Our Leadership Team
Pamela Shaw, J.D.
President & Founder
A senior manager, entrepreneur, and public policy analyst, Pamela Shaw is a seasoned leader, tactician, organizer and devotee to social justice. She has more than 20 years of experience focused on the health, education and management training and development of children, families and service providers in vulnerable communities and organizations.
Her uncanny capacity to support, communicate with and train key leadership and a disparate array of community constituents on complicated matters of public policy and program development has benefited citizens and organizations with common interests. As a member of a small cadre of persons leading the mid-and-deep South into the new millennium, Pam has a range of knowledge and skills critical to emerging communities, program developers, service providers and policy makers. Her experience includes organizational leadership, training and public speaking. All of which is buttressed by a vast network of skilled professionals that has made her work both compelling and accessible. She is a native Mississippian with degrees from Southern University and the University of Maryland.
A senior executive and academic with leadership experience in the public and private sectors. His leadership includes oversight of strategic and organizational development, acquisitions and integration, policy and program development and fiscal administration. His work in the public and private sectors is complemented by teaching, mentoring and scholarly pursuits in university settings. He is a noted advocate and strategic organizer in various civic, human rights and social justice causes.
Irving Hamer's experience includes school and district leadership, executive leadership in corporations and technology start-up firms, faculty and research appointments at Yale, Columbia and Florida International Universities and extensive work in the civic and non-profit sectors. A native of New York City, Hamer holds advanced degrees from Harvard University.
David Hampton,Manager, Strategic Communications
A veteran journalist who has spent 37 years in various writing and editing positions at Mississippi newspapers, Hampton is a native of Tennessee and received his BA in journalism from The University of Memphis in 1975. While in college he worked for The Commercial Appeal and, upon graduation, came to Mississippi as a reporter for The Daily Sentinel Star in Grenada. He joined the Jackson newspapers in 1976 as a government and political writer. He was assigned to The Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News Washington, D.C., bureau in 1982 and came back to Mississippi as city editor for the Daily News and then The Clarion-Ledger. He became editorial director in 1986 and oversaw the The Clarion-Ledger's opinion pages for 26 years before his retirement from the newspaper in April 2012.
He has won numerous awards for his editorial and column writing, including being a three-time recipient of the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Excellence, the highest award given by the Mississippi Press Association. In June, he was inducted into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame for his contributions to Mississippi journalism.
A senior K12 technology architect and reformist, business intelligence consultant, Gus Vargas designs and implements technology solutions that fundamentally change data practices and analysis in public education. He maximizes the potential of technology solutions and designs training programs that produce lasting results. He designs web applications for national education firms and state associations, business intelligence solutions for public education systems, online training for state agencies and has developed k12 education tools that are used to help thousands of educators in their daily work. A native of Northern California, Vargas holds degrees from California State University, Sacramento and California State University, East Bay.
Kenya Collins Engagement Manager
Kenya Collins is an experienced architect of organizing and engaging community. A former educator, Kenya understands the importance of communicating with and engaging all education stakeholders to affect change. As a veteran grassroots organizer, her organizational and communications skills are in demand. Her advice and leadership is sought after by numerous organizations. A native of Jackson, Miss., she holds a degree from Jackson State University.
Gerald Darling, Safe Communities Consultant
After 28 years of diverse law enforcement experience, Gerald L. Darling has a pristine reputation for his innovative approaches to developing safe communities and schools. His experience includes leadership in law enforcement organizations, school districts, and national governments in the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. In all of his work, Gerald Darling is acclaimed for using data to inform his strategy and tactics for reducing crime. His knowledge and skills in developing safe communities are wide ranging and include administration, field operations, investigations, emergency management, planning, training, and budget and policy development.
Uniquely, Gerald Darling’s portfolio includes youth violence and crime reduction. His work has received commendations from local communities, state agencies, Federal law enforcement agencies, and the White House. He is a published author. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Fort Valley State University, a M.S. in Management and Public Administration from St. Thomas University, and advanced training and certification in law enforcement from Boston University and the University of Louisville. He is a parent and is active in civic and community affairs.