SWNA Leadership

Board of Directors

Wilma Goldstein

Donna Purchase


Donna Purchase has been a resident of Southwest DC since 1998.  She was elected to the SWNA board in 2010 and has served in various roles.  She has more than 30 years of management experience in corporate and nonprofit businesses and serves on the board of three local non-profits.   She loves Southwest and is adapting to the change from a sleepy neighborhood to the vibrant area that draws thousands to SW.  Donna is the recipient of numerous awards including the Women’s Institute for Secure Retirement’s WISER Hero Award for her work in financial literacy.  Donna and her husband Henry are the proud parents of four and grandparents of nine happy, healthy and funny grandchildren.

[email protected]

Wilma Goldstein

Beth Hall


Beth Hall has resided in Riverside Park Mutual Homes since 1989. She is very active with the resident council. Beth is an active volunteer. Her activities include AARP Social Chair, preparing lunches with homemade soup and Costco sandwiches. She volunteers with Waterfront Village as a driver and provides administrative assistance. She ran a pop-up office for the Beto campaign and was a past PTA board member and president. Beth has a BA in government and biology from Smith College. In her professional career she worked for the Massachusetts Senate and the US Environmental Protection Agency focusing on public water supply, underground injection control and the Superfund. She has worked extensively with various public action groups and fundraising.

[email protected]

Profile picture - Ben

Ben Curran

Southwest resident, Ben Curran, is well known in the community for his work as co-chair of The Environmental Task Force (SW Strong)

Ben completed 34 years of work in the national and international emergency management arena serving chiefly in the public private partnership arena. His work in Southwest has demonstrated strong leadership skills and we feel that he will be a valuable asset to the Board.

Ben continues to engage at the local grassroots level in building community resilience, promoting disaster preparedness and community organizing.
He has a BA in History and a MS in Community Economic Development. He currently serves as VP of DC Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, and he is a Washington DC representative to the International Association of Emergency Managers. He has received numerous awards including two DC Mayor’s Award for Disaster Preparedness.

[email protected]

Wilma Goldstein

Wilma Goldstein

Wilma Goldstein is a Michigan native whose work in politics, research and teaching political skills brought her to DC in 1975. After living in the three other of DC’s four quadrants and stints in Arlington and Alexandria, VA, she moved to Southwest DC in 2014 after she retired. In addition to her work in political organizations and her federal government appointments, Wilma is active in the jazz programs at Westminster Church in southwest. Prior to retiring, she volunteered at Whitman-Walker and as a first grade reading tutor in Alexandria schools, as well as serving on the board of several arts and literary organizations. Since moving to DC she helped in the creation of Waterfront Village, serves on the tenant board at the Modern on M complex, is on the Citizen Advisory Board of The Wharf 2 and recently became a board member of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA.) She is convinced moving to Southwest was one of the best decisions in her life.

[email protected]

Wilma Goldstein

Lisa Taylor

Lisa Taylor has been a resident of Southwest DC since 2008.  Ms. Taylor has seen many changes to the community during her tenure and is passionate about responsible growth that maintains the “community feel” of the SW neighborhood and sustains housing options to long-standing residents who may be feeling pushed out by gentrification. In her professional life, Ms. Taylor is a management consultant and works with clients in organizational transformation & design, strategy, change management and leadership and talent development. Ms. Taylor spends her free time teaching fitness classes at a local gym, cycling around the city, and traveling around the world. Ms. Taylor attended the University of Kansas where she received her undergraduate degree in Music. She is a die-hard Jayhawks fan and religiously watches college basketball, ROCK CHALK!!! She received her MBA and MA in International Development from American University.

[email protected]

Task Force Chairs

Wilma Goldstein & Marjorie Lightman

Aging in Style

Marjorie Lightman has been an active member of the southwest community for more than a decade. Having lived in New York and New Jersey, she moved to Washington for work in the early 1990s and to the southwest in 2009. Dr. Lightman served a term as a commissioner of the local (6D) ANC, is vice president of her complex’s tenant association and a member of the board of the Southwest Community Foundation. Professionally, she has written about the history of Washington and is currently completing a book on the southwest/southeast waterfront. Dr. Lightman has three children, two of whom live in DC and share her community interests.
— — Marjorie Lightman, PhD Partner, QED Assoiates

Thelma D. Jones

Youth Activities

Thelma D. Jones’ work has been fundamental to civic and youth activism and raising
awareness of breast health. She is an award-winning community activist, breast cancer survivor, advocate and founder and board chair of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund. 

