Impassioned after surviving the Sept. 6, 2018, shooting in Cincinnati, Ohio, Whitney created the Whitney/Strong to promote responsible gun ownership with the ultimate goal of reducing gun violence.
Whitney has been employed by Fifth Third Bank for 15 years; her current role as Vice President, Digital Lending Product Manager. In 2018, Whitney and her team launched one of the first omnichannel digital lending applications in the banking industry.
A wife and a mother of two, Whitney resides in Louisville, Kentucky where she earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Louisville. She enjoys cooking, family trips to Chicago and camping, college basketball, musical theatre, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
director of operations
Sara Hayden is a Strategic Sourcing Manager with Bunge North America, a global leader in agribusiness. With over 12 years in procurement, she collaborates globally to ensure material supply while also driving savings to the business. She also leads Bunge's Women of Bunge employee resource group. Sara holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville.
While a native of Louisville, she currently resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband and two daughters. She has been friends with Whitney since attending Louisville Male High School together.
Director of market research
Brooke Edge has a PhD in Media Studies and Communication from the University of Colorado and currently serves as Director of Research and Strategy for PriceWeber, an advertising and marketing agency based in Louisville, KY. She also taught media studies and theory at the University of Denver and University of Colorado, Boulder, and was a features reporter for a number of publications, including The Prague Post and Creative Loafing.
Brooke’s academic research focused on healthcare messaging in popular media, qualitative analysis of audience response, and strategic communications to underserved populations. Brooke has conducted media and communications research and strategy efforts for clients in the arts, automotive, beverage, entertainment, financial services and packaged goods industries. Brooke and her husband moved to Louisville in 2015. They and their two children enjoy exploring Louisville's restaurant scene and traveling as much as possible.
Director of marketing
Megan Gardner serves as Director of Marketing for Whitney/Strong. She has over 12 years’ experience as a strategic marketer and communicator in healthcare, consumer goods, tourism and non-profit sectors. She is excited to bring her expertise to develop the overall marketing strategy for Whitney/Strong. As Whitney’s younger sister and with three young children of her own, she is dedicated to ensuring the future is safer for our children. She has been married to her husband, Lonnie for 10 years, and lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Director of information technology
Liz Andrews-Bock serves as a Director in the Enterprise Data Office at Fifth Third Bank. She has over 20 years of experience in Financial Services, which is where she met Whitney over nine years ago. In addition to being a close friend to Whitney, she was also in the Fifth Third Center on September 6, 2018, and is committed to help drive the mission of Whitney/Strong.
Liz holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and currently resides in Liberty Township, Ohio with her husband Dave, and two daughters.
Director oF equity and inclusion
Deanna Atchley is committed to taking action about the issues she strongly believes in and is thrilled to bring her skills to Whitney/Strong to be a part of the solution surrounding gun violence. Deanna holds both a J.D. and a M.S.W. from Washington University. She has an extensive background in coalition building, planning and implementing community initiatives, public speaking, and legal analysis. Deanna also has more than 15 years of experiences as a performer, choreographer, and coach in the cheer and dance industry.
Deanna’s personal connection to two mass shooting victims—Whitney Austin and Maurice Stallard—motivated her to join Whitney/Strong. Deanna is also passionate about working with youth, supporting diversity and inclusion efforts, suicide prevention, and raising awareness of the National Bone Marrow Registry in honor of her mother.
Director of finance
Jeff has over 20 years of leadership experience designing, developing and administering services within the non-profit, behavioral and mental health treatment field. He is now parlaying the management and new initiative creation skills that he developed in the social service arena with a move into the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Venture First-- a leading financial services group-- Jeff is adapting innovative strategies and business solutions to tackle complex problems within social impact groups. Jeff is leveraging his executive leadership skills and the business management principles he developed with his Entrepreneurship MBA from the University of Louisville, as he helps to affect lasting change via innovative companies and organizations.
Whitney/Strong is not the first non-profit close to Jeff’s heart in which he’s utilized his skills. He created a Community-Based Treatment Services Division for the Home of the Innocents, and established one of Kentucky’s largest in-home treatment programs for child victims of abuse and those with developmental disabilities. He also served as the Chief Executive Officer for Boys and Girls Haven. Through these experiences, Jeff has become a public policy advocate and change agent for issues affecting Kentucky’s most vulnerable populations.
