Board of Directors

Meri Armour

In 2007, Meri Armour was appointed President and CEO of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN. Le Bonheur has been named one of the country’s best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report and recently the American Nurses Credentialing Center designated it as a MAGNET hospital—a widely recognized seal of  high quality care.
She has served on the Boards of the National Association of Children’s Hospitals, Memphis Research Consortium, United Way of Mid-South, Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce, and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, among others.

Meri received a M.S.N./M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and CWRU Weatherhead School of Management.

Monroe Ballard, Jr.

Monroe Ballard is owner of Optimum Studios, a one-stop-shop for media needs, and can assist individuals and businesses of all sizes with their videography, photography, audio, graphic design, and web design needs.

Optimum Learning is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created by Monroe in 1999 to give young people an opportunity to learn marketable media production skills that could lead the way to self-sufficiency, gainful employment and higher self-esteem. Monroe instituted a Media Production Program that provides youth with training that can transfer to marketable skills in video production, editing, photography, computer technology, website design, and graphic design.

A life-long Memphian, Monroe graduated from Christian Brothers University in 1998. He majored in Information Technology Management and minored in Computer Engineering.

Monroe completed the Nexus Program in 2010, volunteers for the Neighborhood Christian Centers, and referees high school and NCAA II college basketball.

Cyril Chang, Ph.D.

Dr. Cyril Chang is Professor of Economics at the University of Memphis Fogelman College of Business and Economics, where he is also the Director of the Methodist Le Bonheur Center for Healthcare Economics.  He also serves as an adjunct Professor of Economics in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

His current research interests include the impacts of the Affordable Care Act, potentially avoidable hospitalizations, and non-urgent emergency department visits. 

Dr. Chang received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Virginia.

Jill Crocker

Jill Crocker is a Portfolio Management Officer for the Southeast region of the Global Commercial Bank for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. She is serving her second term for the Urban Child Institute (UCI) Board of Directors and was previously a member of the investment committee.  She is the current Treasurer and a past President of the Le Bonheur Club, and served on an appointed committee by former Mayor Herenton in 2010 with an emphasis on education in Memphis.

Jill is a licensed CPA and was a licensed Series 7 and Series 24.  She began her career in public accounting at Touche Ross, but has been in banking for the majority of her career.

Stanley E. Hyland, Ph.D.

Stan Hyland is Professor Emeritus at the University of Memphis. He served as the Head of the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy at the University from 2000-15 and chair of the Department of Anthropology from 1990-1994. Stan has worked with numerous governmental agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations involved in neighborhood revitalization, social justice and strengthening communities. He has been on the UCI Board since 2005. In addition, he serves on the Board of the Center for Transforming Communities and the Community Advisory Board for the Memphis Division of Light, Gas and Water. He currently chairs the Memphis Landmarks Commission.

Stan received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana.

Jonathan McCullers, M.D.

Dr. McCullers is Chair of the Department of Pediatrics for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and Pediatrician-in-Chief at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital. He moved to Memphis in 1996 for a Pediatric Infectious Diseases fellowship in a joint St. Jude / Le Bonheur program; in 2000 he joined the St. Jude faculty. He was recruited to UTHSC and Le Bonheur in 2012 to lead the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. McCullers has been honored with multiple awards and has published more than 130 peer-reviewed articles.

He attended the University of Virginia as an undergraduate and received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Mary Crowley McDonald, M.D.

Dr. Mary McDonald is the Founder and President of MCD Partners, an education consulting firm working with school systems, foundations and institutions across the country. She has received acclaim as an innovative educator, author, and public speaker, and is the recipient of numerous awards for her work and humanitarian efforts.   She has been a professional educator for thirty-eight years as a teacher, principal, and most recently, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Memphis, prior to opening MCD Partners.

In addition to the Urban Child Institute, she currently serves on the Boards of The Society of Entrepreneurs, Goodwill Excel Center, Diversity Memphis, Blue Streak Scholarship Fund, and the Juvenile Intervention and Faith-based Follow-up, among others.

Frederick Palmer, M.D.

Dr. Palmer is the Shainberg Professor of Developmental Pediatrics and Director of the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.  The Boling Center works with persons with disabilities and their families to enhance their independence, productivity, inclusion and full participation in our communities.  Dr. Palmer’s special interests are in autism, childhood language disorders, cerebral palsy, and the factors influencing early neurocognitive and socioemotional development in children.

Dr. Palmer received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his medical degree from the University of Rochester.  He is certified in Pediatrics and the subspecialty of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Jim Witherington

Jim Witherington, an Advisory Partner at SSM Partners, has been with the company since 1973.  Beginning in 1990, Jim transitioned SSM from an advisory services company to a principal investing company focused on growth equity investments.  He currently serves as a member of the firm’s investment committee.

Jim’s community involvement includes roles on the Boards of Thomas W. Briggs Foundation, The Neighborhood Christian Centers, and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.