Leadership

Staff

Lydia Tate

Lydia Tate, Executive Director

Lydia Tate has happily called Waco home since 2011, after spending most of her life in the Houston area. After graduating from Houston Baptist University with her degree in Music Education, she was offered an opportunity to expand her passion for women’s ministry via Sigma Phi Lambda as their first national Executive Director. There she honed her skills in organizational management and expanded her knowledge of the nonprofit sector. She is inspired daily by her work in women’s ministry at CWJC in her role as Executive Director. She would love to share conversation with you over a warm beverage and chat about the mission of CWJC and how you can be a part of this great organization’s mission. Lydia can also be found singing, playing piano, playing board games, and serving at her church. She also enjoys life with her husband, David, their three teenage-y sons, and their amazing dog, Cami.

Gabi Castillo

Gabriella Castillo, Site Coordinator

Gabriella started off at CWJC as an administrative assistant intern 2021 while she was attending McLennan Community College to obtain an Associate degree in Administrative Office Management. Gabriella started in January of 2021 and ended in May 2021 when she graduated with her degree. Gabriella came on to the staff as an administrative assistant in July 2021 and then trained to become a Site Coordinator in 2022. Gabriella enjoys working alongside the staff, students, and all of our interns. Gabi loves what CWJC does for women in our community and has enjoyed watching the women who come to CWJC accomplish such huge milestones. Gabriella and her husband Eric have 5 beautiful daughters and Gabriella loves enchiladas, chips, queso, and reading!

Audrey Yadon

Audrey Yadon, Programs Director

Audrey is a central Texas native who calls Waco home. She holds a B.A. in Language and Linguistics and an M.A. in Spanish from Baylor. Her professional passion is serving adult learners, and she has cultivated her skills through ESL classroom and college Spanish classroom teaching, continuing education program planning for the Waco community, and volunteer engagement with Baylor’s membership program for senior adults, Lifelong Learning. At her core, Audrey believes that anyone, at any age, can learn and change and grow. Her goal is to invest in the local community through CWJC’s work to empower, equip, and advocate for women in McLennan County. Audrey loves good books (especially science fiction), good food (especially international fusion), and sunshine (especially in winter). She and her husband Jamey can often be found hiking, biking, reading, or camping in a beautiful Waco or Texas State Park.

Paula Winstead

Paula Winstead, Testing Administrator

Paula Winstead grew up in Florida, but she moved here with her husband and daughter three years ago for her husband’s job with the VA. Paula has a Bachelor’s in Nursing, but switched to teaching when her kids were young so she could be more hands-on with her children’s education. She homeschooled all three of her children and her last one is getting ready to graduate and start studying at Baylor in the fall. Paula immediately started volunteering as a teacher for GED classes with CWJC when she moved here because it combined her love for teaching with her heart for helping people in difficult situations. Paula is the part-time Testing Administrator for CWJC’s Pearson testing center. Providing this service helps CWJC students have a more successful testing experience because it’s quicker and easier to schedule their tests, and it’s in an environment they are comfortable with which reduces their anxiety. In her free time, Paula enjoys spending time with her family and is thrilled that her two sons just recently moved to Texas so they can all be together again. She and her family love to travel, especially to National Parks where they like to camp and hike in the wilderness and explore God’s beautiful creation. Paula also volunteers with Antioch’s STARS book club mentoring program, and is a house hostess for one of Antioch’s mission houses.

Juliette Ellis

Juliette Ellis, Office Manager

Juliette was born and raised in Oxford England, has a BA in Business  Management.

Emigrated to the USA in 1982 and settled in Axtell Texas. Met and married her husband moved to Hallsburg Tx raising 2 children, a daughter and a son who both live in Texas.

Juliette had her own retail business for several years in both Corsicana and Temple. She came to CWJC through the AARP program and enjoys working with the staff and students. It delights her to see the accomplishments these women make in furthering their education.

Juliette is an avid animal lover, has 3 dogs and 6 cats enjoys spending time with her family both two and four legged.

Dana Bohn

Dana Bohn

Dana has lived in Waco most of her life and shares an active church life with her husband at Highland Baptist Church where he is a deacon. Their son and new daughter-in-law live locally and are also at Highland, which is a tremendous blessing to Dana. Dana holds a BA in Accounting from Baylor University and was a plant controller in the manufacturing industry for almost 20 years. Here she lived a vibrant work-life with prayerful Christian coworkers. After the business moved to Houston, she decided to leave the corporate world and thought she would do some volunteering. God moved in her life and brought her to CWJC for what she thought would be teaching an Excel class. In 2016, she joyfully accepted a position at CWJC. Dana loves seeing the impact CWJC makes in the lives of the sweet ladies who come through the doors and enjoys the relationships she has with CWJC staff. Dana enjoys helping others with their businesses, attending weekly Bible study, spending time with her family, and traveling with her husband.

