BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Meet the Board
Ruwani Biggers is the Strategy Lead for the Proactive Service Engine in Cisco's Customer Experience Centers. She has advocated for women and other marginalized groups as a member and leader for different Employee Resource Organizations (ERO) within Cisco Systems, Inc. for over a decade. She is a staunch advocate for hiring and promoting female engineering talent at Cisco and is excited to build the next generation of engineers through Her Spark, Inc. As President of Her Spark, Ruwani guides the overall direction of the organization and mobilizes the board, partners, resources and volunteers to execute key initiatives for the organization.
Sweetie’s passions lie in helping women of all ages feel empowered to accomplish their goals. She thrives on cultivating a platform for others to succeed and values making an impact in the community. She enjoys connecting with women and young girls across the Triangle. Sweetie is a Program Manager at Cisco Systems and volunteers with several local non-profit organizations. She is also the lead for WISE (Women In Science & Engineering) RTP, an Inclusion & Collaboration employee resource organization at Cisco. She has served on the Board of Directors for Professional Development for Connected Women of North Carolina, where she managed career professional development programs for women in the RTP area. As the Vice President of Her Spark, Sweetie will evolve the strategy of the organization, foster new partnerships, and drive business outcomes.
Events and Program Lead
After gaining global supply chain experience with Dell in Texas, Singapore, and Ireland, Diane currently leads a team of operators and technicians at Dell’s NC manufacturing facility. She serves as the University Recruiting Champion responsible for long-term hiring strategies, and founded the NC GenNext ERG to create a community for recent hires. Diane also serves on the NCTA Board of Advisors and NC Women’s Conference Planning Committee. One thread remains constant throughout her career journey: Diane is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders in STEM. As the Events and Program lead, Diane directs the development, integration and execution of Her Spark events, camps, and collaborations.
Aylin is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and a member of the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. She is a Senior Director in the Controller’s Office at RTI International, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that serves out its mission to improve the human condition with more than 3,000 projects in 70+ countries. She serves as the Finance Lead on RTI’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. As the Treasurer of Her Spark, Inc. she is responsible for all aspects of tax compliance, banking, financial planning, and budgeting.
Deandra Scott Hill
Deandra has been an educator for 15 years in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Durham Public Schools, and, most recently, with Duke TIP. Primarily focused on special education and special populations, Deandra has taken an interest in equity and diversity, especially in education. Deandra specializes in student self-advocacy and engagement, giving presentations throughout the region. During her last year in public schools (2016), she was named Teacher of the Year at her school. As the Secretary for Her Spark, Inc., Deandra organizes information and meetings for the organization to ensure operational efficiency and compliance.
Damien N. Perez
Damien is a veteran serving over 20 years in the field of aviation. He has led projects in the military, held leadership positions in several nonprofits, and teaches STEM courses at Project-Based Learning charter school. Additionally, he serves NCPMI as VP of Certifications and PMI Educational Foundation Liaison.
Originally from NJ, Damien now calls NC home. He enjoys time with his five children and wife of over 15 years. Hobbies include volunteering, recreational sports, and running. As the Strategy Lead for Her Spark, Inc. he identifies short-term and long-term goals to sustain forward growth of organization.
Donor and Fundraising Lead
Debby Serena has 20 years of experience as a fundraising executive, nonprofit consultant, business development and client services professional. She is co-founder and Vice President of Donor Haven, a digital fundraising platform designed to train functional areas of nonprofits and gain organizational alignment to increase sustainable donations. In addition to various leadership roles in nonprofit organizations, Debby is passionate about youth empowerment. It is through her passion for giving children and young people the very best educational opportunities, and championing those causes, that she hopes to inspire, transform, and impact future generations. As the Donor and Fundraising Lead for Her Spark, Inc. Debby is responsible for developing and executing the strategy for donor relations, sponsorships and fundraising activities.
Tess Bradford is the Co-Founder and former first President of Her Spark. After voicing the need for STEM support for girls during a March 2017 women’s leadership conference, Tess began working with local women leaders on what is now known as Her Spark. Tess continues to support the organization as a consultant. Tess is the CEO and owner of The Bright Insight Group, a management consulting firm that helps clients with business strategy and growth optimization. Tess Bradford is an accomplished executive who retired from a 19-year career at Bank of America and in her former role as a Senior Vice President she developed and implemented strategies for digital banking, mobile services, artificial intelligence, and social media platforms. Tess has held leadership positions in strategy, compliance, operational risk management, and online product innovation. Tess is a community leader and an advocate for STEM education for children.
Shannon is Senior Corporate Counsel specializing in data privacy. She is a licensed attorney in North Carolina and Washington D.C., a N.C.D.R.C. Certified Superior Court Mediator and a Co-Chair of the International Data Privacy Committee of the N.C. Bar Association Privacy and Data Security Section. Shannon is a 2019 Triangle Business Journal 40 under 40 Leadership Award winner.
Shannon serves as a mentor to young professionals and is actively involved with many community outreach programs addressing local needs in the Raleigh-Durham area. As Co-Founder, Shannon joined with Tess in 2017 to create Her Spark. She moved on to her next venture in 2020.