Director oF communications and public relations
Farrah Alexander is a writer whose work often focuses on parenting, politics, social justice, and current events. Her work has been featured in HuffPost, Scary Mommy, and BUST. She's been quoted on topical issues for Scientific American, Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, Hello Giggles, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Daily Mail, and the BBC. She is a regular source on American political issues for the newspaper Expresso, in which her interviews are translated in Portuguese. She is currently at work on a book.
Farrah is extremely passionate about reducing gun violence and is honored to serve on the board of Whitney/Strong. She lives in a suburb of Louisville, Ky. with her husband, son, and daughter.
Director oF Social media
Lindsey Burba earned a degree in Journalism with a focus on Political Science from the University of Kentucky. She is currently a real estate broker with @properties. Lindsey has previous corporate experience in sales, social and digital media, photography, and customer service. Since the origination of Whitney/Strong Lindsey has collaborated with Whitney to establish a social media presence and develop digital content.
Lindsey lives with her husband in Chicago, Il. She is also Whitney's cousin who rushed to Louisville after the shooting to aid in her recovery. A strong supporter of the second amendment, Lindsey is also aligned with the guiding principles of Whitney/Strong. She is committed to the construction of a bipartisan effort to reduce gun violence.
Lauren is a business owner, interior designer, entrepreneur, and real estate investor with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Minor in Art History from University of Louisville. As Lauren is extremely talented in balancing and excelling in multiple areas, she’s excited to bring those skills to Whitney/Strong. Lauren led the “Stop the Bleed” workshops for Whitney/Strong, which taught participants vital lifesaving skills in the case of an emergency.
Whitney and Lauren have been close friends since they met in college as Delta Zeta sisters. As friends, Whitney and Lauren have both experienced unthinkable hardship. When Lauren lost her husband, Whitney surrounded her with love and support. After the September 6th shooting, Lauren returned the favor. As they both work towards healing, they value their beloved friendship and continue to support each other. Lauren lives in the Louisville area with her three smart, athletic, and funny daughters.
director of development
With a diverse banking career of over 29 years at Fifth Third Bank, Tammy met Whitney in 2010 when they were on the same Retail National team; Tammy then led that Retail Delivery team from January 2012 until taking an early retirement package in March 2016. She recently served as the Chief Consumer Officer for RetireMEDiQ in Dayton, OH, leading the sales and service teams who deliver and support Medicare healthcare plan solutions. Tammy holds such a strong faith in Whitney’s ambition and passion of reducing gun violence that she left her role as Chief Consumer Officer to commit herself to the mission of Whitney/Strong full-time, serving as the Director of Development.
Tammy is a graduate of Wright State University with a B.S. in Secondary Speech, Theatre and English Education. A strong communicator and effective influencer, Tammy meets challenges head-on with optimistic reality and calmness, often finding new ways to solve old problems. She brings a passion for people with a “can do” attitude to support the mission of Whitney/Strong and is ready to partner in building awareness and facilitating change. She lives in Centerville, Ohio, with her husband of 32 years, Irv. Their daughter, son-in-law and 2-year-old grandson live nearby in Springboro, Ohio and their son is in San Diego, California.
co-founder and Board Member
Waller Austin is an interdisciplinary artist and adjunct art instructor. After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Louisville, he held positions as a retail banker and financial consultant before partnering with a friend from high school to establish a real estate rehabilitation company. In 2014 Waller relocated his family to study art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and again in 2015 as he earned a MFA at Washington University in St. Louis, returning to Louisville in 2017 to share his education with art students of Louisville.
Much of Waller’s artwork has revolved around play, leisure, and the elevation of meaninglessness. Once Whitney was shot, Waller promptly adopted an intimately meaningful cause to champion, redirecting his focus to scrutinize the conditions enabling these savage situations and deadly episodes that continue to play out across America. Along with the rest of the Whitney/ Strong team, Waller is dedicated to do whatever it takes in developing and establishing more effective efforts to realize reduced incidences of gun violence.
Please join with Whitney/Strong today by making a donation. Together we’ll be working with politicians to drive conversations related to gun violence as well as gathering data and leveraging findings to drive education, advocacy, and solutions. We can prevent these situations from happening and I’m excited to take advantage of my second chance in life to make a meaningful difference. I can’t do it alone… but we can do it together.