An active area advocate, Kathy is passionate about creating more livable, vibrant communities. A self-employed administrative project manager certified as a PMP (Project Management Professional) she is a natural-born organizer, people-connector and get-it-doner. Involved with the group since the first year, Kathy has brought, passion, compassion and tenacity to the MoRA board. A strong supporter of public schools, she thinks that language immersion ought to be offered broadly within our CMS school system. Kathy in her role as a guardian ad litem (court-appointed child advocate) has also been advocating for the well-being of children since 2007. Email: Chair@MoRAclt.org
Board Vice Chair | Arts, Culture & Education
Community and Customer Advocate, Writer and Storyteller, John Lincoln is a dynamic, engaging, socially-responsible leader with over 25 years of demonstrated success improving customer experience and business performance as an SVP at Wachovia Bank and now with Duke Energy. Former champion figure-skater, writer, and storyteller on national radio, John is appreciated for his ability to engage others and maximize opportunities with a sense of urgency and passion. An Iowa native and proud 14-year Charlotte resident, John brings a practical Midwest work ethic and Southern-by-choice appreciation of and commitment to his position on the MoRA board. Email: John@MoRAclt.org
Paul DiPirro, CPA
Paul and his wife moved to Charlotte from Upstate NY in 1998. He and Dawn have two children who can claim to be native Charlotteans, both attending East Meck High School. Dawn runs her own CPA business, and Paul is a CPA at Duke Energy, also having earned his MBA in 2008. He is actively involved in the community and serves on three community-oriented boards. He enjoys reading, puzzles and woodworking, has a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and is pursuing his second Black Belt.
Community advocate and founding member, Dean retired from the Corporate Security Department at Wells Fargo Bank. His work at First Union, Wachovia and Wells Fargo focused on Crisis Management, Incident Response and Workplace Violence. A Team Leader for Livable Communities with AARP-North Carolina, Dean earned the 2015 AARP Queen City award. Weekly delivery routes around Charlotte for Friendship Trays have helped foster Dean’s passion for building a sustainable community. He enjoys reading, sailing and social paced bicycling on rails-to-trails and greenways. Dean and his wife have lived in Charlotte for 33 years, have two children and two grandsons. Email: Dean@MoRAclt.org
Business Outreach Co-Chair
An active community volunteer, Richard Darlington is currently involved in a number of ministries including Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Urban Ministry Center, Men’s Shelter and sits on two Advisory Boards at UNCC. A Charlotte resident since 1965, Richard spent 34 years at the DuPont Company in a sales and marketing career in the synthetic fiber and textile industries, followed by 11 years as a CFP©, Financial Advisor at TIAA-CREF. Retired since 2014, Richard is married with two children, two stepchildren & 3 grandchildren. Hobbies include a number of outdoor activities such as bike riding, photography and genealogy. Email: Treasurer@MoRAclt.org
Communications & Social Media
Matt helps startups and corporations with intellectual property and information privacy issues at Spengler & Agans, and spends his free time writing about football. The Atlanta native moved from Bloomington, Indiana to Raleigh, then to Steele Creek before buying his first home in the Monroe Road corridor in 2014. After becoming annoyed at the lack of nearby food and shopping options, Matt joined MoRA so he could get a decent cup of coffee without having to drive too far. Matt produces digital content on local businesses and events, manages social media, assists with MoRA planning, and hopes for a local coffee shop.
Aristides (Ari) Rodriguez
Business Outreach Co-Chair
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in NJ, Ari has fallen in love with Charlotte, enjoying its charm, its distinctive culture, its culinary scene. A runner who is a member of a local running club, Ari met his wife, Dee, while in school in Atlanta. After obtaining a Masters of I.T. and enjoying a successful banking/technology career, he is now following his passion of working with people through the field of real estate. He has a strong desire for public service, and is excited to serve and engage the diverse residents of MoRA.
As a mapping professional with Mecklenburg County, James spends his working days immersed in all types of geographic data that relate to the people, places and activities taking place in the Charlotte region. James’ desire to know even more about the developments poised to affect life in MoRA brought him to this organization, where he has lent his mapping skills while finding even more ways to contribute. A Southwest Virginia native, James and his wife Sarah live in Sardis Forest where they are raising two young native Charlotteans. They enjoy the quiet living amongst the trees and critters as well as the varied and interesting dining options nearby.
Jack moved to Charlotte over fifteen years ago, nearly all that time living in the MoRA area. He began his legal career with Rayburn Cooper & Durham where he still works today as a corporate restructuring attorney. Jack, his wife and two boys love everything the area has to offer, from neighborhood block parties to the miles of trails on McAlpine Creek Greenway. An avid runner and bike commuter, one of Jack’s passions is making MoRA a comfortable and safe place for all types of transportation – two feet, two wheels, or four.
