Founder & Executive Director, Carlisha Williams Bradley
An acclaimed philanthropic leader, U.S. Goodwill Ambassador, educator and social enterprise consultant, Carlisha Williams Bradley lends her spirit, expertise and voice as an advocate for women and girls worldwide. As the founder of Women Empowering Nations (WEN), a nonprofit devoted to the educational and economic empowerment of girls, Carlisha has solidified herself as one of the most significant and influential world shakers of her generation.
Carlisha’s vision for WEN is fueled by her personal passion to give every girl the space to believe in herself, chase her dreams and magnify her voice. She took her first step on her path to purpose in The Gambia in 2009, where she met thirty girls who would shift the trajectory of her life and theirs, along with an entire nation. What began as an idea to connect impoverished young women to educational resources has birthed a massive movement to uplift the next generation of global change agents who have a deep desire to not only light a path for themselves, but to illuminate the world. Leading by example, Carlisha gave Gambian girls the vision to become conduits of unprecedented change, to defeat insurmountable odds and to rise up as leaders and powerful, bold voices against injustice. Under Carlisha’s direction, WEN has already had a transformative effect on the globe, having created measurable opportunities for thousands of girls in the United States and Africa. And the organization is just at the onset of its extraordinary ascent.
Carlisha’s groundbreaking work with WEN has made her one of the most sought-after social enterprise and international education programming experts in the country. She has served as a trusted voice and advisor to various international aid organizations, non-profit agencies, schools, foreign governments and diplomats around the globe. With her consultancy, Passion Meets Purpose, she is calling other destiny-driven entrepreneurs to follow in her well-heeled footsteps and be the change. Her company arms clients with the training and tools to build brands and platforms rooted in a passion for a better reality, the power to impact and a path to leave a legacy stamp on the world.
A fervent speaker, Carlisha challenges audiences to pin-point their purpose and activate their inner go-getter to stand for something much greater than themselves. Her captivating message transcends the stage, including bookshelves as the bestselling author of Choosing Faith Over Fear: 14 Days of Life-Changing Lessons. The breakout book, released in November 2015, is a powerful, inspirational work for dream chasers who are ready to stretch beyond limits, burst through barriers and relentlessly pursue their true calling.
Carlisha has been recognized for her remarkable work and continuous commitment to change with numerous awards including the 2017 Price College of Business 40 Under 40, Oklahoma Magazine 40 Under 40, 2016 Mayor’s Pinnacle Women of Year, 2015 Status of Women, 2014 YWCA’s 100 Women with Moxie and the 2013 Williams Women of Inspiration Award.
As grateful as she is graceful, Carlisha honors God with her work and her life. She gives. She serves. She lives—passionately, purposefully and faithfully.
Dawn Brown, Director of Programs
Dawn Brown began serving with WEN in 2009 and is a member of the board of directors. Through WEN, Dawn is the Houston Program Director for the Girls Leading Our World (G.L.O.W). mentoring program at Yellowstone Academy. This opportunity has allowed Dawn to touch and impact girls’ lives through service, while also inspiring them to be leaders that will transform their communities. In addition, she has served as a leader on past WEN travel leadership conferences to Gambia, Amsterdam, Tanzania, and Ghana.
Dawn is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor of science degree in Biochemistry & holds a Masters of Engineering from Prairie View A&M University. After working in the Oil & Gas industry in Midland, TX, Dawn returned to Houston to start her business. Dawn now runs Math-A-Matics Tutoring, LLC which offers in-Home & online Tutoring, campus intervention, and STEM enrichment services. Math-A-Matics Tutoring has enabled Dawn and her team to help low performing schools improve while igniting students love for math. Furthermore, she is proud to employee minority stem professionals and create programming to help encourage more girls to pursue STEM related fields.
Dawn is a member of the Chi Omicron Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha and currently serves on their board for Phenomenal Pearls Educational and Charitable Foundation.
Ashley Small, Director of Marketing
Ashley takes great pleasure in helping others step into the spotlight. Whether working with a local business, a national brand, or a prominent political figure, Ashley’s proven branding and marketing strategies have empowered her clients to expand their reach and increase brand awareness. Ashley founded Medley, Inc. in 2009 to marry traditional PR strategies with the latest technology.
With her training in communications and her experience with social media and public relations, Ashley’s skills have earned her national recognition. In fact, in 2011, Ashley was named a “Face of Houston” by Fast Company Magazine for her entrepreneurial spirit, and in 2015, she was identified as one of Houston Business Journal's 40 Bizwomen Mentors. Prior to Medley, Ashley worked with top national brands, political figures and non-profits such as Nintendo, Chilli’s, former Houston Mayor Bill White and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
But Ashley’s impact goes far beyond her work. She serves with several nonprofit organizations including Girls Inc., Women Empowering Nations, Lemonade Day Houston and the I'm Me Foundation. Through her work in the community, she has educated and trained hundreds of girls and budding entrepreneurs in the areas of technology, social media and character building.