LaToya Evans is a strategic communications executive who has served as senior crisis communications counsel, executive and spokesperson for some of the world’s most notable brands. Currently, she is the Director and Head of Strategic Communications, Cisco Systems.
Most recently, she served as Vice President and Head of Communications for the U.S. corporate dining division of Compass Group, the world’s largest foodservice company, reporting to the CEO and overseeing all aspects of communications. Prior to Compass Group, LaToya served as Vice President, Corporate Communications at Bank of America Corporate where she oversaw media relations for the east coast and northeast including crisis communications for the bank. Notably, in 2017, LaToya also served as Communications Director to former Charlotte, NC Mayor Pro Tem Vi Lyles, serving as a spokesperson and chief writer for her mayoral campaign which resulted in Lyles being elected as the city’s first African American female Mayor.
Prior to her role at Bank of America, she was Senior Manager of U.S. Media Relations at Walmart Corporate, the world’s largest company, where she headed strategic media relations for six retail divisions and served as a national media spokesperson. She previously lived in New York and oversaw media and various entertainment partnerships across the U.S. for Philips Electronics and managed communications for IBM’s global technology services division, writing for the inventor of the IBM personal computer and LASIK eye surgery. Prior to a corporate career, Ms. Evans ran a freelance writing business while pursuing her undergraduate education, working often for Glamour magazine.
Ms. Evans is active in the community. She is a member of the Journalism Alumni and Friends Association Board at UNC’s School of Media and Journalism. LaToya also sat on the state committee for Miss North Carolina as the Director of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. An active member of the Junior League of Charlotte, LaToya served in a leadership role as the chair of public relations and marketing for the fund development council. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. LaToya has also previously been honored as PR News’ Rising PR Stars in 2016 and one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Influential Women in 2017. She is also an adjunct communications professor at Fayetteville Technical Community College for the last four years.
LaToya holds a master of arts in organizational leadership with a concentration in crisis communications from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY and a bachelor of arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a graduate of E.E. Smith High School, where the LaToya Evans Academic Excellence Scholarship has been given in her honor annually since 2004.
Felicia Walton Gray is currently a project manager at Bank of America where she manages project for the Investment and Banking Solutions – Segments Technology organization. She delivers complex programs that span multiple line of businesses. Prior to becoming a project manager, Felicia was a Test Manager for Bank of America Corporation. She manages a team that provides testing data services for Consumer Bank IT initiatives. She also manages end to end system integration testing of Consumer and Small Business Banking initiatives. Felicia Walton Gray has worked in the Information Technology field for over 20 years. At Bank of America, she has held previous roles as a test environments manager, business continuity consultant and process designer. Prior to coming to Bank of America, Felicia worked for Duke Energy as an application developer and production support analyst. Felicia graduated from Johnson C. Smith University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics with a minor in computer science.
Felicia is married to Herb Gray. She and her husband are noted philanthropists in the Charlotte community. Together they have raised over 1 million dollars for local charities, programs and agencies including the 100 Black Men’s Movement of Youth mentorship program, the YMCA, the Harvey B. Gantt Center, Johnson C. Smith University, Project LIFT, Breast Friends and The Urban League of Central Carolinas. Their most notable charitable event is the annual Gray Classic Weekend, which the couple founded in 2008. They have one daughter.
In addition to being in the IT profession and philanthropist, she is also works part time as a certified fitness instructor specializing in cardio performance, kickboxing classes and cycle. Felicia is a native of Danville, VA and currently resides in Charlotte, NC. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and volunteering. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority and the Links, Inc.
Arlena Hawthorne’s expertise in all aspects of treasury management and her unparalleled understanding of various treasury and banking solutions provide clients with an in-depth perspective that benefits business direction and solution design. She has a strong history of spearheading and leading diverse segments such as banking, insurance, global finance and manufacturing in the financial industry in multi-billion-dollar corporations worldwide. By applying a strong sense of business acumen, systems acuity and leadership talents, she has been known for creating operational centers of excellence.
Also specializing in international treasury management, for more than 17 years she has been involved in countless implementations worldwide, with specific focus on large enterprise clients that have both centralized and decentralized treasury operations around the globe.
As a featured speaker for numerous domestic and international banking conferences, she has led training sessions across the country. She has participated on panels for the Association of Financial Professionals focusing areas such as Liquidity Management, Treasury Best Practices and Payment Solutions.
Most recently, Arlena serves on the leadership team at BB&T as the Account Analysis Operations Manager where she is responsible for providing leadership and management of the billing system for all commercial accounts.
She holds a Bachelor of Science form Clemson University in Financial Management and Accounting and completed the Executive Banking program at Wake Forest University. She is also a Certified Treasury Professionals and is a member of the Association of Financial Professionals.
Arlena holds strongly to the biblical principle: “To whom much is given, much is required.” She spends much of time volunteering and serving various organizations in the community. She currently is a member of the National Coalition 100 Black Women, Queen City Metropolitan Chapter, The Community Advisory Board for Dress for Success, EmpowHerment, The Junior League Charlotte, and the United Way African American Engagement team, past board member of the Stratford Richardson YMCA and Focus on Leadership.
Vondra Love is Senior Talent Consultant with Atrium Health which was Carolinas HealthCare System. She is a graduate of South Carolina State University with over 20 years of human resources experience with a specialization in talent management to include recruiting, employee development, diversity and inclusion, performance management and employee development.
Vondra has received a certification in Diversity and Inclusion. She has also been involved with the School at Work program which prepares employees for the next level within the organization.
Vondra has a passion for helping others and seeing them become the best they can be in their career and feels her career in human resources allows her to do this.