She Leads…I’ll Follow
is a celebration of Women’s History Month:
Dr. Marjorie Innocent PHD


Our initiative serves an ode to female leaders past, present and future. Throughout this month, we’ve highlighted leadership who have went above and beyond the call of duty in order to make a difference.

“She Leads..I’ll follow” is a celebration of Women’s History Month and will pay tribute to Ida. B. Wells, Althea Simmons, Ruby Hurley and Ella Baker. In addition, a spotlight will be cast on current NAACP executives Dr.Marjorie Innocent, Senior Director of Health Programs; Ngozi Ndulue, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs; Paula Brown Edme’, Vice President of Field Operations and Jacqueline Patterson, Director of Environmental and Climate Justice. Finally, future women of the NAACP.


Dr. Marjorie Innocent PHD, Senior Director of Health Programs

Dr. Innocent ensures the development and management of the NAACP’s policy and programmatic agenda to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for African Americans and other communities of color in alignment with organizational strategy.

Dr. Innocent is responsible for establishing the NAACP health department as a resource and standing expert in national and international health policy and public education arenas in order to advance the NAACP’s policy agenda around health issues. She also collaborates with internal and external colleagues to advance public discourse about the intersection of health and other social issues impacting populations of color, including education, community development and criminal justice. In addition, she will work with research, technology and communications staff to develop reports and other internal and external narratives and/or analytical documentation relating to program and project activities and results, with careful attention to pursuing program and project goals.

As a health policy professional, Dr. Innocent’s experience includes: Vice President, Programs, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., Washington, DC; Evaluation Specialist, Department of Shared Accountability, Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, MD; Research Associate, Center for Applied Research and Technical Assistance, Inc., Baltimore, MD; Director, Maryland School-Based Health Center Initiative, Governor’s Office for Children, Youth and Families, Baltimore, MD.

Marjorie Innocent received a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and French Literature, Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, NY. To her credit, Dr. Innocent has published numerous articles and writings covering various health and education-related topics. Dr. Innocent is fluent in French and has working knowledge of Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Ngozi Ndulue, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Programs

Ngozi is be responsible for providing leadership in initiating, formulating, implementing and coordinating programming and objectives for the NAACP’s efforts to reform the criminal legal system. Ngozi will develop and manage an annual plan in alignment with organizational strategy that shapes the litigative, policy and programmatic agenda around criminal and juvenile justice reform. She will also conceptualize grassroots projects and campaigns to support advocacy among NAACP field units around issues of disproportionate representation of African American and other populations of color at all levels of criminal and juvenile justice systems.

Ngozi Ndulue joins us with a wealth of experience in addressing racial justice issues through litigation, policy advocacy and public education. After law school, she completed a judicial clerkship at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and subsequently represented death-sentenced individuals as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Arizona. In 2011, Ngozi joined the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a Cincinnati non-profit law firm that focuses on reforming the criminal legal system. During her time at OJPC, Ngozi represented prisoners in federal civil rights cases, worked on state and local racial justice policy campaigns, and administered a law school clinic.

Ngozi is a daughter of Nigerian immigrants who grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ngozi earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in French and Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School.

Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

Jacqueline Patterson is the Director of the NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program. Since 2007 Patterson has served as coordinator & co-founder of Women of Color United. Jacqui Patterson has worked as a researcher, program manager, coordinator, advocate and activist working on women‘s rights, violence against women, HIV&AIDS, racial justice, economic justice, and environmental and climate justice. Patterson served as a Senior Women’s Rights Policy Analyst for ActionAid where she integrated a women’s rights lens for the issues of food rights, macroeconomics, and climate change as well as the intersection of violence against women and HIV&AIDS. Previously, she served as Assistant Vice-President of HIV/AIDS Programs for IMA World Health providing management and technical assistance to medical facilities and programs in 23 countries in Africa and the Caribbean. Patterson served as the Outreach Project Associate for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Research Coordinator for Johns Hopkins University. She also served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica, West Indies.

Patterson’s publications/articles include: ”Jobs vs Health: An Unnecessary Dilemma”, “Climate Change is a Civil Rights Issue”, “Gulf Oil Drilling Disaster: Gendered Layers of Impact”, “Disasters, Climate Change Uproot Women of Color”; “Coal Blooded; Putting Profits Before People”; “Just Energy Policies: Reducing Pollution, Creating Jobs”: “And the People Shall Lead: Centralizing Frontline Community Leadership in the Movement Towards a Sustainable Planet”; and book chapter, “Equity in Disasters: Civil and Human Rights Challenges in the Context of Emergency Events” in the book Building Community Resilience Post-Disaster.

Patterson holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves on the International Committee of the US Social Forum, the Steering Committee for Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, Advisory Board for Center for Earth Ethics as well as on the Boards of Directors for the Institute of the Black World, Center for Story Based Strategy, GRID Alternatives, and the US Climate Action Network.

Paula Brown Edme, Vice President of Field Operations

Paula Brown Edmé, born in Durham, North Carolina, is the oldest child of the late Mary Hennessee Brown and Raymond R. Brown. She was raised in Springfield Gardens, New York, from the age of four, therefore considering herself a “native” New Yorker. Paula is the product of the New York City Public School system, attending elementary and secondary schools in Queens, New York. She is a graduate of the City College of New York, receiving her undergraduate degree in elementary education. She has furthered her studies at New York University and
Columbia University.

Mrs. Edmé, began her professional career in early childhood and elementary education in the New York City Public Schools. She joined the staff of the oldest, most respected and revered civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People June 16, 1980. During her tenure with the NAACP she has dedicated herself personally and professionally to youth leadership and development, political and social advocacy, and the pursuit of civil rights for all and social justice advocacy.

December 2015, Mrs. Edmé was appointed Vice President, of NAACP Field Operations. In her current capacity, she is responsible for administering the Association’s branch and field structure which consists of seven (7) regions throughout the United States, Germany, Spain, Japan & Hawaii, state/area conferences, branches, youth councils and college chapters. She serves as the principle advisor to the President & CEO and the Executive Leadership Team on all matters relative to branch & field administration.

In her previous position as Director of Corporate Relations, Paula was responsible for corporate solicitation to support NAACP special events. She worked directly with corporate representatives, fostering sustainable relationships that resulted in raising over $7 million for the NAACP Annual Image Awards, the NAACP 106th Annual National Convention, the Annual Leadership 500 Summit and Daisy Bates Education Institute.

Prior to joining the Development Department, Paula Brown Edmé served as the Chief of Field Operations. She previously held positions of Northeast Regional Director, National Youth Director and the Northeast Region Youth Director. Working directly with NAACP volunteers in state-state/area conferences, branches, youth councils and college chapters she assisted in addressing racism and discrimination in all facets of society. She provided guidance in their lobbying efforts for the enactment and enforcement of local, state and federal laws, organized GOTV and Direct Action Campaigns. She assisted Units in effectively implementing NAACP health and education initiatives, political action campaigns, and the Back-To-School/Stay-In-School Program.

In her spare time, Paula continues to focus her attention on the wellbeing and development of young people. As a member of Greater Queens Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, she serves as the First Vice President and Chairman of the Membership Committee. She has co-chaired the Services to Youth Facet, working to provide a range of substantive & sustainable programs to children Prekindergarten – 16 years of age and the Fundraising Committee. She is a member of Black Women for Black Girls Giving Circle. BWBGgc, and is co-founder of YES! We Can Help Quisqueya Children.

Paula is blessed with the love and support of her husband Georges and her entire family.