ANSWER Advisory Board Members
James W. Brinson | Certified Public Account, Retired
Tamara R. Cornish | Cornish Law, PLLC, Attorney-at-Law
Jennifer Gallman | Charlotte Housing Authority, Corporate Communications Officer
Pamela Hart Hemphill | Central Piedmont Community College, Adjunct Professor
Benjamin Horn | Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Vice President/Certified Financial Planner
Patricia Higgins Martin | Consultant
Reggie Pretty | Bank of America – Merrill Lynch, CTP-Senior Vice President, Senior Treasury Solutions Officer
Ericka Spradley | Wells Fargo, Inc., Client Services Consultant
Hisayo Gallo was born and raised in Japan. She graduated from Toyo University with a B.S. in Sociology. Hisayo came to the United States to study linguistics and psychology as a graduate student at the University Of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. After getting a master’s degree, she began teaching psychology, focusing on developmental psychology. Her main interests are brain and cognitive development. Gallo authored a developmental psychology textbook a couple of years ago and now (already!) working on revising it. She is currently teaching developmental psychology at Gaston College. She is married to a wonderful guy, Al, living in Huntersville (with 2 cats and a dog who rule the house). She also has 3 grown sons.
Angela McIlveen grew up in Taylorsville, N.C. She made some wrong turns in life and found herself alone with two small children at only 19 years old. More than anything McIlveen wanted to change the destiny of her children. It seemed to her that doctors’ children grew up to be doctors and factory workers’ children grew up to work in factories. While she certainly isn’t opposed to hard work, she wanted more for her children.
Since she was a little girl, McIlveen wanted to be a lawyer. When she became pregnant in high school people told her to give up on her dream and that her life was ruined. Not being the kind of person to take no for an answer, McIlveen enrolled in community college and worked in the local sock mill while raising her toddlers. After several years, she had enough credits to transfer to a four-year college. She graduated from Lenoir Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. with a B.A. degree. One year later, she packed up her children and headed off to Cleveland, Ohio where she earned her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Having her children sitting in the audience watching as she walked across the stage to accept her diploma was one of the best days of her life.
McIlveen is a partner/owner at McIlveen Family Law Firm, which has offices in Charlotte and Gastonia, N.C. She focuses her practice on family law and handles cases in all areas of the law including divorce, child custody and support, alimony, domestic violence, adoption, separation, and equitable distribution. When McIlveen isn’t full speed ahead in the courtroom or running the business, she enjoys spending time with her children and her husband, Sean.
Sonya Muhammad knew at a young age that she was meant to teach, lead and empower. She earned a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) as a divorced mother of two daughters while working third-shift at a high-end grocery store as a means to finance her education. After earning a BSW from UNC Charlotte, Muhammad obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) through an advanced-standing program which afforded her the chance to earn her MSW in one year.
Sonya has been recognized by the North Carolina Social Work Board as a licensed mental health therapist. She plans to pursue her Ph. D. in forensic psychotherapy.
A two-time ANSWER Endowment scholarship recipient, Sonya now has come full circle and volunteers as a mentor with ANSWER’s Mentors for Moms program as well as serving as the program coordinator. She vows to continue to make teaching, leadership and empowerment the cornerstones of her existence, always remembering to pull others through the doors of opportunities.
Margaret Rohlik moved to the Charlotte area two years ago from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, where she lived her entire life. She attended Marietta College in Ohio where she obtained her B.A., majoring in history and minoring in political science and German. She completed her first M.A. in international relations and political science at Kent State University and then completed her second M.A. in educational administration at Cleveland State University while a full-time educator and mother of two.
Through a career in education which spanned over thirty-five years, she taught students at middle school, high school and college levels; wrote curriculum for several school systems; and ended her career as a school administrator where she evaluated teachers, programs and student performance.
Since her move to the Charlotte area, she has joined and volunteered with various local organizations, including her community, her local chapter of USA Dance and the North Mecklenburg Woman’s Club.
Lisa Vadnais has worked in the early childhood education profession for 38 years as a day care director, high school and college instructor, consultant and published author of two child development textbooks – Caring for the Developing Child Ed 1 and 2.
She currently teaches several classes at Mitchell Community College in Statesville and has a home-based sales business selling Cookie Lee Jewelry. This year Vadnais will be very active and busy fulfilling her role as president of the North Mecklenburg Woman’s Club. With a membership of approximately 140 members, their goal each year is to give back to our community as well as have fun and fellowship.
Last but definitely not least, Vadnais is a wife and mom to two grown daughters and thoroughly enjoys being a grandmother to Erik, 10, and Megan, 8.