Arts For Life Board Members
Lesley practiced law for 20 years most of the time as a partner with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem and Charlotte. She left the law practice in 2003, and launched her “second career” in painting when she moved to Charlotte with her husband, Carl. In addition to her Arts for Life board service, she has been active in the Junior Leagues of Winston-Salem and Richmond, VA, as well as the Mint Museum. Lesley volunteered in the 1990s tutoring a first grader with leukemia. Seeing how the little girl loved to paint and draw, Lesley took art projects to her home when she was unable to attend regular classes. That experience taught Lesley the value of art in the healing process, and she sees and supports that in Arts For Life’s mission.
Whitney Feld works at Foundation For The Carolinas as Assistant Vice President of Family Office Partners. During her tenure at FFTC, most of her client work has been with individuals and families on current gifting strategies, legacy planning, and multi-generational family engagement and grantmaking. Whitney’s other volunteer and board service includes North Carolinas Association of Women Attorneys, Promising Pages, Young Affiliates of the Mint Museum, and Council for Children’s Rights. She lives in Charlotte with her husband, Mitchell, and young son Cooper. With experience in the arts, development, teaching and the law, Whitney brings a unique blend of expertise and enthusiasm to Arts For Life.
Wade is a CPA and consultant specializing in financial accounting for nonprofits. He began his career in the Chicago office of Price Waterhouse followed by positions in the US and France with a multinational manufacturing company. Transitioning to the nonprofit sector, Wade worked for the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York before coming to Asheville, where he worked on staff or in a consultant capacity for numerous nonprofit organizations. Wade has volunteered with Arts For Life for more than ten years, back when the budget was much smaller, and has been an indispensable resource and knowledgeable influence on Arts For Life during that time. When not fielding bookkeeping questions or untangling knotty accounting quandaries from Arts For Life, he enjoys biking, food, and traveling with his husband, Jim Brown.
A pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Mission Children’s Hospital, Dr. Priola completed her pediatric residency at Case Western Medical School and her Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill. During her medical training, she also volunteered and worked with the American Red Cross/Americorps, and currently also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of Sebastian Strong.
“As a physician, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible impact that Arts For Life has on my patients and their families. I have trained and practiced in many different medical centers and love how integrated the Arts for Life staff and volunteers are with the medical team. I will never be able to adequately thank the volunteers and staff that create that impact but I am excited for the tremendous opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors of Arts for Life to advocate for the continue sustainability of this irreplaceable organization. While our kids and their families courageously battle their various illnesses, it is Arts For Life that engages their imagination to allow them to express their feelings and find the strength to continue their journey.”
Mary Edith Alexander has been with the Bank of America Art Collection since 2004, curating exhibitions for the bank’s Art in Our Communities program and providing curatorial support for projects in the bank’s real estate portfolio. Trained as a studio artist, Mary Edith received her undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Her work has been shown nationally, as well as in local and regional exhibitions Levine Museum of the New South, the McColl Center for Visual Art, and the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA). Mary Edith has also taught art at various levels and institutions; she likes to say she’s “taught folks ages 4 to 84!” She also serves on the Executive Committee of Arts at Queens University, and also volunteers for various programs at her church including supporting Westerly Hills Academy and Trees Charlotte.
Born and raised in the Charlotte area, Joshua attended Winthrop University studying International Business. With deep appreciation for the arts from a very young age, Joshua was heavily involved in arts-related programs since elementary school. Drama club, band, dance, and creative writing were among the favorites. As an adult, Joshua has volunteered and served on several nonprofit boards – including the Young Affiliates of the Mint and founding a local chapter of the Young Nonprofit Professional Network – with the arts-focused ones being his favorites.
Laura has spent her life in service of bringing the arts to life for children, and her Arts For Life connection is many-fold. More than 10 years ago, Laura began as a teaching volunteer at Brenner Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, bringing with her decades of experience teaching art to kids of all ages. (One of her first volunteer experiences in life was at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital!) so she already knew the power of the arts and how important it is to help children battling serious illnesses and disabilities. Upon relocating to Charlotte in 2014 with her husband Mike, Laura immediately began volunteering with Arts For Life at Levine Children’s Hospital and joined the Board of Directors. Then in 2016, Arts For Life became an even bigger part of her life, when her granddaughter Caroline was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at just a few weeks old. Now, when Caroline has to visit the hospital for her many clinic appointments and treatments, she and her older sister Addie get to participate at the Arts For Life art table. Laura has served two terms on the board, and the last two years as Chair, with grace, natural leadership, and a powerful connection to Arts For Life.