Board of Directors

Alexia English, President

Alexia English, affectionately known as “Lexi,” has worked at Baylor University for the past 16 years where she enjoys serving and mentoring students and watching them blossom from caterpillars into butterflies. Lexi received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from Houston Baptist University. Lexi has served on various committees at Baylor and has advised several student groups. Lexi is the First Lady of Greater Bosqueville Baptist Church in Waco and she is active in various ministries which are committed to community service. Outside of church, she volunteers her time with a performing arts group, Portraits, Inc. and is an active member of the Waco Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she serves the greater Waco community. Lexi enjoys music, traveling, coordinating group trips, and fellowship with friends and family. Lexi is married to Ronald and they have 2 sons, Rahlil and Rahsiah, and a host of “adopted” daughters and sons and grands.
Jacob Lackey

Jacob Lackey, Vice President

Jacob Lackey graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Entrepreneurship & Marketing and now serves as a freelance audio engineer, production manager and consultant based in Waco for several organizations, ministries, and churches, currently including; Vertical Ministries (Production Manager), Breakaway Ministries (Production Manager), Magnolia (Event Production Manager), Passion City Church (Production Manager/Producer, Trilith Campus) & Jennie Allen Ministries (Video Producer).

Ever since first hearing about CWJC, it’s been a ministry Jacob wanted to be involved with. The combination of spiritual formation with meeting practical, educational and career needs exhibits so clearly the example that Jesus set numerous times, such as teaching the 5,000, but also feeding them and taking care of their needs, or as taught in Matthew 6:25-34 as He says “do not worry about what you will eat or drink… your heavenly Father knows you need these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” displaying His recognition and care for the spiritual and practical needs we all have.

Kelly Karnei, Treasurer

Kelly Karnei graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio with BBA in Accounting. She went on to obtain her license as a CPA and began her career with Deloitte, Haskins, and Sells. After working in the public sector, she worked for Red McCombs in San Antonio before moving to Waco in 1997. Since that time she has worked part-time, been a stay at home mom, and served on several boards within the Midway ISD as treasurer. She loves serving her community. Kelly and her husband Clifton have been married for 32 years and have 3 grown children, Kyle 25, Cassie 23, and Corey 21.
Carol Dugat

Carol Dugat

Carol Dugat is a native Wacoan who has served in the Waco community since the late 1980’s on Boards of Directors with Mission Waco, Grassroots, and Right Track Ministries. Her past Waco Trib blog, “What Do You Want” was fueled by her own passion to see East Waco set forward with a makeover. Carol’s deepest passion is to pour out her own spiritual knowledge to anyone who is open to receiving. Carol found herself a young mother at the age of 17 in need of a GED and a supportive network. That blessing came to her through a stenography course that set her on a pathway to work her way up to Executive Assistant to the CEO of Neighborly, formerly The Dwyer Group, where she served for 20-years. Carol’s heart for CWJC roots in her own journey of receiving hope and support through career building education. She hopes her journey can inspire the women of CWJC Waco. Carol now enjoys semi-retirement life, caring for her mother, and sharing life with her daughter, her 3 grandchildren, and 3 great-grand-daughters.
Rhonda Featherston

Rhonda Featherston

Rhonda Featherston has been H-E-B’s Waco Area Community Coordinator for 5 years this July. She is a Baylor Alumni and found her way back to Waco in 2016 when she and her husband felt the call to return to their Texas roots and give their son a taste of ‘city life’ and Friday night lights. After graduating Baylor with a degree in Marketing/Management/Entrepreneurship, she moved to Dallas and on to Washington, DC and entered the Public Relations field. From there she found herself preferring to live in the mountains of northern NM and just vacation in a big city. She and her family moved from Red River, NM where she had a restaurant and catering company along with a home management business. Waco life began with the Midway ISD Food Services, then transitioned to Baylor’s Career and Professional Development Department before landing her dream job with H-E-B. Rhonda most certainly has a passion for education as she was a Homeschool Mom for four years. When her son returned to public school, she began volunteering at the UNM Taos Adult Education Center as a math tutor.

As H-E-B’s Community Coordinator, she is responsible for representing H-E-B outside the store walls. That means she is involved in almost every aspect of the community as she connects with organizations in ways that H-E-B can help them meet their mission goals and serve the community. She is also very involved with the Adopt-a-School program and loves teaching kids and their parents about healthy eating choices.Rhonda is excited about connecting deeper with CWJC’s participants and connecting CWJC deeper to our Waco community.

