New Friends New Life announces the induction of four new board members for the 2022-2023 term, effective April 1: Dr. Millicent Knight, senior vice president, customer development, EssilorLuxottica; Cheryl Monroe, vice president controller and treasurer, Mary Kay, Inc.; and Elena Sacca Smith, group manager, Office of Social Innovation, Toyota North America. They join previously announced Erin Nealy-Cox, partner at Kirkland & Ellis and former U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Texas. Additionally, Tracy Young, founder and principal, TDY Partners, will serve as the Circle of Friends President and Zeke Fortenberry, attorney for victims, Fortenberry Firm PLLC, as the Men’s Advocacy Group Board Chair.
"These dynamic corporate leaders bring incredible new expertise from across the Dallas business community to New Friends New Life,” said Tracey Nash-Huntley, Board Chair. "Because we know the problem of sex trafficking is systemic at its root, the solution must be collaborative. Without question, their leadership, commitment, and compassion will be valuable assets to each of our three boards. Together we will continue to educate and increase awareness of the prevalence of sex trafficking right here in our Dallas community, while also providing direction and support for the ongoing work of New Friends New Life empowering and restoring the lives of the formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women and girls we serve.”
The new board members join a diverse board of community representatives including Tracey Nash-Huntley, NFNL Board Chair, community leader; Robin Bagwell, community leader; Nancy Best, business and community leader; Adam Cannon, Chief Brand Officer, G6 Hospitality, LLC; Sherri Daniel, Certified Public Accountant; Dr. Cole Edmonson, DNP, RN; Chief Clinical Officer, AMN Healthcare; Kelley Grayson, Regional VP, Provider Network Solutions; Wendy Messmann, Regional Investment Executive, US Trust, Bank of America; Paulette Miniter, Associate Attorney, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Jane A. Rose, General Counsel, Irwin R. Rose & Co.; Christa Sanford, Partner, Baker Botts, LLP; Shelly Slater, community leader, WFAA Special Contributor; Gail Turner, community leader, SMU affiliation; Jessica Turner-Waugh, actor & voice-over artist; and Katherine Wynne, business and community leader.
For more information, visit newfriendsnewlife.org or call (214) 965-0935.
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NEW BOARD MEMBERS 2022-2023
Dr. Millicent Knight, OD, FAAO, FAARM, FNAP, is senior vice president, customer development group, at EssilorLuxottica, where her team oversees eye care professional education, professional relations, and sales force training in North America. She has an extensive background in the eye care industry with hospital-based ophthalmology/optometry and is the former owner of two optometric practices. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including optometrist of the year and young optometrist of the year by the National Optometric Association and the Illinois Optometric Association. She has volunteered for eye care missions around the world including North, South, and Central America, as well as Haiti and Thailand and is a mentor to young women in the eye health industry. She is also a member of the Dallas Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and is active working with their STEAM Academy of 7th to 12th grade girls of color.
Cheryl Monroe is vice president controller and treasurer of Mary Kay Inc., with oversight for consolidated financial reporting, accounting services, and treasury operations. Since 2000 she has served in multiple roles in Finance at Mary Kay, including internal audit, financial reporting, and forecasting. She serves on the Florida State University Libraries Advancement Board and joined the Mary Kay Ash Foundation board of directors in 2022. The Mary Kay Ash Foundation raises and provides funds to find a cure for women-related cancers and an end to gender-based violence against women and girls.
Elena Sacca Smith is the group manager for the Office of Social Innovation at Toyota North America, where she oversees the company’s corporate social responsibility strategies, communications, measurement, and operations to advance the company’s social impact and diversity and inclusion efforts. She is host of The CauseGirl Podcast, inspiring women to feel good by doing good; a fellow at the Aspen Institute and serves on the Executive Forum for Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship. She is also on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas and is a lifetime member.
Erin Nealy-Cox is a partner at Kirkland and Ellis and the former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. She represents corporations, boards of directors, and executives involved in complex multi-jurisdictional disputes and high-stakes investigations and is a member of the firm’s Government, Regulatory & Internal Investigations Practice Group. She has been recognized nationally for her pioneering efforts to eradicate human trafficking and was nominated for Texan of the Year by The Dallas Morning News in 2020 for her efforts.
NEW AUXILIARY GROUP LEADERS
Tracy Young, the new Circle of Friends president, is the founder and principal of TDY Partners, a communications, public, and government affairs consultancy serving clients at the local, state, and federal level. She previously worked for the George W. Bush Institute; the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries; the Texas Charter Schools Association; Texas House Speaker Joe Straus; the George W. Bush Administration; the U.S. Department of Education; and for Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Young volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA), supporting children in foster care, and supports A21.
Circle of Friends supports the mission of New Friends New Life through volunteerism, community awareness, and fundraising.
Zeke Fortenberry of Fortenberry Firm PLLC, is the new Men’s Advocacy Group chair. He is an attorney and advocate for victims and has handled more than 160 jury trials. He teaches trial advocacy and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Southern Methodist University School of Law. He has lectured at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and is a speaker and presenter across Texas. Fortenberry served as chair of the board for the Texas Young Lawyers Association and is a volunteer with Children’s Advocacy Center as well as a supporter of local law enforcement organizations.
The Men’s Advocacy Group was created to mobilize men to take action against sex trafficking and exploitation by raising awareness through advocacy, education, and volunteerism.
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About New Friends New Life:
Founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1998, New Friends New Life (NFNL) restores and empowers trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women and their children, and drives awareness of the issue and its prevalence. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities. In 2021, NFNL served 312 members. NFNL also educates the community and works to eradicate the epidemic of human trafficking through advocacy, legislative reform and strategic partnerships that address systemic causes. In 2018, NFNL opened a drop-in Youth Resource Center (YRC) in partnership with the Office of the Governor to serve trafficked and high-risk teen girls. Since its opening, we have served 442 girls. In 2015, NFNL organized its Men's Advocacy Group to engage men in the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation. For more information, visit http://www.newfriendsnewlife.org.