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LEADERSHIP TEAM

Ashley Lee

CHIEF PROGRAMS OFFICER

Ashley Lee (she/her) previously served as the Executive Director of Public Allies Milwaukee. Under her leadership, Public Allies Milwaukee grew into Public Allies Wisconsin, one of the largest sites in the Public Allies network, with 45 Allies serving each year. She led the expansion into the Racine/Kenosha area by securing a planning grant to launch the satellite site. During Ashley’s tenure, she raised over $150,000 annually in private funding and oversaw the site’s launch of an alumni mobilization strategy to actively support Milwaukee-based alumni moving into positions of influence.

In her most recent role as the Director of Alumni Engagement and Mobilization at Public Allies, Ashley was responsible for the development and implementation of strategies and programs to support the professional development of Public Allies alumni. She supported leveraging our 8,000 plus alumni network to deepen engagement, relationships, and collaboration across issues, geographies, generations, and sectors.

Prior to Public Allies, Ashley served as Special Assistant to the Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, where she was responsible for designing and launching the Department of Black and Latino Male Achievement. Ashley is also an experienced national service leader, having served as Regional Manager with Teach for America’s national admissions team. Ashley has been recognized as the 2019 Wisconsin Governor’s Service Alumni of the Year and recipient of the 2019 Nelson Institute Rising Star Alumni Award.

Elodie Baquerot Lavery

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (ACTING)

Elodie Baquerot Lavery (she/her) is an experienced senior executive and champion for economic and social justice with a demonstrated history of working across sectors to design, drive, and collaborate on large-scale change efforts. She rejoins Public Allies after nine years at Living Cities, a leading racial economic justice organization that harnesses the collective power of 18 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions and partners with cities across the country to close their racial income and wealth gaps.

As COO of the organization, she led operations and strategic planning efforts. Prior to joining Living Cities, President Obama appointed Baquerot to serve at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). She went to HUD from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where she served as a Housing Fellow.

She has also worked as a Research Associate at Monash University, and at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Baquerot holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a BA from the University of Michigan.

Jenise Terrell

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (INTERIM)

Jenise Terrell (she/her) has dedicated her career to ensuring that all young people have the opportunity to realize their full potential. Since 2003, she has lived out that commitment through her exemplary service to Public Allies, where she has held a number of senior programmatic and development roles, including as Vice President, local advisory board member, Director of Federal Grants, and Senior Director of Strategy and Development.

Jenise has played a central role in developing two groundbreaking national programs set to launch this fall with funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service’s (CNCS’) VISTA Program: DREAMCorps, the first national service program to welcome DREAMers (undocumented young adults with deferred immigration status), and a collaborative, multi-city venture with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance that will build career and education pathways for Men of Color. In both cases, Jenise’s expertise and vision have enabled Public Allies to quickly execute critical national partnerships and to move stakeholders from concept to product to upcoming program launch.

Jenise is a native Milwaukeean, proud Public Allies alumna, and a working mother of two beautiful children. She regularly volunteers grant-writing support to small Milwaukee community-based organizations. Jenise holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marquette University, and has published urban history research on Milwaukee’s African American community.

Laura Emir

VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT

Laura Emir (she/her) is a results driven leader, strategist and relationship manager with over 20 years experience in community relations and philanthropy with a deep commitment to social and racial justice. She has a proven track record of exceeding goals and expectations, creating high performing teams and inspiring donors to give to their level of passion. Laura is returning home to Public Allies after serving as Director of Development and acting Vice President of Growth Strategy and Development from March 2020 – May 2022.

Prior to her time with Public Allies, Laura served as Director of Development and External Relations for IndependenceFirst – The First Resource for People with Disabilities, Director of Development for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.  She was also Development Director of ACLU of Wisconsin and Resource Development Manager for the Women’s Fund of Greater Milwaukee where, in both roles, became the first full time, dedicated development staff member.  She also owns LJE Consulting, where she coaches non-profits of all sizes in the creation of fundraising and strategic plans to achieve organizational goals.

Originally from the Chicago area Laura attended Northern Illinois University, earning a BA in English with a minor in History.  She moved to Milwaukee area in 1994 where she lives with her husband, two beautiful children, and muppet dog.  She serves on the board of Pathfinders Milwaukee and is an election inspector in her community.  Laura is also an avid chef who loves to cook for friends and family.  

La-Tonia Jackson

CHIEF OF STAFF

La-Tonia Jackson (she/her) is a strategic and influential senior executive with over 20 years of experience in corporate strategy, thought leadership, corporate social responsibility, strategic transitions, and project management. She is a devoted advocate for developing and implementing diversity initiatives by cultivating positive and inclusive work environments through her strong understanding of the challenges involved in leading corporate-wide culture changes. 

La-Tonia is a member of the Board of Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem on the Executive and Governance committees, and is a diamond-life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  La-Tonia has led values-aligned initiatives aimed at improving corporate communication, process, strategy, and profitability– both as an expert consultant and as a leader. She launched the first “Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Summit,” a hands-on experiential learning and mentoring weekend for 100 underserved middle school minority males from across the nation in the Bay area. La-Tonia also designed and executed the Innovative Learning Girls Program for a Fortune 500 company, which provided a 3-week next-gen tech summer experience and monthly academic year engagement to 1500 rural, under-resourced, middle school girls across 15 community colleges.

Currently, La-Tonia serves as the Staff Officer/Chaplain of the U.S. Army Reserve in Fort Dix, New Jersey. She has a Doctor of Ministry from the United Theological Seminary, a Master of Divinity, Theology and Women’s Studies from the Princeton Theological Seminary, a MS in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from the Fordham Graduate School, and a BA in Behavioral Science with a minor in Criminal Justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Nina Koh

VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS (ACTING)

Nina Koh is a communications professional who holds extensive experience developing and executing strategically driven communications campaigns across industries, from technology and innovation to healthcare, social justice, and racial equity. For over 20 years, she has consulted businesses on PR and Communications strategies, from small start-ups and nonprofits to global tech companies. 

Born in South Korea and raised in New York City, Nina currently resides in Santa Fe, NM with her partner, two daughters, part-time dog, full-time retired cat, bees, and about a dozen chickens on most days. She currently serves on the board of Vital Spaces, an arts equity nonprofit which she co-founded, which focuses on fostering a collaborative creative community and access to the arts for all Santa Fe residents. 

A creative writer at heart, her passion is using language as a force for good and tool for social justice. She also loves cooking, reading, writing, walking, sitting, questioning the things that we accept as truths, and re-imagining what leadership could look like.

In loving memory of our dear friend and colleague Tonya Mantilla – an incredible leader and visionary champion of justice and equity. 1974 – 2021. Rest in Power, Tonya.