Meet the commissioners of the Commission for Women.
Meet the commissioners of the Commission for Women.
Phylicia L. Woods, JD, MSW, serves as director of Government Affairs and Alliance Development at GRAIL, where she is responsible for developing and implementing coordinated federal advocacy strategies with federal policy makers and officials on issues that impact GRAIL.
Phylicia previously worked in patient advocacy as the executive director of the Cancer Policy Institute at the Cancer Support Community (CSC) and as director of Federal Relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), where she developed and executed policies to ensure federal legislation and regulations promoted access to preventive and affordable health care for people impacted by cancer.
Formerly, Phylicia was counsel to former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and as health counsel on the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Before working in the U.S. Senate, Phylicia served as a non-formal education volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in Nhlangano, Eswatini (Kingdom of Swaziland), as well as a health legislative assistant to former U.S. Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO-03).
Phylicia earned a juris doctor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Saint Louis University. Currently, Phylicia serves as chair of Virginia’s Fairfax County Commission for Women, which advises the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on policies and initiatives to promote gender equality, eliminate violence against women, and honor women and girls in the county.
Helen Cole is a retired Fairfax County teacher with 39 years of classroom experience. She has lived in the county since 1977. She is honored to have been appointed to the Commission for Women by Hunter Mill Supervisor Catherine Hudgins. Helen has served on the Board of Kids-R-First, an organization that provides school supplies to low income families in Fairfax County schools. She also volunteers providing assistance to homeless persons. Helen holds a BA in Education from the University of Maryland and an MA in Education from Virginia Tech. She looks forward to serving the residents of the Hunter Mill community.
Alyssa N. Batchelor, M.S. is a political strategist, researcher, and advocate who is passionate about electing progressive policymakers and helping people traditionally left outside of the political sphere break into the industry. In 2019, she founded HireHerPolitical intending to help young women who may not have access to the network and nuances needed to succeed in the political industry by providing advice and opportunities via blog posts, social media, and a biweekly newsletter. She also founded and chairs her alma mater’s department alumni committee hoping to build a strong network of current and former students to assist each other in furthering their career goals and helping students transition from college to workforce.
She completed her master’s degree in political science in 2019, where her research focused on socioeconomic justice and the intersection between labor, race, gender, and class with additional research interests in oppression, poverty, and inequality. Her research on socioeconomic policy in Brazil was published in the Journal of Advocacy, Research, and Education in 2015.
Alyssa was appointed to the CFW as the At-Large Commissioner by Chairman Jeffrey McKay in October 2021. She hopes to use her political and public policy experience to bring a fresh perspective to the Commission, build on current accomplishments, and continue to work to advance the status of women and girls in Fairfax County. One of her career-guiding principles is the quote, "if it's inaccessible to the poor, it's neither radical nor revolutionary," which informs the perspective she hopes to extend to the Commission for Women.
Alyssa is a proud first-generation college student, a graduate of The Campaign School at Yale, and the director of political research with The Mellman Group. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to her with any comments, questions, or concerns.
Mattie Palmore has worked for over 30 years as an advocate for housing for homeless persons, and for assistance for physically and mentally challenged persons, and on behalf of the youth and senior citizens of Fairfax County. Ms. Palmore is the former Director of Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services Homeless Transition Program in Alexandria, and a former Fairfax County Magistrate. She co-founded the Women's Group of Mount Vernon, which was recognized by the Attorney General's office and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2009 for providing a safe environment for victims of abuse.
In her role as a victim advocate, Ms. Palmore is on the Fairfax County Region I Area Resource Team, which works on domestic violence prevention and service coordination with the local government agencies, the judicial system, area non-profit organizations and local businesses. She was honored to be appointed to the Josiah Beeman Commission, established to make fundamental changes in Virginia's mental health system. She also served as the Vice Chair and is now the Mount Vernon representative to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.
Ms. Palmore received the 2006 Women We Admire Award, presented by Black Women United for Action, the 2011 Joe Adinaro award for her Advocacy, and the 2012 Molina Healthcare Community Champions Award, and she was one of five finalists for Queen Latifah's 2006 Project Confidence Award.
This commissioner position is currently vacant.