Jones retired from the World Bank Group after more than 33 years.

Since 1982, Thelma has served as a committed volunteer to SWNA, serving on the board and other leadership positions.  She is a contributing writer for the Southwester and co-chair of the History Task Force Black History sub-committee.  She is past co-chair of the Education & Scholarship and the History task forces.

Grounded in her faith, Jones is a long-time member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church on the Southwest Waterfront. 

Jones has one son, Jamal, and a grandson, Seneca, 10. She enjoys reading, travelling, attending Jazz events, working with youth and being a coordinating nexus of positive events.

Learn more about Thelma and her work with the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund

Vyllorya Evans

Education & Scholarship

Vyllorya A. Evans retired from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Headquarters  Office in 2012 as Deputy Director of the Office of Housing Assistance and Grant Administration.  Her career began in the HUD Ft. Worth and Dallas, Texas Offices, working with affordable housing and fair housing programs. 

Ms. Evans currently works in the ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington, District of Columbia.  As a doer of her words, she is an Elder in her church and was instrumental in helping establish a non-profit mission arm called Southwest Renaissance Development Corporation (SRDC).  This gave rise to the well-known Jazz Night in Southwest, the weekly Friday program of great jazz and great food, and Blue Monday Blues, a similar community building program.  Additionally, Ms. Evans helped oversee the development of Southwest Catering, an economic development arm of SRDC  

Ms. Evans is a native of Aberdeen, Mississippi; she attended Hampton University and graduated from   Mississippi University for Women.

Perry Klein

Perry Klein


William Zeisel

SW Heritage (History)

William Zeisel is a principal of QED Associates LLC, a DC-based consulting firm specializing in research, writing, and management services to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and government bodies. Dr. Zeisel often works in collaboration, across the range of problems, issues, and crises that face universities and not-for-profit organizations in the United States and abroad. He co-authored “How The Railroad Changed Food & Diet In Washington DC” and “160 Years of Scholarship and Achievement in the Nation’s Capital (Washington, DC: University of the District of Columbia Press, 2011), celebrating the 160th anniversary of the District of Columbia’s sole public institution of higher education. With business partner Marjorie Lightman, Dr. Zeisel curated “Twelve Years that Shook and Shaped Washington,” a multimedia exhibit at the Anacostia Community Museum and six associated sites around the District.

Ben Curran & Regina Blye

Emergency Preparedness

As the dependent of a U.S. Diplomat, Ben Curran grew up overseas in Iran, South Africa, Tanzania, England, Togo and Australia. He began work with the International Rescue Committee in the Sudan during the Ethiopian Refugee Crisis in the late 1980’s. Afterwards he supported the American Red Cross as an Assistant Shelter Manager during the Central American Refugee Situation on the Southwest U.S. Border. Joining FEMA Response Operations Office in 1989, he deployed to support several disasters throughout the country including: Hurricane Hugo in Puerto Rico, Hurricane Andrew in Louisiana; the Midwest Floods in Kansas, Iowa and Illinois; the Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles; the Oklahoma City Bombing; September 11th in Washington D.C.; Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana; Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the USVI and Puerto Rico; and, the covid-19 FEMA headquarters response operations center in Washington D.C. In addition, he supported several overseas operations including the Rwanda Genocide with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance; Kobe Earthquake; Hurricane Mitch; the Haiti Earthquake; and, the Stability Pact – a NATO-led capacity-building task. At FEMA, serves as the Deputy Branch Chief for Mass Care, Voluntary Agency Coordination and Community Services. A native Washingtonian he lives in the District enjoying all the colorful DC murals; street festivals; showing off DC to visitors, especially international visitors; Ben’s Chili Bowl; and, all of the funky Ethiopian buna-beats.

Southwester Staff

Dale MacIver

Editor Emeritus

Michael Goodman


Melissa Silverman

Copy Editor

Perry Klein


Donna Purchase & Beth Hall


Electronic Ink

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