This year, the School theme has been “Use Your Voice for Good,” inspired by the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in the United States, and by various current events happening all over the world. The Alumnae Council Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee was inspired by this mantra the students have taken on — and have chosen it as the theme for this year’s Courageous Conversations Reunion event.
The DEI Committee is excited to introduce the four alumnae who will be sharing their personal experiences, discussing the importance of using your voice, and talking about the different ways this can be done. Reunion 2021 is virtual, and as always, all alumnae are welcome to attend — even if it is not your Reunion year.
We hope you will join alumnae, faculty, and current students for this wonderful virtual event; “Courageous Conversations: Alumnae on Using Your Voice for Good.”
Adriane Johnson-Williams, PhD ’92
Standing firmly on her identity as a Black woman, Dr. Johnson-Williams also embraces the complexity of her academic and social experiences. Leaving home at age 14 to attend Foxcroft and then Wellesley College in Wellesley, MA, has helped forge the tools she uses almost daily to support clients in acknowledging the behaviors and systems that produce homogenous and exclusionary organizations and committing to behaviors and systems that embrace diversity and inclusion and contribute to greater equity.
Dr. Johnson-Williams is a native Memphian, who got her start in Memphis City Schools, she is dedicated to improving the lives of Black and brown people in her hometown and across the nation. Dr. Johnson-Williams is Founder and Principal at Standpoint Consulting, and just prior she was Special Assistant for Strategy and Planning at LeMoyne-Owen College. She was also a founding staff member, and ultimately became Director of Collaborative Action, with Seeding Success, the Shelby County, TN, collective impact effort focused on improving cradle-to-career outcomes.
Her graduate work, grounded in sociology, politics, and philosophy, helps to anchor her consultancy in scholarship while her professional and lived experience helps her to tailor client services to their distinct needs. Having worked in schooling, education advocacy, higher education, collective impact, and philanthropy, her knowledge is expansive.
She was named 2020 Woman of the Year by Girls Inc. of Memphis and received the Evelyn S. Field Award from SisterReach for demonstrating Reproductive Justice at the Intersections.
Maniecsha Holmes ’09
Maniecsha Holmes is an Associate Segment Producer at Jimmy Kimmel Live, where she can currently be seen in the post-show credits using her professional name, Mannie Holmes. She collaborates with show writers, producers, and Jimmy Kimmel (who’s just as comical off-camera) thinking of fun bits to do with celebrity guests or interesting, news-generating questions to ask.
At Foxcroft, she was the Richmond, VA native who was always hogging the lounge television to watch something from her personal DVD collection. (She’d like to apologize to her dorm mates for that now.) She graduated from UVA's College of Arts & Sciences in 2013 as an English major, before getting a master’s degree in Broadcast & Digital Journalism at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2014.
Before arriving at Kimmel, she was part of the team at Entertainment Tonight that won a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Entertainment News Program during the 2019-2020 season. There, she reported on breaking news stories, including the helicopter crash that led to Kobe Bryant’s death and the ongoing legal battle surrounding Britney Spears’ conservatorship.
Maniescha also dedicates time mentoring journalism students and organizing career panels as a Board Member for the Los Angeles chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists. Whenever she has free weekends, she’s doing the one thing she didn’t take advantage of while at Foxcroft: spending time with horses. As a volunteer with Taking the Reins, a non-profit organization for girls from underserved communities to learn about horsemanship and natural sciences, she gets to care for horses and will (fingers crossed) take riding lessons in the near future. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she still watches an excessive amount of television ... at least until the city is actually safe again to explore.
Julienne Brown ’09
Julienne Brown graduated from Foxcroft with the dream of becoming an athletic trainer, which had been growing since sophomore year. She played field hockey, lacrosse, and basketball throughout her time on campus — and often spent time recovering from various injuries due to her enthusiasm for competition. Upon graduating, Julienne took her athletic training dream and passion for field hockey to Roanoke College where she studied sports medicine and played for the Maroons all four years.
While at Roanoke she joined Phi Mu Sorority, building on a sense of sisterhood fostered by her time at Foxcroft. Fast forward through plenty of stumbles, bumps, bruises, and total face- plants, she now owns and operates her own sports performance and sports medicine practice for female athletes in Richmond, VA: EMPOWER Athlete.
Her practice specializes in female physiology. The program covers training, treatment, return to play, and other holistic practices from research by, practiced on, and executed by female athletes. It is Julienne’s goal to turn the current athletic structure upside down, a structure that has been built primarily for men, and move forward to help girls build their athletic careers in a way that favors how they are built.
M. Tonita Austin ’83
In addition to owning her own accounting firm, Tonita Austin is a community and social activist. She is a talented poet who has regularly been asked to recite at rallies for Black Lives Matter and Mothers of Black Sons, and she is one of the founding members of her local community coalition for prison reform.
Delco Coalition for Prison Reform (DelcoCPR) formed at the end of 2017 to organize and fight for local prison reform in Delaware County, PA. They are an informal coalition made up of individuals and representatives from many social justice groups across the county. They aim to follow the leadership and guidance of people formerly incarcerated and to build power and relationships among our members. Their current priority is to deprivatize Pennsylvania's only privately run prison in her county. As a member of Showing up for Racial Justice and Mothers of Black Sons Philadelphia chapter, Tonita is committed to prison reform and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Tonita was born and raised in West Philadelphia, and she is a University of Pennsylvania alumna.