The UNCSA Board of Trustees has voted to extend the terms of current officers for one year to promote continuity and stability as the university responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. The officers were elected to two-year terms in July 2018 and now will serve until July 2021. They are Ralph Hanes Womble, chair; Erna Womble, vice chair; and Stephen Berlin, secretary.
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. As chair of the Board of Trustees, he also serves on the advisory board of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.
Serving on the UNCSA Board of Trustees since 2013, Erna Womble 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. She served on the Chancellor’s Search Committee in 2019-20.
Berlin joined the Board of Trustees in 2013. He serves on the Endowment and Finance committees.
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.
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.
He is a member of UNCSA’s leadership giving organization, the Giannini Society.
Erna Womble, a classically trained pianist, is a lawyer and strategic adviser. She is co-president of Clearly Bespoke Strategies, Inc., founded on a niche she developed as a full-time litigating partner in Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP. Her depth of experience, nationally and statewide, working with leaders in the private and public sectors includes confidential, bespoke leadership training, honing of skills that positively affect human behavior, helping leaders build resilience in a world of constant change, and meeting growing needs for innovative problem solving, strategic decision-making, and effective communication.
Womble earned a B.F.A. and a master’s in education at the College of Charleston where she also taught music appreciation and music theory lab (ear training). She earned a J.D. at the University of South Carolina and served a federal judicial clerkship to the Honorable Matthew J. Perry, Jr. She chairs the North Carolina Bar Association’s Professional Vitality Committee and is a permanent member of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference. Womble was a recipient of the 2018 N.C. Chief Justice’s Professionalism Award. She served as a vice president of the N.C. Bar Association, and on the board of directors and executive committee of the national Product Liability Advisory Council, which honored her with its Distinguished Service Award.
Her community involvement includes serving on the board of directors of the Winston-Salem Symphony. She served on the board of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and its Endowment Fund Board. A Rotarian, she is a former board member of the Rotary Club of Winston-Salem and Work Family Resource Center, a trustee on the Western N.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church, and a prior chair of the board of YMCA Camp Hanes.
Womble has an abiding interest in the arts and the humanities. She and her husband, Bill Womble Jr., are longtime members of the Giannini Society of UNCSA, and are active participants and supporters of several arts, community and professional organizations.
Stephen Berlin 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 multimillion-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.
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July 16, 2020