January 2021 Panel

January 2021 Panel Header: Girls, Technology, and Social Determinants of Health



Our January 12th moderated panel topic was Girls, Technology, and Social Determinants of Health.  Our panelists discussed access to technology as part of the social determinants of health according to the 2020 Healthy People Report and its specific impact on women and girls.

Our Moderator is Sonja Gantt

Our Panelists are Dr. Kami J. Anderson, Dr. Frank D. Barnes, and Dr. Cortney S. Harris

Our Moderator

Sonja Gantt

Sonja Gantt is the Executive Director of the CMS Foundation.  The CMS Foundation works to generate financial investment to support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and develop a community-wide culture of schoolanthropy—the support of public education. Our mission is to serve as the trusted bridge between CMS and the donor community.  Prior to her leadership role at the CMS Foundation, Ms. Gantt was a news anchor and reporter for WCNC-TV in Charlotte.

Our Panelists


Dr. Kami J. Anderson photo

Dr. Kami J. Anderson is the Founder and CEO of Bilingual Brown Babies, a specialized service for families of color who are serious about raising their children bilingual in English and Spanish.  Bilingual Brown Babies is intended to be a movement that increases the number of children of color who are biliterate in English and Spanish in order to maintain footing in this increasingly competitive global workforce.  Dr. Anderson received her Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication from Howard University in Washington, DC in 2007, and published her dissertation entitled, "The Shifting Character of Social and Ethnic Identity among Black American Sojourners" as a monograph in 2009. She holds a BA in Spanish from Spelman College and a MA in International Communication and Cultural Anthropology from the American University in Washington, DC. Dr. Anderson has been teaching in higher education since 2005, including public speaking, interpersonal communication, intercultural communication, human communication, media, culture and society, small group communication, international communication, business communication, as well as a faculty-led student travel course: City as Text.  Dr. Anderson's research and interests are shared on her personal website.

Dr. Cortney S. Harris photo

Dr. Cortney S. Harris is the Executive Vice President of Education at Junior Achievement of the Carolinas.  She is a Leadership expert that challenges people to leverage their focus and pay attention to what matters the most. Growing up in Aliquippa, PA, and Rochester, NY taught Cortney unique lessons that are shared through her work in education. believes that every day is an opportunity to transform those feelings that tear us down into something greater, pushing to move the needle in life towards a greater and better change for you. Dr. Harris is a passionate community advocate with 20+ years of experience in nonprofit and educational leadership roles, Cortney has made an impactful contribution within many organizations. She is a results-oriented leader with a laser focus on systems-level change, collective impact, education, and resource/talent management. She has dedicated her life and career to challenging racism, sexism, classism, and ableism in schools and youth organizations. In her leadership roles with Junior Achievement, StriveTogether, United Way, Uncommon Schools, and Monroe Community College, she consistently and successfully advocated for equitable youth opportunities and access. As a consultant, she mentors her clients to effectively strengthen their leadership vision and goals.

Cortney’s dedication to hard work and determination to avoid a life of mediocrity inspired her to earn a Bachelor in Sociology, a Masters in Youth Development, and a Doctorate in Organizational leadership. Through practical strategies that can be applied personally and professionally, she is inspiring everyone to feel the excitement cultivated by positive change and a happier more productive life. She has an awesome husband Donielle and a Rockstar 8-year-old daughter Madison

Dr. Frank D. Barnes photo

Dr. Frank D. Barnes is the Chief of Equity & Accountability Officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, a former Broad Prize for Urban Education winner and the 17th largest school district in the United States. He is co-author of the district report Breaking the Link.

Dr. Barnes came to Charlotte-Mecklenburg from the Boston Public Schools, another Broad Prize winner, where he also held the position of Chief Accountability Officer. In Boston, he led the design and rollout of the district’s school turnaround strategy for its lowest-performing schools. That work resulted in more than half of the district’s “turnaround schools” (6 of 11) exiting low performing status within three years, with two earning the highest school performance level possible in the state, and two schools receiving the School on the Move prize for outstanding school achievement.  Prior to Boston, he was a Senior Associate at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. While at the Institute he worked with urban school districts across the country helping them to examine and improve the conditions of schools. He authored the technical assistance guide, Inquiry and Action, and wrote multiple articles and reports on school improvement. His research has focused on knowledge management and adult learning in organizations.

Dr. Barnes was born and raised in Chicago on the city’s south side. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Speech & Communications from Macalester College, as well as two Masters Degrees – in Teaching and Curriculum and Education Policy and Management – from Harvard University. He earned a doctorate degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He is a proud husband and a father of three.