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Greater Women’s Business Council® Welcomes Three New Board Members and Expands Staff to Accommodate

Sharon Goldmacher | Published on 6/5/2023
Atlanta, GA – June 5, 2023 - The Greater Women’s Business Council® (GWBC®) is proud to welcome three powerhouse business leaders to its board of directors, and two added executive team members to its staff. The three new board members include Anita Davis, president at Praxis Strategic Solutions; Kanchana Raman, president at Avacend; and Stephanie Vera, supplier diversity operations lead at BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC. In addition, GWBC’s executive team is expanding with the addition of Maria Balais as Director of Programs and Matielyn Jones as Director of Operations.

“Our board of directors is comprised of corporate leaders in company areas such as supplier diversity, procurement, marketing, finance and logistics at Fortune 1000 companies as well as women-owned business CEO leaders. Their relationships are symbolic of GWBC’s mission which connects growing entrepreneurs with corporations to foster growth through education and business. We are honored and proud to have our board representing key industries and states in our region. Our new leadership to the board will be an asset to ensuring that our strategy for growth and development aligns and elevates our vision and mission,” said Roz Lewis, president and CEO – GWBC. 

Anita Davis, president and chief strategist at Praxis Strategic Solutions (formerly Business2Banker Connection), leads the risk-mitigation consulting practice which uses customizable training solutions to help clients demonstrate the performance of their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and social sustainability (ESG).

Kanchana Raman launched her first company, Avion, in 1996 and successfully deployed 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks in 18 countries. She is currently president of Avacend which offers IT, Telecom consulting and staffing assistance across different industries. Kanchana and her successful companies have earned several service excellence awards.

Stephanie Vera is intrigued by unique business developments and exploring recent trends in tech which led her to her current role - the Supplier Diversity Operational Lead for BMW Manufacturing Co. Before this position, Stephanie worked for five years in logistics quality at BMW. 

GWBC also saw three dedicated board members end their terms in 2022. Those members include Michelle Muhammed, Ed.D., director of supplier diversity for Southern Company Gas; Tina Stevens, chief executive officer of Secondary Solutions; and Kayla Dang, chief executive officer of GMI Group. 

With more than 1,200 businesses certified in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, GWBC is expanding its team to continue its growth. Joining the GWBC staff as Director of Programs is Maria Balais. She is focused on educating, encouraging and supporting women-owned businesses and member corporations through GWBC programs and resources. Prior to this new role, Maria was Principal of The Balais Group which was a community engagement, communications and strategy consulting firm. She was also previously the Executive Director of Leadership DeKalb from 2013-2020, where she contributed to the impact of 54 nonprofit organizations, trained 450+ leaders and established a reserve fund for the organization. “I am excited to join the GWBC team and look forward to adding value to the organization. I am even more motivated to get to know the women-owned businesses that make such an impact in our economy and market,” said Maria Balais.

GWBC welcomes Matielyn Jones as Director of Operations. A graduate of Georgia State University, Matielyn has spent her career driving social impact initiatives through civic leadership, professional development and mission-driven roles including political consulting, teaching, ministry, program management and corporate training. Matielyn stated, "It is a joy to connect with so many dynamic women who are leading and thriving in various industries. I am excited about working to continuously improve our capacity to serve through maximizing efficiencies and leading well-coordinated, data-driven, strategic operations across the organization that further our mission to enhance the competitive value of women business enterprises.

The addition of these leaders to the Greater Women’s Business Council board of directors and staff elevates its mission, solidifies its team, and creates a more powerful resource for women-owned businesses in the southeast. Learn more about the GWBC team by visiting


About The Greater Women’s Business Council:
The Greater Women’s Business Council, Inc. (GWBC) is a nonprofit organization providing nationally recognized certification through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), in addition to innovative programming and value-driven events to meet the unique needs of women business enterprises (WBEs) in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. GWBC’s constituency is comprised of more than 1,200 certified WBEs, dozens of corporate member partners, government entities and business alliances united to inspire, engage, and empower women-owned businesses. A Regional Partner Organization of WBENC, GWBC has its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, with a second office in Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn more at or follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Meghan Stoneburner, on behalf of The Greater Women’s Business Council
communications 21
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