Leadership Advisory Council

Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Advisory Council

The Leadership Advisory Council (GLS-LAC) is a team of dedicated scholars and alumni who collaborate with program staff and other affiliates to serve as liaisons, advocates, and in some cases, decision makers for their fellow peers within the program. Nominations for the Council are accepted at the beginning of each program year.

Meet the 2016 Representatives



“County, State, Country, and World Change”

Anna Bowman, Year 1 Scholar

School: Western Carolina University (WCU)

Bio: The Golden Leaf Scholars Leadership Program is only one of many leadership programs that give college students like myself the opportunity to participate in and learn certain leadership strategies that will help us in the future. My slogan ‘County, State, Country, and World Change’ is my personal view of how leadership works. For example, I want to be a Pediatric Physician’s Assistant but first I will have to inform small counties in North Carolina of public health issues, other states, the country, and eventually the world to make a difference. Leadership programs strengthen individuals in ways that allow them to reach their goals. In order for a goal to be reached someone has to take charge and enforce and plan of action. This program prepares us for little goals in our home counties that will eventually lead to the completion of our big goals later in life.




“Escalate to the top, with Leadership you know and Value!”

Aaliyah Escalera, Year 3 Scholar

School: North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCAT)

Bio: My name is Aaliyah Escalera, a 20 year old, scholar student of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, from Wadesboro, NC. I am a dedicated member of many social organizations, respectful, engaging, and a motivated individual.  I believe I should be selected as a representative for GLS – Leadership Advisory Council due to my dedication, urge to make a change in rural NC, and phenomenal leadership skills. When being involved in an organization I strive to help better it. I always strive to explore the many options and opportunities that can help me achieve great success in life.  Discover what life has to bring, and become a leader in my community, and a role model for other young adults like myself; dedicated to achieving the best in life! I strive to make my community, school, and family proud.



“Our youth, our future”

Megan Ferry, Year 4 Scholar

School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bio: The fundamental concept that I have learned during my involvement in the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program is the importance of investing in the future of our youth and their communities by fostering leadership skills.  This program has been instrumental in my decision to pursue a career in the field of pharmacy.  I have been interested in the medical field for most of my life and during that time, I have learned that compassion and dedication are essential when helping others.  I have found that these attributes are also applicable to any situation that requires leadership.  My passion for helping others has grown even stronger as a result of the internships and leadership training that I have received. Individuals in rural counties have limited access to quality health care, and my experiences have fostered a passion for being a part of the health care team that provides them this opportunity.




“Leaders Humbly Molding Future Leaders”

Justin Jeffress, Year 3 Scholar

School: Campbell University

Bio: The unifying aspect amongst all of the Golden Leaf Scholars and Staff is Leadership. I believe that the development and growth that I have experienced as a Golden Leaf Family Member, is accredited to the “Humble Leaders” who with “Patient Hands” and “Supportive Wisdom”, took the initiative to help mold me into a humble leader. As a student at Campbell University and an aspiring educator/future administrator, and as a young family member of the Golden Leaf Family, I believe that leadership is an important quality that one must possess to obtain future success. However in accordance to this quality, one must also possess “Humility” which allows them to be a “Humble Leader”. With these two qualities equally matched, I believe that one may lead successfully while demonstrating the 4 C’s of Leadership being Compassion, Composure, Confidence, and Consistency.




“Committed to excellence. Driven by my community”

Cameron Jernigan, Year 2 Scholar

School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bio: My name is Cameron Jernigan, a sophomore student at UNC Chapel Hill, from Ahoskie, NC. Double majoring in Public Policy and Communication, I am in my second year in the program. Growing up, I disliked living in rural eastern North Carolina. In addition to the poverty, lack of resources, and overall downtrodden communities, there was simply nothing to do and nowhere to go. As I got older I promised myself that I’d make it out. However, this past year, I began to understand that just because my area isn’t in the best condition doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. I recognized I had a passion for public service, specifically in local government. In discovering (and accepting) these things, I realized my desire to return to my community and work to make it better.



“Greatness wrapped in small packages”

Lanita Johnson, Year 2 Scholar

School: North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (NCAT)

Bio: I’m 5’2. So many times I have heard the words you can’t do this you’re too small or you won’t be able to reach that you’re too short. I have learned that greatness can come from small packages. We all can do anything we set our mind to. I have also heard “Country/rural people aren’t smart”, or things like “Country/rural people are lazy.” So often I have seen family, classmates, friends and associates give up because of the “Lack of opportunity” in our rural community. I may be small, but I have a huge voice and one day I want to make a huge impact into the lives of those that have lost hope. I want to not only be a leader, but an example that not just good, but GREAT things can come out of small packages. It’s not the size, it’s the heart.



“Giving back to the people who gave me so much”

Jordan Spelce, Year 3 Scholar

School: East Carolina University (ECU)

Bio: Every scholar in the Golden LEAF program understands what it’s like to grow up in a small town where there’s nothing to do. I experienced the same thing growing up. All my life I wanted to move out of the small town and go somewhere bigger and brighter. I decided to go to college at East Carolina University, the third largest university in North Carolina. A lot of people told me that once I moved to somewhere bigger, I would want to be a part of a small community again. That wasn’t the case. ECU is located in Pitt County, a qualifying rural county. During my three years living here, I have seen Greenville grow in size, population, and economically. In fact, Greenville was recently listed as one of the fastest economically growing city in America. As a business major, this interested me, but also inspired me. I don’t want to move back to my small hometown and be content. I want to go back home and work to grow it and make it a better place. Whether that be opening some businesses, financial advising, or working in economic development, I plan on making a difference. There is no better place to start then right here at the Golden LEAF. This Leadership Advisory Council will be able to serve as another stepping stone toward my goal of growing small town, North Carolina.


Alumni Representatives – Bios Coming Soon!