Beta Pi Omega Officers

Melanie Hillard, President

Excitedly I transferred into Beta Pi Omega Chapter in 1992, after graduating from Rhodes College (Memphis, TN) where I was a charter member of Omicron Chi Chapter. Over the past 27 years, I have served my sorority and community by leading other committees and as an officer on different levels. I am extremely proud to have been given the opportunity by the 28th International President to Chair the Health Initiative Service Project during the 2011 International Founders' Day weekend.  I proudly served as First Vice President and Program Chairman, where I was responsible for ensuring our chapter implemented the Global Leadership through Timeless Service Initiatives. Beta Pi Omega received many awards based on the impact of its Program activity.  I am thrilled to now serve as President and look forward to continuing the legacy of this legendary chapter.  As an active member of Union A.M.E Church, I serve as a Steward and Youth Sponsor. I have been employed as a Senior Sales Representative with Eli Lilly & Company for 14 years. For the past 23 years, I've been married to Jessie Hillard and we have been blessed with two awesome sons, Allen and Elliott. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends and traveling. God has truly blessed me and I believe that is so I can bless others.

Katrina Owoh, First Vice-President

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® has taught me a great deal about myself and the true meaning of serving others.  Our beloved Soror Maya Angelou once said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I transferred to Beta Pi Omega chapter in 2002 after graduating from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and have served in office as Assistant Recording Secretary, Assistant Graduate Advisor, Graduate Advisor, and Second Vice President.  I have also served as a committee member and led various committees in the chapter. On the regional level, I have served as a committee chairman for the 77th South Central Regional Conference and as a Service Activity Leader for the sorority’s 2011 National Founders’ Day. My husband, Jeremy, and son, Jaxon, are my heart and joy and support me in all of my endeavors.  I am an active member of St. Matthew Church of God in Christ and am employed in the public sector in the field of accounting. Serving as First Vice-President and Program Chairman of Beta Pi Omega is an honor and am grateful to the chapter for trusting me in this role.

Joy Springer, Second Vice-President

As a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, I am honored to serve the community on behalf of the sorority through Beta Pi Omega chapter.  I currently serve as 2nd Vice President with the primary responsibility of coordinating the implementation of the chapter’s International Award Winning Graduate to Undergraduate Mentoring program along with the undergraduate sorors on the campuses of the University of Arkansas – Little Rock (Epsilon Phi) and Philander Smith College (Gamma Alpha).  Developing sisterly relations and lifelong memberships with the sorors on these campuses has been a joy!  In addition, I serve as a member of the Membership, By-Laws, Finance, and Graduate Council committees.  Under our new International program, Launching New Dimensions of Service, I serve on the Target One committee, Educational Enrichment.  This target is in keeping with my daily work, serving as an educational monitor to ensure equitable educational opportunities for students in Pulaski County, Arkansas.  I also continue to assist with all chapter committees and other targets as needed.  For over 30 years, I have been married to my college sweetheart, Horace L. Springer, III.  I am a lifetime member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) as well as a life member of the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP).  I attend Ward Chapel AME Church where I have served in many roles.  In my spare time, I enjoy cooking, exercising, shopping, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Judy Johnson Cooper, Secretary

I transferred into Beta Pi Omega Chapter in 1998, after graduating from Vanderbilt University Graduate school and Fisk University, (where I was initiated into Pi Chapter and served as Keeper of the Door (Sentinel)).  I have enjoyed many years of sisterhood and service in this awesome organization. It has been an honor and my pleasure to serve the community and to represent Beta Pi Omega Chapter as Black Family Committee Chair, Komen Race for the Cure Chair/Team Captain and Ivy Leaf Reporter and to work on numerous committees over the years. I am currently a SIDS Outreach Project Sisters United trainer, a member of the Sisterly Relations, Health, and Social committees, and the Educational Enrichment, Family Strengthening and Health Promotion Targets. I am employed as a Clinical Research Associate at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Myeloma Institute.  I am an active member of St. Mark Baptist Church where I serve on the Health, and Outreach Ministries. I have served on Arkansas PTA Council, numerous PTSA Boards, BSA Troop 467 committee and Komen Arkansas Board; Vanderbilt University Commodore Recruitment Programs (CoRPs); UAMS Chancellor’s Diversity Committee and Morehouse College and Brown University Parent Associations .  I enjoy travel, modeling, theater and cinema, trivia games, spending time with my family and attending and watching sports events. I have been blessed with two awesome sons, George Cooper III (Morehouse College graduate, current Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program Master's candidate and Vanderbilt Graduate School doctoral student) and Leonard Cooper (Brown University graduate/current Master's student). 