Amber Beichler is a long-time resident of Northern Virginia, having moved from Pennsylvania with her family in 1998, and is an active member of the local LGBTQIA+ community. After graduating from Potomac Falls High School, she went on to obtain her Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and a Master of Science in environmental science & policy from George Mason University.
She cut her teeth as an activist as a member of Equality Loudoun when Loudoun County Public Schools was considering expanding discrimination protections to include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity," and saw the new policy passed in February 2019. Through her work, she connected with other LGBTQIA+ organizations in Fairfax County, Prince William County, and activists across the commonwealth. While she first arrived as an attendee of a support group, Beichler is now a board member of the Transgender Education Association of Greater Washington, which provides support and educational resources for those within and outside of the trans community. Formerly, she has also been the chair of LGBTQIA+ Caucus of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, as well the Hunter Mill District representative for the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee from January 2020 to June 2022.
She hopes to contribute her talents and add a unique insight to the Commission For Women, and to spread awareness of the issues impacting transgender women and the trans and non-binary community.
Pamela Montesinos, Commissioner
Pamela Montesinos studied biology at the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos in Lima, Peru, and graduated in 2003.S he began her career as a food safety inspector for various food service providers in Lima. Later, Montesinos was invited to be part of the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute staff as a food safety instructor. Montesinos moved to the United States in 2012, and in 2014 started a job in a local non-profit, La Cocina, where she worked for four years as a program coordinator. During this time, she was responsible for the logistics and administration of the culinary training program, recruitment, and the food assistance program. Montesinos joined the staff at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries in 2018 as the food pantry manager, and in 2019 she was promoted to director of client operations overseeing both the food pantry and client services teams and functions. She graduated from the Leadership Fairfax Emerging Leaders Institute program in 2020. Montesinos is currently pursuing a second bachelor's degree in community health at George Mason University.
As the director of client operations for WFCM, Montesinos has implemented an urban garden, nutrition classes for kids and adults, and language classes. She successfully implemented a text reminder platform in 2019 to communicate more effectively with clients and streamline/maximize appointments in order to meet the increasing number of families served each month. Under her direction, WFCM now distributes food not only through their client-choice food pantry, but directly into local communities, allowing WFCM to serve hundreds of additional families each month. Montesinos has also implemented numerous special programs to reduce food scarcity and provide resources to WFCM clients, including a client fair with nutrition elements for Hunger Action Month in September. Montesinos has developed and expanded partnerships with organizations such as the Capital Area Food Bank, Cake4Kids, and JK Community Farm to bring more fresh produce and custom food options to community members in need. Montesinos’ dedication to serving the community, and willingness to expand programming as the needs have risen during the pandemic, are two of the reasons WFCM was recognized as a COVID-19 Hero by the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce in 2021.
Emily McCoy served on the Fairfax County Commission for Women representing the Franconia (formerly Lee) District from 1983 until 2021. No longer eligible to be re-appointed, she was elected by the Commission to serve as an ex officio member.
She has served as immediate past chair of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association and co-chair of its Interpretation and Design Committee. She led the development of the informational content of the national outdoor informative memorial to honor American suffragists. Located at 9751 Ox Road, Lorton, Virginia, the memorial was dedicated in 2021. She has recently joined the Board of Directors of the National Women’s History Alliance.
For decades Ms. McCoy has been an activist for women’s rights, primarily in Virginia. She worked on such issues as the Equal Rights Amendment; child support; divorce law; abortion rights; and the prevention of child abuse, teen pregnancy, and domestic violence; as well as for equality in the courts and in athletics.
She continues her advocacy through the Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women, having served on and chaired its Political Action Committee and having served as lobbyist and state president. She has served on the National Association of Commissions for Women as secretary and vice president, the state-wide Child Support Advisory Committee, and the Virginia Supreme Court’s Task Force on Gender Bias in Virginia Courts. Her activist awards include Lady Fairfax, Virginia NOW Lifetime Achievement for Outstanding Service, the NACW Recognition Award, and one of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s 2020 Agents of Change. She is retired from her post as principal systems engineer with the MITRE Corporation.
Carla Louise Post is the sustainability manager for Leidos, where she leads the integration of social and environmental considerations into core strategic decisions. Driven by a strong passion for improving the state of our societies and consciousness, she is an advocate for ensuring businesses have a positive impact.
