LWV-VA Board of Directors 2023 Candidate Biographies
Joan Porte has served as President of the League of Women Voters of Arlington and Alexandria City for the past five years and the First Vice President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia for four. She also served as the Vice President of Arlington and Alexandria City. She also volunteers with the Arlington Food Assistance Center and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington where she manages the B and B program and some kitchen services. Since 1986, she has been the owner of Blue Horizons Travel Inc, that arranges corporate travel services. Before that she worked as a lobbyist and PAC director for several trade associations in Washington. She holds a Political Science degree from The George Washington University with minor in Journalism. She is an avid home cook, voracious reader, and enjoys an “occasional” cup of coffee.
First Vice President
Anu Sahai has been a league member since 2016 and served as Co-President of the Fairfax Area league (2018-2022) where she currently co-chairs action and advocacy. She has represented the LWV three times as a delegate at the United Nations – Commission on the Status of Women and was instrumental in the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County passing a resolution endorsing the provisions and best practices of the Convention Eliminating all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Anu has a BA in Economics from Delhi University and a degree in Law from the Faculty of Law, Delhi University. She worked in Legal Aid for several years in India before coming to America in 1991; she worked in Immigration law from 1992 until 1999. Anu has been a discussion leader and a moderator at the candidate forums. She feels very strongly about voter suppression and women’s rights.
Second Vice President
Erni Bridges was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia by an amazing close family that believed in giving back to their community – always. Erni attended an HBCU, Norfolk State University, majoring in Sociology. As a former military spouse, she lived in Europe for over 15 years where she volunteered many hours for the American Red Cross, Army Community Service Centers (supporting families), Officers Wives Club (President) and the Army War College.
Professionally, Erni worked as the Vice President of HR for a custom publishing company with offices in Washington, DC and in New York City. Wanting to give back to her community as in her youth, a few weeks after retiring, Erni joined the Fairfax League in 2018 where she quickly became involved in registering high school voters. In 2019, Erni was elected to the state League board where she developed and administered the intern program.
Charity Boyette is a doctoral candidate in Public Administration at Virginia Tech. She is co-founder and CEO for Tractus Strategic Partners, a consulting firm focused on management tradecraft and strategic talent development. From 2009-2018, Charity was a commissioned Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State who served in Nigeria, Poland, and Belgium, as well as in Washington, DC, including two years as a special assistant to Secretary of State Kerry and as an instructor at the Foreign Service Institute. She is the recipient of the State Department’s Superior Honor Award and multiple Meritorious Honor Awards. Prior to her federal service, Charity worked in leadership development, operations, and finance in the U.S. defense industry. She holds an MBA, with a focus in strategic development, from the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary and a B.S. in business administration from Averett University in Virginia.
Andrianne Konstas-Salvette has served as Membership Director of LWV-VA since July 30, 2018. She is a member of LWV- Fairfax Area, where she serves as an observer for Fairfax County Public School’s Advisory Committee on Disability Services and authored their “Virginia’s Cannabis Legislation” study. She is a Chief/Assistant Chief Officer of Elections and volunteers with her P.T.A. auditing, creating budgets, coordinating events, and supporting teacher wellness. She owns Bloom Impact, a floral design business in Northern Virginia. Andrianne received her B.A. of International Affairs from James Madison University and her M.B.A. from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business with focus on accounting and marketing. She served as an Agro-forestry Extension Agent Volunteer for Peace Corps in Cameroon from 2006-2008. She is a mother of two and can be seen at E.R.A. rallies with her husband of 11 years.
Janet Boyd is an attorney and lives in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband, Rob, and two young cats, brothers Cisco and Poncho. Her daughter lives in Biddeford, Maine. Janet has served as Chief for the Glencarlyn Precinct for over 25 years. Since April 2020, she has served on the LWV-VA Board, as Director of Voter Services, and assisted in preparing two elections related Studies: Election Position (2021) and Money In Politics (2023). Since 2022, she has served as a co-leader of the Voting & Elections Issue Group. Janet is a member of the Arlington Local League, serving on the League’s Election Integrity Committee. She is also a member of the LWVUS Lobby Corps. Prior to retiring in 2019, Janet worked as a tax and political compliance attorney, and lobbied Congress and the Administration (both for Dow and as a partner in the law firm of Akin, Gump, in Washington DC).
