TLC members elect 6 first-term board members

December 14, 2019

The votes are in, and all six first-term board members have been elected! Congratulations to Johnny Burleson, Marlena Byrne, Bert Fisher, Jay McLeod, Will Morgan, and Clarenda Stanley!

TLC is lucky to have such a hardworking, dedicated, and intelligent Board of Directors guiding our work! Read the bios of our six new members below, and learn about all of our board members here. We would like to extend thanks to Pam Hemminger and Tahz Walker, whose terms concluded June 30, 2019, for their service and leadership to TLC.

Johnny Burleson (Durham): Chief Advancement Officer, North Carolina Museum of Art

Johnny Burleson is Chief Advancement Officer for the North Carolina Museum of Art. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University with 18 years of experience in philanthropy, previously leading the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation’s development of local, state, and national relationships to bring philanthropic and federal resources to North Carolina for stronger, healthier communities. Before joining the Blue Cross NC Foundation, he worked in higher education philanthropy and advancement at Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government.

Marlena Byrne (Durham): Deputy Chief Resilience Officer, North Carolina Office Recovery and Resiliency

Marlena Byrne is a Deputy Chief Resilience Officer with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, working to advance resilience of people, places, and natural areas in the state of North Carolina. In partnership with the Department of Emergency Management and through her work with the State Disaster Recovery Task Force, Marlena advises on unmet needs and challenges to the state’s ongoing recovery from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence and coordinates state, federal, and local agencies, as well as nongovernmental partners, in helping North Carolina mitigate and prepare for the effects of climate change. Marlena is an environmental and land use lawyer, with extensive experience advising on large‑scale public infrastructure, planning, and capital improvement projects. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Marlena was a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco for over ten years, advising city officials and departments on all aspects of urban planning, land use, and environmental law. Marlena earned her law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in English from Stanford University.

Bert Fisher (Orange) – Retired President & CEO of Community Partnerships, Inc.

Bert Fisher’s professional career included over 35 years in nonprofit management. His last role was as President & CEO of Community Partnerships, Inc., a private, nonprofit agency providing direct services across five counties in eastern North Carolina to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, mental health or substance abuse issues, and economically disadvantaged youth. Prior to his role at Community Partnerships, Bert served as Vice President of Development for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. A graduate of Duke University, Bert also worked for over 20 years in various roles in Alumni Affairs and Development at Duke. His strengths include strategic planning, nonprofit/organizational management, personnel development, fundraising, and communications. Bert has extensive leadership experience in organizations with operating budgets over $6 million. He understands the critical need for sound fiscal responsibility and works hard to ensure that all agencies and organizations with which he is involved manage their finances with integrity, transparency, and accountability. A native of North Carolina, Bert grew up with a strong interest in, and great appreciation for, nature, wildlife and the outdoors. His hobbies include birding and bird photography. He and his wife, Leto Copeley, currently live in the woods outside of Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Jay McLeod (Johnston) – Senior Planner and Project Manager

Jay McLeod has been professionally engaged in land use-related work for over a decade, including public and private sector employment related to planning and urban design. Originally drawn to biology before pursuing planning, he has advanced degrees in both ecology and urban & regional planning. Jay’s focus in recent years is on generating place-sensitive, adaptive local solutions and awareness to climate-related land use challenges. Most of this work is for small- to mid-sized local towns and counties across the state. A lifelong love of the outdoors led him to join TLC in 2019.

Will Morgan (Wake): Partner, Manning, Fulton, & Skinner

Will Morgan is a partner at Manning, Fulton, & Skinner, where he is the co-chair of the firm’s Government Relations practice group.  He has experience representing clients at the federal, state, and local level, but his current practice is primarily focused on representing clients at the North Carolina General Assembly, and before state administrative agencies.  Will represents a broad range of clients, including national trade associations, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and non-profits.  Prior to joining Manning, Fulton, & Skinner, Will served as the Director of Government Relations for the North Carolina chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and he is proud to continue to advocate for conservation groups through his representation of Land for Tomorrow, a state-wide coalition of the state’s leading conservation groups. He earned a BA in Political Science and Environmental Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his JD from the Wake Forest University School of Law. Will and his wife Janie live in Raleigh with their son, daughter, and yellow lab.

Clarenda Stanley (Chatham/Wake): Senior Principal Gifts Officer at The Nature Conservancy/CEO Green Heffa Farms, Inc.

Clarenda or “Cee” Stanley works with environmental philanthropists and grows industrial hemp, both out of love for people and the planet. She currently works as Senior Principal Gifts Officer for the World Office of The Nature Conservancy. She is responsible for both growing and expanding the donor prospect pipeline from nontraditional donor groups and managing a portfolio of prospective donors. Cee is also a fifth-generation farmer. She did not set out with her marketing and education degrees to follow her family’s agricultural path. But in 2017 she found herself returning to her roots as the CEO of Green Heffa Farms, a social equity hemp and herb farm in Liberty, NC. Previously Cee worked as VP for Advancement at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, Director of Development and Communications for the Lucy Daniels Foundation and was a Major Gifts Officer at NC Central University.

Cee has been active in the Triangle community for many years. She served for seven years as President for the Triangle Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She is a current Board Member for VAE (Visual Art Exchange) in Raleigh. She spent two years as a Board Member for Cary Visual Art. She was a member of the Public Art Advisory Board for the Town of Cary for almost five years. She is a sought-over speaker who has received several accolades including being selected by her peers as the 2016 Fundraiser of the Year and the recipient of the 2017 C-Suite Award.

Clarenda lives in Cary, NC with her 16-year old son, Asher Bleu, and her three unsuccessful farm dogs — Chewie, Solo, and Theo. She also has two adult daughters, Arionna and Amira, and three grandchildren. In her spare time, she loves to travel, raise orchids, and upcycle secondhand furniture.

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