Tracy African American
Dr. Clara C. Styles is an accomplished educator with extensive expertise in driving student achievement and operational excellence. Now retired, Dr. Styles formerly served as an operations executive for Edison Learning, responsible for all educational services including client relationships, student achievement and financial management for the nearly 400,000 students across 25 states.
She has also served as a teacher and principal in Centralia City Schools in Centralia, IL and Deputy Superintendent in Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, CA.
A strong, committed Christian, Clara is active in her church and community. Clara serves on the board of Trustees, Mother’s Board and Women’s Mission at People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Tracy, Vice President of Tracy Senior Association, Secretary to the board of Sow a Seed Community Foundation, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a life member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and a life member of the Southern Illinois University Alumni Association.
Dr. Styles has received numerous awards and recognitions including, but not limited to: Outstanding Working Woman of Illinois and Woman of the Year from BPW, Community Champion from Silicon Graphics in CA, Founder’s Award from the National Alliance of Black School Educators, Woman of the Year from Tracy Women’s Forum, as well as numerous local, state and national awards as an outstanding educator. Dr. Clara C. Styles has been a keynote speaker locally, regionally and around the country. President@TAAA.net
Yolande Barial Knight is married and the mother of four fabulous children. She is a published poet, author and columnist. Her column, “Mother’s Corner,” appears monthly in the Tracy Press Newspaper, where her focus and passion have come together to write about experiences from a mother’s perspective. Yolande is currently employed as Clerk of the Board for East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) for which her duties include: primary liaison between the Board Members and staff; responding to constituents, media, elected officials, legislators, legislative staff inquiries and concerns; and conducting and oversight of bi-monthly board meetings, agenda, packet and materials.
Yolande has been a TAAA member since 2015. She is also Secretary to the Northern California of Morehouse Parents, member of the Youth Committee of People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church and editor of POC's Youth Newsletter. Yolande holds a B.S. Degree in Biology from Xavier University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Yolande knows that with God, all things are possible. firstname.lastname@example.org / vicepresident@TAAA.net
Dr. Nancy Diane Young, most recently re-elected City Council Member for Tracy, is a woman with a passion for people and helping others achieve growth and deliverance in their lives through mentorship and ministry. She is the author of 7 books. She’s a mother of 4 children, 1 daughter in law, 4 step-children, 7 grandchildren. She’s attained a Bachelors degree in Mass Communication from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, a Doctorate in Theology from Good News Seminary and Bible College, and is a licensed ordained pastor from Shield of Faith International.
Nancy’s founded and led several youth and women groups. Currently, she heads Living On Purpose, a weekly mentoring class for the youth of Tracy; is Mentor Lead for the Student Discovery Program at Kimball High, Board Member of the Boys and Girl’s Clubs of Tracy, Speaker Lead and Key Club Advisor for Tracy Kiwanis, Advocate for the Golden Agers, Advisory Board Member for Sow a Seed Foundation, former Juneteenth Chair and now two-time Treasurer for Tracy African American Association. email@example.com / treasurer@TAAA.net
Olinga Yarber-Alexander has been a member of the Tracy, CA community since 1988, and has recently joined the Tracy African American Association member. She is the former owner of a travel agency. During that time she enjoyed her travels to Kenya, Tanzania South Africa, Ghana Naminbia and Malaysia. Her previous jobs have included research lab technician, retail sales and a security worker. She is presently a notary and notary signing agent for the State of California.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Soror earned her B.A. Degree in Social Science and Masters in Higher Education with an emphasis in Student Affairs. Olinga has been married to Ameni Alexander for 24 years, and has adult children.
Lynette Jones is a dynamic human resource professional with fourteen years’ experience leading human resource initiatives that support strategic business results. Lynette Jones currently holds the position of Principal Human Resources Manager for Veritas Technologies, LLC. Originally from Southern Illinois, Lynette relocated to Tracy, CA in February of 2016.
A humble servant gifted by God, Lynette believes in being active in both her church and community. While in Illinois Lynette was actively involved in the Illinois Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBW). During membership with that organization, she served as Secretary on the local, regional and state levels. Lynette also had the privilege to serve IFBW in the most distinguished capacity the State organization has to offer, State President from 2010 – 2011.
