About Us

Founders & Honorary Board

  • Stephanie Counts

    Stephanie Counts
    WIE Co-Founder & CEO Emeritus

  • Dee Dixon

    Dee Dixon
    WIE Co-Founder
    Pride Communications/Magazine

  • Nini Bautista

    Dr. Nini Bautista
    International Affairs Consultant

  • 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

  • Rhonda Caldwell

    Rhonda Caldwell

  • Howard Counts

    Howard Counts
    Webmaster & Consultant

  • Stephanie Counts

    Stephanie Counts
    Project Consultant

  • Laura Everett

    Laura Everett
    Program Consultant

  • Tara Hammons

    Tara Hammons
    Project Consultant

WIE Board of Directors

  • Valerie A Patterson

    Valerie A Patterson
    Duke Energy
    WIE Board Chair

  • Sharon Harrington

    Sharon Harrington
    Chief of Staff
    Novant Health Foundations

  • Brittany Hunt

    Brittany Hunt
    Ph.D Student, Curriculum & Instruction/UNC-Charlotte

  • Kelly R Little

    Kelly R Little
    Author, Poet, Visionary, Motivational Speaker

  • Janet Manzullo

    Janet Manzullo
    Fashion & Compassion

  • Glen Wright

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


  • Regina Wharton

    Regina Wharton
    5th Third Bank
    Advisory Chairperson

  • Lisa Emory

    Lisa Emory
    HM Properties

  • Tina B Henry

    Tina Bonner Henry
    Community Leader

  • Rena L Lewis

    Rena L Lewis
    Signature Intentions LLC

  • Joy Paige

    Joy Paige Springs

  • Donna Parker-Tate

    Donna Parker-Tate
    Retired Principal/Coach/Mentor
    Chancellor of Youth Opportunity University

  • Meg Patchett

    Dr. Meg Patchett
    Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

  • Fabi Preslar

    Fabi Preslar
    SPARK Publications

  • Barbara E Riley

    Dr. Barbara E Riley
    The Chambers Group

  • Deborah Saunders

    Deborah Saunders
    The Putt Girl Book Series

  • Beverly Spainhour

    Beverly Spainhour
    Retired Private School Administrator
    Community Volunteer

  • Valarie Udeh

    Valarie Udeh
    BAE Systems

  • Marty Viser

    Marty Viser
    Community Affairs, Philanthropy, Govt. Relations

National Advisors

  • Carolyn Flowers

    Carolyn Flowers
    Transit Advisor and Consultant
    Los Angeles, CA

  • Samara Fox

    Samara Ryder Fox
    Community Leader
    Washington, DC

  • Katherine Giscombe

    Katherine Giscombe
    Giscombe & Associates
    New York, NY

  • Marilyn Johnson

    Marilyn Johnson
    Founder MarilynjSpeaks.com
    Washington, DC

  • Linda Ketner

    Linda Ketner
    KSI Leadership & Mgmt. Dev.
    Charleston, SC

  • Anthony Mitchell

    Anthony Mitchell
    Council for Advancement and Support of Education
    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.