Patricia Nunn Brown, Assistant Secretary

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., has always been an influence in my life since I was very young.  My beginnings with Alpha Kappa Alpha started with role models, my two sisters Doris and Ida.  Growing up, they were role models to me and really showed me the importance and power of sisterhood and service. It had always been a dream of mine to be a member. I uphold the values of my sorority in my daily life and want to be an asset to the chapter and the sorority at large which is why I joined Beta Pi Omega in 2006.  I have served on several committees including chairing the Ivy Ball Decorations Committee.

 

Professionally, she serves as the Director of the Small and Minority Business Division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), located in Little Rock, Arkansas. In this capacity, she is responsible for policy and oversight of the State’s Minority Business Enterprise Program.  She directs the division’s strategy to enhance the growth of Minority Business Enterprises (MBE).  Under her leadership, the Division expanded its efforts to help MBEs grow through access to contracts, capital, and business opportunities.

 

She hold a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute in Norman, Oklahoma and the Basic Economic Development Program at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA.

 

She presently sits on the Board of Directors for The National Association of State Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Directors (NASMWDD), where she is on the Executive Board, Graduate Class 16 of the LeadAR Program, member and a past president of the Arkansas Economic Developers (AED), graduate of the Greater Little Rock Leadership Class XXII, Past, State and Alternate Director for the Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC), Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., member of Longley Baptist Church and many other organizations and boards. In 2016 the Arkansas Economic Developers (AED) recognized her with the Maria Haley Lifetime Leadership Award.

Pat and her husband, Richard Brown Jr., have three children and six grandchildren.

 

DiAnnette Finks, Corresponding Secretary

Since she was a little girl, DiAnnette has always longed for the unwavering sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®; the sorority upholding class, dignity, and grace. That desiring opportunity came in Spring 2000 with the Epsilon Phi Chapter at UALR. DiAnnette has since obtained her Masters of Business Administration at Webster University, LRAFB in 2006. She is currently an SAP Training Specialist with OPM/AASIS Service Center with the State of Arkansas. Prior to that, she served seven years in the United States military. As a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter, she is currently the Corresponding Secretary and has served as Chairman of Photography, served on numerous committees such as Founders Day, Technology, Directory, Scrapbook, and Project Committees. DiAnnette has been a member of St. John Missionary Baptist church for several years and currently attends Agape Church with her husband, Assistant Chief Hayward Finks Jr. and their two children, Kaelon and Kynnadi. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, traveling, mentoring teens, and of course shopping, but mostly enjoys spending quality time with her HoneyDo and their two adorable children.

 

Janis Hadley Williams, Assistant Corresponding Secretary

Janis Hadley Williams was initiated into Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated Fall of 2006. Currently, Janis serves as Assistant Corresponding Secretary, and Leadership Development Committee Co-Chairman.  Janis also serves as a member of the Strategic Planning and Environmental Ownership committees as well as a certified Graduate Advisor and core team member for Epsilon Phi Chapter on the campus of UA Little Rock. During her ten-year membership, she has served on various committees including serving as Hostess, Membership Committee, Co-Chairman and member of Beta Pi Omega’s award winning Step Team.

