Board of Trustees
Gregory R. Spencer
Greg Spencer is a native of Washington, PA. He attended Wilberforce University, graduated From University of Pittsburgh and earned a Masters at St. Francis University. Spencer served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He began his career at U. S. Steel operating plants, eventually promoted to General Manager of Human Resources where he was responsible for developing the human assets of the company. He was recruited to Equitable Resources to become Vice President of Human Resources and later elected Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer. He left EQT to become an entrepreneur. In 2006, he established Randall Industries, one of the largest minority owned chemical manufacturing companies in the United States. Spencer has received several awards for his community work. He has been selected by The Pittsburgh Courier as one of the 50 most influential leaders in the region. He has served as Chairman of the Hill House Association, African American Chamber of Commerce, NEED and Goodwill Industries. He is currently a Board member of Imani Christian Academy, Robert Morris University and UPMC. He is an active member of St. Paul AME Church, Washington, PA.
Executive Vice Chair
John R. Laymon
John was born and raised in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh. He holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Laymon is retired President and sole Owner of JRL Enterprises which was one of the largest minority business in Pittsburgh with plants in West Mifflin Pa. and Jamestown New York. He serves on several boards including the University of New Hampshire Foundation, Iota Phi Foundation and Mount Ararat Community Activity Center.
Edward E. Guy, Jr.
Edward E. Guy, Jr. is a lifelong resident of East Liberty and Greenfield. Mr. Guy sits on several boards of local agencies. He currently serves as Vice President on the Kingsley Association Board; he is currently Vice President-Treasurer for the Poise Foundation and one of the original founders of the organization. Edward also serves as President of the Board of Trustees for Emory United Methodist Church. Edward is currently employed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority, where he has been their Draftsman for over 40 years. Edward’s favorite past time is golfing. He also enjoys attending sporting events and doing volunteer work for non-profit organizations.
Aliya serves as Vice President of Government and Foundation Relations at the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh. Her primary responsibilities include developing grant proposals and sustaining relationships with foundations, state, county, and city government to support the strategic priorities of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Prior to joining the YMCA Movement, Aliya served as Executive Director of Operation Better Block, Inc., a not-for-profit agency that works to improve the living conditions of residents in Homewood-Brushton by promoting community growth and stability through community organizing and engagement. An emerging servant-leader, Aliya gives back to her beloved Pittsburgh by serving on various community boards and committees, most notably as Vice Chair of the Homewood Children’s Village and the Deacon Board of Mount Ararat Baptist Church. Aliya earned a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Social Work, and Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. A proud Pitt alumna, Aliya also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Social Work. Through her graduate studies, Aliya traveled to various villages and cities in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique, Africa which served to cement her commitment to the under-served. In 2004, Aliya was recognized by the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP), with a 40 Under 40 award, an honor bestowed upon the region’s forty emerging and distinguished leaders. And in 2013, Aliya graduated from Leadership Pittsburgh’s Best Class Ever: Class XXIX and was a recipient of Talk Magazine’s Minority Achiever’s Award. A devoted wife and mother, Aliya and her husband, Aki, reside in Penn Hills with their children Deacon and Coley. A running enthusiast, Aliya enjoys spending her spare time training throughout the city and on Pittsburgh’s trails.
Dale C. Perdue, Esq.
Dale retired from Alcoa where he was elected in September of 2000 by Alcoa’s Board of Directors as Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Officer of Alcoa, He was responsible for the management of the Alcoa Legal Department’s Employment, Employee Benefits, Labor and Health and Safety Practice areas. He received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Penn State University in 1972 and a Juris Doctor degree in law from Northwestern University in 1975. Following graduation, he joined Alcoa’s Legal Department as an attorney. Prior to becoming as Assistant General Counsel, he was named general attorney in April 1985, senior general attorney in August 1991, managing general attorney in March 1992, and senior counsel in 1994.
