Board of Directors
Kettely J. Darden
Kettely J. Darden is a licensed clinical social worker. Ms. Darden graduated from Syracuse University with a Masters of Social Work. Ms. Darden has over fifteen years of social work service primarily in medical social work, substance abuse treatment, foster care, and employee assistance program. Currently, Ms. Darden serves as a mental health social worker at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Ms. Darden is the owner of a travel business that curates trips for groups.
Ms. Darden serves as a board member of First Ladies Youth Leadership, Inc., because she always had a desire to support young girls and women to grow into their full potential. She understood firsthand how important it was for a young girl to have strong mentors, healthy self-esteem, and faith for her to reach her goals in life. Ms. Darden had the odds stacked against her growing up as a child of an immigrant single parent with no support. However, she was able to overcome those obstacles by pursing a higher education, good mentorship, and support from her faith community. Ms. Darden hopes to inspire young women and girls with similar backgrounds to dream HUGE and know that the possibilities are endless for her if only she will believe. In her spare time, Ms. Darden enjoys international travel, performing arts, and loving on her family and friends.
Teresa Barnes is a charter board member of First Ladies Youth Leadership, Inc., and has been serving for three consecutive years. Ms. Barnes is a tax manager for a leading global tax services firm where she specializes in state and local property taxes. Ms. Barnes holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance. Ms. Barnes current pursuit includes obtaining her certification in Financial Planning. Ms. Barnes is the proud godmother of two beautiful children, Alexander Blake Houston and Autumnn Simone Walker.
LaKeidra Veal Hill
LaKeidra Veal Hill is an internal and external communications professional with nearly 20 years of corporate experience in various industries, including agency, professional services, consumer, government and higher education. She is adept at employee communications, public relations, C-level and executive counsel, strategic planning and implementation, project management, copywriting, editing and proofreading, event planning, issues management and agency/vendor relations.
In 2014, LaKeidra launched Soulé Communication, LLC to provide marketing and communications support as an independent consultant with a focus on raising brand recognition for profit and nonprofit small businesses.
She previously served as director of internal communications in the Office of Marketing and Communications for Morehouse School of Medicine, where she was responsible for strategic leadership of employee communications. Just prior to transitioning to higher education, LaKeidra joined a select team of communication consultants to develop and execute a robust employee strategy for the Atlanta Housing Authority during a significant transformation initiative. She also managed internal communications for the North America business unit as a member of the Public Affairs & Communications team at The Coca-Cola Company. While a manager at BellSouth Corporation, LaKeidra implemented strategic communications plans for various business units to support key goals and objectives.
Before BellSouth, LaKeidra spent four years providing public relations support for Deloitte & Touche, where she worked with partners and senior managers throughout the Southeast region on media relations for various industries, including financial services, health care and technology. She also was the editor and a contributing writer for the firm’s Women’s Initiative newsletter. She began her career in 1998 with Copithorne & Bellows, a PR agency that later merged with Porter Novelli in 2000 where she focused on media relations for technology-based clients.
A native of Louisiana, LaKeidra holds a master’s degree in Management Communications & Public Relations from Emerson College located in Boston, Mass., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Loyola University New Orleans in Louisiana. She also is a 2006 graduate of Atlanta’s PATHBUILDER ACHIEVATM program.
Outside of work, she passionately supports youth initiatives and is currently a board member of First Ladies Youth Leadership, Inc., a nonprofit providing leadership development, internships, and college and career preparation programming to girls in middle and high school. She also is a member of the Atlanta Business League, an organization delivering “economic empowerment and business development opportunities” to African-American owned businesses since 1933. For nearly 10 years, LaKeidra proudly served in various board positions and as a member of the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta (BPRS/Atlanta), an organization supporting public relations students and professionals of all levels.
Vincent Hennessey MA, LMAC, LPC, NCC
Stephen D. Apolinsky
Stephen D. Apolinsky is the founder and named member of Apolinsky & Associates, LLC, a premier catastrophic injury and wrongful death personal injury law firm. The law firm handles cases in Georgia and Alabama. Steve has been a supporter of First Ladies since its inception and is honored to be affiliated with the organization.