Chris is a native Kentuckian and the daughter of missionary parents who served Eastern Kentucky for more than 40 years. She relocated to North Carolina in 1981 and has come to call NC home.
Prior to coming to the Council, she spent several years in corporate America with The Diabetes Treatment Center and Honeywell International before joining a faith-based, nonprofit medical clinic serving the uninsured and under-served of Franklin County. Chris is excited to be a part of the Council’s PHW program where she can utilize her background in health care and service. She and her husband, Joey, have two children, a cat, and a surprisingly friendly bearded dragon.
In her free time, Chris enjoys reading, basketball, and traveling, especially to the mountains.
Michelle was born in Durham and raised in Hillsborough, North Carolina. She continued her education at UNC Chapel Hill where she graduated with a degree in Global Studies with a concentration in Economics, Trade and Development. Identifying as half Peruvian, Michelle’s area of study was Latin America. She was blessed with the opportunity to study in Ireland and volunteer in Costa Rica during her undergraduate time. She continued her journey as a fellow at Student Action with Farmworkers, a non-profit organization in Durham, NC. Michelle is excited to reflect on and empower the communities in NC to push forward for social and environmental justice. She enjoys weekend trips, reading, arts & crafts, and sushi.
Shannon Axtell Martin
Regional Coordinator, Piedmont Region
Shannon has moved and traveled most of her life. After growing up back and forth between California, Connecticut and Saudi Arabia, she finally settled in North Carolina. Shannon graduated with her Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University School of Divinity and her BA in Religion and Philosophy (with a Concentration in Outdoor Ministries) from Catawba College. She then completed a yearlong Residency as a chaplain at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Shannon’s love for interesting, diverse, and healthy foods was instilled in her from an early age, and she has become increasingly interested in the intersections of justice, food, health, and faith. She is excited to join with congregations to work to increase the faithful health of the communities in and around the triad*. Shannon loves working with people, laughing, cooking, being outside, painting, her husband Robert, and their border collie Benny.
Regional Coordinator, Northeastern Region
Jessica Stokes is the PHW Regional Coordinator for Eastern North Carolina. She joins the Council with a deep love for North Carolina, returning home after directing an interfaith nonprofit in Washington State. Jessica has lived throughout NC, studying and working in Winston-Salem, Wilmington, and the Outer Banks. Jessica earned her Master of Divinity from Wake Forest University and BS in Clinical Psychology from Averett University. She is an ordained Baptist minister. Jessica’s background includes non-profit work, hospital chaplaincy, higher education, and the local church. Her convictions are rooted in experiences that range from ministry in Appalachia and a coastal psychiatric hospital to international travel. Jessica’s work for PHW will include a focus on mental health education and advocacy. Jessica is based in Greenville and connects with congregations and partners in the Eastern part of the state.
Regional Coordinator, Western Region
Nicole Johnson has had the wonderful opportunity of living in different countries, having been born in Belize City, and currently calling North Carolina home. She is deeply convicted in her belief that faithful congregations can meet the environmental, social and ethical challenges of the 21st century in practical and tangible ways. Her travels and beliefs have motivated her to seek ways of merging faith, health, sustainability, justice and ethics. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be working with congregations and individuals in creating and supporting more healthy communities. Nicole is a graduate of Salem College and Wake Forest University with a Master’s of Divinity and Master of Arts in Sustainability. Her favorite things to do include travelling, hiking, growing things, trying new recipes, and spending time with her husband and two boys.