 

Janis is a certified human resource professional and is employed as Human Resources Manager, Compensation & Benefits with Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development.   Janis is a proud member of Greater Second Baptist Church where she sings in the Sanctuary Choir.   Janis is the wife of James O. Williams and they have two dogs, Jazz and Boss.  Janis enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, singing and spending time with friends and family.

Valerie Kelly, Treasurer

Valerie Kelly has been a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter since 2002. She currently serves as the Chapter treasurer and Chairman of the Budget/Finance Committee.  She previously served as the Chapter financial secretary for six years.  She has also served as the Chairman of the Standards, Photography, and Yearbook/Directory Committees.  

Shirley Holly, Assistant Treasurer

I became a member of Beta Pi Omega in 1998. I am a past Beta Pi Omega Treasurer. I have served on many committees. I am currently the Assistant Treasurer and Beta Pi Omega’s Pan Hellenic Council Chairperson. I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (Theta Chapter) April 10, 1976 at Ohio State University. I served as the 1977 -1978 undergraduate President. I have been employed by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for seventeen years, working in various positions including computer programming. I am a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church where I have served as the Youth Director, Trustee, Assistant Church Clerk (in charge of the Printing the Bulletin and Church Programs) and a member of the Financial Committee. I enjoy traveling, reading and playing the piano.

Angela Jackson, Financial Secretary

I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated in December 1985 on the University of Central Arkansas campus by way of Theta Mu.  My membership with Beta Pi Omega began in 1991 and then again in 2014.  During my 30 plus years of service to my beloved sorority, I have served in the following capacities:  undergraduate chapter president, undergraduate membership chair, with my most recent graduate chapter service on several committees including Project 2016, Scholarship and serving as co-chair of the One Million Backpack Committee from 2015-2017.

 

Soror Angela Carroll Jackson is a 1984 graduate of Monticello High School and attended UCA where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and her Master’s degree in Management. Professionally, she has been employed as an Academic Counselor at UCA, as a Project Manager, Assistant Buyer and Analyst with Dillard’s Corporate Headquarters, a part-time instructor with Pulaski Technical College and as Associate Director of Career Services at UCA. Since 2009, she has been employed as the Associate Dean and Director of the Office of Diversity and Community at the University of Central Arkansas (UCA).  

 

She enjoys reading for pleasure, cruising, and spending quality time with family and friends. She is a resident of Conway, a member of New Life Church and has one daughter, Taylor.

 

Fredlesha Tyson Barnes, Assistant Financial Secretary

My membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated began in 1978 on the campus of Philander Smith College, the Gamma Alpha Chapter. A few years later, I transferred to the Kappa Iota Chapter at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. I graduated in 1981 from University of Arkansas with a degree in Zoology. I became a member of Beta Pi Omega four years ago, and was excited to reconnect with the best sorority ever!  I am a member of Second Baptist Church. I enjoy traveling and spending time with friends and family. E. Ray Barnes Sr., is my husband and we have three children and eight grandchildren. 

Lyndajo Watson, Hostess

I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated® Beta Pi Omega Chapter in 1983. I have always wanted to be a part of such a wonderful and sisterly organization ever since I can remember. I graduated from Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas which did not have black sororities so, I waited until I returned home and pledged through the graduate chapter. Since I am an only child this sorority was the ultimate solution to gain a lot of sisters. The projects and community service I have been involved in is most rewarding.  I have served on the Silent Auction Committee for the Ivy Ball and the Founders Day Committee for the past 3 years.  I also serve on the health committee. For me AKA was the only way!  I am an active member of Union A.M.E. Church and have served on many levels of this great Zion.  At Union I sing in the mass choir and I am a class leader and new member’s coordinator. I am also connectional administrator for the Christian Debutante-Master Ministry (a program for youth 9-23). My past involvement includes, Minister of Music, Organist, choir director, member of the Stewart board, Christian education director, President and Vice-president of LTC missionary unit. Worship Leader, Membership and recruitment chairperson, 1st vice president of the women’s missionary society (Oklahoma conference). The list goes on! As you can tell, I enjoy serving God and my church. I also like to decorate, read, jazz music and cooking. I hope to one day write a book. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy path.”

