Board of Directors

WCI is honored to receive the guidance of these accomplished and inspired individuals.


Dena Nejad

Board Chair

As a coach, operator and investor, Dena has helped many in efforts to start their own business, scaling their organization,  and fundraising, all while building a productive and inclusive culture. She has supported many high-achieving professionals through transitions and difficult conversations while ensuring they stay true and authentic to themselves.

Dena started her own consulting/media company Roya in 2019 and before that she led several teams at many Fortune 500 and early/growth stage technology startups in building brand recognition along with products that customers and employees actually love and are inspired by.

Her experience as a founder, operator, marketer, product innovator, and engineer uniquely positions her to support high-achieving, purpose driven individuals and teams to realize their full potential.

 


Violet Pearson

Board Vice Chair

Ms. Pearson's professional 

life as entrepreneur, business strategist, master coach, change igniter, and human rights activist spans  over twenty years.  She is a specialist on change management, organizational leadership and development, strategic planning and implementation, executive recruitment and coaching, and creating high-performance teams. She has work with  Hewlett-Packard, Chevron and The Coca-Cola Company.

Ms Pearson has consulted for the African Women’s Development Fund, UNIFEM, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR and National Democratic Institute (NDI). to develop Campaigns on preventing violence against women, and training psychologists and lay counselors to provide counseling, and support to survivors of violence and sexual assault.

Violet is passionate about building a platform for female entrepreneurs to collaborate and support each other. She founded several non-profit organizations and a leading non-governmental organization in Ghana, West Africa, assisting women and child victims of family and societal violence.. In her role as Executive Director, she promoted democratic and judicial reforms, human rights and women’s issues.

Working with young women led Violet to create Girls in the Lead (GILD), a project to develop and empower young girls to take leadership roles in their communities.

 


Anne Mwangi

Board Secretary

Ms. Mwangi was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and later settled with her family in the United States, where she grew up and has lived most of her life.

As a registered nurse, she has worked with the Ambulatory Care Unit at California Pacific Medical Center, and the Electrophysiology Clinic at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, San Francisco.Currently, she is a member of Unit Partnership Council, Cardiac Specialty Unit at MarinHealth, Greenbrae, CA.

She has campaigned for health care reform in the state of California through California Nurses Association (CNA) where she trained and served as a nurse advocate.For her, fundamental issues have constantly resonated:  the need for safety, security, education and health.  They’ve translated into a burning will to help promote better opportunities for others.

 

Grant Williams

Mr. Williams  founded the non-profit organization, The Edge, in 2008 to assist young people in building bridges of mutual understanding..

He served in the U.S. Air Force then pursued a career as a professional choreographer, dancer and teacher in Los Angeles.

He was initiated into the Mankind Project in 1999 and is a certified I-Group Leader. He became active in Boys to Men in 2002 and took the program to South Africa in 2007. He has supported community service projects in Africa including the construction of a clinic in southern Sudan and a school in northern Uganda. He is also supporting the expansion of an orphanage in Haiti. 

 


TeQuion Brookins

Board Treasurer

TeQuion M. Brookins works as  Director of Operations at the McGregor Fund, a private  foundation in Detroit, Michigan committed to alleviating chronic homelessness and unemployment in the City.

She is the youngest and only African American employee ever to hold a director-level position with the company.

In addition to her work at McGregor, Brookins has also founded a consulting firm specializing in start-up assistance for small, women- and minority-owned businesses; and the Velvet Signature Luxury e-Retail Bar, an e-commerce store that donates 51% of proceeds to charities offering economic opportunities to individuals of all backgrounds.

In 2018, she published The Guide to Balancing Chaos & Career, a professional development workbook. 

TeQuion earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the College of Wooster with a minor in Africana Studies in 2012. She received dual master’s degrees in Finance and in Business Administration from Walsh College of Business and Accountancy in 2018. 

Brookins holds professional memberships with The Michigan Nonprofit Association, PEAK Grantmaking, the Council of Michigan Foundations, Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy, Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, Southfield Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Society of Human Resource Management, Technology Affinity Group. and is a 2020 recipient of Crain’s Detroit Business’ 20 in Their 20s award.

 


Trarina Harris

Ms. Harris is a board-certified nurse executive and registered nurse administrator.  Currently she is Service Line Manager of the Neurological Institute at Children's Hospital, Los Angeles. Previously, she served as Associate Director of Neurosciences at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles; and  as Clinical Director of Emergency Services at Kaiser Permanente, Downey, CA..

She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from Marymount University; a Masters in Nursing Administration from California State University; and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Executive Leadership, from the University of San Francisco.

She is Manager Mentor of the Governance Council sponsors by CHLA Executive leadership; ANA/C Ballot Committee Member; and American Nurses Association mentor for leadership development

 


Susan Burgess-Lent

Ex Officio Board Member

Founder, Executive Director 

Women's Centers International

 

Ms. Burgess-Lent began her career in humanitarian relief and development in 1994 and has worked extensively in East Africa. She is the former Program Director of Darfur Peace and Development Organization (DPDO), responsible for the funding and operation of Kassab Women’s Center, the model on which WCI's work is based.

She previously served as a consultant to the African Immigrant and Refugee Foundation (AIF), InterAction, CEPDA, and on staff  at the American Red Cross International Services. 

She also worked for many years in television news.

In 2019, she published the non-fiction book Trouble Ahead: Dangerous Missions with Desperate People, about her work in Africa. She has presented speeches for many organizations about the impact of war and poverty on women, and solutions that can be implemented for their benefit.