Meshea L. Poore

Meshea L. Poore is the Vice President for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at WVU. As the Vice President, Poore leads the Division’s efforts to create, coordinate, administer and evaluate programming that is inclusive and supportive in order to achieve a sustainable environment that will attract and retain diverse and underserved faculty, staff and students.

Poore is a long-time champion of underrepresented people. An attorney who served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 2009 to 2014, she is an accomplished and sought-after motivational speaker, public and political leadership consultant and strategist. The Women’s Campaign Fund named her a “Game Changer” during her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives for the West Virginia 2nd Congressional District. In 2017, she became the first African-American woman to be named president of the West Virginia State Bar since its 1947 founding. Prior to operating her own practice, she was an attorney in the Office of the Kanawha County Public Defender in Charleston, West Virginia. Poore earned her bachelor’s degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and her law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She also graduated from the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University.

Tom Heywood

Tom Heywood is the Managing Partner of Bowles Rice, acting as the firm’s CEO.  His responsibilities include leadership, management and administration of the firm. 

Tom has significant experience in health care, banking and corporate/commercial law, and is frequently called upon by clients and community leaders for advice on business matters related to acquisitions, divestitures and other transactional matters.  An experienced facilitator, he regularly assists businesses and organizations in the strategic planning process. 

As a former Chief of Staff to the Honorable Gaston Caperton, Governor of West Virginia, Tom has extensive experience working with government officials at the federal, state and local levels, and is the leader of the Bowles Rice Government Relations team. 

Tom serves on many charitable and non-profit boards, and actively participates in various business and economic development organizations and trade associations, including the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the Discover the Real West Virginia Foundation, the West Virginia Roundtable (Chairman), the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (Government Affairs Committee Chairman), the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Vision Shared, Imagine West Virginia (Chairman), and the Kanawha County Library Foundation (Chairman).  He is a member of the Board of Directors of West Virginia University Health System, Inc. (Finance Committee Chairman) and the Board of Directors of West Virginia University Hospitals (Finance Committee Chairman).  

Tom is active as a leader in many civic initiatives and organizations, and has received numerous awards for his public service.

Ted Boettner

Ted focuses on pathways that bring sustainable economic development and shared prosperity to the region through research and analysis. Prior to joining ORVI, Ted was co-founding executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy where he authored dozens of publications on economic and energy issues and worked closely with policymakers and stakeholders to raise wages and benefits for thousands of people while also protecting important public goods, such as schools. Ted also helped launch the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, was primary member to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior, and was named “one of the most influential business leaders” in West Virginia by The State Journal (WV). His work has been frequently cited in the West Virginia media, as well as the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Ted has taught political science and public policy at West Virginia University, where he received his undergraduate degree, and has served on the boards of various community organizations and nonprofits. He currently serves on the board of the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority and Legal Aid of West Virginia. Ted received his master’s degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire and lives with his partner and two kids in Charleston, West Virginia. When he’s not being a policy wonk, Ted enjoys a nice whitewater paddle in West Virginia, running marathons, hiking at Dolly Sods, some political theory, and cooking for friends.

Sky Kershner

Sky Kershner, is the Executive Director of the KPCC Counseling in Charleston, WV, and is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at WVU School of Medicine, Dept of Behavioral Medicine. Sky has a Doctor of Ministry degree as well as a Masters in Clinical Social Work. Sky is a Member of MINT, the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and is the Spiritual Leader of the Unity Church in Charleston.

Sky has received several awards for his professional work, including the WV Civil Rights Award and WV Counselor of the Year. Sky was a contributing author for the book “ACT Therapy for Pastoral Counselors,” edited by Steven Hayes, and his biggest “15 minutes of fame” moment is that he once appeared as a guest therapist on the Discovery Studios show “Hoarders.”