Leadership Fairfax Launches Equity Council

Leadership Fairfax Launches Equity Council

Leadership Fairfax, a community leadership development nonprofit, launched its Equity Council on Oct. 13 during a kick-off meeting, bringing together over 20 leaders in the fields of racial and social equity, business, community service, academia, and government. The purpose of the council is to be a catalyzing force for the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and resources related to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Fairfax County. The council will convene representatives, thought leaders, and influencers who can identify the greatest challenges, possible solutions, and highest potential initiatives related to inequities and disparities in the public, private, nonprofit, and academic sectors as well as civil society. More information, schedules, and research can be found at leadershipfairfax.org/serve-fairfax.

The Equity Council was created by Leadership Fairfax Board Chairman Danny Vargas, President and CEO of VARCom Solutions, Chairman Emeritus of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino, and former Chairman of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. He stated, “The collective experiences over the past two years have ... exposed the fact that there are persistent, lingering, and pervasive inequities and disparities in our society that must be addressed with purpose and intentionality, and it will take leadership to implement these necessary and overdue changes. ”

The founding Chairman of the Equity Council is Leadership Fairfax At-Large Director Bill Bouie, President and CEO of Sky Communications and Chairman of the Board of the Fairfax County Park Authority. Bouie commented that the Equity Council volunteers “have the passion to make Fairfax County and our world a better place by working to tear down walls that deny access to success and human dignity.”

Karen Cleveland, Leadership Fairfax CEO said, “The establishment of the Equity Council reaffirms Leadership Fairfax’s commitment to racial and social equity. This effort represents our movement from programmatic training, around the issue, to engaging the community on all levels with defined outcomes and accountability measures in place.”

The Equity Council will serve as a working group to lead Leadership Fairfax’s involvement in the equity space as part of the organization’s Serve Fairfax initiative. 

Serve Fairfax provides community volunteers with board training and education to prepare, diversify and expand service on commissions, boards, committees, and advisory councils in the region. Serve Fairfax connects interested volunteers with organizations seeking volunteer service and ideas and serves as a repository for Community Conversations examining racial and social equity.


Council Members:

Amanda Andere, CEO – Funders Together to End Homelessness

Cynthia Bailey, Deputy County Attorney – Fairfax County

Sindy Benavides, CEO – League of United Latin American Citizens

Stephanie Berkowitz, President and CEO – Northern Virginia Family Service          

Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO – Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Leila Gordon, Executive Director – Reston Community Center

Oanh Henry, CEO – Allegra Print and Mail of Fairfax

Esther Lee, CEO – Refraction

Noralisa Leo, Founder and President – Volta Communications Group

Misti Mukherjee, Founder and Managing Member – Extensio Law

Roberto Quinones, Founder and Mentor – DC Hispanic Employee Network

Donielle Scherff, Government Proposal Consultant – Scherff Consulting, LLC

Lynne Strobel, Partner – Walsh, Colucci, Lubeley & Walsh

Kerrie Wilson, CEO - Cornerstones

Julian Ha, Executive Recruiter Practice Leader, Heidrick & Struggles

Dr. James Egenrieder, Research Faculty and Director, Thinkabit Lab – Virginia Tech College of Engineering

Melody Gonzales, Senior Policy and Program Specialist, Community Advocacy & Partnership Engagement Dept. – NEA

Karen Smaw, Director of Diversity Business Investment and Entrepreneurship – Fairfax County Economic Development Authority

Dr. Charles Thomas Jr., CEO – Clear Cloud

Sang Yi, Councilmember – Fairfax City Council