Meet Our Hive

Since our founding in 2014, BEE CLUB INC. has developed and grown in a positive direction. We’re very proud of the diversity of our staff, and their abilities to contribute their own unique experience and skills to our success. Find out more about some of our team members below.

The Board

EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP BOARD

Our dedicated team of experienced professionals are always on the ball, utilizing their unique skills and passion to move the work of our women empowerment non-profit organization forward. Our hive is always pushing to stay ahead of the curve and striving to perfect our programs. Meet some of our incredible leaders below.

Dr. Chantrise Holliman
Chairperson

Dr. Holliman became a formal educator in 1997, teaching English at a private boarding school for African-American Students in Forsyth, GA right out of Macon. After, she spent 12 years as a 9th Grade English teacher at Westlake High School. While teaching 9th Grade English, students instructed by Dr. Holliman began to make more and more gains, performing higher than the district and the state on standardized tests. Dr. Holliman became not only an expert in 9th Grade English but in all things 9th Grade. After conducting research on the teenage brain and the physical, emotional, and psychological state of humans during their first-year of high school, Holliman began to host workshops for parents, sharing how to better students’ experiences as they enter high school.

During her years at Westlake, Dr. Holliman was a 9th Grade Team Leader, 9th Grade Academy Coordinator and eventually became everybody’s “School Mom” or “Auntie”. In addition to teaching students, Holliman has taught teachers through professional development sessions, teaching teachers concepts of fun and engagement that could be used in their classrooms.

 

On March 23, 2018, Dr. Holliman’s life as she knew it changed, undergoing a heart attack that eventually resulted in amputations on both of her legs. Seven months after her heart attack doctors told Holliman that she was paraplegic. Holliman struggled to grapple with her new reality and the fact that she would never walk again. In an effort to reclaim her life, she began to tell her stories, giving inspirational speeches at schools, conferences, and baccalaureate ceremonies. She also began to share inspirational messages on her social media platforms, including instagram (Hollimanspeaks), on which she shares 60 seconds of inspiration and wisdom in her “Monday Moments”. 

 

Today, Dr. Holliman speaks, writes, publishes and teaches under Dr. Chantrise Holliman LLC. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.

Jillyan Gillard
VP & Creative Director

Jillyan Gillard is a thriving, ambitious professional in the non-profit and digital media industry. Jillyan is an alumna of the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor’s of arts in both Journalism and Women’s Studies with a certificate in New Media. While completing her undergraduate degree, Jillyan has served in many reputable leadership positions, such as the Internal Affairs Chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, a Grady College Ambassador, an Undergrad Representative on Grady Diversity Committee, a Resident Assistant, and as a mentor. Each position and experience has prepared Jillyan for the better in regard to serving on BEE Club Inc. executive board.

 

Since service is so near to Jillyan’s heart, she devoted a year post graduation to serve as an Americorp VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). In this role, she worked both indirectly and directly with youth in the Athens community. As the Outreach Coordinator of the young adult department, she developed several sustainable systems that help bridge the gap between child hunger, youth accessibility to resources, and youth programming. 

She has multiple years of experience in youth development, community organizing, and service. In addition to  Jillyan utilizing her many talents, she mainly focuses on organizational communications, content creation, and program development. 

Joy Ovington
Secretary & Treasurer

Jillyan Gillard is a thriving, ambitious professional in the non-profit and digital media industry. Jillyan is an alumna of the University of Georgia, earning a bachelor’s of arts in both Journalism and Women’s Studies with a certificate in New Media. While completing her undergraduate degree, Jillyan has served in many reputable leadership positions, such as the Internal Affairs Chair for the National Association of Black Journalists, a Grady College Ambassador, an Undergrad Representative on Grady Diversity Committee, a Resident Assistant, and as a mentor. Each position and experience has prepared Jillyan for the better in regard to serving on BEE Club Inc. executive board.

 

Since service is so near to Jillyan’s heart, she devoted a year post graduation to serve as an Americorp VISTA (Volunteer in Service to America). In this role, she worked both indirectly and directly with youth in the Athens community. As the Outreach Coordinator of the young adult department, she developed several sustainable systems that help bridge the gap between child hunger, youth accessibility to resources, and youth programming. 

She has multiple years of experience in youth development, community organizing, and service. In addition to  Jillyan utilizing her many talents, she mainly focuses on organizational communications, content creation, and program development. 

For the past decade, Joy has performed the role of Operations Manager at the Athens Regional Library System working as a Purchaser, Human Resources Specialist, and coordinating Facilities and Social Events. She is the Director of Publishing Operations for Bilbo Books Publishing. Joy holds an MFA from the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Professional Actor Training and degrees in Theatre and English from the University of Alabama.

 

Aiming to stand tall in life and in the nonprofit world, Joy leans into her strengths and unique blend of corporate experience, community leadership, and steadfast backup as she helps those around her in realizing their full potential. She’s passionate about organizational responsibility, fiscal stewardship, strategies that enhance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, building high performance teams and unconditional positive regard. 

 

Joy was honored to work on the National Advisory Board of the Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and received the Lamda Award, SBC/AT&T’s highest Workforce Diversity recognition for outstanding high energy contributions to diversity. Within Chicago’s Windy City Performing Arts organization, she served terms as Treasurer and Membership Chair. Alpha Psi Omega and Sigma Tau Delta have their proud places on her resume, as do a Grammy and an Emmy Award (both group projects, so let’s not get excited, she says!). 

 

Since 2011, Joy has performed the role of Operations Manager at the Athens Regional Library System working as a Government Purchaser, Human Resources Specialist and Facilities Liaison to the County. She holds an MFA from the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Professional Actor Training and degrees in Theatre and English from the University of Alabama.

