since we were the Atlanta Women’s Fund (as part of The Communication Foundation for Greater Atlanta), he continually supports our Women in Finance event, Women in Law event, and Numbers Luncheon. Beyond his financial support, Charles helped secure the 2016 Women in Law featured speaker, former Mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin. We are also grateful that, thanks to Charles, we were able to host the 2018 and 2019 Women in Finance receptions at Nelson Mullins at their beautiful rooftop event space as well as film the launch event for the 2020 Numbers Campaign. Charles’ passion for AWF’s mission and his decades of support make him a very special volunteer.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Project Manager Sonali Rao maybe a familiar face to you. As a member of the 2018 inaugural class of Inspire Atlanta, Sonali was featured in an AWF video speaking about her Inspire Atlanta experience. She also successfully raised over $10,000 for AWF! Like so many of our wonderful Inspire Atlanta participants, Sonali remains involved with AWF and the Inspire Atlanta program. In 2019, she served as the Inspire Atlanta Alumnae Co-Chair and as a member of the Women in Healthcare planning committee in 2020 and 2021.
AWF volunteer leader Ashley Gravlee is more like an honorary staff member due to her deep involvement with AWF. Ashley is Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Novelis, Inc. and was a driving force behind launching our Inspire Atlanta program. Ashley served on the original planning committee and played a key leadership role during the inaugural year (along with Kate Pearch, Morris Martin & Manning, LLP and Anna Callaway, Anna Callaway Real Estate). She also served as an advisor to the participants during the first year of Inspire Atlanta. In 2018 and 2019, Ashley organized a hands-on volunteer opportunity with AWF grantee Atlanta Habitat for Humanity for the Inspire Atlanta participants. The participants spent a day helping to build the Novelis-sponsored Habitat home. In addition to her Inspire Atlanta leadership, Ashley helped secure Novelis as a sponsor of Inspire Atlanta and the Numbers Luncheon. Lastly, Ashley is involved with AWF’s affinity group series, serving in 2020 and 2021 as the Women in S.T.E.A.M. Co-Chair.
Condace Pressley is the Director of Community and Public Affairs at WSB-TV, and the voice of AWF! She is the narrator for the 2018, 2019, and 2020 AWF overview videos and served as the “voice of God” during the 2018 and 2019 Numbers Luncheon. We were also thrilled to have Condace interview Judy Smith, the 2018 Women in Law featured speaker. This year, during Women’s History Month, we were honored by Condace to be one of the featured PSA spots on WSB-TV.
One of the most special times of the year at AWF is in the fall when we hold our annual Numbers Too Big To Ignore Luncheon and we are so grateful that many of our luncheon volunteers return year after year. This is true of one of our few men volunteers, Kevin Mills. Kevin first came to the Numbers Luncheon as a guest in 2016. He joined as a volunteer the following year thanks to his friend, and another regular Numbers Luncheon volunteer, Melodi Ford, who thought he would be a perfect fit due to his past experiences as a nonprofit volunteer and chair. He’s has been a luncheon volunteer every year since, except 2020 due to the event being virtual. The most special luncheon to Kevin was probably 2019 because the featured speaker was his TV crush, Gayle King. Kevin truly loves the Numbers Luncheon because of the amazing outpouring of support for women by women. As he says, “The numbers and efforts of the attendees are certainly too big to ignore!”
Last, but certainly not least, Raynetta Johnson is a longtime AWF Numbers Luncheon volunteer. She learned about AWF from researching volunteer opportunities in Atlanta, after moving back to the area from Miami. Raynetta started as a Numbers Luncheon volunteer in 2010 and has not missed a single luncheon since! In fact, she loves volunteering for the luncheon so much, she always takes the day off from work so as not to miss it. Her favorite parts of the luncheon are the dynamic speakers and seeing many of the same women leaders return as attendees year after year and watching them bring the next generation of women leaders with them to the luncheon. Why is Raynetta such a dedicated volunteer? Because she is truly her happiest when helping others.