Goodmon Fellow Stories

Meet Some of Our Fellows

Want to know more about our Goodmon Fellows? The stories and conversations below showcase who they are, how they’re positively shaping the Triangle, and the impact our programs have had on them over time. Visit our Blog to read their full stories, or scroll down to get to know a few quickly.

Laine Staton

Goodmon Fellow – Transforming Leaders ’19

Laine Staton sitting

“I’m always going to be a teacher.”

If you’re a leader, you are a teacher. And the people that follow you trust that you’ll lead by example. For Laine Staton, that made sense in the education system—to lead youth meant to teach them how to learn with discipline, respect others and to be compassionate in service. What surprised Laine was learning that her values were applicable to all leadership environments she became a part of. So, what is Laine up to now? Laine is using her transformative leadership skills at Habitat for Humanity of Durham as the Neighborhood and Family Manager. In this role, she is teaching new homeowners about the “homeowner experience.” Through this program, Laine gets to train people on how to handle home maintenance, budgeting and all the responsibilities of taking care of a home. And she gets to grade their homework! She gets to teach homeowners on how to be good neighbors and hopes it will help to bring the Triangle neighborhood together in a unique way. “I want to know I’ve made a larger impact than just my role,” said Laine.

Kirby Jones

Goodmon Fellow – Transforming Leaders ’18

Kirby Jones holding a book

“A vast array of human potential resides in the inner city communities of our nation – inner city communities like S.E. Raleigh. It’s up to us to harness it.”

You’d be surprised who you’ll meet in unexpected places (like Starbucks). For Kirby, that’s where he found most of his original Board members! Kirby Jones was tired of seeing the “same old movie” in urban communities. He saw bright 5-6 year old children in Southeast Raleigh with massive potential, but minimal access to STEM education, find their way into gangs, drugs, violence and jail. Seeing the school-to-prison pipeline spurred Kirby to start The Daniel Center back in 2010. You could say, by the grace of God, this clergyman was in the right place at the right time—because he met people who were passionate about his mission to narrow the education gap – many of them in Starbucks. Eleven years later, Kirby’s dream has grown for the Triangle at large. “On Western, you will find two of our state’s most impressive and recognizable institutions – NC State University, and NC Central Prison. The positioning of these institutions is remarkable in that one sits within a stone’s throw of the other, yet they could not speak of two more different life-outcomes. The tragedy for the children we serve in S.E. Raleigh is that statistically, they are much more likely to end up at North Carolina Central Prison, than at North Carolina State University. Our goal is to change the trajectory for as many children as possible; and break the cycle of generational poverty through education – most particularly through STEM-based academics,”  said Kirby.

Moses Ochola

Goodmon Fellow – Transforming Leaders ‘17

Moses Ochola leaning against pillar

“Last year was a blessing and a curse.”

2020 was filled with heartache, tragedy, confusion and separation. For all of us, it was a redefinition of “normal.” For many, it meant stopping. Stopping may seem like a simple concept, but for those who live a busy lifestyle building and exploring—it was a complete reset. “I’m an entrepreneur through and through,” said Moses. And as an owner of over three businesses including his family’s authentic African restaurant, The Palace & The Vault, and the Black Farmer’s Market—he’s a passionate changemaker. He’s also founded Black August in the Park which seeks to inspire and connect people of the African Diaspora to engage in social and cultural change. Moses is about authentic community and equity. And speaking of equity and cultural change—Moses has a dream for the Triangle region. “I want to make sure that we grow together as a region,” said Moses. With newcomers moving into the Triangle, Moses hopes that we remember those who’ve called the Triangle home for a long time, while welcoming new neighbors.

Read about Moses perspective on the power of local food on our blog.

Hector Javier

Goodmon Fellow – Regional ‘08

Hector sitting on front porch swing

“I’ve always been fascinated by technology.”

What better place to live than the Triangle if you have an interest in tech? Over the past decade, RDU has quickly become a hub for innovative technology and talent (Scott Moody and Touch ID comes to mind). And don’t even get us started on biotech! As a degree holder in chemistry and computer engineering (just to name a couple), Hector sees the value in innovation. “Tech and science are very important to making the world better,” said Hector. When the internet was born, Hector was in college in the Philippines and could see the possibilities for the world. And when he came to the Triangle as an H1B immigrant, he had an interest in seeing how this pipeline for information could advance science and help better connect the world. “I came here with a limited worldview as an immigrant. One of my most catalyst moments was through the LT Regional program. It was my gateway to meeting other communities,” said Hector. And that’s Hector’s dream for the Triangle—for it to be more connected to other parts of the world. In this day and age, life-changing ideas are moving around the world faster than ever.