Chandra McLeroy, Sergeant-at-Arms

I became a member of the Legendary Beta Pi Omega Chapter of the first and finest sorority on the planet, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, in the fall of 2012. Since that time, I have been busy with service to all mankind with all hands on deck. I have served on many committees: EYL, Social Justice and Human Rights, Protocol, One Million Backpacks,and participated in a variety of service and sorority events including Regional Conference Public Event Committee and Regional Conference Courtesies and Gifts Committee. I am both honored and humbled to serve Beta Pi Omega as Sergeant-at-Arms for this 2017-18 year. I also work diligently on the Audit Committee, ASCEND,  Executive Committee, and co-chair of the New Directions-Education Committee

I have successfully educated two generations of students during my 23 year career as an English and literacy teacher at Dunbar Magnet  Middle School for Little Rock School District. I am an active and faithful servant of Christ at Second Baptist Church where I serve as team leader on New Members Ministry.

I am matriarch to my own royal family. My son, Dominique and his wife, Nicole are supportive of all of my endeavors, along with my grandson, Caden. My daughter, Kennede, is a first year student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Georgia Walton, Ivy Leaf Reporter

I am Soror Georgia Walton. My parents were George and Claudia Walton, and I was born and reared in Little Rock—a product of the Little Rock School District (LRSD) having graduated from historic LR Central High School. I am a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. I was initiated into Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., January 2000 with “The 14 Ivies to Envy”. I have been an active member since that time, fitting in wherever I have been needed to promote the vision of our founders for service to ALL mankind. This year, I am excited to be an officer--Reporter to the Ivy Leaf. My service includes membership on various committees under four of the five Targets. As I grow in the Sorority and my knowledge expands, I am more and more proud to be a part of such an awesome sisterhood. I am an educator in the LRSD, having taught English at Hall High School for the past 28 years and have been the poetry coach for the past 10 years. As the poetry coach, I have coached 3 students to state championships and opportunities to compete nationally in Washington, D.C. in the Poetry Out Loud Contest. It is believed that I am the ONLY teacher in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to have that accomplishment. I am also a licensed funeral director, and I own and operate Walton GateWay Funeral Chapel, Inc., here in Little Rock, serving families statewide and nationally. I love to cook, sew, read, and TRAVEL. Under pressure, I am a prolific writer. My favorite American city is San Francisco, and I have been to too many beautiful places outside the U.S. to pick one as a favorite. It just needs to be warm. I have one sister, a brother-in-law, two nieces, and two nephews.

Natalie Rhodes-Warren, Gamma Alpha Chapter Graduate Advisor

My membership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, Beta Pi Omega Chapter began in the Fall of 2006.  It has been an honor to serve the Little Rock area in this awesome sisterhood.  I have served on various committees including the Meditation Committee where I serve as Co-Chairman, Membership Committee, Ivy Ball Committee, Sisterly Relations Committee, A.S.C.E.N.D. Committee, Think HBCU Committee, Graduate Advisory Council, and as a Beta Pi Omega singer.  Additionally, I was a member of the award winning Beta Pi Omega Step Team.   I proudly serve as the Graduate Advisor to the “Glamorous” Gamma Alpha Chapter on the campus of the historic Philander Smith College and I am also the Scholarship Committee Chairman.  In addition to serving the community through Alpha Kappa Alpha, I am an active member of the North Little Rock Chapter of NAACP and a variety of other organizations.  Professionally, I am a teacher and employed with North Little Rock School District. I have 14 years of experience in the educational arena. I am a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Harding University. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Arts in Teaching grades K-12, and a Master in Educational Leadership, and I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood/Literacy: Reading–Language Arts. I am a member of Mt. Pleasant Church Baptist Church in North Little Rock and I enjoy working in the Young Adults Ministry and Music Ministry.  I am married to Derrick A. Warren and we are the proud parents to our daughter, Natalia LaNa’. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, shopping, traveling, and watching Natalia as she excels in dancing and gymnastics activities.

