Board of Directors
Appalachian Community Capital
President & CEO
Donna Gambrell is President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital, a CDFI that promotes small business development throughout the distressed Appalachia region. She serves on the boards of three national CDFIs and is a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, advising Federal Reserve leadership, economists, community stakeholders, and policy-makers on community development related initiatives. Ms. Gambrell was not only the first African American woman to hold the position of director of the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund, but she was also the longest serving director in the fund’s history. During her tenure, she oversaw significant growth in the CDFI Fund as well as the creation of a number of new initiatives targeting underserved communities. Prior to leading the CDFI Fund, Ms. Gambrell served in several leadership positions within the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), including Deputy Director for Compliance and Consumer Protection, where she oversaw the FDIC’s national compliance bank examinations, as well as the agency’s community affairs, consumer affairs, and deposit insurance programs.
Clinton School of Public Service, Assistant Professor (Retired)
W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Program Coordinator (Retired)
President & CEO
John C. Edwards
Helena-West Helena/Philips County Port Authority
VP of Commercial Business Development
ohn Edwards is principal in the Edwards Law Office and serves as General Counsel & Economic Development Director for Helena-West Helena/Philips County Port Authority in Helena, Arkansas. He has considerable experience in rural economic development. Mr. Edwards served in the Arkansas House of Representatives from 2008 – 2015, and previously served as an aide to former United States Senator David Pryor, where he was responsible for working with agricultural related issues. In 1996, he was appointed Arkansas State Director of USDA Rural Development, the lead federal agency providing funding for rural housing, businesses, and water systems. Edwards is a veteran of the Iraq War and was part of a National Guard unit that provided relief to New Orleans residents after Katrina. He left service in 2012 as a Colonel.
Hudson Cisne & Co. LLP
Clarksdale Collegiate Public Charter School
Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services, Inc.
Patco Services, Inc.
Community Foundation of NW Mississippi
Co-Incorporator, President & CEO
Tom serves on the boards of several prominent statewide efforts such as chairing the Mississippi Association of Grantmakers, Entergy Mississippi’s advisory board and a director of Mississippi Today, the state’s non-profit digital news source. He was a charter board member for the DeSoto Arts Council, DeSoto Health and Wellness Center, and the North Mississippi Health Foundation. He previously served on the board of Directors for the CREATE, the community foundation for northeast Mississippi. A native Mississippian, he earned degrees from the University of Mississippi in sociology and Emory University in theology. He is married to Cyndi and has four children.
Mary Gay Shipley
That Bookstore in Blytheville
Executive Vice President
Clark Timberlands LLLP
Clark has served since 2012 as a trustee for The Ross Foundation, a private foundation headquartered in Arkadelphia, Arkansas which manages more than 64,000 acres of timberland for philanthropic purposes.Clark is a graduate of the Hull Fellowship program of the Southeastern Council of Foundations. He also serves as a board member for the Arkansas Forestry Association and the Arkadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Clark has served on the Central Arkansas Advisory Council for The Arkansas Nature
Clark has been married to his wife, Katie, for 10 years and they have a four-year old son Thomas. They reside in Arkadelphia and are members of First Presbyterian Church, where Clark serves as a church elder.
Darrin L. Williams
Chief Executive Officer
Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Darrin Williams’ career is a unique combination of law, business, and politics. Currently serving as the CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., Williams oversees the strategic direction and operations of each of Southern’s three Community Development Financial Institutions: Southern Bancorp, Inc., a bank holding company; Southern Bancorp Bank, one of America’s largest rural development banks; and Southern Bancorp Community Partners, a 501(c)(3) development finance and lending organization – collectively known as “Southern.”
Southern was founded nearly thirty years ago when some of the nation’s most notable political, business and philanthropic leaders, including Bill Clinton, Rob Walton, Muhammad Yunus and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation to name a few, came together around a central idea – that the economic challenges facing many underserved communities could in part be addressed through the creation of a values-based financial organization focused on providing these services to those who most need them. With an initial investment of approximately $10 million and a mission to create economic opportunity, Southern has grown to become one of the most effective and largest community development organizations in the United States, as well as a model for an entire industry of mission-focused financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions. Southern Bancorp today is a $1.2 billion asset organization with over 80,000 customers and 43 branches located primarily in underserved markets in the Mid-South.
Prior to leading Southern, Williams served as managing partner at the law firm of Carney, Williams, Bates, Pulliam & Bowman, PLLC, where he focused on representing institutional investors and consumers in class action litigation against some of the nation’s largest publicly traded companies. Williams also served three terms of elected office in the Arkansas House of Representatives (2008-2013), serving as Speaker Pro Tempore of the 89th Arkansas General Assembly. As a lawmaker, he was recognized nationally for his legislative accomplishments, including being named a Champion of Small Business by the National Capital Coalition, an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership by the Aspen Institute, and listed as one of 12 state legislators from around the country to watch by Governing Magazine. Williams received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hendrix College, his Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University School of Law, and his Master of Laws degree in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.