National Women's Political Caucus Officers
Linda Young previously served as the 1st Vice President and Vice President of Development for the National Women's Political Caucus. She has served on the national board for over ten years, first as a Regional Director, and later as Vice President for Development. Young served more than 10 years on the NWPC-Texas board in various capacities, including serving twice as state president. On behalf of the Caucus, she recruited the first two co-chairs for the President's Circle, Liz Carpenter and Luci Baines Johnson, and has begun the groundwork for establishing the first endowment for the Caucus.
Young currently serves as Special Assistant to the President for External Affairs for Austin Community College District, the eighth largest community college in the country. Her professional career has included significant development work for education institutions and for public and private organizations, with more than $18 million in funds raised through Young's efforts. Young served as CEO of a small start-up state agency for five years in Texas, beginning during Governor Ann Richards’s administration. With almost four decades dedicated to working on women’s issues and equality, Young received the Medal of Honor/Veteran Feminists of America. Linda was one of the early recipients of the national leadership award for women, the Athena Award.
1st Vice President & Vice President, Political Planning
Donna Lent has been a vibrant part of the political scene on Long Island for over 25 years. In 1992 she helped lead the effort to establish the New York State CHOICE Party. In 1998, she carried petitions to gain ballot access for the Working Families Party and managed the field operations to establish the Suffolk County Committee of the WFP in 2002. Lent served as secretary of the Suffolk County Committee of the WFP and Brookhaven Town Leader for six years before moving to the Independence Party.
State Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay courted Lent for years and appointed her as Executive Director of the Suffolk County Committee in 2008. MacKay said that the position of Executive Director of the Independence Party’s Suffolk County Committee was created specifically for Lent. “Donna has a world of on-the-ground experience. Seldom does one person bring to a political organization the talent and strengths that Donna Lent does,” said MacKay.
Donna served as Chief of Staff to Assemblywoman Patricia Eddington for nine years before being appointed as Chief Deputy Clerk for the Town of Brookhaven in 2010; advancing important legislation that benefited women and families. As Chief Deputy Clerk for Brookhaven, the largest town in Suffolk County with just under 500,000 residents, Lent also serves as project manager for a 6.7 million dollar town-wide scanning project.
Donna Lent is a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus since 1995 and was first elected to the National Political Planning committee in 1999. She served continuously with the exception of one term. Donna served as both President and Vice President of her local caucus and currently serves as the President of the NY State Caucus.
Vice President, Communications
Paula Willmarth retired from a 30 year career in public service in the Missouri Departments of Social Services and Mental Health. She served 3 years as State Director of the Division of Family Services, which included responsibility for Child Welfare and Public Assistance. Paula currently works as a private consultant in the fields of human services and mental health programming.
Paula is a member of her local and state Caucus of many years; serving each as President; Vice President, respectively. She currently serves her state Board as VP for Political Issues. She also serves on several non-profits boards. Paula serves as Vice President of the Jefferson City Concert Association. In that role she has written grants; produced publicity; selected talent, etc. In the many political offices she holds, she has responsibility for several MO Counties and is charged with gaining their participation in the political process.
Vice President, Board Development
Donna Deberry is the CEO of Brand Inclusion. She has been described as a trailblazer and a pioneer. Her ascent to become the highest ranking African-American in the hotel and hospitality industry with Wyndham International, one of the largest public traded hotel companies and the first Vice President of Global Diversity for Nike is now legend. She has worked with the “Oprah Winfrey Show” and on many other high-profile projects.
Donna DeBerry is an award-winning strategist, author and journalist, as well as a sought after renowned speaker. With her unique “tell it like it is” style and approach, she has delivers highly customized and dynamic keynote presentations to organizations and clients globally. As an expert in building relationships and marketing, she has addressed thousands at major conferences and events.