Carla leads the Sustainability Working Group (SWG), a cross-functional organization focused on improving Leidos’ environmental sustainability posture. Her efforts resulted in Leidos being ranked on Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies 2021, #38 in the Newsweek Green rankings, the #1 greenest company in the Information & Technology category in 2017 and increasing corporate Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) scores in Climate Change and Supplier Engagement. She leads development of the Leidos Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Report and is a major contributor to the Ethisphere submittal, which has resulted in Leidos being awarded one of the most ethical companies for the past four years.
As the lead for the SWG, she is responsible for implementing strategies that reduce energy consumption and investing in renewable energy across the enterprise, improving employee awareness of environmental sustainability and educating employees on how to improve workplace behavior to reduce wasteful energy consumption. She collaborates with teams on real estate efficiency, including alternative workplace strategies and commuting programs. Leidos has achieved an absolute GHG reduction of about 58% compared to a 2010 baseline, more than double the 2020 goal of 25%. Further, under her tenure, the company has increased renewable energy purchases through Renewable Energy Credits.
Carla spearheaded the procurement and implementation of an enterprise Sustainability software to provide transparency to consumers, investors, and other stakeholders, as well as to enable impact reduction, achieve sustainability goals, and become an even more responsible business. Her multiple pro-active Earth Day campaigns have reached thousands of stakeholders. This is the third enterprise-wide software that she has both led, managed, and implanted for a multi-national company.
Carla transferred from the Corporate Real Estate team where she was the director for Environmental Sustainability/Employee Engagement to Corporate Communications to co-lead the formulation of Leidos’ new purpose-driven long-term sustainability vision, mission, and operating principles, including a focus on mental well-being. Prior to this transition, she developed and executed a successful communications strategy/change management plan across communication channels, audiences, and client groups for the new global headquarters and evolution of the Leidos Workplace of the Future.
Carla also manages and serves as the liaison between Leidos and The Women’s Center, an organization that provides mental health counseling, support, and education to the metropolitan area to help people live healthy, stable, and productive lives; Everfi, an organization that provides digital mental health support to students; and The George Mason Center for Psychological Studies and Sweet Farm, a non-profit addressing the global impacts on the food supply chain and the resulting shortages in our communities.
In a volunteer capacity, Carla served as both the partnership relationship lead for the Leidos Women’s Network and chapter president for the NoVA Women’s Network Employee Resource Group (ERG). She sees both her professional role as a sustainability manager and her volunteer roles in the ERG as intrinsic to supporting and educating women and girls. She works hard to provide opportunities for women to collaborate on shared interests and promote diversity across the company. Carla helped grow the ERG Chapter by 40%, becoming the largest chapter of the largest ERG. She received an Innovation Award for her work on an event series that gave members direct access to the Leidos Board of Directors.
As an elected board member of the McLean Community Center, Carla champions involvement in sustainability as well as advocates for community education, diversity and inclusion, and cultural involvement. She is an active volunteer with her children’s sports leagues and school PTAs. In her personal life, she is a volunteer for Virginia Democracy Forward and has worked over the past four years to support candidates that advocate for women’s issues as well as local and national candidates that include sustainability and climate in their platforms.
Born in Washington, D.C., Carla grew up in Crofton, Maryland, and spent summers in Bethany Beach, Delaware, with her extended family, all of whom were public school teachers and administrators. She grew up in a family of very strong women who were not afraid to lead or stand up against inequality and injustice. They fostered a sense of determination and confidence that has helped her to lead and advocate both in her professional and personal life.
Carla lives in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, two children, and 185-pound St. Bernard.
Enjoli Ramsey is an associate financial planner with Freeman Capital. She grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Ohio University and a master’s in industrial organizational psychology from Capella University.
Enjoli began her career as a Navy officer before transitioning to roles with Deloitte as a senior federal consultant and the Air Force as the diversity & inclusion outreach & recruitment program manager. She is currently a Navy reservist.
Enjoli has lived in Northern Virginia since 2007 and Fairfax County since 2012. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, working out, and trying out new restaurants.
Alesia Taylor-Boyd, Commissioner
Alesia Taylor-Boyd is a 3rd-generation Washingtonian who lived in the city until graduating from Howard University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Taylor-Boyd accepted her first job with the March of Dimes, and after five years left the nonprofit space and transitioned to work in the federal government, where she completed a rewarding career with over 30 years of public service.
