About Us

Founders & Honorary Board

  • Stephanie Counts

    Stephanie Counts
    WIE Co-Founder

  • Dee Dixon

    Dee Dixon
    WIE Co-Founder
    Pride Communications

  • Nini Bautista

    Dr. Nini Bautista
    Asian American Chamber

  • Linda Lockman-Brooks

    Linda Lockman-Brooks
    Lockman-Brooks Marketing Services

  • Sally Robinson

    Sally Robinson
    Community Leader

  • Joan Zimmerman

    Joan Zimmerman
    Southern Shows, Inc.

Staff & Consultants

  • Howard Counts

    Howard Counts
    Webmaster & Consultant

  • Stephanie Counts

    Stephanie Counts
    WIE Founding CEO & Vision Keeper

  • Gwen Garnett

    Gwen Garnett
    Program Consultant

  • Sandra James Gordon

    Sandra James
    Interim CEO

WIE Board of Directors

  • Kaniche Bennett

    Kaniche Bennett
    Enterprise Rent-A-Car
    WIE Board Chair

  • Monica Allen

    Monica Allen
    Mecklenburg County

  • Angela Cureton

    Angela Cureton
    Community Leader

  • April N Harley

    April N Harley
    The Harley Firm

  • Nicole E Jenkins

    Nicole E Jenkins
    Travelers Insurance

  • Donna P Julian

    Donna P. Julian
    Hornets Sports & Entertainment

  • Kristen Metz

    Kristen Metz
    Duke Energy

  • Liana K. Rebollo

    Liana K Rebollo
    Wells Fargo

  • Mary Heath Swanson

    Mary Heath Swanson
    Community Leader
    Commercial Photographer

  • Nick Wharton

    Nicholas Wharton
    Urban League of the Carolinas
    Champions Co-Chair

  • Glen Wright

    Glen E. Wright, II
    Worth Financial Advisors
    WIE Board Treasurer


  • Barbara Ellis

    Barbara Ellis
    IBM & NC A&T Retired
    WIE Advisors Chair

  • Attorney Diane Bailey

    Dianne Bailey
    Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson

  • Ella Bell

    Dr. Ella E. Bell
    Tuck School of Business
    Dartmouth College

  • Alfreda Belton

    Alfreda Belton

  • Jennifer Bishop

    Jennifer Bishop
    Bank of America Merrill Lynch

  • Deborah Bosley

    Dr. Deborah Bosley
    UNCC Belk College of Business

  • Natalie Brown

    Natalie Brown
    Duke Energy

  • Dr. Heather Brown

    Dr. Heather Brown
    Women + Girls Research Alliance

  • Rhonda Caldwell

    Rhonda Caldwell
    The Main Event

  • Wanda Carter

    Wanda Carter
    Retired - Federal Reserve Bank

  • Maura Cheeks

    Maura Cheeks
    Quartz Creative

  • Chia-Li Chien

    Chia-Li Chien
    Chien Associates LLC

  • Astrid Chirinos

    Astrid Chirinos
    Latin American Economic Development Corporation

  • Dorothy Counts-Scoggins

    Dorothy C Scoggins
    DCS Professional Services

  • Rose Cummings

    Rose Cummings
    Cummings Communications LLC

  • Lisa DuBois

    Lisa Lewis Dubois
    Community Leader

  • Lisa Emory

    Lisa Emory
    HM Properties

  • Selma Foxx

    Selma Foxx

  • Jada Grandy

    Jada Grandy
    Fifth Third Bank

  • Hilda Gurdian

    Hilda Gurdian
    La Notícía

  • Bridget Ann Hampden

    Bridget-Ann Hampden
    JHR & Associates, LLC

  • Venessa Harrison

    Venessa Harrison

  • Tina B Henry

    Tina Bonner Henry
    Community Leader

  • Beverly Lavergneau

    Beverly Lavergneau
    State University of NY, Retired

  • Nichelle Levy

    Nichelle Levy
    NASCAR Digital Media, LLC

  • Georgia Jaquez Lewis

    Georgia Jaquez Lewis
    Attorney at Law

  • Rena L Lewis

    Rena L Lewis
    Business Strategic Advisor

  • Joan Lorden

    Dr. Joan Lorden
    UNC Charlotte

  • Lisa McDonald

    Lisa McDonald
    Reachout and Recover

  • Marcia Merrill

    Marcia Merrill
    Red Rover Communications

  • Kristine Ottens-Matthews

    Kristine Ottens-Matthews
    Neiman Marcus

  • Meg Patchett

    Dr. Meg Patchett, Provost
    Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

