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About Us / JULIAN’s Board Of Directors

Julian’s board
of directors

Candace Parrish, Ph.D.

Candace Parrish, Ph.D. is the founder and creator of Odelia, Marie & Patrice, LLC. Candace received an interdisciplinary Ph.D. related to the areas of Public Relations, Health Communication, and Visual Communication and is currently an Assistant Professor at Penn State University.

After being recognized nationally and internationally for her research, she decided to apply her love for design and artistry with her research in health communication to make vegan, small-batch, environmentally friendly, and luxury self care products. In 2020, Odelia, Marie, & Patrice received a grant from Beyonce and the NAACP to continue to fund the launch of the organization.

Candace is an advocate for offering decadent products that provide “everyday luxury” to her customers and clients without accruing damage to our environment. With a special focus on herbs and herbalism, she puts great detail in making sure to utilize natural and organic ingredients to create the most healthy and decadent products. Through Odelia, Marie, & Patrice (OM&P), Candace also helps to pour back into minority community activists and social movements like prison reform and has been featured in Forbes. For JULIAN, she advises on communication strategies.

Denicka Jones

“Growing up in the Deep South of Mississippi, racism was not only an unconscious bias I experienced institutionally, but it was more so culturally an experience that most local Blacks had experienced as well. It was something that was almost an unspoken acceptance because we had a lack of resources or insight to actually demand change. I wanted to become a part of JULIAN because JULIAN demands change. JULIAN demands equal rights for all. JULIAN demands fairness and accountability and understands the power of freedom. It’s the safe haven I wish I could have had in my corner growing up. I’m proud to serve as a board member so others can have what I couldn’t.”

Born and raised in Laurel, Mississippi, Denicka Jones has had the uncommon gift of nurturing growth, meeting people where they are without judgment, and speaking to the deepest parts of their souls since she was a child. Now a woman and mother of four, she is a registered nurse and community leader, helping to heal those suffering from acute mental health issues and anyone else who needs her. In this role, this role that she was born for, she has impacted lives across the nation and helped individuals find freedom—of mind, of heart, of body in some of their lowest moments.

At JULIAN, she is a connection to overlooked and isolated communities, keeping her ear to the ground and her heart on her sleeve, embodying the love and acceptance that this organization deems sacred.

Jacob Gillison

Jacob “Jake” Gillison is the Director of Operations for the Honorable U.S. Senator, Bernard Sanders.  Jacob manages and organizes daily operational activities pertinent to office efficiency.  Prior to his employment with Senator Sanders, Jacob served as the Officer Manager Scheduler for our fraternity brother, the Honorable Congressman John R. Lewis.  Jacob has faithfully served his country as an Air Traffic Controller in the United States Air Force for 13 years.  During his nearly two decades of service in the United States Air Force, Jacob was recognized repeatedly for his commitment to duty and dedication to excellence.  At the time of departure from the Air Force he served in the position of Assistant Chief, Air Traffic Control Training and Evaluation.

A native of Beaufort, South Carolina, Jacob graduated from Battery Creek High School and continued his education by earning dual Bachelor of Science Degrees in Business Administration and Economics from Benedict College.  He also earned an additional degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.  Twenty-five years later, Jacob received his MBA from Northcentral University specializing in management.

Jacob is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated.  As an additional testament to Jacob’s long and exceptional service, the FreeMasons bestowed upon him their 33d Degree, an honorary title granted to those Masons who distinguished themselves.  He is also an active member of Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, Lambda Eta Chapter.

Yvette Diaz

Yvette Diaz is  a Senior Advisor on the Sponsored Projects & Funds team at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Yvette has two decades of professional experience in the social justice and philanthropic sector. She has worked with a number of philanthropic organizations including several fiscal sponsors such as Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors  and Tides. Through years of supporting a multitude of nonprofit projects, she has grown her  expertise in the nonprofit industry to support a wide range of operational  functions  to help donors and social change leaders with a range of goals from grantmaking, program strategy and organizational development,  to  supporting  organizations  to their full potential as  self-sustaining 501c3 organizations.

Before joining RPA, Yvette consulted with several social justice organizations. seeding  operational  structures for organizations such as Strategies for Social Change, gMoxie consulting, and  Leadership Reimagined,  all notably BIPOC women-led organizations rooted in a love and liberation approach to support leadership development that draws strength from  identity, race and culture to transform organizations.  While supporting these entities Yvette honed her skills around capacity building, and strategic planning. She continues to invest in organizations such as JULIAN,  a nonprofit  focused on interrupting criminal injustice and advancing effective, accountable policy change to eradicate systemic racism in our justice system.

Yvette is deeply passionate about work  that advances the principles and practices around equity, justice, and human rights protection. She believes that movement spaces and global communities are interdependent and that using  narrative justice is an important instrument to disrupt paradigms and structures in order keep all communities safe, prevent harm, and uphold values of fairness, equal justice, and accountability.

JULIAN's Partners.

PARTNERS: JULIAN’s partners include but are not limited to the Ford Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation, Borealis Foundation, the Lear Family Foundation, The Frances Lear Foundation, Southern Grantmakers, Mindbridge, the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, the Marshall Project, the People’s Advocacy Institute, and Harvard Kennedy School.

  • Ford
  • W.K
  • Mindbridge
  • Harvard

AMBASSADORS: JULIAN’s Ambassadors include NBA champion Jrue Holiday , fIFA World Cup Winner Lauren Holiday, Influencer of the Year Walter Geer, and Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis.

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