Joy Bryan

Director of Community Outreach and Engagement

Joy Bryan has always had a passion for service and community. She has had the opportunity to volunteer and give back to several organizations dear to her, especially causes that educate and empower children to learn and excel in technology. Joy’s passion for leadership also carried over to her career where she has an extensive background in operations and project management. An Atlanta native, Joy received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems from Clark Atlanta University. Joy is an avid lifelong learner having taken many continuous education courses. More recently she completed the Cybersecurity & Information Security program at Emory University. Joy believes there is always a bright side, and she enjoys living a life full of optimism and black girl magic.

Billy Davidson, Jr.

Director of Technology

Billy Davidson, Jr. is a Customer Success Manager in the cybersecurity space, and has vast experience in customer support, business development, & relationship building. He is a member of various technology organizations and is a lifelong learner of all things tech. Billy is a huge cloud enthusiast and spends his free time learning the AWS platform to expand his knowledge. Billy currently holds the Security+ & AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certifications and is currently studying for the AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam. Billy is also an avid record collector, audio engineer, & visual artist.

Tamara van Exel

Director of Technology Education

Tamara van Exel is an experienced cyber security professional in penetration testing, digital forensics and malware analysis. She currently works for Total Fitness 360 as a cyber security specialist. Tamara has over 20 years IT experience and is know as a Jack of all traits because she has experience in different fields in IT and security. She is dedicated in educating as many people as possible about cybersecurity and has a passion for continuous learning in the cybersecurity field. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science from Troy University in Alabama, and a technical master’s degree in Information Security from Lewis University in Illinois where she also received the highest academic distinction reward. She is currently studying for her CISSP exam. Tamara has the CEH-EC Council certification.

Donita Searcy

Director of Membership

My name is Donita Searcy, I am responsible for onboarding new members and building member-centric programs, processes, and procedures that drive BGH’s business objectives. I have a B.S. in Computer Science, 25+ years of experience in the Information Technology industry, and have fully transitioned to Cybersecurity. I currently work in the U.S. Federal Government space in Information Assurance. I am dedicated to the Mission, Vision, and Values that BGH represents to share knowledge and resources to help black girls and women breakthrough barriers to careers in information security and cybersecurity. Our members are determined and driven which fuels my excitement to assist them with attaining their goals. This is my way of paying it forward and providing the support I wish I had entering Information Technology years ago. To all those considering joining the organization, I say, “Welcome to BGH! How may I be of service?”

Rayella Bergman

Director of Linux and Programming Development

Rayella is the Information Security Systems Specialist at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Prior to working at CUIMC, Rayella was working as a paralegal in a bankruptcy law firm but she was looking for a more challenging career. Having studied Russian and Slavic studies, Rayella always had an inclination towards security and whilst undergoing her Master’s degree at NYU, found a non-profit that focused on various security threats, cybersecurity being the forefront amongst them and decided to make the switch to cybersecurity.


Deputy Chief Information Security Officer

Emefa (Emma-fa) is an upcoming cybersecurity professional. After spending nearly a decade in the healthcare industry, Emefa pivoted to pursue a new passion—cybersecurity. This pivot has manifested change, growth, and an overall personal transformation. As a member of BlackGirlsHack, Emefa aligns with the vision of increasing diversity and representation in cybersecurity. Emefa’s journey with BlackGirlsHack has been an upward progression: beginning as a Lab Assistant, then promoted to Lab Manager, and now being selected as Director of Information Security. As opportunity never knocks twice, Emefa is always ready to jump into the battle and responsibility of securing the cyberspace.


Mentorship Director

Shaheera currently works in the cybersecurity space as a cloud security auditor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University in Information Systems and is currently pursuing a masters degree in Cybersecurity at Georgia Tech. In her free time, she manages her blog which provides advice to new folks in the cybersecurity industry and volunteers with several other organizations helping women in cybersecurity and helping the world become a better place. Her passions include reading, baking, dancing, and watching sports.