  • Fabi Preslar

    Fabi Preslar
    SPARK Publications

  • Barbara E Riley

    Dr. Barbara E Riley
    The Chambers Group

  • Renee Alexander Sherrod

    Renee Alexander Sherrod
    Freedom School Partners

  • Tami Simmons

    Tami Simmons
    Johnson C Smith University

  • Elizabeth B Simpson

    Elizabeth B Simpson
    Bentley Simpson Consulting

  • Anna Sison

    Anna Sison
    The Archipelago Group

  • Beverly Spainhour

    Beverly Spainhour
    Community Leader

  • Kim Spivey

    Kim Spivey
    Spivey & Olmstead, LLC

  • Joy Paige Springs

    Joy Paige Springs
    UNC Charlotte

  • Monique Stamps

    Monique Stamps
    NC Vision 2020 Delegate

  • Valarie Udeh

    Valarie Udeh
    BAE Systems

  • Marty Viser-Clontz

    Marty Viser-Clontz
    Community Leader

  • Eulada Watt

    Eulada Watt
    UNC Charlotte

  • Kilby Watson

    Kilby Watson
    Goodwill Industries

  • Sterlin Benson Webber

    Sterlin Benson Webber
    Media Consultant

  • Regina Wharton

    Regina Wharton
    5th Third Bank

  • Barbara D Wilks

    Barbara D Wilks
    Johnson C Smith University

  • Emily Zimmern

    Emily Zimmern
    Levine Museum of the New South, Retired

National Advisors

  • Maura Cheeks

    Maura Cheeks
    GameChanger Media
    New York, NY

  • Carolyn Flowers

    Carolyn Flowers
    Federal Transit Administration
    Washington, DC

  • Samara Fox

    Samara Ryder Fox
    Community Leader
    Washington, DC

  • Katherine Giscombe

    Katherine Giscombe
    Catalyst Inc.
    New York, NY

  • Marilyn Johnson

    Marilyn Johnson
    International Women's Forum
    Washington, DC

  • Linda Ketner

    Linda Ketner
    KSI Research
    Charleston, SC

  • Anthony Mitchell

    Anthony Mitchell
    Management Leadership for Tomorrow
    Washington, DC

Dee DixonStephanie CountsIn late 2004, WIE Co-Founders, Stephanie Counts and Dee Dixon, saw a need within the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community for Women of Color to get together to discuss unique opportunities and the challenges they face.

There are 32.7 million women of color in the United States representing $723 billion in purchasing power according to Diversity Inc. magazine and furthermore, they projected that this market will grow to 36.8 million by 2008 with over $1 trillion in buying power.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women of color own 1.4 million companies generating almost $147 billion in sales.  These firms grew at six times the growth rate of all U.S. firms and faster than the U.S. economy.  All told, women of color own 21 percent of U.S. privately held, women-owned firms.  Yet despite these achievements, only 1.6 percent of Fortune 500 corporate officers are women of color.

With these facts in hand and believing that corporations and policy makers around this country needed a “wake up” call, Stephanie and Dee decided to convene 100 influential African American, Asian, American Indian and Hispanic women from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community at a meeting entitled, “What Women of Color Want”, in March 2005.  At this event, these women discussed the issues they face in business and their personal lives and how they could help each other.  They took a 149-question electronic and anecdotal survey geared toward determining the needs of women of color.  The results were analyzed by a nationally renowned market research firm.When Counts and Dixon saw the results of the survey they realized that there were tremendous opportunities to build and bridge social capital among all women.  In June 2005, they founded a non-profit company, Women’s Inter-Cultural Exchange (WIE), whose mission is

… to build and bridge social capital among women of diverse cultures, foster cross-cultural awareness and develop the infrastructure for community dialogue, engagement and programming.

In July 2005 they reconvened the women from the March meeting and expanded the invitation to include Caucasian women for their Inaugural Town Meeting to present the results from the survey and announce the formation of WIE.  These women were extremely excited about WIE as a formal platform to build social capital and others have joined their ranks since July as WIE now has a membership list of over 1,400 women.