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Katherine Karsten Perry

Katherine Karsten Perry

Executive Director

Katherine Karsten Perry

Katherine Karsten Perry is a native of Winston-Salem and comes to LWS after more than three years working with The Arts Council of Winston-Salem where she was instrumental in development, marketing and event management. During her tenure with The Arts Council, Katherine helped launch and market the collaborative Lifelong Learning Program with Wake Forest University; Sunset Flicks, a summer music and movie series; the Youth Arts Opportunity Fair as well as a variety of other initiatives.

Katherine was also a force behind the creation of an official Arts and Entertainment district in Bristol, TN/VA where she was the Associate Director of Believe in Bristol, a certified Main Street program. Working with a multitude of officials, educators and business owners from both states, she launched Believe in Bristol’s annual State of the Arts celebration along with numerous other events promoting both towns and their creative communities.

Katherine has experience as a contributing writer for Forsyth Woman and Forsyth Family Magazines and spent several years working with the American Cancer Society in Raleigh in program and volunteer management as well as development.

Katherine has a Journalism degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and is the proud mother of three amazing sons.

Katherine can be reached at kp@leadershipws.org or at 336-723-1002 x1204

April D. Garner

April D. Garner

Program Director

April D. Garner

April D. Garner is a native of Conway, SC. She served as Director of Career Services for Horry Georgetown Technical College for over 11 years. As the Director of The Office of Career Services, April was responsible for developing strategic plans for career and professional development activities for the college’s students and alumni, establishing business and collegiate partnerships throughout the community and the state, and identifying employment opportunities for students and graduates. April has been featured in local and national media for her expertise in career and professional development. Before working in Higher Education, April worked in the marketing and advertising industry for more than 15 years in the Myrtle Beach (Horry County) area. Garner is a graduate of The University of South Carolina and obtained her Master of Education degree with an emphasis in Higher Education Administration from Columbia College, where she was recognized as Graduate Student of the Year.

In addition to her many professional and community service areas, she has been a board member for several nonprofits and the co-host of two live talk shows. Garner’s numerous involvements are an extension of her dedication to educating others on working collectively to improve social conditions and create opportunities for growth and empowerment.

April D. Garner can be reached at april@leadershipws.org or at 336-723-1002 ext. 1206.

Jared Steward

Jared Steward

Admin and Technology Director

Jared Steward

Jared Steward moved to Winston-Salem with his family in 2007 to pursue a Master’s Degree in Music at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which he received in 2010. During that time he was also telecommuting full time as Cash Posting Supervisor at United Medical Center in Washington, DC. Jared has since worked as a bookkeeper at Separk Music, Sawtooth School for Visual Art, and most recently at The Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, where he also worked as the Director of Operations & Finance for three years.

As a musician, Jared teaches private percussion lessons in Winston-Salem and regularly performs in the percussion sections with the Winston-Salem Symphony, Piedmont Wind Symphony and Western Piedmont Symphony. In his spare time, Jared enjoys hiking, camping, studying Japanese, and reading. He is married to Tonya Steward and they have three children, Nicholas, Madeleine, and Matthias.

Jared can be reached at admin@leadershipws.org or at 336-723-1002 ext. 1200.

Michelle Ellis

Michelle Ellis

Director of Philanthropy

Michelle Ellis

Michelle Ellis is a native of Waynesboro, VA, and has lived in the Winston Salem, NC area where she has been an active community member for over 25 years. Here, she has dedicated her professional career in service to leadership teams of global corporations as well as non-profits. Michelle attended Ferrum College and Radford University, where she studied Business Administration. She is active in her church where she served on the Steering Committee, Youth Fellowship leader and the Community Food Pantry.  Throughout her career she has partnered and worked closely on numerous projects and events with local entities, including the United Way of Forsyth and Davidson counties, Second Harvest Food Bank, Empty Bowls, Leadership Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Foundation, The Winston-Salem Arts Council and Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, the Chamber of Commerce (now Greater Winston Salem, Inc.), the Winston Salem Convention and Visitors Bureau (now Visit Winston Salem), Wake Forest University and the Biotech Center, Winston-Salem State University, Forsyth Tech Community College, NC School of the Arts, Carolina University and Salem Academy and College. Michelle is married and lives in Clemmons, NC where she and her husband raised their son and daughter.

Michelle can be reached at mellis@leadershipws.org or at 336-723-1002 ext. 1205.

Thurmond Toland

Thurmond Toland

Alumni Engagement Coordinator

Thurmond Toland

Thurmond Toland is a native of South Carolina but spent most of his adult and professional life in Baltimore, MD. Thurmond has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and recently served as a VP, Sr. Program Manager for Wells Fargo’s financial wellness program. Thurmond was responsible for creating strategic initiatives to help generate new business opportunities for network branches, building community partnerships to enhance brand awareness and providing tools and resources to community members to help them make informed decisions about their financial futures. Thurmond also held several leadership roles in Wells Fargo’s employee resource network like the Black African American Connection, where he played an important role in establishing synergy across multiple levels of management.

In addition to his professional career, Thurmond spends much of his time giving back to his communities both in Baltimore and now here in Winston-Salem. He has served on several boards and committees and is dedicated to continuing a life of servant leadership through his work with organizations such as Mi Casa Su Casa, Neighbors Without Walls, Pivot Ministry, Crosby Scholars, LEAD Girls of NC and countless others.

Thurmond earned a degree in business management from Goucher College, Towson, MD graduating in 1996 (Sports HOF c/o 2022). Thurmond currently lives in Clemmons with his wife and two sons.

Thurmond can be reached at ttoland@leadershipws.org or at 336-723-1002 ext. 1207.

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