Mary Anne Adams

Mary Anne Adams, MSW

Founding Executive Director

Mary Anne Adams, MSW, is Founding Executive Director of ZAMI NOBLA. She has a master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Community Partnerships and over 25 years of work experience in public health, community engagement, capacity building, group facilitation, outreach and recruitment, social work education, planning, organizing and mobilization. From 2007-2017, she served as Director of the Community Research Center at Georgia State University in the School of Public Health and Director of the Community Engagement Core in the Center of Excellence on Health Disparities Research (CoEx) working with key populations such as academic researchers, community stakeholders, poor and working-class communities, sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, children/youth, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals.

Moreover, she served as the Principal Investigator overseeing a research project that examined the health care needs of aging black lesbians. Adams research interests are in investigating the social determinants of racial and sexual minority health disparities. For the past 14 years, she worked at two major universities in Atlanta directing and managing NIH funded research related to the dynamics of transmission of HIV/AIDS and STIs. She recently directed a NIMHD funded research project that looked at the impact of African American Churches on HIV and drug-use prevention and on health disparities. She currently lectures part-time in the Graduate School of Social Work at Georgia State University.

Emma Folkes

Emma Folkes, CFP, CRPC

Board Chair

Dedicated, passionate, and convicted, Emma Foulkes knew that there was another path she needed to forge after serving in the military, earning a degree in Computer Science, and working in a male-dominated, captive environment.  Emma was fed up with the status quo and the lack of financial resources provided for minorities, women, and small business owners. She knew there was only one thing to do, so she stepped up and stepped out with other like-minded financial advisers and together they formed Greenwood Wealth Management. 

Greenwood Wealth Management was founded on the premise that everyone, no matter their age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc. deserves an equal opportunity to have financial planning and objective advice. 

Edith Biggers

Edith Biggers, M.D.


Dr. Edith Biggers is a public health physician in the HIV clinic at the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness. She delivers compassionate and state-of-the-art medical care to indigent, uninsured, underserved, and substance using HIV positive patients, with an emphasis on maximizing self-empowerment through education.

As an African American woman specializing in HIV care and treatment, her presence has an empowering effect on those the clinic serves. A well-respected and knowledgeable provider, she spent more than 10 years as a volunteer at AIDS Survival Project spending weekends and evenings talking directly with people living with HIV on how to improve their health by understanding their own health care needs. For her work with ASP, the Healthcare Georgia Foundation honored Dr. Biggers with a 2006 Community Service Award. She currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for The Black AIDS Foundation.

Dr. Biggers is a native of Atlanta and received her Medical Degree from Emory University, MA in library science from Atlanta University and BA in music education from Smith College.

Jocelyn Lyles

Jocelyn Lyles, BA


Currently residing in Atlanta since 1978, Jocelyn is and employed with the Atlanta Police Department as a Senior Housing Demolition Officer, with the Community Services Division.  She has dedicated the last eight years of her professional life to improving the quality of life for citizens by eliminating blight from the City of Atlanta.  Educated at Howard University, she graduated in 1978 with a Bachelors degree in Psychology.  Jocelyn earned her Real Estate Broker’s license and studied real estate appraisal under the Dekalb Board of Realtors and Barney Fletcher Schools.  She began LGBT community outreach with Hospitality Atlanta  from (1992 – 1995) providing a social outlet for lesbians in Atlanta. She enjoys gardening and fishing.

Brooke Smith-Perry

Brooke Smith-Perry, M.Ed


ZAMI NOBLA Fact Sheet. Click to download as pdf
Audre Lorde in a blue hue

“We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.”

– Audre Lorde


Find a list of resources to learn more about Audre Lorde, LGBTQ organizations, and find support for dealing with breast cancer.