DeBerry’s success has been featured in some of America’s top rated print, electronic, and broadcast media including such magazines as: Fortune, Newsweek, Time, BusinessWeek, Essence (Top 50 Women Shaping the World issue), Black Enterprise, and Diversity Inc. Donna has been profiled in a wide range of other media venues. She has recently produced 2 documentaries, “Walking the Waking Journey” and “The Boys of Casa Hogar.” She also worked with Lisa Ling for stories on “Oprah.” Donna is currently working on a book entitled “Where Is She In The Land Of He.”
Vice President, Development
After completing her B.A. in Philosophy in Washington, D.C. in 1969, Sherrill moved to Paris, France where she completed graduate degrees in Religious and Medical Anthropology, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes des Science Sociales and the Université de Paris 7. From the mid-1970s until 2002, she pursued an academic career in France, teaching, doing research, serving on the scientific advisory boards of national and international conferences and publishing more than 40 scientific papers. She continues to serve on the editorial board of the international journal, Anthropology and Medicine.
Beginning in 1982, she assumed the presidency of the George W. Miller Real Estate Management Company and became a regular trans-Atlantic commuter. In 1997 she became president of the Master Craftsmen Foundation and in 2002 shifted her permanent residence back to the U.S.A. During the next few years she served as Co-Chairman of the Diversity Committee at the Central Exchange and as a member of the Kansas City Downtown Council Education and Development Committees and on the board of the Friends of Chamber Music. In 2005 she was elected President of the Alliance Française de Kansas City and served two terms. Subsequently she served successively as President of the Zonta International Kansas City II MO Club, Zonta District 7 Coordinator of Strategies to Prevent Violence Against Women (ZISVAW), and District 7 Legislative Awareness and Advocacy Coordinator.
Today she serves as a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus Foundation Board, the Women in Politics (WIP) Foundation Board, the Greater Kansas City Women’s Foundation Advocacy Committee, the Business Retention Committee of the Kansas City Downtown Council, the Kansas City Lyric Opera Board and Education Committee, the Trustee Education Committee at the Nelson Atkins Museum, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival Board. She is also a member of the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City Founders Circle, the Kansas City Ballet Advisory Committee, the Harriman-Jewell Series Advisory Committee, the Lyric Opera Circle, the Nelson Society of Fellows, and the Kansas City Art Institute Warwick Society.
Vice President, Diversity & Outreach
Teray is a leader, strategist, speaker and fundraiser. She specializes in sustainable, entertainment/media, real estate, political, nonprofit and women oriented projects. Stephens was an Executive with Xerox Corporation, served as a senior advisor to Fortune 1000 companies, been CEO of 5 companies, featured in CEO Magazine and interviewed for numerous TV/radio programs.
Teray is committed to the election of progressive women. She is President of NWPC California, VP of Board Development for NWPC National and served as interim Executive Director of California NOW. She has been recognized with many honors including a commendation from the County of Los Angeles for her "outstanding community service and leadership.”
Lisa Mizrahi Kaado
Vice President, Education & Training
Lisa Mizrahi Kaado is president of the Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey (WPC-NJ), a multi-partisan organization dedicated to increasing the number of progressive women in elected and appointed positions in government, protecting reproductive freedom and promoting equal rights for women. Having served in various capacities since 2002, she now leads the board working to promote civic engagement, advance women in positions of leadership, and advocate on issues that disproportionately affect women and girls.
Kaado is the founder of the Rutgers University Political Caucus, a student chapter that seeks to engage and educate young women about the political process and build future leaders, and was the founding president of Bunting Connections, an alumnae affinity group under the umbrella of the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College. She has also served on the Board of the Women’s Fund of New Jersey.
Crystal Joy Williams
Vice President, Membership
Crystal Williams and her family reside in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to serving as Jackson County Legislator, Crystal currently works as a consultant through Policy Matters, a sole proprietorship in which she works to pursue public policies to improve the lives of families throughout Jackson County and the region. She has a long history of working in the non-profit sector as an advocate through public policy, public relations and non-profit management.
