Board of Directors
SECU Foundation’s Board of Directors are inspired by the Credit Union philosophy of “People Helping People”. Board members serve on a volunteer basis and are not paid for their commitment.
An SECU member since 1980 and a member of the Board of Directors of SECU since 2007, Bob Brinson is also a former SECU Board Chair. He is currently the Chair of the SECU Foundation Board and previously served on the Audit Committee of SECU. Mr. Brinson recently retired as Chief Information Officer of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.
Mr. Brinson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from NC State University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Chris Ayers has served on the State Employees’ Credit Union’s Board of Directors since 2016 and currently holds the position of Chair. He is a native of Rutherfordton, North Carolina and currently resides in Apex, NC with his wife Rebecca. Mr. Ayers graduated from Duke University (B.A.) in 1999 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Law (J.D.) in 2002. From August 2003 to June 2009, he practiced law in Raleigh, NC with the law firm of Hunton & Williams LLP and with Poyner Spruill LLP from June 2009 to June 2013 with a focus on regulatory and utilities law. Since 2013, Mr. Ayers has served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Utilities Commission Public Staff, which represents utility customer interests in cases before the Utilities Commission. Mr. Ayers currently serves as President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates and volunteers on various national committees and advisory boards representing utility consumer interests. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Global Hope India and the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund. He is an active member of his church and enjoys golf, kayaking, board games and traveling with his wife.
When asked why he serves the SECU membership, Mr. Ayers states, “I strongly believe in SECU’s philosophy of ‘People Helping People’ - SECU has an incredible history of making that happen in communities and households across the great State of North Carolina. It is an honor and privilege to serve an organization that makes such a tremendous economic impact and advances the well-being of over two million.”
Secretary / Treasurer
Alice Garland helped start the NC Education Lottery and served as its top executive from August 2010 – March 2018. She held many positions with the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, the professional association representing the lottery industry in the United States and Canada and chaired the association’s Responsible Gaming Committee. Ms. Garland also served as Vice President of the Multi-State Lottery Association, a nonprofit organization which operates the Powerball game, on behalf of its member lotteries, and served on its Development Committee.
Ms. Garland is a member of the Lottery Hall of Fame and received the Lottery Statesperson award. She also received the inaugural Arch Gleason Industry Award for Responsible Gambling Leadership and the National Council on Responsible Gaming Annual Advocacy Award, the only lottery employee to receive this award. For more than 34 years, Ms. Garland served in state and local government executive posts handling governmental affairs and communications. She received a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in urban studies and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Garland has been a member of the Raleigh Kiwanis Club for 31 years, was the first female president and is a past president. She serves on the Wake County SPCA Board and the Hospice and Home Care Foundation Board. She has also served on the board of directors of the Public School Forum, the NC Environmental Management Commission, the NC Center for Public Policy Research, and the NC Professional Lobbyists Association.
Lee Brown III
Dr. Brown was appointed to the SECU Foundation Board in 2019. He is the Dean of the College of Graduate & Continuing Studies and Professor of Management at Coastal Carolina University. Prior to his appointment at Coastal Carolina University, he served as the interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dean of the Broadwell College of Business & Economics, and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Business Innovation at Fayetteville State University.
Dr. Brown’s previous work experience includes 14 years at multiple levels of management for Fortune 500 companies. In these roles, he led a diverse staff of engineers, customer service teams and service technicians, while developing marketing strategies, growing revenue and establishing strategic alliances with complementary firms and customers. His proven record of leadership is further exemplified in his community service, as he has held positions on executive boards of several organizations including the Greater Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, the Career and Technical Education Advisory Board for Cumberland County Schools, and Greater Fayetteville United.
Dr. Brown earned his Ph.D. in Strategic Management and International Business at the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. Additionally, he received his BS in Electrical Engineering from NC State University and his MBA from Strayer University.
Mark Fleming joined the SECU Foundation Board of Directors in 2018 and the SECU Board of Directors in 2019. He is a retired state employee with the State of North Carolina. His career included the positions of Vice President of Government Affairs for Blue Cross NC, Vice President of Government Relations for the UNC System, and Assistant to the Chancellor for NC State University.
Mr. Fleming worked six years in the US Senate in Washington, DC and he is a US Army veteran. He graduated from NC State University and received his MBA from Bellarmine University. He and his wife Julie live in Raleigh, and love taking care of their two granddaughters.
As a former member of the State Employees’ Credit Union Audit Committee and branch Advisory Board, Jennifer Haygood joined the SECU Foundation Board of Directors in 2018 and was appointed to the SECU Board of Directors in 2019. She is the Chief Financial Officer at the University of North Carolina System. She previously held various positions with the North Carolina Community College System, including Acting President, Chief of Staff, and Chief Financial Officer.
With an early focus on education, she began her career as a Teach for America corps member and elementary classroom teacher in New Orleans before transitioning to the NC Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as a Governor’s Public Management Fellow in the Education Section. Ms. Haygood subsequently worked in the Fiscal Research Division of the North Carolina General Assembly, serving as an Education Team Leader and Senior Fiscal Analyst prior to her service with the Community College System and the University of North Carolina System.
Ms. Haygood received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University and a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University.
Ben McLawhorn is a longtime member of State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), serving many years on SECU’s former Loan Review Committee, and since 2015, as an At-Large Audit Committee member. With more than 32 years of service with the State of North Carolina, Mr. McLawhorn recently retired as the Audit, Risk, and Compliance Service Director for the North Carolina Office of the State Controller (NCOSC).