Darrell E. Smalley
Darrell is a Partner in the Tax Practice at Ernst & Young and concentrates on State and Local Taxes. Darrell serves clients in several industries including manufacturing, retail, distribution and healthcare. Darrell received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from LaSalle University in 1994 and is a Certified Member of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation. Darrell is a native of Pittsburgh and currently resides in North Fayette Township with his wife Denise. He and Denise enjoy traveling and jazz music concerts.
Paul G. Patton, Colonel USAF (Ret.)
After serving 27 years in the United States Air Force, POISE Foundation Chairman of the Board, Colonel Paul G. Patton, a graduate of Fifth Avenue High School and the University of Pittsburgh, School of Engineering began a second career working in the Information Technology (IT) industry. In this capacity, he rose from a Director in a small ($40M) IT firm to his current position as a Senior Vice President in CACI, Inc., a $4.5B IT Solutions and Services Company. Paul is proud of his Pittsburgh roots, has been a loyal Steeler Fan since 1955, and has been totally dedicated to POISE Foundation since its incorporation in 1980. Paul serves on the Board of the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the George Mason University Advisory Board for University Life. He is a member of the Air Force Association, the Air Force Cyber Operations and Support Hall of Fame and the Armed Forces Communications Electronics, Association. He is also is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternities and the Prince Hall Masonic Family.
Annette Cuffee Gilcrese
Mrs. Annette Cuffee Gillcrese, has been a member of the Board since November, 1999. For approximately a year and a half before becoming a member of the Board, she served as Volunteer Secretary. In addition to her responsibility as Secretary of the Board, she also serves on the Distribution Committee and the Finance and Investment Committee. Mrs. Gillcrese is currently employed by Fidelity National Information Services, Inc., where she is a Senior Applications Programmer. Prior to her employment at Fidelity, she worked in teh data processing field at Westinghouse Electric Corporation for 28 years. During her earlier years of employment at Westinghouse, she worked primarily as a systems programmer. During her last 16 years at Westinghouse, she was a technical support manager. Mrs. Gillcrese is married to C. Richard Gillcrese, and has a son, Clarence R. Gillcrese, II. She is originally from Chesapeake, Va., and graduated from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Va.
Lucille ‘Luci’ Dabney
She is the Executive Director of Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise. She has experience and a national reputation in the field of nonprofit organizational capacity building. Before moving to Pittsburgh, Luci ran her own consulting firm; Dabney and Associates. She has over thirty years experience in the nonprofit, corporate, small business, and higher education fields. Prior to beginning her consulting practice, Luci was the Executive Director of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston / Harris County where she supervised a $7 million dollar grants program that annually awarded funds to 140 arts and non arts organizations and 40 individual artists. The Management Services Department she created was featured as a national model in two Ford Foundation funded studies; Rethinking Stabilization and Measuring Stabilization and cited in two additional manuals; Incubating the Arts and Management Assistance Services for Nonprofit Organizations.
John’s background spans many industries from financial services to manufacturing. He graduated from Lincoln University with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and obtained his MBA in Finance from the University of Pittsburgh. After college John worked for Mellon Bank as a head teller, then an Officer and Assistant Branch Manager. He later worked at Dravo Corporation as a division Controller before joining General Motors (GM). While at GM John was Manager of Purchasing and then became the Director Materials and Minority Supplier Development where he grew the program from $50 million to $1.2 billion. After retiring from GM, John became the Project Manager for the construction of a Honda brake assembly plant. He later became the Materials Manager for the plant. Most recently, John stepped in as President and CEO of Dwelling House Savings and Loan Association an African American Bank in Pittsburgh.
Lennie R. Henry
She is past Executive Director and staff member of Urban Youth Action, Inc., past Chairperson and present Board Member of U. Y. A. Inc., a committed board member, Vice President, incorporator and donor of POISE since it’s beginning in 1980. She also is ruling Elder and member of Bidwell Presbyterian Church, President and founding member of the Financial and Moral Supporters of the Youth of Allegheny County, which has an endowment in POISE Foundation and has been married 37 years with two adult married children and one grandson.
Honorable William Robinson
He serves on the Allegheny County Council as Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Duquesne University with degrees in Political Science. He is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science in the School for Social Change at Carlow University, and is a small business owner of Bill Robinson and Associates, a public affairs, educational, economic development consulting firm.
