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Giving Foundation for Women & Children Inc. Board of Directors

Shawn Yancy


Shawn Yancy is a trusted broadcast journalist who’s been anchoring the news in Washington, DC for 20+ years. Her more than 2 decades of experience has earned her a number of prestigious journalism awards including the Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigative series at the National Institutes of Health and multiple Emmy Awards. Shawn’s career as a journalist has allowed her to share and tell meaningful and impactful stories about the people and community she serves. Her 2nd day on the job in DC, became her first big story there: the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Shawn’s philanthropic drive began in her childhood. Her parents’ commitment to giving back to their community helped shape her passion to serve. Over the years, Shawn has served on multiple boards including Dress For Success DC and The St. Ann’s Center for Children Youth & Families. Shawn served as a mentor for a teenage mothers’ program and volunteered with Girls’ Inc. and Best Friends. Along with her fellow DC newswomen, Shawn helped spearhead an annual breast cancer fundraiser for local cancer charities that serve the underserved. Shawn’s desire to help better the lives of women and children led her to create Girls’ Night Out by Shawn Yancy. Shawn draws inspiration for growing the reach and impact of Girls’ Night Out from her favorite saying “If the dream is big enough, the facts don’t count”. It’s a phrase her mother has been instilling in her for as long as she can remember.

In addition to her work in the community and as a journalist, Shawn is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., an entrepreneur, and a professional artist. She creates commission pieces for clients nationwide.

In her spare time, Shawn enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and three sons.

Fun fact: She also loves eating jelly belly sours, sushi, and really spicy food (but not necessarily in that order).

Elissa Royall

Development Director

Elissa Royall has served children in the District of Columbia and Silver Spring, Maryland as a school principal and elementary educator for twenty-six years.

As a child of a strong single mother, Elissa Royall began a mentoring program to empower and support young girls from often single-parent families and underserved communities during her undergraduate studies at Salisbury State University.  It was during that time Elissa realized her passion for children and desire to help them dream and develop the skills needed to make those dreams a reality.

Fun fact: She was on Sesame street when she was a child and was Oscar the Grouch’s legs in a Christmas special.

Abby Clawson

Abby Clawson

Member at Large

Abby Clawson has 15 years of success leading finance and accounting operations in a wide range of business environments, from venture-backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations. Abby’s ability to forge solid relationships with colleagues and build consensus across multiple organizational levels makes her an invaluable strategic thought partner.

Abby has a proven track record of managing strategic growth and the evolution of businesses by fostering data-driven decision-making and cultures with high employee engagement.

After 10 years in NYC Abby moved to DC in 2017 and is now settled in National Harbor with her husband and 2 fur children.

Fun fact: Abby’s dog Chase was a live guest on the Today Show in their New York City studio.

Lorraine Altschuler

Member at Large

Lorraine Altschuler has been successfully operating her own company, Design Strategics, since 2011.  At her boutique print/web/brand agency she works with aspiring, growing and established businesses. Lorraine’s career began with a 10-year stint as a government consultant and another 15 years at local publishing companies.

Lorraine is committed to making the world a better place, and gives back to the community by volunteering for food pantries, serving on GNO’s Board, and doing pro bono work for organizations that serve the underserved.

Fun facts: she was the first Webmaster of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and she has a MA in Design. She lives in Maryland with her husband and Kylee (her precious Morkie) and wishes her two sons would visit more often!

Pamela Sofola


Pamela Sofola is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Masters in Financial Management, she has worked in the accounting field for over 25 years. Her work experience involves both the public and private sector, including working at the World Bank for 16 years. While at the World Bank she traveled to many countries in Africa to assess the adequacy of the World Bank’s borrower’ s pro-ject financial management systems including budgeting, policies and procedures, internal controls, financial reporting and auditing as well as to assess their ability to manage and monitor World Bank financed projects.

Pamela is also the founder and CEO of A Beautiful Closet, which is a local clothing and gift boutique in the Washington DC area that carries unique items from all around the world. She also owns a boutique accounting practice called Sofola CPA Group, LLC that caters to small businesses like hers and provides Financial Man-agement, Taxation, CFO Services, Auditing, Bookkeeping, Quicbook training and much more.

Pamela is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Maryland Society of CPA’s. Pamela’s passion about giving back to others sparked her interest to be in-volved in Girls Night Out. She currently serves as the Treasurer for the foundation.

Fun facts: Pamela loves to travel. She has lived on 3 continents, speaks three languages and has travelled to 52 countries.

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Cynthia Howell

Member at Large

Cynthia A. Howell is an experienced Human Resources (HR) Executive with a passion for helping people achieve their goals and dreams professionally and personally. She is a servant leader with over 25 years of experience building and leading HR teams in several types and sizes of organizations with different organizational cultures, including non-profit, government contracting and for profit.  Cynthia possesses two nationally qualifying certifications for HR Professionals: Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).

Cynthia is a longtime resident of the Washington, DC Metro Area, raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland and currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband Jon. Cynthia is also a licensed D.C. referral real estate agent who loves to help people realize their dream of home ownership. Both careers allow her the opportunity to thoughtfully help people navigate two important areas of their lives.

Fun Facts: Cynthia’s passion is shopping for the thrill of finding the bargain from the Dollar Store to Neiman Marcus. Cynthia loves everything that sparkles/glitters, a fabulous handbag, clothes and jewelry. Cynthia is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.


Tonya Reynolds

Member at Large

Tonya Reynolds is an Alumni of Ball State University where she studied Telecommunications and Marketing.  She has 30+ years of experience in the Insurance Industry.  She currently works as a Producer for an Independent Broker in an effort to free her up to do her life’s passion of uplifting and encouraging Girls & Women. 

Along with her husband, Rev. Richard A. Reynolds, Tonya serves through their Ministry, New Revelation Christian Church and their Non-Profit, Crown Community Development Corp., in Indianapolis, IN.  She is the Program Director for Crown Mentoring that operates within school systems to help children develop essential Character Traits that will lead to their success in life.

Tonya has 3 Children and one Grandson. She is very active in her community and Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., where she recently served as Vice-Chaplain for her Chapter.  Tonya’s favorite past times are traveling, watching movies, dancing and trying new restaurants.

Fun Fact:  To date, Tonya’s favorite job is when she worked as an Intern at Walt Disney World.

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