Board Governance Chair | Communications
Employed with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library since 1998, LaJuan is currently the branch manager of the Independence Regional Library in the MoRA area. With his Masters in Library and Information Science LaJuan had a role in crafting Char-Meck Library’s current Strategic Plan. An area resident, LaJuan is very active in professional organizations including the American Library Association, the North Carolina Library Association, the Metrolina Library Association, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Black Heritage Committee. His passion for community building and creating access to quality resources are two of the main reasons why LaJuan loves working for the Library and is happy to be a part of MoRA!
Government and Arts, Culture & Education
Ben is a Small Business Entrepreneur in the Project Management industry and utilizes his ability to selectively engage relationships and business support towards positive community development. MoRA resident and public servant, Ben has served on various public and private boards providing expertise towards long range planning and programming strategies to improve citizenship advocacy and quality of life within mixed use communities. An experienced Architectural professional and Project Management entrepreneur within commercial real estate, building design construction and land development industries, as former Chair/ Vice Chair Charlotte’s Zoning Board of Adjustment, Ben received unanimous support from the Mayor’s Office for a record four consecutive terms of repeat public service leadership.
Arts, Culture & Education Co-Chair
Sherrie is a multi-talented leader with a passion for sustainability and community. She has 16 years of volunteer experience with the Catawba Valley Scottish Society with five of those as General Manager of the Loch Norman Highland Games, Versed in team and volunteer coordination, fundraising, sponsorship and event planning, Sherrie personally volunteers at the Hospitality Tent of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games each year. A passionate recycler and animal advocate, Sherrie has considered the Monroe Road area “home” since 1978 when her mother bought a house on Thermal Road. She grew up in Matthews, graduated from East Mecklenburg High School, retired from a career in bookkeeping, and returned to live on Thermal Road in 2014. Sherrie is excited to volunteer her time and expertise as MoRA’s Art@thePoint project manager.
An entrepreneur at heart, Leigh Black brings a variety of administrative and operational expertise to MoRA along with her photography expertise. She took a dying fuel oil company and transformed it into the largest Exxon/Mobil Oil & Lubricant distributorship in the Carolinas. After selling this business in 2001, she worked in the finance industry until she founded a commercial/architectural-based photography business. Leigh has grown her photography into a comfortable business with customers such as Wells Fargo Championship, Carolina Premier Bank, and Carolina Time.
A branding and strategic marketing consultant, Burt has worked with the MoRA team since its inception. Community branding and real estate marketing are two areas of expertise for Burt who also works on the Meridian Place development. In addition to his work on the strategic direction and identity for MoRA, he has assisted the organization with development of alliances and public relations tactics in addition to creation of the MoRA logo and initial marketing materials. A Charlotte native, Burt has seen the changes in the MoRA area and has been a part of establishing the new vision that the community is embracing
Public school and community advocate, Robin, has lived in this area of Charlotte for 18 years. Serving professionally as the Executive Director of the East Mecklenburg High School Foundation and volunteering on numerous neighborhood and educational boards, Robin brings an expansive knowledge of the strengths of, and the challenges facing, the middle Monroe Road corridor, its residents and its schools. In addition to her knowledge of the area, she is well-versed in fundraising, volunteer management, social media and marketing. In what free time she might find, Robin enjoys fitness, travel, hiking and photography.
Mary Cagle Hopper
An award-winning communications professional, Mary uses her doctorate in languages to translate transportation and land use jargon into lay concepts. While Dilworth Neighborhood president, she helped form South End. Based on her neighborhood advocacy, she was appointed to the Planning Commission, chairing it for two terms and writing the city’s first Big Box study. As the founding executive director of University City Partners, Mary organized transportation and land use conferences, oversaw branding and economic development efforts and advocated for its infrastructure needs. Mary’s company did public involvement for the earliest transit planning and consulted on the rezoning of South Park mall.
A Charlotte native who grew up on Sardis Road, Roy has deep ties to the area and the acumen to envision changing trends and opportunities. As developer of Meridian Place, Roy has worked closely with key area stakeholders including city and transportation planners, neighborhood and resident groups, East Mecklenburg High School and the Independence Regional Library. Committed to keeping his developer and community interests defined in a transparent manner, Roy strives for opportunities that create win-win scenarios that enhance people’s lives and improve the livability and economic welfare of our community.
In Memory 1960 – 2017
As the artist who envisioned and launched Embrace, the landmark sculpture at Monroe Rd and Conference Drive, Leslie Scott wanted MoRA to have a gathering spot. She loved working with community groups and bringing people together. She brought an international perspective, designing and crafting elegant installations. Her passion for creative placemaking evolved out of 16 years in Italy designing event spaces and promotional graphics. Leslie and her family moved to Charlotte in 2011 from San Francisco. Her public art installations can be found where communities thrive: in private and civic buildings, parks, schools and libraries, in Charlotte and around the country.