Since moving to California, Lynette has continued her service to others by co-leading the Black Employees at Veritas Empowered (BLEVE) employee resources group within her company. She is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Breaking Glass Forums, an organization focused on addressing the lack of progress for underrepresented groups in leadership positions. Lynette also serves in the Media Ministry and as the Executive Assistant over Pastoral Operations at People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Tracy. Administrator@TAAA.net
Sandra Goodman was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on 17 August. She is married with three children. Sandra served 38 years in the military with United States Army. She was mobilized in 2004 to Kuwait for 345 days and retired from the military on 18 Aug 2015 with the rank of Master Sergeant. Currently and for the past 37 years, she has been employed with Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System and currently serving veterans in the capacity of Administrative Officer of the Day. firstname.lastname@example.org
Patricia Jackson received her BA degree in Social Science from San Jose State University in 1975, and her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 2006. She taught for over 10 years in schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Most years were in West Oakland, working with children with disruptive behaviors.
Patricia has worked as an advocate and educational tutor for homeless families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. She has continued to volunteer and help the homeless since she has moved to Tracy in 2014. After relocating to Tracy, she joined People of Christ Missionary Baptist Church. In 2015 she joined TAAA, and in 2016 became the organization's Corresponding Secretary. Patricia is presently involved with the Tracy homeless task force, and teaches Public Speaking and Debate to college preparatory students in Dublin, San Ramon and Orinda.
The proud mother of three adult sons and twelve grandchildren has a passion for watching the Golden State Warriors' basketball games. email@example.com / Education@TAAA.net
PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
Toni Beckham was re-installed as TAAA Public Information Officer in January 2017, following a 1½-year hiatus. She previously served in that position for eight consecutive years. Toni is founder and president of PR, et Cetera, Inc., a public relations and marketing communications firm that performs PR, communications and promotional services for prominent and influential individuals and organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.
Recognized as one who contributes to and advocates for her community, Toni is a recipient of the 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Image Award for professional skills contributions to the Tracy African American Association and advocacy for the Tracy, CA community at-large; Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Community Service Award, presented by the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. in recognition and appreciation of her community volunteerism within the business environment; and the KNTV NewsChannel 11 “Spirit of Excellence” Award in recognition of community service as a volunteer literacy tutor.
She is a literary contributor to the award-winning anthologies--"Gumbo for the Soul: the Recipe for Literacy in the Black Community” and "Gumbo for the Soul: Women of Honor." The books are compilations of motivational poetry, essays, quotes, personal reflections and delicious gumbo recipes.
Additionally, Toni Beckham serves as church clerk for Good News Missionary Baptist Church in Tracy, CA. PR@TAAA.net
Melyssa Barrett is responsible for Credit Risk Consulting globally for VISA Consulting and Analytics. Her responsibilities include having a global subject matter expertise and optimizing VISA’s fraud and credit risk products for client financial institutions.
Melyssa is also the CEO of Advanced Resolution Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of VISA, where her responsibilities include managing operations for credit risk products offered.
The 32-year VISA veteran has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the American Bankruptcy Institute and as an Advisory Council Member for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for BALANCE (formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco).
Melyssa holds a BS degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She has three children and five grandchildren and has resided in Tracy since 1996. Melyssa has been a member of the Tracy African American Association since 1997 and operated in a number of leadership roles in the organization. Membership@TAAA.net
TAAA Board of Directors
ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE CHAIR
Gail LaGasca is a founding member of the Tracy African American Association. She has served the organization as Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Membership Chairperson, Treasurer and now Activities Chairperson.
Gail graduated from San Joaquin Delta College and Trans International Airlines Flight Attendant School. She worked for the airlines for eight years, allowing her to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and many more countries in the world. She completed Travel Agent Training with Carefree Travel and worked as a Certified Travel Agent for several years. She eventually went to work for the City of Tracy, retiring after 15 years of service.
A member of the Filipino American National Historical Society and NAACP, Gail enjoys traveling, golfing and spending time with family and friends.
Gail is married to her wonderful husband, Mel LaGasca. We have one son, Arthur LaGasca who, with his wife Carissa gave her three grandchildren, who are the loves of Mel's and my firstname.lastname@example.org