NWA Women’s Shelter Announces New President
Intentional Shift as Organization Plans for New Growth and Success
Rogers, AR—Since early 2017, the NWA Women’s Shelter Board of Directors has been focused on investing in leadership in order to see the organization through a new stage of growth. Effective June 1st, Jolana Aibangbee stepped into the role as President of the organization as a part of a planned succession. When she joined the organization in November 2017 as the Vice President of Communications & Development under Interim President Shelli Cathcart, she was identified as the candidate who would ultimately take the reins to continue building upon the transformation agenda that the Board of Directors set in motion.
Ms. Aibangbee is originally from the Mississippi Delta and holds a Master of Science in Community Development from Delta State University. She has more than 10 years of experience working in nonprofit programming, management and leadership development, marketing, and fundraising. Prior to joining the NWA Women’s Shelter, she served as Development Director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County for over four years, where she was responsible for fundraising through grants, event planning, and individual giving in addition to collaborating with the Board of Directors and Fundraising Committee. Through her work she has supported families in crisis and those in need; however, this passion also carried into her personal life as a foster and adoptive parent.
During her first year as President, Ms. Aibangbee will focus on the organization’s programs by investing in staff and facilities in order to provide a better experience for abuse survivors in their journey to hope and healing after facing trauma. She explains, “The overall goal is no matter how long a client receives services from the NWA Women’s Shelter, that we are making a lasting impression on their lives whether it is in the form of a good night’s rest, having someone believe in them for the first time, providing transportation to a safer environment, assisting with a job search, providing assistance for transitional housing, or answering a crisis call and helping to safety plan. My passion lies in the field of community impact and nonprofit work and I look forward to utilizing my background to further enhance this program’s success.”
Before moving to Northwest Arkansas in 2008, Ms. Aibangbee received recognition as one of the Top 30 Business Leaders in the Mississippi Delta under 30 by the Mississippi Delta Business Journal. She is a member of the Leadership Benton County class of 2018 and recently was selected for the NWA Business Journal’s 2018 Forty Under 40.
“Adding Jolana to the team is another positive step forward for the organization as we continue to work toward achieving our mission and striving toward our vision of breaking the cycle of domestic violence in NWA,” expounded Angelique O’Bryan, NWA Women’s Shelter Board President. “Her experience in leading teams and driving change as well as her commitment and passionate focus on both the families we serve and our staff make her a great choice to lead NWAWS to a stronger tomorrow.”
Since joining the NWA Women’s Shelter, Ms. Aibangbee has reshaped the development team with an emphasis on streamlining processes to address inefficiencies as well as increase community awareness of the NWA Women’s Shelter services. Under her leadership, the NWA Women’s Shelter Thrift Store, a vital player in the organization’s revenue stream, has substantially improved revenue in 2018.
Stepping into Ms. Aibangbee’s former role is Amber Lacewell, a veteran staff member who has more than 5 years of experience with the NWA Women’s Shelter in both program and development roles. Ms. Lacewell began her career with the organization by serving clients as the Bilingual Advocate and most recently held the position of Director of Community Engagement & Education where she has worked with community partners and individuals to expand local knowledge of the organization and the dynamics of domestic violence. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Communications and Development team.
These leadership transitions are part of a greater vision led by the Board of Directors and staff to improve programs and sustainability of the NWA Women’s Shelter. We look forward to sharing additional plans later in 2018.
The Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter’s mission is to provide shelter and support at any hour for those affected by domestic violence in our community. Last year 509 individuals, nearly half of whom were children, called NWAWS home. All services are provided at no charge to eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status. More information about the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter is available at https://nwaws.org/.