 

Prior to her move to Georgia, Joy was a SSI/SSA Disability Determination Specialist with the State of Alabama Dept. of Education. In Chicago, she spent a decade as a Business Operations Specialist/Manager with SBC Global Services and a Process Improvement/Software Quality Assurance Analyst for SBC DataComm IT. She also supported adults with developmental disabilities as a Direct Support Professional with St. Louis ARC. 

 

As the daughter of an international educator and military officer who was born and raised in Montgomery, AL, Joy believes strongly in the BEE Club Vision and is thrilled to be learning more about how to support these young people as they change the world as we know it!

Akilah Blount is the Founding President and CEO of BEE Club Inc. (Becoming Empowered through Education), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides teen girls with the tools and resources to become organizational leaders in their schools and communities. 

Jillyan Gillard

M.A., Award-Winning Founder and CEO, Program Development Specialist, Leadership Training Consultant, Grantwriter, Nonprofit Leader

Motivational Speaker, Award-Winning Educator, Professional Development Specialist, Grant Writer, Outreach and Program Coordinator, Entrepreneur

VICE PRESIDENT

She began her  journey in community organizing as a senior student at Westlake High School. As a student who was not accepted into another girls organization, she was inspired to create a school club for girls, in which girls of diverse and layered identities could belong and confidently exist. On October 7, 2013, She founded B.E.E. Club, an organization that gave senior girls the opportunity to mentor freshmen girls throughout their first year of high school. As a result of her leadership, she  was selected as a Top 20 under 20 Youth Leader in Georgia (21st Century Leaders) and a Chick-Fil-A ESPN Impact Player Off the Field (ESPN College Football Kick-Off) in 2014.

 

Serving over 300 girls in Atlanta since its founding in 2013, BEE Club Inc. has become a reliable resource for teen girls to gain increased access to leadership and life-skills education, while also further connecting with influential peers and community members in order to realize their highest potential. In addition to her role as Founding President and CEO, Akilah has also served in other administrative roles within the organization including, Creative Director, Director of Program Development, Lead Program Facilitator, Public Relations Specialist, and Organizational Outreach Coordinator.

 

In 2018,  she co-authored a special initiative leadership grant with the Athens Regional Library System which outlined trauma informed practices, including an after school peer leadership program for teen girls in Athens, GA. After receipt of the grant, she was contracted as a Program Developer with ARLS, working to establish BEE Club Inc. Programs in the Clarke County School District. 

 

Along with her multifaceted work experience as a young leader in nonprofit, Akilah furthered her education at the University of Georgia, where she  received Bachelors Degrees in Public Relations and Women’s Studies from Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at UGA in 2018. She  is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Nonprofit Management and Leadership at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. Akilah’s education and career’s work collectively aim to increase girls' access to leadership and life-skills education through evidence-based programs, strategic partnerships, and community organizing.

Akilah Blount
Founder & CEO

PRESIDENT

Akilah Blount

Jillyan Gillard is the Vice President and Creative Director of the BEE Club Inc.  

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SECRETARY & TREASURER

Joy Ovington

Operations Management, Human Resources, Purchasing, Nonprofit Leader, Arts Admin

MFA, Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Professional Actor Training

BA, Theatre/English, University of Alabam

CHAIRPERSON

DR. Chantrise Holliman

Motivational Speaker, Award Winning Educator, Professional Development Specialist

Pamela Durham-Willingham
Fundraising Chair

Pamela Durham Willingham is the Director of Administration and Finance for the Departments of Medical Education, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology, and Pathology and Anatomy at Morehouse School of Medicine since November 2018.  She serves as “strategic” partners to the Departments’ Chairs providing oversight for the daily operations of these academic units.  Pamela is responsible for providing oversight of the day-to-day business, financial, and academic operations of the departments and supervising administrative staff.

Prior to joining the MSM family, Pamela worked for Georgia State University for over thirty-one years where she developed and honed her skills as an administrator in higher education.  She brings over 25 years of “cradle to grave” grants management experience as an added valued to her respective academic units.  She received her national certification as a research administrator (CRA) in December 2010. She has been an active member of the National Council for University Research Administrators (NCURA) since 2007 and the Society for Research Administrators.  Pamela maintains her certification as a CRA by providing training and mentoring services designed to develop other staff new to the profession of research administration. 

Pamela received the GSU President’s Outstanding Staff Member Award for Community Service and Social Action for her volunteer work in the community. She was recognized for her services as a mentor for the Mentoring Children of Prisoners (DHHS) program for a local nonprofit agency. She also received the University Research Services Administration’s (URSA) Centennial Award, "granted in recognition of superior leadership and service in helping Georgia State achieve the third goal of its strategic plan - to become a leading public research university addressing the most challenging issues of the 21st century." 

Pamela enjoys volunteering with nonprofit agencies to lend her support for youth development programs.  She spends her spare time with family and friends, listening to music, and being outdoors.

FUNDRAISING CHAIR

Pamela Durham-Willingham

MS, Urban Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

 

BA, African American Studies, Georgia State University, College of Arts and Sciences

 

AS, Teacher Education, Dekalb Community

FINANCIAL CONSULTANT

Motivational Speaker, Award-Winning Educator, Professional Development Specialist, Grant Writer, Outreach and Program Coordinator, Entrepreneur

LEGAL CONSULTANT

Attorney and Counselor at Law

Kourtland Jones

Kourtland Jones is a senior associate in Bennett Thrasher’s Financial Reporting & Assurance practice. He has experience serving both domestic and international clients ranging from middle to large markets within the private sector. His industry experience includes healthcare, manufacturing and supply chain, pharmaceutical companies, technology and restaurants.

 

Kourtland is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in Georgia. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Accounting from the University of Georgia. 

Karen Gregory-Hines

Kourtland Jones

Karen Gregory-Hines