Crystal has served as executive director of a statewide health advocacy organization, as vice president of a regional child advocacy organization, Partnership for Children, and recently as vice president of the management team for Swope Health Services and Swope Community Enterprises, a large community non-profit. She has also been the public relations manager for the second largest physicians’ organization in the United States. Her successes in public policy and public relations include helping to secure significant funding for women’s health services, increasing funding for foster care families, increasing funding for children’s health programs and working on legislation concerning the child welfare system and the work of certified nurse practitioners.
Crystal and her husband, Richard Speidel, are strong supporters of public schools and vital neighborhoods. Their son, Will, attends Foreign Language Academy in the Kansas City, Missouri, school district. Crystal is a graduate of Columbia College with a B.A. degree in History and Government. She is active in many civic and political organizations in Jackson County and Missouri.
Veronica Rivera is a Legislative Staff Attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) where she focuses on education policy and serves as the Co-Chair of the Hispanic Education Coalition. Prior to joining MALDEF, Ms. Rivera worked in private practice in her native state of Texas where in the past had worked in the Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division. A former school teacher, Ms. Rivera previously served on the Austin Community College (ACC) Board of Trustees between 2004 and 2009 and was the Vice-chair from 2008 to 2009 and Secretary from 2006 to 2007.
Rivera has served on the Advisory Council of the ACC Center for Public Policy and Political Studies, the Board of Directors of the ACC Foundation, the Foundation Board of the Texas Community College Teachers Association, and served as the Chair of the City of Austin and AISD’s Joint Task Force on Education and Quality of Life for Hispanic Students. She is the co-founder and a board member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, an international network for Hispanic women. A first-generation Mexican-American and native of Brownsville, Texas, Ms. Rivera graduated with honors from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas with a Teacher Certificate in Broad Social Studies. She received a Master’s in Business Administration from Texas State University in San Marcos and her law degree from the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.
Beth Lerner works for the Florida House of Representatives and is currently at work on the Broward Women’s Leadership Coalition. Beth is seeking to unite women in Broward from every community to work together in order to have the greatest impact on our organizations and our community.
Beth was previously appointed to the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women and became Vice Chair, and then Chair. During her two years as Chair the CSW instituted a Needs Assessment Survey to evaluate the current conditions of living in Broward County for women and children. Almost 1000 surveys were collected and the results are currently being tabulated. It was launched at the CSW's first 'Women Who Dared' event, which honored five remarkable women breaking barriers in their own fields. After her term ended, she was invited to join the National Women's Political Caucus of Florida, as well as the Broward County Women's History Coalition.
In 2012 Beth was elected to serve as President of Broward's Gwen Cherry Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus of Florida. Over the past year this non-partisan Chapter has doubled in size, endorsed and helped elect more women to office, and launched the first Mentor Circle in Broward County of elected women willing to share their experiences with women running or considering a run for office. In her role as Vice President for the state caucus she worked to endorse good women throughout Florida and is in the process of launching two new County chapters. Recently elected President of the State Caucus, Beth is working to bring "Women on the Run" trainings statewide, focusing on helping pro-choice women of any party prepare for local or state office, or even leadership positions on Boards. The first training will be held in Broward County in May.
President, NWPC Foundation
Rosemary L. Smithson is currently the Acting President of The National Women’s Political Caucus Foundation. She was the co-founder and president of the Missouri Women’s Leadership Coalition from 2001 to 2011. She served as the Board President for US Women Connect from 2007 to 2011. Rosemary has been a strong presence in the woman’s community since the early 1970s, serving as President of the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood Mid-Missouri and Kansas in 1970 and the President of the Missouri Equal Rights Amendment Coalition in 1975.
Rosemary’s work with NWPC dates back to 1974 and 1975, when she was President of the Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus. There, she co-founded and presided over the Endowment and Education Fund in the early 2000s, which is now the WIP Foundation (Women in Politics Foundation). Her daughters, Carol and Lee, who are now an attorney and psychologist, respectively bring her a great sense of pride. Rosemary lives with her husband Paul Coker Jr., a political cartoonist, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while still working and voting in Kansas City, MO.