Listee Features — Advocacy

Veronica Smith-Creer


Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer has proudly served the city and people of El Dorado, Arkansas, in her office since 2019. Born and raised in El Dorado as the third of five siblings in a close-knit family, Ms. Smith-Creer credits much of her personality and her drive to succeed to her childhood and deep roots in the area. After graduating from El Dorado High School in 1988, she attended South Arkansas Community College with aspirations to become a teacher, earning an associate degree in education in 1993. She began her career working as a substitute teacher for the area school district and at a local funeral home before exiting the field of education due to a distaste for the politics and bureaucracy

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Priscilla E. Flint-Banks is a licensed minister and community organizer who has dedicated her life to community advocacy and outreach for more than three decades. Since 2012, she has been the director of the Black Economic Justice Institute, a nonprofit organization that she helped to establish. Created as a voice to represent women and people of color in the Boston hiring market and enforce company compliance to minority hiring quotas, the Black Economic Justice Institute works to create programs that offer broader economic opportunities for the people they serve. Ms. Flint-Banks emphasizes the organization’s long-term battle to ensure the accessibility and stability of high-quality, well-paying jobs throughout the community, noting that many Boston jobs are created by unions, which have

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Ruth-Arlene Howe


Ruth-Arlene W. Howe, professor emerita, dedicated almost 40 years to the student bodies of Simmons College and Boston College Law School as a professor of legal interviewing, family, and elder law. Motivated by her lifelong passion for civil rights and social justice, she began her career with an emphasis on social work before pursuing legal studies. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at Wellesley College in 1955 and was awarded a Master of Social Work at Simmons University in 1957. The same year, Ms. Howe accepted a position as a psychiatric social worker for the Stafford Youth Service Bureau of Cleveland, Ohio. She would continue to serve the Stafford Youth Service Bureau for the next four years while broadening her

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Jacqueline Haessly


Jacqueline Haessly, PhD, is a writer, teacher, coach, and the founder of Peacemaking Associates and the Milwaukee Peace Education Library. Her career has been dedicated to helping promote sustainable peace and justice through education, civil rights for all people, and equitable access to community resources. A graduate of the Sacred Heart School of Practical Nursing, Dr. Haessly began working as a public health nurse in the Milwaukee area in 1958. Throughout the 1960s, she was active in protests and marches against housing discrimination and the Vietnam War, and recalls that her position as a nurse “helped her see the connections” between the lack of healthcare and housing for all and discriminatory attitudes in policy and culture. During this time, she

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Kay Cowie


Holding considerable expertise in special education, Kay Cowie was first inspired to her career as a result of her childhood friendship with a neighbor girl who was disabled. Pursuing an education at Northern State University, it took her a few semesters to settle on her specific major. When she finally hit on working with children with disabilities, she knew exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her career and earned a Bachelor of Science in special education in 1968. After spending a year as a second grade teacher in Brentford, South Dakota, she returned to Northern State University and obtained a Master of Science in special education in 1970, at the age of 23. She has been

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After experiencing her own bariatric surgery in an effort to turn her life around, Cathy A. Arsenault realized the importance of patient advocacy, as she wanted to help other people empower themselves and their bodies after making a drastic change. She has garnered certifications in patient navigation from the Dr. Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute, in patient experience leadership and patient advocacy from the Beryl Institute, and in high performance leadership from Cornell University. Ms. Arsenault is the former co-chairperson of the North Carolina Hospital Association state patient and family advisory council, and currently holds the position of co-chairperson of the patient and family advisory council of the UNC REX Healthcare System. As a pioneer of bariatric patient and

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Kye Fox


Inspired to make the world a better place, Kye Kilpatrick Fox serves as a community activist, the president and the chief executive officer of Urban Advisory Services, specializing in health, education, and women’s and children’s issues on a local, statewide and national scale. Growing up in a household that was very community driven and active, her father, Charles Kilpatrick, encouraged her to participate more on the civic front, as he worked as journalist and interacted with several important local figures. Eventually, her father began preparing for retirement and suggested she assume some of his board positions. Ms. Fox subsequently became involved on the board of the San Antonio Public Library, which inspired her to advocate on behalf of her community.

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Lois Whealey


An accomplished citizen activist in Athens, Ohio, Lois Deimel Whealey previously excelled as a teacher for nearly 10 years. She began her career as a fifth grade teacher at the Swayne School, now the Owyhee Combined School, in Owyhee, Nevada, from 1952 to 1953 before going on to teach seventh grade with the Fort Knox Dependent Schools in Kentucky from 1955 to 1956. Ms. Whealey went on to serve as a teacher of adult basic education for the U.S. Air Force in Oxford, England, from 1956 to 1957, a sixth grade teacher for the Amerman Elementary School in Northville, Michigan, from 1957 to 1958, and an eighth grade teacher of English and social studies for Slauson Middle School in Ann

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Shirley Berardo


Having earned distinction as a program manager with IBM, Shirley B. Berardo initially launched her professional journey with the IBM Club in Manassas, Virginia, as a technical librarian and middle manager at their Technical Resources Center. While progressing through her career, Ms. Berardo found success as a senior technical education manager and senior program and process manager of software and hardware in Boca Raton, Florida, as well as overseas in Japan. After serving as an IBM fellow in Bethesda, Maryland, Ms. Berardo then contributed for the years between 1973 and 1996 as a distinguished division program manager of the company’s notable software and hardware teams in Virginia, Florida and Maryland. As a result of her numerous efforts, she was twice-named

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Ruthee Goldkorn


A steadfast disability advocate, Ruthee Goldkorn currently excels as an ambassador for the Abilities Expo, which is a resource for the disabled community. Additionally, she works as the founder of No Barriers Disabled Access Consulting and Advocacy Services. Previously, she gained valuable industry experience as the owner of the Baby Biz between 1980 and 1984. As a childbirth educator and labor adviser, Ms. Goldkorn taught patients about the best childbirth practices. From 1975 until 1989, she also specialized in the management and business development for such entities as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital and the Doctors Hospital of Long Beach. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, she also served as a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology. In a

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