Founder & President Emeritus
Bernard H. Jones, Sr.*
President & Chief Executive Officer
Mark S. Lewis
Mark is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in accounting. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1991 while working at Price Waterhouse. He left Price Waterhouse LLP after 8 years and joined Ernst &Young LLP where he worked for over five years reaching the level of Senior Manager. Mr. Lewis joined the board of the POISE Foundation in 1996 as its Treasurer and Chair of the Finance and Investment committee. He resigned from the Board in 2002 to become the second President and CEO of POISE Foundation. Mr. Lewis also serves on the board of directors of the Community Investment Network, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management Advisory Board, Grantmakers of Western PA, and is Chair of The Heinz Endowments African American Male Initiative Advisory Board. Mark is a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXII. He serves as an Elder and Trustee of Deliverance Baptist Church of Wilkinsburg. Mr. Lewis is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.
Vice President of Programs
Karris M. Jackson
Karris M. Jackson is currently Vice President of Programs at POISE Foundation, a community foundation focused exclusively on supporting the African American community. Ms. Jackson’s responsibilities include managing the Foundation’s grant making portfolio, convening community stakeholders and advancing the foundation’s mission through leadership and advocacy. Ms. Jackson is a published author, blogger and lecturer on social justice, leadership and philanthropy. She has a strong desire to push the boundaries of philanthropy to be more inclusive and effective at addressing issues impacting the Black community. Ms. Jackson holds a BA in English from Allegheny College, a MS in Secondary School Administration from Duquesne University and a Certificate in Non-profit Management from Harvard University. She is a founding member of the Sankofa Fund Giving Circle, the African American Funders Group of Southwestern, PA, the 2012-2013 ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellows Class and a graduate of Leadership Pittsburgh XXV. She has received numerous awards including the 2014 Emerging Leader in Philanthropy Award from the Association of Black Foundation Executives, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence and the Pittsburgh Pirates Community Champion Award. Karris is married to Calvin L. Jackson, Jr. and is the proud mother of Derrick, Olivia and Deborah.
Director of Development
Shirrell T. Burton
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ms. Burton attended Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her Bachelors’ of Science in Industrial Management. She has spent more than 20 years of her professional career in consumer goods, high-tech and healthcare; gaining expertise in finance, operational efficiency and relationship management through a variety of positions. Ms. Burton’s previous assignments include Vice President of Operations for D3 Radiation Planning and Director of Finance & Sales Operations for Marconi Communications/FORE Systems. She is actively involved with the Penn Hills School District, and serves on the Planning Committee of the United Black Book Clubs of Pittsburgh Celebration of Reading events.
Aerion is a native of Philadelphia. In 2010 he received his undergraduate degree in Communications with a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he continued his education at the University of Pittsburgh’s Master’s of Social Work program. He chose social work because he is dedicated to a life of service and making a positive difference in the lives of others and their overall well-being. His ultimate goal as a social leader is to raise the bar of acquired knowledge, while at the same time closing the gap of ignorance. Previously, Aerion served as a staff member for the Honorable State Representative Jake Wheatley Jr., where he was partly responsible for locating, addressing, and improving community related issues and relations with respect to the 19th Legislative District of Pennsylvania. His background and interests are in community organizing, community development, and economic justice. He intends to apply and infuse his acquired knowledge and understanding of social justice into the philanthropic mission of the Foundation. Aerion is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons.
Teresa Minor Spencer
Teresa has been the Scholarship Manger for the POISE Foundation since January 2008, during that time; she has formed strong working relationships and communications with public and nonprofit agencies, local Allegheny County public and private schools, community leaders and scholarship recipients. Teresa is the lead contact person for the grants and scholarship application and submission process, and assists the President and CEO with the supervision of all of the agency activities. She is a graduate of Langley High School, studied basic law at Marist College, in Danbury CT, and has almost 20 years experience in office management, Automated Data Processing, customer service and quality control, and fundraising.