About the YWLA

Launched in January 2015, the Young Women’s Leadership Alliance (YWLA) is the YWCA Richmond’s young women’s professional board, with members between the ages of 25 to 35 who are dedicated to advancing YWCA Richmond’s vision. YWLA connects, equips, and inspires the next generation of leaders in RVA.


The 2018-19 Application Period is open!

2018-2019 YWLA Application

Applications for the YWLA will be accepted from November 1 – March 15. A Membership Committee member will contact you in March or April with additional information or to schedule an interview.  If invited to join the YWLA, your term will start in July. A Membership Interest Form is also available year round and a Recruitment Meet & Greet for interested individuals to meet with members of the YWLA Membership Committee will be held in September of each year.

Current Members

  • Hadeel Abouhasira, Williams Mullen
  • Sharon Alexander, Children’s Mental Health Resource Center at VCU Health
  • Cassie Baudean Cunningham, Children’s Home Society of Virginia
  • Kaila Bradley, Richmond Ambulance Authority
  • Nancy Davidson, Office of the Attorney General
  • Lindsey Dombert, VCU
  • Melissa Early, SunTrust Mortgage
  • Catherine Estevez, Communities in Schools of Virginia
  • Sienna Fleming, UPS
  • Noopur Garg, Dominion Energy
  • Danielle Gilbert, Bon Secours Health System
  • Beth Hinchcliffe, Apple Hospitality REIT
  • Rachel Hunley,  Chesterfield County Youth Planning and Development
  • Rachel Johnson, Capital One
  • Lindsey Lakoff, SunTrust Mortgage
  • Lauren Lopez, Dominion Energy
  • Deanna Martin, SunTrust Mortgage
  • Katie McCall, Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Mary Grace Miller, Virginia Office of the Attorney General
  • Naquetta Mitchell, The Tri Cities Chapter of The Continental Society
  • Brit Mohler, Hunton & Williams LLP
  • Katie Moody, Richmond Ambulance Authority
  • Amy O’Callaghan, Snagajob
  • Megan Overton, Snagajob
  • Elizabeth Papile, MAXX Potential
  • Martha Schickle, Richmond Regional Planning District Commission
  • Louise Schutte, Capital One
  • Allison Smith, Community Advocate
  • Natasha Stevens, Community Advocate
  • Hannah Updike, Planned Parenthood
  • Kimberley Young, Richmond Behavioral Health Authority



The Young Women’s Leadership Alliance’s signature event, Conversation Piece provides an opportunity for community members to attend a unique, live art event and get a glimpse into the creative process of each participating artist while supporting the work of YWCA’s early childhood education program. This event will allow guests the opportunity to explore the evening’s theme of empower RVA through live art creation, dynamic conversations, and interactive exhibits highlighting the organization’s work to empower children. Artists will create pieces live throughout the event around the Empower RVA theme, which will be available at the end of the event through a silent auction.

All proceeds from this event will benefit YWCA Richmond’s early childhood education program, The Sprout School, and will emphasize the importance preschool and early education can have on a child. Join us for a night filled with food, drink, and live entertainment as we celebrate YWCA Richmond and focus on the art of empowerment to impact our youngest community members.

Presented by SunTrust & hosted by Children’s Museum of Richmond featuring:

Belle Isle Moonshine
Mike Ledesma
Carytown Cupcakes

This year’s artists include:

Leah Cotorceanu
Susannah Raine-Haddad
Nico Cathcart
Melissa Early
Molly Peete
Teresa Low
Haley McLaren
Paris Allen
Larry Davis

Tickets Price : $45-$55
Note: This event is for those 21 and over.

Purchase Your Tickets Here!

A special thank you to all of this year’s amazing sponsors including SunTrust Bank, SunTrust Women’s Teammate Network, Harris Williams, Courthouse Creek Cider, Bon Secours, Virginia Asset Management, LLC and Williams Mullen!

The Young Women’s Leadership Alliance (YWLA), YWCA Richmond’s young professionals’ board, is excited to announce an opportunity for a rising woman leader to be recognized for their impact to our community and enhance their future leadership opportunities with an investment in leadership development.

The Rising Outstanding Woman Award (ROWA)is an annual award recognizing an emerging leader who embodies YWCA Richmond’s values of commitment, respect, integrity and collaboration and who, through their own influence, passion and action(s) empower RVA.

Rising Outstanding Woman Award will be awarded to a woman who

  • Has made and/or will make a significant contribution towards social good in Central Virginia.
  • Has displayed outstanding promise for continuing service and leadership.
  • Is between the ages of 25 and 40 years old.


  • ROWA winners will receive an award honoring her  community involvement and the opportunity to attend a mutually agreed upon leadership development experience of her choice at a value of up to $2,500 to positively impact her future leadership capabilities.
  • The award is presented annually with the winner announced during the Women’s Leadership Forum Breakfast held on March 27, 2019.

Nominations are due October 31, 2018 for consideration for the 2019 Rising Outstanding Woman Award. 

2019 ROWA Nomination Form

Questions?  Email ywlainfo@ywcarichmond.org.

Congratulations to our 2018 ROWA recipient, Joi Donaldson!

Joi “Unspeakable” Donaldson loves to write. A lot. Nine books, including the 8-pager she wrote when she was 9, worth of love for writing. Ranging from poetry and short story to humor and promptings, writing is more than just Joi’s thing: it’s her way of life.

Joi’s way with words and imaginative approach to life and business have allowed her to work with various grassroots efforts and professional collaborators. She was a contributor for RiseNGrind Magazine, has been featured in the Soar column of For Harriet, the blog site, “The Next 100” and has found her new home on the blog, “Medium.” She is Editor-In-Chief of the digital magazine, Evincive, alongside writer, Avian Mills, of “Closets and Kids” and is a Feast RVA grant finalist and independent producer of the podcast, “My Depression’s Got Jokes.

Her work as a professional photographer has won her fans, along with her body positive photo campaign, “Thick Thighs Save Lives RVA.” And Joi’s lifestyle brand, ReFeel & Co, makes self-care in all its layers effortless. One of Joi’s passion projects, called Paper Storm, is a non-profit for teen girls of color that uses creative expression to dive into discovering and utilizing our backstories to propel ourselves forward. Paper Storms’ sister project, Sis, Disruptive, is a  healing space series, centers women of color that kick back against the ideas of needing to be saved by the outside and going within to save and heal ourselves.

Joi “Unspeakable” Donaldson does (and is) a lot: mother, author, poet, youth mentor, photographer, entrepreneur, influencer, editor-in-chief, producer, advocate for change and acceptance, activist, teacher, consultant, reader, artist, carefree black girl and survivor. But most of all, she is a writer who has been commissioned to tell stories.