Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.

Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 6, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky, Alena.Yarmosky@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Office of the Children’s Ombudsman

Jane Lissenden, Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Childrens Ombudsman
Jane Lissenden has been appointed Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman. Prior to her appointment, Jane served for 15 years as Training Coordinator with the Court Improvement Program in the Office of the Executive Secretary at the Supreme Court of Virginia. Jane is a graduate of James Madison University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration and a minor in Criminal Justice. 

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Dymon Bailey, Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
Dymon Bailey has been appointed Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Prior to her appointment, Dymon served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Dymon graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and is currently earning her Master of Public Administration degree from the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Omer Yousuf, Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
Omer Yousuf has been appointed Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. Omer previously served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He graduated from the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. 

Office of the Governor

Nadiah Cooper, Policy Assistant
Nadiah Cooper has been appointed Policy Assistant. Prior to her appointment, Nadiah served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Communications Office. She is a native of Norfolk and a graduate of William & Mary, where she earned a Bachelor Arts degree in Government and Film and Media Studies.

Mary Olivia Rentner, Special Assistant for Communications
Mary Olivia Rentner has been appointed Special Assistant for Communications. She previously served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and as an intern in the Office of Congressman Don Beyer. Mary Olivia is a native of Arlington and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy and English from William & Mary.

Megan Weeks, Special Assistant for Communications
Megan Weeks has been appointed Special Assistant for Communications. Prior to her appointment, Megan served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation and interned for State Senator Scott Surovell. She is a native of Richmond and recently graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Historic Preservation.

Secretariat of Administration

Whitney Brown, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Administration
Whitney Brown has been appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of Administration. Prior to her appointment, Whitney served as a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Administration. She is a native of Richmond and graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science with a focus on Legal Studies, Government Services, and Public Policy. She also holds a certificate in African-American Studies and is earning a Master of Public Administration degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Secretariat of Commerce and Trade

Michael Jerakis, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade
Michael Jerakis has been appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Prior to his appointment, he was a Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Michael is a native of Alexandria and graduated from William & Mary with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Public Policy.
 

Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Board Appointments

Board of the Virginia College Building Authority

  • The Honorable Martin Thomas, Jr. of Norfolk, Attorney and Vice Mayor, City of Norfolk

Hampton Roads Sanitation District Commission

  • Elizabeth A. Taraski, PhD of Suffolk, President and CEO, Nansemond River Preservation Alliance
  • Nancy J. Stern of Belle Haven, Retired CEO, Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc.

Roanoke River Basin Bi-State Commission

  • Gerald Lovelace* of Halifax, President, Lovelace Consulting, LLC

Virginia African American Advisory Board

  • Reverend Cozy E. Bailey, Sr.* of Dumfries, President, Prince William NAACP
  • Sheila Dixon of Loudoun, CEO, Gigology Strategy and Solutions, LLC
  • Keren Charles Dongo* of Alexandria, State Director, Office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
  • Chris Sanchez of Christiansburg, Executive Director, Christiansburg Institute, Inc.
  • Dr. Tamara Wilkerson Dias of Charlottesville, Executive Director, African American Teaching Fellows
  • Tia Yancey of Danville, Director of Volunteerism, Center for Community Engagement and Career Competitiveness, Averett University

Virginia Asian Advisory Board

  • Dr. Lisa Chen of Louisa, Director, Virtual Academy and Middle School Education, Louisa County Public Schools
  • Rowena F. Finn of Virginia Beach, Artist and Educator
  • Thomas Okuda Fitzpatrick of Richmond, Division Director, Programs and Services, Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
  • Salinna Lor of Richmond, Communications Manager, Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association
  • Marie Sankaran Raval, MD* of Henrico, Physician, Virginia Commonwealth University Health System
  • Quan Tiet Schneider of Glen Allen, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Manager, Altria Group
  • Henry “Hank” Yuan of Fairfax, Senior Associate, The Cohen Group

Virginia Council on Women

  • Dr. Mary Kate Andris of Chesapeake, Director, Council Leadership Consulting, Girl Scouts of the United States of America
  • Deb Stevens Fitzgerald of Harrisonburg, Associate Professor, Blue Ridge Community College and Member, Harrisonburg City School Board
  • Diana Gates* of Richmond, Training and Resource Development Coordinator, National Center on Tribal Early Childhood Development
  • Kristina Hagen of Richmond, State Director, Virginia Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy
  • Courtney Hill* of Arlington
  • Aisha Johnson* of Roanoke, Economic Development Specialist, City of Roanoke
  • Hyun Lee of Centreville, Executive Director of Public Affairs, Organization of Korean American Women
  • Karishma Merchant* of Alexandria, Senior Education and Workforce Policy Advisor, Office of U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
  • Marisol Morales-Diaz* of Burke, Spanish Teacher
  • The Honorable Donna Price of Scottsville, Attorney, Gilbert Employment Law, P.C. and Vice Chair, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Virginia Latino Advisory Board

  • Max A. Luna, MD of Charlottesville, Director, Latino Health Initiative and Vice Chair, Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia

Virginia LGBTQ+ Advisory Board

  • Matt Banfield of Henrico, Assistant Vice Provost, University of Virginia
  • The Honorable Michael Berlucchi of Virginia Beach, Councilmember, City of Virginia Beach
  • Demas Boudreaux of Richmond, Government Relations Manager, Virginia Housing
  • Evelyn I. BruMar of Prince William County, Executive Director, Casa BruMar Foundation
  • Charley Burton of Charlottesville, Virginia Program Director, Black Transmen, Inc.
  • Jonathan Dromgoole of Arlington, Presidential Appointments Manager, LGBTQ Victory Institute
  • Amanda Goehring of Tysons Corner, Interpreter and Translator
  • Kevin Han of McLean, Health Navigator, NAKASEC VA
  • Aurora Higgs of Henrico, Founder and Equity Builder, Borealis Consulting RVA, LLC
  • Rob Keeling of Richmond, Managing Vice President of Human Resources, Capital One
  • Joanna Keller of Verona, Retired
  • Kyle Mason of Richmond, Doctoral Student, Department of Psychology, Health Psychology Program, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Karen Mullen McPhail, RN, BSN, MSN, CCM, CDP of Great Falls, Executive Director, Eldementals, LLC and Aging Rainbows
  • Stephanie Merlo of Henrico, Chapter Leader, Minority Veterans of America
  • Tracy L. Monegain of Richmond, former Technical Service Supervisor, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Dr. Monica Motley of Danville, CEO and Founder, The Motley Consulting Group and Senior Research Faculty, Center for Public Health Practice and Research, Virginia Tech
  • Bryan Price of South Boston, Research Assistant for Community Outreach, University of Virginia Cancer Center
  • Dr. Jes Simmons of Farmville, Retired Faculty, Longwood University
  • Patty Smith of Chester, Teacher, Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology
  • Michael Thorne-Begland of Richmond, Vice President and Chief Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Officer, Altria Group
  • Lisa A. Turner of Virginia Beach, Executive Director, LPAC

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

  • Christina Everett* of Norfolk, Hampton Roads Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Chris Newsome of Cobbs Creek, Fishing Guide, Bay Fly Fishing, LLC

Virginia Waste Management Board

  • Eric DeGroff* of Chesapeake, Professor, School of Law, Regent University
  • Amarjit Singh Riat, P.E, PMP* of Fairfax Station, Engineering Manager, Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and Chairman, Sikh Foundation of Virginia

*denotes reappointment

# # #