In 1990, Taylor-Boyd joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency to work on public information activities and outreach programs/materials for the FEMA Family Protection and Emergency Preparedness programs. After the major impact of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, her career focus shifted to disaster operations and emergency management planning with federal, state, and local governments, scoping and developing a revamped federal response plan for the nation. During her years at FEMA, Taylor-Boyd participated in disaster deployments; training development and conduct; continuity of government planning operations; and national planning efforts for the Y2K Rollover Operations Center. After 10 years at FEMA, Taylor-Boyd moved to the Department of the Treasury to continue in a continuity role working with department-level offices, stakeholders, Treasury Department bureaus, and external federal agency partners.
The 9/11 disaster and aftermath led to an offer for Taylor-Boyd to join the Board of Governors in a senior-level position to play an integral role with the development of an agency-wide continuity of operations program for the Federal Reserve Board. This involved establishing connections and coordination with stakeholders in various organizations and agencies along with Federal Reserve System partners, which are the 12 federal reserve banks located throughout the nation. In each of these positions, Taylor-Boyd worked collaboratively with internal and external partners, system counterparts and federal department and agency stakeholders to further Federal Reserve Board continuity planning, operational capabilities, program management, development and conduct of training, and managing teams in emergencies.
At the Federal Reserve Board, Taylor-Boyd had the opportunity to fine-tune her skills as a manager and leader with the development of staff; recruitment and mentoring of summer interns and staff, and providing training and support to colleagues to ensure that the agency is prepared and able to continue operations in the event of an emergency. Key areas of Taylor-Boyd’s demonstrated skills are leadership, program management, advocacy, and assistance to colleagues and friends. Her extensive work experiences, parenting, and support to friends and colleagues have advanced her ability to communicate with a variety of groups and work with teams to reach successful outcomes.
Taylor-Boyd is a 25-year resident of the Franconia District who retired in 2021. She is a single mom who raised a dynamic daughter and served as a caregiver and support system for aging parents for many years. Now she is ready to continue her public service by exploring new opportunities and looks forward to serving in the role of commissioner with the Fairfax County Commission for Women.
Lanita Thweatt, Commissioner
Mount Vernon District
Lanita Thweatt’s volunteer service for Fairfax County includes the Community Action Advisory Board, the Human Services Council, and the Successful Children and Youth Policy Team. Thweatt also volunteers with other nonprofits and community service organizations that support our residents.
Thweatt retired with over 35 years in public service. She earned her bachelor of science degree in accounting from Virginia State University, and her master of science degree in management and accounting from the University of Maryland. She looks forward to serving the residents of Fairfax County and the Mount Vernon District community.
Jordan Tautges, Commissioner
Jordan Tautges is honored to have been appointed to the Fairfax County Commission for Women by Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity. She has lived in Springfield, Virginia, nearly all of her life and is excited to represent the Springfield District on the commission.
Tautges graduated from James Madison University in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences. Her passion for public health, plus graduating during a global pandemic, led her to work with the Institute for Public Health Innovation and the Fairfax County Health Department. She started as a contact interviewer and then transitioned to the coronavirus call center. Tautges looks forward to continuing to serve the residents of Fairfax County in both her professional and personal life.
Alessandra Simmons-Robles, a senior at Justice High School, has been selected as the Student Representative for the Fairfax County Commission for Women and is honored to represent the young women of Fairfax County, as well as support the Commission’s initiative to promote gender equality.
She is passionate about learning and challenging social issues through writing and advocacy. In journalism, she writes articles on local issues and is thrilled when interviewing individuals about their opinions and experiences. She is actively involved in Debate and Forensics, where she compiles and performs poetry anthologies regarding women’s oppression. Outside of the academic setting, she enjoys reading in her free time, her current read being A Secret History by Donna Tartt.
She hopes to contribute to the Commission through thoughtful and empathetic representation and strives to help young women reach their highest level of personal achievement.
If you are interested in being appointed to the Commission for Women, please contact the office of the Supervisor for your District. Find out more information about the Board of Supervisors.
Learn more about the Commission for Women.
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