A native of Alabama, Virginia moved to Atlanta in 2003 to pursue what she felt was her calling to public service through leadership in business, faith and community service. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and World Changers Bible School. In 2006, Virginia founded a fine stationery manufacturing company that retails in stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2012, she put her business skills to work in the nonprofit sector and joined Action Ministries, while pursuing a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management at Georgia State University. Since 1963, Action Ministries has mobilized communities to overcome the obstacles of poverty, by focusing on housing, hunger relief and education. Virginia worked her way up through the Housing and Programming divisions of Action Ministries, administering government housing grants, acting as Executive Director of the Atlanta programs, administering a daily community kitchen for the homeless and supervising children’s after-school programming. In 2016, Virginia was selected to head Action Ministries’ newly established Education division as the Associate VP of Education, where she is responsible for the strategic development of educational programming initiatives for children, adults and community partners in 62 Georgia counties, including Atlanta, Athens, Gainesville, Rome and Augusta. She is passionate about creating local solutions by uniting people from multiple sectors to effectuate smart change.
Gilma has been an educator with Fulton County Schools for the past 11 years as the Bilingual Community Liaison for Norwood, Hillside and currently Vickery Mill Elementary School. Her work with the Hispanic community is exemplary, as she trains parents to acclimate and thrive in their new communities. For the past three years, Gilma has managed, promoted and raised funds for an overnight summer camp, which accepted 17 kids the first year and 71 the last. She lives in the community where she serves with her husband, an alcohol and substance abuse prevention specialist for the state of Georgia, and her son, who works in music ministry.