19th Annual Women's Forum - Providing Hope, Promoting Healing, Breaking the Bias

Womens Forum 2022
Spanish Womens Forum 2022

The Human Relations Division of the City's Neighborhood Improvement Services Department is proud to present the 19th annual Women's Forum to celebrate National Women's History Month. Our theme is Providing Hope. Promoting Healing. Breaking The Bias.  

This year's presenters include: Deputy City Manager Bertha Johnson, Chief of Police Patrice Andrews, Attorney Anabel Franceschini Rosa and Principal Asia Cunningham. Their journeys prove that bias may be an obstacle, but cannot altogether stop our hope and healing. These women will discuss a variety of topics including physical health, mental health, education, and personal growth. We hope to see you there.


  1. Photo of Bertha Johnson

    Bertha Johnson 
    Deputy City Manager
     City of Durham

    In 2021, Durham City Manager Wanda Page named long-time Budget and Management Services Director Bertha T. Johnson to be the next Deputy City Manager over the City’s operations departments.

    Bertha Johnson served as the Interim Deputy City Manager, most recently overseeing the City’s operations departments, which primarily provide core services to residents, including Water Management, Solid Waste Management, General Services, Public Works, Fleet Management, Finance, Technology Solutions, and Durham One Call. Previously, she oversaw the administrative and support departments, including Audit, Finance, Budget and Management Services, Human Resources, and Equity and Inclusion.

    City Manager Page has emphasized that Deputy City Manager Johnson has demonstrated outstanding and innovative leadership skills that enabled the City of Durham to grow and develop collaborative community partnerships to address community needs. As Interim Deputy City Manager, she has shown a willingness to engage in those core services that residents consider vital to their quality of life, including solid waste collection, maintenance of City streets, and access to good and safe drinking water.

    As Budget and Management Services Director, Johnson served on the city manager’s executive leadership team and coordinated and oversaw the development, implementation, and monitoring of the City’s annual operating budget and capital improvement plan. She also led the City’s Participatory Budgeting program, the development of the City’s annual strategic plan, and was instrumental in the City being awarded several grants, including a national grant that led to the creation of the City’s Innovation Team, which is focused on addressing social issues.

    Prior to joining the City in 2005, Johnson served as finance director for the City of Roxboro, N.C., and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. Johnson is a 1986 graduate of Elon University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Johnson also has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University.

  1. Photo of Police Chief Patrice Andrews

    Patrice Andrews 
    Chief of Police
     City of Durham

    Patrice Andrews re-joined the Durham Police Department on November 1, 2021 as Chief of Police.  She previously served as the Chief of Police for the Morrisville Police Department from June 2016 until October 2021. Prior to being appointed as the Chief of Police in the Town of Morrisville, Andrews was the Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division with the Durham Police Department. During her 24-year law enforcement career, Andrews has held positions in Uniform Patrol, Criminal Investigation Division, Special Operations Division, Warrant Squad, Office of the Chief of Police, and the High Enforcement Abatement Team.

    Andrews graduated cum laude with a BS in Criminal Justice from North Carolina Central University. In addition, she is a graduate of the 263rd session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia as well as a graduate of the West Point Leadership Academy. In June 2018, Andrews was re-appointed to the Governor’s Crime Commission and is member of the Special Committee on School Violence as well as Chair of the Crime Victim Services committee.

  1. Photo of Anabel Franceschini Rosa

    Anabel Franceschini Rosa 
    Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

    Anabel Franceschini Rosa joined the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in 2010 in the Personal Injury Department. She has more than 20 years of legal experience and is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Puerto Rico. 

    She attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications where she graduated with a BS in three subject areas: Television production, Spanish literature and Psychology. She continued her education at Syracuse University, obtaining an MA in Spanish literature while working as a teaching assistant in Spanish.

    Following graduation, Anabel moved to New York City where she accepted a position as a reporter for a bilingual television station. While preparing a news story, she met then-Manhattan Borough President David Dinkins, which led to a position as Assistant Press Secretary. When Dinkins became Mayor in 1990, she went with him to City Hall. 

    As Assistant Press Secretary for the Mayor, Anabel initiated and executed media strategies for the mayor, deputy mayors and city agencies; wrote and edited speeches and press releases; wrote Spanish-language articles for metropolitan news media; and other tasks. Overtime, she came to realize how little she truly knew about U.S. politics, history and the Constitution. Exploring these areas became a fascination for her.

    Anabel received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1996.

    Following graduation, she took a position as a litigation attorney focusing on civil rights and negligence cases in a New York City law firm. This job was a natural complement to Anabel's interest in the U.S. Constitution. She later became managing attorney for a personal injury law firm. 

    She has been honored with service awards from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Hispanic/Latino Affairs Division. She also volunteers as an ESL teacher and many other efforts.

  1. Photo of Asia Cunningham

    Asia Cunningham 
     Pearsontown Elementary

    Principal Asia Cunningham grew up in Warsaw, North Carolina, where she was the oldest of three children. After losing her parents at the young age of 19, she had the pleasure of raising her two younger siblings.  After completing her bachelors degree at North Carolina Central University, she became a resident of Durham and found a love for all Durham County has to offer.

    Principal Cunningham’s education career began in Durham Public Schools as an Instructional Assistant. From there she served as a teacher in Vance County Public Schools. She returned to Durham Public Schools as a teacher and continued her career in various roles to include coach, data analyst, MTSS facilitator, curriculum developer and mentor. Prior to becoming the Principal of Pearsontown Elementary, she served as the Principal of E.K. Powe Elementary School. Principal Cummingham completed her Administrative Internship at Ligon GT Magnet Middle School. She later served as Assistant Principal at Brier Creek Elementary and Glenn Elementary.  Her career has afforded her the opportunity to be recognized for various awards such as a North Carolina Principal Fellow, Teacher of the Year, NC Future Ready Leader, and Spectacular Magazine's Education Woman of the Year to name a few.

    Throughout her 13 years of serving in various school settings across 3 different districts, one thing that remains the same is Principal Cunningham’s passion for students and teachers!? She makes it her daily goal to touch the lives of as many students as possible to empower them to be productive, well-rounded citizens. She believes all students will learn with intentional focus on student engagement, teacher empowerment, and parental involvement.