 

Pamela Barnes, Epsilon Phi Chapter Graduate Advisor

My membership with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, began in the Fall of 1992 with the Alpha Rho Chapter at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  I joined Beta Pi Omega in 2011 and it has been an honor to serve the Little Rock area with my Beta Pi Omega Sisters.  I have served on various committees including the Economic Security Initiative where I served as co-chairman, the Membership Committee, Emerging Young Leaders, the Social Committee, the Ivy Ball Committee, and the Sisterly Relations Committee.  I also have the pleasure to serve as a Mentee to one of the Undergraduate Members of Epsilon Phi, Gabrielle Phifer.  Additionally, I was a member of the award winning Beta Pi Omega Step Team.   I currently serve as Sergeant-at-Arms and I am also the Membership Chair and Co-Chairmen of the 2015 MLK Day of Service.  In addition to serving the community through AKA, I am also an active member of the Junior League of Little Rock and a Run Coordinator for Black Girls Run Little Rock.  I am employed with Progressive Insurance as a Claims Manager and have 15 years of experience in the Insurance Industry.   I attend St. Mark Church Baptist Church and I enjoy spending time with my friends and family.  I am married to David Christopher Barnes and we have five children, Maya, Daniel, Kaleem, Dylan and Bryce.

Carmelita Smith, Parlimentarian

Sylvia Carmelita Smith, the sixteenth president of Beta Pi Omega Chapter, was initiated into Gamma Alpha Chapter at Philander Smith College in 1964.  She holds a Master's of Education in Learning Disabilities from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She holds the distinction of having been elected as the nineteenth South Central Regional Director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is the Beta Pi Omega's second former President to have achieved that honor.  Smith continues to work with all the programs of Beta Pi Omega, taking special pride in what she calls “Reclaiming and Retaining.” She emphasizes the importance of helping Beta Pi Omega benefit from the new ideas and suggestions of all members by encouraging newcomers to become involved and chair committees.  

Eleanor Coleman, Historian

I became a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority in November 1979, under the leadership of Soror Janet Davis Tate; and I was presented by Soror Catherine Gill (deceased). I had been surrounded by quite a number of very active and dedicated Beta Pi Omega members, so I entered with the spirit of participation and availing myself to everything I was asked to do. I have always been impressed with the commitment of my sorors to helping mankind. I have attended every Regional Conference and several Boules throughout my tenure.  The most enjoyable Boule was the 100th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C.  I have served on several committees annually since my induction. Soror Geraldine Johnson and I chaired the first BPO Pink and Green Ball, known now as the Ivy Ball. Other committees and activities I have chaired or served on include,Scholarship, Ivy Ball, Founder's Day, Regional Conferences, Education, Connection, New Directions, National Founders Day, AKA Day at the Capital, and as one of the South Central Regional Conference Committee chairs. My service and membership have been continuous since 1979.

Anita Brannon, Chaplain

I became a member of Beta Pi Omega Chapter in 1981, and I consider it a privilege to serve with such talented and connected "sistahs"! Since becoming a member, I have served in various positions, such as secretary, assistant secretary, corresponding secretary, assistant recording secretary, and as chairperson of the Scholarship Committee.  Currently, I am chairperson of our Chapter's Founders' Day Committee, and a member of  the South Central Regional Chaplaincy Committee. 

 

I am an active member of Union A.M.E. Church, where I serve as the Director of Christian Education.  I am employed as the Officer Manager for the 12th Episcopal District Administrative Office.  In 2013, I was elected 1st Vice President of the Women's Missionary Society of the 12th District and as 1st Vice President of the Connectional Ministers Spouses and Widows Organization plus PK's. I am married to Presiding Elder (retired) Eugene Brannon. I am also the mother of Eugene Elliott Brannon and Eugenia M. Brannon, who is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. My spare time is enjoyed with family, friends, watching television, and reading magazines.

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