BOARD OF DIRECTORS / CONTRIBUTORS
President / Treasurer
Lisa has been a resident of Howard County for over 30 years, and a small financial business owner in Ellicott City for 17 years. She earned a BA in Economics and a Masters in Finance from Loyola University in Maryland. Her civic work includes: VP/President of the Normandy Heights Improvement Association, 2010-present; Vice President of the Howard County Citizens Association (HCCA) 2012-2014,2015-present, and leader/sponsor of a diverse group that collected nearly 7,000 signatures to bring a zoning referendum to the voters of Howard County. In 2014, Lisa ran for the Howard County Council District 1 seat in 2014, where she finished second by 200 votes. Leveraging years of experience with how the County manages budgetary, infrastructure and zoning activities, Lisa formed The People’s Voice to provide a hub to Howard County homeowners associations, civic groups, and other organizations to inform the people of what is happening in their communities with a goal to bring more citizen input into County plans and projects that affect our quality of life. Lisa sat on the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance Task Force in 2015-2016, on the Board of Education's Operating Budget Review Committee in 2017, and the Zoning Assessment Review Steering Committee in 2017-2018. Since May of 2019, she writes a column "My Turn" in the Business Monthly.
Leslie graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Spanish and went on to get her Master's in Education and taught Spanish in middle and high school. She took a long break from teaching to raise her children, now 18 and 12 years old, and went back to teach at the college level. When she saw the effects of the worsening overcrowding taking a toll on her children's schools here in Howard County, she joined the Greater Elkridge Community Association Schools committee to advocate for change. Her efforts led her to run for a seat on the Howard County Board of Education. Through The People's Voice, she hopes to remain connected to the activities of the Howard County government and the Board of Education in order to inform her fellow citizens to be advocates for community interests. Leslie was nominated by County Executive Allan Kittleman in 2018, and confirmed by the County Council unanimously to sit on the Commission for Disability Issues.
Joanne Heckman has lived in Maryland since 1982, and in Columbia since 1988. She has been an active volunteer in education, politics, and environmental activism. Joanne founded a non-profit organization for after-school activities in 1996 which is still in operation (After-School Activity Providers) that it is now the sponsor of the native plant advocacy program, Outstanding Fields. Joanne for the Howard County Board of Education in 2004. She has served on the Board of the Patapsco Riverkeeper and is the former Chair of the Howard County Sierra Club and Conservation Committee.
Barb has been a resident of Maryland since 1986 and lived in Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Anne Arundel counties before moving to Howard County in 2008. She worked at the National Security Agency as a mathematician and an environmental scientist for 15 years. After her two boys were born, she left NSA and began volunteer work in environmental and education arenas. Her volunteer work as a Legislative Committee member of the Maryland Sierra Club sparked her interest in politics after lobbying in Annapolis. She then became active in Special Education reform and was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Office of Education Accountability under the Governor’s Coordinating Offices. She is currently a program manager with Maryland Department of the Environment. She continues to focus on both environmental and education issues for The People’s Voice.
Pravin Ponnuri is a Federal employee working in the IT sector and a professional magician. He has been a Howard County resident for over 25 years, and is the founder of Indian Origin Network of Howard County (IONHoCo), an organization that works very closely with the Asian community and Howard County residents. Pravin grew up in Mumbai, India, before moving to the USA over 30 years ago. Pravin has been an active civic advocate through non-profit organizations in the County. He became focused on educational issues and land use positions while his children attended and graduated from the Howard County School System, and remains a voice for smart growth, equitable resources and more objective, community focused government.
Ananta has lived in Howard County since 1994 and has been a local business owner since 2009. He has served as a member of the Howard County Board of Education, an elder at Grace Community Church, and as a board member for Leadership Howard County and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. Ananta has coached many local youth sports teams, and is an active supporter of the Howard County Autism Society. He and his wife Stacia have one graduate and two current HCPSS students.
Local Civic Activities. Member of District 1 Neighbors (D1N.org), 2018; Co-Founder of MoCoVoters.org, 2017 to present; President of Westmoreland Citizens Association, 2017 to present; Corresponding Secretary and Member of Citizens Coordinating Committee Friendship Heights, Bethesda, MD, 2017 to present; Weed Warrior Supervisor for Montgomery County and Little Falls Watershed Alliance, 2008-present.
Other Philanthropic Activities. Board member of Apple Tree Institute for Education Innovation and Apple Early Learning Public Charter School, Washington, DC; Treasurer for her church, Washington, DC; Member of Board of Visitors at James Madison College at MI State University; former Board Member and Finance Chair of Washington Episcopal School, Bethesda, MD;
Business. Board of Fieldstone Mortgage Corporation Columbia, MD, 2003-07. One of the founders of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. in 1989-2003, and retired from Institutional Sales. Other corporate finance experience at Johnston, Lemon, Washington, DC, Financial Strategies Group, DC; Trident Financial, Raleigh NC and DC, 1985-1989. Riggs Bank 1981-83 in trust operations and fixed income management.
Education. MBA in Finance from The Darden School at UVA 1985; B.A. in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University, 1981.
In Memoriam - Carolyn Jacobi
Carolyn's life's work as a cemetery consumer advocate led her to establish Eternal Justice, which spurred the founding of the Maryland Office of Cemetery Oversight. She was part of the 2013 zoning referendum effort due to the plans to develop the Rosa Bonheur human and pet cemetery in Elkridge to put up apartments in comprehensive rezoning. Carolyn was a founding member of The People's Voice, and passed away in 2014. She was a dedicated civic advocate with a big heart and big personality. She is sorely missed.