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.
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, 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, 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, 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 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
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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
Mike Pool, Past President
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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.