Denise Harrington has a BS in Music Education from Hampton University. An endorsement in Pure and Applied Linguistics enabled her to work with English learners while continuing to teach music. She has an MA in Administration and Supervision and an MS in Diagnostic Reading, doctorate work specializing in Teacher Leadership at Walden University, and a certificate from the Minority Political Institute Leadership Institute and Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Doug Wilder School of Government. A career-long advocate for children and public ed ucation, Denise served the Virginia Education Association (VEA) in various capacities: Vice President of the York Education Association, board member of the Henrico Education Association, and member of the Executive Political Action Committee. She also served for 15 years as the State Legislative Liaison for the Virginia Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (VATESOL). She presently serves as the Advocacy Coordinator for the League of Women Voters of Virginia.
Krysta Jones worked as a lobbyist, Director of Outreach for Members of Congress, an aide to the Arlington County Board Chair, the inaugural director of Virginia Promise Partnership, and national program manager for Zeta Phi Beta Sorority where she is a 25-year member. Krysta founded Virginia Leadership Institute (aka Vote Lead Impact), is past-president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Virginia, and a co-convener for the Black Women’s Roundtable Virginia. She hosts a podcast for the Arlington and Alexandria City League and worked with LWV-VA to develop a mentoring program. Named a “Woman of Vision” by the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women in 2023 and a Library of Virginia “Strong Woman in Virginia History” in 2021, she was also featured in Ebony Magazine as a “Hero Next Door.” She is a TedX speaker and graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership, Leadership Arlington, and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.
Les Solomon grew up in Kansas. With a doctorate in geography, he spent 30 years with the U.S. Census Bureau where he managed the agency’s college curriculum support project and statistical training programs for international students and new hires, finishing his career as chief of Customer Services. He and his wife, Jo, a longtime LWV member, retired to Williamsburg in 2008. He has been membership chair and vice president of the Williamsburg Area LWV, an LWV-VA Nominating Committee member, and lobbied the General Assembly. In his many years of volunteer work, he conducted demographic research for the United Methodist Church to plan regional and state church programs and researched on issues of gender and race salary equity, participated in a Peace with Justice Mission to Israel/Palestine and served as president of the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists. He has also ensured safe voting at “at risk” polling sites.
Carolyn Caywood worked as a public librarian for over 40 years, focusing on service to children, teens, elders, persons with disabilities and marginalized populations. She is an active member of the Virginia Library Association. She has a passionate belief that in a functioning democracy the essential role of the people is just beginning when we vote. That led to involvement in the League where she has been South Hampton Roads’ Voter editor, Program Chair, Co-Vice President, and currently Zoom manager. For the past two years she has been the LWV-VA Program Director and the Environment Issue Group leader. She also participates in the LWVUS Climate Interest Group, leading the Oceans Team. Locally, she serves on the board of PFLAG Hampton Roads, the Legislative Collaborative Table of Hampton Roads, and the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities.
Mary Crutchfield served as President of the League of Women Voters of the Richmond Metro Area (2015-2019) and was active in Voter Services, Election Modernization, and Communications. From 2015 to 2020 she was a passionate advocate in the campaign for ERA ratification in Virginia and was a liaison between VAratifyERA and LWV-VA. Mary served on the LWV-VA Board for two terms: Assistant Lobbyist (2017-2019), Second Vice President/Legislative Coordinator (2019-2021). In 2021, Mary was elected Nominations Committee Chair for LWV-VA. She has been active in the Voting and Elections Issue Group and is especially passionate about campaign finance reform. She has worked as an election officer for 6 years. Mary appreciates the members of the Nominations Committee for giving so much of their time and talent and is grateful for the amazing League members that volunteer to serve on the LWV-VA State Board.