During his 27-year tenure with NCOSC, Mr. McLawhorn had the primary responsibility for managing a major statewide initiative referred to as EAGLE – the State of North Carolina’s governmental accountability and internal control program. Other responsibilities included oversight of the Statewide Tax Compliance Program, Statewide Cost Allocation Program, Overpayments Audit and Recovery Program, and the Payment Card Industry’s (PCI) Data Security Standards Program. He also served on various state government audit committees.
Mr. McLawhorn received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a double major in Accounting and Information Systems from Appalachian State University and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Campbell University. Additionally, he holds the following professional certifications: Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Internal Control Auditor (CICA) and Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO).
Dr. McMillen was appointed to the SECU Foundation Board in 2021. He is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Data, Research and Accountability for the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS). Prior to joining WCPSS in 2006, he worked for the NC Department of Public Instruction in the Division of Accountability Services. He has served in leadership positions and on boards of directors for multiple professional organizations related to educational research and assessment, including the North Carolina Association for Research in Education, Directors of Research and Evaluation, the National Forum on Education Statistics, and the American Educational Research Association. He also volunteers with the Western Wake Crisis Ministry.
Dr. McMillen earned his Masters and PhD in Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He lives in Apex with his wife Janey and their son Patrick.
Ms. Moon joined the State Employees’ Credit Union Board of Directors in 2016. She recently retired as the Chief Operating Officer of North Carolina’s Medicaid program in the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this position, Ms. Moon was the Executive Administrator of the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, a division of the NC Department of State Treasurer, and served as the State Health Plan’s Chief Financial Officer. Before joining the State Health Plan, Ms. Moon served as Chief Business Operations Officer for the Division of Medical Assistance, NC Department of Health and Human Services. She also was a Principal Fiscal Analyst with the Fiscal Research Division of the NC General Assembly.
Ms. Moon received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Science degree in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Thomas Parrish IV
Thomas Parrish was appointed to the SECU Foundation Board of Directors in 2021 and the SECU Board of Directors in 2022. He is the Deputy Chief Information Officer for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. His career in the field of technology spans 29 years with a diverse background in the state’s executive government, city government, and education settings. Mr. Parrish previously served in the capacity of Interim CIO for the State of North Carolina in 2020 and 2021, where he focused on guiding the Department of Information Technology through the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and helped launch technologies to support the state’s vaccine effort. He also held the position of Deputy State CIO for the Department of Cultural Resources, Office of Human Resources, and Office of the Governor.
Mr. Parrish is adjunct faculty with Edgecombe Community College and a board member for Louisburg College. He is a certified Government CIO and has a master’s degree in Earth Science from North Carolina Central University. He enjoys anything technology-oriented and creating films with his wife Valerie and two sons Thomas and Zachary.
Jo Anne Sanford
Jo Anne Sanford has been a member of the State Employees’ Credit Union Board of Directors since 2005 and is a past Chair of both the corporate Board and the Foundation Board. After 20 years with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, she was appointed to the North Carolina Utilities Commission — first by Governor Jim Hunt then by Governor Mike Easley. For most of her tenure at the Commission she served as Chair — the first woman to hold that appointment. A graduate of NC State University and the School of Law at UNC-CH, she has extensive experience in regulated utility industries. She practices law in Sanford Law Office, PLLC in Raleigh and is a board-certified specialist in Utilities law, as well as a member of the State Bar’s Utilities Specialty Committee. Formerly a Director of Piedmont Natural Gas and Chair of the Duke Energy Community Advisory Board, she currently is the Chair of the Advanced Energy Corporation Board. A longtime resident of Raleigh’s oldest historic district, Ms. Sanford is married to Billy Brewer, Jr. and they have one daughter.
About Board membership, Ms. Sanford says, “I believe strongly in the merits of state government service and am eager to support organizations that positively impact the lives of all people in the State of North Carolina. SECU is a principled and dynamic organization that ‘serves those who serve’ — it is a powerful force for good in this state and I am excited to be part of the mission.”
Dr. Williams joined the SECU Foundation Board of Directors in 2016 and the SECU Board of Directors in 2017. She currently serves as Vice President for Durham Affairs at Duke University. Dr. Williams previously served as President of Vance-Granville Community College, a four-campus institution in Northeastern North Carolina, and has served in various faculty and administrative roles within the North Carolina Community College System.
Dr. Williams is a graduate of Duke University and completed her doctoral studies at NC State University, where she also serves as adjunct faculty in the College of Education. Williams presents nationally, consults on leadership and workforce development, and actively participates on numerous public and private boards.
Service on the SECU and SECU Foundation Boards is important to Williams because she values the “public and community service provided by the state employees of North Carolina” and the “collective, positive impact on community and economic development that is supported by the SECU members through the activities of the Foundation.”
McKinley Wooten Jr.
A native of Kinston, Mr. Wooten holds degrees from Morehouse College and Vanderbilt University School of Law. He has served in several senior level positions in state government, including Inspector General, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Administration as well as Deputy Director and Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. Currently, Mr. Wooten serves as Assistant Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Mr. Wooten joined SECU in 1994 and became a member of the Board of Directors in 2000, serving as Chair from 2011-2013. He also served as Chair of the SECU Foundation Board during 2014-2015.
Mr. Wooten states that he volunteers his time to serve the membership because, “I believe strongly in the cooperative philosophy of credit unions in general and that of State Employees’ Credit Union in particular. I believe in the membership, a league of hard-working, dedicated State employees and their families who rightfully expect and deserve sound leadership at the Board level.”
Mr. Wooten's other volunteer service includes serving on the advisory board for the Alexander YMCA in Raleigh, the NC Museum of History Foundation Board, the UNC School of Government Foundation Board and the Campbell Law School Board of Visitors. He is an active member of his church and enjoys playing the piano, traveling, and spending time with his family. He is married to Laura H. Wooten, an NC State Government retiree, and they are the proud parents of an adult son and daughter.