Board of Trustees elects new officers
The Board of Trustees of University of North Carolina School of the Arts has elected a new slate of officers for terms that will conclude in June 2020. The new officers, all residents of Winston-Salem, are Ralph Hanes Womble, chair; Erna A.P. Womble, vice chair; and Stephen Berlin, secretary. The election was held via conference call on July 11.
Ralph Hanes Womble previously served as vice chair. He rejoined the board in 2015, having served from 2003-2010. He also served on UNCSA’s Foundation Board and the Board of Visitors and is a member of the Giannini Society, the leadership giving organization. As chair of the Board of Trustees, Ralph Womble also joins the Advisory Board of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute of the Arts.
He succeeds Michael Tiemann of Chapel Hill as chair of the UNCSA Board of Trustees.
Ralph Womble retired in 2006 after three years as president of Leggett & Platt, Inc. in Winston-Salem. He began his professional career with Hanes Dye & Finishing in Winston-Salem, and also served Hanes Converting Co, in Conover, N.C. He became president of Hanes Dye & Finishing in 1989. From 1995 to 2002 he was president of Hanes Companies Inc. in Winston-Salem, and also served as its chief executive officer for three years.
He has served as chair of the Winston-Salem Millennium Fund; as downtown chair of the Winston-Salem Alliance Board of Directors; and has chaired the boards of Winston-Salem Business, Inc. and Helen Simoneau Danse. Additional board service includes the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership and the partnership’s foundation, the Downtown Arts District, RiverRun International Film Festival, Old Salem Museum and Gardens, the Winston-Salem Foundation, the Young Presidents’ Organization, the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation, LeBleu Company and Woodberry Forest School.
Ralph Womble received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.B.A. from the Babcock School of Management at Wake Forest University.
Erna Womble, a lawyer and strategic advisor, is president of Clearly Bespoke Strategies, Inc., a niche strategic advising practice developed as fulltime litigating partner in Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP). Her focus is based on more than 26 years of experience in national litigation, practical research, and confidential, bespoke work with influential leaders in the private and public sectors to enhance their professional, business, and public service success respectively through development of advanced strategies designed to fit the needs of their individual personalities in key positions of responsibility. She concentrates on the growing needs in a world of constant change for skilled problem solving, decision-making, communication and strategic messaging including leadership presence training.
She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a Master’s in education at the College of Charleston, S.C., where she taught music appreciation and music theory lab part-time at the college level to help finance her undergraduate and graduate education. She earned a J.D. degree at the University of South Carolina and served a federal judicial clerkship to the Hon. U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry, Jr.
Erna Womble is a permanent member of the U. S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference; served as vice president (2016-2018) of the North Carolina Bar Association, and past chair of its Professionalism Committee. Co-authoring portions of two American Bar Association legal treatises, and publications of the Defense Research Institute regularly used by practitioners, she has frequently given Continuing Legal Education presentations nationally and statewide. The national Product Liability Advisory Council honored her with its Distinguished Service Award.
Her community involvement includes service on the board of directors of the Winston-Salem Symphony (Human Resources and Governance Committee, and Nominating Committee); the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Endowment Fund Board (The Arts Forever Fund); and the Board of Trustees of the Western N.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church. A Rotarian, she is a former board member of the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem; prior board member of Work Family Resource Center; and past chair of the YMCA Camp Hanes board.
Serving on the UNCSA Board of Trustees since 2013, she is on the Advancement, Governance, and Personnel Committees, and is liaison to the UNCSA Foundation Board. Prior to election as vice chair she held the office of secretary.
Erna Womble has an abiding interest in the arts and the humanities. Longtime members of the Giannini Society of UNCSA, she and her husband, Bill Womble Jr., are active participants and supporters of several arts, community and professional organizations. They delight in receiving continuing education from their children, Sara and David, who are currently pursuing professional careers in opera performance and English literary criticism, respectively.
Stephen Berlin joined the Board of Trustees in 2013. He is a partner in Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton LLP with significant experience in several areas of environmental law, including environmental litigation, business transactions involving environmental issues and environmental compliance matters. He has worked in most areas of environmental litigation in federal and state courts, and at both the trial and appellate levels. During the course of his career, he has acted as lead environmental counsel for several multi-million dollar business transactions involving manufacturing concerns throughout the United States.
Berlin has been recognized for environmental law in “The Best Lawyers in America” for seven years and in “Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business” for five years. He was named to Business North Carolina’s “legal elite” list in 2010, 2012 and 2013. He was recognized among the Triad's most influential professional executives for 2010, 2011 and 2012 by the Triad Business Journal. He has been recognized as a North Carolina "Super Lawyer” for environmental litigation and land use/zoning in 2010 and environmental law in 2010, 2012 and 2013 by SuperLawyers magazine and was named to The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers for 2010 and 2011.
Berlin holds a B.A. and J.D. (both cum laude) from Wake Forest University, where he serves as an adjunct professor and coach of the National Trial Court Team. He is chair of the United Way Annual campaign, a member of the Wake Forest Law School Board of Visitors, secretary of the Arts Council Board, chair of Winston-Salem Business Inc. and chair of the development committee of the Winston-Salem Children’s Museum. He is a past chair of the Enrichment Center Board and former president of the Forsyth County Bar Association.