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Ron Simmons of Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Joins Women In Training Board of Directors

Updated: Jul 2

Kimberly Brown and Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis Elected to Serve as

WIT Vice Presidents for Youth Development

Women In Training, Inc. is pleased to announce that Mr. Ron Simmons, chief destination officer for Experience Montgomery – the destination marketing arm of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce – and the previous president and CEO of the River Region United Way, has joined the WIT Board of Directors. WIT Strategic Committee Chairwoman Ms. Kimberly Brown and WIT Medical Chairwoman Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis were elected to serve as Vice Presidents for Youth Development.

“Women In Training, Inc. is honored to announce that Ron Simmons, a consummate nonprofit founder and leader who is a cheerleader for all of the many positive things that are happening in Montgomery, has joined our Board of Directors, where he will help us champion the cause of ending poverty,” said Ms. Adeyela Bennett, President and CEO of Women In Training, Inc.

“As a father of a teenage girl and a man who also runs a nonprofit that enhances the relationship between fathers and daughters, Ron understands the importance of providing girls and young women with the menstrual products and menstrual education that they need. On our board, he will also enhance our efforts to ensure that no girl goes without the critical necessities that allow them to stay in school, work and continue living their lives when that special time of the month arrives," Ms. Bennett.

WIT President and CEO Adeyela Bennett

Mr. Simmons’ work in the nonprofit sector is unparalleled, having served as President and CEO of the River Region United Way from 2020 to 2022. He is the founder of D.A.D.S (Dads and Daughters Saturday), which runs a monthly event that encourages fathers and daughters to sing, dance, do arts and crafts and participate in other activities together. He also serves on various boards throughout the community, including the Montgomery City-County Public Library, Alabama Christian Academy Board of Directors, Alabama Tourism Council and the Montgomery Tourism Improvement Board of Directors.

Mr. Simmons was selected by Gov. Kay Ivey to serve on the Alabama Textbook Committee for Tourism and Hospitality, and has also served on the boards of Brantwood Children’s Home, Greater Montgomery YMCA, Montgomery Area Food Bank and the Jubilee CityFest. Additionally, he is a member of the Economic Development Association of Alabama and is a Leadership Montgomery graduate, Class XXVIII.

Newly elected WIT Board Member Ron Simmons

“I met Adeyela and learned about WIT when I served as the President and CEO of the River Region United Way in 2021,” Simmons said. “The work that WIT does addresses an issue that impacts so many people and areas and is never discussed. The impact of period poverty on education and the workplace stays on my mind, and I want to help fight period poverty!”

Ms. Kimberly Brown was originally elected to the Women in Training, Inc. Board of Directors in July 2022. Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis was elected as Medical Chairwoman in 2023. They will share the role of Vice Chairwomen for Youth Development, governing policies and procedures for the WIT Leadership Development Academy for middle and high school girls, affectionately called the WIT Monarchs.

WIT Leadership Development Academy Monarchs

In her continuing role as Chairwoman of the Strategic Planning Committee, Ms. Brown led the organization in creating the WIT Strategic Plan for 2019 to 2025.

"While WIT’s goal is to advocate for menstrual equity and to End Poverty. PERIOD!, we recognize the importance of guiding our youth toward lifelong success in whatever path they choose. We are so excited to work with the WIT Leadership Development Academy to provide experiences and guidance to our Monarchs as look upon bright futures," Ms. Brown stated.

Ms. Kimberly Brown has been elected WIT Vice President for Youth Development

Doctor Celeste, as the family physician is affectionately known, served as a keynote speaker for the Third Annual WIT Mother-Daughter Brunch held in March 2023.

"I am elated to serve in the capacity as Vice President for Youth Development for Women in Training," Doctor Celeste said. "The WIT Monarchs program has been integral in the support, education, training and development of beautiful graduates of the program. The girls are learning, sharing and taking away critical skills that will serve them well in becoming future women leaders of tomorrow. It does not get much better than serving our youth in this much needed way. Thank you to the WIT Board for entrusting me with this shared task with our co-vice president."

Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis has been elected WIT Vice President for Youth Development

At the final board meeting of the July 1 through June 30 fiscal year, Women in Training, Inc. board members were elected to the following leadership roles:

  • Alabama State Rep. Rolanda Hollis: Chairwoman

  • Ms. Adeyela Bennett: President and CEO

  • Mr. Bradley Bennett: Vice President and Communications Co-Chairman

  • Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis: Vice President for Youth Development and Medical Chairwoman

  • Ms. Kimberly Brown: Vice President for Youth Development and Strategic Committee Chairwoman

  • Ms. Elizabeth Johnson Sellers: Secretary

  • Ms. Alonzetta Landrum-Sims: Treasurer

  • Alabama State Rep. Patrice "Penni" McClammy: Parliamentarian and Governance Co-Chairwoman

  • Ms. Dana Taunton, Esq: Governance Co-Chairwoman

  • Ms. Sandra Whatley Washington: Development Chairwoman

  • Mr. Ron Simmons: Communications Co-Chairman

WIT Board Members with guest, Ms. Michelle Miller, CBS "Saturday Morning News" anchor. From left to right: Ms. Adeyela Bennett, Ms. Alonzetta Landrum-Sims, Ms. Dana Taunton, Esq., Miss Breanna Cherie Bennett, Alabama State Rep. Rolanda Hollis, Michelle Miller, Miss Brooke Carlie Bennett, Ms. Sandra Whatley Washington, Dr. Celeste Reese-Willis, Ms. Kimberly Brown, Ms. Tania Johns (former Board Member) and Mr. Bradley Bennett. Missing are Elizabeth Johnson Sellers and Alabama State Rep. Patrice "Penni" McClammy.

Breanna and Brooke Bennett, age 16, are the founders of the youth empowerment organization that helps to end period poverty globally. The sisters started Women in Training, Inc. on their 12th birthday in July 2019.

One in four American girls and young women skip school or miss work because they cannot afford sanitary pads or tampons to stay healthy and clean during their period. To alleviate 

period poverty, Women in Training, Inc. (WIT) provides donations of WITKITS - canvas bags full of feminine hygiene products – to at-risk girls, young women and nonbinary youth. WIT also provides educational information programs about menstruation for girls and publishes the brochure, “The WIT Guide to the Menstrual Cycle.”

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