Fleenoil is a 20+ year IT Executive with leadership roles at Verizon, NetApp, Cisco and currently Cohesity Inc’s Eastern Americas Support and RTP Executive. He’s an active member of Beta Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Inc and Epsilon Gamma Boule’ of Sigma Pi Phi and involved in their nonprofit public service activities. He is proud to worship at Peace Missionary Baptist Church of Durham for over 45 years. Fleenoil has been married to Kathy Williams for almost 25 years and blessed with two daughters, Zachyre a 2x Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor, Captain of Howard Univ Women’s Track Team and JR at Howard University; and Zian, a freshman also at Howard who is an Annenberg Scholar in School of Communications and member of the University Choir. Fleenoil’s love of children and helping them overcome life challenges, paired with his business acumen, help give Arts For Life a strong foundation of leadership.
Kimberly is currently an independent consultant and Endowed Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University where she also teaches in the School of Business. Previously she served for 15 years as the Vice President of Marketing and External Relations with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Her experience includes writing, editing, project management, marketing plan development, quantitative and qualitative research, higher education curriculum development as well as board leadership specifically in fundraising and stakeholder development. She is currently on the Development Committee of the UNC Chapel Hill Hussman School of Journalism and Media Foundation Board. Her board memberships include Lincoln Community Health Center Foundation and the Duke Health System Chancellor’s Advisory Committee. She also serves as the Chairman for Christian Education for North East Baptist Church. Kimberly grew up in Raleigh and has Bachelor’s and Ph. D. degrees from UNC Chapel Hill in Public Relations and a Master’s degree in English from NC State University. She lives in Durham with her husband, Eric, and sons, Elliott and Edward.
Scott has been involved in business and sales for most of his career. His time outside of work is focused on family, but he also wants to make his community a better place to live. He enjoys volunteering for causes that he believes in. While he was not familiar with Arts for Life initially, he was “drawn” to the need that exists for families who have loved ones in the regional hospital systems. His volunteer time with Arts For Life has far exceeded his expectations. Scott is married and has two college aged children and lives in Kernersville, NC.
Doris Rouse, Ph.D. is the Vice President of RTI International’s Center for Global Health. She manages the coordination of diverse disciplines to address major global health needs and has extensive experience in forming public and private consortia. Dr. Rouse has been the Project Director for grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation to advance public- and private-sector collaborations to develop improved technologies for global health needs. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, she taught science in a small village in Liberia. Living in Durham with her husband, Blake Wilson, Doris has served her community with the Friends of Durham Library, David’s Table, Girl Scouts, and the Compass Center for Women and Families in Chapel Hill, NC.
Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jessica is excited to help bring the joy of art to children across the state. A graduate of the University of Georgia, she is passionate about health and fitness, the arts, and travel. Professionally, Jessica is well-versed in marketing, communications, development, and the arts. She has been involved with Arts For Life for a number of years: as member and chair of the Charlotte Community Council and currently, as the co-chair of Rise & Shine Charlotte 2019 and 2020 (which raised a record $67K in 2019, under her chairwomanship!).
Stephanie Smith is a Business Development Manager at Cisco Systems where she’s responsible for scaling the growth and accelerating the adoption of bought Cisco products. She’s also a professor in the School of Business at North Carolina Central University. With a rich background in Marketing and Development, Stephanie brings years of experience having worked to penetrate new markets, assess product positioning and influence company’s strategy to execute for effectiveness. She has a Master’s of Business Administration from North Carolina Central University, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from East Carolina University.
Will Sparks serves as the Dennis Thompson Chair and Professor of Leadership at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, where he has taught since 2000. Concurrently he serves as the founder and Managing Director of William L. Sparks & Associates, LLC, a professional services firm providing executive coaching, leadership development and change management services to organizations worldwide. He also serves as a Partner in Peter Browning Partners, LLC, a professional services firm focused on board governance. He earned his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior & Development from The George Washington University.