Rhonda and her husband, Leroy, live in Hewitt and attend Grace Church Hewitt. Their son, Charles, is a Baylor senior.

Sofia Felix

Sofia Felix

Sophia is a Mortgage Support Analyst at Extraco Banks. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree from Tarleton and an MBA degree from Liberty University. She is the youngest of six children and loves time with family. She is an active member at God’s Kingdom Church And Ministries founded by her Father, Ricardo Felix in 2006. She serves as a treasurer, usher, bible study leader, and also enjoys playing the guitar as part of the worship team. Sophia is a graduate of the Leadership Plenty Institute and is deeply connected to her faith roots. Sophia has always enjoyed volunteering and giving back to the community. She loves the mission of CWJC and looks forward to making a positive difference in people’s lives daily.

Carole Keeney

Carol Keeney

Carol earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Houston and a postgraduate Diploma in Education from University College Cork in Cork City, Ireland. For 23 years, she taught Math, History, and Science on the middle school/high school levels in Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Ireland. After returning to the US, Carol desired a profession that would allow her to be more available to her family. Carol put her passion for education to work through teaching others about real estate. She is now a licensed realtor in Texas, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Missing classroom teaching, Carol spent some time searching for a role where she could teach the GED to young people and the Lord guided her to CWJC! To Carol, the ladies at CWJC are amazing role models. They have had some challenges in their lives, but never gave up on their dream of a high school diploma. Carol has been a favorite teacher for almost 3 years at CWJC! She believes it is an honor to teach these amazing women. Her passion is so great she was a Mission Waco 2022 Champions of Christian Service award recipient. Carol believes her work at CWJC is the purest form of Agape – God’s love for us!

Carol and her husband have three amazing children and two wonderful grandchildren.

Jason Ramos

Jason Ramos

Jason Ramos is Director of Impact Waco at Antioch Community Church. Impact Waco includes STARS Book Clubs, Addiction Recovery Ministry, UnBound, Sports Ministry and Community Outreach. For years he has mentored students in WISD and coached hundreds of kids through Waco Southern Little League where he also serves as president. He is a Pastor with the McLennan County Jail and helped lead an addiction recovery home for 10 years. He serves on various boards and commissions with the City of Waco and is committed to helping Waco be a great place to live and raise a family. Jason loves to live on mission and advance the kingdom of God here in Waco and around the world.

Jason is married to Monica who is a nurse with Providence hospital. They have 5 kids and 2 granddaughters.

Nita Tucker

Nita Tucker

Nita Tucker is originally from Wichita Falls, Texas but her family moved to the Waco area when she was a teenager. After graduating from China Spring High School, she attended Baylor University where she earned her BA in Psychology. She began her career in the financial profession in 1998 and is currently a Financial Advisor and Portfolio Manager with the Mosley Shaffer Group at Merrill Lynch. Nita and her family are long time members of First United Methodist Church. Her daughter Maggie attends TCU, which can lead to some interesting chatter at family tailgates when TCU plays Baylor. Nita truly believes in CWJC and is grateful to be a small contributor to the wonderful assistance that CWJC offers to our community.

Ellen White

Ellen White

Ellen White has been a member of the Waco Community for over 40 years. As a  longtime resident, her vast knowledge of the area, passion for helping others, and her love for working with people led her to real estate. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ellen was the Head Coach of the Baylor Equestrian team.  Ellen built a first-class facility during her tenure and the team quickly rose to one of the top in the country. Under her leadership, the Baylor Equestrian team won a National Championship and three Big 12 Titles-they were ranked No. 1 in the nation when she retired. When  Ellen is not working hard for her clients, she actively participates in leadership positions at her church, Columbus Avenue Baptist, and serves on the boards of Southern Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and Christian Women’s Job Corps of McLennan County. Ellen also dedicated over 10 years to Keep Waco Beautiful and countless hours volunteering with the Waco Junior League. Ellen has a degree in Economics from Baylor University. Ellen and her husband, Greg, a Baylor law professor, have raised two children in the Waco area and are proud to call McLennan County home.

Mike Pool, Past President

Mike Pool has been a Schlotzsky’s franchisee in Waco for over 25 years, proudly running two restaurants that have supported many great causes in the area. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University and a big Red Raider fan, as are his two sons, Nathan and Jared, and his wife, Kristen. Mike is a member of First United Methodist Church of Waco, where he has served on several committees. Mike enjoys playing golf and being on the lake with friends and family.

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Following Christ?

At the center of what we do is our adoration of Jesus, the message of Christ, and His sacrifice for us.  CWJC Leadership is guided first by our love of God and wanting to serve His Kingdom. If you have never experienced the great love of Christ in your life, please reach out to us and we will show you how to know Him more in your life.