Makayla Ferrell

Assistant Director of Programming and Cybersecurity Development

Makayla Ferrell is a recent graduate from the University of Mary Washington. She graduated summa cum laude with a double major in computer science and mathematics and a minor in cybersecurity. On-campus, Makayla was a member of four honor societies, the Multicultural Leadership Council, and the President’s advisory committee. She also worked as a TA and peer tutor for the computer science and mathematics departments. Currently, she works as a software engineer for the Department of Defense. Makayla holds Security+, CEH, and Pentest+ certifications. Her nonprofit experience includes Brown Girls Code and Black Girls Code, where she holds lead instructor positions. In her free time, Makayla often competes in capture the flag competitions and red team drills. She is very excited to join the Black Girls Hack organization and help others improve their skill set.

Josh Edwards

Lab Manager, Friday Night Labs

Josh Edwards is a Software Engineer and member of the United States Air Force. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Computer Science Engineering. Josh has experience working for the Marine Corps and the Air Force as well as private companies doing Software Engineering and development. He is Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) certified as well as having certifications in PenTest+ and Linux+. Josh (J3d3y3) is in charge of Friday Night Labs.

Yolande Fransman

Cybersecurity Policy Analyst

Yolande Fransman is a finance professional with expertise in mortgage servicing. She recently earned a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from George Washington University because she recognized the growing cyber threats affecting the finance sector. She is pursuing risk-mitigation Cybersecurity policy opportunities in mortgage fin-tech but is open to other possibilities as well. Yolande is excited to be an active member of Black Girls Hack!

Tanisha L. Turner


Former Vice Chairwoman and CISO

Tanisha L. Turner is an experienced cybersecurity professional in security operations, malware analysis & identification, and threat investigation. She participates in non-profit cybersecurity organizations and is active in information security communities. Tanisha is currently a Security Solutions Tech Lead & Senior Elastic Stack Support Engineer at Elastic, which she is instrumental in providing customers with technical advice, guidance, and security solutions on Elastic’s software products. Tanisha has been involved in the Elastic SIEM project in the early stages of development and is a go-to person for SIEM expertise on her team. She is the first Elastician to be featured on a global list of recognized Epic Women in Cybersecurity: Tanisha is dedicated and focused on bringing diversity to the cybersecurity realm and paving the way for current and future cybersecurity professionals. She has held a non-profit volunteer position in recent years as BDPA Chair of the Cybersecurity Advisory Board. She has a Bachelor of Science in Information Security and an Associate of Science in Network Security in which both degrees were received with honors.

Charles Shirer

Director of Threat Intelligence and Security Research

Charles has 20 years of overall IT experience with the last 8 years in Information Security performing web application, network, and wireless penetration Tests, PTH(Proactive Threat Hunting) and Security Research. In his spare time Charles plays retro video games, programs in the rust programming language, He also works on the SECBSD open source project which is a penetration testing distro based on the OpenBsd Operating System, Works as Staff at several Security Conferences,runs a Podcast and enjoys helping others whenever possible. Charles is well known in the security space as bsdbandit.Tanisha is dedicated and focused on bringing diversity to the cybersecurity realm and paving the way for current and future cybersecurity professionals. She has held a non-profit volunteer position in recent years as BDPA Chair of the Cybersecurity Advisory Board. She has a Bachelor of Science in Information Security and an Associate of Science in Network Security in which both degrees were received with honors.


Director of Diversity and Inclusion

Latrunda is a Louisiana native who currently resides in sunny California. Her mission is to increase representation and resources within the community. Representation is important because people must see reflections of themselves as proof that no dream is too big to manifest. They must also know that they too have a voice and a place in any space at all times. Her motto is “Be the representation you did not have!” Outside of her studies and BGH, she enjoys traveling, reading, listening to podcasts, and leveling up her cybersecurity skills. Latrunda is a member of ACM and a committee member of the ASU Diversity and Inclusion board. She has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from LSU. She is a student at Arizona State University where she is completing her second Bachelors and Masters of Science in Information Technology with a focus in Cybersecurity.
Scroll to Top