Joey Powell

Goodmon Fellow – Regional ‘12

Joey posing at ATC

“I went through the program and it was completely tectonic and I’m not making that up.”

Many of you have heard about the power of our Transforming Leaders program. But, how many of you know about the life-changing experience of our Regional program? For people like Joey, it changed everything. “Someone once said, ‘People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall,” said Joey, “If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, what’re they going to tell my kid about her dad?” Joey discovered that, for him, what brought his life meaning wasn’t success in the corporate world, but helping people. Through the Regional program, he met leaders solving issues in the Triangle–and he realized there was a reason he was involved in different non-profit spaces. And before he knew it, he was the Executive Director of an org (MeFine Foundation) helping provide hope to critically ill children at Duke and UNC Chapel Hill Hospitals and their families. If that’s not tectonic—we don’t know what is.

Tristan Green

Goodmon Fellow – Regional ‘20

Tristan holding frisbee with dog

“I’ve been playing ultimate frisbee since I was a kid!”

Becoming the Executive Director of the Triangle Ultimate Association only seems fitting for Tristan. He started out playing Ultimate frisbee as a middle schooler in Chapel Hill (McDougle Middle School). He fell in love with the sport and continued playing at Carolina Friends School for High School and then at UNC Chapel Hill. After graduating he made his way to Triangle Ultimate and as its first full-time staff. “Since then everything has continued to grow, the organization, number of participation, and programs,” Tristan said. With nearly 3000 participants and over 65 programs, Tristan and Triangle Ultimate are on a mission build community through the sport of Ultimate frisbee, and to promote ‘play equity’. In the past few years, they’ve developed strong partnerships with the local Boys & Girls Clubs and started to implement Pay-What-You-Can registration for beginner programs (learned from another Goodmon Fellow, Maggie Kane and A Place at the Table!). “My dream for the Triangle would be that ‘play equity’ could be a movement that encourages collaboration between organizations and entities so that everyone in the Triangle has opportunity and access to play,” said Tristan. “The opportunity to play sports, regardless of means, can be a way that we can connect all the different parts of the Triangle.”

Morgan Walston

Goodmon Fellow – Transforming Leaders ’19

Morgan at RTP Headquarters

“I’m grateful to be in a place where I’m encouraged to tell diverse stories and share my ideas.”

Our region, the Triangle, is overflowing with unique and impactful stories. From each county—Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham and their surrounding neighborhoods—there is a lot to tell. At the heart of this region is the Research Triangle Park (RTP). And one of the people telling its many stories is Morgan Weston, Director of Marketing & Communications. “Stories are the best way to connect with people. It’s about how you approach it,” said Morgan. She had to keep the Park’s evolving story, the Triangle’s diverse business ecosystem and the region’s many stakeholders in mind as she and her team rebranded the RTP umbrella of entities. And Morgan didn’t shy away from the challenge—especially after doing LT’s Transforming Leaders program. “In the past I’ve tried to blend in, but the program helped me learn to embrace what makes me different and find value in it,” said Morgan. Her dream for the Triangle is that our differences would lift the corners of the Triangle together, not divide them.

Morgan Walston

Goodmon Fellow – Transforming Leaders ’19

Morgan at RTP Headquarters

“I’m grateful to be in a place where I’m encouraged to tell diverse stories and share my ideas.”

Our region, the Triangle, is overflowing with unique and impactful stories. From each county—Wake, Durham, Orange, Chatham and their surrounding neighborhoods—there is a lot to tell. At the heart of this region is the Research Triangle Park (RTP). And one of the people telling its many stories is Morgan Weston, Director of Marketing & Communications. “Stories are the best way to connect with people. It’s about how you approach it,” said Morgan. She had to keep the Park’s evolving story, the Triangle’s diverse business ecosystem and the region’s many stakeholders in mind as she and her team rebranded the RTP umbrella of entities. And Morgan didn’t shy away from the challenge—especially after doing LT’s Transforming Leaders program. “In the past I’ve tried to blend in, but the program helped me learn to embrace what makes me different and find value in it,” said Morgan. Her dream for the Triangle is that our differences would lift the corners of the Triangle together, not divide them.