BOARD MEMBERS AND STAFF
Current Board Members
LASHONDA WILLIAMSON-JENNINGS M.ED
LaShonda Williamson-Jennings has called Oklahoma home for most of her life. After earning a bachelor’s from the University of Oklahoma and a master’s from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, she chose a career in prevention. She developed an early interest in politics, serving as a page while in high school. Since then, she has volunteered to campaign for local and state candidates. For the last 15-years, LaShonda has lived her passion, providing training and technical assistance to communities, states, and tribes to support in reducing the impact of substance abuse. In 2014 she was voted Oklahoma’s Preventionist of the Year. An avid community volunteer, she believes in doing her part to build a thriving, equitable community.
Summer Shije is passionate about education. In fact, she is so passionate about it that when she went to the University of Oklahoma as a freshmen at the age of 19, she has not left OU since. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and a Master of Human Relations with a concentration in Human Resources Management from OU. Summer has nearly ten years of experience in the financial arena within higher education. She is the Financial Officer for the Mewbourne School of Petroleum & Geological Engineering at OU, one of the top four ranked PE Schools in the nation. There, she manages a cumulative total of $24M from both the private and public sectors of the oil and gas industry. Summer’s passion to lead and to empower young people transcends more than her local community, but onto a global stage. Her previous role as the Director of Administration for the Impact Young Lives Foundation, allowed her to successfully develop the leadership potential of university students in South Africa. Summer has also been an active volunteer through the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma as a Wish Granter. In 2015, she was named the Most Dependable Volunteer by the MAW of Oklahoma. Summer has served on the Sally’s List board since 2013.
Lynette and her husband Steve are recent transplants to Oklahoma – Steve’s home state- after many years in Southern California. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she has experience in the non-profit and business worlds with a long-time emphasis on issues important to women and girls. Early in her career she played a key role in the Palo Alto Rape Study, one of the first to determine specific steps police departments could/should take to encourage reporting of sexual assault. She also served as the first Executive Director of the Independent Feature Project/West, a still-thriving Los Angeles non-profit created by and for independent filmmakers.
Courtney Blau is in-house legal counsel and contract manager for Mercy Health Oklahoma and a member of its leadership team. In this role, she negotiates and manages provider and vendor contracts as well as advises the leadership on compliance, regulatory and risk issues. Her responsibilities support the nonprofit’s healthcare strategy, including acquisitions, growth, and value-based purchasing. Ms. Blau has more than ten years of healthcare experience. Prior to joining Mercy, Ms. Blau was an attorney and the risk management supervisor for Norman Regional Health System where her responsibilities included patient advocacy, hospital compliance, performance improvement and insurance planning as means to manage risk and implement an enterprise risk strategy. Ms. Blau is on the Board of Directors for the Oklahoma Society for Healthcare Quality and Risk Management. She is a member of Oklahoma Heritage Association Young Professionals and Junior League of Oklahoma City. Ms. Blau received a B.S. in radiology from the OU Health Sciences Center and a J.D. from Oklahoma City University.
Jessica is the Oklahoma Center’s Program Director for Southern Oklahoma. Prior to accepting this position, she served as the Executive Director of Ardmore Village, a nonprofit senior residential community in Ardmore, which is her home town. Jessica served as the Ardmore Village Executive Director for 12 years, leaving in 2014 to run for public office, the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Although her campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, she gained a lot from her race: many new friends and a deep understanding of the needs of Oklahomans. Jessica serves on numerous local and state-wide boards: Ardmore Chamber of Commerce; Adult Day Services of Southern Oklahoma; Sally’s List; and the Salvation Army of Southern Oklahoma. She is also a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma, Class XXVI, Leadership Ardmore, Class 13, and the Ardmore Rotary Club. Jessica and her husband, David, own the Shiloh Morning Inn, a bed & breakfast inn, located on 73 acres a few miles East of Ardmore, in Dickson, Oklahoma. They have an eight-year-old daughter, Teddy, who is in the second grade.
SARA JANE ROSE
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Sara Jane Rose arrived in Oklahoma in 2005 from California with her husband, Oklahoma native and attorney Jay Shanker, and two young daughters. A 1982 graduate of Brown University in Rhode Island, her California careers included directing episodic series for network and cable television, and five years teaching martial arts and self defense to adults and children as part of a leading national studio chain. She has a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate. In 2010, she founded Sally’s List, a non-profit organization that recruits and trains progressive women to run for public office in Oklahoma. She has been an active fundraiser for Westminster School, Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma, and Harding Charter Preparatory High School.
A fourth generation Oklahoman, Alyssa’s family have lived here as ranchers and farmers since before statehood. After graduating with a degree in Letters from the University of Oklahoma, she has dedicated herself to empowering and encouraging progressive women to run for elected office in her home state.