Averett University Announces Four New Trustees, Young Alumnus to Board of Trustees

Posted on July 26th, 2023 by Cassie Jones

DANVILLE, Va. (July 26, 2023) – Averett University is pleased to announce four new Trustees and a Young Alumnus Trustee who joined its Board of Trustees on July 1, 2023.

The new trustees include Dr. Lenora Billings-Harris of Greensboro, North Carolina; Brenda Bowman of Dry Fork, Virginia; Starlette Johnson of Dallas, Texas; and Hayward Majors of Charlottesville, Virginia. These new members will serve a four-year term ending in 2027. In addition, N. Grayson Eaton ’21 of Chatham, Virginia, has been elected as a Young Alumnus Trustee and will serve a one-year term ending in 2024.

“We are blessed at Averett University to have such a talented, diverse and esteemed Board of Trustees comprised of business and community leaders who have provided me and our University with strategic vision and innovative ideas to always move Averett forward,” said Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks. “These additions to the Trustees bring incredible experience and expertise that will continue that momentum, and we are grateful for their upcoming service.”

Lenora Billings-Harris has more than 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She specializes in helping organizations create and implement strategies to make diversity, equity and inclusion a competitive advantage by disrupting bias in the workplace. Billings-Harris has authored two books and has been named among the top 100 Thought Leaders on Diversity by the Society of Human Resource Management and one of the Top 30 Diversity & Inclusion Leaders You Must Follow in 2022. She is the past president of the Global Speakers Federation; in 2018 she was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. Billings-Harris has served as an adjunct professor for two universities (one of which is Averett). She is an alumna of Hampton University and University of Michigan. Billings-Harris received her Honorary Doctorate degree from Averett in December 2022 when she was the commencement speaker at Averett’s graduation.

Brenda Bowman has served in a variety of local government roles for the Danville-Pittsylvania County region, including chair of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, and legislative assistant to Delegate Steve Landes, Senator Bill Stanley, Delegate Charles Poindexter, Delegate Robert Hurt and Delegate Melanie Rapp. In addition, she served as chair of the Danville-Pittsylvania County Tourism Advisory Committee, was on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Danville Area, and is the co-founder of the Pittsylvania County Sports Hall of Fame. Bowman, a native of Danville, conducts workshops and serves as a consultant to candidates seeking public office.

Starlette Barker Johnson, a Danville native, is a business strategist and operations leader with more than 30 years of success in retail and hospitality businesses. She has served in many corporate roles including as EVP/strategic officer at Brinker International; President/COO of Dave and Buster’s; governance and compensation chair and board member for Chuy’s Tex-Mex Restaurants; nominating/governance chair, and board member for ARKO Corp. She currently serves on the board and audit committee for Jack’s Family Restaurants, and as a member of the board and chair of the security and risk committee for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. In addition, she also chairs the Virginia Tech Foundation. She is the founder/president of the SBJ Advisory Group. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in finance from Virginia Tech and a Master of Business Administration degree from Duke University.

Hayward Majors, a Danville native, practiced corporate law in New York City at Simpson Thacher & Barlett and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He is the co-founder and director of University Bridge. He is involved in many different aspects of the business, including student recruitment, finance and campus management. He has over a decade of experience in higher education and admissions advising, helping students reach their full potential. Majors holds his Bachelor of Arts in economics and public policy from Duke University, Master of Business Administration from the Columbia Business School and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia.

N. Grayson Eaton ’21 is a public relations specialist at Jacklyn Marketing Group in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has served in a variety of public relations, marketing and social media roles. Eaton is the former director of social media operations at South Boston Speedway, where he still maintains race-day duties. He does contracted work as an on-air personality and has reported and hosted auto racing episodes on FloSports, Speed Sport and MAVTV. During his time as an Averett student, he served as an Averett Presidential Ambassador and represented the University during a virtual town hall for students across the Commonwealth with the Governor of Virginia in 2020. Eaton received the American Legion Citizenship Award and the Alexander and Violet Allen Vocalist Award in 2021. Eaton holds his Bachelor of Arts in communication studies/journalism from Averett, and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in communication and information degree at the University of Tennessee.